Day 6 Picks
Originally published on 19/01/18 00:00
Hyeon Chung v Alexander Zverev (4)
Zverev’s participation in the last 32 was expected, but Chung’s involvement was less certain.
The 21-year-old Korean, in the third round for the first time, impressed as he took out the in-form, Daniil Medvedev, on Thursday.
Chung, a clean ballstriker with a great temperament, has the quality to trouble his latest opponent – and he won their only previous meeting on clay in Barcelona last year.
Zverev, who has not been firing on all cylinders since claiming his second Masters title in Montreal last August, is yet to be properly tested in the tournament. He conceded a set against Peter Gojowczyk, but it was just a minor blip in an otherwise routine victory.
This has the potential to a lengthy affair, and punishing baseline exchanges are unlikely to be in short supply. The setting nor the occasion will overawe Chung, and this might just be his time to shine.
Prediction: Zverev in five
Tomas Berdych (19) v Juan Martin del Potro (12)
Berdych and del Potro have been top players for much of the last decade, but only of them be around for the second week at Melbourne Park.
The will be the ninth meeting between the Czech and the Argentine – and del Potro leads the head to head 5-3. Both competitors have dropped sets en route to the last 32, however neither has encountered serious trouble.
Del Potro’s career is moving forward again after a difficult few years with wrist trouble – and he is back in the Top 10. It’s taken him three and a half long years to return to his rightful place, but he is at least in the ascendancy again.
In contrast, Berdych’s career appears to be on a downwards spiral. He was once a perennial Top 10 player and a regular in the latter stages of the biggest events, but he has begun to struggle with injuries and his recent results have been indifferent.
Prediction: del Potro in four
Angelique Kerber (21) v Maria Sharapova
Only two former champions remain in the women’s draw, and they are about to face off in a blockbuster third round clash.
Kerber and Sharapova have amassed seven major titles between them, but this will be their first encounter since the German entered the highly prestigious Grand Slam club.
The Russian narrowly leads the head to head count 4-3, and their last three meetings have all gone the distance.
Sharapova’s level of play has fluctuated throughout her first two matches. She has impressed in spells, but looked shaky when pushed.
If the Russian is going to prevail against her confident opponent, who is unbeaten in seven matches, then she will need to find a level of consistency that has been absent so far.
Prediction: Kerber in three
Agnieszka Radwanska (26) v Su-Wei Hsieh
For any tennis connoisseur, this is a must watch match-up.
In an era of pace and power, Radwanska and Wei Hsieh both provide a welcome alternative. The crafty pair perform with guile and flair, and their third round meeting is unlikely to be dull.
Radwanska, who endured a torrid 2017, has been taken the distance in her opening two matches yet has found a way to survive. She has reached the last four in Melbourne twice before and will view this as a golden opportunity to reach the second week.
Wei-Hsieh bewildered Garbine Muguruza with her unorthodox style in the previous round, and she is now attempting to reach the last sixteen for the first time in ten years.
Prediction: Radwanska in three