Melbourne Summer Series: What to watch on Day 4

  • Matt Trollope

As the build-up to Australian Open 2021 continues, we preview the storylines capturing our interest on Wednesday at Melbourne Park, including the kick-off of a third WTA 500 event – the Grampians Trophy. 

ATP Cup continues 

After an incredible opening day of play featuring the world’s top four players, Day 2 of the ATP Cup will deliver several more must-see match-ups. 

MORE: ATP Cup: Novak sparks Serbia, Spain surge without Rafa

The pick of the bunch is Alexander Zverev versus Denis Shapovalov in the daytime Germany-Canada tie at Rod Laver Arena, although Stefanos Tsitsipas versus Alex de Minaur – under lights at RLA during the Greece-Australia tie – is another excellent choice. 

De Minaur will look to bounce back after losing against Spain

Across at John Cain Arena, France plays Italy in the day session – a tie featuring a 2019 US Open quarterfinal rematch between Matteo Berrettini and Gael Monfils – while Russia’s top-10 singles stars Daniil Medvedev and Andrey Rublev will take on Japan’s finest in the evening session. 

Eye-catching WTA clashes 

Scanning the Melbourne Summer Series order of player, three third-round women’s matches immediately jump out. 

There’s the 2020 US Open quarterfinal rematch between Serena Williams and Tsvetana Pironkova, and a big-hitting clash between third seed Karolina Pliskova and 13th seed Danielle Collins. The winners of both contests – to be played back-to-back in the evening at MCA – will square off in the Yarra Valley Classic quarterfinals. 

MORE: WTA Yarra Valley Classic draw

In the last 16 of the Gippsland Trophy, No.3 seed Elina Svitolina will face 2017 Roland Garros winner Jelena Ostapenko in an attractive stylistic contrast. That match opens the day’s play at 1573 Arena. 

Jelena Ostapenko Melbourne Summer Series
Ostapenko has already displayed fine form in Melbourne

Top seeds back-to-back 

Ash Barty and Simona Halep, the world’s top two women, are the No.1 seeds for the Yarra Valley Classic and the Gippsland Trophy respectively. And they will take to the court, one after the other, on Wednesday afternoon at MCA. 

MORE: Melbourne Summer Series wrap: Barty, Kvitova winners on a star-studded day

Barty, who enjoyed a winning return to competition against Ana Bogdan on Tuesday after a year away, plays Marie Bouzkova in the third round, while Halep faces Laura Siegemund

ATP events swing into gear

After first-round byes, some of the biggest names in the ATP 250 events of the Melbourne Summer Series will make their first appearances of 2021.

Stan Wawrinka, Grigor Dimitrov, Karen Khachanov, Felix Auger-Aliassime, Taylor Fritz and Casper Ruud are all in action on Wednesday, bidding to reach the last 16 of either the Murray River Open or the Great Ocean Road Open. 

David Goffin, who reached the ATP Antalya semifinals before flying to Melbourne, is also in action as the top seed Great Ocean Road Open and takes on Spanish teen talent Carlos Alcaraz

Nick Kyrgios will play his second match in as many days against fellow Aussie Harry Bouchier

Kyrgios returned after a lengthy layoff with a win on Tuesday

Local interest high 

Kyrgios and Bourchier are among an incredible 17 Australians competing in singles matches across Melbourne Park on Wednesday. 

In addition to De Minaur and John Millman representing Australia in the ATP Cup, and Barty headlining the Yarra Valley Classic draw, Ellen Perez will play in the Grampians Trophy, a WTA 500 event specifically introduced for players who found themselves in hard hotel-room quarantine following their flights to Australia. 

A total of 13 Aussie men will compete in second-round matches at the two ATP 250 tournaments.