The second day of action at the Australian Open sees the first round of the tournament continuing on the first full schedule of the competition out in Melbourne as a number of players get their Grand Slam season underway.
We saw both defending champions make it through to the second round on the opening day of the tournament and on Monday the US Open champion Coco Gauff, Daniil Medvedev and Stefanos Tsitsipas will look to join them.
Rod Laver Arena
The opening match on the Rod Laver Arena on Monday sees the US Open champion Coco Gauff getting her quest for a second Grand Slam title underway when she takes on Anna Karolina Schmiedlova in a potentially enjoyable matchup. When they are done the beaten finalist of a year ago, Stefanos Tsitsipas, steps out onto Rod Laver Arena for the first time since losing that final to Novak Djokovic when he takes on Zizou Bergs, who is in as a lucky loser.
The night session will be opened up by the home star Alex de Minaur who a growing number of people think could be a dark horse to win a Grand Slam on home soil. He meets the former Wimbledon champion Milos Raonic in one of the pick of first round matches. The women’s match in the night session sees Caroline Garcia taking on the former champion Naomi Osaka in another very tasty looking match.
Margaret Court Arena
There are two matches in the day session and two more at night on the Margaret Court Arena with the opener to the action seeing Daniil Medvedev going up against the French qualifier Terence Atmane before the women conclude the first part of the day. The women’s match looks like being a competitive one as Donna Vekic goes up against an Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova who looked in decent form in the lead up event to this week.
The women also get the night session underway on this court with the former Wimbledon and US Open finalist Ons Jabeur in action. The Tunisian takes on the qualifier Yuliia Starodubtseva who will be out to win for Ukraine. The final match on this court could be a cracker as the former US Open champion Dominic Thiem looks to make hay in a Grand Slam when he goes up against the vulnerable Felix Auger-Aliassime.
John Cain Arena
We have a full schedule on the John Cain Arena and it begins with a great looking game as the qualifier Dayana Yastremska takes on the Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova. When they are done two home players take to the stage when Alexei Popyrin meets the wildcard Marc Polmans before another home wildcard steps out onto this court when Daria Saville goes up against Magdalena Frech. There is one match scheduled in the evening which sees Hubert Hurkacz looking to make the second round at the extent of the Australian qualifier Omar Jasika.
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Another home qualifier gets the action underway out on the Kia Arena when Storm Hunter meets Sara Errani before the former champion Stan Wawrinka looks to make it into the second round. He takes on Adrian Mannarino and when they are done Andy Murray will begin another quest for an Australian Open title. Tomas Martin Etcheverry will be the man on the other side of the net for the Scot before we conclude on the Kia Arena with Beatriz Haddad Maia going up against the young Czech star Linda Fruhvirtova.
Best of the Rest
We have pretty much a full schedule around the grounds on Monday and as such there are plenty of seeded players to watch either on the live streams or in person for those who have a grounds pass. Ben Shelton and Elina Svitolina both made Grand Slam semi-finals last year and will be on the 1573 Arena on Monday, as will Karen Khachanov while Marie Bouzkova and Ekaterina Alexandrova headline the action on Court 3. Elsewhere, the likes of Anastasia Potapova, Nicolas Jarry, Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, Jasmine Paolini, Elise Mertens and Seb Korda will look to make progress.
There are two bets that I like the look of on Monday and they both come in the night session. On the men’s side I think Dominic Thiem is value to get the better of Felix Auger-Aliassime who never impresses in a Grand Slam and even when he wins he flatters to deceive. Thiem hasn’t had a brilliant start to the season but he qualified for Brisbane and ran Rafael Nadal close in the first set. FAA also lost his only main draw match this term and in these conditions I quite like Thiem to get into the match. The longer these Grand Slam matches go the weaker the chance of Auger-Aliassime coming through them seems to get so I’ll pay to see if the Austrian can roll back the years here.
Moving over to the women’s draw I think we could be in for a lengthy clash when Caroline Garcia takes on Naomi Osaka. Osaka looked very good on her comeback in Brisbane where she won her opening match and then conditioning got the better of her in a three setter against Karolina Pliskova but the Japanese star will have had plenty of practice time since then to make sure she lasts the pace. Garcia seems obsessed with three set matches in 2024. She has played six matches since the new season started and they have all gone to a deciding set and it would be a real surprise if she wins this one in straight sets. Neither of these women go down without a fight so I’m expecting to see more than 22.5 games in this one.
Back D.Thiem to beat F.Auger-Aliassime for a 3/10 stake at 2.75 with Betway
Back C.Garcia vs N.Osaka – Over 22.5 games for a 3/10 stake at 1.91 with Coral