The second round of the 2024 Australian Open continues on 17 and 18 January.
Here’s a preview of Andrey Rubleb vs Christopher Eubanks and Daniil Medvedev vs Emil Ruusuvuori.
17 January 2024 – Andrey Rublev 1/9 | Christopher Eubanks 54/10
Andrey Rublev must have thought he was cruising to victory in his opening match against enigmatic Brazilian Thiago Seyboth Wild. He led by two sets before a pretty stark capitulation.
He lost the third and fourth sets and the match went into a deciding fifth. And Rublev trailed the Brazilian 5-2 in the super tiebreak. He rallied late but that performance did nothing to convince me that he can finally get beyond the quarterfinal stage of a Slam.
He’s had to endure incessant booing from the Aussie crowd, and it will be interesting to see how he responds to that treatment as the tournament progresses. He has now won his first five matches this year: he won his season-opening event in Hong Kong.
American Christopher Eubanks had a far easier time of it in his opener, easily dispatching Japanese Taro Daniel in straight sets. A late bloomer in the game, Eubanks enjoyed a real breakthrough campaign in 2023, winning a maiden title in Mallorca and a maiden Grand Slam quarterfinal at Wimbledon.
Eubanks has a high-risk, high-reward style, going for broke on almost every shot. It’s perhaps unsurprising that he generates huge number of winners and unforced errors.
He will look to latch onto the crowd in his bid to overcome Rublev. This promises to be a blockbuster clash, with both players able to hit a plethora of winners.
The Verdict: Eubanks 54/10
This will be the first career meeting between these two and may have upset fodder written all over it. Rublev was erratic in his opener and Eubanks has the type of chaotic style that can take advantage of Rublev’s dips. For a bit of a longshot, back Eubanks to win in five at 16/1.
18 January 2024 – Daniil Medvedev 1/12 | Emil Ruusuvuori 13/2
Daniil Medvedev never had things all his own way in what turned out to be a gripping first-round clash with Grand Slam main draw debutant Terence Atmane. 27-year-old Medvedev actually dropped the first set in the match, but he slowly started to dial up the class as the match went along.
And the Frenchman wilted in the blazing Melbourne heat, ultimately having to withdraw due to severe cramping. A two-time Aussie Open runner-up, Medvedev is one of the most durable players on tour and this should give him an edge in these sweltering conditions.
The Russian suffered a disappointing third-round exit during last year’s event, but he would then go on a brilliant early-season run, winning three consecutive tournaments before he went on to capture ATP 1000 titles in Miami and Rome. His schedule caught up to him a bit towards the end of the season but there is no reason why Medvedev can’t go deep this year.
24-year-old Finn Emil Ruusuvuori could provide a decent challenge for Daniil Medvedev in the second round. The Finn actually brings some solid hardcourt form into this year’s Aussie Open, reaching the second final of his career at the Hong Kong Open.
He is an aggressive baseliner who likes to take the ball early and dictate the tempo of points. Like Medvedev, the Finn had to come back from a set down in his opener. I’m a little worried about the Finn’s Grand Slam durability. He is still yet to progress beyond the second round of a Slam even though he has reached as high as 37 in the world rankings.
Verdict: Medvedev to win in straight sets at 54/100
Medvedev holds a 2-0 head-to-head superiority over the Finn. In fact, the Russian has never dropped a set against Ruusuvuori. But that may just change here.
The problem for Ruusuvuori is that he is very much like a Diet Coke version of Medvedev. And Medvedev is very adept at dealing with players who utilize a similar style.
He will simply outlast the Finn in what should be a one-sided second round match.