The sort of day Rebecca Black must live for, Friday was certainly one to remember at the Australian Open.

Serena Williams: out. Naomi Osaka: kaput. Stefanos Tsitsipas: toast. Caroline Wozniacki: signing off. Roger Federer: almost milkman’d.

I mean, if just one of those things had happened, it would be enough to keep us talking for the next 24 hours, but all five? That’s just crazy.

All of a sudden, the complexion of this tournament looks very different, with both men’s and women’s draws going from looking fairly straightforward to suddenly rife with opportunity. All it took was one wacky Friday – gotta love grand slam tennis.

Here’s your three-to-see on Saturday in Melbourne:

Gael Monfils (FRA) [10] v Ernests Gulbis (LAT) – Second on Melbourne Arena (Not before 1:00pm local)

Three weeks into 2020, and we might all ready have the “meme match” of the decade in Gael Monfils against Ernests Gulbis, a.k.a. Lord Gulbis. Separated by a scant 246 places in the rankings, you might not think Gulbis has much of a shot here, but as his first round victory over Felix Auger-Aliassime will attest, the Latvian remains one of the most talented players in the sport, and against Monfils he’s going to get plenty of balls that he can try to tee-off on. More importantly though, both player’s penchant for the unorthodox is sure to be on full display, and that means it doesn’t matter whether this is three sets or five, you’re going to get your money’s worth regardless.

Nick Kyrgios (AUS) [23] v Karen Khachanov (RUS) [16] – Fourth on Melbourne Arena (Not before 6:50pm local)

I said in yesterday’s three-to-see that I thought Nick Kyrgios’ win over Gilles Simon – having survived a midmatch meltdown – could be a sign the Aussie is finally putting it together, so this contest with Karen Khachanov has the chance to make me look very foolish. Personal pride aside, it looms as an extremely tough test for the Australian, as while Khachanov was fortunate to escape his second rounder with Mikael Ymer via a match tiebreak, he is still one of the few players on tour who can match (or even outdo) the power of the Australian. In addition, Khachanov also took their only meeting in an exceptionally close three-setter in Cincinnati last year, so the onus is on Kyrgios to break down the Russian while not getting too frustrated on the occasions he is unable to do so. With that in mind expect a titanic tussle here, replete with as much theatrics as highlight-reel tennis.

Elina Svitolina (UKR) [5] v Garbine Muguruza (ESP) – First on Rod Laver Arena (Night Session)

With the possible exception of Jelena Ostapenko, there is no player in the women’s game whose slide has been as confounding as Garbine Muguruza’s, but now the world number 32 gets a chance to correct course somewhat and score her first top-10 win since last year’s French Open. As it so happens, that top-10 player Muguruza defeated was Elina Svitolina, who again looms here in a classic clash of offense versus defense. RG loss notwithstanding, Svitolina’s 6-4 lead in the head-to-head makes her the favourite in this one, and on this surface she’ll have an easier time getting her own shots to go through the court and stop Muguruza from dominating the baseline. That said, the Spaniard can still redline it like few others, and if she can keep composure on serve, the Ukrainian will be set for a very long evening indeed.


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