By Ros Satar, in Melbourne

  • Naomi Osaka [4] v Anastasija Sevastova [13]
  • Simona Halep v Serena Williams [16]
  • Garbiñe Muguruza [18] v Karolina Pliskova [7]
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – After all the excitement of Day Seven of the Australian Open, what is our pick of the last fourth round action?

 

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Naomi Osaka [4] v Anastasija Sevastova [13] | H2H tied at 2-2

We have an intriguing match up to kick off Day Eight’s Three to See, which pits US Open champion Naomi Osaka against Anastasija Sevastova. Their head to head is split straight down the middle, with Osaka redressing the balance with a win in Brisbane at the start of the season.

Osaka has not been afraid in showing her emotions (albeit bashfully apologising for it afterwards) and in Sevastova she is playing someone who wears their heart on their sleeve. If she is winning she looks as though the world is ending, if she is losing, well she looks as though the world is ending.

Osaka showed that she does have that focus to ignore whatever is going on at the other side of the net and she will need those skills as the two aggressive baseliners will go toe-to-toe. It will be a chance for both to make the quarter-finals here for the first time but maybe Osaka just will be the steadier of the two.

Prediction: Osaka in three sets.

 

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Simona Halep v Serena Williams [16] | H2H: Williams leads 8-1

Simona Halep in the first round of the Australian Open 2019, Melbourne

Simona Halep in the first round of the Australian Open 2019, Melbourne | Jimmie48 Tennis Photograhy

It has actually been three years since they last met at the US Open, but it has always been one-way traffic for Serena Williams, even Simona Halep has managed to take a set off her twice.

The question is – are we in different times? A lot has happened for both players since their last encounter. Halep is a World No. 1 and has generally been consistent, not to mention a gritty fighter from the first until the last.

Williams perhaps lacks that power to intimidate before players take to the court anymore, but she has lost none of that power to her game and she certainly has not been troubled at all in her path to the fourth round.

That is not the case at all for Halep who came through two tough three-setters before despatching Venus Williams in straight sets. I doubt it will be quite that easy against the younger Williams.

While Halep has a scrambler’s talent, she can definitely trade heavy blows from the back of the court too, but she might just be the nimbler of the two, and if she can can match Williams in the serving stats too, this is going to be another long stretch on court for her.

Prediction: Halep in three sets.

 

Garbiñe Muguruza [18] v Karolina Pliskova [7] | H2H: Pliskova leads 7-2

Karolina Pliskova in the third round robin match of the WTA Finals 2018, Singapore

Karolina Pliskova in the third round robin match of the WTA Finals 2018, Singapore | Jimmie48 Tennis Photography

While a lot of focus is (or rather has been) on the reigning Slam champions as the favourites, Karolina Pliskova has very much gone under the radar. Now under the guidance of Rennae Stubbs and Conchita Martinez, it just feels like she is ready to prove that her run to the US Open final in 2016 was not a fluke.

Of course, when it comes to Slam titles, Garbiñe Muguruza has nothing to prove, and in reality, she has impressed this week okaying some of her best tennis in a while.

The pair haven’t met in the last year, but since then Muguruza’s form has been somewhat variable, she seems to have turned a corner though this year, and this might not be quite as easy as some of their recent encounters.

has nothing to prove, and in reality, she has impressed this week okaying some of her best tennis in a while.

The pair haven’t met in the last year, but since then Muguruza’s form has been somewhat variable, she seems to have turned a corner though this year, and this might not be quite as easy as some of their recent encounters.

Prediction: Pliskova in three sets.

 

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