Long rallies to help Robredo lead Australian Open fivefold
Having been dumped out of the Australian Open in the first round 12 months ago by Jesse Levine, Tommy Robredo had a decent 2013 from a Grand Slam perspective, getting through the early rounds before defeats to David Ferrer, Andy Murray and Rafael Nadal.
Robredo’s victory over Roger Federer to reach the quarter finals at the US Open is especially memorable and he can take another notable scalp here in Melbourne, with Richard Gasquet his third-round opponent.
A victory for Robredo is part of an Australian Open fivefold that pays out at a decent 16/1.
Tommy Robredo to beat Richard Gasquet @ 6/4
Gasquet has been troubled by a back injury in the early rungs of 2014, which caused his withdrawal from his final preparation event in Kooyong.
Getting through the opening two rounds here in straight sets is a positive, but Robredo is by far his biggest test yet and will be more than happy to settle into some longer rallies.
Robredo is also the more likely of the pair to hit winners and if Gasquet is struggling slightly in his movement, this could prove an even greater aid.
Kevin Anderson to beat Edouard Roger-Vasselin @ 4/7
The head-to-head record between this pair reads 1-1 but this doesn’t tell the whole story, as Anderson threw away a 2-0 lead in the most recent showdown at the 2010 French Open.
Roger-Vasselin has only made eight unforced errors in the whole tournament thus far and although this has its benefits, he does not really have any attacking weapons to trouble Anderson, who has already served 36 aces in his two victories.
Jie Zheng to beat Casey Dellacqua @ 21/20
Considering Zheng is 64 places higher in the WTA rankings, it is difficult to accept that Dellacqua is the favourite here, even though she has home advantage and dropped just three games to Wimbledon semi finalist Kirsten Flipkens in the last round.
Zheng has made at least the fourth round in Melbourne on three of her last four visits, while this is Dellacqua’s first Grand Slam third round match since 2010.
Defeats of top-36 players Roberta Vinci and Madison Keys also show Zheng is in decent form heading into this one.
Flavia Pennetta to beat Mona Barthel @ 2/5
Pennetta reached the semis at the last Grand Slam at the US Open and is yet to drop a set in racing to the third round here.
Barthel had lost seven of her last eight matches before Melbourne and was arguably fortunate to see off Thailand’s Luksika Kumkhum in round two, as she hit fewer winners, had fewer break points and won fewer first-serve points.
Na Li to beat Lucie Safarova 2-0 @ 4/9
Li has won all five hard-court showdowns between the pair, with three of these coming in straight sets.
The big problem for Safarova is her lack of power from the baseline and there is every chance she will be blown away here by Li’s sheer number of winners.