Let’s get this show on the road, shall we? There are no less than a zillion men’s qualifying matches scheduled for today, although a cursory glance at the weather forecast instils a healthy sense of doubt about getting them all played. Indeed, rain has already delayed the start of play.

 You should be able to watch the matches played on show court 3 here, via the Australian Open website. If that doesn’t work, we’ll see if we can sneak someone in with a webcam.

In the meantime, here are my Five-A-Day Matches of Interest:

1. Tiago Fernandes(BRA) vs.   Evgeny Korolev(KAZ)[23]

I’ll admit this looks to be fairly one-sided. Recently-minted Kazakh Korolev is the twenty-third seed, coming up on his twenty-third birthday, and has been as high as 46 in the rankings. Tiago Fernandes is seventeen, ranked 576, and wildcarded into qualifying thanks to his victory in the junior singles at last year’s Australian Open. He’s got one win on the Futures circuit so far this year, which has netted him a grand total of $176. So what makes me think that this might be a closer contest than it looks? Well …. sheer blind optimism, really. But honestly, who would you prefer to see in the second round – an Eastern European ballbasher with surfer-good looks and thighs worthy of Marat Safin, or a skinny jailbait South American underdog who probably doesn’t remember Take That the first time round? Case closed.

2. Luke Saville(AUS) vs.   Nicolas Mahut(FRA)[18]

Because a google image search for Mahut brings up this, while Luke Saville is coached by someone named Ray Ruffels. If Mahut wins, I get to post lots of pictures of him in drag that everyone is already sick of, while if Saville wins, I already have a convoluted and regrettable “Saville Ruffels Mahut’s feathers” headline worked out. It’s win-win! Except for you, obviously.

3.  Michael Yani(USA) vs.   Jerzy Janowicz(POL)[30]

I’m going to be honest, I just really like Jerzy Janowicz. His name is Jerzy! His head is the approximate size of a pumpkin! You do the maths. No, this is your classic youth vs. experience clash; perennial journeyman takes on rising star. Always a great narrative and while neither has been up to very much so far this year, Yani has a few Noumea wins under his belt which could help him surprise the higher-ranked Janowicz. Could be fun.

4. Grigor Dimitrov(BUL)[3] vs.   Matteo Viola(ITA)

Dimitrov had a ridiculously successful year on the Futures and Challengers circuit in 2010, but this is the time for him to start parlaying some of that obvious talent and hard-earned experience of winning consecutive matches to the main ATP tour. Here’s hoping he takes Viola and beats him like a drum for starters.

5. David Goffin(BEL) vs.   Milos Raonic(CAN)[26]

It’s the first meeting for the diminutive Belgian and the hulking Canadian. Born just twenty days apart and separated by a mere foot-and-a-bit in height, both are sitting at a career high in the rankings (205 and 153 respectively). Goffin and Raonic were most recently in action in Chennai, and while they didn’t play each other, it was definitely the Belgian who came out on top, surpassing Raonic’s last-round qualifying appearance and winning a main draw match before falling to Stanislas Wawrinka. This is a rivalry for the future that starts right here and now, today, people. Contain your excitement.

Wednesday’s OOP

Show Court 3

10:00 AM Start    Men’s Qualifying Singles – 1st Round
  Maverick Banes(AUS) vs.   Simon Stadler(GER)
Men’s Qualifying Singles – 1st Round
  Matt Reid(AUS) vs.   Izak Van Der Merwe(RSA)
Men’s Qualifying Singles – 1st Round
  Sebastian Rieschick(GER) vs.   John Millman(AUS)
Men’s Qualifying Singles – 1st Round
  Greg Jones(AUS) vs.   Olivier Patience(FRA)
Men’s Qualifying Singles – 1st Round
  Matthias Bachinger(GER) vs.   Chris Guccione(AUS)
Men’s Qualifying Singles – 1st Round
  Dominik Meffert(GER) vs.   Bobby Reynolds(USA) 

Rest of the matches under the cut.