W2W4:Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic seek strong start

— -- MELBOURNE, Australia -- Day 2 at the Australian Open finds a pair of former No. 1s -- now No. 2s -- beginning their 2017 quest to return to the top. Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic, whom history says may be challenged mightily in these first-round matches, highlight a fabulous, fast and furious card at Melbourne Park.

Here's how you can follow all the action:

How to watch every match

Matches begin on ESPN3 and the ESPN App ?at 7 p.m. ET. Click here to watch.

Matches begin on ESPN2 & WatchESPN at 9 p.m. ET. Click here to watch.

To view starting times for upcoming days, click here.?

Where to get tournament live scores

Our real-time scoreboard, updated stats and social handles can be found in one spot: Australian Open CourtCast.?


To view a full schedule of Day 2 at the Australian Open, click here.?

Notable Day 2 matches

No. 2 Serena Williams versus Belinda Bencic, second on Rod Laver Arena ( Watch)

Without getting too dramatic, this approaches a worst-case first-round scenario for the Williams. Back in the day, she used to joust with Martina Hingis and now here is another Swiss prodigy, Bencic, who fortuitously for her is also sometimes coached by Hingis' mother. Serena has never been a fast starter at Slams, but she'll have to find traction quickly here, because Bencic is only unseeded because of an injury-filled 2016. The 19-year-old was ranked No. 7 among WTA players last February and says she's healthy. Serena won the first meeting, three years ago in Madrid, but Bencic took their only hard-court meeting, in the summer of 2015 in the Toronto semifinals, in three sets.

No. 9 Rafael Nadal versus Florian Mayer, following Serena-Bencic ( Watch)

Once again, the fates in charge of this draw are laughing. Florian Mayer, at 33, hasn't done much lately, but he's a dead heat 1-1 in his career against Nadal, winning their only match on hard courts, six years ago in Shanghai. Rafa is coming off an injury-influenced season that saw him withdraw before his third match at Roland Garros (left wrist) and skip Wimbledon all together. He's got a new coach in his corner, Grand Slam winner Carlos Moya, a childhood idol. In his first official tournament of 2017, Nadal won two of three matches, falling to Milos Raonic in a three-set quarterfinal in Brisbane.

No. 3 Milos Raonic versus Dustin Brown, second on Margaret Court Arena ( Watch)

This one should be fun. It's the massive-serving Canadian against the dreadlocked, journeyman German, who consistently makes some amazingly unlikely shots. Raonic used a semifinal run here a year ago to vault himself into the elite of men's tennis. He reached the Wimbledon final before falling to Andy Murray. These two have played only once, a straight-sets first-round win for Raonic at last year's US Open.

No. 2 Novak Djokovic versus Fernando Verdasco, Wednesday 3 a.m. ET on Rod Laver Arena?( Watch)

This is another, nasty and unlucky draw for the tournament co-favorite. The six-time Australian Open champion is looking to be the first seven-time champion, but it's going to be tough right out of the box. Djokovic needed to save five match points against the crafty Spaniard a few weeks ago in Doha in a match that was nearly as enthralling as the finals victory over Andy Murray. Djokovic holds a 9-4 career edge over Verdasco.

No. 3 Agnieszka Radwanska versus Tsvetana Pironkova, following Djokovic-Verdasco ( Watch)

Continuing with our theme, Radwanska lost her last match to Pironkova, a three-set affair in the fourth round at Roland Garros last year. Pironkova, a 29-year-old from Bulgaria has been around a long time and might be just as crafty (but not as talented) as Radwanska. This is the third event of the young season for Radwanska, who reached the final a week ago in Sydney before losing to Johanna Kontsa.