It’s quite a line-up Friday at the Australian Open. Former champions Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer are all in action for the opening of the third round.
Sharapova and Federer are on the day session against Lauren Davis and Grigor Dimitrov, respectively. Federer has beaten Grigor in all four prior meetings but the Bulgarian grabbed a set most recently in Brisbane earlier this month.
Grand Slam finalists Kei Nishikori and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga are also on court along with Dominic Thiem who faces David Goffin in a sneaky good battle.
Then at night Serena Williams and Nick Kyrgios share the spotlight on Rod Laver. Serena meets rising star Daria Kasatkina who just beat Venus Williams in a tune-up.
“I don’t think it’s gonna be easy,” Serena said. “Any time someone is beating Venus they are more than likely playing really good. So I definitely will be ready for that. I obviously will ask Venus what she thought of the match, and I’m sure Patrick will know everything about her match and stuff. He’s really good at studying.”
Australian sensation Kyrgios takes on Tomas Berdych who has made the semifinals the last two years. It should be a heck of a battle.
“The crowd’s going to be crazy,” Kyrgios said of the encounter. “They all love Berdych. He has a massive fan base. He’s one of the greatest players right now. I’m not really thinking too far ahead. It’s going to be a really good match.”
Added the apparently much-loved Berdych on the youngster, “He’s going to play aggressive. He’s serving well. As I said, you know, it’s a guy that he likes to have a big matches. So I have to be really, really being there, being prepared, being very focused from the first point.”
Despite winning the event five times, in the midst of one of the great runs ever and ranking far and away as the World No. 1, Novak Djokovic couldn’t manage to get a slot on Rod Laver against a seeded player. So he was sent off for a rare match on MCA in the evening against Federer’s 2015 slayer Andreas Seppi.
“I think he deserves a lot of respect for the amounts of years that he spent in top 30,” Djokovic said. “Very solid. He likes playing here. He’s not really overwhelmed by a big occasion. Played many, many, many times on big stadiums against top players.
“So I expect him, you know, to try his best to win. It’s going to be a tough one. I need to earn my points. I need to be ready for rallies. It’s going to be physical match. But the way I’ve been playing, I have a lot of faith and confidence in my game.”
Will Federer and Serena also be put on MCA during this event? Or is Djokovic still the lesser draw?
FRIDAY AUSTRALIAN OPEN SCHEDULE
Rod Laver Arena 11:00 AM Start
Belinda Bencic (SUI) vs. Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR)
Lauren Davis (USA) vs. Maria Sharapova (RUS)
Roger Federer (SUI) vs. Grigor Dimitrov (BUL)
Rod Laver Arena 7:00 PM Start
Serena Williams (USA) vs. Daria Kasatkina (RUS)
Nick Kyrgios (AUS) vs. Tomas Berdych (CZE)
Margaret Court Arena 11:00 AM Start
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP) vs. Kei Nishikori (JPN)
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) vs. Pierre-Hugues Herbert (FRA)
Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) vs. Monica Puig (PUR)
Margaret Court Arena 7:00 PM Start
Novak Djokovic (SRB) vs. Andreas Seppi (ITA)
Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP) vs. Elizaveta Kulichkova (RUS)
Hisense Arena 11:00 AM Start
Dominic Thiem (AUT) vs. David Goffin (BEL)
Anna-Lena Friedsam (GER) vs. Roberta Vinci (ITA)
Federico Delbonis (ARG) vs. Gilles Simon (FRA)
Not Before: 5:30 PM
Kristina Mladenovic (FRA) vs. Daria Gavrilova (AUS)
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