By Ros Satar
- Caroline Wozniacki  v Alison Van Uytvanck
- Roger Federer  v Denis Istomin
- Petra Kvitova  v Magdalena Rybarikova
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – Slam champions feature on today’s Three to See as we look at the pick of the matches to kick off the Australian Open.
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Caroline Wozniacki  v Alison Van Uytvanck | H2H: Wozniacki leads 1-0
It is Champions’ night at the Rod Laver Arena, and Caroline Wozniacki will finally have to relinquish ownership of ‘Daphne’ – just for now. She faces Alison Van Uytvanck who has had her moments upending top-names in Slam draws – she halted Garbiñe Muguruza in her tracks at Wimbledon in the second-round last year.
Wozniacki has worked hard to manage her rheumatoid arthritis since her diagnosis last year, and acquitted herself well at the WTA Finals in Singapore’s last hurrah, and has looked ready to defend her title.
Van Uytvanck has a deceptively powerful serve and will ply her trade as an aggressive baseliner, but she is more than happy to march forward to the net. She has solid footwork under her and could match Wozniacki’s ability to switch from attack and defence, so don’t be surprised to see her get into and maybe even dictate rallies against the Dane.
Prediction: Wozniacki in three sets.
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Roger Federer  v Denis Istomin | H2H: Federer leads 6-0
Can Denis Istomin spring another Aussie surprise after downing Novak Djokovic a couple of years ago? Defending champion Roger Federer is standing on the cusp of another record (let’s face it, at this stage in his career, when isn’t he?), as he bids for a seventh Australian Open title.
It has been a while since the pair faced each other, but Istomin is not a player for Federer to take lightly. Technically he is quite sound, hits a flat ball and can belt powerful shots from all parts of the court.
Federer has been in great form – he looked comfortable at the Hopman Cup and in practice footage, he has looked very much in control, certainly in the early stages of his attempts to defend his title.
Prediction: Federer in straight sets
Petra Kvitova  v Magdalena Rybarikova | H2H: Kvitova leads 6-1
The newly crowned Sydney champion Petra Kvitova does not have much of a turnaround, albeit one of our featured night matches. Kvitova played right down to the wire to deny Ashleigh Barty the Sydney title and she left everything out there at the end.
She might have to dig in a little to tackle Magdalena Rybarikova, who can mix things up with a decent serve, good slice and coming forward, to pull Kvitova off the back line.
Last year, Kvitova was unlucky to come up against Andrea Petkovic with a 10-8 final set. In fact Kvitova’s slam luck has been a little off since winning a second Wimbledon title in 2014, not to mention returning after injuries sustained after a knife attack. This Australian Open should be a little more forthcoming for the popular Czech.
Prediction: Kvitova in straight sets
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