The competitiveness of women’s tennis throughout the draw of 128 once again throws up an encounter fit for a final and is criminal one of these ladies will go home in round for.
Over the next 24 hours or so 32 will look to become 16 with a player in the quarter finals of the Australian Open at stake, one battle is Garbine Muguruza vs Naomi Osaka.
Surprisingly this is the first ever meeting between these two who have won five Grand Slam titles between them.
Muguruza won her last Grand Slam title in 2017 at Wimbledon and at that time Naomi was ranked just around 60 in the world but has won Grand Slam titles in the last three consecutive years including in Melbourne where Muguruza was runner-up last year.
Both ladies have been faultless throughout the tournament so far, the composure and the belief in their ground strokes have been fantastic.
The confidence of Muguruza right now as it was in Melbourne last year reminded me of her triumphs in 2016 and 2017 season at Roland Garros and Wimbledon. Can she pull off one of her biggest wins in sometime?
Naomi Osaka is in sensational form, she seems soo calm and composed. She has everything in her game, the velocity behind her forehand is outstanding and she has gone from strength to strength each year.
To win three majors three years on the bounce is a special achievement only matched by Kim Clijsters, Justine Henin and Serena Williams (3 times) over the past 16 years.
Muguruza beat Halep here last year but I think the power and the game of Naomi Osaka will be too much for her. The Spaniard is at her best just inside the baseline and tucked in and doesn’t like to be moved about but that is Naomi’s game. She will move her about with her forehand and I see her doing it in straight sets.
The Spaniard is searching to battle with the best and this test will be massive for her having not been in the top ten since August 2018.