Australian Open Day 3 Women’s Predictions Including Naomi Osaka vs Zheng Saisai

Elena Rybakina Australian Open day three

Day three at the Australian Open should see no shortage of entertaining tennis as the top half of the women’s draw battle for a spot in the third round. Amongst those in action are world #1 Ashleigh Barty, who takes on Polona Hercog, Coco Gauff, set to face Sorana Cirstea, and former-champion Serena Williams, who will face Tamara Zidansek. As ever, we here at LWOT are offering our predictions across the board. Giving their picks for this slate of matches are Jim Smith, Yesh Ginsburg and Harsh Bhoot. Who will advance?

Australian Open Day 3 Predictions

Naomi Osaka vs Zheng Saisai

Jim: Naomi Osaka has struggled to defend titles in the past, but she made a good start to her Australian Open campaign against Maria Bouzkova, picking up a 6-2 6-4 win. Zheng Saisai also impressed in her opener, storming past Russia’s Anna Kalinskaya. But Osaka has the power to hit through almost anyone and that should prove the difference in this contest.

Prediction: Osaka in 2

Yesh: Naomi Osaka is one of the best players in the world and is in good form right now. The defending champion will continue to cruise for now.

Prediction: Osaka in 2

Harsh: If the first round was any evidence of the form Osaka’s in, Zheng is in a for a tough match. The Chinese has beaten Osaka, but in 2016 and on clay. Osaka’s easy power gets much more reward on the quick hard courts in Melbourne, with Zheng unlikely be able to resist.

Prediction: Osaka in 2
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Maria Sakkari vs Nao Hibino

Jim: It has been a great week for Nao Hibino, who deserves real credit for battling through the qualifying and into the second round. The Japanese did not have things easy up against Peng Shuai in the first round, but hung tough to win in three. But Maria Sakkari, who dismissed Margarita Gasparyan in her opener, should prove too strong.

Yesh: Sakkari was dominant in her first-round match. It will take some great play from a top player to beat her, and that’s just not something Hibino, for all that she has impressed so far in Melbourne, is capable of.

Prediction: Sakkari in 2

Harsh: Hibino did well to fight through qualifiers and win her first-round match, with Hibino playing the crucial points in the later stages of the match very well. But Sakkari played a solid match, conceding no break point chances on her way to a 6-2 6-2 win over Gasparyan. The Greek’s serve can let her down at times and she will surely want to see her first-serve percentage rise as the tournament progresses. Nonetheless, Sakkari is a solid baseliner and while Hibino has fought all week, expect the Greek to have a routine win.

Prediction: Sakkari in 2
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Ann Li vs Sofia Kenin

Jim: Sofia Kenin disappointed in Adelaide, falling to a 3-6 1-6 defeat at the hands of Danielle Collins in the second round. But the American got back to winning ways in Melbourne, dismissing qualifier Martina Trevisan in the first round. Ann Li, who also qualified into the main draw, impressed in edging out Lizette Cabrera 7-6 7-6 in the first round, but Kenin seems certain to prove a step too far for the 19-year-old Li, who is playing at her first Grand Slam.

Prediction: Kenin in 2

Yesh: Kenin is a much better player and in good form after recovering from a one-sided loss against Collins in Adelaide to beat Italy’s Trevisan comfortably in the first round. She should have no trouble with qualifier and fellow young gun Li.

Prediction: Kenin in 2

Harsh: Li is another player who has fought her way through the qualifying. She now takes on the hard-hitting Sofia Kenin. Li endured a tough first-round match, winning in two tight tiebreakers and must protect her serve better to have a chance here. Kenin is looking to better her best previous result of reaching the second round and if she plays like she did in the first round, she should win, but she may not have things all her own way.

Prediction: Kenin in 3
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Elena Rybakina vs Greet Minnen

Jim: Elena Rybakina has made a superb start to her season and will surely be targeting a deep run at the Australian Open. In her opener, she brushed aside the challenge of Bernarda Pera. Qualifier Greet Minnen, meanwhile, played some fine tennis to edge out the struggling Aliaksandra Sasnovich, winning 7-6 4-6 7-5. However, Rybakina represents a step up in class and the Belgian Minnen may have to contend with fatigue.

Prediction: Rybakina in 2

Yesh: Rybakina was very impressive in her opening match and she has had more rest than her opponent Minnen, who endured a gruelling three-set contest with Sasnovich in the first round. That’s not a good formula for an upset.

Prediction: Rybakina in 2

Harsh: Minnen scraped through against Sasnovich and will have to battle hard to have any chance of being competitive here. Rybakina has the been the form player in 2020, reaching the final in Shenzhen and winning the title in Hobart. She looked strong in the opening round and shouldn’t face much of a challenge from Minnen if she keeps playing like she’s has been in 2020.

Prediction: Rybakina in 2

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