The first week at Melbourne Park was pretty dramatic. Five former champions began and going into the quarter finals …..
Round three took out the previous three champions with Serena, Wozniacki and Osaka going home but who from the final eight will prevail?
Ash Barty v Petra Kvitova
Where better to start?
These two meet at this stage last year and there is a great respect and love for each others’ game.
At the end of her win against Alison Riske the Australian said she loves Petra but please don’t break my heart.
Four wins in a row have seen Petra Kvitova back in a Grand Slam quarter final. Consistency has been an issue for Petra who has won four matches in a row for the first time since Stuttgart and just the third time since this time last year.
Petra is of course last years runner up here and it’s never been straight forward for the Czech who has now won 10 of her last 11 in Melbourne. Before that she won 4 of her previous 9 and before that 9 of her previous 11. Right now she is a good place with her game.
I’m interested to see how Ash approaches this one, I think she has to go for it more off the backhand and bring more of that backhand slice into play to stand a very good chance.
Ash Barty has never beaten a top 10 player in a Grand Slam if she wants to progress to the semi-finals here let alone pick up the title she will have to do that.
Petra did win their last meeting in Shenzhen but Barty went onto win the title there but the Czech has won three of their last five meetings. All of their previous five meetings have been on hard courts.
Ons Jabeur v Sofia Kenin
Sofia Kenin has slightly dropped under the radar but the American who only turned 21 a couple of months ago is making some serious noise on the tour.
She played in Shenzhen as an alternate and this run to the quarter finals is her best run at a major.
Her opponent for a place in the final four is Ons Jabeur. Ons likewise is in her first major quarter final and has become the first Arab woman to reach a quarter final of a major and when the new rankings come out will be the first in the top 50 as well.
This is set to be a fun match. Ons Jabeur has such a counterpunch game which makes her dangerous when she steps inside the baseline. She was so assured of herself against Qiang in round four but Kenin will produce a different task.
You could say that Kenin might bring something similar to Wozniacki with that baseline grit but I think there is much more to her game. Once she gets that invitation she will venture up the court and if she can begin to control the rhythm.
In the past they have met three times, twice last year and on all three surfaces with Ons Jabeur winning all three!
Anett Kontaveit v Simona Halep
The run of the Estonian to the quarter finals has been one of the stories of the tournament. We know the skills of Anett as she power anyone off the court but has brought it all together right now.
Getting to this stage means winning four matches in a row and is something that she hadn’t done before now until she made the finals of Stuttgart and the semi-finals in Miami last year.
Simona Halep has likewise blown opponents off the court. Her tennis has been soo good from the baseline and has beaten some tough opponents to make it to this stage once again.
I’ve liked what I have seen as the first week has progressed in Melbourne and she looks very composed and assured right now.
This will be a tough one, Halep is favourite in the grand scheme of things but if Anett firing like she has been this will cause issues for the former finalist.
In their previous meetings both in 2017 they won one each with Halep winning 6-2 6-4 in Rome but Anett won 6-3 6-0 in Miami on the hard courts…
Garbine Muguruza v Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
Muguruza is another player who has taken this tournament by the scruff of the neck you could say.
I have been super impressed with what the Spaniard has shown on court so far. She has come through two big tests to get through to the quarter finals: first Elina Svitolina and now Kiki Bertens.
Muguruza has found strength and confidence in her game and her groundstrokes have blown players off the court and it has been great to see the former number one and two time major champion achieve this.
Anastasia is the opponent.
She has history on her mind, she has never made it past a Grand Slam quarter final and this is now her sixth and impressively her third in four years at Melbourne Park.
The Russian digs deep well during matches and might have some inside knowledge for the next match as her current coach is Sam Suymk who is the former longterm coach of her opponent Garbine Muguruza.
Muguruza leads the head to head at 4-1 following a retirement which gave Anastasia a win in Stuttgart two years ago but haven’t met since 2018.