Australian Open day three preview: Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep both feature

The second round of the Australian Open commences on Wednesday with Novak Djokovic and Simona Halep among the stars in action.

Defending champion Djokovic will take to the Rod Laver Arena as he faces the American Frances Tiafoe for a place in the third round.

The eight-time Australian Open champion conceded just six games in his opening match against Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, and shouldn’t be troubled by Tiafoe, who has struggled for form since his quarter-final appearance in Melbourne two years ago.

World No. 2 Halep took just an hour to defeat Lizette Cabrera in her opener, and will hope to beat yet another Australian as she meets Ajla Tomljanovic.

Tomljanovic, who swapped nationalities from Croatia to Australia earlier in her career, is yet to make it past the second-round stage in her previous seven attempts and failed to beat the Romanian in their previous three encounters.

Reigning US Open champion Dominic Thiem, who defeated Mikhail Kukushkin in straight sets earlier this week, faces German Dominik Koepfer in what will be the first meeting between the pair.

Naomi Osaka, who would’ve produced the performance of the first round against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova if it wasn’t for Ashleigh Barty’s remarkable whitewash, faces Caroline Garcia on Rod Laver Arena.

Former World No 4 Garcia is starting to show glimpses of her best tennis after a challenging few years on tour, though shouldn’t pose too many problems for tournament favourite Osaka.

Serena Williams is also in action on Wednesday against Nina Stojanovic, as the American continues her quest for a record-equalling 24th career Grand Slam.

The seven-time Australian Open winner breezed past Laura Siegemund in her opener and should prevail once again against a similar level of opponent.

Home favourite Nick Kyrgios, who sparked controversy earlier this week for his comments about World No. 1 Djokovic, will meet promising Frenchman Ugo Humbert in one of the picks of the second round.

Another intriguing tie involves 2014 Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka and the tricky Hungarian Marton Fucscovics, who has had his best Grand Slam success in Melbourne after reaching the fourth round in two of his last three attempts.

World No. 8 Alexander Zverev also features, with the German hoping to improve on his unconvincing opening round display as he takes on French-American qualifier Maxime Cressy.

To read more of our coverage from the Australian Open, please click here.

Featured image credit: Carine06 via Wikimedia Commons

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