The bottom half of the men’s singles draw opens play Tuesday at the Australian Open, with a full slate of marquee matchups and star names on Melbourne’s Day 2 schedule.

Novak Djokovic begins his campaign for his record-extending 10th title in Melbourne against Roberto Carballes Baena, while Matteo Berrettini meets Andy Murray in the day’s other ATP matchup on Rod Laver Arena. Andrey Rublev faces wild card Dominic Thiem in another popcorn encounter, while Top 10 seeds Casper Ruud, Taylor Fritz and Holger Rune are also in action. looks at some of Tuesday’s biggest clashes.

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[13] Matteo Berrettini (ITA) vs. Andy Murray (GBR)

A rematch of their 2022 US Open third-round meeting, won by Berrettini in four sets, this encounter sets up as an early litmus test for both men. Murray, for his part, feels prepared to turn the tables on the Italian after three straight losses in their ATP Head2Head.

“I feel ready to play a top player early in the event,” Murray said in a pre-tournament presser on Saturday. “I know how I am feeling today compared to when I went into the match at the US Open and I am playing better. I am in a better place physically. I feel well prepared for the event. Obviously the matches I have played against him [before], you would hope you would learn stuff from and take stuff away from it that will help you go into the next one.”

The Briton has played just one ATP Tour match this season — a straight-sets defeat to eventual finalist Sebastian Korda in Adelaide. By the measure of match play, Berrettini has the edge.

The Break Point star opened the 2023 season with three wins at the United Cup, including Top 10 victories against Casper Ruud and Hubert Hurkacz, but followed that up with tight defeats to Stefanos Tsitsipas and Taylor Fritz as Team Italy finished runner-up in the mixed-gender event. Berrettini’s run to the Australian Open semi-finals last season will add to his confidence in Melbourne, as will his stellar recent record at the majors: the 26-year-old has reached the quarter-finals or better in each of his past five Slam appearances.

That is the sort of form Murray enjoyed in his younger years, when he reached the quarters at 18 straight Slams from 2011-15, winning titles at the 2012 US Open and 2013 Wimbledon. But partly due to his injury woes, the Briton has not been beyond the third round at a Slam since he reached the 2017 Wimbledon quarters as World No. 1.

Yet Murray is in no mood to look back on his past success: “I don’t feel right now is a time for reflection for me,” he said. “I am looking to the future, however long I have left, to focus on how I can get the best out of my game and body and achieve the best results possible.”

[5] Andrey Rublev vs. [WC] Dominic Thiem (AUT)

A standout first-round clash set to exhilarate the Melbourne crowds sees the powerful Rublev meet 2020 finalist Thiem on John Cain Arena. The World No. 6 Rublev holds a clear advantage in terms of current ranking but Thiem, the 2020 US Open champion and a two-time finalist at Roland Garros, has greater Grand Slam pedigree.

Despite starting 2023 with two defeats, Rublev will look to his 4-2 ATP Head2Head series lead for confidence against an opponent who is still trying to find his best level after missing nine months across the 2021 and 2022 seasons due to a wrist injury. The fifth-seeded Rublev reached the quarter-finals in Melbourne in 2021, but he will be wary of Thiem’s all-around quality in what could be an intriguing matchup.

[4] Novak Djokovic (SER) vs. Roberto Carballes Baena (ESP)

Nine-time Australian Open champion Djokovic’s bid for a record-equalling 22nd Grand Slam title begins on Rod Laver Arena against the World No. 75 Carballes Baena. The Serbian is not just bidding to draw level with Rafael Nadal’s tally of major titles this fortnight in Melbourne — he can also secure a return to No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings by lifting the trophy.

Djokovic won his only previous match against Carballes Baena in straight sets at the 2019 US Open. Incredibly, the current World No. 4 has not lost a match anywhere in Australia since well before that New York meeting, putting together a 34-match winning streak in the country since his fourth-round defeat to Hyeon Chung in Melbourne in 2018.

Making and breaking records at Rod Laver Arena 🏆 🏆 🏆 👀

— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 15, 2023

Carballes Baena is yet to win a set in three previous matches against Top 5 opponents, but the Spaniard has experienced first-round success at Melbourne Park before. He defeated Attila Balazs in 2021 before falling to eventual finalist Daniil Medvedev in the second round. Can he spring a historic surprise Monday on Rod Laver Arena?

Also In Action…

Like Djokovic, second seed Casper Ruud can become World No. 1 by claiming the Australian Open title this fortnight [Ruud can also rise to top spot by reaching the final if Stefanos Tsitsipas doesn’t win the title]. The Norwegian begins his bid for a maiden Grand Slam crown with his first tour-level meeting against Czech Tomas Machac. Eighth seed Taylor Fritz will also look to make a fast start to his Melbourne campaign after tasting United Cup success as part of Team USA. The 25-year-old opens against Nikoloz Basilashvili.

A stunning end to 2022 saw Holger Rune break the Top 10 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings for the first time, but the 19-year-old Dane will want to bounce back from first-round defeat in Adelaide two weeks ago in his first-round clash against Filip Krajinovic. The 2020 semi-finalist Alexander Zverev also chases his first victory of the year against lucky loser Juan Pablo Varillas.

Seven home favourites will seek to ride home support to a spot in the second round on Tuesday. They include 22nd seed Alex de Minaur, who plays qualifier Hsu Yu Hsiou, and last week’s Adelaide semi-finalist Thanasi Kokkinakis. The 26-year-old faces Fabio Fognini in what is set to be an entertaining clash on Kia Arena. Other Australians in action include Jordan Thompson, who faces J.J. Wolf, and wild card Alexei Popyrin, who meets Tseng Chun-Hsin.

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