Australian Open day two must-see match-ups January 14, 2019 by Ben McKay


Destanee Aiava (AUS) v 17-Madison Keys (USA), Rod Laver Arena - Day
Tuesday's visit to Rod Laver Arena won't be 18-year-old wildcard Destanee Aiava's first match on the Australian Open centre court; last year she drew top seed Simona Halep and even broke the world No.1 to lead the first set before the Romanian's class prevailed. That experience should hold the wildcard entrant in good stead to battle fellow power-hitter Keys, the 2017 US Open runner-up.

Tatjana Maria (GER) v 16-Serena Williams (USA), Rod Laver Arena - Day
Williams returns to the grand slam stage four months after her explosive US Open final loss to Naomi Osaka as she shoots to equal Margaret Court and tally her 24th grand slam. The 37-year-old superstar should have no trouble against fellow veteran Maria of Germany, with most interest going to the reaction Williams will receive from the Melbourne Park crowd.

Johanna Konta (GBR) v Ajla Tomljanovic (AUS), Court 3 - Day
Could this be the tournament that Tomljanovic announces herself to an Australian audience? After two WTA finals in 2018, hopes are high that the world No.47 can push on this year into seeding contention. In former semi-finalist and world No.38 Johanna Konta, the 25-year-old has landed a tough draw. Sydney-born Konta has won all three of their past meetings, their battle expected to be a high-quality affair.

Nick Kyrgios (AUS) v 6-Mlios Raonic (CAN), Melbourne Arena - Night
Two of the biggest servers on tour face off on Kyrgios' favourite court, the newly rebadged Melbourne Arena, in an early-tournament blockbuster. The pair shared 1501 aces in 2018 and no one has a better record at winning first-serve points than the towering Canadian. The pair have met six times with three wins each, with Kyrgios' temperament set to play a key role in whether he can mount another Melbourne Park run.

1-Simona Halep (ROM) v Kaia Kanepi (EST), Margaret Court Arena - Night
Halep could have forgiven herself an eye roll at learning her draw; a rematch with the Estonian who bundled her out of last year's US Open in the first round. That's one of five first-up losses the world No.1 has taken leading into the Australian Open while retaining the top seed. Kanepi, 33, reached the third round at Melbourne Park last year and will be a tough assignment for the Romanian.

Benoit Paire (FRA) v 7-Dominic Thiem (AUT), Margaret Court Arena - Night
For star power, Novak Djokovic's battle with American qualifier Mitchell Krueger or US Open champion Naomi Osaka's clash with Magda Linette might be more keenly anticipated. But late on Margaret Court Arena, one of the sport's most combustible players against a next-gen shotmaker promises to be compulsive viewing. Paire's spats are as keenly watched on tour as Thiem's backhand.

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