By Alessandro Mastroluca

  • Roger Federer [3] v Marton Fucsovics
  • Maria Sakkari [22] v Petra Kvitova [7]
  • Coco Gauff v Sofia Kenin [14]
MELBOURNE, Australia – Roger Federer bids for his 15th quarter-final here. Teenage sensation Coco Gauff meets Sofia Kenin, Petra Kvitova plays Maria Sakkari.

 

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Roger Federer [3]  v Marton Fucsovics | Federer leads H2H 2-0

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Six-time Australian Open champion Roger Federer aims to extend his 2-0 lead in the head to head against Hungarian Marton Fucsovics. The Swiss would claim the sole ownership of the all-time record for most quarter-final appearances here, ahead of John Newcombe.

Beating the Australian John Millman coming back from 4-8 in the fifth-set tie-break, Federer became the first
player, man or woman, to record 100 match-wins at two different Grand Slam events.

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He will meet the Hungarian powerhouse in the night session on Rod Laver Arena in a repeat of their round-16 match here in 2018. Federer won in straight sets on that occasion. Fucsovics, however, displayed as assured and solid game as he dismissed No. 13 seed Denis Shapovalov, Italian Next Gen ATP Finals champion Jannik Sinner and Tommy Paul in the opening three rounds.

He can hit flatter and heavier ground-strokes than Millman, although the Australian is one of the fittest players on tour and covers the court more quickly. Fucsovics needs to be perfectly efficient on serve and return deeply to take control of the game. He would become the third Hungarian man in the Open Era after Istvan Gulyas (1971 Roland Garros) and Balazs Taroczy (1976, 1981 Roland Garros) to reach the quarterfinals at a Grand Slam event.

The winner will meet No. 12 seed Fabio Fognini or Tennys Sandgren. The Swiss is 4-0 against the Italian, who leads 2-1 in the head to heads against the Hungarian. Both players, instead, would play the American for the first time.

Prediction: Federer in straight sets

READ MORE | Tennis | Australian Open 2020 | Day 5 Diary: Serena, Osaka and an emotional Wozniacki exit, Federer battles to seal 100th Aussie win

 

Maria Sakkari [22] v Petra Kvitova [7] | Sakkari leads H2H 2-1

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Maria Sakkari aims to become the first Greek woman to make the quarter-finals in a major. She will face No.7 seed Petra Kvitova, one of the eight active players with more than 100 match wins at Grand Slam level. The two-time Wimbledon champion has dropped just 14 games through three matches, the least of any player remaining in the top half. She lost seven points on serve in a dominant first-round victory over compatriot Katerina Siniakova, then she fired seven aces and 31 winners to defeat No.97 Paula Badosa and overpowered No.28 Ekaterina Alexandrova in the third round.

Sakkari, who defeated No.11 Keys to notch her 14th career win over a Top 20 opponent, will play Kvitova for the first time since defeating her at 2019 Cincinnati, bidding to notch her first Top 10 win of the season.

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The 2019 runner-up Kvitova, the favourite to reach the final in the top half, is expected to produce a barrage of winners against the Greek counter-puncher. Sakkari, on the contrary, could aim to extend the rallies to dictate play and make her opponent run from side to side.

Prediction: Kvitova in three sets

READ MORE | Tennis | ATP Cup 2020 | Latest Schedule and Draws

 

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Coco Gauff v Sofia Kenin [14] | First Meeting

Sofia Kenin is the highest-ranked American left in the draw. The No.14 seed will meet teenager star Coco Gauff, undefeated against her fellow countrywomen.

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World No.67  Gauff defeated Naomi Osaka, increasingly frustrated and incapable to manage the pressure against a younger opponent. The American became the youngest player to beat a defending champion at a Grand Slam since Jennifer Capriati at 1991 US Open. She’s also the first American woman in 30 years to reach the third round in each of her first three Grand Slam main draw appearances. Should she reach the quarter-finals, she would become the eighth player to make the final eight in a major (128 player draw) before their 16th birthday.

Kenin, making her third consecutive Australian Open main draw appearance, has reached the second week of a major for the second time in her career. The No.14 seed hasn’t lost to a player ranked outside the Top 50 since Washington, DC, last season, when she surrendered to No.75 Lauren Davis in the second round.

She looked solid and consistent enough to exploit Gauff’s weaknesses off the forehand side. Her game-plan could feature a high-octane pressure to Gauff’s forehand to open up the court for herself. The teenager prodigy, only the third player in the last 30 years to win seven or more Grand Slam matches before her 16th birthday, will probably use any openings to go for a down the line backhand winner thanks to her anticipation and tactical smartness.

Prediction: Kenin in straight sets

Play begins on Day Seven at 11am (Midnight GMT).

 

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