Former world No.1 Sam Stosur will lead four Australians into action on day two of the Sydney International at Olympic Park.
Despite battling a wrist injury that disrupted her tournament in Brisbane last week, Stosur will front up against Italian Roberta Vinci on Monday in search of momentum ahead of next week’s Australian Open.
Sydney debutant and local boy Jordan Thompson will also feature on Ken Rosewall Arena against Slovakian Martin Klizan, while John Millman takes on veteran Tommy Robredo.
New Hopman Cup champion Daria Gavrilova is also set to meet qualifier Monica Puig.
But all eyes will again be on Australia’s top-ranked female in Stosur, who was brought undone by world No.13 Carla Suarez Navarro in the second round in Brisbane.
Only once has the Gold Coast product progressed past the round of 16 in Sydney, when she was beaten by compatriot Alicia Molik in 2005.
The world No.27 will aim to rectify that record before heading to Melbourne, where, for the 13th time in her career, she’ll carry the hopes of an entire nation.
Stosur, a US Open champion, has never reached the quarter-finals in her home event.
Top seed Simona Halep, who doesn’t begin her campaign until Tuesday, said Stosur still had all the tools needed to succeed at Melbourne Park, but was familiar with the pressure of playing in front of an expectant home crowd.
“I’ve played in my country as well, (but) that was a big difference because the tournament was very small,” she said.
“When you are at home, it’s difficult with the fans. You don’t want to lose because you don’t want to disappoint the people from your home.
“I think she has the game to do everything in Melbourne. She’s already a grand slam champion, so she knows how to play the grand slams.”
Australia’s male hope, Bernard Tomic, is expected to play on Tuesday.