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Five matches to watch on Day 3

  • Matt Trollope

With Australian Open 2022 now well and truly underway, all players have enjoyed a hit-out at Melbourne Park and now have their sights firmly set on a spot in the third round.

MORE: Day 3 schedule of play 

With matches from the top halves of both the men's and women's draws gracing the courts on Wednesday, we preview five of our favourites. 

Belinda Bencic v Amanda Anisimova

In the top quarter of the women's singles, perhaps the most dense of all in the draw, Tokyo Olympic gold medallist Bencic faces Anisimova, who as a 17-year-old advanced to the Roland Garros semifinals in 2019. 

MORE: AO 2022 women's singles draw

Now 20, Anisimova is rediscovering form after a period of personal turmoil, winning the recent Melbourne Summer Set 2 title, her first trophy in almost three years. 

Anisimova is one of the game's purest ball-strikers, particularly off the backhand wing, and is undefeated in six matches so far in 2022. But she is yet to beat Bencic, a lover of pace and who takes the ball exceptionally early in the mould of occasional mentor Martina Hingis. 

Bencic advanced to last week's Sydney quarters – where she stretched eventual champ Paula Badosa to three sets – and has won three of her four outings this season.

Naomi Osaka v Madison Brengle

The winner of Bencic-Anisimova would progress to a third-round battle with either Osaka or Brengle, which may appear a mismatch on paper but could be a potential banana-skin match for the defending champion. 

World No.54 Brengle owns seven career wins over top-20 players – including four at Grand Slams – and arrived in the second round after beating former world No.21 Dayana Yastremska despite hitting just one winner. It is this kind of grinding, counter-punching consistency that could trouble Osaka if the Japanese superstar is not quite finding her rhythm. 

However, the four-time major champion has looked impressive this season, undefeated in four matches and largely dominating rising star Camila Osorio in her first-round appearance at Rod Laver Arena. Brengle did win their only meeting, but it came at 25K ITF event, more than eight years ago, when Osaka was just 16.

Gael Monfils v Alexander Bublik

This is a match-up that promises plenty in the shot-making sphere. Bublik is a rough draw for the 17th-seeded Monfils this early in the tournament, given the big-serving Kazakh – who led the ATP Tour in aces in 2021 – was ranked 35th the week the AO draw was made, missing out on being seeded himself by just one place. 

MORE: AO 2022 men's singles draw

In addition to his big serve, Bublik has become famous for his propensity to hit cheeky underarm deliveries, and has admitted he has no idea what shot is going to fly off his racquet next. But that should not surprise Monfils, who also plays a creative, unorthodox brand of tennis, elevated by magnificent athleticism. 

Monfils did as he pleased in a runaway first-round win

The veteran Frenchman, now 35, is enjoying a rich vein of form, winning the Adelaide International two weeks ago and thumping Federico Coria in the first round of the loss of just five games. Bublik won their only career meeting in four sets at Roland Garros in 2020, but Monfils will hope his early 2022 momentum carries him over the line.

Alexander Zverev v John Millman

World No.3 Zverev is making strides at the Grand Slams, having reached the second week at eight consecutive majors, and at least the semifinals at three of the last five. The German finished 2021 strongly with his second trophy at the ATP Finals and enjoyed a straight-sets win over compatriot Daniel Altmaier to open his AO 2022 campaign. 

Millman, though, can be expected to trouble Zverev in this second-round encounter, given the Aussie's history of pushing the big names to the brink on home soil. He came ever-so-close to upstaging Roger Federer in the third round of AO 2020, and, thanks to his fitness and experience, uses the five-set format and the crowd to his advantage. 

Notably, Zverev has won his two prior meetings with Millman, but both have gone the distance – including a five-set struggle in the first round at Roland Garros in 2019.

Victoria Azarenka v Jil Teichmann

An attractive stylistic contrast awaits fans when Azarenka clashes with Teichmann, the left-handed Swiss who enjoyed an impressive 2021 season. A player with impressive variety, feel and power, the 23-year-old Teichmann reached the Adelaide and Dubai semifinals before a breakout week in Cincinnati, where she stunned Osaka, Bencic and Karolina Pliskova en route to her first WTA 1000 final. 

She enters AO 2022 at a peak ranking of No.34, but faces a player who has thrived at Melbourne Park. Azarenka, an AO champion in 2012 and 2013, has won eight of her past 10 matches, capping 2021 with a run to the Indian Wells final before a quarterfinal showing to open this season in Adelaide. 

While this is her first meeting with Teichmann, Azarenka boasts a dominant 56-18 career win-loss record against left-handers.