Australian Open Day 3 matches to watch: Sam Querrey eyes third round
MELBOURNE, Australia -- Day 3 at the Australian Open features a match lineup so lackluster that the men's night match features No. 28 Vasek Pospisil against Australia's Matthew Ebden, who is ranked No. 67. Stars Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic play during the day, but the undercards are clearly weak, since that's the best they can do for a night match on Rod Laver Arena.
The tournament can blame the luck of draw that put so many big stars on Rafael Nadal's side of the men's draw. I'm sure Djokovic is complaining.
Sam Querrey vs. Ernests Gulbis  (fourth match, Margaret Court Arena): If Querrey can pull off the upset, he gets a workable draw to the fourth round. Tied in their head-to-head at two apiece, Querrey has always played Gulbis close. The draw also presents an opportunity for our favorite racket-breaking Latvian. If he can keep his cool -- which will be difficult in the 100-degree temperatures expected for Wednesday -- he could earn a shot at Djokovic in the fourth round.
Madison Keys vs. Zheng Jie (third match, Court 8): Keys, who beat No. 85 Patricia Mayr-Achleitner 9-7 in the third set in the first round, will face a much tougher test against former semifinalist Zheng. The ball will be coming much quicker and flatter at Keys, and her loopy forehand will need to handle the pace.
Li Na  vs. Belinda Bencic (first match, Rod Laver Arena): Li took care of one 16-year-old prodigy in her first round, sending Ana Konjuh packing 6-2, 6-0. Now she gets the No. 1 junior in Bencic. This 16-year-old may not have the same power and weapons as Konjuh, but Bencic is the more polished player. Li admitted she'll have to rely on YouTube videos to scout.
Samantha Stosur  vs. Tsvetana Pironkova (first night match, Rod Laver Arena): Stosur will try to keep her momentum going against the confident and tricky Pironkova, who won her first WTA title last week at the Sydney International. Stosur is 3-0 against Pironkova, but the Bulgarian has never played the former U.S. Open champion in this form.
Monica Niculescu vs. Sabine Lisicki  (first match, Margaret Court Arena): Power vs. Finesse ... or whatever you would call Niculescu's brand of slicing and dicing. Niculescu holds a 2-1 edge and the last set they played, at the 2010 Western & Southern Open, went 6-0 to Niculescu.
Monica Puig vs. Flavia Pennetta  (second match, Margaret Court Arena): This is a big chance for Puig, who needs some solid wins to fight her way back into relevance alongside such other young counterparts as Eugenie Bouchard, Laura Robson and Kristina Mladenovic. Lleyton Hewitt and Patrick Rafter vs. Eric Butorac and Raven Klaasen (last match, not before 5 p.m. on Hisense Arena): Sorry, mate! Rafter, 41, said Hewitt might be willing to let him off the hook and withdraw from doubles if he was doing well in singles, but Hewitt lost a five-set heartbreaker to Andreas Seppi on Tuesday. So suit up, Pat. It'll be fun to see him on court again.