FORMER world No.15 Robby Ginepri will look to continue his return from a mountain-bike accident 15 months ago, with French journeyman Florent Serra his first-round hurdle in Australian Open qualifying.
The 29-year-old American will favour his chances, taking a 2-0 head-to-head into his match with the 28th seed at Melbourne Park.
Qualifying top seed Go Soeda, of Japan, opens against Slovak Pavol Cervenak and stands as a potential final-round obstacle to Ginepri’s first Australian Open main draw appearance in two years.
Big-serving Aussie lefty Chris Guccione faces a similarly tough ask to get his qualifying off to a winning start with former Melbourne Park finalist Rainer Schuettler his first-round opponent.
The German veteran leads their head-to-head 2-1, but they haven’t played each other in more than three years.
Another player to have tasted defeat at the hands of Andre Agassi in an Australian Open final, Arnaud Clement, will look to recapture the form that carried him to the decider in 2001, when he opens against German Bjorn Phau.
Former world No.18, Russian fifth seed Igor Andreev, will look to rebound after letting match points slip against Alexandr Dolgopolov in Brisbane last week when he takes on Roman Borvanov, of Moldova.
Ruben Bemelmans, who helped Belgium to last year’s Hopman Cup final, and defeated Lleyton Hewitt in Davis Cup play in 2010, starts his qualifying campaign against Yuichi Sugita, while Bosnian Amer Delic could prove a headache for fourth seed Turk Marsel Ilhan, first up.
Australia’s junior Wimbledon champion Luke Saville, aiming to make his first main draw appearance in a Grand Slam event, will square off against Ivo Minar, of the Czech Republic.