2021 Australian Open: What to Watch on Opening Day
Jérémy Chardy, a French doubles specialist, reached the semifinals in two recent tournaments, the Murray River Open in Melbourne and the Antalya Open in January. Without a main draw singles win in 2020, this has been an excellent start to the year for the 33-year-old. However, he hasn’t beaten Djokovic once in 13 meetings, and it’s unlikely that he can buck that in Round 1.Margaret Court Arena | 7 a.m. MondayDenis Shapovalov vs. Jannik SinnerJannik Sinner, a 19-year-old Italian, had an excellent 2020 season, reaching his first major quarterfinal at the French Open and winning his first ATP title at the Sofia Open, becoming the youngest player to win an ATP title since Kei Nishikori in 2008. Having won the Great Ocean Road Open this week, Sinner will be looking to continue his success and push for a deep run at the Australian Open.Denis Shapovalov, the 11th seed, is coming into the Australian Open on a five match losing streak. At the U.S. Open in September, he reached his first major quarterfinal and then followed up with a run to the semifinals at the masters-level Italian Open. The hard hitting 21-year-old has struggled since then, but has shown some upsides in his two losses at the ATP Open last week to Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev.Both youngsters are well-suited to the hardcourts of Melbourne, and this match should feature many aggressive, attack-minded points. On current form, Sinner has the slight edge, but both have high expectations of themselves, and in the five-set format of a grand slam, there can be plenty of twists and turns in a close match.Matches for the Night Owls:Ons Jabeur vs Andrea Petkovic — midnightGrigor Dimitrov vs Marin Cilic — midnightAlison Riske vs Anastasia Potapova — midnightKei Nishikori vs Pablo Carreño Busta — 2 a.m.Diego Schwartzman vs Elias Ymer — 2 a.m.