Steve McQueen eat your heart out. Why have one great escape when you can have three?
Such was the story of Wednesday at the Australian Open, where Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Grigor Dimitrov, and Caroline Wozniacki all came back from some seriously dire circumstances – not to mention reminding us why grand slam tennis is the best.
Under the brightest of lights, with the stakes and pressure ramped up to 11, anything can happen. Whether it’s a 32-year-old staving off the personification of father time, a world no. 178 coming inches from knocking-off the no. 3, or a once-favourite finding a way to pull off the most miraculous of comebacks. There’s nothing else in sport quite like it.
What can the Australian Open do for its next trick? Here’s your three to see for day 4 in Melbourne.
Maria Sharapova (RUS) v Anastasija Sevastova (LAT)  – 1st on Rod Laver Arena
It’s not exactly going to go down as a modern day Evert-Navratilova, but even in its embryonic stages, Sharapova-Sevastova has developed into a great rivalry that should continue here. Each woman has one win apiece – Sevastova bumping Sharapova out of last year’s US Open, the latter returning the favour in Beijing – having player all six possible sets, with a combined five hours on court. In both contests, we’ve seen a classic matchup between puncher and counter-puncher, with Sevastova trying to redirect Sharapova’s pace before the Russian can crunch one into a corner, and that lends itself to multiple momentum shifts as each player finds their range. Assuming that pattern continues, it’ll take something special for one woman to gain a lasting advantage over the other, and it might take another three hours to find it.
Hyeon Chung (KOR) v Daniil Medvedev (RUS) – 3rd on Court 8
A rematch from the ATP NextGen Finals, Medvedev gets the chance to avenge his semifinal loss to Chung in a match with significantly higher stakes, and significantly less-weird rules. In Milan, Chung was able to take advantage of the faster indoor surface with his more offensively-oriented game, but on the slower courts of Melbourne (the same surface on which he just won in Sydney) Medvedev should have an easier time methodically building rallies to set up his dangerous forehand. Whoever wins, expect winners and sets to be traded in what will offer a good long look at two of the ATP’s brightest prospects.
Novak Djokovic (SRB)  v Gael Monfils (FRA) – 3rd on Rod Laver
In episode two of ‘How Healthy is Novak Djokovic?’, the six-time AO champ gets to test his fitness against familiar punching bag Gael Monfils. Holding a career 14-1 record against the Frenchman (whose only win came on the Futures tour in 2004), this shouldn’t be that dangerous a match for Djokovic, but Monfils comes into this match off the back of a title in Doha, and has the exact sort of arsenal required to capitalize on a potentially sub-par Serb. With that in mind, this is arguably the best possible test Djokovic could ask for at this stage of the tournament – whether he can pass it, we’ll just have to wait and see.