Two-time champion Victoria Azarenka has arguably been the hottest player this first month of the 2016 tennis season, losing just 20 games in seven matches so far. On Saturday, the former No. 1 resumes her bid to win a third Australian Open against rising star Naomi Osaka.
The 18-year-old Osaka, whose dad is from Haiti and mom from Japan and who was actually born in Osaka, qualified and hasn’t lost a set in her Grand Slam debut with wins over Donna Vekic and Elina Svitolina.
“I don’t really like thinking about it too much because it freaks my out,” Osaka said about reaching the third round.”
Now she’ll play Azarenka on the biggest court in Australia.
“I never feel pressure from playing someone that’s supposed to be like better than me, sort of. I’m just going to go in there happy and hopefully try to pull off an upset,” she said.
“It makes me happy because it’s kind of like I played all these matches to go on the big court, so going there makes me happy,” she said.
Two-time Grand Slam winner Stan Wawrinka faces a tough test against Lukas Rosol. And Andy Murray meets Joao Sousa for a third time at the Australian Open.
“We also played at the French last year,” Murray said. “Plays predominantly from the back of the court. Very solid from the baseline. Doesn’t obviously serve so big, but makes a lot of returns. He’s a very good mover. Good athlete. He wins. He knows how to win matches. He understands the game well and he gets the most out of his game.”
John Isner challenges the Feliciano Lopez. The two have split their six previous meetings. And in the evening Madison Keys takes on Ana Ivanovic.
“She’s very dangerous; big game,” Ivanovic said of the American. “We played once on clay when she was just coming up and we had tough second-set tiebreak. She played well last year here; a big serve; a big, powerful forehand actually on both wings. It’s going to be the first shot, and I’m going to have to be composed also in my service games if I do face her. It’s not going to be easy matchup, I think, but it’s all about, you know, trying to find your way. I felt like my level today was better than from the first round, so hopefully I can improve.”
Australian Bernard Tomic and wildcard John Millman close the show on Rod Laver.
SATURDAY AUSTRALIAN OPEN SCHEDULE
Rod Laver Arena 11:00 AM Start
Barbora Strycova (CZE) vs. Garbine Muguruza (ESP)
Victoria Azarenka (BLR) vs. Naomi Osaka (JPN)
Lukas Rosol (CZE) vs. Stan Wawrinka (SUI)
Rod Laver Arena 7:00 PM Start
Madison Keys (USA) vs. Ana Ivanovic (SRB)
Bernard Tomic (AUS) vs. John Millman (AUS)
Margaret Court Arena 11:00 AM Start
Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) vs. Karolina Pliskova (CZE)
Milos Raonic (CAN) vs. Viktor Troicki (SRB)
Angelique Kerber (GER) vs. Madison Brengle (USA)
Margaret Court Arena 7:00 PM Start
Joao Sousa (POR) vs. Andy Murray (GBR)
Varvara Lepchenko (USA) vs. Shuai Zhang (CHN)
Hisense Arena 11:00 AM Start
Johanna Konta (GBR) vs. Denisa Allertova (CZE)
Feliciano Lopez (ESP) vs. John Isner (USA)
Gael Monfils (FRA) vs. Stephane Robert (FRA)
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