Day 1 schedule:
Samantha Stosur vs. Chang Kai-Chen
The whole of Australia is banking their Grand Slam hopes on Samantha Stosur and she's buckling under the immense pressure. She is still winless after 2 tournaments and will face a tough first round against Taiwanese, Chang Kai-Chen. Chang peaked at the end of last year, reaching the finals of Seoul and Taipei 125K. Will she be able to step it up against Samantha? Chang needs to keep calm and composed as this is her first time playing in such a big stadium with everyone rooting against her. If she doesn't let the crowd affect her, she has a high chance of an upset. Samantha plays extremely ugly tennis when pressured, so don't expect an epic match with many winners.
Pick: Chang in 3 sets
Dominika Cibulkova vs. Ashleigh Barty
On paper, this is very much a mis-match. Cibulkova is coming off a stellar week in Sydney and will no doubt cruise to an easy victory. Or is it? The manner Cibulkova got humiliated in that final has to hurt the Slovak's psyche for a while. Is she ready to brush off that bad day? Or will the doubts linger? Barty on the other hand has nothing to lose. She has already upset Francesca Schiavone this year and doesn't seem to fear the big stage. An upset waiting to happen?
Pick: Barty in 3 sets
Julia Goerges vs. Vera Dushevina
Attempting to predict a Julia Goerges match is like trying to catch an egg dropped from a 5 storey building. You just don't know what to expect from this German lass. She faces the veteran, Vera Dushevina, who has dropped a fair bit down the rankings last year. However, Vera seems to be playing better having qualified for the main draw. The Russian can be quite a handy player on her day so Julia needs to be careful. The German needs to keep drilling Vera's weaker side, the forehand, and keep her errors low.
Pick: Goerges in 3 sets
Stefanie Voegele vs. Tamira Paszek
Tamira Paszek must be hoping that all tennis tournaments are being held on grass. Her performance outside that surface is totally atrocious. Which is why Voegele has a very good chance of creating the upset here. Voegele possess a big serve and her confidence is buoyed by several good wins in the ITF level. If she calms down and takes her chances, she can take out the Austrian easily.
Pick: Voegele in 2 tight sets
Johanna Larsson vs. Jelena Jankovic
Jelena Jankovic opens her Melbourne campaign against Johanna Larsson. Is Jelena mentally back? Her match against Vinci doesn't seem to indicate so. Seemingly on her way to victory, the Serb suddenly loses the plot and goes down in 3 tight sets. One has to wonder what has happened to this former number 1. Anyway, Johanna's weakness isn't rocket science and I'm sure Jankovic will plummet her backhand to submission. That is unless she decides to go on a mental walkabout.
Pick: Jankovic in 2 sets
Sure win bets: Maria Sharapova, Kirsten Flipkens, Ekaterina Makarova, Kristiya Pliskova, Vesna Dolonc
Upset alerts: Samantha Stosur, Dominika Cibulkova, Petra Martic, Tamira Paszek, Alize Cornet