Australian Open day four preview: Barty and Nadal in second round action

World No.1 Ashleigh Barty takes on Daria Gavrilova in an all-Australian clash as the second round of the Australian Open continues on Thursday.

Barty comfortably dispatched Danka Kovinic without dropping a single game on Tuesday, while qualifier Gavrilova defeated Sara Sorribes Toro in straight sets.  

The two friends are set to lock horns for the fifth time, with Barty having won three of the previous four, and Gavrilova has nothing but respect for her dominant opponent.

She said: “I’m pretty proud that we’ve got someone like Ash, and she just represents us so well.

“Her tennis smarts are incredible. Before a tie, we always play team analysis and she’s always spot on.” 

The reigning Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin takes on Kaia Kanepi, while fifth-seed Elina Svitolina faces American Coco Gauff in the pick of the second-round action. 

Meanwhile, Rafael Nadal – who has only won the tournament once back in 2009 – will take on American qualifier Michael Mmoh.

World No.4 Daniil Medvedev is also in action against Roberto Carballes Baena, while Greek World No.6 and fifth-seed Stefanos Tsitsipas faces home favourite Thanasi Kokkinakis.

The Greek-Australian broke down in tears after defeating Kwon Soon-woo to win his first match at his home Grand Slam since 2015, following a turbulent spell with injuries. 

Kokkinakis said: “I felt this massive roar and massive cheer from the crowd and I just started tearing up. 

“There’s just so much stuff behind the scenes to get back to that point that not a lot of people realise apart from my team and friends and family.” 

There is also British interest in both the men’s and women’s bracket on Thursday as Cameron Norrie and Heather Watson face qualifier Roman Safiullin and World No.22 Anett Kontaveit respectively.

Norrie, born in South Africa, defeated compatriot and British No.1 Dan Evans 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 while Guernsey-born Watson triumphed over Kristyna Pliskova in a hard-fought encounter, with both sets going to a tie break as the Brit won 7-6 7-6. 

You can check out all of SWL’s Australian Open coverage here.

Featured image credit: Carine06 via Wiki Commons

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