Nearing the half-way point of AO 2018, the story of the tournament is starting to take shape – well, in that’s it’s looking like a ‘choose your own adventure’.

Case-in-point was an eventful Friday, where with stories like the ongoing oppression on top of oppression with the heat policy, the slew of underdogs making noise on the women’s side, the ominous form of Rafael Nadal, or Nick Kyrgios’ attempts to give every Australian a heart attack, tennis fans have been left with an awful lot to process in the past 24 hours. Then you find out Kyle Edmund and Andreas-freaking-Seppi are set to square off for a spot in a major quarterfinal, and it’s almost enough to fry your brain completely.

Of course, part of the beauty of grand slam tennis is that the action is utterly relentless, and that means we get to wake up and do it all again tomorrow. Saturday should be no different, with plenty of excitement and intrigue on offer.

Here’s your three to see for day 6 at the Australian Open:


Hyeon Chung (KOR) v Alexander Zverev (GER) [4] – 2nd on Rod Laver Arena

Why have one hype train when you can have two? Such is the case with youngsters Hyeon Chung and Sascha Zverev, who are set for an encounter which will decide who everyone fawns over for at least the next few weeks. Going by the rankings you’d assume that’s Zverev, and while he’s definitely the favourite, Chung was actually the victor of their only encounter in Barcelona last year, and could well pull off the upset again. The danger for Zverev is that he can get a little too comfortable playing from behind the baseline, and Chung is the type of player who will pounce on any passivity thrown his way. If the German is to pass this test, he’ll have to employ his own offensive repertoire early and often, and that should result in an entertaining encounter that is seriously high-octane.


Tomas Berdych (CZE) [19] v Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG) [12] – 4th on Hisense Arena

The latest chapter in the “battle of the bigs”, Berdych and Del Potro have a particularly even rivalry, and this one should be no different. The head-to-head rests narrowly in Del Potro’s favour at 5-4, and while powerful hitting will undoubtedly be a factor, their matches tend to be characterised less by how they finish points, and more how they set those finishes up. Controlling depth will be key here, which in turn will be largely dependent on the superiority of Berdych’s inside-out forehand against Del Potro’s slice backhand. In any case, expect the winners to flow free and fast, with the winner being well-primed for a run deep into the second week of the tournament.


Angelique Kerber (GER) [21] v Maria Sharapova (RUS) – 1st Match, Night Session on Rod Laver

A clash of two former AO champions with plenty to prove, this match presents a superb opportunity for both women to return to prominence. Despite having played 7 times previously (Sharapova leads the head-to-head 4-3), this is a particularly hard one to predict as the two haven’t played on hard courts in half a decade, and obviously much has changed in the interim. Stylistically they match up well, and while Sharapova will dictate rallies with her heavier ball, Kerber knows how to counter power hitting with continual changes of direction and ruthless finishing, which should lead to a great mix of first-strike and extended exchanges. Indeed, this is the best either has looked in a long time, and that means this has three sets written all over it.


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