Australian Open 2018: Matches to look forward to on day three

Picks of the Australian Open second-round matches to be played on the third day, with the seeded players facing potential banana skins.

Rafael Nadal is back wearing sleeveless tops, almost 10 years after he lost wore.   -  Getty Images

The second-round matches of the 2018 Australian Open get underway on Wednesday, the third day of the tournament. A handful of interesting clashes have been lined-up, with the top-seeded men's player, the mercurial Nick Kyrgios, the surprise winner in the first round, Belinda Bencic, all in action. Below is a selection of the five matches to keep an eye on:

Read: Federer, Zverev, Djokovic among first-round winners

Rafael Nadal vs Leonardo Mayer

The No. 1 seed and runner-up last year, Nadal secured a comfortable, straight sets win in the first round against Estrella Burgos of Dominican Republic. Back wearing the sleeveless top, the 31-year-old Spaniard enjoyed a good outing first up in the tournament.

Leonardo Mayer of Argentina is Nadal's second-round opponent, who he has met and beaten four times so far. Ranked 52 in the world, Mayer also secured a straight sets victory in the first round and has reasons to be confident of testing his Spanish opponent on Wednesday.

These two met in the round of 32 of the 2017 US Open, where the Argentine won the first set in the tie-break before losing the next three sets to the eventual winner of the year-ending Grand Slam. And, going by that result and how Mayer played in his first-round match, Nadal is expected to be challenged.

Belinda Bencic vs Luksika Kumkhum

Bencic of Switzerland suddenly has high expectations to live up to after trouncing Venus Williams in the first round, in straight sets too. She bettered her American opponent with the number of aces, points won on first serve, break points won, and the number of winners. Bencic has to be considered as the favourite in her second-round match against Thailand's Kumkhum.

Read: Venus Williams ousted by Bencic in first round

Kumkhum beat Johanna Larsson in her first-round match, while she also beat Italian Sara Errani in her third round qualifying match to actually secure a spot in the main draw.

Therefore, she has reasons to be confident of progressing further in the tournament, which can also be said about her opponent, making this one of the exciting women's singles second-round matches.

Alexandr Dolgopolov vs Matthew Ebden

Home boy Ebden caused one of the upsets of the first round by beating John Isner, seeded 16th, in four sets. He triumphed in a match which had little to choose between the two players. Dolgopolov beat Haider-Maurer in his first-round match in straight sets.

One of the subplots of this match is this being the first meeting between Dolgopolov and Ebden. The other subplot is the home support for Ebden and how, whichever way he starts this match, that can help him potentially overcome the Ukrainian.

Katerina Siniakova vs Elina Svitolina

Svitolina is among the favourites to win this year's Australian Open after the reigning champion's (Serena Williams) withdrawal. She won the Brisbane International in the lead-up to the first major of the year and also her first-round match, against Ivana Jorovic, who, actually, punched above her weight and tested Svitolina.

In Siniakova, Svitolina has an opponent who has the confidence of beating Sharapova recently, in the Shenzhen Open. Siniakova had to work a lot harder for her first-round win here, though: she lost the first set to Greece's Maria Sakkari but then secured the second set in the tie-break and won the third set quite comfortably.

This match is one of the attractions of day three at the Australian Open 2018!

Nick Kyrgios vs Viktor Troicki

In the night session, home boy and the 17th seeded Kyrgios takes on Serbia's Troicki in an interesting match-up.

Troicki beat one of the Australians (Alex Bolt) at this tournament in his first-round match, which went the distance of five sets and lasted close to three hours. On the other hand, Kyrgios beat Brazil's Dutra Silva in straight sets.

Read: Kyrgios collects code violation in easy open win

Kyrgios is one of those players who you cannot take your eyes off (both in terms of his tennis and conduct) and his mercurial nature might well be put to the test by the experienced Troicki.

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