Melbourne, Australia, 18 January 2023 | Leigh Rogers

Aussie hopes Rinky Hijikata, Olivia Gadecki, John Millman and Jason Kubler are making the most of their wildcards at Australian Open 2023.

All upset higher-ranked opponents to advance to the second round in singles and hope to continue their winning runs on day three at Melbourne Park.

“I’m proud of myself. I wasn’t sure last year if I’d be in this sort of situation,” beamed Kubler after his first-round win against world No.44 Sebastian Baez on Monday.

The 29-year-old is in the best form of his career and thrilled to be progressing beyond the opening round at Melbourne Park for a first time.

Meanwhile, 21-year-old Hijikata and 20-year-old Gadecki are enjoying unforgettable main-draw debuts at their home Grand Slam.

“I’ve dreamt about it my whole life, and to really live it is just a whole other feeling,” said Gadecki.

Hijikata is now set to compete at Rod Laver Arena for the first time this evening, where he’ll face world No.4 Stefanos Tsitsipas.

“These are the ones you dream of playing when you are a kid and why you work so hard,” said Hijikata. “I’m going to go out there and give it a massive crack.”

It will be a big day at Melbourne Park, with rain-delayed first-round singles matches to complete, as well as the start of the men’s and women’s doubles competitions. The jam-packed schedule features 17 Australian players.

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Aussies in action:

Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) v Fabio Fognini (ITA)
Men’s singles, first round, Kia Arena, second match (not before 12.30pm AEDT)
Kokkinakis has made an impressive start in his seventh Australian Open main-draw appearance. The world No.159 resumes this rain-delayed match against Fognini, a former world No.9, in a strong position. The 26-year-old Aussie leads 6-1 6-2 4-2, with world No.57 Fognini serving at 15-40. It means Kokkinakis is just five points away from victory.
Head-to-head record: Kokkinakis leads 2-0
Last meeting: Kokkinakis won 6-4 6-3 (Geneva, May 2022)

[Q] Aleksandar Vukic (AUS) v [Q] Brandon Holt (USA)
Men’s singles, first round, 1573 Arena, second match (not before 12.30pm AEDT)
World No.146 Vukic is making his third consecutive main-draw appearance at his home Grand Slam. The 26-year-old from Sydney won three qualifying rounds last week without dropping a set, but is locked in a tough battle with the son of former world No.1 Tracy Austin. World No.215 Holt, a 24-year-old American, currently leads their rain-delayed clash 6-4 1-6 4-2.
Head-to-head record: First meeting

> VIEW: Australian Open 2023 men’s singles draw

[Q] Max Purcell (AUS) v Emil Ruusuvuori (FIN)
Men’s singles, first round, Court 7, second match (not before 1pm AEDT)
World No.205 Purcell, a 24-year-old qualifier from Sydney, resumes this rain-delayed match in a precarious position. Ruusuvuori, a 23-year-old from Finland ranked No.46, currently leads 4-6 6-3 6-4 6-6. Purcell, who won the Wimbledon doubles title last year and is a two-time Australian Open doubles finalist, is hoping to win the fourth-set tiebreak and extend the match to a deciding set.
Head-to-head record: Ruusuvuori leads 1-0
Last meeting: Ruusuvuori won 6-1 6-2 (Nur-Sultan, October 2020)

[WC] Olivia Gadecki (AUS) v Marta Kostyuk (UKR)
Women’s singles, second round, Kia Arena, fourth match
This is a battle between two talented 20-year-olds. World No.199 Gadecki is enjoying a dream main-draw debut at her home Grand Slam, while world No.61 Kostyuk is looking to improve an already sparkling record at Melbourne Park. “(I’m) really excited to get to play again,” said Gadecki. The Ukrainian, who knocked out No.28 seed Amanda Anisimova in the first round on Monday, is aiming to reach the Australian Open third round for the third time in her young career.
Head-to-head record: First meeting

> VIEW: Australian Open 2023 women’s singles draw

[WC] Jason Kubler (AUS) v [18] Karen Khachanov
Men’s singles, second round, John Cain Arena, fourth match (not before 5pm AEDT)
Kubler is hoping to continue his career-best run at his home Grand Slam against world No.20 Khachanov, who defeated Nick Kyrgios to reach the US Open semifinals last year. “He’s been top 10 before. He’s beaten all the big names,” said a wary Kubler. “I’m just going to go out there, try my best.” Although Kubler owns a 1-4 record against top-20 players, he did win his most recent encounter against Felix Auger-Aliassime in Newport last season.
Head-to-head record: First meeting

[WC] John Millman (AUS) v [7] Daniil Medvedev
Men’s singles, second round, Margaret Court Arena, night session, first match (from 7pm AEDT)
After winning an epic five-set battle in the first round, Millman’s reward is a meeting with two-time Australian Open finalist and world No.8 Medvedev. “It’s a daunting prospect because you know when you play against him, you have to work for every point,” said world No.140 Millman. “I look forward to the challenge.” The 33-year-old from Brisbane is aiming to record his first top-10 win since beating Roger Federer at the US Open in 2018.
Head-to-head record: First meeting

[WC] Rinky Hijikata (AUS) v [3] Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE)
Men’s singles, second round, Rod Laver Arena, night session, second match
Hijikata staged an incredible comeback from a two-set deficit in the opening round, setting up a showdown with three-time Australian Open semifinalist Tsitsipas. The world No.169 is looking to score his first top-10 win. “I’m going to come out and try to play my game,” Hijikata said. “I’m not going to leave any stone unturned.” The Sydney athlete has proven he can challenge the world’s best, memorably extending world No.2 Rafael Nadal to four sets in his US Open debut last year.
Head-to-head record: First meeting

[WC] Dane Sweeny (AUS)/Li Tu (AUS) v Andrey Golubev (KAZ)/Aleksandr Nedovyesov (KAZ)
Men’s doubles, first round, Court 7, first match (from 11am AEDT)
Sweeny and Tu proved surprise packets at Australian Open 2022, reaching the men’s doubles third round in a stunning run. Both 21-year-old Sweeny and 26-year-old Tu went on to have career-best seasons and break into the world’s top 200. Teaming up again this year, world No.160 Sweeny and world No.197 Tu face Kazakhstan’s world No.49 Golubev and world No.59 Nedovyesov.

John-Patrick Smith (AUS)/Alexander Bublik (KAZ) v [1] Wesley Koolhof (NED)/Neal Skupski (GBR)
Men’s doubles, first round, Court 8, first match (from 11am AEDT)
Smith is making his 11th consecutive appearance in an Australian Open doubles draw. The 33-year-old from Townsville, who is ranked No.78, is partnering Bublik, a 25-year-old from Kazakhstan. They face the top seeds. Koolhof and Skupski, who are co-ranked No.3, were the world’s best team in 2022, winning seven titles from 10 finals appearances.

> VIEW: Australian Open 2023 men’s doubles draw

[WC] Petra Hule (AUS)/Arina Rodionova (AUS) v [6] Desirae Krawczyk (USA)/Demi Schuurs (NED)
Women’s doubles, first round, Court 17, first match (from 11am AEDT)
This is 24-year-old Hule’s Grand Slam main-draw debut. Her partner Rodionova, a 33-year-old Melbourne local, is making her 12th consecutive Australian Open appearance. The wildcards face one of the world’s top-ranked teams – world No.16 Krawczyk, a 29-year-old American, and world No.18 Schuurs, a 29-year-old from the Netherlands.

[10] Matt Ebden (AUS)/Rohan Bopanna (IND) v Alexander Erler (AUT)/Lucas Miedler (AUT)
Men’s doubles, first round, Court 5, third match
Ebden enjoyed a career-best run at Australian Open 2022, reaching the men’s doubles final. The 35-year-old from Perth, who is ranked No.24, is teaming with world No.19 Bopanna, a 42-year-old Indian, this year. The No.10 seeds begin their campaign against an Austrian duo, world No.50 Erler and world No.54 Miedler.

[4] Storm Hunter (AUS)/Elise Mertens (BEL) v Veronika Kudermetova/Liudmila Samsonova
Women’s doubles, first round, Court 8, fourth match
Hunter, Australia’s top-ranked woman at world No.12, is teaming up with world No.5 Mertens. They have been handed a tough draw, meeting world No.3 Kudermetova and her new partner, Samsonova. Mertens and Kudermetova were one of the world’s best teams in 2022, winning the WTA Finals and reaching five finals together. This is 28-year-old Hunter’s 11th Australian Open doubles campaign.

> VIEW: Australian Open 2023 women’s doubles draw

[9] Ellen Perez (AUS)/Nicole Melichar-Martinez (USA) v Ekaterina Alexandrova/Vivian Heisen (GER)
Women’s doubles, first round, Court 13, fourth match
This is the 27-year-old Perez’s eighth Australian Open campaign. The world No.20 and her American partner, world No.19 Melichar-Martinez, proved they are major contenders with a semifinal run at last year’s US Open. The ninth seeds also made four WTA finals together in a strong finish to the season. They face world No.70 Alexandrova and world No.101 Heisen, a 29-year-old making her Australian Open debut.

[WC] Alex Bolt (AUS)/Luke Saville (AUS) v Federico Coria (ARG)/Diego Schwartzman (ARG)
Men’s doubles, first round, Court 17, fourth match
South Australians Bolt and Saville are proven doubles threats at Melbourne Park. The 30-year-old Bolt is a two-time Australian Open quarterfinalist, while 28-year-old Saville reached the AO 2020 final. Their Argentine opponents are better known for their singles exploits. The 30-year-old Coria is yet to win an AO doubles match, while 30-year-old Schwartzman owns a 1-6 career win-loss record at the tournament.

> VIEW: Full Australian Open 2023 day three schedule

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