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Australian Open 2018: Rafael Nadal, Grigor Dimitrov feature in Day 1 schedule

FEATURED COLUMNIST
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252   //    13 Jan 2018, 22:31 IST

2018 Australian Open: Previews
Rafael Nadal practises at the Rod Laver Arena ahead of the 2018 Australian Open

2009 champion Rafael Nadal and ATP World Tour Finals champion Grigor Dimitrov are the two big men’s names to feature on Day 1 of the 2018 Australian Open. On the women's side, 2017 runner-up Venus Williams, reigning French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko and second seed Caroline Wozniacki will be the most prominent names to start off their campaign on Monday at the opening Major of the season.

Ostapenko, who is seeded seventh, will kick off the proceedings on Rod Laver Arena against former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone. The tantalizing first round clash between Venus and Belinda Bencic, which is the biggest match of Day 1, is scheduled right after this.

Bencic, who broke into the top 10 in 2016 before injury derailed her career, has been on the comeback trail for the last few months. The 20-year-old finished the 2017 season on a 15-match winning streak. The former junior Wimbledon and French Open champion then teamed up with Roger Federer to lead Switzerland to the 2018 Hopman Cup title and followed it up by triumphing at the Kooyong Classic this week.

12 months after losing an epic final to Federer, World No. 1 Rafael Nadal will set foot on the Rod Laver Arena. The 16-time Grand Slam winner starts the night session against the 81st ranked Victor Estrella Burgos.

Meanwhile, the night session on the Margaret Court Arena will be opened by the WTA Finals champion Carolina Wozniacki, who takes on the Hobart International runner-up Mihaela Buzarnescu.

Other than these players, Brisbane International champion Nick Kyrgios, 2017 US Open runner-up Kevin Anderson and women’s singles fourth seed Elina Svitolina will also be in action on Monday.

Here is the schedule of the two main courts

Rod Laver Arena:

From 5.30am IST

(7) Jelena Ostapenko vs Francesca Schiavone

(5) Venus Williams vs Belinda Bencic

(3) Grigor Dimitrov vs Qualifier

From 1.30pm IST

(1) Rafael Nadal vs Victor Estrella Burgos

(23) Daria Gavrilova vs Qualifier

Margaret Court Arena

From 5.30am IST

(13) Sloane Stephens vs Shuai Zhang

Matthew Ebden vs (16) John Isner

Sam Stosur vs Monica Puig

From 1.30pm IST

(2) Caroline Wozniacki vs Mihaela Buzarnescu

Qualifier vs (15) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

You can find the full schedule of Day 1 here.

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FEATURED COLUMNIST
A freelance journalist based in Kolkata who is a diehard Rafael Nadal fan. She is also extremely passionate about India’s progress in sports and hopes to throw light on India’s unsung sports heroes through her articles. When not screaming her lungs out in support of her favourite sports stars, she can be seen reading, watching movies or immersed in planning her next travel destination!
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