Before each day's play at the 2021 Australian Open, we'll preview three must-see matches.
If you’re looking for a close match on Day 2 at Melbourne Park, recent evidence says that this is is the one to watch. Gauff and Teichmann played last week on the same set of courts, and the American won 7-5 in a third-set tiebreaker. Teichmann, a 23-year-old from Switzerland currently ranked No. 58, hit bigger and played more proactively, but Gauff, a 16-year-old who is ranked 10 spots higher, was a little steadier and better defensively when it mattered. The rallies will probably play out in similar fashion on Tuesday. One difference-maker could be the serve: Gauff can win free points with her hard slice, but she can also give them away with her double faults.
Nadal arrived in Australia with his fellow players nearly a month ago, but he’ll be among the last of them to make his 2021 competitive debut. Aside from a brief exhibition appearance, he has been sidelined with back pain Down Under. But that will change on Tuesday, when he meets Djere for the first time, in Rod Laver Arena. We won’t know what Rafa’s form and condition will be like until the match begins. As for Djere, he’s 25, ranked No. 56, has won two titles, both on clay, and is 0-2 so far this season. If Nadal is anywhere close to his normal level, he should have a chance to move on, and continue working his way into the tournament from there.
On paper, this is about as competitive as first-round matches get in the 32-seed era. Pospisil is ranked just 63rd at the moment, but he has been a Grand Slam quarterfinalist and recorded wins over Top 5 players in the past. One of those players is Medvedev; Pospisil has one win, indoors in Rotterdam last year, in their three meetings. Pospisil finished 2020 in fine form, reaching the final in Sofia, but he started this season in hard quarantine and has yet to play a match. How will the lack of work affect him? While the Canadian was isolating, Medvedev was leading Russia to an ATP Cup title. Medvedev lost in the first round at the last major, at Roland Garros. Will that make him extra tight, or extra motivated to avoid another early defeat? The answer may be both.