Fri, Jan 19, 10:01am by Staff Writer
Round two of the 2018 Australian Open concluded on Thursday in stifling conditions, as players battled through extreme heat.
Our round two bets included a win for Ivo Karlovic in an epic match against Yuichi Sugita, with Karlovic taking the decisive set 12-10.
Gilles Simon was hampered by a thigh injury and retired, voiding our handicap bet on the Frenchman.
Outsider Lesia Tsurenko looked superb in the first set against Agnieszka Radwanska taking in 6-2, before fading and losing in three sets.
Here are our best bets for round three of the Open.
Aliaksandra Sasnovich versus Caroline Garcia
Saturday, 20 January 2018
Belarussian world number 56 Aliaksandra Sasnovich has had a superb start to the 2018 season where she reached the Brisbane International final before losing to world number 4 Elina Svitolina.
In Brisbane, Sasnovich was a qualifier and battled back from a set down in four of her eight matches at the tournament, testament to her fighting spirit.
Eighth seed Caroline Garcia didn’t have it all her own way on Thursday afternoon as she was made to work for her three set victory against world number 62 Marketa Vondrousova, winning the final set 8-6.
Sasnovich has won both of her matches at the Australian Open in straight sets and in quick time, whereas Garcia spent two and a half hours on court in the warm conditions on Thursday afternoon.
These two have met previously on hard court last year in Tokyo, where Garcia was a straight sets winner.
Garcia retired in her round one match in Brisbane with an ankle injury and one has to question the Frenchwoman’s fitness coming off a long three set match this early in the season when she is short of match practice.
Sasnovich will be highly motivated to take the scalp of a top ten player and with numerous seeded women already bowing out of the draw, it would not be a surprise if Sasnovich upset Garcia in this match.
Best bet- Sasnovich to win at $3.05
Diego Schwartzman versus Aleksandr Dolgopolov
Friday, 19 January 2018
24th seed Diego Schwartzman faces the enigmatic Aleksandr Dolgopolov in the last match on Showcourt 3 on Friday afternoon.
Schwartzman avoided a shock first round defeat to Serbian Dusan Lajovic, winning from two sets to one down before a straight sets victory against Norwegian qualifier Casper Ruud.
Dolgopolov has had a much smoother path to the third round, defeating Andreas Haider-Maurer and Matt Ebden in straight sets.
With temperature expected to exceed 42 degrees in Melbourne on Friday afternoon, there is a chance this match will be heat interrupted or played in stifling conditions.
The Australian Open heat rule is invoked when the temperature exceeds 40 degrees and play would be suspended on Showcourt 3 in this instance.
Dolgopolov has been known to throw in poor performances from time to time and especially dislikes excessively warm conditions.
Schwartzman is a dogged defender and will make his opponents his as many return balls as possible, so this is a match up of contrasting styles with Dolgopolov sure to be the more aggressive player.
These two players met in Brisbane just a fortnight ago where Dolgopolov was a straight sets winner, but Schwartzman was much improved from that performance, particularly in round two against Ruud and is good value as an underdog in this match up.
Best bet- Diego Schwartzman to win at $2.10
Nick Kyrgios versus Jo-Wilfred Tsonga
Friday, 19 January 2018
The marquee match of day 5 of the Australian Open features Australian Nick Kyrgios and fan favourite Jo-Wilfred Tsonga.
Kyrgios was made to work a lot harder in the second round against Viktor Troicki than he was against Rogerio Dutra Silva in round one, but was victorious in straight sets nonetheless.
Tsonga was down 5-2 in the fifth set against Canadian Denis Shapovalov before reeling off five straight games to cap a stunning comeback, winning 7-5 in the final set.
Tsonga appeared sluggish for the most part of that match with Shapovalov and can count himself incredibly lucky to escape with a victory.
These two have met on one main tour occasion in Marseille last year. Tsonga eventually won that tournament after defeating Kyrgios in three sets in the semi-final.
Kyrgios is undefeated in Australia this summer after winning the Brisbane International, but Tsonga will prove a challenge like no other he has faced in 2018.
The Frenchman is dogged and will make Kyrgios earn his points, and will have a decent portion of crowd support as well.
The total match games is set at 37.5 and with both players possessing decent serves and playing in warm conditions, we could be in for a long match.
Best bet- Kyrgios/Tsonga over 37.5 games at $1.80
*Odds provided by Sportsbet
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