Katerina Siniakova v Elina Svitolina A definite stand out for round two. Katerina Siniakova almost defended her 2017 Shenzhen title, only being halted in this year’s final by world number one Simona Halep.
The Czech lady has some early season form. As does world number four Elina Svitolina. The Ukrainian won her first title of the year at the recent Brisbane International. This is an early test of Svitolina’s potential to go deep in the tournament, perhaps even claiming her first Grand Slam title.
Denis Shapovalov v Jo-Wilfried Tsonga This is another clear highlight for round two. Canadian teenage sensation Denis Shapovalov needs little introduction these days. His tennis speaks for itself. He is a danger to any top player, something Jo-Wilfried Tsonga will be more than aware of.
It’s a full decade now since Tsonga was a runner-up here. The number 15-seeded Frenchman will need to bring his A-game to the court to stand up to and defeat the fearless young talent. It should be a brilliant encounter.
Expect it to be full of twists and turns. Alize Cornet v Julia Goerges The fiery Frenchwoman Alize Cornet taking on Julia Goerges, the German with a three-tournament winning streak, sounds like a recipe for a hot encounter in the Australian summer heat.
Goerges’ winning run is becoming sensational. She brings that streak into the Australian Open and would seemingly have the best shot she ever has at a major. Will she come unstuck on the big stage or is she finally ready to break into the top 10 and realize her potential in her late twenties? Cornet isn’t an easy opponent, as her character and vocal approach can easily break the rhythm of anyone she plays against.
John Millman v Damir Dzumhur John Millman is in his back garden, with the full backing of his Australian crowd. He has been playing well in early 2018 and, though Damir Dzumhur is seeded 28, it isn’t a stretch to think the home favorite could pull something off here.
Millman has already dispatched of the talented young Croatian Borna Coric in the first round, and this encounter could be an exciting matchup. Also, the winner should set up a third-round match with none other than Rafael Nadal, should he beat Leonardo Mayer.
Daria Gavrilova v Elise Mertens Daria Gavrilova was ruthless in her first-round victory over USA’s qualifier Irina Falconi. Since becoming Australian she has deeply loved playing in front of the crowd in Melbourne.
Belgium’s Elise Mertens has just successfully defended her Hobart title (also winning the doubles title this year). Both players are swinging well and while the crowd will be firmly rooted with Gavrilova, Mertens will believe she can topple the Aussie.
Expect Gavrilova to come through after her first test of this year’s event. Others highlights: Nick Kyrgios v Victor Troicki Kaia Kanepi v Monica Puig Pablo Cuevas v Ryan Harrison Kyle Edmund v Denis Istomin .