Eight mouth-watering Australian Open clashes
The draw for the Australian Open is out and there are plenty of intriguing match-ups in the opening round.
Here are eight of the best clashes.
EIGHT OF THE BEST
Simona Halep v Kaia Kanepi
Halep's glorious 2018 grand slam season came to an abrupt end in the first round of the US Open when she was rolled by Kanepi. Expect a powerful response from the world No 1.
Maria Sakkari v Jelena Ostapenko
Sakkari is one of the most gifted and consistent shotmakers on tour. French Open Ostapenko is among the most unpredictable. Expect the unexpected.
Nick Kyrgios v Milos Raonic
The ledger stands at 3-all in the head-to-head rivalry, with Canadian holding a 2-1 edge at grand slam level. Kyrgios is the underdog in the battle of ballistic servers. This is a blockbuster with a string of subplots.
Marin Cilic v Bernard Tomic
Cilic contested the final here last year but will be wary of Tomic after the Australian claimed their most recent meeting. Tomic will need to be at his mesmeric best to unhinge the US Open winner, but is more than capable.
Sloane Stephens v Taylor Townsend
The Americans have never clashed in either WTA or grand slam combat. This is a potentially intriguing match-up between contrasting talents. US Open winner Stephens should come out on top, but ….
Andy Murray v Roberto Bautista Agut
Depending on who you believe, Murray is either crocked or the most dangerous floater in this year's draw. Bautista Agut is flying with victory over Novak Djokovic in Doha.
Ajla Tomljanovic v Johanna Konta
The adopted Aussie against the former Aussie. Tomljanovic has the power to keep Konta on the defensive. The question is for how long.
Tomas Berdych v Kyle Edmund
Cracking first-round encounter between Wimbledon finalist Berdych and last year's break-out Australian Open semi-finalist Edmund. This shapes as a brutal encounter.