By Jake Davies
- Garbine Muguruza  vs Coco Vandeweghe
- Venus Williams  vs Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 
- Karolina Pliskova  vs Mirjana Lucic-Baroni
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – The quarter-finals are set for the Australian Open 2017.
Garbiñe Muguruza  vs Coco Vandeweghe H2H: Vandeweghe leads 2-1
America’s Coco Vandeweghe will feature in her second Grand Slam quarter-final when she meets 2016 Roland Garros champion Garbiñe Muguruza on Rod Laver Arena on Tuesday. The two players have played before and will be familiar with each other’s game styles. Both like to hit a hard, deep ball from the back of the court and both enjoy being the aggressor from the beginning of the rally. When Vandeweghe played the World No.1 Angelique Kerber in the fourth round at the 2017 Australian Open it showed the damage a power player can do to one of the greatest defenders in the women’s game.
Beating a World No.1 player definitely gives her the confidence to reproduce that kind of performance and to focus on what she did right in order to get that match win, but it also elevates the expectation for the rest of the tournament. Can Vandeweghe beat another 2016 Grand Slam winner in two consecutive rounds at a major?
Muguruza and Vandeweghe can be hard to live with when they step inside the court following a big serve and are even more dangerous when they are attacking the second offering of their opponent. Any slight moment of tentativeness will be exploited in this sort of match and the player who executes their shots to best of their ability will come through this one.
Prediction: Muguruza in two sets
Venus Williams  vs Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova  H2H: Venus Williams leads 3-2
Not much separates these two players in their past encounters. The Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova has now reached the quarter-final in all of the four majors, but one stat she would love to change is that she is 0-3 in all of them. In those matches she lost to Serena Williams twice and Francesca Schiavone, but if the Russian is to fulfil her potential she has to start delivering under pressure against the greats of the game like Venus Williams.
The 24th seeded Pavlycuhenkova would be pretty pleased with her start to the season. It is important to get that quarter-final under her belt in the early stages of the season, which she managed to do at Sydney, where she beat Svetlana Kuznetsova and Samantha Stosur before losing to Eugenie Bouchard. Now Pavlyuchenkova has to make the next step into a first Grand Slam semi-final.
Venus Williams will try to ensure that the Russian’s poor quarter-final record gets worse. Williams has bulldozed through the draw after a brief struggle to Kateryna Kozlova in the first round and I think she is favourite to win this match against Pavlyuchenkova.
Prediction: Venus Williams in three sets.
Karolina Pliskova  vs Mirjana Lucic-Baroni H2H: Pliskova leads 3-2
The big-serving Czech made light work of Australia’s Daria Gavrilova in the fourth round to set up this intriguing match-up against Mirjana Lucic-Baroni. The World No.5 Karolina Pliskova took a while to find her place on the Women’s Tour and struggled to establish herself at Grand Slam level, but that all changed at last year’s US Open, where she made her maiden Grand Slam final, losing to Kerber in the memorable final.
Now, after winning her biggest title in Cincinnati and having the experience of a Grand Slam final in her locker, she is one of the most significant threats to Serena Williams, who continues to chase history.
Pliskova leads the previous H2H’s with Lucic-Baroni 3-2, but I suspect the new-and-improved Pliskova will have her eyes set on another Grand Slam semi-final.
Prediction: Pliskova in two sets.
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