ONLY two of the remaining local prospects will take to the court in the singles draws of the Australian Open this Thursday.
Alex Bolt rallied from a set down to dispatch America’s Jack Sock in the first round and now faces an even tougher task in Gilles Simon.
Sydney teen Alexei Popyrin blew 2017 quarter finalist Mischa Zverev off the park on Tuesday, but seventh seed Dominic Thiem is a different challenge altogether.
Both Bolt and Popyrin are at long odds to reach the third round, so smart punters should be looking elsewhere for their tennis betting picks on day four.
AO Multi of the Day – Thursday, January 17
- Serena Williams to win
- Simona Halep to win
- Milos Raonic to win
- Pierre-Hugues Herbert to win
Eugenie Bouchard vs. Serena Williams (16)
Bouchard clocked some interesting stats in her first-round win over Peng Shuai.
The Canadian took full advantage of her opponent’s weak service game, winning 28 points when receiving against 25 on her own serve.
One suspects she will struggle to replicate those numbers against Williams, who claimed more than 85 per cent of her service points as she breezed past Germany’s Tatjana Maria.
Punters should be jumping all over Serena at this price.
Simona Halep (1) vs. Sofia Kenin
Believe it or not, Halep’s win over Kaia Kanepi was her first on the WTA Tour since last year’s Cincinnati Masters.
The Romanian star had to work harder than expected for that result, coming from a set down to clinch it in three.
For Kenin, who beat Veronika Kudermetova over three sets in the first round, this is a golden opportunity to knock off one of the big guns.
But while Halep might not be firing on all cylinders, her allround class should see her through.
Stan Wawrinka vs. Milos Raonic (16)
Wawrinka got lucky in the first round, with Ernests Gulbis forced to retire hurt after taking the opening set.
The Swiss star still has big weapons, especially on the backhand, but he is a shadow of the player who defeated Rafael Nadal in the 2014 Australian Open final.
Raonic, meanwhile, is looking to climb back into the top 10 and made a big statement on Tuesday night with a straight-sets win over Nick Kyrgios.
Although it is tempting to take Stan at odds, the 16th seed is the way to go.
Hyeon Chung (24) vs. Pierre-Hugues Herbert
Chung won many admirers with his dazzling run to the Australian Open semis last year, but injury problems have slowed the young Korean’s progress since then.
He showed every bit of his hustle and fight in the first round, rallying from two sets down to overrun America’s Bradley Kahn in five.
Herbert also lost his opening set on Tuesday, but the Frenchman claimed the second in a tiebreaker and made short work of Sam Querrey after that.
When you compare the form lines, the outsider looks a much better bet.
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