We’re coming up on night four of the Australian Open where we’ll see more action from former tournament champ Victoria Azarenka and Aussie tennis legend Lleyton Hewitt. Here’s MyTennisLessons‘ predictions for round two of the tournament.
The Power Couple
Victoria Azarenka vs. Caroline Wozniacki (8)
Wow, Victoria Azarenka got a tough draw. After defeating Sloane Stephens in the first round she’ll have to face the 2014 U.S. Open runner-up in the second. This won’t be an easy match for Wozniacki either, who leads the series 5-3. But the no. 8 seed has been playing well in 2015 and two weeks ago made it to finals of the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand, where she lost to Venus Williams in three sets. Azarenka, however, has played just one match outside the Australian Open, losing in the first round of the Brisbane International to Karolina Pliskova.
Irina Falconi vs. Madison Brengle
Both women are 24 years old and neither has made it past the third round of any grand slam. Now they’ll vie for a chance to play the winner of fellow American Coco Vandeweghe and Aussie Samantha Stosur (20) in round three. Falconi and Brengle have already played once this year at the qualifying rounds in Brisbane, where Brengle took the match 6-2, 6-0. Brengle also upset Andrea Petkovic (13) in round one, so she’s the definite favorite. Don’t discredit Falconi though — she beat Brengle 6-2, 7-5 in October and in her first round Aussie Open match hit six unforced errors to Brengle’s 44. Still, knocking out Petkovic is pretty impressive.
Benjamin Becker vs. Lleyton Hewitt
Becker currently stands 41 ranking points above Hewitt, but Hewitt has two grand slam titles on the German, and 10 years after his Australian Open run to the finals, consistently proves he’s still got it. Hewitt won a title in Newport last year, while Becker hasn’t won an ATP tournament since 2009. But Becker impressed viewers more in the first round of the 2015 Australian Open, upsetting no. 25 seed Julien Benneteau in four sets. Hewitt played wildcard Ze Zhang in round one, winning 6-3, 1-6, 6-0, 6-4. If he plays like he did in the second set, the former world no. 1 may be in trouble. For now, Hewitt seems just as excited that his younger compatriots have a shot at the title, saying in an interview, “It’s great for Australian tennis … it’s starting to get back like the good old days.” He’ll enjoy playing in his 19th Australian Open, win or lose.
The Close Contenders
Steve Johnson vs. Santiago Giraldo (30)
Both players are just outside the top-30 in the ATP and won their opening matches in Melbourne in straight sets. Johnson’s had a better start than Giraldo in 2015 — he made it to the quarterfinals in Auckland, while Giraldo lost in the first round to a player ranked outside the top-100. It’s bound to be a close match, but my money is on Johnson. USA all the way.
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