Australian Open: Three things to watch for in the Second Round
The opening two days of the Australian Open have thrown up plenty of drama – and sweat – with temperatures hitting 38c on Tuesday. But with round one now complete, it’s time to look ahead to the second round.
Mercifully, cooler conditions are predicted from Wednesday through to Sunday, meaning players shouldn’t have to deal with stifling heat in the next few days.
So, with the second round raring to go, we’ve picked out three storylines worth keeping an eye on…
Murray to step it up a gear
The world number one’s first round encounter with Illya Marchenko was tougher than expected.
Though Murray won in straight sets, it took the Scot over two hours to grind own the Ukrainian in the opening two sets.
Frustrated with sluggish movement and poor serves, Murray will be eager to put that right – in cooler conditions – against teenage Russian Andrey Rublev.
But if the troubles persist, then things could look a tad ugly for five-time Aussie finalist in the latter stages.
Serena takes on Safarova
After waltzing past Belinda Bencic, Serena Williams faces a surprisingly tough second round opponent in Lucie Safarova.
The Czech Republic ace was a French Open finalist just 18 months ago – losing to Serena – before a bacterial infection ruined her chances of kicking on.
Now in good health and ready to make up for lost time, the 29-year-old has every chance of giving the world number two an early scare.
Trouble ahead for Evans, but not for Edmund
Kyle Edmund has a very real chance of reaching the third round.
The 22-year-old will face Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta, and there are only 15 ranking spots between them.
Novak Djokovic probably awaits in that third round, but still.
It’s a much taller order for Dan Evans however, literally.
After Facundo Bagnis in the opening round, Evans now faces 6ft 6in Marin Cilic. The 2014 US Open champion, no less.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing