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Action at the Australian Open is picking up speed with players booking their places in the third round of the first Grand Slam of 2022. Home favorite Ashleigh Barty (UTR Rating 13.38) continued her dominant play, while Rafael Nadal (16.20) cruised onward as the new favorite in his top half of the draw. A flurry of upsets took place on Wednesday, with some interesting clashes coming up.
Let's take a closer look with the expert assistance of Universal Tennis INSIGHTS.
Anisimova Finds Her Groove
Going into her second round-match with No. 22 seed Belinda Bencic (13.15), Amanda Anisimova (12.71) had just a 26% chance of pulling out of the upset (INSIGHTS delivers winning percentages for every match). Overcoming all of the disadvantages, Anisimova took out the Olympic gold medalist 6-2, 7-5.
The 20-year-old American is fresh from a title win in Adelaide, and after a drop in the rankings in 2021, is playing with more confidence and freedom. It may have something to do with having Darren Cahill in her corner on a trial basis. The former coach of Simona Halep is doing his part to give Anisimova the best chance of playing her best.
“It’s kind of just about putting me in a good place from the start, and helping me stay relaxed and calm," Anisimova told press earlier this week. "I think
Per INSIGHTS, Anisimova has a 31% chance of upsetting her next opponent, No. 13 seed and defending champion Naomi Osaka (13.00). Osaka made quick work of American Madison Brengle (12.26), 6-0, 6-4. Against Anisimova, the four-time Grand Slam champion has the higher UTR Ratings (overall and three-month trending), better recent win-loss record, and better record versus common opponents. The two have never played each other before.
INSIGHTS Predicts Next Women's Matches to Watch
There could be more upsets brewing as No. 24-seeded Victoria Azarenka (13.13) is expected to beat No. 15-seeded Elina Svitolina (12.92) at 62% INSIGHTS odds. It wouldn't be the biggest upset ever with Azarenka a two-time Australian Open champion and holding four career wins over the Ukrainian, most recently taking her out in two sets in Doha last year.
In other interesting match-ups, No. 26 seed Jelena Ostapenko (12.89 has a chance at upending No. 4 seed Barbora Krejcikova (13.04). INSIGHTS expects a close one with Krejcikova holding 60% odds. Notably, both players have recent wins over Anett Kontaveit (13.29), one of the INSIGHTS favorites to win the major. Even more notably, both are Roland Garros champions with Ostapenko winning in 2017 and Krejcikova winning in 2021. Krejcikova holds the most recent head-to-head win, beating the 24-year-old Latvian in Dubai last year.
INSIGHTS Predicts Next Men's Matches to Watch
In one of the closest-looking men's third-round matches, No. 23 seed Reilly Opelka (15.32) will have a 43% chance of defeating No. 14 seed Denis Shapovalov (15.50). Opelka eased past Dominik Koepfer (14.93) in straight sets while Shapovalov survived a five-set challenge from Soonwoo Kwon (15.19). It will mark the first meeting between Opelka and Shapovalov, and INSIGHTS gives Shapovalov the edge in UTR Ratings and win-loss record, but Opelka has the better win (Daniil Medvedev).
There's been a lot of eyes on 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz (15.85) and not just because of his sleeveless shirts and title win at the Next Gen ATP Finals to close out 2021. The Spaniard has a 55% chance of upsetting No. 7 seed Matteo Berrettini (15.83) to reach the fourth round Down Under for the first time. Alcaraz topped Berrettini in a third-set tiebreak in the quarterfinals of Vienna last year, has the higher three-month trending UTR Rating, and a recent better win over Stefanos Tsitsipas (15.97).
Honorable mentions go to Sebastian Korda (15.59) and Adrian Mannarino (14.95). Korda outlasted Corentin Moutet (15.14) in a fifth-set tiebreak and has the INSIGHTS edge at 61% to upset No. 19 seed Pablo Carreno Busta (15.38). Of course, fitness and health will play a huge factor after Korda's second round, but Carreno Busta also needed five (albeit less dramatic) sets to beat Tallon Griekspoor (15.37). INSIGHTS correctly called that close match, with Carreno Busta going in with just a 52% edge.
Mannarino stunned No. 10 seed Hubert Hurkacz (15.70) in straight sets after having just an INSIGHTS expected 14% chance of pulling out the upset. The 33-year-old Frenchman will play No. 18 seed Aslan Karatsev (15.58) next.
•UTR Ratings and INSIGHTS probabilities as of 9 a.m. EST, Jan. 19, 2022.