Australian Open: Selected Men's Third Round Matches Preview

Tennis Player hits ball

Damien Kayat takes a look at selected round three matches from the men's draw at the Australian Open. 

Danil Medvedev 9/20 | David Goffin 33/20
At the vanguard of the new-wave of Russian tennis talent, Danil Medvedev has actually been one of the form hardcourt players in world tennis over the past five months. That may seem quite surprising considering his relative anonymity. It can really be traced back to a run to the final 16 in Canada. He followed that up by claiming the Winston-Salem title. He then ran into an inspired Borna Coric in the third-round of Flushing Meadows before claiming yet another title in Japan. He then reached the semi-finals of the Swiss Indoors and Kremlin Cup. So it’s fair to say that Medvedev- at 23- is one of the most dangerous players outside of the usual suspects. He also has recent form, losing in the Brisbane Final to Kei Nishikori. One look at his vanquished foes in that event- Tsonga, Murray, Raonic- tells you all you need to know about Medvedev.

David Goffin has been the nearly man of men’s tennis for some time now. He had a fairly stable position inside the world’s top 10 for some time. The 2017 Aussie Open quarter-finalist just doesn’t quite possess the resources necessary to make that next step. He has never made it past the quarter-final stage of a Grand Slam, relying on an inordinate workload to hang inside the top 10. Goffin overcame Copil in four sets last time out, which hardly screams positivity. He lost his opening round in Qatar, which doesn’t bode well for the Belgian Energizer-Bunny. His best results last season came on clay, which is unsurprising when you look at his broader Grand Slam statistics. His win-loss rate at the French Open stands at 70% compared to an overall Grand Slam record of 63%.

This- slightly surprisingly- will actually be the first meeting between Medvedev and Goffin. I actually think that Goffin has no chance this week. Medvedev has more pure power from the back of the court and comes into this match in far superior form. 9/20 for Medvedev- while not enticing- looks a sure thing. 

Borna Coric 2/11 | Filip Krajinovic 34/10
There’s always a tinge of apprehension in these Serbia-Croatia clashes, particularly after clashes between the fans marred the 2011 Aussie Open. Borna Coric will go into this encounter as the clear favourite following a breakthrough 2018. In many ways, his year can be defined in terms of Federer. He reached the Indian Wells semi-finals where he lost to the Swiss master. He then beat Federer in Halle and Shanghai. He claimed the Halle title and ultimately reached a Masters 1000 Final in Shanghai. He also showed marked improvement in the Slams, reaching the third-round of the French and the final 16 in New York. Coric is one of the most in-vogue players on tour, breezing past Fucsovics and Darcis in straight sets. He will certainly take some beating.

Croat Filip Krajinovic endured a far different campaign form his Serbian foe. Krajinovic exploded into the tennis consciousness with that remarkable run to the Paris Masters Final in 2017. So 2018 was primed to be a year of opportunity for the Croat. It started promisingly with him bursting into the world’s top 30 following an ATP 500 semi-final appearance in Dubai. But the last half of the season was severely cut short by injury issues, which saw him withdraw from the US Open. He seems to have overcome the issues that plague his left ankle and foot. Krajinovic should be extremely well rested after such a truncated end to 2018. He has already accounted for 17th seed Cecchinato in the opening round. Krajinovic is a dangerous player whose double-handed backhand has been compared to the great Andre Agassi.

Coric is the clearly the overwhelming favourite for this match, though this will be the first meeting between these two. Upsets are always more probable in such circumstances. I just took a look at Krajinovic’s 34/10 odds and thought: this guy is better than that. He had a tumultuous year but he could push Coric all the way in this match, particularly on his favourite surface. 

Written by Damien Kayat for

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