Morning all and welcome to coverage of the third-round clash between Simona Halep and Venus Williams.
Incredibly, the Australian Open organisers didn’t select this heavyweight contest on their main Rod Laver Arena, but opted for the surroundings of Margaret Court Arena instead.
Not to worry, though as we’ll be giving it our undivided attention while providing you with the latest from what’s deemed to be the Australians pick of today’s matches for the night session. Alexander Zverev will be taking on local favourite Alex Bolt, before my pick for the women’s draw, the seventh seed Karolina Pliskova, faces the 27th seed Camila Giorgi.
Halep has been made to battle hard for her third-round spot. The world No 1 had been struggling with form and fitness heading into the opening grand slam and a couple of testing opponents in Melbourne haven’t helped her cause.
It won’t come any easier against a two-time Aussie Open finalist in Venus Williams either. Venus has won three of their five head-to-heads, although Halep has come out on top in their last two meetings – most recently in the last 16 of Montreal last year.
The winner of this clash will go on to face Serena Williams, after the 23-times grand slam champion eased her way into the second week with a straight sets win over Dayana Yastremska.
The 18-year-old, who was not born when Serena won the first of her 23 grand slam singles titles, only won three games during the 6-2, 6-1 loss.