Stanislas Wawrinka is yet to drop a set in the defence of his Australian Open title, but that could well be about to change with a wily campaigner standing between the champion and the fourth round in Melbourne.
Jarkko Nieminen is a former quarter-finalist of this Grand Slam back in 2010 and although the Finn is not expected to progress at Wawrinka’s expense, lifting a set off his opponent looks an achievable mission.
The case is made below, along with two other bets of choice from the women’s side of the draw Down Under:
Nieminen to win at least 1 set v Wawrinka @ 5/4
Although Stan hasn’t actually given up a set in six prior matches in 2015, including his opening two rounds at Melbourne Park, he was run much harder than his 3-0 second-round victory suggests.
Playing against Romanian player Copil Marius, a qualifier ranked 194 in the world, the Swiss was taken to two tiebreaks in the match.
Meanwhile, 33-year-old lefty, Nieminen, actually won the pair’s last hard court meeting in straight sets back in 2011.
Eugenie Bouchard v Caroline Garcia: Exactly 3 sets @ 2/1
Both these players arrive in round three in great shape and there’s evidence to suggest this won’t be as straightforward a win for seventh-seed Bouchard as her 2/9 odds suggest.
Her French opponent accounted for 27th seed Svetlana Kuznetsova in round one, is yet to drop a set in Melbourne and actually defeated the Canadian in their only previous meeting on hard courts just last season.
Sara Errani v Yanina Wickmayer: Over 21.5 total games @ evens
These players have met five times in the past and it’s the lesser-known Wickmayer who has triumphed three times, albeit Errani has won the last two.
However, Wickmayer did dump the 14th seed out at this stage of the 2010 Aussie Open and in her last two defeats to the Italian, she has at least taken the match the distance.
All of their last three meetings have smashed the above total-games marker, while the lowest amount of games contested during their prior quintet of clashes is 19 – back in 2009.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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