• Rafael Nadal [2] v Fabio Fognini [16]
  • Elina Svitolina [5] v Jessica Pegula
  • Ashleigh Barty [1] v Shelby Rogers
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – Into the second week and we have picked three of the best fourth round matches so settle back with your virtual ticket to Rod Laver Arena for Monday.

 

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Rafael Nadal [2] v Fabio Fognini [16] H2H & Match Fundamentals

Rafael Nadal [2] v Fabio Fognini [16] H2H: Nadal leads 12-4
Australian Open Melbourne, Australia
Hard (O) Prize Money: A$260,000
Third on Rod Laver Arena, not before 3pm (4am GMT) Tennis TV/Eurosport Player if available

 

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It would not be a tournament if there was not some drama surrounding Fabio Fognini, who had an entertaining argument with compatriot Salvatore Caruso at the end of their second-round match. And perhaps it also would not be a slam if there was not some concern over the health of Rafael Nadal and his various injured limbs over the years, after a back injury kept him from competing for Spain in the ATP Cup.

As one sided as this head-to-head is, it always comes with an element of spice. Fognini is a player that gets under many players’ skins. He has a languid style of play that almost suggests no effort, but he certainly has gotten the better of Nadal three times on clay, but importantly once at the US Open.

Nadal was tactful enough to say he was happy to see Fognini back after he had ankle surgery on both ankles during the lockdown in 2020.

It can be such a contrast of styles to watch – Fognini’s deftness of shot versus the sheer brutality and weight of shot from Nadal, and that is even before we get to any of the Italian’s antics.

But the way Nadal has been playing, he will be able to breeze through this match with efficiency.

Prediction: Nadal in three sets.

 

READ MORE | Tennis | Australian Open 2021 | Latest Schedule, Draws, Results & How to Watch

 

Elina Svitolina [5] v Jessica PegulaH2H & Match Fundamentals

Elina Svitolina [5] v Jessica Pegula H2H: Svitolina leads 1-0
Australian Open Melbourne, Australia
Hard (O) Prize Money: A$260,000
First on Rod Laver Arena at 11am

(Midnight GMT).

Tennis TV/Eurosport Player if available

 

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Elina Svitolina always seems to creep through the draw under the radar and into the second week under cover of darkness, while all the focus is on other players. For a while now she has been expected to be mixing it up in the final few days of a Slam, and so far, she has yet to drop a set.

Jessica Pegula scored a famous scalp in the first round against two-time champion Victoria Azarenka, taking out another Slam champion in Sam Stosur on her way to the fourth round, and actually her first match of the season was against Svitolina in Abu Dhabi, where she lost in straight sets.

It looks to be a match-up of similar styles. The American plays close to the baseline and punches a lot more with her forehand, but she is happy to follow those in and finish off points at the net.

Svitolina has the complete baseline game, but of course has been the model of consistency throughout her career and has been to the quarter-final stages twice in her career, so expect this to make it three.

Prediction: Svitolina in straight sets.

 

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Ashleigh Barty [1] v Shelby Rogers H2H & Match Fundamentals

Ashleigh Barty [1] v Shelby Rogers H2H: Barty leads 2-0
Australian Open Melbourne, Australia
Hard (O) Prize Money: A$260,000
First night match on Rod Laver Arena, not before 7pm, (8am GMT) Tennis TV/Eurosport Player if available

 

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After a prolonged period off the tour, there has been a lot of tennis on Ashleigh Barty’s legs, as the strapping she wore in her third-round match attested to. Pulling out of doubles to be on the safe side, it was not the tidiest of matches from Barty to reach the fourth round, and although she has come through in straight sets, at times it has taken the World No. 1 a little time to get rolling.

In fact, the same can be said of Shelby Rogers who looked to be overwhelmed at the start of her match against Anett Kontaveit before turning things impressively around for her best performance yet at the Australian Open.

However Down Under has not been a great hunting ground for Shelby against Barty, losing to her in the second round of the e2017 Australian Open, and just the week before the competition started in the Yarra Valley Classic.

But if Barty gets off to a slow start, she could find herself in a long battle.

Prediction: Barty in three sets.

 

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