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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Thursday January 18, 2024

The Happy Slam has been a happy place for the American contingent in Melbourne.

Tennis Express

Coco Gauff

Fresh off her maiden Grand Slam win at the 2023 US Open, Gauff rides a nine-match Grand Slam winning streak into her third-round clash with Alycia Parks. More on Parks down the page.

As for Gauff, she is the most legitimate title contender of this group, and the highest-ranked player of this set of ten. The American has already spoken of her desire not just to win more Slams, but to win double digit Slams. That says something about her self-belief and expectations. Here in Melbourne she is bidding to become the first woman to win the US Open and the Australian open back-to-back since Naomi Osaka in 2019.

Taylor Fritz

Fritz overcame a rough stumble in round one – in more ways than one – as he twisted his ankle during his five-set victory over Facundo Diaz Acosta. In round two it was a different story. 12th-seeded Fritz dropped just four games in his win over Hugo Gaston. He’ll face Hungary’s Fabian Marozsan in round three as he bids to reach the second week in Melbourne for the second time.

Amanda Anisimova

She’s the comeback kid in Melbourne. After sitting out the second half of 2023 on an indefinite hiatus, Amanda Anisimova is back with a vengeance. Anisimova, a former World No.21 and Grand Slam semifinalist, smoked Liudmila Samsonova in round one, then toppled Nadia Podoroska in the second round.

Anisimova faces Paula Badosa in the third round.

Ben Shelton

Ben Shelton has won 11 of his last 13 hard court matches at the majors. That’s impressive for a 21-year-old who is beginning his second full season on tour. He’ll face Adrian Mannarino in the third round, and if he’s successful, he could get the chance to hang up the phone on Novak Djokovic in the round of 16.

Sloane Stephens

Surprise, surprise, Sloane Stephens is finding her groove at the Happy Slam. 11 years after her trip to the semifinals, that featured a win over Serena Williams, in 2013, and five years after her last trip to the round of 16, Stephens is bidding to reach week two once again.

She’ll face Russia’s Anna Kalinskaya in the third round.

Tommy Paul

Last week in Adelaide Tommy Paul went down to Jack Draper in straight sets – not good. Last night in Melbourne, Paul exacted his revenge, taking down Draper in four to keep his hopes of making another deep run in Melbourne alive. Paul has now won seven of his last eight Australian Open matches.

Next up? A third-rounder with Miomir Kecmanovic.

Alycia Parks

Hard-serving Alycia Parks is into the third round at a Slam for the first time after an impressive victory over Leylah Fernandez in the second round. She’s still a very raw talent that relies on her power and athleticism, but she’s getting better every year. The 23-year-old takes on Coco Gauff in round three on Friday.

Sebastian Korda

Sebastian Korda is a former Australian Open junior champion, who had his best performance as a pro last year, reaching the quarterfinals last year. His dad, Petr, is also a former champion. Hard not to believe that Korda isn’t destined to do some big things at this tournament, and that could happen as soon as this year.

Korda faces Andrey Rublev next.

Alex Michelsen

World No.91 Alex Michelsen is the biggest surprise among the American contingent in round three in Melbourne. But should we be surprised? The 19-year-old entered the week with only 17 matches under his belt, but here he is, talented and energetic, in the third round after his four-set takedown of last year’s quarterfinalist Jiri Lehecka.

Michelsen, a California native, reached the final at Newport last year, and has drawn rave reviews for his being a great mover for his 6’4” frame.

Emma Navarro

Seeded at a Slam for the first time, Emma Navarro continues to excel on the circuit. She took out Italy’s Elisabetta Cocciaretto to reach the third round at a major for the first time. 22-year-old Navarro won her maiden title last week at Hobart, and is riding a seven-match winning streak at the moment.