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Australian Open - Day six preview: Murray and Rune to be involved in high-octane encounters

It is the continuation of the third round at the Australian Open on day six and, despite a handful of high seeds dropping out, there are still plenty of big-name players involved in both the men's and women's singles competitions.

Nine-time champion Novak Djokovic is among those in action on Saturday, preparing to take on Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov, while British duo Andy Murray and Dan Evans are both set to take to the Margaret Court Arena.

On the women's side of things, a red-hot Aryna Sabalenka will do battle with Belgian Elise Mertens and improving French ace Caroline Garcia faces Laura Siegemund.

Murray could again be pushed close following high-octane second-round clash

WhatAndy Murray v Roberto Bautista Agut
WhereMelbourne Park, Melbourne
When19:00, Saturday 21st January
How to watchNine and Stan Sport and bet365's Sports Live Streaming
OddsAndy Murray 3.75, Roberto Bautista Agut 1.29

Andy Murray's second-round triumph over Thanasi Kokkinakis was one for the history books.

With the match finishing just after 04:00 local time, Murray fought back from two sets down to win 4-6 6-7 7-6 6-3 7-5 in the longest contest of his career.

The match lasted five hours and 45 minutes which was gruelling for the Briton, who also had to play through five sets to beat Matteo Berrettini in his Melbourne opener.

His reflexes and handling of Kokkinakis's power in the second round was incredible and Murray dazzled with some seriously impressive returns.

His spirit is undeniable and the Scotsman will not go down without a fight in his next match against Roberto Bautista Agut, who won his opener in straight sets before himself coming from two sets down to beat Brandon Holt in the second round.

Bautista Agut should have more energy in the tank but Murray is a fierce competitor and the best way to approach this one could be to back over 37.5 games at 1.83.

Pliskova primed to ease past Gracheva

WhatVarvara Gracheva v Karolina Pliskova
WhereMelbourne Park, Melbourne
When23:00, Saturday 21st January
How to watchNine and Stan Sport and bet365's Sports Live Streaming
OddsVarvara Gracheva 4.00, Karolina Pliskova 1.29 

Czech star Karolina Pliskova will be hoping for a more straightforward route to the third round of the Australian Open and she should ease past unseeded Varvara Gracheva.

Pliskova has looked capable in her first two matches in Melbourne, firstly beating Wang Xiyu 6-1 6-3 and then dismantling Yulia Putintseva 6-0 7-5.

She is a former Australian Open semi-finalist and can make her added experience count against Gracheva, who could not make it past the qualifiers of the ASB Classic or the Hobart International earlier this month.

A Pliskova win by a 2-0 margin looks the way to go at 1.80.

Rune can win intriguing battle with Humbert

WhatUgo Humbert v Holger Rune
WhereMelbourne Park, Melbourne
When13:00, Saturday 21st January 2023
How to watchNine and Stan Sport and bet365's Sports Live Streaming
OddsUgo Humbert 5.00, Holger Rune 1.17

With the likes of Rafael Nadal, Casper Ruud and Taylor Fritz crashing out of the Australian Open prematurely, someone like young Dane Holger Rune has a great chance of going deep in Melbourne, starting with a third-round win over Ugo Humbert.

Rune barely broke a sweat in his first two matches in Melbourne, sweeping aside Filip Krajinovic and Maxime Cressy in straight sets.

Both of those had the potential to be tricky contests but Rune came through unscathed and remains a dangerous young player on the ATP tour, having beaten Novak Djokovic in the final of the Paris Masters back in November.

A win for Rune looks likely but he may not have things all his own way against Frenchman Humbert, who opened with a big win over ASB Classic winner Richard Gasquet and can pick up a set. A win for Rune and both players to win a set looks a value selection at 2.20.

Sharp Sabalenka should have few problems in the third round

WhatAryna Sabalenka v Elise Mertens
WhereMelbourne Park, Melbourne
When14:00, Saturday 21st January 2023
How to watchNine and Stan Sport and bet365's Sports Live Streaming
OddsAryna Sabalenka 1.22, Elise Mertens 4.33

It has been pretty effortless from Aryna Sabalenka so far at the Australian Open and she should have few problems navigating her third-round encounter with Belgian Elise Mertens.

A winner at the recent Adelaide International, Sabalenka won all four of her matches in the warm-up event in straight sets and has been similarly dominant in Melbourne, beating Tereza Martincova 6-1 6-4 and Shelby Rogers 6-3 6-1.

Mertens is an experienced figure but was underwhelming as the second seed at the Hobart International and faced resistance from Garbine Muguruza in her first match in the Australian Open so Sabalenka could be worth chancing to win this 2-0 at 1.73.

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