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Australian Open - Day four preview: Aryna Sabalenka & Casper Ruud should advance

After day two of the Australian Open was impacted by extremes of weather - both torrential rain and scorching heat played a part - a handful of first-round matches had to be rescheduled.

But do not fear as there is plenty of second-round action to enjoy on Thursday with the likes of big-hitting Aryna Sabalenka and British stars Daniel Evans and Andy Murray in action, while Novak Djokovic is also involved but has had to wait longer to discover who he will face next.

Sabalenka can shine in second round

WhatAryna Sabalenka v Shelby Rogers
WhereMelbourne Park, Melbourne
When00.00, Thursday 19th January
How to watchEurosport, discovery+ and bet365 Sports Live Streaming
OddsAryna Sabalenka 3/10, Shelby Rogers 5/2

Aryna Sabalenka showed she means business this hard-court season when she won the Adelaide International earlier this month, having won all four of her matches in that competition in straight sets.

And she swiftly followed that with another 2-0 demolition of Tereza Martincova in the first round at the Australian Open, racking up a 6-1 6-4 win in just over an hour of play.

The fifth seed likes these courts and will be eager to build on her previous best showing of the fourth round - achieved in 2021 and 2022.

Next up for Sabalenka is a clash with American Shelby Rogers, who looks about right at 5/2, and was knocked out in the round of 32 in both runnings of the Adelaide International. 

Sabalenka is a cut above her opponent and could represent value at 4/5 to win this match 2-0.

Ruud should not be fazed by Brooksby challenge

WhatJenson Brooksby v Casper Ruud
WhereMelbourne Park, Melbourne
When00.00, Thursday 19th January
How to watchEurosport, discovery+ and bet365 Sports Live Streaming
OddsJenson Brooksby 11/5, Casper Ruud 4/11

There are a number of reasons to keep an eye on Casper Ruud, who enjoyed a strong 2022 on the ATP tour.

The Norwegian is seeded second in Melbourne and would rise to number one in the ATP rankings for the first time in his career if he can win his first Grand Slam.

There is of course a long way to go but Ruud has shown he can mix it with the very best, reaching the final of the ATP World Tour Finals at the end of last year, losing to Novak Djokovic in the final.

Ruud struck 55 winners and broke serve four times in his Melbourne opener against Czech star Tomas Machac, who he overcame 6-3 7-6 6-7 6-3, and is 4/11 to repeat the trick against Jenson Brooksby.

This is the furthest Brooksby has ever gone at the Australian Open and he is unlikely to cause much of a stir against a capable Ruud, who is a value bet at 2/1 to win this 3-0.

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Evans will have to work for Chardy win

WhatJeremy Chardy v Daniel Evans
WhereMelbourne Park, Melbourne
When00.00, Thursday 19th January
How to watchEurosport, discovery+ and bet365 Sports Live Streaming
OddsJeremy Chardy 9/2, Daniel Evans 1/7

For Dan Evans, his previous best showing at the Melbourne major saw him reach the fourth round back in 2017 and he is well on course to at least match that achievement this month.

The Briton was pretty comfortable in his opening contest of the Australian Open against Facundo Bagnis, winning 6-4 4-6 6-4 6-4, despite limited preparations for the Grand Slam.

The 25th seed is a red-hot favourite to follow that up with victory over Jeremy Chardy at 1/7 but he may not have things all his own way against the experienced Frenchman.

Chardy is a former Australian Open quarter-finalist and was also comfortable in the first round against Daniel Elahi Galan and, although Evans should get the job done, a bet on Chardy to win a set could be worth a look at 4/5.

Garcia should be too strong for young Fernandez

WhatLeylah Fernandez v Caroline Garcia
WhereMelbourne Park, Melbourne
When00.00, Thursday 19th January
How to watchEurosport, discovery+ and bet365 Sports Live Streaming
OddsLeylah Fernandez 2/1, Caroline Garcia 2/5

Leylah Fernandez showed great composure to hold off tricky French ace Alize Cornet in the first round of the Australian Open, coming through the match as 7-5 6-2 winner, but her journey could come to an end at the hands of Caroline Garcia.

Garcia is a dangerous player on the WTA tour, having won the Cincinnati Masters and the WTA Finals at the end of 2022, and she was a quarter-finalist at the recent Adelaide International.

The fourth seed was ruthless in the first round in Melbourne, dismantling Katherine Sebov 6-3 6-0 to progress, and another straight-sets win is worth a bet at 11/10 when she faces Fernandez.

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