2018 Australian Open: Five women’s matches to watch on Day 3

The second day of the Australian Open saw fewer upsets, but still had its share of drama. With second round play scheduled to get underway, here are the matches most worth keeping an eye on.

Katerina Siniakova vs Elina Svitolina

The tournament favorite did what she had to do in her first round win, recording a straight sets victory with relative ease. In this one, she’ll face the quirky, but talented and powerful young Czech. If she’s on, Siniakova has a chance to pull off the big upset as she can assert herself with her power on both serve and off of the ground. The Ukranian is the steadier of the two and will want to frustrate Siniakova, known for her feisty but combustible personality. This will be fun to watch in every way.

Marta Kostyuk vs Olivia Rogowska

The most sensational story of the first round was that of the 15-year old Ukranian. Ranked 521st, Kostyuk became the youngest player to win a match at the Australian Open in 22 years, stunning 25th seed Shuai Peng. The junior champion in Melbourne a year ago, she has a winnable match here against the Australian wild card, who knocked out fellow Aussie wild card Jaimee Fourlis in her first round victory. Kostyuk has a well-rounded game for someone her age and she should feel no pressure in this one. If she brings anywhere near the level she did against Peng, she will win this one.

Alize Cornet vs Julia Goerges

A great contrast in styles, the German is now owner of a 15-match winning streak while Cornet rolled through her opening round match. The contrast comes in that Goerges will try to overpower the Frenchwoman while Cornet will look to frustrate the 12th seed with her bag of tricks. This is a good match to see how far Goerges has come in terms of her newfound maturity playing someone who has recorded big wins in majors before and is never easy to put away.

Belinda Bencic vs Luksika Kumkhum

If it wasn’t for Kostyuk and three-set thriller played last night between Ashleigh Barty and Aryna Sabalenka, the talk of Melbourne would be that of Bencic, who looked like she hasn’t missed a beat with her first-round upset of Venus Williams. Showing increased power in all areas, the Swiss also displayed her remarkable ability to take the ball early, anticipate well and re-direct Williams’ shots wherever she wanted to. In facing Kumkhum, she sees someone who has the defining moment of her career here, upsetting Petra Kvitova years ago, but has done little else. The biggest challenge Bencic faces is a letdown after beating Williams. If she can guard against that, she should roll, but it’s worth watching the exquisite game the 21-year old possesses.

Daria Gavrilova vs Elise Mertens

This will be the final match of the first day of the second round and the fans should see a very interesting contest. Neither player was tested much in their first round wins, but Mertens is riding a six-match win streak after defending her title in Hobart last week. She also owns a win over Gavrilova, knocking her out of last year’s French Open in the first round. She also has increased the power in her game and with her athleticism and movement, the Belgian will have to like her chances. Gavrilova made the semifinals in Sydney last week and is a plucky sort who won’t give an inch, but Mertens is playing well and I think she will once again send Gavrilova crashing out of a Slam.

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