Murray, Nadal and Federer feature after untesting first round wins
Australian Open third-favourite Andy Murray (7/1 with Coral) has once again been left all alone as the sole Brit in a Grand Slam, with Heather Watson, James Ward and Kyle Edmund all exiting from their respective draws at the first stage.
The Scot, though, came through his match on the opening day with relative ease, beating Indian qualifier Yuki Bhambri in straight sets. Murray is heavily odds-on at 1/25 to defeat his next opponent, outspoken Australian Marinko Matosevic, and 1/3 to do so 3-0.
This match-up is all the more intriguing, as only recently did Matosevic heavily criticise Murray’s move to appoint Amelie Mauresmo as his new coach.
“I couldn’t do it because I don’t think that highly of the women’s game,” he said. “It’s all equal rights these days, politically correct. Someone’s got to give it a go, but it won’t be me.”
Murray, though, was quick to dispel any issues with the Aussie, stating: “He came and spoke to me immediately about it when it was in the papers and apologised, and spoke to my mum about it and apologised, and apologised to Amelie.
“He’s the sort of guy, he can say something and he doesn’t necessarily mean anything bad with it if that’s his opinion. I’m not offended by it and I get on absolutely fine with him.”
Elsewhere, four-time Australian Open champion Roger Federer (5/1 tournament chance) faces unseeded Italian Simone Bolelli, who knocked out Juan Monaco. They have played each other three times before, with the superstar Swiss yet to draw a set against him, so he is odds-on at 1/33 to beat him and 2/7 for another 3-0 victory.
Rafael Nadal (8/1 title fourth-favourite), who was injured for the majority of last year, came through his opening test with ease, against a potentially tricky challenger in Mikhail Youzhny. He is up next against American qualifier Tim Smyczek, and is also 1/33 to defeat him. A 3-1 win is priced at 3/1.
Other big names featuring on day three include Grigor Dimitrov, Richard Gasquet and Australian home hopes Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic.
In the women’s draw, second favourite and seed Maria Sharapova (7/2) take on Russian compatriot Alexandra Panova.
The likes of Simona Halep (11/2) and Eugenie Bouchard (9/1), who both defeated their opening round opponents in straight sets, are also in action.