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Five matches to watch on Day 4

  • Matt Trollope

All eyes might be on the prime-time Rod Laver Arena blockbuster between Daniil Medvedev and Nick Kyrgios, but there is plenty more action to enjoy as the second round continues to unfold on Thursday at Australian Open 2022. 

MORE: Day 4 schedule of play 

Here are five other matches that have piqued our interest.

Felix Auger-Aliassime v Alejandro Davidovich Fokina

Pushed to five sets in his opening match against talented Finn Emil Ruusuvuori, Canada's Auger-Aliassime will be hoping to rebound forcefully – but it won't get any easier for him in the second round, where talented Spaniard Davidovich Fokina awaits. 

MORE: AO 2022 men's singles draw

Davidovich Fokina was a quarterfinalist at Roland Garros last year, just before Auger-Aliassime notched his best Slam result with a Wimbledon quarterfinal run. But since then, Auger-Aliassime bettered that with a semifinal at the US Open and top-10 debut, while Davidovich Fokina sits further down at world No.50. 

Auger-Aliassime has also begun 2022 more strongly, forming part of Canada's winning ATP Cup team. Auger-Aliassime may be the favourite, but expect plenty of breathtaking athleticism from these two impressive rising stars.

Anett Kontaveit v Clara Tauson

Can Tauson, one of the sport's most highly-rated teenaged talents, beat one of the game's most in-form players in Kontaveit? 

MORE: AO 2022 women's singles draw

Tauson began 2021 outside the top 150 but is now a top-40 player thanks to an impressive year that delivered her first two WTA titles. A powerful ball-striker, she says she relishes matches against the world's best. But Kontaveit pairs similarly-fearsome power with athletic court coverage, and has been almost unstoppable since August, winning 33 of her last 38 matches to storm into the top 10. 

The Estonian is 4-1 already in 2022 and would love nothing better than to replicate her AO 2020 quarterfinal this year – or perhaps go even further in a Grand Slam breakthrough.

Taylor Fritz v Frances Tiafoe

In this battle between countrymen, Fritz and Tiafoe, the United States' No.1 and No.4-ranked male players, meet for the fourth time on the pro tour. 

Fritz ended 2021 extremely strongly and has picked up where he left off this year, beating Auger-Aliassime and Cameron Norrie at the ATP Cup and posting a straight-sets win to arrive in the second round at Melbourne Park. 

Verging on the top 20, Fritz will go in as favourite against Tiafoe, who notched his first win of 2022 thanks to a five-set win over Marco Trungelliti round one. But Tiafoe is an electric shot-maker when his game is clicking, and in the back-half of the season he recorded four wins over top-10 opponents. 

Of the two players it's Tiafoe who has gone furthest at the Australian Open, with a quarterfinal run in 2019.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova v Sam Stosur

Long-time rivals and occasional doubles partners Pavlyuchenkova and Stosur will clash on KIA Arena at very different junctures of their careers. 

Russia's Pavlyuchenkova, 30, is enjoying something of a renaissance, at a career-high ranking of No.11 after last year reaching her first major final at Roland Garros. Stosur, conversely, is winding down her singles career in her 20th appearance at her home Grand Slam, but intends to continue playing on in doubles. 

Stosur got to celebrate victory with her home fans on Tuesday

Singles wins have been hard to come back recently for the popular Aussie – who is currently ranked outside the top 400 – but she did enjoy an emotional three-set win in round one against Robin Anderson. 

"Obviously it's going to be a tough one. She's still one of the best players in the world, had a great year last year," said Stosur of Pavlyuchenkova, who leads the head 5-4. 

"I can go out there and have some fun again." 

Pavlyuchenkova may prove too high a hurdle to clear on Thursday, but it will not take away from the incredible career achievements Stosur has compiled.

Grigor Dimitrov v Benoit Paire

This match-up has something of a retro vibe, given both men are in their 30s and have been competing on tour as pros for almost 15 years. Dimitrov has been ranked as high as No.3, but is down to 28th. Paire has been inside the top 20, but currently hovers at 56th. 

Curiously, they've met just four times, despite their lengthy careers; Paire leads the head-to-head series 3-1, winning their most recent encounter more than six years ago in Tokyo. But the Frenchman does not carry into the encounter anything like the form shown by Dimitrov, who was a semifinalist at the Melbourne Summer Set tune-up event and who has won 12 of his past 17 matches. 

Dimitrov's aesthetically-pleasing game will come up against Paire's unorthodox shot-making gifts – most likely in front of a crowd full of tennis buffs.