Australian Open Best Bets - Day 2
The respective No.1 seeds get their tournament underway at Melbourne Park as Day 2 features a host of great matchups.
(1) Simona Halep vs. Kaia Kanepi
This match shapes as a real danger for World No.1 and last year’s runner up Simona Halep as she looks to break a run of form that includes five straight losses. It’s inconceivable that a World No. 1 could go on such a losing streak but as is the evenness of the women’s game currently, anyone can beat anyone on any given day. The run of five straight defeats for Halep includes a 6-2 6-4 loss to Kanepi in last year’s US Open first round and this could face a similar script with Halep having little tennis behind her coming into the season.
She was bundled out of the first round in Sydney by Ash Barty in her only match so far in 2019. Kanepi hasn’t played since her fourth round exit at the US Open where she lost to Serena Williams and has dropped to 71 in the world rankings. She’s a former top 20 player and will no doubt represent a difficult task for Halep and represents great value.
Key Stat: Kaia Kanepi has won eight of her last nine WTA first round matches on hard court, while Simona Halep has failed to cover the game line in each of her last five first round matches at a Grand Slam.
Nick Kyrgios vs. (16) Milos Raonic
Arguably the match of the day at Melbourne Park on Day 2 of the Australian Open in what could easily be a quarterfinal. Raonic is a long time former top 10 player and battled back from injury and a form slump after dropping to No. 40 in the world before working his way back into the top 20 at the end of last season.
Sadly for Kyrgios his ranking went the other way in 2018 and dropped from a career-high 14 to his current mark of 52 in the world after finishing 2018 7-7 after Wimbledon. Both men played in Brisbane with Raonic notching an extra win to make the quarterfinals before losing to rising Russian star Daniil Medvedev. The players have split their six career meetings but Raonic is the far more trustworthy option in the battle of big serves and looks good value to continue the Aussie’s poor run of form and think he can go deep into the tournament.
Key Stat: Milos Raonic has won 25 of his last 26 Grand Slam first round matches.
Our tip: Milos Raonic -1.5 games @ $1.83 with Sportsbet
Taro Daniel v Thanasi Kokkinakis
Finally injury free, Thanasi Kokkinakis will be looking to kick start a big 2019 with a positive showing at his home Grand Slam. After coming through qualifying for the first time in his career, the 22-year-old Aussie is in good form and received a kind draw to miss a seed and will play Japanese world number 82 Taro Daniel. It hasn’t been a good start to 2019 for Daniel who had to qualify for both Brisbane and Sydney. Daniel actually lost his final qualifying match in Brisbane before receiving a lucky loser spot in the main draw after Rafael Nadal’s withdrawal. He was then knocked out in straight sets by Jo Wilfred Tsonga before losing to Jordan Thompson in the Sydney 2nd round after a first round bye.
Kokkinakis also lost to Tsonga in Brisbane before going through the three Australian Open qualifying matches without dropping a set and will have a wave of home support behind him as he looks to climb back into the top 100. He won a challenger tournament in October last year and will handle the hot Melbourne conditions far better than his opponent who’s struggled against right-handed opponents of late.
Key Stat: Taro Daniel has lost his last three first round ATP matches in straight sets.
Our tip: Thanasi Kokkinakis to win in straight sets @ $2.80 with Sportsbet