Australian Open R3: (28) Kristina Mladenovic vs Daria Gavrilova
Daria Gavrilova continues to impress in her first Australian summer representing the green and gold. After winning the Hopman Cup alongside Nick Kygrios, Gavrilova has made a really impressive start at Melbourne Park. Gavrilova will continue her Australian Open campaign on Monday when she comes up against Kristina Mladenovic in the third round at Melbourne Park.
Kristina Mladenovic arrived in Melbourne without a win to her name in 2016 after back-to-back first round losses in Brisbane and Sydney. Nevertheless, Kristina has made a wonderful start to her Australian Open campaign, upsetting 2014 finalist Dominika Cibulkova with a 6-3 6-4 victory in the first round before defeating an in form Nicole Gibbs 6-1 7-6 in the second round. Mladenovic is clearly playing good tennis this week and will be confident she can reach the second week in Melbourne for the first time with a victory on Friday.
Daria Gavrilova has advanced to the third round of a Grand Slam for the very first time courtesy of back-to-back defeats over powerful Czech opponents. Gavrilova started the week with a clutch 7-6 6-3 victory over Lucie Hradecka where she saved all 10 break points she faced, before recording her 4th victory over a top 10 opponent with a 6-4 6-4 victory over Petra Kvitova. Daria was at her energetic best against Kvitova, seemingly thriving off the support of the home crowd.
This will be the first career encounter between Gavrilova and Mladenovic, it promises to be a fascinating encounter. Both ladies will see this as a very winnable match, it looks very even on paper. The contrasting styles often results in a close match, I believe Gavrilova will have the slight edge especially in front of a vocal Hisense Arena crowd.