The Australian Open is upon us!
Last year’s finalist, Marin Čilić, has big expectations after taking 20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer five sets down under in 2018. Čilić is the #6 ranked player at the tournament this year and defeated Australian Bernard Tomic in straight sets Monday night in the first round. Čilić has a favorable draw to the quarterfinals and will play American Mackenzie McDonald in the second round Wednesday.
22 year-old Borna Ćorić has a big year ahead of him. Now with a Croatian Davis Cup championship to his name, Ćorić will begin the 2019 Australian Open ranked #11; the highest he has ever been ranked at a Grand Slam. Ćorić won his first ever Aussie Open match on Tuesday when he defeated Belgian Steve Darcis 6-1, 6-4, 6-4. Ćorić also has a favorable draw in his section and could potentially play #7 Dominic Thiem in the quarterfinals if everything goes according to plan. But his next match will be against Hungarian Marton Fucsovics on Thursday.
At age 39, Dr. Ivo Karlović is entering the twilight of his tennis career and this could very well be his last Australian Open. On Tuesday, Karlović took Polish player Hubert Hurkacz to four straight tiebreaker sets but finally got the job done. Karlović will now play #8 Kei Nishikori in the next round which will be a tough task. Karlović has multiple serving records on the tour and is the oldest man in tennis to ever win an ATP title. He’s anything but a complete tennis player, but when his cannon serve is on point, it’s a sight to see.
#31 Petra Martić opened her Aussie Open account on Monday with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Britain’s Heather Watson. Petrić will now play 19 year-old Czech Republic Marketa Vondrousova in the second round on Wednesday. In 2018, Martić made it all the way to the final 16 of the tournament.
#29 Donna Vekić also made quick work in her opening match as she defeated Kristina Mladenović 6-2, 6-4 in the opening round. The 22 year-old from Osijek will now face Australian wild card Kimberly Birrell in the second round on Wednesday. Vekić has never made it past the second round of the Aussie Open and has been slated as a future top-10 player. With a win over Birrell, Vekić would likely meet world #2 Angelique Kerber in the third round.