Australian Open: First round clashes to look out for

As the Australian Open gets underway on Monday, here are some of the exciting first round clashes to look out for.

World number one Rafael Nadal will be in action against Dominican Republic's Victor Estrella Burgos ij the first round of the Australian Open on Monday.   -  Getty Images

The year's first Grand Slam, the Australian Open, is all set to begin with first round action on Monday, which will see the likes of top seed Rafael Nadal, local hero Nick Kyrgios and third seed Grigor Dimitrov in action.

Here's a look at some of the key contests for the day.

1) Rafael Nadal vs Victor Estrella Burgos

World number one Rafael Nadal will begin his quest for a 17th Grand Slam in a tie against Dominican Republic's Victor Estrella Burgos. The Spaniard comes into the match without having played a warm-up tournament for the first time in his career.

READ: Federer drawn against Bedene in Melbourne, Nadal meets Estrella Burgos

Another point of worry will be his nagging knee injury, which he doesn't seem to have fully recovered from.

2) Grigor Dimitrov vs Dennis Novak

Third seed Grigor Dimitrov, who enjoyed a brilliant end to his 2017 season by winning the ATP World Tour Finals, faces a stiff challenge from Dennis Novak. Novak worked his way through the qualifiers and defeated Japan's Go Soeda 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 to set up a first round clash against Dimitrov. 

The Bulgarian, however, will be looking to make a strong start after he lost to Nick Kyrgios in the semifinal of the Brisbane International.

3) Marin Cilic vs Vasek Pospisil

One of the most promising matches of the day will see sixth seet Marin Cilic take on Canadian Vasek Pospisil. Cilic arrives in Australia after losing in the semifinal of the Pune Open to Gilles Simon.

PHOTO GALLERY: Aches, pains and illness ahead of Australian Open

Pospisil, on the other hand, thwarted India's Ramkumar Ramanathan 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 to make the main draw.

4) Nick Kyrgios vs Rogerio Dutra Silva

Tennis' badboy, Nick Kyrgios, will get his campaign off to a start against Brazilian Rogerio Dutra Silva.

ALSO READ: Kyrgios will challenge Federer, Nadal, says Djokovic

Kyrgios has been in electric form, which was on display during his 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 win over Grigor Dimitrov at the Brisbane Interntaional, a tournament he went on to win.

5) Yuki Bhambri vs Marcos Baghdatis

India's sole represent in the main draw, Yuki Bhambri faces Cyprus veteran and former world number eight Marcos Baghdatis in the first round.

ALSO READ: Bhambri qualifies for main draw of Aus Open

Bhambri had to battle through three rounds of qualifying and defeated Canada’s Peter Polansky 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the final qualifying match to book his spot in the main draw.