Rublev faces Cilic hurdle in search of maiden Grand Slam

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MELBOURNE, Jan 22 (Reuters) - World number six Andrey Rublev's hopes of a maiden Grand Slam title will face a stern test in the form of the seasoned Marin Cilic at the Australian Open on Saturday, with the big Croatian looking to challenge for major honours again.

Rublev was barely troubled in the opening two rounds, but the Russian may have to raise his game against former U.S. Open champion Cilic, who reached the final at Melbourne Park four years ago.

Rublev, however, will take confidence from his recent performances against Cilic, having comfortably come out on top in their last four meetings.

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Ninth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime could be a potential opponent for Rublev if the Canadian comes out unscathed against Britain's Dan Evans, while world number four Stefanos Tsitsipas takes on Benoit Paire following the Frenchman's surprise win over Grigor Dimitrov.

Both the men's and women's second seeds are also in action as Daniil Medvedev plays Dutchman Botic van de Zandschulp, and Aryna Sabalenka, whose campaign so far has been plagued by service woes, faces 31st seed Marketa Vondrousova.

Former French Open winners Simona Halep and Iga Swiatek are the other big guns who will take the court on Saturday, with Danka Kovinic and Daria Kasatkina standing in their respective ways for a place in the fourth round.

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Reporting by Dhruv Munjal in Bengaluru Editing by Toby Davis

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