The fifth day of action at the Australian Open sees the third round of both the singles draws getting underway, and with this being the first time the seeded players can meet each other we have a number of good matches in store in Melbourne on Friday.
Most of the main protagonists on both draws have made it safely into this stage which sets up the potential for some great games between now and the end of the competition, with the likes of Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka all looking to make progress on Friday.
Day 4 Recap
It was another day of high quality and a fair bit of drama on Thursday around the grounds at Melbourne Park. Action went late into the night as the courts needed a thorough washing after rain had brought dust and ash with it overnight. The big names were not put off by that though with Rafael Nadal, Karolina Pliskova, Simona Halep and Belinda Bencic all cruising through their matches while Stan Wawrinka, Karen Khachanov and Dominic Thiem all came through epic five setters.
It was a third successive excellent day for us with match bets with three of our four selections once again coming out on top. The one that let us down was Alja Tomljanovic as she went down in a deciding set to Garbine Muguruza, but Iga Swiatek breezed past Carla Suarez Navarro and there were more than 3.5 sets in the Wawrinka and Andreas Seppi match, while Taylor Fritz came from two sets down to see off Kevin Anderson in five.
Rod Laver Arena
It is the current women’s number one Ash Barty who will get the action underway on the main court on Friday when the home star looks to use a big crowd to her advantage when she meets the dangerous and in form Kazakh player Elena Rybakina. Serena Williams then follows those onto the Rod Laver Arena when she meets Qiang Wang for the second Grand Slam in succession before the defending men’s champion Novak Djokovic closes off what looks to be a wonderful day session when he meets Yoshihito Nishioka for a place in the second week.
The night session is laced on Friday night and it starts off with arguably the two biggest youngsters in the game as Naomi Osaka meets Coco Gauff for the second Slam in a row after the defending champion here in Australia got the better of the teenager in New York last year. Roger Federer then concludes a really tasty day of action on the main court when he meets a John Millman, who he will know all too well has previously beaten him in the US Open.
Margaret Court Arena
We actually begin with a men’s match on the Margaret Court Arena for once on Friday and it should be a very competitive contest when Diego Schwartzman takes on Dusan Lajovic for a place in the fourth round. The 2019 finalist Petra Kvitova is up second on this court when she meets Ekaterina Alexandrova before the former US Open finalist Madison Keys goes up against the Greek number one Maria Sakkari.
There is a real Greek feel to the action on this court over the course of Friday because it is another star from that country who opens up the night session when the gladiator himself Stefanos Tsitsipas takes on Milos Raonic in what looks an absolute belter of a contest. The feisty Sofia Kenin then rounds off the action on a good looking schedule in this part of Melbourne Park when she faces the Chinese player Shuai Zhang who seems to save her best for this tournament.
The held over doubles match from Thursday featuring Lleyton Hewitt opens up the action on the Melbourne Arena but once that is done three singles matches takes place starting with the former champion here Caroline Wozniacki looking to take her career into a final week. She meets Ons Jabeur before possibly the pick of the men’s matches on the day when Marin Cilic looks to continue his comeback to form and fitness when he faces Roberto Bautista Agut. It is the men who round off the action on this court when the always great to watch Fabio Fognini faces the tricky Argentine challenge that is Guido Pella.
The only other court that has singles action on it on Friday is the 1573 Arena although it is doubles that gets things underway before the men take centre stage when Marton Fucsovics meets Tommy Paul with the winner potentially facing Roger Federer in the fourth round. There is one women’s singles match on this court on Friday and that sees Alison Riske taking on the classy and powerful Julia Goerges in a clash that has a lot to like about it. The last match on here sees two unseeded Americans doing battle when Tennys Sandgren takes on Sam Querrey.
There are two men’s bets for me on Friday and they get going right from the start when Diego Schwartzman takes on Dusan Lajovic in a match I expect to be quite a lengthy one in terms of games. When you look at this one it has a five set epic written all over it so I’m actually a little surprised that the games line is in the 30s for this match. That line is 37.5 which even a four set match is likely to cover in truth let alone a fifth one. Both these men are nicely warmed up now and have looked in good form this year and I’m expecting this one to go on a fair while.
The other bet I like is for over 3.5 sets when Roger Federer meets John Millman in the night session match. These two famously played at the US Open a couple of years ago and Millman shocked Federer by winning in four tight sets. I don’t think he will win here, I think Federer will get his revenge but I do see a similar number of sets. Millman has played some pretty good stuff here and there is no doubt he’ll be buoyed by the home crowd in the biggest arena this part of the world has to offer. I’m expecting Federer to be too strong but Millman won a set in one of their other two meetings and lost a tiebreak in the other so the 6/4 on over 3.5 sets is too big.
There are two I like in the women’s draw as well where I like over 22.5 games in what could be the match of the day when Alison Riske takes on Julia Goerges in what I expect will be two very tight sets but most likely a three set match. These are two clean ball strikers who don’t lay down for anyone so I expect this to be a really competitive match. Goerges just played one of those in overcoming Petra Martic and Riske is no stranger to a long match. Over 22.5 games looks like a very good possibility here.
Shuai Zhang always seems to save her best for this tournament with a quarter final and a third round in the last four years here to go along with another third round this year and I fancy she can keep Sofia Kenin honest. I like Kenin. I’m a big fan of hers but like a lot of these American women she can be quite fiery and it doesn’t take a lot to get her going. The relentlessness of Zhang could be just the thing that does it. I wouldn’t necessarily go against the American winning the match but I would be very surprised if she isn’t made to work extremely hard for it.
We were let down by one selection in our fivefold on Thursday so we’ll hopefully get back on the winning track on Friday as we go into battle with another fivefold.
£5 pays £30.00
Back D.Schwartzman vs D.Lajovic – Over 37.5 games for a 4/10 stake at 1.83 with Betfair
Back him here:
WON – Back J.Millman vs R.Federer – Over 3.5 sets for a 4/10 stake at 2.45 with 888sport
WON – Back A.Riske vs J.Goerges – Over 22.5 games for a 4/10 stake at 1.95 with 888sport
WON – Back S.Zhang (+3.5 games) to beat S.Kenin for a 4/10 stake at 2.00 with BetVictor
Back Daily Accumulator at Boylesports
Back it here: