WILL EVANS’ daily preview serves up Australian Open tips for Aussie bolter Maddison Inglis’ third-round showdown with Estonian veteran Kaia Kanepi. 

Australian Open Tips – Kaia Kanepi V Maddison Inglis

12:30 (AEDT), (AEDT), Sat 22nd Jan @  Melbourne Park

History: First meeting

Final Thoughts: All eyes are on Ash Barty’s bid to break the Australian Open’s 44-year homegrown champion drought, but another vibrant young Aussie is winning an army of new fans in the women’s draw.

Wildcard Maddison Inglis had previous played just four Grand Slam matches, losing them all. But the 24-year-old has earned the biggest payday of her career by reaching the third round in Melbourne.

After a stunning 6-4 6-2 upset of 2021 US Open finalist Leylah Fernandez first up, Inglis outlasted fellow second-round bolter Hailey Baptiste 7-6 2-6 6-2. The 127th-ranked tyro displayed impressive poise to regroup in the deciding set after the momentum turned against her in the second.

Following wins over the 19-year-old Fernandez and the 20-year-old Baptiste, Inglis lines up a fresh challenge against WTA Tour stalwart Kaia Kanepi, 36.

The Estonian has forged a surprise run of her own this week. The world No.115 upset 16th seed and 2016 Australian Open champ Angelique Kerber 6-4 6-3 in the first round, before putting away 86th-ranked Marie Bouzkova 6-2 7-6.

Kanepi, who has been ranked as high as 15th, has not been beyond the third round of an Australian Open. But she boasts six Grand Slam quarter-final appearances – two each at the French Open, Wimbledon and US Open.

Kanepi is just $1.30 to advance to the round of 16 – she’s in great form and her vast experience presents a sizeable obstacle to Inglis. But Inglis has also been outstanding, will enjoy vociferous crowd support and fits the profile of the welter of unheralded young players to produce deep Grand Slam runs in recent times.

The price on offer for an Inglis upset is too good to pass up.

Tip: Result – Inglis @ $3.56


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