After an action packed Day 1, the second half of the Australian Open fixture will get their first round matchups underway at Melbourne Park on Monday night ET!
Sofia Kenin (4) vs Maddison Inglis (WC) – 7PM ET @ Rod Laver Arena
The 2020 Australian Open champion, Sofia Kenin will get her title defense underway against Australian wild card entry, Maddison Inglis on Monday night. Despite having been on tour since 2015, Kenin had a breakout 2020, winning her debut Grand Slam tournament in Australia last year, as well as an appearance in the French Open final and a fourth round effort at the US Open.
Kenin is the No. 4 ranked women in the world and should be able to get her quest for back to back Australian Open titles off to a strong start when competing against 130th ranked Inglis, who has been eliminated in the first round of all three of her Grand Slam tournament campaigns. At -2500 for the head to head victory, Kenin actually presents great value here, as a top five player competing against a wild card.
Head to Head – Sofia Kenin (-2500)
Games Spread – Sofia Kenin -6.5 (-145)
Exact Sets – Sofia Kenin 2-0 (-500)
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) February 2, 2021
Belinda Bencic (11) vs Lauren Davis – 7PM ET @ 1573 Arena
World No. 12 Belinda Bencic will face world No. 75 Lauren Davis in the first round of the 2021 Australian Open. Monday’s matchup will be the third encounter between Bencic and Davis, with the world No. 11 currently holding a 2-0 lead in their career head to head.
At just 23 years of age, Bencic will be returning to Melbourne Park for the eighth time in her career. With back to back trips to the third round from her last two Australian Open appearances, Bencic is poised for a breakout 2021 after opting out of the French and US Opens last year.
Davis has been on the professional tour since 2011. With a 45% career win percentage, she often finds herself eliminated in the first or second round at the major tournaments. Davis did pinch a set off Bencic when the two last met in 2016. However given her improvement over the past five years, Bencic is the deserved favorite, and great value in their head to head at -290.
Head to Head – Belinda Bencic (-290)
Games Spread – Lauren Davis +4.5 (-120)
Exact Sets – Belinda Bencic 2-0 (-112)
Andrey Rublev (7) vs Yannick Hanfmann – 8PM ET @ John Cain Arena
Following a breakout 2020 season, world No. 8 Andrey Rublev will get his 2021 Grand Slam season underway against world No. 101 Yannick Hanfmann. 2020 saw Rublev record his best finish at each of the three Grand Slam tournaments that took place, making the fourth round at Melbourne Park, and the quarter finals at both the French and US Open.
Monday’s matchup will be Hanfmann third start at a Grand Slam event and his first at Melbourne Park. Despite his height, Hanfmann is more of a clay court player, which should play into Rublev’s hands when coming up against the German on a quicker surface.
The two players have never matched up against each other, however world No. 8 Andrey Rublev should get the bragging rights of their first encounter on Monday, with a comfortable three set victory over the inexperienced Hanfmann.
Head to Head – Andrey Rublev (-10000)
Games Spread – Yannick Hanfmann +10.5 (-150)
Exact Sets – Andrey Rublev 3-0 (-455)
Most Improved Player of the Year Nominees:
— ATP Tour (@atptour) December 2, 2020
Marie Bouzkova vs Elina Svitolina (5) – 8.15PM ET @ Rod Laver Arena
For a top five ranked player in the world to be coming up against an opponent outside the top 50, Elina Svitolina (world No. 5 ) presents great value to win her first round matchup at -260.
Svitolina has made the quarterfinals in two of her past three campaigns at Melbourne Park as well as semi finals appearances at Wimbledon and the US Open in 2019 and the French Open in 2020.
On top of that, Svitolina has just one Grand Slam first round elimination since 2015. Her opponent on Sunday is 22 year old world No. 52 Marie Bouzkova.
Bouzkova is undoubtedly a young talent on the women’s tour, however with six first round eliminations from her seven Grand Slam appearances, she hasn’t shown enough on the world stage to justify competing with the likes of Elina Svitolina. At -236 to win outright, world No. 5 Svitolina to beat world No. 52 Bouzkova is arguably the best valued on day two of the 2021 Aus Open.
Head to Head – Elina Svitolina (-236)
Games Spread – Elina Svitolina -3.5 (-125)
Exact Sets – Elina Svitolina 2-0 (-103)
Laslo Djere vs Rafael Nadal (2) – 9.30PM ET @ Rod Laver Arena
It has been far from the ideal preparation for world No. 2 Rafael Nadal ahead of the 2021 Australian Open, however that should not hinder the Spaniard in his first round matchup against world No. 56 Laslo Djere.
As well as quarantining, a back issue forced Nadal to sit out of the ATP Cup, however Nadal says the injury was nothing serious as he enters Melbourne Park on the hunt for his second Australian Open title.
Djere is certainly no push over, having recorded victories over top 10 ranked players such as Dominic Thiem and Juan Martin del Potro during his career. However, even if he isn’t 100% fit for his first round matchup, Nadal has a long history of playing through injuries at an elite level.
So if he takes the court he will be more than capable of getting his 2021 Grand Slam season off to a strong start with a straight sets victory over Djere.
Head to Head – Rafael Nadal (-10000)
Games Spread – Laslo Djere +11.5 (-160)
Exact Sets- Rafael Nadal 3-0 (-556)
Rafa Nadal really struggling with back injury but won’t be pulling out of @AustralianOpen
— Andrew McCormack (@_AMcCormack7) February 7, 2021
Vasek Pospisil vs Daniil Medvedev (4) – 9.30PM ET @ Margaret Court Arena
There is some good value in this clash between world No. 4 Daniil Medvedev and world No. 61 Vasek Pospisil, especially for Medvedev to win the match in three sets. Since the start of the 2018 Grand Slam season, Pospisil has participated in nine of the 11 Grand Slam tournaments.
Of those nine, the Canadien has progressed out of the first round on just three occasions. As for Medvedev, he is coming off a recent Semifinal appearance at the US open last year and hasn’t been eliminated in the opening round at Melbourne Park since 2017.
As well as that, Medvedev recently won the ATP cup final just last weekend. The world No. 4 is currently the third favorite to win the Australian Open and is the easy pick to win his round one matchup, however Pospisil will push him in at least one set.
Head to Head – Daniil Medvedev (-1500)
Games Spread – Vasek Pospisil +7.5 (+110)
Exact Sets – Daniil Medvedev 3-0 (-164)
Jasmine Paolini vs Karolina Pliskova (6) – 10.15PM ET @ 1573 Arena
World No. 6 Karolina Pliskova will be looking to bounce back from her third round loss at the WTA Yarra Valley Classic last week when she faces off against world No. 97 Jasmine Paolini.
Despite her disappointing exit from the Yarra Valley Classic, Pliskova is a proven performer at the Australian open, having made consecutive trips to the quarterfinals in 2018 and 2019 as well as a trip to the semi finals in 2020.
Sunday will be Paolini’s fifth career start at a Grand Slam tournament, having been eliminated in the first round of three of her four previous appearances.
Given Pliskova’s superior skill and determination to bounce back from last week’s performance in the Yarra Valley, the world No. 8 will pounce on Paolini’s weaker service game to capture a sixth consecutive straight sets victory in the first round at Melbourne Park.
Head to Head – Karolina Pliskova (-900)
Games Spread – Karolina Pliskova -6.5 (+110)
Exact Sets- Karolina Pliskova 2-0 (-278)
Strong win for Danielle Collins to defeat No.3 seed Karolina Pliskova in two tiebreaks. Clutch work to save 4 of 5 break points in a tight match.
— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) February 3, 2021
Ashleigh Barty (1) vs Danka Kovinic – 3AM ET Tuesday @ Rod Laver Arena
In her local Grand Slam, Aussie Ash Barty was the SportsTips’ pre-tournament pick to justify her world No. 1 ranking and win the second Grand Slam of her career at the 2021 Australian Open.
Barty has made the semifinals (2020) and quarterfinals (2019) in her past two appearances at Melbourne Park and will be coming into 2021 as arguably the most prepared player on the women’s side of the draw.
Prior to it’s shut down for quarantined players, Barty got to practice as normal at Melbourne Park and did not have to undergo a quarantine to participate in this year’s tournament, allowing her to have better preparation than her opponents.
The 2021 Aus Open will be Danka Kovinic’s 15th Grand Slam tournament, with the world No. 77 currently having nine first round eliminations from her 14 starts. Coming up against the world No. 1 on her home surface, Kovinic will likely suffer a 10th first round knockout in Grand Slams, in straight sets loss against the world No. 1.
Head to Head – Ash Barty (-1500)
Games Spread – Ash Barty -6.5 (-120)
Exact Sets- Ash Barty 2-0 (-400)
Kevin Anderson vs Matteo Berrettini (9) – 3AM ET Tuesday @ Margaret Court Arena
Following a tough loss against Daniil Medvedev in the Final of the 2021 ATP Cup on Sunday, world No. 10 Matteo Berrettini will be looking to bounce back and make a run at the biggest prize in Australian tennis when he gets his Grand Slam season underway against world No. 82 Kevin Anderson.
Although he is yet to establish himself as one of the top players in the world at a Grand Slam, Berrettini has had a breakout start to 2021 and is capable of defeating almost anybody on the tour. His opponent on Tuesday morning will be South African Kevin Anderson.
Since reaching the final of the 2017 US Open and breaking into the top 10 rankings, Anderson has struggled with injuries which has hindered his ability on hard court surfaces.
In his prime and at full health, Anderson would likely have been favored in this matchup, however given Berrettini’s recent form and Anderson’s decline through injury, the 24 year old Italian should get a first round victory at Melbourne park on Tuesday morning.
Head to Head – Matteo Berrettini (Odds not yet available)
Games Spread – (Odds not yet available)
Exact Sets- (Odds not yet available)
BRB, processing this point for the afternoon 🤯
— ATP Tour (@atptour) February 3, 2021
Stefanos Tsitsipas (5) vs Gilles Simon – 4.15AM ET Tuesday @ Rod Laver Arena
A crowd favorite at Melbourne Park, world No. 6 Stefanos Tsitsipas will get his 2021 Australian Open underway against world No. 64 Gilles Simon. Although Tsitsipas is the substantially higher ranked player and deserved short priced favorite, at 22 years of age, Tsitsipas is yet to prove himself as a walk up quarterfinals or better player at Grand Slams.
The young Greek star boasts a 64% career win percentage and although he may win this one in straight sets, he will likely be pushed by 36 year old journeyman, Simon.
With a career win percentage of 57%, Simon has just one Grand Slam first round elimination in his past 11 appearances and will likely push Tsitsipas in their tournament opener. Not enough to win, but the Frenchman is certainly capable of stealing a set.
Head to Head – Stefanos Tsitsipas (-1500)
Games Spread – Gilles Simon +7.5 (+110)
Set Handicap – Stefanos Tsitsipas -1.5 (-170)
*Odds correct at time of publication, courtesy of PointsBet
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