Australian Open

Australian Open day 5 tips: Back Sloane Stephens to beat Kasatkina

American tennis player Sloane Stephens
Sloane and steady: Stephens has tools to carve up Kasatkina

Gavin Mair is looking for Sloane Stephens to stick to a proven formula in her match with Daria Kasatkina, while he expects Thanasi Kokkinakis to experience more Australian summer heartbreak.

  • Stephens saves her best for big events

  • American has proven formula to defeat Kasatkina

  • Groundhog day awaits Kokkinakis


The 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens tends to save her best tennis for Grand Slams. It is not surprising to see her fall early in week-to-week competition as she often dials in unfocused, uninterested performances without a big prize on the line.

While it can be frustrating to watch her drop the ball against a journeywoman, you also know she is capable of big weeks at the biggest events.

Melbourne has not been happy hunting ground for Stephens with a series of first round defeats on her resumé, but there is no good reason for that to be the case. She has a well rounded game, that shouldn't be averse to the conditions.

Back Stephens' winning formula

The American played very well in her first round, showing her range in a dominant 6/3 6/1 victory over Aussie wildcard Olivia Gadecki.

Stephens' opponent today, Daria Kasatkina, found her assignment against Peyton Stearns a good deal tougher. But that is not the primary reason to oppose her. This is a question of match-up.

Both players prefer not to take too much risk in the rallies, making the most of their solidity and consistency. However, Stephens undoubtedly has the bigger weaponry to call upon and in their meetings to date it has proven decisive.

Stephens has won three of their four encounters, although Kasatkina did take their only hard court encounter at Indian Wells. Although it must be said that using Indian Wells as a form guide on this surface is misguided as conditions at that tournament are unique.

From one day to the next you can be uncertain of what version of Sloane Stephens will show up but this is a good opportunity for her to advance in a major tournament, and she can call upon a proven formula against this opponent.

Stephens is a good price at 5/42.25 to get the job done

Back Sloane Stephens to win at 5/42.25

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Kokkinakis to go down swinging

A bet that proved successful earlier this week was to side with the in-form Grigor Dimitrov to win, but to drop a set in the process.

The Bulgarian has not been handed the easiest of draws with first round opponent Marton Fucsovics a known threat, and the highly capable Thanasi Kokkinakis lurking in round two.

Kokkinakis is an Australian player who does his best work in his homeland. Alongside his good mate Nick Kyrgios he captured the Australian Open men's doubles crown a few years ago, and in singles he was champion of Adelaide last season.

Kokkinakis might not win this match - after all, Dimitrov is playing some of the best tennis of his career - but he will go down swinging.

Past exits from his home major have followed a 'Groundhog Day' theme. He has given top guys a scare but ultimately fallen short. In 2023 he lost to Murray in five, in 2021 he lost to Tsitsipas in five and in 2018 to Medvedev in four.

The Australian is primed for battle, having grinded his way to a five set victory Sebastian Ofner, but unfortunately for Kokkinakis this feels ominously like it may well be another Aussie summer heartbreak to add to his collection.

Back Grigor Dimitrov to win and both players to win at least a set at 6/52.20

Back Grigor Dimitrov to win and both players to win a set at 6/52.20

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