If there is one country that seems poised to emerge as a tennis superpower over the next ten years, it has to be Canada. Between Bianca Andreescu, Denis Shapovalov and Felix Auger-Aliassime, their crop of young talent is unquestionably the best in the sport – and yet after Tuesday, it won’t be making a splash at the decade’s first major.
Already down Andreescu before the tournament even began, and Shapovalov after Monday, Auger-Aliassime followed his compatriots out with a disappointing performance that belied the ability we know him to possess.
At 19, 20, and 19 respectively, Andreescu, Shapovalov and FAA obviously have plenty of time to right the ship, but it just goes to show how hard it is to make it in this sport. The body and mind can be fickle allies, and even when you’re possessed with an abundance of talent such as they have, it can take a tremendous amount of work to keep them in check.
In any case, the tournament rolls on – here’s your three to see on day 3 in Melbourne:
Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) v Dayana Yastremska (UKR)  – Second on Margaret Court Arena
Suffice to say it’s been a wild ride for Caro Wozniacki: world number one at 19, yet years of grand slam futility, and then just when it looked like it would never happen, she went and won the ’18 Aussie Open and completely flipped the script on her career. Now that career could be about to come to an end at the hands of another ascendant teenager in Dayana Yastremska. Getting the best of the Dane in a 6-4, 6-4 affair in Cincy last year, Yastremska has shown already she has the goods to take it to Wozniacki, and while we might all want a storybook ending for the latter, her recent form isn’t indicative of a player that is likely to turn the tables. Still, she’s a champion player for a reason, and if the crowd gets behind her, maybe Yastremska starts to feel the pressure and the ride can continue for at least a little while longer.
Benoit Paire (FRA)  v Marin Cilic (CRO) – Third on Court 3
I’m usually loathe to feature the same player twice this early in the tournament, but when Marin Cilic gets to follow his very solid win over Corentin Moutet with a showdown against everyone’s favourite frenzied Frenchman, Benoit Paire – well, you just have to do it. A match with myriad possible outcomes, Cilic is as likely to roll based on his 5-1 head-to-head record as Paire is, having been spurred-on by an the Aussie crowd mistaking him for a bushranger and cheering out of instinct. In all seriousness though, this is match where Cilic could emerge as the draw’s most dangerous floater, but win or lose, it should say a lot about where the Croat is headed in his age-31 season.
Christian Garin (CHI) v Milos Raonic (CAN)  – Third on Court 19
Literally as close a contest as you can get at this stage of the tournament, #36 Christian Garin plays #35 Milos Raonic in a match with the potential to give you the best bang for your buck of any in the first week. A first career meeting, Raonic comes in the favourite with his far superior hard-court pedigree, but Garin has shown with his 2-0 record over John Isner last year that he knows how to play against big servers, and if he stonewalls Raonic similarly, the match will be played much closer to his terms from the baseline. In any case, both these fellas are capable of some serious shotmaking, and whether it goes three or five it should be a literal blast of a contest.