Young American Ryan Harrison faces the unenviable task of trying to stop World No. 1 Novak Djokovic’s quest for a third successive Australian Open title. The second round of the year’s first grand slam gets underway on Wednesday in Melbourne with the night match between Djokovic and Harrison potentially the highlight.
The 20-year-old Harrison has been highly tipped to breakthrough into the game’s highest echelon for some time now and he could really make his mark under the lights on Rod Laver Arena. The confident and scrappy Harrison is unlikely to be fazed by the occasion, but overcoming Djokovic is another matter entirely.
The Serbian looks to be in good form at the start of the year and will be expected to pull away from his 62nd-ranked opponent in a comfortable win.
In truth, it is far from the most inspiring day of action that has been seen at a grand slam. Fifth seed Tomas Berdych should be a straight forward victory over Frenchman Guillaume Rufin in the second match of the day on Rod Laver Arena. The same will likely be true of fourth seed David Ferrer as he takes on American lucky loser Tim Smyczek.
On the women’s side, there is a good chance of an upset with home favorite and ninth seed Samantha Stosur going up against China’s former Australian Open and Wimbledon semifinalist Jie Zheng. Stosur has struggled at her home grand slam throughout her career and showed few signs that this year would be any different as she labored to victory over unfancied Kai-Chen Chang in the first round.
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Although Stosur has a winning record against her 40th ranked opponent, Zheng came out on top in three sets earlier this month in Sydney. Few will be surprised if a similar result transpires in Melbourne.
Venus Williams should have a more comfortable time against Frenchwoman Alize Cornet. The world No. 40 has previously reached the last 16 in Melbourne, but Williams looked in good form and in good health as she came through her opening round for the loss of just one game.
There should be few problems for title hopefuls Maria Sharapova and Agnieszka Radwanska against Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu and Japan’s Misaki Doi, respectively.
Where to watch: The third day’s play at the Australian Open will begin at 7 p.m. ET on Tuesday. Coverage begins on the Tennis Channel before switching to ESPN2 at 9 p.m. Coverage of multiple courts will be available throughout the night on ESPN3.