Last year's runner-up Monica Niculescu is in action on the fourth day of the Hobart International, as well as No.1 seed Zhang Shuai and 2015 champion Heather Watson.
WTA Staff
January 9, 2018

CENTRE COURT (starts at noon)

[WC] Jaimee FOURLIS (AUS) vs [Q] Heather WATSON (GBR) 
[Q] Kirsten FLIPKENS (BEL) vs Alison RISKE (USA) 
[1] ZHANG Shuai (CHN) vs Aryna SABALENKA (BLR) 

Not Before 7pm

[Q] Monica NICULESCU (ROU) vs Varvara LEPCHENKO (USA) 
Nao HIBINO (JPN) / Darija JURAK (CRO) vs [4] Lyudmyla KICHENOK (UKR) / Makoto NINOMIYA (JPN)

WEST COURT (starts 2pm)

[3] Elise MERTENS (BEL) / Demi SCHUURS (NED) vs Anna-Lena FRIEDSAM (GER) / Alison VAN UYTVANCK (BEL)

?Mt Wellington, Tasmania

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MATCH POINTS

Monica Niculescu is bidding to reach just her second WTA quarterfinal since reaching the final here last year. In the past 12 months, the Romanian has won consecutive main draw matches just twice - in Washington, DC in August, and at the US Open - though at the end of 2017 she took the title at the WTA 125K event in Limoges.

Local wildcard Jaimee Fourlis won her first WTA main draw match on Monday against Nina Stojanovic - though the 18-year-old already has a Slam main draw win under her belt. Also as a wildcard, she defeated Anna Tatishvili in the first round of last year's Australian Open.

Alison Riske, who overcame a 0-2 head-to-head to beat Shenzhen champion Katerina Siniakova in the first round, now goes into her second round against Kirsten Flipkens with a 2-0 head-to-head lead. The American's victories, both in straight sets, came in the San Antonio 125K in 2016 and in the second round of Nürnberg last year.

Monica Niculescu has lost just one set in three meetings to her second-round opponent, Varvara Lepchenko - on grass in Nottingham in 2015. Both of their hard-court encounters occurred in Montréal, in 2008 and 2010, and the Romanian dropped only seven games across the two matches.

Heather Watson (2015) and Elise Mertens (2017) are the only previous Hobart champions remaining in the draw. If Monica Niculescu wins her second-round match, she will set up a rematch of last year's final against Mertens.