Caroline Wozniacki vs. Sabine Lisicki
Caroline Wozniacki's life just isn't smooth sailing anymore. She drew one of the most dangerous floaters around in the form of Sabine Lisicki. The German has played well here before and has beaten Caroline easily before as well. However, a loss of form late last year resulted in a drastic drop in rankings for Sabine. Things seem to be looking up again for the German as she took out Safarova easily in Brisbane and lost a good match against Azarenka. One thing's for sure, Sabine will dictate the points and Wozniacki will do the scrambling. While both players are not particularly high on confidence, I still give the edge to Sabine. She has the game and just needs to find the balance between attacking and defending.
Pick: Lisicki in 2 tight sets
Francesca Schiavone vs. Petra Kvitova
While Wozniacki is unlucky with the draw, Kvitova must be worshipping the draw gods. She draws a player who is winless this season, Francesca Schiavone. Well, Schiavone did lose a close one in Hobart to Flipkens, but she did get thumped by Aussie youngster, Ashleigh Barty in Hopman Cup. This match should be a match where the one who stinks less will win. Kvitova has a solidarity win against Suarez Navarro, who plays a similar game. So this match should be hers for the taking. Unless she goes on a mental walkabout and hits all the balls to the backboard.
Pick: Kvitova in 2 tight sets
Luksika Kumkhum vs. Sofia Arvidsson
Tamarine Tanasugarn did not make the main draw of Melbourne but there is still a Thai representative in the form of Luksika Kumkhum. This talented young girl qualified by winning 3 tight 3 setters, including an upset win over Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez. Sofia needs to be careful of this youngster as she hits fearless shots on both sides and doesn't seemed to be fazed by her opponent or the scoreline. I expect a tough fight but this is another level for Kumkhum. Let's hope she continues to improve her game so that she can challenge the main tour more frequently.
Pick: Arvidsson in 3 sets
Victoria Azarenka vs. Monica Niculescu
Tough draw for Niculescu, facing the top seed in her opening round. Monica is in good form and would have won a couple of rounds had the draw been kinder. Anyway, Azarenka will rip apart Monica's junky game as Victoria shows no mercy for such balls. Watch out for a drubbing as Azarenka races to a straightforward win.
Pick: Azarenka in 2 easy sets
Jamie Hampton vs. Urszula Radwanska
The smaller Radwanska is seeded here, but faces a tough task against Jamie Hampton. The American reached the Auckland semi-finals 2 weeks ago, upsetting many higher ranked players along the way. Urszula on the other hand, got trashed by Caroline Wozniacki in Sydney. There's a chance of Jamie creating another upset here since Urszula has the pressure of being the seeded player. Let's face it, Radwanska is a tad overranked and in terms of game, these two players are relatively even. Hampton has shown the world that she isn't afraid of taking out higher ranked players, so let's hope she does it here as well.
Pick: Hampton in 2 tight sets
Sure win bets: Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka, Peng Shuai, Varvara Lepchenko, Elena Vesnina
Upset alert: Timea Babos, Urszula Radwanska, Caroline Woznaicki, Lucie Safarova, Yaroslava Shvedova