• Ashleigh Barty [1] v Karolina Muchova [25]
  • Jennifer Brady [22] v Jessica Pegula
  • Andrey Rublev [7] v Daniil Medvedev [4]
  • Rafael Nadal [2] v Stefanos Tsitsipas [5]
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – After some thrills, spills and surprises on Day 9, the last of the semi-final berths will be decided.

 

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Ashleigh Barty [1] v Karolina Muchova [25] H2H & Match Fundamentals

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Ashleigh Barty [1] v Karolina Muchova [25] H2H: Barty leads 1-0
Australian Open Melbourne, Australia
Hard (O) Prize Money: A$525,000
First on Rod Laver Arena at 11am (Midnight GMT) Eurosport Player via Amazon Prime

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World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty will open play at 11am on Rod Laver Arena, where she will face Karolina Muchova.

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Despite not dropping a set on the way to the quarter-finals, it has not always been the cleanest of tennis for Barty to get there – her second-round match with Daria Gavrilova saw her pushed hard in the second set.

Muchova also has yet to drop a set, but she has had quite a few battles too, and scalped fellow Czech Karolina Pliskova before having to turn things around against Elise Mertens who started very strongly.

Barty is looking to equal her best performance last year, before everything shut down, and she is looking to be the only other of the top four seeds to join former champion Naomi Osaka in the semi-finals so the Aussie will be hoping for another simple straight setter.

Muchova has shown though that she can figure things out when things are staking up against her. She outhit Pliskova and she stopped the run of games from a commanding start from Elise Mertens very effectively, so there can be no slow start from Barty.

It is difficult to know whether the continuing lack of crowds on Wednesdaycan be a hindrance for Barty. She has not seemed to suffer from the home slam crippling nerves, and she seems to have coped either way.

Barty’s ability to create angles and vary up the pace and spin from her forehand, not to mention the variety of shots at her disposal, means Muchova will need to come forward and not rely on hitting heavy ground-strokes from the baseline – but she has always been willing to do so, and that has gotten her through a couple of tough rounds.

Prediction: Barty in three sets.

 

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Jennifer Brady [22] v Jessica Pegula H2H & Match Fundamentals

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Jennifer Brady [22] v Jessica Pegula H2H: Pegula leads 1-0
Australian Open Melbourne, Australia
Hard (O) Prize Money: A$525,000
Second on Rod Laver Arena, not before 1pm

(2am GMT).

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A couple of new kids on the Australian Open quarter-final block will be next onto the court, with Jennifer Brady and Jessica Pegula.

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Of course for Brady, reaching a Slam semi-final won’t be anything ne if she advances, as she had a tremendous run at last year’s US Open and has conceded only 17 games en-route to the quarter-final, the fewest of any of the quarter-finalists – which is quite astounding when you consider the others who made the last eight.

That being said though, Pegula had the better of Brady in their last encounter in the opening round of the New York edition of the Cincinnati Masters.  Brady serves strongly and capably backs that up with a punchy forehand or a one-two punch at the net. It is a fairly even match up in styles in that respect with Pegula, so it will be interesting to see who deals with the pressure of making it into the semi-final line-up better.

Despite their H2H, the edge has to lie with Brady but she will need a fast and commanding start.

Prediction: Brady in three sets.

 

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Andrey Rublev [7] v Daniil Medvedev [4] H2H & Match Fundamentals

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Andrey Rublev [7] v Daniil Medvedev [4] H2H: Medvedev leads 4-0
Australian Open Melbourne, Australia
Hard (O) Prize Money: A$525,000
Third day session match on Rod Laver Arena, not before 3pm, (4am GMT) Eurosport Player via Amazon Prime

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There will be at least one more Russian into the semi-finals, after the extraordinary run through qualifying of Aslan Karatsev. On the other side of the draw Andrey Rublev and Daniil Medvedev meet for the second time in a Grand Slam quarter-final, where Medvedev beat his compatriot in straight sets at the US Open last year.

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In fact it will be quite the task for Rublev to get his first win over his ATP Cup Team-mate, not to mention getting a fist Grand Slam quarter-final win to boot, having lost all three he has made in the past.

Rublev is already at his best Australian Open performance this year, and last year won five ATP Tour titles – the most of any other player on the tour, and has been consistent, certainly at a tour level for the last few years.

However, Medvedev comes in with all the experience, and also finished off last year winning the ATP Tour Finals. Rublev’s game is arguably a little more powerful than that of Medvedev, but just tends to over-cook things, whereas Medvedev is hard to beat once he gets control of a baseline rally, and it is not hard to see the occasion coaxing errors from Rublev.

Prediction: Medvedev in four sets.

 

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Rafael Nadal [2] v Stefanos Tsitsipas [5] H2H & Match Fundamentals

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Rafael Nadal [2] v Stefanos Tsitsipas [5] H2H: Nadal leads 6-1
Australian Open Melbourne, Australia
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Night match on Rod Laver Arena, not before 7:30pm, (8:30am GMT) Eurosport Player via Amazon Prime

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It is difficult to know what the effect will be on Stefanos Tsitsipas of progressing through to the quarter-final on a walkover, after Matteo Berrettini and whether the disruption to rhythm will be more of a hindrance than a help when it comes to facing Rafael Nadal.

Whatever the back injury was that prevented Nadal from representing Spain in the ATP Cup, it looks as though the rest has helped him as he as bids to win just a second Australian Open title.

For Tsitsipas, he will look to equal his previous best performance at the Australian Open if he reaches the semi-finals here for the second time. He also got some match time in on the ATP Cup.

The self-styled philosopher looks to be getting closer to reaching a Slam final, and will have to produce the tennis of his life to get a win over Nadal who as come through all of his matches in straight sets, arguably being given the toughest test by Britain’s Cameron Norrie in the third round.

Tsitsipas had to dig very deep to get past Thanasi Kokkinakis in the second round in five sets, so in a way the Berrettini walkover might help him just recover a little more.

He might look to come in more and try and shift Nadal off his baseline, but in all honesty Nadal’s court coverage skills still leaves most of the younger players standing.

At best Tsitsipas can give Nadal his toughest test to date.

Prediction: Nadal in four sets.

 

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