Australian Open Day 3: Five Matches To Watch

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Samantha Stosur vs Jie Zheng Rod Laver Arena (Head To Head Stosur 3-2)

Stosur has always found it tough in Australia, having lost in the first round of four of her last six tournaments in her home country. Despite being a US Open winner and consistently around the top 10, her chances of success at the tournament are seen as nonexistent. She faced the unseeded Kai Chen Chang in round one and made much harder work of her straight sets victory than she really should have including failing to serve out the first set at the first time of asking. Zheng actually has a victory over Stosur already this year, recovering from the loss of a second set tie break to triumph in three. After being dumped out of her last two slams by Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams respectively, she will be happier to face an opponent who holds the hopes of the home nation on her shoulders and often cannot handle the pressure.

Venus Williams vs Alize Cornet Rod Laver Arena (Head To Head Williams 2-0)

After Venus’ first round annihilation of Galina Voskoboeva, we move closer to a potential dream tie between her and Maria Sharapova in the third round. Despite a light schedule last year, Venus forced her way into the top 30 and with it earned a seeded place here. Cornet was once ranked as high as No.11 but has struggled to find the consistency in recent years and must serve better if she is to thwart Venus here – in her first round match with Marina Erakovic, Cornet needed four attempts to serve out the match in a lengthy 10-8 third set. Bar her surprise thrashing by Elena Vesnina at Wimbledon, Venus’ losses have been to top players, with the likes of Angelique Kerber and Agnieszka Radwanska finding a lot of success against the former No.1.

Xavier Malisse vs Fernando Verdasco Margaret Court Arena (Head To Head Verdasco 2-1)

These players fortunes fared quite differently in the first round – Malisse defeated Pablo Andujar for the loss of just six games while another Belgian-Spanish tie saw Verdasco even things up against David Goffin, recovering from a 1-2 deficit and a break to win in five sets. Malisse didn’t end 2012 in great fashion but has shown improvements to begin 2013, pushing Philipp Kohlschreiber close in the Auckland quarter final after victories against Martin Klizan and Santiago Giraldo. While Verdasco was part of the Hopman Cup winning team, he bizarrely won just one match in the singles there against Aussie youngster Thanasi Kokkinakis. The Spaniard’s always seems to showcase his best form here, with 2009’s run to the Semi Final a memorable occasion. It would not be a surprise to see a five set thriller here once more – in the last 4 Aussie Open’s, Verdasco has competed in at least one match going the distance and not to forget the 2012 match between these two at Wimbledon where the Spaniard was successful in five.

Madison Keys vs Tamira Paszek Show Court 3 (First Meeting)

Due to the age restrictions on participation at WTA level, it has been a difficult for Madison Keys to establish herself on the main tour. The highly rated 17-year old has a great chance to make the third round against an opponent who struggles outside of the grass courts. Paszek has made the quarter finals of Wimbledon 2 years running but a disappointing 8-15 record on hard courts in 2012 stopped her from progressing any further up the rankings. After qualifying for her first WTA tournament outside of the US in Sydney, she didn’t disappoint as she took victories against both Lucie Safarova and Jie Zheng before being defeated by Na Li in three sets after taking the opener.

Somdev Devvarman vs Jerzy Janowicz Court 8 (First Meeting)

Plenty of hype has been surrounding Janowicz since his Paris run but many have questioned how he would cope on a slower hard court than those in the French capital. Recovering from a slow start where he found himself 4-1 down in the first set, he would comeback to seal a straight sets victory over Simone Bolelli. A multiple NCAA champion, Devvarman’s career has been slowed down by injuries which haven’t allowed him to reach the heights of fellow college opponents like John Isner and Kevin Anderson. A surprise winner in round one over Bjorn Phau, the Indian will be hoping to extend his record over Janowicz to 2-0 – having defeated the Pole in 2009.

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