Australian Open 2015: Heather Watson leads British trio challenge

By Piers NewberyBBC Sport at Melbourne Park
James Ward, Heather Watson and Kyle Edmund
James Ward, Heather Watson and Kyle Edmund play their first matches of this year's Australian Open on Tuesday
Australian Open 2015 day two
Coverage: Live Radio 5 live sports extra commentary and live text coverage of Heather Watson's match plus updates on Kyle Edmund's progress.

Three British players will be involved on day two of the Australian Open as they attempt to join Andy Murray in round two.

Heather Watson takes on Bulgaria's Tsvetana Pironkova in Tuesday's opening match on court 14 at 00:00 GMT.

At the same time, Kyle Edmund will play his first main draw match at Melbourne Park against American Steve Johnson.

James Ward will face Spanish 31st seed Fernando Verdasco in the second match on court seven at around 02:00 GMT.

Watson, 22, is the lone British woman in the singles but is in buoyant mood after winning her second WTA title in Hobart last week.

With a new career-high ranking of 38, the Guernsey-born player is keen to improve her record in Grand Slams, where she has yet to get past the third round.

"I've made a couple of third rounds but I definitely want a lot more than that," she told BBC Sport.

Tsvetana Pironkova
Watson's opponent, Tsvetana Pironkova, reached the Wimbledon semi-final in 2010

"If it doesn't come this week, I'm not going to panic. I think it will come, but I definitely want to start making inroads in the Slams."

She will have to get past world number 67 Pironkova in round one, a former Wimbledon semi-finalist who reached the last four in Sydney last week.

"She's definitely not an easy player, especially in a Grand Slam," added Watson.

"She's very athletic, a good mover, and her backhand is her strength so I stay clear of that.

"I'd say in these moments everybody wants it so bad, I have to just stay calm and fight for every single point."

Ward, 27, has qualified directly for a Slam for the first time as the world number 103 after withdrawals meant he made the cut.

"It's always tough not to be direct in on the first list but I knew there was always going to be a few injuries," said the Londoner, who lost his only previous match against Verdasco six years ago.

Australian Open: Day Two highlights
Stan Wawrinka (Swi) [4] v Marsel Ilhan (Tur)
Novak Djokovic (Ser) [1] v Aljaz Bedene (Slo)
Sloane Stephens (USA) v Victoria Azarenka (Blr)
Petra Kvitova (Cze) [4] v Richel Hogenkamp (Ned)
James Ward (GB) v Fernando Verdasco (Spa) [31]
Tsvetana Pironkova (Bul) v Heather Watson (GB)
Kyle Edmund (GB) v Steve Johnson (USA)

"For Australia, a few guys don't want to travel if they've got knocks, but it was obviously great news to get in."

Edmund, 20, came through three rounds of qualifying to reach his first Slam main draw away from Wimbledon, where he has twice received wildcards.

Ranked 154 places below Johnson at 192 in the world, the Yorkshireman is stepping into the unknown in terms of experience.

"I know he's got a big serve and a good forehand, and he likes the hard courts," said Edmund.

"He's got a big game but at the end of the day I'm going to go out there and do what I do best, focus on my game, put it out on court and see what happens."