Hewitt swansong headlines probable Aus Open Day 4 talking points
It is all about the home contingent on day four of the Australian Open, with Lleyton Hewitt and Sam Groth both in action on the Rod Laver Arena court, and Bernard Tomic on last in Margaret Court Arena.
Here are a few things to look out for as the second round of the singles in both the men’s and women’s draw continues:
Primetime Hewitt on brink of retirement
It is difficult to fathom that Hewitt has been playing at his home Grand Slam for two decades, having made his debut as a qualifier aged 15 in 1997.
He has already highlighted that he will retire once knocked out and the fact he has been given the primetime slot on Melbourne’s show court suggests there is plenty of interest in his swansong. He faces David Ferrer in round two.
Interestingly, the pair have met three times previously – once at the French Open, once at Wimbledon and once at the US Open. This will complete the set.
None of these previous matches were won in straight sets and so it is highly probable that Hewitt will make a fist of it, before eventually succumbing to the eighth seed.
Ferrer can be backed at 9/4 to win in four sets.
Another double bagel on Azarenka’s agenda
Victoria Azarenka has now played 12 sets of tennis so far in 2016 and has lost just 17 games in total. She was supremely dominant when swatting aside Alison van Uytvanck in the opening round in Melbourne 6-0, 6-0.
The Belgian only won two points on her second serve all match and five points on the Azarenka serve.
Up next for the recent Brisbane International winner is Montenegro’s Danka Kovinic, who has matched her best Grand Slam performance by progressing to the second round here.
Kovinic is lower in the official WTA rankings than Van Uytvanck and another demolition job is anticipated.
Under 15.5 games in the match looks a shrewd 1/1 bet, Azarenka is 4/1 to win the first set 6-0 and 16/1 to repeat her double bagel triumph from the first round.
The bottom eighth of the women’s draw being left without a seed
The surprise first-round exit of second seed Simona Halep, alongside the departure of number 31 Lesia Tsurenko, has left Madison Keys and Ana Ivanovic as the only seeds remaining in the bottom eighth of the women’s draw.
This suggests both now have a strong opportunity of reaching the latter stages in Melbourne, although both being dumped out on day four is far from unlikely.
Keys faces Yaroslava Shvedova, who won the only previous meeting between the pair at Wimbledon in 2014.
Ivanovic has gone out before the third round in half of the past six years and faces Latvian qualifier Anastasija Sevastova, who has previously made the fourth round here.
Sevastova also holds a 1-0 head-to-head advantage over Ivanovic, albeit from a hard-court clash at Indian Wells in 2010.
The win double on Shvedova and Sevastova pays out at 13/1.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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