Australian Open Day 6 preview

The bottom half of the draw takes centre stage at the Australian Open on Saturday, with the next chapter in two fairytale stories set to be written at Melbourne Park.

A raft of seeds have exited the women’s draw, with the bottom half of the draw particularly brutal in that respect. As a result, there are some lesser known names making their way into the third round, including qualifiers Naomi Osaka and Shuai Zhang.

The 27-year-old Zhang had never made it past the first round of a grand slam prior to this year’s event, while Osaka is turning out in her maiden grand slam. A spot in the last 16 would have seemed unbelievable for either lady.

Third seed Garbiñe Muguruza, seventh seed Angelique Kerber, and ninth seed Karolina Pliskova are still carrying the flag for the top seeds.

Over in the men’s draw, second seed Andy Murray and fourth seed Stan Wawrinka are the headline acts. Murray will come up against 32nd seed Joao Sousa, while 2014 champion Wawrinka meets Lukas Rosol.

There is an all-Australian battle set for Rod Laver Arena on Saturday night, with 16th seed Bernard Tomic coming up against John Millman. Elsewhere, the big-serving 13th seed Milos Raonic will meet 21st seed Viktor Troicki.

Matches not to miss:

Victoria Azarenka v Naomi Osaka

The 14th-seeded Azarenka is being talked of as perhaps the only player who could down the powerful Serena Williams, and the two-time Australian Open champion certainly has the game to do it.

Next in her crosshairs is the 18-year-old Osaka , who is enjoying a dream run. Having won three qualifiers to get into the main draw, the Japanese player is a star on the rise. She’ll have her work cut out for her against Azarenka, but she certainly won’t go down without a fight.

Varvara Lepchenko v Shuai Zhang

With the greatest respect to Lepchenko, it’s Zhang that will have the crowd behind her at Margaret Court Arena. The Chinese qualifier stunned second seed Simona Halep (and broke down in tears afterwards) before downing Alize Cornet in the second round. To put that run in some context, Zhang had lost 14 consecutive grand slam first round matches prior to that run.
Broadcast schedule:

FOX Sports

Rod Laver Arena
STRYCOVA, Barbora (CZE) vs MUGURUZA, Garbiñe (ESP) [3]
AZARENKA, Victoria (BLR) [14] vs OSAKA, Naomi (JPN)
ROSOL, Lukas (CZE) vs WAWRINKA, Stan (SUI) [4]

Margaret Court Arena
SOUSA, Joao (POR) [32] vs MURRAY, Andy (GBR) [2]
LEPCHENKO, Varvara (USA) vs ZHANG, Shuai (CHN)

FOX Sports 2

Margaret Court Arena
MAKAROVA, Ekaterina (RUS) [21] vs PLISKOVA, Karolina (CZE) [9]
RAONIC, Milos (CAN) [13] vs TROICKI, Viktor (SRB) [21]
KERBER, Angelique (GER) [7] vs BRENGLE, Madison (USA)

Rod Laver Arena
KEYS, Madison (USA) [15] vs IVANOVIC, Ana (SRB) [20]
TOMIC, Bernard (AUS) [16] vs MILLMAN, John (AUS)

Catch all the action of the Australian Open from now until January 31st LIVE and EXCLUSIVE on FOX Sports and FOX Sports 2. FOX Sports subscribers can watch all matches free on FOX Sports Play or on www.FoxSportsAsia.com

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