With the crowded early parts of the tournament now complete, the Australian Open is really beginning to heat up with the second week now underway.
Australia began the tournament with an astonishing 18 players representing the country in singles, of which there were ten men and eight women.
However, of these 18, only two made it through the trials and tribulations of the first week to reach the second week of the Open. Those are the two highest seeded players in the men’s and women’s competitions, Australia’s very own Alex De Minaur and Ash Barty.
In fact, only two other Aussies managed to make it through to the third round of the singles tie with both of them (Chris O’Connell and Maddison Inglis) not quite finding enough against higher seeds.
Had their draws been a bit more favourable, Nick Kyrgios and Ajla Tomlijanovic would have been backed to make it through to the second week of the competition given both their great form and terrific pasts here.
Meanwhile, in the doubles, the Aussies started the tournament with 40 players involved in the doubles. Despite some disappointing results, the Aussies have been fantastic in the doubles with a total of 19 Aussies currently into the second week. This is excluding both Dane Sweeny and Li Tu who made it to the second week but were eliminated against the second seeds on Monday.
As Australia’s best chance in doubles, John Peers will hope to complete a double in doubles’ Grand Slams competing alongside Filip Polasek in the Men’s doubles and Zhang Shuai in the Mixed Doubles.
However, despite being the best chance for the Aussies, Peers is not the favourite amongst the crowd. Instead, Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis who are bringing a whole new spin on tennis as we know it are bringing a party atmosphere, of which has never been seen before.
However, the two Greek-Australians are not just there to make up the numbers and have some fun along the way as they have in previous years.
Rather, they are here to make some noise and win big games. Delineating this, the best mates have won their last two matches against seeded doubles players including the number one seed Croatians Mektic and Pavic who they beat in straight sets. They are a massive threat for the title.
Moving back to the singles, Alex De Minaur will play Jannik Sinner for a spot in the Quarter Finals. Whilst this is a huge task, De Minaur appears mature enough to beat the 20-year-old superstar Italian to make the Quarter Finals.
Unfortunately for Alex and Australian fans, Jannik Sinner is in scintillating form having dropped just one set in his last six games. His sound game will leave De Minaur scrambling for weaknesses as he attempts to make it through to the last eight.
In more positive news for Aussie fans, De Minaur likewise has been in stunning form losing just one set all tournament thus far. His killer mindset and great energy should grant the young Australian with a strong chance.
In their two meetings to date, Sinner has gotten the edge in all of them. However, there was not a massive Aussie crowd at those two meetings in Italy and Bulgaria.
If De Minaur wins, he will play the winner of Taylor Fritz and Stefanos Tsitsipas, another tough match.
Meanwhile, world number one Ash Barty will meet American world number 21 Jessica Pegula, a former semi-finalist at Melbourne Park.
Their last and only meeting was in the 2019 French Open where Barty beat Pegula in straight sets on her way to the Final. However, since this was such a long time ago, it is likely that such a result is of no significance to Tuesday’s match.
Both Pegula and Barty have been in magnificent form having lost a combined one set in eight combined matches thus far.
Hopefully for Ash, the Aussies can get behind her to get her over the line.
Meanwhile, Pegula will aim to silence the crowd early with her great power and skill, disabling Barty from manoeuvring her around the court.
If Barty gets up, she will either play Grand Slam champion Barbara Krejcikova or hard-hitting American Madison Keys for a place in the Final.
In the past few years, Ash has made it to the quarter-finals three times but has only made it to the semi-finals once.
Is it finally the time Ash wins a Grand Slam on Aussie soil? For Ash’s sake, let’s hope so!