By Alessandro Mastroluca

  • Ashleigh Barty [1] v Petra Kvitova [7]
  • Sofia Kenin [14] v Ons Jabeur
  • Roger Federer [3] v Tennys Sandgren
  • Novak Djokovic [2] v Milos Raonic [32]
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – Britwatchsports previews the quarter-finals scheduled on Day 9 on Rod Laver Arena

 

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Ashleigh Barty [1] v Petra Kvitova [7] | Kvitova leads H2H 4-3

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The World No.1 Ashleigh Barty will bid to exact revenge against No.7 seed Petra Kvitova, who defeated her in the quarter-finals here last year. That remains the best result in her home Slam for the Australian, who has advanced to the final in every tournament where she defeated Kvitova. In the only quarter-final featuring the two highest seeds in that section of the main draw, Barty aims to seal her 150th career main draw win and 100th career win on hard courts.

Kvitova, who won the only two meetings at Grand Slams against the World No.1, retains some chances to move into the Top 5 with the title. If not, Belinda Bencic will move into the Top 5 as Bianca Andreescu is dropping out of that elite group.

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The Australian has won 11 of her last 13 matches against Top 30 ranked players. She also beat the two-time Wimbledon champion in their last three matches, en route to two career titles, 2019 Miami and 2019 WTA Finals, and to the 2019 Beijing final. She will probably try to open up the court using her sliced backhand to make the Czech run. Kvitova, bidding to seal her seventh major semifinal, is expected to build an edge through her flat forehand winners from the middle of the court.

Prediction: Kvitova in three sets

 

Sofia Kenin [14] v Ons Jabeur | Kenin leads H2H 3-1

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Consistency in tennis usually beats creativity and inspiration. It’s not a coincidence that the gritty No.14 seed Sofia Kenin has built a 3-1 lead over Tunisian Ons Jabeur, the first Arab woman to advance to the quarterfinal at a major, in their head to heads.

The last American needs to reach her maiden Grand Slam final to break into the Top 50, while the Tunisian will hit a new career-high inside the Top 50. Whoever will win, the Australian Open will have at least one Grand Slam semi-final debutante for the eighth straight season, extending a significant streak. Since the 2013 Australian Open, 26 of the 29 Grand Slams have witnessed a major semi-final debut. Kenin tied for most hardcourt wins on Tour with a 38-16 record in 2019, and it should give her the crucial advantage to make the semis.

Prediction: Kenin in straight sets

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Roger Federer [3] v Tennys Sandgren | First Meeting

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Roger Federer will face Tennys Sandgren for the first time in his career. The American, whose name has nothing to do with the sport he decided to practice, reached his second quarter-final in three years at the Australian Open. His game can look far from elegant, but his footwork is undeniably effective. His quickness and his sense of anticipation made him break Italian powerhouse Matteo Berrettini and upset the shot-maker Fabio Fognini.

He can serve consistently and return deeply, he can come to the net rapidly and seal the points in a very short time. The game should be played on Federer’s terms although the Swiss will need to avoid those lapses during his service games that turned the third-round clash against John Millman in a battle and helped Marton Fucsovics winning the opening set in the round-16.

The six-time Australian Open champion aims to record his 102nd match-win here, which would make the Australian Open his most successful Grand Slam event in terms of matches won. He has never lost in Melbourne to a player ranked as low as World No. 100 Sandgren, who bids to became the lowest-ranked semifinalist in the tournament’s history since 1991. Dreams are his reality here, but Federer seems meant to wake him up before January ends.

Prediction: Federer in four sets

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Novak Djokovic [2] v Milos Raonic [32] | Djokovic leads H2H 9-0

In the final match on Rod Laver Arena, seven-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic will try to defend his unbeaten 9-0 record against No. 32 seed Milos Raonic. Only 20 opponents have lost ten or more matches against the Serbian thus far. The Canadian No.3, hoping to avoid to be the 21st name on that list, remains the most successful male player from Canada at the Grand Slams. He is the only man from his nation to have reached multiple major semifinals.

He will need to push his booming serve to the limits against the best returner on the Tour. Djokovic, who aims to climb to the joint-fourth place on the list for most semifinal appearances here, looked incredibly consistent and agile in his previous matches. Solid when engaged in baseline battles, the Serbian reached unexpected heights on serve, too. And it could easily disrupt Raonic’s game-plan.

Prediction: Djokovic in straight sets

 

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