Our Day 6 Australian Open preview features Aussie star Ash Barty up against Naomi Osaka, with both players aiming for a maiden fourth-round slam appearance.
History: First meeting.
Final Thoughts: Ashleigh Barty’s Australian Open dream is still alive after two hard-fought victories to open her campaign. The only Australian woman left in the final 32, Barty came from a set down in both wins over Aryna Sabalenka and Camila Giorgi.
But the 18th seed was particularly impressive in reeling in Giorgi, levelling in a tense second set before powering home to win the decider 6-1. The 21-year-old Queenslander is now on course for her maiden fourth-round appearance at a grand slam.
Japan’s Naomi Osaka swept aside Kristina Kucova in the first round before upsetting 16th seed Elena Vesnina in straight sets. The 20-year-old, currently ranked No.65 in the world after edging into the top-40 in 2016, has now made it to the third round of six of her last eight grand slams – but she has never reached the last 16.
Osaka’s run in Melbourne belies several months of subpar form since reaching the third round of the US Open, though she did knock Venus Williams out of the Hong Kong Open in October.
Barty will be focused on a strong start after dropping both of her first sets so far, but the crowd favourite is battle-hardened after her charge to the Sydney International final and should outlast the attack-minded Osaka, who tends to struggle when pressured onto the back foot.
AUSTRALIAN OPEN TIPS
|Roger Federer V Richard Gasquet||Total Games – Under 31.5 @ $1.80|
|Maximilian Marterer V Tennys Sandgren||Total Sets – 4 Sets @ $2.50|
|Angelique Kerber V Maria Sharapova||Sharapova Win @ $2.15|