On day six of the Australian Open, Russian Mikhail Youzhny is due to play against Czech Jiri Novak. Youzhny and Novak will meet in the third round of the Australian Open tennis championships, which is going on in Melbourne.
The Czech and the Russian have already met twice, with Novak emerging victorious each time. In last year's Roland Garros first round, Novak won 6-4 6-3 7-6. A few months later at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow, Youzhny lost again, even as he regained a set from the aggressive Czech - 4-6 6-3 6-3.
On his way to the third round of the Australian Open, Youzhny beat Frenchman Richard Gasquet and Australian Joseph Sirianni while Novak prevailed over American Vincent Spadea and Olivier Rochus of Belgium.
Youzhny and Novak may meet again as soon as in February at a team world championship. From February 7 to 9, the first round match of Davis Cup is due in Ostrava, Czech Republic, where the Czech Republic will meet the defending champion, Russia.
In another match in Melbourne on Saturday, Marat Safin will play against German Rainer Schuettler, the number 31 seed.
Safin and Schuettler have played four times previously, with the Russian winning the last three matches. Safin's wins all occurred on Russian courts: twice at St. Petersburg tournaments in 2000 and 2001 and once at the Kremlin Cup in 2000.
The big Russian, as Safin has been dubbed outside the country, has worked his way this far into the Australian Open by defeating the Netherlands' Raemon Sluiter and Spain's Albert Montanes. Shuettler has eliminated another Spaniard Albert Portas, before winning against powerful Dutchman Richard Krajicek.