WILL EVANS’ daily preview serves up Australian Open tips Aussie bolter Christopher O’Connell and fellow big-name slayer Maxime Cressy lock horns in the third round.
16:05 (AEDT), Sat 22nd Jan @ Melbourne Park
History: First meeting
Final Thoughts: Sydney’s Chris O’Connell is in the midst of his career-best Grand Slam run – and is the only Aussie remaining in the third round of the men’s draw, alongside Alex de Minaur.
The 27-year-old had made it to the main draw of a major just six times previously. After accounting for Hugo Gaston in four sets in the first round, O’Connell bagged the biggest scalp of his relatively modest career.
O’Connell stunned 13th seed Diego Schwartzman 7-6 6-4 6-4 in the second round. The 175th-ranked journeyman showed real composure and resilience to overcome a high-quality opponent.
It was just O’Connell’s seventh match against a player who has been ranked top-10, and just his second win after an upset of Jannik Sinner at last year’s Atlanta Open.
Standing between O’Connell and a Round of 16 berth is French-born 24-year-old Maxime Cressy.
Now playing under the U.S. flag, Cressy pulled off a notable upset of his own in the first round, outlasting compatriot John Isner in a marathon five-setter. He held serve throughout the four-hour epic and fired down 31 aces. Cressy then beat qualifier Tomas Machac in four sets in the second round.
The win continued a run of recent boilover results for the world No.70: he eliminated Pablo Carreno Busta in the first round of last year’s US Open and rolled Grigor Dimitrov at the Melbourne Summer Set earlier this month. He made the final of that tournament, losing to Rafael Nadal in a spirited display.
Cressy is also into the third round of a major for the first time in just his fourth Grand Slam showing.
O’Connell is a dogged competitor in the mould several Aussies on the scene at present. He won’t die wondering and the partisan crowd support will be a significant advantage. But Cressy is in brilliant touch and looks like a player on the march towards the top-30. His serve-and-volley game should eventually overwhelm $2.45 underdog O’Connell.
AUSTRALIAN OPEN TIPS
|Pablo Andujar V Alex de Minaur||Games Handicap – Andujar +8 @ $1.93|
|Andrey Rublev V Marin Cilic||Set Betting – Rublev 3-0 @ $2.50|
|Dan Evans V Felix Auger Aliassime||Result – Auger Aliassime @ $1.87|