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Australian Open: Day two preview - Novak Djokovic keen to make up for lost time

Day two of the Australian Open sees the introduction of nine-time winner Novak Djokovic, who was forced to miss last year's event.

The slick Serb, who won three straight Aussie Open titles from 2019 to 2021, gets his campaign underway against Spain's Roberto Carballes Baena and should run out a decisive winner.

Former world number two Alexander Zverev is also in action in the men's event but fans favourite Nick Kyrgios is a late withdrawal, pulling out of his home Grand Slam with a knee injury.

Andy Murray leads the British interest as he takes on impressive Italian Matteo Berrettini, while Aryna Sabalenka, Ons Jabeur and Caroline Garcia are the star turns in the women's competition.

Murray faced with daunting challenge

WhatMatteo Berrettini v Andy Murray
WhereMelbourne, Australia
WhenTuesday 17th January
How to watchEurosport, discovery+ and bet365's Sports Live Streaming
OddsMatteo Berrettini 3/10, Andy Murray 5/2

The Australian Open has been a frustrating tournament for former British number one Murray, who on five occasions has finished runner-up in the illustrious event.

Four of those final defeats have come against Djokovic but, while the Serb has been able to maintain his high standards, Murray has been plagued by injury and has seen himself slide to 49th in the world rankings.

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There have been some recent signs of encouragement for Murray but a first-round duel with Italian 13th seed Berrettini, who was an Australian Open semi-finalist last season, looks a daunting prospect.

Berrettini has made at least the quarter-final in each of his last five Grand Slam appearances so it is easy to see why he is 3/10 for victory.

Murray was beaten 7-6 6-3 by Sebastian Korda on his comeback in Adelaide earlier this month but the American went on to finish runner-up to Djokovic in that tournament, having also overcome the likes of Roberto Bautista Agut and Jannik Sinner.

The Italian won two of his four warm-up games at the United Cup, recording victories over Casper Ruud and Hubert Hurkacz.

Berrettini has also won his last three meetings with Murray but he did need four sets in their most recent encounter at last season's US Open.

It is 6/5 for Berrettini to prevail and both players to win a set, which has plenty of appeal.

Thiem's troubles may continue

WhatAndrey Rublev v Dominic Thiem
WhereMelbourne, Australia
WhenTuesday 17th January
How to watchEurosport, discovery+ and bet365's Sports Live Streaming
OddsAndrey Rublev 3/10, Dominic Thiem 5/2

Dominic Thiem is a former US Open champion and a one-time Australian Open runner-up, but the Austrian has struggled with injuries over the past few campaigns.

Thiem has been on such a downward spiral that he has slipped from world number three to 98 in the last three years, which is part of the reason that he has been dealt such a tricky opening-round test.

Andrey Rublev has established himself as one of the game's elite and the Russian world number six has made the quarter-finals in six of his last nine Grand Slam appearances, including Down Under in 2021.

On current form and recent evidence, this is a challenge Rublev should pass with flying colours as Thiem has lost in the first-round of his last three Grand Slam appearances.

Thiem lost in straight sets in his opening two warm-up games against Felix Auger-Aliassime and Soonwoo Kwon and odds of 7/4 on Rublev winning 3-0 are well worth considering.

Fernandez has plenty to prove

WhatLeylah Fernandez v Alize Cornet
WhereMelbourne, Australia
WhenTuesday 17th January
How to watchEurosport, discovery+ and bet365's Sports Live Streaming
OddsLeylah Fernandez 4/7, Alize Cornet 11/8

Leylah Fernandez enjoyed a breakthrough year in 2021 as she finished runner-up to Emma Raducanu at the US Open, but the Canadian has yet to build on that promise.

The 20-year-old did make the quarter-finals of last season's French Open but all three of her visits to the Australian Open have ended in the opening round.

And that could be the case again against experienced Frenchwoman Alize Cornet, who was a quarter-finalist in Melbourne last season.

Fernandez was easily beaten by Ysaline Bonaventure at the ASB Classic last week and she looks too short against Cornet, who is five places higher in the world rankings and is a five-time winner on the WTA Tour.

Cornet is 11/8 for victory and that is a tempting punting proposition.

Potapova could pile the misery on Stephens

WhatSloane Stephens v Anastasia Potapova
WhereMelbourne, Australia
WhenTuesday 17th January
How to watchEurosport, discovery+ and bet365's Sports Live Streaming
OddsSloane Stephens 8/11, Anastasia Potapova 11/10

Sloane Stephens won the US Open in 2017 and she was also runner-up at the French equivalent only a year later.

The American has never reached those heights since, however, and looks a vulnerable favourite in her match-up with Anastasia Potapova.

Stephens has made an Australian Open semi-final but that came way back in 2013 and six of her last seven trips to Melbourne have ended at the first hurdle.

The 29-year-old has played two warm-up events in preparation for the first Grand Slam of the season, but she was beaten in straight sets on both occasions by Rebeka Masarova and Lauren Davis.

Potapova could add to that misery and odds of 11/10 may underestimate the Russian's chances.

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