Players to Watch at the Australian Open

©2014 Billie Weiss/BNP Paribas Open

The world’s best have assembled in Melbourne for the Australian Open. Let’s take a look at some Players to Watch at the first Major of the year.

Genie Bouchard
Bouchard made quite a splash in Melbourne last January, becoming the first Canadian woman to reach a Grand Slam semifinal in over 30 years. The Canadian was ranked outside the top 30 just a year ago, but now the 20-year-old graces the Top 10 and boasts a French Open semifinals run and Wimbledon finals appearance. Can Bouchard capture the same magic as in 2014?

Casey Dellacqua
Dellacqua was ranked No. 120 in the world when she rolled into the Round of 16 at last year’s Australian Open before falling to Bouchard in three sets. Now the Australian is ranked in the Top 30 and looks poised to capitalize on her strong 2014. A solid performance in her native country is a great place to start.

Juan Martin del Potro
Del Potro returned to action this week following a 10-month battle with a wrist ailment, and the Argentinian posted solid results. The former World No. 4 advanced to the quarterfinals in Sydney, which included a second-round defeat of top-seed Fabio Fognini. Del Potro is still working his way back to form, but he can certainly play the role of spoiler in Melbourne.

Thanasi Kokkinakis
The 18-year-old Australian might have a small sample size on Tour, but the Australian has shown promise so far in his young career. Kokkinakis also recorded his first career win over a Top 25 player, dispatching Julien Benneteau in a Round of 32 tilt in Brisbane earlier this month. The Adelaide, Australia, native is just one of several promising young talents to emerge recently from down under.

Kei Nishikori
The World No. 5 has played consistent tennis down under, following up his 2012 quarterfinals effort with back-to-back Round of 16 appearances in 2013 and ’14. Nishikori arrives at the Australian Open after a semifinal showing in Brisbane, and he can certainly make some noise at the first Major of the year.