After an action packed four days of tennis, Round 3 of the 2021 Australian Open kicks off tonight!
Aryna Sabalenka (7) vs Ann Li – From 7PM ET @ Rod Laver Arena
With both Aryna Sabalenka and Ann Li boasting back to back straight sets victories, their third round matchup is shaping up to be much more of a test for the world No. 7 and world No. 69.
Following her 6-0, 6-4 victory in the first round, Sabalenka was tested in her round two match, defeating Daria Kasatkina 7-6, 6-3. Similarly, Li cruised to her first round victory, upsetting Zhang Shuai 6-2, 6-0, however was challenged in the send set of her second match, before ultimately advancing to round three with a 6-2, 7-6 victory.
On to the next one!
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) February 10, 2021
Sabalenka committed 40 unforced errors to her opponent’s eight on Tuesday, yet still managed to advance past Kasatkina with relative comfort.
A player of her caliber is capable of cleaning up those unforced errors ahead of this matchup and given that she is more experienced, composed and has been in a superior form overall, Sabalenka should advance here. Li’s good form will likely see this one go to three sets, however the seventh seed will advance to the fourth round.
Head to Head – Aryna Sabalenka (-375)
Games Spread – Ann Li +4.5 (-109)
Exact Set – Aryna Sabalenka 2-1 (+290)
Garbine Muguruza (14) vs Zarina Diyas – Not Before 8.30PM ET @ Margaret Court Arena
2020 Aus Open Finalist and 14th seed in 2021, Garbine Muguruza has been phenomenal to start her 2021 Grand Slam season and is looking in ominous form once again at Melbourne Park.
The two time Grand Slam champion has dropped just eight games and faced just one breakpoint in her opening two matches, defeating Margarita Gasparyan 6-4, 6-0 and Ludmilla Samsonova 6-3, 6-1 in the second round. Muguruza’s form early tournament is not surprising as she has been one of the best players in tennis to start 2021, having dropped just 10 games at the Yarra Valley Classic last week before losing to Ash Barty in the final.
The Spaniard will face world No. 83 Zarina Diyas in her third round clash. Diyas defeated Tamara Zidensek 6-2, 7-5 in the first round and Bernarda Pera 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in the second round.
Since debuting at the Australian Open in 2014, Diyas has never made it past the third round and when coming up against an in form Muguruza, who is looking to redeem herself after last years Aus Open final loss, Diyas will once again conclude her Melbourne Park journey in the third round, likely in straight sets.
Head to Head – Garbine Muguruza (-1250)
Games Spread – Garbine Muguruza -6.5 (-109)
Exact Sets – Garbine Muguruza 2-0 (-334)
Anastasia Potapova vs Serena Williams (10) – Not Before 9PM ET @ Rod Laver Arena
After defeating Nina Stojanovic 6-3, 6-0 in the second round, seven time Australian Open champion Serena Williams is one step closer to winning her record tying 24th Grand Slam title.
However, Williams will have to defeat an in form Anastasia Potapova in the third round to keep her quest for an eighth Aus Open title alive. Having won 6-1, 6-1 in the first round and 6-3, 6-0 in the second, Williams looks to be in ominous form, having won 24 games to just five so far this tournament.
Serena Williams wins 6-3, 6-0 to advance to the third round of the #AusOpen.
This is the 75th time Serena has won a set in a major 6-0, the 2nd-most among women in the Open Era. pic.twitter.com/JVhNEhuWVH
— espnW (@espnW) February 10, 2021
World No. 101, Anastasia Potapova has also handed out some similar results with a 6-2, 6-1 first round victory and a 6-2, 6-4 second round win on Tuesday. William’s defeated Potapova in their one previous encounter, winning 6-3, 6-0 in the first round at Melbourne park last year.
At 39 years of age, Williams is still proving to be one of the most dominant forces in women’s tennis, hitting 27 winners in her match against Stojanovic, while also winning 91% of her first serves in the second set and not committing an unforced error.
Although she has improved since their last encounter, Potapova will not be able to slow down Williams in her current form, as the 23 time Grand Slam champion looks poised for another deep run at Melbourne Park, likely defeating Potapova in straight sets.
Head to Head – Serena Williams (-1110)
Games Spread – Anastasia Potapova +6.5 (-140)
Exact Sets – Serena Williams 2-0 (-304)
Adrian Mannarino (32) vs Alexander Zverev (6) – Not Before 9PMET @ Rod Laver Arena
After dropping his opening set at the 2021 Australian Open, Alexander Zverev has won six sets in a row to advance to the third round at Melbourne Park. Zverev comfortably dealt with the fast serving American Maxime Cressy in the second round, winning 7-5, 6-4, 6-3.
The world No. 7 will face off against the in form world No. 36 Adrian Mannarino in the third round. Mannarino has also won six consecutive sets, however is yet to drop one having won his opening match 6-2, 6-4, 7-6 before defeating Miomir Kecmanovic 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 in the second round.
Zverev has never lost to Mannarino, currently holding a 5-0 lead in their head to head after their most recent matchup at the 2020 Paris Masters.
If Zverev can control his powerful first serve, it will go a long way to ensuring a sixth victory against Mannarino which would advance him to the fourth round. However, Mannarino has stolen sets off Zverev in previous encounters and will likely push the German in this third round matchup.
Head to Head – Alexander Zverev (-650)
Games Spread – Adrian Mannarino +6.5 (-120)
Sets Handicap – Alexander Zverev -1.5 (-300)
Ons Jabeur (27) vs Naomi Osaka (3) – Not Before 9.30PM ET @ John Cain Arena
Do not be fooled by the ease at which Naomi Osaka has advanced to the third round at Melbourne Park this tournament, as the world No. 3 is not just beating up wildcards and qualifiers.
Osaka has had the toughest draw of any top 10 player and is simply making it look easy against quality opponents. Osaka’s round three match against world No. 30 Ons Jabeur will be her third consecutive match against a top 50 ranked opponent, and through her first two matches, she has dropped just eight games. Covering her games spread in both encounters.
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) February 10, 2021
Jabeur dropped a set in her opening match, however cleaned up her performance in the second round, defeating Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 6-3, 6-2. Unfortunately for Jabeur, she will be coming up against arguably the in form player of the tournament so far, with Osaka looking unbeatable through her opening two matches at Melbourne Park. A third consecutive comprehensive victory, once again in straight sets.
Head to Head – Naomi Osaka (-650)
Games Spread – Naomi Osaka -5.5 (-109)
Exact Sets – Naomi Osaka 2-0 (-209)
Diego Schwartzman (8) vs Aslan Karatsev – Not Before 11PM ET @ John Cain Arena
After what can only be described as a lacklustre start to his 2021 Grand Slam season, world No. 9 Diego Schwartzman put together a much better performance in his second round matchup defeating world No. 210 Alexandre Muller 6-2, 6-0, 6-3, covering his games spread and nailing his exact sets pick.
Schwartzman will face world No. 114 Aslan Karatsev in the third round of the 2021 Australian Open for what will be his third consecutive match against a non top 100 ranked opponent.
After qualifying for the event earlier this year, Karatsev has recorded back to back upset wins in his first ever Grand Slam tournament. The Russian defeated world No. 96 Gianluca Mager 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 in the first round and world No. 79 Egor Gerasimov 6-0, 6-1, 6-0 in the second round.
Although this is his first career Grand Slam tournament, Karatsev can’t be underestimated for this round three match, as both of his victories have been by a greater margin and against higher ranking players than Schwartzman’s two wins.
However, Schwartzman looks to have found his groove after a scratchy first round match and should draw on his class and experience to end Karatsev’s dream run at Melbourne Park. Although Karatsev is playing well enough to steal a set off a top 10 player.
Head to Head – Diego Schwartzman (-270)
Games Spread – Aslan Karatsev +5.5 (-135)
Sets Handicap – Diego Schwartzman -1.5 (-140)
Veronika Kudermetova (32) vs Simona Halep (2) – From 3AM ET Friday @ Rod Laver Arena
After dominating her first round matchup, Simona Halep was pushed deep into the third set against Australian Ajla Tomljanovic in the second round, before eventually edging out the world No. 72, 7-5 in the last. Although she wasn’t at her best, the world No. 2 showed plenty of resilience against Tomljanovic, fighting back from 2-5 down in the third set.
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) February 10, 2021
Like Halep, Kudermetova won her opening match in straight sets and came back back from dropping the first set to win her second round match in three. Halep’s class ultimately prevailed in her round two match, and that same class should get her into the round of 16 with a win over Kudermetova on Friday Morning.
Halep has not been eliminated in the third round at Melbourne Park since 2011 and with history, talent and experience on her side, the No. 2 seed will continue her quest for a third Grand Slam title with a straight sets victory over a feisty young Kudermetova.
Head to Head – Simona Halep (-230)
Games Spread – Simona Halep -3.5 (-120)
Exact Sets – Simona Halep 2-0 (+108)
Dennis Shapovalov (11) vs Felix Auger Aliassime (20) – From 3AM ET @ Margaret Court Arena
Friday morning’s match between Dennis Shapovalov and Felix Auger Aliassime will be the first match of the 2021 Australian Open between two top 20 seeded players.
Shapovalov responded well from his five set first round match with a convincing 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 victory over Bernard Tomic in the second round. World No. 19 Felix Auger Aliassime is yet to drop a set in his opening two matches and has only dropped 15 games across his six sets thus far.
Both hailing from Canada and only separated by one year in age, Shapovalov and Auger Aliassime are friends who have represented their country together and also played against each other on three occasions. Shapovalov currently leads their head to head two games to one, having defeated Auger Aliassime at the US Open in 2018 and 2019.
Given that both players know each other’s games inside-out, the more experienced Shapovalov will have an easier time exploiting Auger Aliassime’s weaknesses in their round three matchup.
Auger Aliassime has performed better so far in the Australian Open and will push Shapovalov in this match, however we like the 11th seed to win this one in four sets, improving to 3-1 in their head to head and 3-0 in their head to head at Grand Slams.
Head to Head – Dennis Shapovalov (-180)
Games Spread – Dennis Shapovalov -2.5 (-120)
Sets Handicap – Dennis Shapovalov -1.5 (+105)
Dominic Thiem (3 ) vs Nick Kyrgios – Not Before 3AM ET Friday @ John Cain Arena
Arguably the most entertaining matchup of the 2021 Australian Open so far, world No. 3 Dominic Thiem will face Australia’s Nick Kyrgios. After winning his opening match in three sets, Thiem put together another strong performance in round two with a 6-4, 6-0, 6-2 win over Dominik Koepfer.
World No. 47 Nick Kyrgios had a challenging second round matchup against world No. 34 Ugo Humbert after winning his opening match in straight sets. Kyrgios saved multiple match points in the fourth set, before breaking Humbert, winning the fourth set tiebreak and stealing the fifth set to advance to a third round matchup with Thiem.
Kyrgios has the Melbourne crowd on his side and is capable of hitting the most powerful winners as anyone on tour. Given that Kyrgios was once ranked as high as No. 13 in the world, it is surprising that the two players have only met once before and they didn’t even finish the match.
THAT IS INCREDIBLE! 🙌
Kyrgios saves 2⃣ match points… And then does this.
— Wide World of Sports (@wwos) February 10, 2021
In 2015 Kyrgios retired hurt while trailing 3-4 in the opening set. Thiem has shown indication so far this tournament to suggest that he will be upset by the world No. 47 and given that Kyrgios had not played a professional match for almost a year before returning in the first round, his three and a half hour, five-set, second round match may have taken its toll on his body.
However, the Aussie showed on Wednesday morning that he is capable of taking on the best players on the tour and rallying from behind to stay in the match. Thiem will advance to the fourth round, however the fast serving, hard hitting Kyrgios is capable of stealing a set.
Head to Head – Dominic Thiem (-475)
Games Spread – Nick Kyrgios +5.5 (-113)
Sets Handicap – Dominic Thiem -1.5 (-220)
Novak Djokovic (1) vs Taylor Fritz (27) – From 3AM ET Friday @ Rod Laver Arena
The world’s No. 1 ranked player Novak Djokovic dropped his first set of the tournament against Frances Tiafoe in the second round, however still managed to claim a 3-1 victory. Djokovic won the opening set 6-3 before Tiafoe stole the second 7-6 in a tiebreak.
Novak responded to win the next two sets 7-6, 6-3, advancing to the third round for the 13th time in 14 years. World No. 31 and 27th seed for the tournament Taylor Fritz is yet to have a confident win in his opening two matches at Melbourne Park.
Fritz won his first round matchup 7-6, 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 before holding on in his second round matchup to win 4-6, 7-6, 6-7, 7-6, 6-2, fighting back from two sets to one down to advance to the third round.
Djokovic has defeated Fritz in both of the two games that the duo have played and given Fritz’ lack of consistency so far in this tournament, the world No. 1 will improve his head to head record to 3-0 on Friday morning.
Djokovic won just five of his 14 breakpoint opportunities against Tiafoe and if he can improve that conversion rate, he will comfortably see off the struggling Fritz in three sets.
Head to Head – Novak Djokovic (-10000)
Games Spread – Novak Djokovic -9.5 (+114)
Exact Sets – Novak Djokovic 3-0 (-304)
We’ve got 14 days of hard core tennis action, so strap yourself in!
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