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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 11 December 2018

Shapovalov v Tsonga set to provide the thrills: Australian Open games to watch - Day 3

Men's top seed Nadal also in action as well as women's contenders Svitolina and Ostapenko. All times UAE (+4 GMT).

Denis Shapovalov faces Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the second round of the Australian Open having defeated the Frenchman in straight sets at the US Open. Mahst Irham / EPA
Denis Shapovalov faces Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the second round of the Australian Open having defeated the Frenchman in straight sets at the US Open. Mahst Irham / EPA

Denis Shapovalov (CAN) v Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA x15)

Second on Margaret Court Arena, approximately 5.30am UAE time

One of the rising stars of men's tennis takes on one of its great entertainers. Two players who go for their shots, love hitting winners and excite the crowds. This is one to wake up early for. Shapovalov came out of nowhere in the second half of last season and is now one of the biggest prospects on the ATP Tour. Tsonga is one of the best players of his generation and a former finalist in Melbourne. Shapovalov won their only meeting, a straight sets masterclass at the US Open last season. Can the 18-year-old Canadian spring another mini-surprise?

Rafael Nadal (ESP x1) v Leonardo Mayer (ARG)

Third on Rod Laver Arena, approximately 7am UAE time

Rafael Nadal. Clive Brunskill / Getty Images
Rafael Nadal. Clive Brunskill / Getty Images

Top seed Nadal was in scintillating form in the opening round, brushing aside any doubts about his fitness. Next up for last year's finalist is Argentine Mayer, who himself was impressive in his own straight sets win in the first round. Nadal, the 2008 Australian Open champion, has won each of their four encounters and will start this match the overwhelming favourite. However, he will face more resistance than he did against Victor Estrella-Burgos in the first round.

Nick Kyrgios (AUS x17) v Viktor Troicki (SRB)

First on Hisense Arena night session, play starts at 11.45am

Nick Kyrgios. Toru Hanai / Reuters
Nick Kyrgios. Toru Hanai / Reuters

As the highest-ranked Australian, Kyrgios carries the hopes of the home nation. In Troicki he meets a former world No 12 who has the ability to cause him problems. Kyrgios was untroubled in their only previous meeting, dropping just three games at the Canada Masters last season, and the world No 17 should send the fans home happy with a win. However, in a match-up between two temperamental players, anything could happen.

Elina Svitolina (UKR x4) v Katerina Siniakova (CZE)

First on Rod Laver Arena, play starts at 4am

Elina Svitolina. Ng Han Guan / AP Photo
Elina Svitolina. Ng Han Guan / AP Photo

At first glance, this should be a straightforward outing for world No 4 Svitolina, but the impressive form of Siniakova in the lead-up makes her a dangerous opponent. The world No 59 from the Czech Republic reached the Shenzhen Open final, defeating Maria Sharapova and Karolina Pliskova en route and certainly has the game to disrupt Svitolina. The Ukrainian is in fine form herself, though, and is one of the favourites for the title. Svitolina will be tested but should emerge victorious. They have met once before, with Svitolina winning over three sets at the 2017 US Open.

Jelena Ostapenko (LAT x7) v Ying Ying Duan (CHN)

Third match on Margaret Court Arena, approximately 7.30-8am

Jelena Ostapenko. Julian Smith / EPA
Jelena Ostapenko. Julian Smith / EPA

It's been a below-par start to the season for French Open champion Ostapenko, but a comprehensive win over veteran Francesca Schiavone in the first round was a timely reminder of her ability. Next up for the Latvian is the world No 100 Duan from China who produced one of the most ruthless displays of the first round in beating Mariana Duque-Marino. Ostapenko will be confident of her chances, but Duan will enter this contest high in confidence. Should make for great viewing.