The third round of the singles draws at the Australian Open concludes on Saturday by the end of which we will know the line up for the second week of the first Grand Slam of the year down at Melbourne Park.
We got drama in absolute droves on Friday and given the way this tournament is going we would be foolish to think anything else will happen on Saturday as the likes of Rafael Nadal, Daniil Medvedev, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova battle for last 16 spots.
Day 5 Recap
Friday was a day where we saw some big names fall and others survive by the skins of their teeth. The big shocks came in the women’s draw where Serena Williams and Naomi Osaka were both dumped out by Qiang Wang and Coco Gauff respectively while the career of Caroline Wozniacki came to an end at the hands of Ons Jabeur. Roger Federer came through an absolute epic with John Millman but elsewhere there were much easier wins for the likes of Novak Djokovic and Ash Barty. Stefanos Tsitsipas was another casualty on a crazy day of tennis.
It was a fourth profitable day in a row for us in this tournament with three more of our four singles bets winning and the one that lost would have won but for a corrected line call which went against us. That bumped up the profit even further for what was already an excellent week. Sadly the Serena exit and Wozniacki losing put paid to the accumulator but we’re still nicely up for them too.
Rod Laver Arena
It is the highest seed in the bottom half of the draw that gets the action started on the main table when Karolina Pliskova looks to continue her cruise into the latter stages of the tournament when she meets the dangerous challenge of Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova before the Wimbledon champion Simona Halep takes centre stage. She faces the fiery Yulia Putintseva before the men’s number one Rafael Nadal closes out a juicy looking day session. He meets his compatriot Pablo Carreno Busta who he paired up with in doubles in the ATP Cup not so long ago.
The night session on Friday was as dramatic as they come and there is the potential for more of the same on Saturday too when Elina Svitolina opens up proceedings when she faces the former Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza. A cracking day on the main show court concludes with Daniil Medvedev in action. He meets the home man Alexei Popyrin who will hope to be inspired by a large Australian crowd.
Margaret Court Arena
The former winner here Angelique Kerber will open the show on the second court on Saturday when she takes on the plucky Italian player Camila Giorgi before the rapidly improving Belinda Bencic meets Anett Kontaveit in what could be the sneaker for the match of the day in the women’s draw. Two seeded men then close off the day session when Taylor Fritz meets Dominic Thiem in a battle of the two men who went the distance in the previous round.
The men kick things off in the night session as well as two wholehearted competitors take to the court when Fernando Verdasco meets Alexander Zverev in what has all the hallmarks of being another of those five set epics we’ve been treated to plenty of so far. The ninth seeded Kiki Bertens will then draw a close to the action when she faces the underrated Zarina Diyas who is having a good tournament to date.
We have a legends doubles match to entertain us from the off over on the Melbourne Arena but when they have finished showcasing their stuff it will be down to business in the men’s draw as Gael Monfils looks to end the inspired run of the veteran Ernests Gulbis, who will bring no lack of aggression to the court with him. Elise Mertens then rounds off the day session over on the Melbourne Arena when she takes on Cici Bellis whose excellent story could well continue. The stands will be packed for the one match in the night session as Nick Kyrgios bids to set up a possible meeting with Rafael Nadal when he takes on Karen Khachanov.
It is men’s doubles action to start us off over on the 1573 Arena on Saturday but once they have done their thing we get back to singles action with the women’s draw where Donna Vekic will look to continue her good run so far when she takes on the young star Iga Swiatek for a place in the last 16. An excellent men’s match then follows them when David Goffin takes on Andrey Rublev in what could be a fairly lengthy affair. The action on this court is rounded off with a mixed doubles contest.
I like two more in the men’s draw on Saturday with the first coming in the form of the outsider Ernests Gulbis, who has put together a decent enough run in this competition this year. He has already seen off Felix Auger-Aliassime and Aljaz Bedene in pretty authoritative style and now he takes on a Gael Monfils who has made no secret of the fact he is carrying an arm injury, and who laboured for large periods in his win over Ivo Karlovic in the previous round. I wouldn’t say Gulbis is yet completely reliable but he matches up well to a fit Monfils let alone a struggling one and he is just a little overpriced to me.
Another thing that looks overpriced is the over 3.5 sets in the night match between Daniil Medvedev and Alexei Popyrin. This would have landed in their only previous match at Wimbledon last year and in front of a home crowd and buoyed by the atmosphere you’ve got to think the Australian will pose an even bigger threat here. He will be up at the net a fair bit in much the same way Frances Tiafoe was against Medvedev in the opening round. The Russian came through that but he dropped a set in the process and that is how I see this one panning out. There’s enough to like about the Popyrin game to think that he can win at least a set and bring the over 3.5 sets home.
There is just the one for me in the women’s draw on Saturday which sees the youngster Cici Bellis going up against Elise Mertens. This is a match that the Belgian might well win but I’ve seen enough from Bellis to suggest that she can push her seeded opponent close. The American has already taken care of one seed in this tournament when she ruthlessly dumped out Karolina Muchova in the previous round.
Mertens was on easy street in the last round but Heather Watson didn’t show up in that match and I’m expecting the Belgian ace to have to work a lot harder to come through here. Bellis was seen as the next big thing before injuries took their toll but she looks to have all that behind her now and I think she’s ready to lay down a decent challenge on a big stage here.
There was no joy with the daily accumulator on Friday but that won’t stop us having another go on Saturday where we are on the attack with another fivefold.
£5 returns £42.01
Back E.Gulbis to beat G.Monfils for a 3/10 stake at 2.60 with BetVictor
Back D.Medvedev vs A.Popyrin – Over 3.5 sets for a 4/10 stake at 2.20 with Betway
Back C.Bellis (+3.5 games) to beat E.Mertens for a 4/10 stake at 2.00 with Betway
Back Daily Accumulator at Boylesports
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