Preview: Nadal, Tsitsipas, Medvedev Eye Third Round at Australian Open Day 3 | TBEN | Tennis


Defending champion Rafael Nadal will headline a star-studded program at the 2023 Australian Open on Wednesday, as the Spaniard looks to carry over the momentum of his opening win to a second-round run against Mackenzie McDonald.

Stefanos Tsitsipas, Daniil Medvedev and Felix Auger-Aliassime are among the other TBEN stars who will be in action from the top half of the draw on Day 3 of the first Grand Slam of the season, while 10 rescheduled bottom half matches will also be played. are played. Including the interrupted match of home hope Thanasi Kokkinakis against Fabio Fognini, in which the Australian is only two games short of victory. takes a look at some of the key matchups on display at Melbourne Park.

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[1] Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs Mackenzie McDonald (USA)

A second Grand Slam encounter for defending champion Nadal and world No. 65 McDonald is third on the schedule at the Rod Laver Arena, where the Spaniard will hope for a similar result to his 6-1, 6-0, 6- 3 win against the American. on the clay of Roland Garros in 2020.

However, McDonald has reached new heights since that match in Paris. He first broke into the Top 50 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings in February last year and is undoubtedly another proposition on the hard courts of Melbourne Park, where he enjoyed his second best run at a Grand Slam by reaching the fourth round in 2021.

Nevertheless, the 27-year-old will take a huge effort to upset Nadal. Chasing a record-extending 23rd major title these two weeks, the Spaniard is ready to draw confidence from his opening win against fast-emerging Briton Jack Draper as he attempts to make more history in Melbourne.

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“I’m up for the challenge,” Nadal said after his second win in eight games against Draper on Monday. “I am ready to keep fighting for it. And victory helps, I can’t lie [to] you [about] Which. When you win matches, you are more relaxed. You are more confident. You have better chances of resisting this one [difficult] moments.”

[3] Stefanos Tsitsipas [GRE] in return for [WC] Rinky Hijikata (AUS)

Tsitsipas can rise to number 1 in the Pepperstone ATP rankings for the first time by winning his first Grand Slam crown in Melbourne. With that double reward in mind, the Greek hopes to back up his impressive first-round win against Quentin Halys by beating home hope Hijikata.

Hijikata, 21, is doing well after a two-set rally for love against Yannick Hanfmann to claim his first Grand Slam victory in dramatic circumstances on Monday. It may seem like a daunting task to go up against three-time Australian Open semifinalist Tsitsipas next, but the former University of North Carolina student-athlete is ready to give his best.

“I can’t wait. It’s the same when I said I played Daniil [Medvedev in Los Cabos] and the same thing I said when I played Rafa [at the 2022 US Open]Hijikata told this week. “I’m very excited. I’m not going to shy away from these games. These are the ones you dream of playing when you’re a kid and why you work so hard.

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“I’m going to come out and try to play my game. I’m going to leave no stone unturned. That’s for sure. I’m going to go out and give it a huge bang.

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[7] Daniel Medvedev (SRB) vs. [WC] John Millman (AUS)

Medvedev is also preparing for a partisan home crowd on Wednesday in his first on-tour encounter against John Millman.

Like his compatriot Hijikata, Millman came through a five-set thriller to book his spot in the second round. The 33-year-old ousted Marc-Andrea Huesler in four hours and five minutes and hopes he has made a good recovery as he plans to take one of the most consistent Australian Open performers from the Tour in recent years.

The 26-year-old Medvedev is looking to reach the third round for the fifth year in a row and stay on track to become the fourth man in the Open Era to reach three consecutive Australian Open finals. Perhaps just as ominously for Millman, the seventh seed lost just three games in his first-round victory against Marcos Giron.

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Also in action…

The fourth Top 10 player to appear in court on Wednesday is Felix Auger-Aliassime. The sixth seed overcame a rocky start by beating Vasek Pospisil in four sets in his opener at Melbourne Park, and Auger-Aliassime will look to build on his strong finish in that match against world No. 53 Alex Molcan. The Slovak won the only previous meeting at tour level in Marrakesh last year in a decisive tiebreak.

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Hubert Hurkacz also follows his second round opponent, Lorenzo Sonego, in their ATP Head2Head series. The tenth-seeded Pole has won just one of his four tour-level encounters with the Italian, but that victory came in the pair’s only clash on hard courts in Auckland in 2020. Hurkacz is aiming to reach the third round for the first time on his fifth performing in the main draw of the Australian Open.

Cameron Norrie, Jannik Sinner and Frances Tiafoe are among the other seeds looking for success in the second round on Wednesday. Eleventh-seeded Norrie will face Constant Lestienne, the 30-year-old Frenchman who is taking part in Melbourne’s main draw for the first time. Sinner will meet world No. 79 Tomas Martin Etcheverry, while 16th seed Frances Tiafoe will try to stop the wave of 17-year-old Chinese qualifier Shang Juncheng.

A meeting between 32nd seed Botic van de Zandschulp and Tallon Fransespoor, who picked up his first TBEN crown in Pune earlier this month, guarantees Dutch representation in the third round, while wildcard Jason Kubler is the third and last Australian to hope to go deeper. at his home Grand Slam. The 29-year-old will face 18th seed Karen Khachanov.


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