Novak is after a eighth title, Roger is looking for major No.21 and other guys are looking for their first but as we approach who will go further and who will go home?
Novak Djokovic v Milos Raonic
Novak looks in the mood. He has gone from strength to strength over the course of the tournament. He now has 11 straight wins her in Melbourne and is unbeaten this season in his opening 10 matches.
His opponent is Milos Raonic. The Canadian was a semi-finalist here last year and has struggled with injuries since but this run has been very good, just a shame his record against Djokovic isn’t.
Djokovic leads the H2H at 9-0 and has won 21 of the 23 sets of tennis they have played against each other. Raonic did win a set in their last meeting in Cincinnati back in 2018 but you’d expect the number two to have no issues in this one.
Five years ago they did meet at this stage of the Australian Open with Novak winning an opening set tie-break and going onto win 7-6 6-4 6-2.
Recent matches have been close but Raonic isn’t at his old level and Djokovic is at a new level. The weapons will still be the same like the serve and forehand but I just feel like Novak will bulldoze through this one.
Roger Federer v Tennys Sandgren
Roger Federer may have played over 1500 matches of tennis but has never until now played against a player called Tennys.
All eyes will be on Roger, on paper you would expect him to come through this match but there are still doubts lingering. Not for a moment do I think he has enough in him to win the title but he is operating at a good level.
Marton Fucsovic was in good form coming into their round four match but didn’t have the variety to hurt Federer who wasn’t quite at it. The errors did flow and both average speeds on his serve were down.
Sandgren does have much more variety and skills to prolong rallies on the baseline that the Hungarian.
We saw across the four sets against Fognini he dealt well with the array of shots that came his way and produced some very good tennis so I wouldn’t rule too much out here.
Alex Zverev v Stan Wawrinka
Two players we didn’t really expect to see here but they have drawn on their different past experiences and one will be in the semi-final of the major of 2020.
Sascha Zverev has impressed me a lot. He has become a new player over the course of the event and I would go as far as saying this has been his best tennis since he won in London.
He has looked so assured and confident which is good to see and once he gets himself ahead there is no looking back.
Wawrinka called on his experience to see off Medvedev who should have wrapped up proceedings.
I’m interested to see how this one pans out on Wednesday. Zverev leads the head to head at 2-0, they have never played in a major, both meetings were on a hard court but haven’t played each other since 2017.
Dominic Thiem v Rafael Nadal
Dominic Thiem who is so explosive on a tennis court has gone about his business pretty much under the radar once again on a hard court.
With Thiem I find myself impressed but at a stage of saying ‘tougher tests will follow’ and it will be interesting to see how he reacts to this one.
He’s played good tennis and deserves to be spoken about on a hard court in a contender bracket and knows he will have to go the hard way to win this.
His opponent will be Rafael Nadal who came through a tough battle to see off Nick Kyrgios and this will be a big test for Rafa now.
I like Rafa a lot but at the same time I’m interested to see how he takes his game to another level. I thought his level against Kyrgios in that first set was incredible and I might have to eat my words soon if this continues from Rafa…
Nadal leads the head to head at 9-4 but only one meeting which Rafa won was on a hard court. 2018 US Open which Rafa won 0-6 6-4 7-6 6-7 7-6 against the Austrian but since then Dominic has won some key titles on this surface.