By Alessandro Mastroluca

  • Ons Jabeur became the first Arab woman to reach a Grand Slam quarter-final as she beat Wang Qiang
  • Novak Djokovic beat Diego Schwartzman. He will now meet resurgent Milos Raonic
  • Roger Federer will play his 15th Australian Open quarter-final

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – Roger Federer reached his 57th Grand Slam quarter-finals where he will meet Tennys Sandgren, and Sofia Kenin halted Coco Gauff.

 

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Notable wins

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Seven-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic reached the quarter-finals at a Grand Slam for the 46th time, the 11th in 15 appearances at the Australian Open. Djokovic, in third place on the list for most quarterfinals played here among active players behind Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, beat Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman for the fourth time in four meetings.

The second-seeded Serbian booked his place in the quarter-finals on Sunday with a 6-3 6-4 6-4 victory over No. 14 seed, who presented a major challenge for the former World No.1 in the past. Schwartzman, bidding to clinch his first victory against a Top 5 player, fought as hard as ever and won some sensational battle at the net. After a tiring opening set, however, the match was played on Djokovic’s terms. He used the whole court to dictate play, won 75% of first-serve points and ripped 38 winners to remain unbeaten this year.

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He will now face Milos Raonic trying to extend his 9-0 lead in the head-to-head. The former World No.3 beat Marin Cilic 6-4 6-3 7-5 and moved to the quarter-finals for the tenth time in a major without dropping his serve in four matches. He crushed 35 aces against the Croat. Repeating the same feat against the best returner in men’s tennis could not suffice to make the semifinals.

Ons Jabeur became the first Tunisian and Arab player (male or female) to seal a Grand Slam quarter-final. In her tremendous run, she beat No.12 seed Johanna Konta in the first round, marking the maiden main draw victory at the Australian Open for a Tunisian woman. She then overcame Caroline Garcia to score back-to-back Slam wins at consecutive Slams for the first time in her career and struck 43 winners to defeat 2018 champion Caroline Wozniacki in the final match of the Danish star’s career.

In the fourth-round she avenged the recent straight-set defeat in Shenzhen and beat No.27 seed Wang Qiang of China 7-6(4) 6-1 to reach her maiden Grand Slam quarter-final. Her complete, sublime tennis can really be an inspiration for the next generations in Tunisia and the whole Arabic world.

READ MORE | Tennis | Australian Open 2020 | Women’s Draw Preview

 

Notable losses

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No.14 seed Sofia Kenin booked her spot in a Grand Slam quarterfinal for the very first time in her career. Rising American Coco Gauff, the third player in the last 30 years to win seven or more Grand Slam matches before her 16th birthday, managed to seal the first set tie-break but gradually was forced to back-pedalled. A tenacious Kenin constantly attacked Gauff’s inconsistent forehand to avoid her flashy backhands and won 12 of the last 15 games in a 6-7(5) 6-3 6-0 victory. She will now face Jabeur trying to improve her 3-1 lead in their head to head, having won the two clashes in 2019.

 

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Quick hits

No.7 seed Petra Kvitova had dropped just 14 games through three matches, the least of any player remaining in the top half. In the fourth, she has to come back from a set down to seal the second win in four matches against an inspired Maria Sakkari. The two-time Wimbledon champion completed 33 winners to beat the No.22 seed, hoping to become the first Greek woman to make the quarter-finals at a Grand Slam, 6-7(4) 6-3 6-2.

Kvitova leads 4-3 in the head to head against her next opponent, the World No.1 Ashleigh Barty. The Australian won their last three clashes since her quarter-final defeat here last year. Barty struggled in the second but managed to seal her eighth straight win as she beat No.18 seed Alison Riske 6-3 1-6 6-4.

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Federer lost the first set but took control of the game and defeated Marton Fucsovics 4-6 6-1 6-2 6-2. The six-time Australian Open champion reached the quarter-finals at the Australian Open for the 15th time, and he now claims the sole ownership of the all-time record for most quarter-final appearances here, ahead of John Newcombe. The Swiss will play his 57th Grand Slam quarter-final. For the first time ever, he won’t face a Top 40 opponent in the first five rounds of a major tournament.

Federer will meet Tennys Sandgren for the first time. The American clinched his second Australian Open quarter-final in three years as he beat Fabio Fognini 7-6(5) 7-5 6-7(2) 6-4. The World No.18 became the 17th American man in the Open Era to reach the quarterfinals at the Australian Open on multiple occasions. He’s the second-lowest ranked player Federer has faced in a Grand Slam quarter-final behind Gilles Muller at the 2008 US Open.

READ MORE | Tennis | Australian Open 2020 | Men’s Draw Preview

Play continues at the Australian Open on Day Eight, at 11am (Midnight GMT).

 

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