3.1 C
Manchester
Friday, February 23, 2024
SportAustralian Open 2024, Day Four: Preview, how to watch, order of play...

Australian Open 2024, Day Four: Preview, how to watch, order of play and predictions

The headliners

Day four at the Australian Open brings the start of the second round in the men’s and women’s singles draws, and a couple of home favourites are looking to upset the odds at Melbourne Park.

Alexei Popyrin secured an epic five-set win over then-world number nine Taylor Fritz in the second round of his home grand slam in 2023. Twelve months on, he is eyeing an even bigger scalp as he takes on 24-time major champion Novak Djokovic.

Read our other sports news stories here:
Hearing date set for Manchester City charges, reveals Premier League chief
Manchester United midfielder Hannibal Mejbri joins Sevilla in loan-to-buy deal
Raducanu trusts in body again, says winning Australian Open return ‘just the beginning’

Djokovic has still not lost at the Australian Open since 2018, extending his incredible winning run at the event to 29 matches when he headlined Sunday’s opening night session against Dino Prizmic.

However, he did drop a set to the 18-year-old Croatian, who dragged his battle with Djokovic past the four-hour mark to make it the Serbian’s longest ever first-round match at a grand slam.

Might he feel the effects of that contest against Popyrin, who breezed through his own opener against fellow Australian Marc Polmans on Monday?

Popyrin will have been watching closely as another compatriot, Alex de Minaur, overcame Djokovic at the United Cup earlier in January, and the 24-year-old will ask his countryman for advice ahead of the match.

“I’ll definitely ask Alex,” Popyrin said. “I have to. I have to do my homework. I think for me, it’s about playing the way that I have to play and focusing more on myself than who is on the opposite side of the net.”

Meanwhile, fellow Aussie star Jordan Thompson will face the man Djokovic beat to clinch his 10th Australian Open crown last year, seventh seed Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Tsitsipas was due to face Matteo Berrettini in his opener on Monday, only for the Italian to withdraw with a right foot injury. Belgian lucky loser Zizou Bergs stepped in and took the first set, only for Tsitsipas to recover from that setback and clinch a 5-7 6-3 6-3 6-1 win.

Tsitsipas has won two of his three previous tour-level meetings with Thompson, though the Australian did win their last head-to-head contest at Indian Wells last year. Can he repeat the trick on Wednesday?

The subplots

Also on Wednesday’s order of play is an all-American meeting between Coco Gauff and Caroline Dolehide, with the former heavily backed for a tilt at the trophy after crushing Anna Karolina Schmiedlova in the first round.

Dolehide, though, could be a dangerous opponent, having shown her ability with a thrilling run to the Guadalajara Open final in September, downing the likes of Ekaterina Alexandrova and Sofia Kenin before losing to Maria Sakkari in the title match.

Gauff, however, has all the momentum of last year’s US Open triumph behind her and barely blinked in her opener, limiting her opponent to just two winners and a paltry 31 per cent of first-serve points won.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Coco Gauff (@cocogauff)

With a potential third-round tie against 2021 US Open runner-up Leylah Fernandez at stake, expect to see more of the same from the next superstar of US tennis.

Elsewhere, Tomas Martin Etcheverry’s meeting with Gael Monfils looks an intriguing one after the Argentine dumped Andy Murray out in the first round. With a potential meeting with Djokovic at stake, both players will be desperate to progress.

Order of play – selected matches

Day session (from 00:00 UK time)

Jannik Sinner v Jesper de Jong

Caroline Dolehide v Coco Gauff

Alex de Minaur v Matteo Arnaldi

Gael Monfils v Tomas Martin Etcheverry

Night session (from 08:00 UK time)

Jordan Thompson v Stefanos Tsitsipas

Novak Djokovic v Alexei Popyrin

When and how to watch

The Australian Open is available to watch live on Discovery+ and Eurosport in the United Kingdom, with the next day session getting under way from 00:00 UK time on Wednesday morning. The night session is scheduled to take place from 8am.

Predictions

While Djokovic may have been expecting a smoother passage through to the second round, an extra day of rest should mean he is fully recovered from those exertions and raring to go again on Wednesday. Despite the support of the home crowd, we don’t expect Popyrin to cause the reigning champion any problems.

However, Thompson may hold out more hope of an upset against Tsitsipas. The Australian is in great form and saved three match points to stun Rafael Nadal at the Brisbane International earlier this month, and he may just take Wednesday’s contest to the distance.

Elsewhere, expect the likes of Gauff, De Minaur and Etcheverry to progress, but those looking for a vulnerable seed may cast a glance at the out-of-form Lorenzo Musetti against 19-year-old Luca Van Assche.

Latest
Subscribe to our newsletter
Business Manchester will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing.
Don't miss

More News