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Australian Open: Day 2 Preview

Caroline Wozniacki and Sara Errani were both quarterfinalists 12 months ago, and both have been handed tricky openers this time around.

Published January 14, 2013 02:53

Australian Open: Day 2 Preview
Yanina Wickmayer

MELBOURNE, Australia - First round action draws to a close on Tuesday with Caroline Wozniacki and Sara Errani among the seeds looking to negotiate their way past potentially tricky opponents.

Tuesday, First Round

Rod Laver Arena
[20] Yanina Wickmayer (BEL #24) vs. (WC) Jarmila Gajdosova (AUS #166)
Head-to-head:
Wickmayer leads 3-1
Since reaching the semifinals of the 2009 US Open as a 19-year-old debutante, Yanina Wickmayer has struggled to make an impression at Grand Slam level. When on song, the Belgian's big game is a match for most, and there have been signs already this year that she is returning to the sort of form that saw her knocking on the door of the Top 10 three years ago. A rigorous off-season training regime was rewarded with a runner-up finish in Auckland and her spirits are unlikely to have been dampened by her draw in Melbourne.

She cannot afford to look past the opening round, though. In Jarmila Gajdosova, Wickmayer faces an opponent with a similarly destructive armory and one who will look to harness the energy of a partisan Rod Laver crowd. Wickmayer and Gajdosova have met on four previous occasions; three of these have gone to Wickmayer, although their most recent encounter on hard, at Indian Wells last March, went the way of the Australian in three sets.

Hisense Arena
[10] Caroline Wozniacki (DEN #10) vs. Sabine Lisicki (GER #36)
Head-to-head:
Lisicki leads 2-1
There were a number of dangerous floaters in Friday's draw, but perhaps none more dangerous than Sabine Lisicki. And Caroline Wozniacki will have been none too happy when her name was drawn alongside the big-serving German, who has developed a habit of upsetting the form book at majors in recent years.

In addition to her nine wins against members of the Top 10, Lisicki also has a handy record against Wozniacki, having won their two most recent meetings. Despite a strong end to 2012, Wozniacki has struggled to locate her A-game in the opening weeks of the new season - she won just one match in Brisbane and Sydney - and if Lisicki finds the rhythm on her serve and forehand then she is well capable of piercing Wozniacki's famed defense.

Margaret Court Arena
[7] Sara Errani (ITA #7) vs. Carla Suárez Navarro (ESP #33)
Head-to-head:
Errani leads 3-2
Twelve months ago, Sara Errani chose Melbourne Park as the stage for her coming out party, battling into a maiden Grand Slam quarterfinal before coming up just short against Petra Kvitova. It proved to be no flash in the pan either, the super-fit Italian scaling even greater heights at Roland Garros and Flushing Meadows before finishing the year at No.6 in the world.

This time around, there will be no sailing under the radar as she arrives Down Under with the weight of expectation that accompanies any Top 10 player. And the draw has not been kind, pairing her with the mercurial Carla Suárez Navarro, who made her own major breakthrough here four years ago when she reached the quarterfinals. Errani will be comforted by her recent duels with the Spaniard, however, having won both of their encounters in 2012 comfortably, including on the hardcourts of New Haven.

Around the grounds…
Defending champion and World No.1 Victoria Azarenka gets her campaign up and running against Monica Niculescu on Rod Laver, while fellow title favorite Serena Williams meets Edina Gallovits-Hall on Hisense. Other seeds in action include Petra Kvitova, Nadia Petrova and Maria Kirilenko.

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