By Ros Satar, in Melbourne

  • Serena Williams [16] v Tatjana Maria
  • Simona Halep [1] v Kaia Kanepi
  • Nick Kyrgios v Milos Raonic [16]

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – It is Day 2 of the Australian Open and we pick our three matches to watch.

 

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Serena Williams [16] v Tatjana Maria | First Meeting

Returning to the Australian Open for the first time since the birth of her daughter Alexis Olympia, Serena Williams has made her return to the tour in emphatic fashion. Of course, another first will be her press conference – her first at a tour level since the US Open.

Although she looked a little rusty against her sister Venus at the Mubadala World Tennis Championships, on paper she should have more than enough to handle the German, who at least has some match practice. Williams seemed to be more relaxed at the Hopman Cup although the US bowed out in the group stages.

Prediction: Williams in straight sets

 

Simona Halep [1] v Kaia Kanepi | H2H tied at 1-1

Simona Halep in the second round of the Australian Open, 2018

Simona Halep in the second round of the Australian Open, 2018 | Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

Are we ready for another shock exit for the World No. 1? Of course, Kaia Kanepi bounced Simona Halep out of the US Open in the first round, and can be an extremely tricky character to meet early in a Slam draw.

It will be interesting to see how Halep handles being officially coach-less after parting company with Darren Cahill and she took some extra time before starting her season this year. It perhaps backfired a little as she went out in her opening round of Sydney. She does have one up on Kanepi who aggravated an existing injury of her own after the US open (where she went on to reach the fourth round).

Prediction: Halep in straight sets

 

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Nick Kyrgios v Milos Raonic [16] | H2H tied at 3-3

The Aussies seem to be enjoying an upswing of success at their home Slam with eight of the little possums into Round Two from the first day of competition. The question is which Nick Kyrgios, will turn up and play Milos Raonic, who has been constantly battling with injury over his short career.

Perhaps Raonic has had a bit more of a consistent start to the year, reaching the quarter-final of Brisbane, while Kyrgios is searching for his first set of back to back wins.

Don’t expect any dazzling rallies or flair – this will be a brutal slugfest with Raonic the favourite to win. But it does seem that Andy Murray’s impending retirement has evoked something in Kyrgios who was one of the first to pay tribute to someone he looked up to.

Prediction: Kyrgios in four sets.

 

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