4 min read
The 2023 Australian Open has seen its fair share of upsets and Cinderella-story-worthy wins, with men's top two seeds Rafael Nadal and Casper Ruud dropping out early. Momentum is picking up speed as the action moves deeper into the first week, with players ready to book their place in the round of 16.
Universal Tennis INSIGHTS is helping break down the most enticing third-round matches coming soon.
(10) Madison Keys (12.57) vs. (24) Victoria Azarenka (12.63)
Victoria Azarenka is a two-time Australian Open champion, so she knows her way around Melbourne Park, even though it’s been a decade since she’s hoisted the trophy. The 33-year-old was dominant in her second-round bout with Nadia Podoroska, dropping just one game.
She takes on No. 10 seed Madison Keys, a US Open finalist in 2017. Per INSIGHTS, Azarenka has the edge at 53% with three career wins over the 27-year-old American, including most recently in Guadalajara last season. The two power hitters will be sure to put on a show with a place in the round of 16 on the line.
(22) Elena Rybakina (12.82) vs. (13) Danielle Collins (12.56)
Fans should also keep an eye on the third-round clash between Danielle Collins and reigning Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina. Rybakina holds the INSIGHTS edge at 64% and recently defeated Collins in Adelaide to open the 2023 season. Collins is the defending Australian Open finalist and had her first major breakthrough in Melbourne when she reached the semifinals in 2019 as an unseeded underdog.
She's coming off an unreal 6-7(1), 6-2, 7-6(6) win over Karolina Muchova that finished past 1 a.m. Playing a deciding tiebreak for the first time, Collins celebrated too early when she led 7-3 (Grand Slam final-set tiebreaks go to 10), but luckily she laughed it off and closed out the win.
Rybakina made history when she won the Wimbledon title to become the first Kazakh to pull off the feat. Still, while Collins relishes the Melbourne heat, Rybakina has never made it beyond the third round of the Australian Open.
(16) Frances Tiafoe (15.78) vs. (18) Karen Khachanov (15.66)
Frances Tiafoe knows how to entertain a crowd and will need some support to edge past his next hurdle, No. 18 seed Karen Khachanov. INSIGHTS has the American favored at 57%, with the higher UTR Ratings (overall, trending three-month, and hard court). Khachanov holds a 2-0 edge over Tiafoe, but they have only played each other at Wimbledon, most recently in 2021.
(7) Daniil Medvedev (16.06) vs. (29) Sebastian Korda (15.85)
Daniil Medvedev may the favorite, with 62% odds, but Sebastian Korda’s star is rising, and his Grand Slam breakthrough is just around the corner. Medvedev and Korda have played each other just once, last year at the ATP Masters in Paris, where Medvedev prevailed in three sets. Korda, just 22 years old, reached two finals last year and started his year by reaching the final in Adelaide and narrowly losing to Novak Djokovic.
Special mention goes to Brandon Holt (14.50), a player who has spent some time on the UTR Pro Tennis tour, in Newport Beach and Naples. Holt came through qualifying, just like he did at the US Open when he qualified and stunned Taylor Fritz. This week, he won his first Australian Open main draw match in five sets over Aleksandar Vukic. Next for Holt is No. 24-seeded veteran Roberto Bautista Agut (15.72).
In women's underdog action, Anhelina Kalinina (12.46) took out two-time Wimbledon champion and No. 15 seed Petra Kvitova in straight sets to reach the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time. She’s got a shot at going farther if INSIGHTS has anything to say about it, as the 25-year-old Ukrainian has a 45% chance of upsetting No. 20 seed Barbora Krejcikova (12.55) next.
UTR Ratings and INSIGHTS probabilities as of 9 a.m. EST, January 18, 2023.