Lorenzo Sonego vs Richard Gasquet: Sonego (+7.5) games – Evens
Lorenzo Sonego – “who”, many of you might say – has been on quite the run at this Australian Open, losing only two of his eleven sets to date (with both lost in tie-breaks).
He has taken the scalps of the capable Thiago Monteiro and the ridiculously irritating Bernard Tomic on his way through qualifying before knocking out the world number 43 Robin Haase – who had an excellent run to the semi-final in ATP Auckland last week – in round one of the main draw.
Sonego has been serving great all week, only getting broken twice in his four matches (both against Haase) and we’re backing him to keep it tight against his much better-known opponent, the flamboyant Richard Gasquet and with the generous handicap of (+7.5) games at Evens.
Denis Kudla v Dominic Thiem: Over 3.5 sets – 6/5
Thiem was okay in his first-round clash against Guido Pella, and ‘okay’ sums up his form since the French Open. He has a win record of just over 55% on hard court over the past 12 months, not very befitting of a world ranked number five.
Conditions appear to be quite fast Down Under this year and that will not suit the Austrian’s style of play. Kudla has hardly set the world alight on the ATP Tour, but the American has come through qualifying well after an impressive end to the year.
A former junior number 3, Kudla pulled off one of the best wins of his career against fellow American Steve Johnson in the first round, and we expect him to trouble Thiem in this second round match.
Aliaksandra Sasnovich v Mirjana Lucic-Baroni: Sasnovich to win – 4/6
Sasnovich has started the year off in great form after almost helping her country to a big upset win in the Fed Cup final at the end of last year. She made her way through qualifying, getting all the way to the final in Brisbane.
That was her only tournament of the year, where she took down four players inside the top 40 before getting outclassed in the final by the red-hot Elina Svitolina.
Lucic-Baroni had an excellent start to last year, rolling back the years on her way to the semi-final here. However, in the last number of months she has struggled badly for fitness and form, winning only four of her last 13 games since last year’s French Open and retired against Petra Kvitova only last week in Sydney.
She did get across the line against Shelby Rogers in the opening round, but we’re backing the improving Sasnovich to get the win at odds of 4/6 here.
Marketa Vondrousova v Caroline Garcia: Garcia To Win 2-0 – 8/11
With the women’s draw as open as ever, Caroline Garcia looks a dark horse for the first Gram Slam of the year. The talented Frenchwoman showed her capabilities on hard courts by winning back to back titles in Wuhan and Beijing towards the end of 2017, dropping just 3 sets along the way.
She looks back to full fitness after pulling out of Brisbane, brushing passed the exciting Carina Witthoft in the first round.
Vondrousova looks set to join a host of Czech women at the top of the game, but this challenge will come too early for the teenager and Garcia should be able to get through unscathed to the third round at 8/11.