When the discussion of which Americans can win the 2016 Australian Open comes up, it’s the usual suspects that are mentioned. Of course, Serena Williams leads all discussions concerning possible champions. Then there are the young players bursting with talent, waiting for a breakthrough like Madison Keys. A name not mentioned is Lauren Davis. Honestly, that’s understandable. To date, she’s never been past the third round of a Major. Also, she’s never won a WTA level event. But the 22-year old will get another chance as she finds herself in round three in Melbourne, when Magdalena Rybarikova retired after Davis won the first set of their second round clash. However, it was the Lauren’s first round win that turned heads, when she knocked out 26th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, a player some thought could make a little noise if she started to roll in the draw. The 82nd ranked Davis would have arguably the biggest win of her career if she can come through in her next match.
It will be a tall task as next up for Davis is 5-time Major champion Maria Sharapova. The 5th seeded Russian has run through her first two overmatched opponents like she means business…of course, the ultra-focused Masha always means business. I can’t wait to see the handshake at the net after the match if only to see the difference between one of the shortest women in the draw in Davis (5’2″) and one of the tallest in Sharapova (6’2″). Can Lauren really knock off Masha? Look, anything can happen. Is it likely? No. But this is why you compete…for these moments, these opportunities. If Davis beats Sharapova, the whole narrative around her career changes. Of course, she would have to keep winning. If that happens, maybe then her name will soon be included as a pre-tournament pick to win titles.
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5 MARIA SHARAPOVA d. Aliaksandra Sasnovich, 6-2 6-1
LAUREN DAVIS d. Magdalena Rybarikova, 7-6 (7) 0-0 ret.