AFTER strong results on day one, the Australian players have fallen into a familiar funk at their national championships.
Jordan Thompson wound up on the wrong side of a tense five-setter on Tuesday, while Destanee Aiava, Ajla Tomljanovic and Lizette Cabrera all exited the women’s draw.
Even Ashleigh Barty had issues, fighting back from a set down to oust the powerful Aryna Sabalenka in a noisy encounter at Rod Laver Arena.
Now we turn our attention to Thursday’s fixtures with top odds from Sportsbet, which is running a $50 Australian Open multi bonus for all singles matches in week one.
Australian Open multi picks – Thursday, January 18
- Djokovic to beat Monfils
- Wawrinka to beat Sandgren
- Barty to beat Giorgi
- Tsurenko to beat Radwanska
Novak Djokovic vs. Gael Monfils
Djokovic (14) – -588.24
Monfils – +365
Death, taxes and Andy Murray’s loser limp.
These are the only things surer than Novak Djokovic beating Gael Monfils on the tennis court.
The Frenchman won their first-ever encounter way back in 2003, but his Serbian conquerer has triumphed on all 14 occasions since.
There is absolutely no reason to expect anything different this time around.
Tennys Sandgren vs. Stan Wawrinka
Sandgren – +231
Wawrinka (9) – -333.33
You would think a guy called ‘Tennys’ who comes from Tennessee would be a natural racket-wielder.
And yet this is the first time 26-year-old Sandgren has passed the first round at a grand slam.
Now he faces a brutal test in Stan Wawrinka, the 2014 Australian Open champion.
Although a little ways off his sublime best, the ninth seed should have no issues reaching the third round.
Ashleigh Barty vs. Camila Giorgi
Barty (18) – -181.82
Giorgi – +135
Ash Barty showed on Tuesday night why Australian tennis buffs are so excited about her return to the game.
There are not many players on tour who have the strokes or the nous required to fight back against a taller, stronger and much, much louder opponent.
Next up is the hard-hitting Camila Giorgi, who has a reputation for bringing down higher-ranked opponents.
It won’t be a cakewalk, but Barty should take plenty from her win in the first round.
Lesia Tsurenko vs. Agnieszka Radwanska
Tsurenko – +171
Radwanska (26) – -232.56
It’s time to pump some value into this multi.
Although they are both 28 years of age, these two players have met only once on the WTA World Tour.
That was way back in 2012, when Radwanska triumphed in straight sets on the clay of Brussels.
The Pole is a long way off her best, however, so Tsurenko is well worth a gamble – especially with Sportsbet’s $50 bonus up your sleeve.
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