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Australian Open day six preview

Sports Mole previews day six of the Australian Open, with favourites Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic both in action.

The sixth day of the Australian Open sees the favourites for both the men's and women's crown take to the court hoping to avoid an early exit.

There has been no shortage of upsets so far, with Roger Federer crashing out at the hands of Andreas Seppi and Yanina Wickmayer getting the better of Sara Errani.

Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams are among those looking to ensure that they don't fall to a similar fate, while the likes of Stanislas Wawrinka, Kei Nishikori and Petra Kvitova are also in action on Saturday.

Here, Sports Mole looks ahead to some of the more eye-catching games on offer on another day of action in Melbourne.



1. Serena Williams (1) vs. Elina Svitolina (26)

Serena Williams in action on day four of the Australian Open on January 22, 2015© Getty Images

It is fair to say that Serena Williams is expected to win every tournament she enters, and this year's Australian Open is no different. Her quest for a 19th Grand Slam began with a comfortable victory over Alison van Uytvanck, but Vera Zvonareva initially posed some tougher questions in the second round. However, Williams was able to recover from 5-3 down in the first set to win 7-5, before cruising to a 6-0 win in the second.

Next up is the promising Ukrainian Elina Svitolina, who should provide Williams with her hardest opponent yet. The 20-year-old has beaten Yulia Putintseva and Nicole Gibbs in the tournament so far and has been tipped for a breakthrough year in 2015. The two have met once before, with Williams winning in 2012, and the five-time Aussie Open champion should have enough about her to triumph again.

Prediction: Serena Williams in straight sets.



2. Novak Djokovic (1) vs. Fernando Verdasco (31)

Novak Djokovic celebrates victory in his second-round match of the Australian Open on January 22, 2015© Getty Images

Like Serena Williams, Novak Djokovic has experienced huge success in this tournament down the years, and he is bidding for his fifth title this season. The Serb has had a comfortable route through to the third round, making very short work of both Aljaz Bedene and Andrey Kuznetsov, dropping just 14 games in straight-sets victories over both. He will face a sterner test in the shape of Fernando Verdasco, however, with the Spaniard possessing the sort of power that could trouble Djokovic.

Verdasco got off to a shaky start and looked on course for an early exit when he fell a set down to James Ward in the opening round, only to storm back and take the match three sets to one. Go Soeda was next, and this time Verdasco prevented his opponent from picking up a solitary set during his comfortable victory. The 31st seed has a decent record against Djokovic too, winning four of their previous 10 meetings, but it is a decade since he last beat the world number one on a hard court.

Prediction: Novak Djokovic in straight sets.



3. Feliciano Lopez (12) vs. Jerzy Janowicz

Feliciano Lopez in action on day four of the Australian Open on January 22, 2015© Getty Images

One of the more intriguing matches of day six sees Feliciano Lopez and Jerzy Janowicz square off for the first time ever. Lopez may well feel fortunate to have even made it this far having been seemingly dead and buried on a couple of occasions already. The Spaniard has faced match point in both of his outings so far, but fought back to beat Denis Kudla in an epic before Adrian Mannarino was forced to retire.

Janowicz, meanwhile, usually ends up going the distance, and that was the case once again in the last round. Having taken four sets to beat Hiroki Moriya in his opener, the Pole dumped out Gael Monfils to book his spot in the third round. It is a bout that could go either way, but Janowicz will be hopeful of having the clinical touch that Lopez's last two opponents have lacked.

Prediction: Jerzy Janowicz, three sets to two.



4. Petra Kvitova (4) vs. Madison Keys

Petra Kvitova in action on day four of the Australian Open on January 22, 2015© Getty Images

Petra Kvitova will be looking to avoid an upset when she takes on world number 35 Madison Keys. The Czech has never been beyond the semi-finals in Melbourne but has started this year's tournament strongly. She dropped only five games in a straight-sets victory over Richel Hogenkamp to open her campaign before easing past Mona Barthel 6-2 6-4. She also won the only time these two have previously met, in 2013.

Keys, meanwhile, has also looked impressive in the opening two rounds and will be looking to elevate her game yet again on Saturday. Helped by coach Lindsay Davenport, the American bounced back from a set down in her last match to overcome 29th seed Casey Dellacqua having previously seen off Lesia Tsurenko. However, Kvitova is a step up in class again and Keys will have to produce her best performance yet if she is to progress.

Prediction: Petra Kvitova in straight sets.

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Madison Keys of the United States looks on in her first round match against Simona Halep of Romania on Ken Rosewall arena during Day One of the Sydney International on January 5, 2014
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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
ChinaChina29171662
United StatesUnited States22251764
JapanJapan1761033
AustraliaAustralia1441533
Olympics flagOlympic Athletes from Russia12211750
Great BritainGreat Britain11121235
Today's Olympic highlights header

Tuesday's key events


DIVING
· Team GB duo Jack Laugher - silver medallist in Rio - and James Heatly take part in the men's 3m springboard semi-final (2am), and will hope to qualify for the final later in the day (7am)

ATHLETICS
· Two Britons are involved in the women's long jump final, but Abigail Irozuru and Jazmin Sawyers have their work cut out to get a spot on the podium (2.50am)
· Norwegian Karsten Warholm, who broke the world record just last month, goes for gold in the men's 400m hurdles final. USA's Rai Benjamin is expected to be his main challenger (4.20am)
· Great Britain have three representatives in the final of the women's 800m, with Jemma Reekie having perhaps the best chance of a medal (1.25pm)
· A mouth-watering women's 200m final sees Elaine Thompson-Herah go for the prestigious sprint double after claiming the 100m crown. Compatriot Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Namibia's Christine Mboma and USA's Gabrielle Thomas are expected to be her main competitors (1.50pm)

SAILING
· The rescheduled women's skiff 49er FX (4.33am) and men's skiff 49er (5.33am) come to their conclusion, with Team GB involved in both medal races
· Defending champion Giles Scott bids for a second successive gold in the Finn class medal race (6.33am)
· There is another medal chance for Team GB in the mixed Nacra 17 medal race (7.33am)

ARTISTIC GYMNASTICS
· Team GB's Joe Fraser takes part in the parallel bars final, kicking off the final day of athletics (9am)
· USA superstar Simone Biles, who has been forced to pull out of all of her finals so far, is on the starting list for the beam final as she bids for a fifth Olympic gold (9.50am)

FOOTBALL
· The men's semi-finals take place, with Mexico taking on Brazil first up (9am)
· The winner of that first semi-final will face either hosts Japan or Spain in the final (2pm)

CYCLING
· Laura Kenny will look to win a third straight Olympic team pursuit gold medal. Team GB take on United States in their heat (7.44am), with the gold medal race later that day (9.26am)
· Laura's husband and fellow Olympic legend Jason Kenny will also look to continue his huge success in the men's team sprint - an event he has won gold in at every Games since 2008. Team GB will first need to get through the men's qualifying (7.58am), with the gold medal race ending the session (9.44am)

BOXING
· Pat McCormack will be looking to achieve his dream of Olympic gold when he faces Cuba's Roniel Iglesias (11.05am)

> Today's schedule in full
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