Emma Raducanu resumes her Australian Open campaign on Thursday morning against Danka Kovinic of Montenegro.
After a three-set battle in the first round, the 19-year-old is hoping for a much simpler match on the Margaret Court Arena and will set up a third-round clash with her idol Simona Halep, if she defeats Beatriz Haddad Maia. .
Elsewhere, Andy Murray is also back in action against Japan’s Taro Daniel. “He’s a solid player, he moves really well,” Murray said. “No big weaknesses in his game. It will be a good test for me to see how I can back up the performance.”
Raducanu and Murray are two of Britain’s four players through to the second round along with Dan Evans and Heather Watson.
Watson struggled in 2021 but started this season with a new zest for the sport and was impressive beating Mayar Sherif in the first round. Now she’s getting another shot at 29th seed and last year’s French Open semi-finalist Tamara Zidansek, to whom she lost a very close match in Adelaide last week.
Evans, who continued his strong start to the year by beating David Goffin in the first round, faces another in-form player in France, Arthur Rinderknech.
Day Four Order of Play
Rod Laver Arena – play starts at midnight
Alize Cornet (Fra) against (3) Garbine Muguruza (Spain)
Xiyu Wang (Chn) against (2) Aryna Sabalenka (Blr)
Kamil Majchrzak (Pol) v (32) Alex De Minaur (Australia)
Not before 8am GMT:
Nick Kyrgios (Australia) vs (2) Daniil Medvedev (Russia)
(14) Simona Halep (Rom) against Beatriz Haddad Maia (Bra)
Margaret Court Arena – play starts at midnight
(6) Anett Kontaveit (East) vs. Clara Tauson (Den)
Hailey Baptiste (USA) vs Maddison Inglis (Australia)
Sebastian Baez (Arg) against (4) Stefanos Tsitsipas (Gr)
Not before 8am GMT:
Danka Kovinic (Mne) against (17) Emma Raducanu (Gbr)
Steve Johnson (USA) vs (11) Jannik Sinner (Italy)
John Cain Arena – play starts at midnight
(7) Iga Swiatek (Pol) against Rebecca Peterson (Sweden)
Not before 2 a.m. GMT:
Frances Tiafoe (USA) vs (20) Taylor Harry Fritz (USA)
Shuai Zhang (Chn) vs (12) Elena Rybakina (Kaz)
Not before 6am GMT:
Andy Murray (Gbr) vs Taro Daniel (Jpn)
Who is Emma Raducanu’s opponent – Danka Kovinic?
Raducanu will face Danka Kovinic of Montenegro on Thursday. A former top-50 player, Kovinic, 27, is now ranked just inside the top-100. She beat Korean qualifier Jang Su-jeong in a first-round match on Tuesday, taking three hours and nine minutes to do so, ultimately. winning 6-3, 2-6, 6-4. A powerful baseline hitter who favors clay, Kovinic had 38 first-round winners, but also 57 unforced errors, and is prone to over-hitting.
Kovinic is something of a pioneer in her home in Montenegro. She has been playing on the WTA Tour since 2013 and became the first player from her country to qualify for Roland-Garros the following year. She is also the first player from Montenegro to reach a tour-level final of any kind.
She had some of the best results of her career on clay last April, reaching the final of the Charleston Open after wins over top 30 players Ons Jabeur and Petra Kvitova, as well as ahead of US Open runner-up Leyla Fernandez. It proved she was more than capable of taking on quality opposition, but reaching the second round in Melbourne equals her best result at a major tournament, and last year she completed two weeks of harsh quarantine for be beaten 6-0, 6-0 to Ash Barty in 44 minutes.
Although this result is only a distant memory, it may be a marker of how Kovinic could cope on a show ground against a top opponent like Raducanu. Kovinic also lost in straight sets last week to Britain’s No. 2 Heather Watson in qualifying in Adelaide and, as the 17th seed, Raducanu is the heavy favorite to advance to the third round on Thursday.
Who is Andy Murray’s opponent – Taro Daniel?
After coming through a tough five-set match on Tuesday, on paper Andy Murray has a relatively soft draw in the second round, against Japanese qualifier Taro Daniel, who is ranked seven places below him at 120th.
Daniel’s 7-6(1), 6-1, 6-1 win over qualifier Marcelo Tomas Barrios Vera was just his first major tournament in three years. But it remains to be seen how the former world number. Murray’s body will hold on after his five-set thriller.
The pair have faced off once before, in a Davis Cup tie in 2016, when Murray was at his career peak and won comfortably in straight sets.
Alexander Zverev thinks there are probably more players at the Australian Open who have tested positive for Covid-19 but are not being tested, the third seed said on Wednesday.
Frenchman Ugo Humbert claimed earlier on Wednesday that he had tested positive for coronavirus, the day after his first-round loss to compatriot Richard Gasquet forced him to self-isolate for a week in Australia.
Players must be fully vaccinated to play at the Australian Open, a rule which forced the government to expel world number one Novak Djokovic due to his unvaccinated status.
“We’re allowed to go out to eat, do whatever we want, so I think it’s natural for more people to get Covid,” Zverev told reporters after dispatching Australian John Millman in straight sets in the second tower.
“I think quite a few players had it when they arrived. I think quite a few players have it now. We’re not tested so I think if we were tested there would probably be more points positive than there are now, in the distance.”
When is the Australian Open?
The tournament started on January 17 and ends with the men’s final on January 30.
Where is the Australian Open?
The Australian Open takes place at Melbourne Park in Victoria.