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Australian Open: Day three preview - Coco Gauff and Rafael Nadal can advance

After a day of action impacted by scorching heat and heavy rainfall in Melbourne, attention turns to the second round of the Australian Open on Wednesday.

There will need to be flexibility in the schedule to allow the completion of the remaining first-round matches but there are also some potentially gripping second-round encounters to keep an eye on.

In the women's competition, British ace Emma Raducanu takes on fellow rising talent Coco Gauff in the pick of the matches while big-name players such as Iga Swiatek and Jessica Pegula are also in action.

As for the men's draw, defending champion Rafael Nadal is back on court after his first-round success against Jack Draper and is set to face American Mackenzie McDonald.

Gauff can show class in battle of future stars

WhatEmma Raducanu v Coco Gauff
WhereMelbourne Park
When12.00am, Wednesday 18th January 2023
How to watchNine & Stan Sport and bet365's Sports Live Streaming
OddsEmma Raducanu 3.5, Coco Gauf 1.3

A lingering ankle problem threatened to derail Raducanu's season before it had begun this year but the British talent put her injury concerns behind her with a commanding performance in the first round of the Australian Open, sweeping aside Tamara Korpatsch 6-3 6-2.

It was a convincing win for Raducanu, who had also been in action at the ASB Classic in preparation for the Grand Slam but had to withdraw from the event through injury.

Her reward for the win over Korpatsch is a clash with Gauff, who is expected to go well in Melbourne at 11.00 in the outright betting.

Gauff's preparations for the Australian Open included actually winning the ASB Classic and winning all five of her matches at the event in straight sets.

The young American came a long way last season on the WTA tour with runs to the final of the French Open and the quarter-finals of the US Open.

These are two bright stars of the future but as it stands, Gauff looks the better-equipped and more experienced of the two and is worth backing to win 2-0 at 1.91.

Nadal's vulnerability clear to see

WhatRafael Nadal v Mackenzie McDonald
WhereMelbourne Park
When01.00am, Wednesday 18th January 2023
How to watchNine & Stan Sport and bet365's Sports Live Streaming
OddsRafael Nadal 1.08, Mackenzie McDonald 8.00

Nadal capitalised on Novak Djokovic's absence at last year's Australian Open to lift the trophy but few are anticipating a strong title defence in Melbourne.

Injury has continued to haunt the Spaniard and his start to the season was underwhelming as he lost both of his matches in the United Cup.

And he also showed signs of vulnerability in his Australian Open first-round clash against Draper, losing the second set of the match 6-2 before making the most of his edge in fitness and experience to see off the Briton.

Draper himself confessed to not being up to scratch physically but he still gave Nadal a scare and the Spaniard could again drop a set.

McDonald of the USA did not exactly set the Adelaide International events alight, winning two and losing two of the four matches he played across the two tournaments, but he raised eyebrows with victory over compatriot Brandon Nakashima in the first round in Melbourne.

McDonald won in five sets and is worth a bet to take a set off a wounded Nadal at 1.91.

Eubanks and Lehecka can run each other close

WhatChristopher Eubanks v Jiri Lehecka
WhereMelbourne Park
When01.00am, Wednesday 18th January 2023
How to watchNine & Stan Sport and bet365's Sports Live Streaming
OddsChristopher Eubanks 2.75, Jiri Lehecka 1.44

The second-round tussle between Christopher Eubanks and Jiri Lehecka might not be attracting the most attention at the Australian Open but both players deserve credit for the way they came through their respective openers and this could be a decent matchup.

Lehecka comfortably saw off an improving Borna Coric, who was the 21st seed, 6-3 6-3 6-3 in the first round, while American Eubanks defeated Adelaide International 2 winner Soon-woo Kwon in five sets.

Both were impressive showings and the pair could be tough to separate in the second round, even though Lehecka is favoured at 1.44.

A small bet on this match going to five sets could be worthwhile at 3.40.

Keys can comfortably progress

WhatMadison Keys v Xinyu Wang
WhereMelbourne Park
When01.00am, Wednesday 18th January 2023
How to watchNine & Stan Sport and bet365's Sports Live Streaming
OddsMadison Keys 1.17, Xinyu Wang 5.00

Madison Keys did not have everything her own way in the first round of the Australian Open, dropping a set against Anna Blinkova and often cutting a frustrated figure on court.

But coming through that early contest should have done her confidence the world of good and the American can put in a much-improved performance against Xinyu Wang, who she can beat in straight sets.

Keys was a semi-finalist at last year's Australian Open, so knows these courts well and is value at 1.62 to win this 2-0.

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