Alexei Popyrin
Alexei Popyrin

10 must-see Round 1 Aus Open matches

THE players are ready, the draw is done and the countdown to the first balls being hit at Melbourne Park is officially on.

Play at this year's Australian Open kicks off on Monday, with tennis fans set to be greeted by a host of blockbuster first round matches.

But of the 128 singles contests that will be played across Monday and Tuesday, which are the best?

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From the oldest and youngest players in the women's draw clashing to the rising Aussie who can cause an upset over a superstar Frenchman, check out our 10 must-see Round 1 matches.

VENUS WILLIAMS V CORI GAUFF

The oldest player in the singles draw (Williams, 39) against the youngest (Gauff, 15). A seven-time major winner pitted against the future. Has to be on a show court.

All eyes will be on Coco Gauff when she makes her Australian Open debut. Picture: Photosport/AP
All eyes will be on Coco Gauff when she makes her Australian Open debut. Picture: Photosport/AP

DANIIL MEDVEDEV V FRANCES TIAFOE

Fast-rising Russian faces explosive American. Potential to be a classic as US Open finalist Medvedev chases a maiden slam against spectacular opposition.

DONNA VEKIC V MARIA SHARAPOVA

Accomplished Croat Vekic faces 2008 champion and former world No. 1 Sharapova in a meeting of two of the circuit's toughest competitors. There will no quarter given or taken.

DAVID GOFFIN V JEREMY CHARDY

Two of the smoothest ball strikers in the game. This is all about strategy and execution. Danger match for Goffin.

MARKETA VONDROUSOVA V SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA

French Open finalist against former world No. 1 and dual major winner. There are few more dogged opponents than wily Kuzzie. And more beguiling than Vondrousova.

ALEXEI POPYRIN V JO-WILFRIED TSONGA

The young Australian has a fabulous attitude and formidable game. At his best, he can trouble the immensely talented Frenchman.

 

ARYNA SABALENKA V CARLA SUAREZ NAVARRO

Few hit the ball harder than the Belarusian. Few hit it sweeter than the Spaniard. The ultimate contrast in styles.

REILLY OPELKA V FABIO FOGNINI

Beanpole American Opelka launches from incredible heights. Fognini fears nobody - opponents or umpires. Hard hats required.

MADISON KEYS V DARIA KASATKINA

Don't expect much subtlety here. But if raw power and aggression is your bag, it'll be a feast.

FELICIANO LOPEZ V ROBERTO BAUTISTA AGUT

This could be epic. Two silky Spaniards square off to scrap for the second round. Serve-volleyer against baseline. Classic.