Madison Keys has started the season in confident form as she has so far won all seven of her matches. Five of those victories were at the United Cup where Keys has benefited from the team spirit that was built there and that seems to have had a positive impact on her performances on the court. However there have been many times where Keys has had good starts to the year but has faded away when it really matters. The American will look to learn from her past mistakes and keep some consistency heading into the rest of the season.
The first test of Keys’ potential consistency this season will be in the form of former champion Victoria Azarenka. The world number 24 will be pleased with her results so far this week having defeated Sofia Kenin and Nadia Podoroska in straight sets without any drama. The Belarusian would love nothing more than to win a Grand Slam title before her career ends and Melbourne would seem to be her best chance on paper. Doubts still remain though as to whether Azarenka can keep up a high level for the whole two weeks as she approaches the last 32.
This match is all about power with both players also possessing a unique set of counter-attacking qualities as well. Keys will look to use her forehand to take away Azarenka’s backhand from the match while the Belarusian will look to use different depths to make the American feel uncomfortable. Despite the head-to-head being against Keys, the tenth seed comes in as favourite as so far this season, the American has been able to gain wins while not playing her best tennis.
Prediction: Keys in three sets.
Daniil Medvedev  v Sebastian Korda  H2H & Match Fundamentals
Daniil Medvedev sent out another big statement in his last round as he defeated Australian wildcard John Millman to reach the third round. Nobody will enjoy playing the seventh seed in current form and now with Rafael Nadalout of the tournament, Medvedev will be firm favourite to reach the final. However Medvedev knows he can’t afford to be complacent and will look to continue his red-hot form ahead of the second week.
A big test awaits last year’s finalist though in the form of talented American Sebastian Kordawith the American having a great start to the season. The 29th seed reached the final in Adelaide a couple of weeks ago and was very close to beating Novak Djokovic with Korda’s athleticism and shot selection causing Djokovic problems. Korda won’t fear anyone and will believe with his game he can beat anyone on the draw. Can the American boy achieve his American dream and cause a big upset in Melbourne?
This should be an entertaining match with Korda looking to be as aggressive as possible against Medvedev who will need to serve well to neutralise Korda’s return. This will be a fascinating tactical battle with Korda capable of taking a set off Medvedev but ultimately last year’s finalist is on a mission and should prevail here.
Prediction: Medvedev in four sets.
Jessica Pegula  v Marta Kostyuk H2H & Match Fundamentals
After ending the 2022 season with her maiden WTA1000 title in Guadalajara, Jessica Pegula has continued the momentum into 2023 as she has started the season in fine form. Motivated by her win over Iga Swiatek at the United Cup, Pegula has continued to show why she has become one of the most reliable and consistent players on the WTA tour. Now the American looks to take her game to new heights in Melbourne and win a first Grand Slam title.
A stern test awaits in the third round as the big-hitting Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk awaits. Kostyuk first broke through at the Australian Open a few years ago and the Ukrainian has pushed on from that breakthrough into the top 70 in the world. After beating Amanda Anisimova in the first round, Kostyuk will believe that she can cause more upsets this week and continue to climb up the rankings as the 20 year-old looks to be a Grand Slam champion in the future.
This will be a tough test for Pegula as it will put her defensive skills to the test as Kostyuk will look to dictate the points using her power. The American will look to go to the net and shorten the points when she needs to but will look to be physical from the baseline and turn this into a war of attrition. Ultimately Pegula’s confidence and variety should get her through this tough third round match.
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