Denisa Allertova vs Magda Linette, Australian Open R3 Preview

Australian Open 🇦🇺 R3 Preview
🇨🇿 (Q) Denisa Allertova vs 🇵🇱 Magda Linette

Denisa Allertova and Magda Linette will go head-to-head in an unlikely third round match-up at Melbourne Park on Friday. Allertova and Linette has both reached the third round stage of a Grand Slam on 1 previous occasion, both will be aiming to reach the fourth round at a Grand Slam for the very first time with a victory here.

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Denisa Allertova is proving that she is much more capable than her current ranking of 130 in the world suggests. Allertova blasted her way through the qualifying draw at Melbourne Park without dropping a set. Allertova has continued to storm through the tournament in the main draw, beating Pauline Parmentier 6-3 6-0 in the opening round before beating Shuai Zhang 6-4 7-6. Allertova did also reach the third round stage at Melbourne Park in 2016. The quick hard courts in Melbourne really suit the same of Allertova.

Magda Linette started the event with a 2-6 6-4 6-3 win over Jennifer Brady before causing a big upset as she defeated the 22nd seeded Daria Kasatkina 7-6 6-2. Linette was seemingly struggling with an ankle injury throughout the match but Kasatkina was unable to take advantage of the situation.

The pair have never gone head-to-head in a completed match.

Magdalena Rybarikova vs Kateryna Bondarenko, Australian Open R3 Preview

Australian Open 🇦🇺 R3 Preview
🇸🇰 (19) Magdalena Rybarikova vs 🇺🇦 Kateryna Bondarenko

An awesome opportunity presents itself to Magdalena Rybarikova and Kateryna Bondarenko on Friday when the pair meet at the third round stage at Melbourne Park, both will be aiming to reach the fourth round for the first time in their careers. The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 2 wins apiece, the pair have not played for over 6 years so it will be interesting to see how this match-up pans out with so much on the line.

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Rybarikova has been fairly impressive on route to the third round at Melbourne Park, surprisingly this is the first time the 29-year-old has reached the third round stage. Rybarikova started the week with a 6-0 7-5 win over Taylor Townsend before securing her spot in the third round by beating Kirsten Flipkens 6-4 0-6 6-2. One thing that has stood out for Rybarikova is that she has been serving very well in important moments. This was true at the end of the second set against Townsend and in the deciding set against Flipkens. When Rybarikova lands her first serve at a high percentage it really helps her game as she can take control of the point, the Slovakian is a much better player when she is on the front foot rather than when she is defending.

Kateryna Bondarenko is into the third round stage at Melbourne Park for the third time in her career. Bondarenko started the week by out-lasting Swiss qualifier Viktorija Golubic, winning 7-6 4-6 6-2 before upsetting the 15th seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2 6-3. Bondarenko produced one of her most exceptional performances in recent years to easily get past Pavlyuchenkova, the Ukrainian reminding us all of what she is still capable of.

The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 2 wins apiece. However these matches are irrelevant as they were over 6 years ago.

Jelena Ostapenko vs Anett Kontaveit, Australian Open R3 Preview

Australian Open 🇦🇺 R3 Preview
🇱🇻 (7) Jelena Ostapenko vs 🇪🇪 (32) Anett Kontaveit

A blockbuster third round match-up at Melbourne Park on Friday sees the 7th seeded Jelena Ostapenko take on the 32nd seeded Anett Kontaveit. Ostapenko and Kontaveit will both be aiming to reach the second week at the Australian Open for the first time. These two know each other well, the pair grew up on the junior circuit together and actually played doubles together at the ITF level years back. This will be the first tour level meeting between the pair of big hitters. Who will prevail?

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Jelena Ostapenko cruised through her opening round match in Melbourne, defeating Francesca Schiavone 6-1 6-4 in what was the first match played on Rod Laver Arena at this year’s event. The reigning Roland Garros champion was forced to work much harder for her second round win, fighting her way past Ying-Ying Duan with a 6-3 3-6 6-4 win. Ostapenko blasted 35 winners past Duan which included 10 aces. Ostapenko’s composure under pressure was the difference, especially at the end of the third set where she served very well.

Anett Kontaveit arrived in Melbourne in poor form but has done very well to reach the third round stage at Melbourne Park for the first time. Kontaveit had not previously won a main draw match at Melbourne Park. The Estonian started the event with a hard-fought 6-4 7-5 win over an in-form Aleksandra Krunic before securing her spot in the third round with a 6-3 4-6 6-3 win over Barthel. Kontaveit was quite streaky in both matches but she played enough good tennis to get through on each occasion.

This will be the first tour level meeting between the pair.

Elise Mertens vs Alize Cornet, Australian Open R3 Preview

Australian Open 🇦🇺 R3 Preview
🇧🇪 Elise Mertens vs 🇫🇷 Alize Cornet

Elise Mertens and Alize Cornet have been presented a golden opportunity to reach the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park, both have never reached the quarter-final stage of a Grand Slam. Mertens and Cornet will meet at the third round stage on Friday, the winner of this match will play either Lesia Kumkhum or Petra Martic for a spot In the quarter-finals. Clearly this is a very favourable draw, a unique opportunity, which of these two will step up and grab this opportunity?

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Elise Mertens arrived at Melbourne Park full of confidence after winning the singles and doubles titles at the Hobart International. Mertens is competing in the main draw of the Australian Open for the first time. Mertens cruised through her first main draw match in Melbourne, beating Viktoria Kuzmova 6-2 6-1. The Belgian secured her spot in the third round with a 7-5 6-3 victory over Daria Gavrilova on Rod Laver Arena. Mertens found herself down 0-5 in the opening set but managed to save 8 set points on route to winning the next 7 games to take the first set. Mertens is clearly in great form right now having won 7 matches in a row.

Alize Cornet advanced to the third round courtesy of a huge upset victory over Julia Goerges, Cornet defeated the German 12th seed 6-4 6-3. Cornet entered the second round match as a huge outsider. Goerges entered the match on 15-match winning streak and a perfect 5-0 record over Cornet. However, it was the Frenchwoman that stepped up and played the better tennis on the night, one of the biggest wins for Cornet in recent times. In the opening round Cornet defeated Xinyu Wang 6-4 6-2.

This will be the first career meeting between Mertens and Cornet.

Kaia Kanepi vs Carla Suarez Navarro, Australian Open R3 Preview

Australian Open 🇦🇺 R3 Preview
🇪🇪 Kaia Kanepi vs 🇪🇸 Carla Suarez Navarro

Kaia Kanepi and Carla Suarez Navarro will renew hostilities on Friday when they square off for a place in the round of 16 at the 2018 Australian Open. Kanepi and Suarez Navarro have a long history against each other, the head-to-head record between the pair is split at 4 wins apiece. This match-up features a huge contrast in styles. The extreme power of Kanepi up against the all-court, crafty Spaniard. Who will come out on top?

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Kaia Kanepi has blasted her way into the third round at Melbourne Park. Kanepi started the week by eliminating former finalist Dominika Cibulkova 6-2 6-2. Kanepi then defeated Monica Puig 6-4 6-3.Two good ins over dangerous opponents. Kanepi has shown that her best tennis is extremely good over the last few weeks. Kanepi bashed her way through the qualifying draw into the quarter-finals in Brisbane in week 1 and is playing at a similarly high level in Melbourne. Kanepi did make a slow start against Puig and looked off when she trailed 1-4 but rebounded nicely to win 11 0f the 14 games and equal her best ever run at the Australian Open by reaching the third round.

Carla Suarez Navarro arrived in Melbourne in poor form and with question marks surrounding her commitment to the tournament. The Spaniard has done well to reach the third round. Carla defeated Magdalena Frech 7-5 6-3 in the opening round. It was in the second round where Suarez Navarro claimed a big win, defeating Timea Babos 6-4 2-6 6-2. Carla’s ability to get past such dangerous opponent will give the former quarter-finalist a big boost of momentum.

The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 4 wins apiece. It has been a while since they last played, it was Kanepi that won 7-5 6-0 at the US Open in 2014.

Caroline Wozniacki vs Kiki Bertens, Australian Open R3 Preview

Australian Open 🇦🇺 R3 Preview
🇩🇰 (2) Caroline Wozniacki vs 🇳🇱 (30) Kiki Bertens

Caroline Wozniacki survived an almighty scare in the second round to keep her hopes of capturing a maiden Grand Slam title alive in Melbourne. Wozniacki came from 1-5 15-40 down against Jana Fett in the deciding set, winning 6 consecutive games as her inexperienced opponent crumbled under pressure. Wozniacki will be back in action on Friday against Kiki Bertens where a spot in the 4th round is up for grabs. Wozniacki will be aiming for a far more straightforward victory on this occasion.

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Caroline Wozniacki can consider herself very lucky to still be in the tournament. The 2nd seed looked destined for an early exit with Jana Fett serving at 5-1 40-15 in the deciding set of their second round match. However, Fett’s level quickly deteriorated with the finish line within touching distance. Wozniacki was experienced enough to make the most of the situation as she fought her way to a 3-6 6-2 7-5 win over Fett. The concern for Wozniacki was that Fett was all over her and really should have won that match, not a great sign for Wozniacki. It will be interesting to see if Wozniacki can make the most of her second chance in the tournament.

Kiki Bertens arrived in Melbourne in poor form but has done well to reach the 3rd round at Melbourne Park for the first time in her career. Bertens started the week with a very impressive win over Catherine Bellis, a 6-7 6-4 6-2 win over a very tough opponent. In the second round, Bertens beat Nicole Gibbs 7-6 6-0, another good win over a solid opponent. Bertens will need to raise her level even further if she is to get past Wozniacki in the next round.

Wozniacki has won both of the previous matches between the pair. The only recent match between the pair was last year in Doha where Wozniacki won 6-3 6-2.

Lesia Kumkhum vs Petra Martic, Australian Open R3 Preview

Australian Open 🇦🇺 R3 Preview
🇹🇭 (Q) Lesia Kumkhum vs 🇨🇿 Petra Martic

Lesia Kumkhum and Petra Martic will face off in an unlikely third round match-up at Melbourne Park. Kumkhum produced one of the biggest upsets of the tournament in the second round as she convincingly defeated the in-form Belinda Bencic in straight sets. Petra Martic also reached the third round with a win over a more accomplished player, defeating Irina-Camelia Begu in straight sets. This will be the first career meeting between Kumkhum and Martic, probably the biggest match of both ladies respective careers.

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Lesia Kumkhum has already won 5 matches in Melbourne having come through the qualifying draw to reach the main draw. Kumkhum has won all 5 of her matches this week in straight sets. In the main draw, the Thai player defeated Johanna Larsson 6-3 7-5 in the opening round before shocking Belinda Bencic with an inspired performance to win 6-1 6-3. Kumkhum’s victory over Bencic was up there in terms of the best wins of her career.

Petra Martic has had good success at the Grand Slam level in recent times. Martic reached the fourth round stage at Roland Garros and Wimbledon last year and now has a great opportunity to do the same thing in Melbourne. Martic started the week with a 7-6 6-3 win over Alison Van Uytvanck before securing her spot in the third round with a hard-fought 6-4 7-6 win over Irina-Camelia Begu. Martic has done well in the important moments this week, especially in her win over Begu. The Romanian served for the second set but Martic fought hard, saving 3 set points before forcing a tiebreak which she eventually won.

This will be the first career meeting between the pair, both will be aiming to reach the second week at Melbourne Park for the first time.

Elina Svitolina vs Marta Kostyuk, Australian Open R3 Preview

Australian Open 🇦🇺 R3 Preview
🇺🇦 (4) Elina Svitolina vs 🇺🇦 (Q) Marta Kostyuk

A golden opportunity to reach the second week for the first time at Melbourne Park presents itself to Elina Svitolina on Friday when she comes up against 15-year-old qualifier Marta Kostyuk. Svitolina has long been criticized for not having the Grand Slam results to live up to her high ranking, this should change at Melbourne Park as the draw has opened up very nicely for the 4th seed. Svitolina must make the most of this opportunity

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Elina Svitolina seemingly had the perfect preparation for the first Grand Slam of the year, winning the premier level Brisbane International in the opening week of the season. However, Svitolina admitted after her second round victory in Melbourne that she was struggling with an injury prior to the event and was not sure if she would be able to compete in Melbourne. Svitolina started the event with a comfortable enough win, a 6-3 6-2 win over Ivana Jorović. It was in the second round that Svitolina’s troubles became clear, the 23-year-old laboured past Katerina Siniakova 4-6 6-2 6-1. Svitolina is a fighter and will realise the opportunity she now has in Melbourne, it will be interesting to see how she responds in the next couple of rounds.

Marta Kostyuk is having an outstanding week. Kostyuk, at the age of 15 came through the qualifying draw to reach her first Grand Slam main draw. Kostyuk won the junior event last year in Melbourne so is actually on a big winning streak at Melbourne Park. Kostyuk claimed her first main draw win at a Grand Slam with a shock 6-2 6-2 win over the 25th seeded Shuai Peng before beating Olivia Rogowska 6-3 7-5.

This will be the first career meeting between the pair.

Angelique Kerber vs Donna Vekic, Australian Open R2 Preview

Australian Open 🇦🇺 R2 Preview
🇩🇪 (21) Angelique Kerber vs 🇭🇷 Donna Vekic

Angelique Kerber continues her 2018 Australian Open campaign on Thursday with a second round clash against Donna Vekic. Kerber heads into this match on a 10-match winning streak having won all of her matches at the Hopman Cup and winning the title in Sydney last week. An interesting side note heading into this match is that Vekic is now working with Torben Beltz, Kerber’s long time former coach.

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Kerber is the form player on tour right now, the 2016 Australian Open champion is playing well enough to suggest that she can be a title contender this week in Melbourne. Kerber got off to a brilliant start with a 6-0 6-4 win over Anna-Lena Friedsam. Kerber rocketed through the opening set before facing a tough test from her compatriot. The former world number 1 came up with some brilliant play towards the end of the match to get past the dangerous 23-year-old.

Donna Vekic has made a reasonable start to the new year. Vekic made it to the quarter-final stage in Hobart last week thanks to a few straight set wins over decent opposition. Vekic made a good start in Melbourne, claiming a 7-5 6-3 win over Nao Hibino.

The only previous match between the pair took place last year at the Rogers Cup. Kerber won a hard-fought match 6-4 7-6.

Ashleigh Barty vs Camila Giorgi, Australian Open R2 Preview

Australian Open 🇦🇺 R2 Preview
🇦🇺 (18) Ashleigh Barty vs 🇮🇹 Camila Giorgi

Ash Barty got through a difficult opening round test at Melbourne Park, coming past Aryna Sabalenka in 3 sets. Barty will face another potentially difficult assignment on Thursday where she will take on Italy’s Camila Giorgi. Barty brought good form into the first Grand Slam of the year having reached the final of the Sydney International last week. Barty is growing in confidence and will look to equal her best run in Melbourne with a win over Giorgi.

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Ash Barty came through an extremely tough opening round match with Aryna Sabalenka on Tuesday night. The Aussie was ambushed in the opening set by red-hot Sabalenka. Barty kept her composure and eventually out-lasted Sabalenka, claiming a 6-7 6-4 6-4 victory. Barty successfully mixed up the play from the baseline with blocked returns, slice and higher balls to draw errors from the racquet of Sabalenka. Barty will face a similar test against Giorgi, another ultra-aggressive player.

Camila Giorgi also brought good form into Melbourne having reached the semi-final stage in Sydney last week. Giorgi won 6 matches in a row in Sydney after coming through the qualifying draw to reach the final 4. At her best, Giorgi is a very dangerous opponent. The Italian showed that last week with straight set wins over Sloane Stephens, Petra Kvitova and Agnieszka Radwanska. Giorgi started her Australian Open campaign with a 6-4 6-3 win over Anna Kalinskaya.

The only completed match between the pair ended in a 6-3 6-0 win for Barty on clay in Strasbourg last year.