Over the course of the next couple of weeks 256 players will battle for the Australian Open titles. Out of the 256, 6 of them are Brits so who is playing down under?
Kyle Edmund v Dusan Lajovic
Kyle had a good week in Hobart making the quarter finals before losing to John Isner in a match where he played the better tennis.
The issue for Kyle who is of course a former Australian Open semi-finalist is that Dusan Lajovic is in very good form right now. I would have to say one of the most valuable players during the ATP Cup.
His relentless baseline presence will make him a tough player to move. I am interested to see how Kyle deals with this. After a tough year this will be a big year for Kyle and he can’t afford to sit back too much and must go on the front foot and try to stop the Serb targeting his backhand.
Dan Evans v Mackenzie McDonald
British number one and the first time he has been seeded at a major.
Dan is in a good run of form coming off the ATP Cup. He likewise had a good week prior to coming to Melbourne. He played well against the in-form Andrey Rublev and I think will have too much for the American.
His game can adapt to different situations and I expect his weapons will be too strong in this one.
Being seeded does come with extra pressure and I’m sure Dan would like to get to the third round where probably Novak Djokovic will be waiting.
Cameron Norrie v Pierre Hugues Herbert
Big opportunity for both players in this one.
Going home would be seen as a missed chance. Cam has had problems with consistency. I’m not sure his game is at the level needed to be a top 50 player.
I watched him against Nick Kyrgios and how good Nick was it was a catalogue of errors from Cam.
Pierre can cause problems, he has skills around the court which have progressed from his doubles success and I think the Frenchman will come through this one.
Jo Konta v Ons Jabeur
A lot of questions about Jo right now.
Early exit in Brisbane and withdrawal from Adelaide with a knee problem, how ready is she?
We know she can produce in Melbourne and has looked a bit more confident over the last 12 months.
Ons is a hard hitter on the baseline and can cause an upset. She has a strong game and likes to throw in some variety with slice. If Jo isn’t moving too well then she will take advantage of it.
Heather Watson v Kristyna Pliskova
A good week for Heather once again in Hobart. No silverware for the Brit but a run to the semi-finals is a good run to take to Melbourne Park.
Heather will be disappointed the way her semi-final ended at 4-5 just putting in probably her worst service game of the match.
Kristiyna will pose quite a threat with the big serve and I just have a feeling it will take something very special to see off the Czech in this one.
Katie Boulter v Elina Svitolina
Tough opener for Boulter. The Brit had a rough year missing pretty much the whole year after injury she picked up in Fed Cup which then the tie ended up being null and void but that’s another story.
Tough start for Katie Boulter but then at the same time Elina Svitolina didn’t get off to the best of start in Brisbane losing 6-1 6-1 to Danielle Collins and not playing since.
Katie could cause trouble but I do expect Elina to have too much for the Brit.
Harriet Dart v Misaki Doi
A good run from Harriet in qualifying.
I think it is good to come through qualifying at times as you get used to the surroundings and get into that winning habit.
Doi is ranked at 80 in the world but hasn’t won a match on the main tour since mid September.
Who will make round two?
I think Dan and Jo have a very good shot at making round. Kyle Edmund will have to come up with something special to see off Dusan Lajovic but I do feel like Harriet Dart could spring a surprise on us!