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When: Wednesday, January 22nd, Time TBD.
Where: Melbourne Park in Melbourne, Australia
Head to Head Record: 1-1
Most Recent Meeting: 2016 Madrid Open Qualifier, Osaka 2-0, 6-4 7-6(3)
Osaka and Zheng will go head-to-head for the third time.
The two haven’t played one another in singles since 2016.
Zheng, a doubles specialist, will be fighting for her best result in a major tournament.
Osaka, meanwhile, has to defend her title and the 2,000 WTA ranking points from last year’s tournament.
Osaka only failed to make it past the second round twice in 15 slams.
Zheng, meanwhile, has never made it past the second round in singles.
The winner will move one match closer to playing in the second week of the tournament.
The opponent for the third round matchup will come from the matchup between rising star Coco Gauff and WTA veteran Sorana Cirstea.
WTA Ranking: #4, 5,496 points
2020 Record: 4-1, 0 titles
Prize Money: $75,050
Since winning back-to-back majors, the 2018 US Open and the 2019 Australian Open, Osaka has failed to make it past the fourth round.
She will have an opportunity to change that in this year’s Australian Open.
Her title defense got off to a successful start, comfortably defeating Marie Bouzkova in straight sets.
This is Osaka’s second tournament of 2020.
She also took part in the Brisbane International earlier this month and made it to the semifinals.
The two-time slam champion is the favorite for the second-round matchup by a significant margin.
WTA Ranking: #42, 1,350 points
2020 Record: 1-1, 0 titles
Prize Money: $11,005
A doubles specialist, Zheng is also a regular in singles, although she hasn’t enjoyed the same success.
The Chinese player made it to the Australian Open women’s doubles semifinals twice in her career, the most recent in 2016.
In singles, however, Zheng only made it to the second round, a result which she also achieved in 2016.
She only has one WTA career title in singles, the 2019 Silicon Valley Classic.
Zheng defeated Anna Kalinskaya in straight sets, securing a spot in the second round to face off against Osaka.
While she has enjoyed some success at Melbourne in doubles, it’s hard to imagine something similar happening in singles.
As previously mentioned, this should be a heavily one-sided matchup.
Osaka is the favorite by a considerable margin, so guessing who will cover the spread and the points total should offer bigger payouts.
In this case, Osaka is the favorite to score a win in straight sets, also by a comfortable margin.
As a result, expect the defending Australian Open champion to cover the spread while also keeping the points total relatively low.
Prediction: Naomi Osaka 2-0
Spread: Naomi Osaka -6.5
Totals: Over 17.5 points
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