Australian Open Quarterfinals Preview

Novak Djokovic Australian Open

The Australian Open quarterfinals should be two days of incredible tennis. What should we expect to see? Let’s break down all of the upcoming matches.

Australian Open Quarterfinals Preview

Women’s Draw

Hsieh Su-wei vs Naomi Osaka

These could not be more different players matched up. Hsieh Su-wei is one of the most exciting and interesting players on tour. She hits ridiculous shots and amazing angles. Hsieh is a doubles expert who has won three Grand Slams in women’s doubles and been ranked #1 in the world for doubles. She has had sporadic singles success. At 35 years old, this is her first quarterfinal appearance. She has made it to the 4th round of a Major on three other occasions, twice at down under. She has only been ranked as high as 23rd in the world for singles. But she will give Osaka all she can handle in touch and directional tennis.

Naomi Osaka is power and precision. She overwhelms her opponents with the power of her groundstrokes and serve. Naomi Osaka is one of the stars of the sport. She recently lost her #1 World Ranking and sits at #3 in the world. But she is coming off the 2020 US Open championship, her third Major title.

Expect Osaka to dominate unless her unforced errors allow Hsieh to play her game. Hsieh always makes the matches she plays interesting and any tennis fan is left scratching their head on how she comes up with various shots. But Hsieh has never had success against the best players in the world, don’t expect Osaka to lose.

Serena Williams vs Simona Halep

This is a classic and expect it to be an offense versus defense match-up. Halep has been one of the top players over the last decade and Williams the best ever. A decade separates these two women in age. Halep and Williams are two of the four remaining women’s players who have been #1 in the world. Halep took over as #1 after the birth of Williams’ baby in 2017. Currently Halep sits behind Barty, in the #2 spot. Halep has won two majors but never the Australian. She made the final in 2018.

Williams, by contrast, has won the Australian Open alone seven times. She currently sits at #11 in the world and is still searching for her first major titles since the birth of her daughter.

This should be a highly entertaining match. Halep is defensive specialists, a backboard who absorbs power and remains tough. Serena Williams has the all-round game as one would expect from probably the greatest female tennis player of all time. Her serve and power are her specialty but she can defend as well. Halep won their last match up at Wimbledon in 2019 in the finals, 6-2, 6-2. However, Williams leads in the overall match-up 9-3. Expect this to go the distance and the player with the least amount of errors to win.

Ashleigh Barty vs Karolína Muchová

The world #1 tries to bring a title to her home major for the first time in over four decades. She has been the worlds best women’s tennis player since June of 2019 after winning her first and only major, the French. Last year she made it to the semifinals in the Australian when she lost to the eventual champion Sofia Kenin. Ash Barty is probably the best athlete on tour. She took 2 years off of tennis from 2014-2016 where she played professional cricket in Australia. She has had a plethora of doubles success making it to the final in every one of the majors with a doubles major title at the US Open in 2018.

24-year-old Karolina Muchova from the Czech Republic is in her second major quarterfinal. She has never made it out of the quarters and she has a tough matchup against the world #1. She is currently ranked #27 in the world but has had to take out strong players to make it to the quarters.

Though Barty doesn’t have her hometown fans to cheer her to their countries final four, expect Barty to play clean tennis. The two have only played each other once, at the US Open and Barty won in straight sets.

Jennifer Brady vs Jessica Pegula

One of the three remaining American women in the Australian Open will go home in the quarterfinals. Jennifer Brady and Jessica Pegula are a few of the rising names of women’s American tennis. Older than the teenager’s like Coco Gauff and Caty McNally, these are two of the 20-somethings pushing their way through the WTA.

Jennifer Brady is the more successful of the two at this point in their career. Brady made it to the semifinals of her home major last fall. Like Hseih and Barty, she has had quite a bit of doubles success. She has reached the semifinals in doubles at the Australian in 2019 and the quarterfinals in mixed doubles at the Australian the same year. Brady played collegiate tennis for UCLA where she was a quarterfinalist in 2014 NCAA women’s singles draw.

Jessica Pegula has only made it out of the first round of a Major three times. This is by far the furthest she has come since turning pro in 2009. But the last two years have seen her come into her own. She made a quarterfinal in doubles at the French in 2020 and the third round of the US Open the same year. She has never been ranked in the Top 50 in the world.

Jennifer Brady is a hard hitting player, with powerful strokes but great movement. Expect Brady to be a little too much for the Pegula, but be comforted that an American is guaranteed in the Australian Open final four.

Men’s Draw

Grigor Dimitrov vs Aslan Karatsev

Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria has ranked as high as #3 in the world, but has never been able to breakthrough at a major. He has made it to the semifinals in three different majors, including the the Australian Open in 2017. Dimitriov came onto tour with high expectations and hasn’t quite been able to live up to them or break through the Big 3. Dimitrov had quite the slump from 2018 to 2020 and is hoping this marks a resurgence in his singles.

Aslan Karatsev is a journeymen Russian who has had tough wins to make it to his first major quarterfinal. He is playing on house money being only the 435th best player in the world. It took 5 sets to get through the 3rd round. Whereas Dimitrov rolled over Dominic Thiem (2020 US Open Champion) and Marin Cilic another major winner in straight sets.

Expect Karatsev’s magic to end as he faces the best player he’s faced so far. Dimitrov is rested and as long as he takes the match seriously, his variety and all-court game should be too much for the Russian.

Novak Djokovic vs Alexander Zverev

Novak Djokovic has won more Australian Open Titles than any other male player. He’s coming off a fluke-y US Open where he was disqualified. This is his favorite major but he is also struggling with an injury incurred in the third round. He was able to dispatch power server Milos Raonic in 4 sets. Zverev is a more all-round player than Raonic and Zverev has had success against Djokovic, at least as much as anyone has.

Alexander Zverev is coming off a heartbreaking loss in the finals of the US Open. But he has come through the Australian much cleaner than the past. He has only dropped a single set this tournament and that was a tiebreaker in the first round. Djokovic leads their head to head 5-2, but everyone of their match ups has been tight, with Zverev taking him to tiebreakers and 3 sets. They faced each other this year in the warm-up tournament for the Australian. Djokovic won in three sets, 7-6, 2-6, 7-5.

This match-up will be exciting. Zverev can beat Djokovic and both of them know it. Djokovic has been challenged in the early rounds of the Australian Open whereas Zverev has not. This match will probably go to 5 sets and will depend on Djokovic’s health on who ends up the winner.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas vs Rafael Nadal

Stefanos Tsitsipas is one of the young guns of the rising male tennis generation and he is facing off against a legend. He had an epic match in the Australian a few years ago where he surprised the world be beating Roger Federer. Can he find that level of his game and defeat Federer’s greatest rival, Rafael Nadal?

Tsitsipas has a great all-round game but he hasn’t had success against the Spaniard. They have met seven times, with Nadal winning six of them. They met at the Australian in 2019 semifinal, but Nadal rolled over him winning in straight sets 6-2 6-4 6-0. But Nadal has said he’s not playing at 100 percent this Aussie Open. He’s also had a fairly easy draw to this point, but he’s handled it perfectly, not dropping a set. Tsitsipas has also had a fairly easy run to the Australian Open quarters. He had trouble with the Aussie Thanasi Kokkinakis in the second round where it took him 5 sets to move on. But he’s coming off a walkover in the 4th round.

Tsitsipas is rested and Nadal is hurt, so this is the best chance for the Greek. But even with all the odds in ones favor is it enough to defeat one the best to ever do it?

Daniil Medvedev vs Andrey Rublev

Two Russians who are very familiar with one another are set to face off in the last of the quarterfinals. Rublev and Medvedev have been playing each other since they were children. Rublev had the most success in the juniors tour where he won the boy’s French Open in 2014. But since they both moved to the ATP, it’s Medvedev who has had the most success. They have played each other for a spot in a Major quarterfinal before, Medvedev was the one to move on.

Medvedev and Rublev have very different games. Rublev is a power player. Medvedev focuses on smothering defense and movement. So far in their match-ups its been Medvedev, but no one would be surprised to see the younger Rublev move through this time. Rublev is coming into this match-up with less time on court. He had a walk over in his last match to get to the quarters. Whereas Medvedev was taken to five sets in the third round.

If Rublev can keep his errors down and the points short, expect him to be the last Russian standing. If it becomes a match of attrition, Medvedev has the edge.

Main Photo from Getty.