At the time of writing this we are 5 hours from the start of play for the 2015 edition of the Australian Open. There have been many previews given for who will hoist the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Trophy.
The women’s draw as it stands is as you would suspect with so many great players, top heavy on the top half and a bit weak on the bottom half. While broadcasters will lament the lack of top stars in the latter part of the tournament, it means that early round and middle of the tournament matches promise some great matches.
The biggest question heading into the tournament for me was where would 2 time champion, Victoria Azarenka end up and which top player would have to be ready at the first ball for her. Turns out that that honour (or dishonour) fell to Sloane Stephens. That first round match up promises to be all kinds of fun. Azarenka has only played 1 match (a loss to Pliskova in Brisbane), while Stephens is herself recovering from a wrist injury in the latter part of last season. She has only won 2 matches since the year started. It will be a tale of 2 struggling players.
Caroline Wozniacki, coming up off a finals appearance in Auckland, withdrew from her second round match against Strycova with a wrist injury. Serena Williams after a patchy performance in Perth at the Hopman Cup looks to be ready to go as is Maria Sharapova (winner in Brisbane), Simona Halep (Szhenzhen) and Petra Kvitova (Sydney).
A wildcard to keep an eye on is Heather Watson (winner in Hobart) who while not blessed with the height of many of her peers, is playing some strategically pleasing tennis this year.
As the tournament rolls along the Spin team will provide its own analysis based on the early forms of the players.
Day 1 – Who to Watch
Day 1 sees play from the bottom half of the draw. As is the norm, the Spin’s picks are in bold. Remember Suicide Pool here
Ana Ivanovic (SRB)  vs (Q) Lucie Hradecka (CZE)
Polona Hercog (SLO) vs Qiang Wang (CHN)
WC Storm Sanders (AUS) vs Klara Koukalova (CZE)
Julia Goerges (GER) vs Belinda Bencic (SUI) 
Karolina Pliskova (CZE)  vs (Q) Evgeniya Rodina (RUS)
Alison Riske (USA) vs WC Oceane Dodin (FRA)
Roberta Vinci (ITA) vs Bojana Jovanovski (SRB)
An-Sophie Mestach (BEL) vs Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) 
Sara Errani (ITA)  vs Grace Min (USA)
S.Soler-Espinosa (ESP) vs Annika Beck (GER)
(Q) Renata Voracova (CZE) vs Lara Arruabarrena (ESP)
Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) vs A.Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) 
Sabine Lisicki (GER)  vs Kristina Mladenovic (FRA)
WC Ying-Ying Duan (CHN) vs Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA)
Jarmila Gajdosova (AUS) vs Alexandra Dulgheru (ROU)
Karin Knapp (ITA) vs Simona Halep (ROU) 
Eugenie Bouchard (CAN)  vs Anna-Lena Friedsam (GER)
Kiki Bertens (NED) vs WC Daria Gavrilova (AUS)
Stefanie Voegele (SUI) vs Pauline Parmentier (FRA)
Caroline Garcia (FRA) vs Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) 
C.Suarez Navarro (ESP)  vs Carina Witthoeft (GER)
(Q) Stephanie Foretz (FRA) vs Christina McHale (USA)
Elena Vesnina (RUS) vs Katerina Siniakova (CZE)
Irina-Camelia Begu (ROU) vs Angelique Kerber (GER) 
Lucie Safarova (CZE)  vs Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ)
Monica Puig (PUR) vs WC Arina Rodionova (AUS)
Ana Konjuh (CRO) vs Magdalena Rybarikova (SVK)
(Q) Tatjana Maria (GER) vs Shuai Peng (CHN) 
Zarina Diyas (KAZ)  vs (Q) Urszula Radwanska (POL)
Anna Schmiedlova (SVK) vs Chanelle Scheepers (RSA)
(Q) Alexandra Panova (RUS) vs Sorana Cirstea (ROU)
(Q) Petra Martic (CRO) vs Maria Sharapova (RUS) 
If you are living outside the US like me and don’t have access to WatchESPN, Tennis Channel Everywhere or to paid streams, you can find tennis if you are not geoblocked at the following links:
http://tinyurl.com/d24be22 (you may have to spend a little money. You can also watch the tennis at livescorehunter.com