Karolina Pliskova vs Barbora Strycova, Australian Open R4 Preview

Australian Open 🇦🇺 R4 Preview
🇨🇿 (6) Karolina Pliskova vs 🇨🇿 (20) Barbora Strycova

Karolina Pliskova continues her quest for a maiden Grand Slam title on Monday when she comes up against Fed Cup teammate Barbora Strycova. Pliskova and Strycova both enter this round of 16 clash at Melbourne Park in great form, neither have dropped a set yet this week. This will be an interesting clash, at the end of the 2017, Pliskova swiped Strycova’s coach Tomas Krupa, Strycova was not happy about it.

Embed from Getty Images

Karolina Pliskova cruised through her first couple of matches in Melbourne. The 6th seed defeated Veronica Cepede Royg and Beatriz Haddad Maia with little fuss. It was in the third round where Pliskova faced her first real test up against Lucie Safarova. Pliskova was able to navigate her way past Safarova with a 7-6 7-5 victory. Pliskova saved a set point in the first set tiebreak and was able to find the crucial break in the second set.

Barbora Strycova has made the most of a favourable draw to reach the second week at Melbourne Park for the third year in a row. Strycova will be looking to reach the quarter-final stage for the first time having fallen at this hurdle in the previous two years. Strycova has claimed straight set wins over Kristie Ahn, Lara Arruabarrena and Bernarda Pera.

Pliskova holds a 2-1 record over Strycova. The most recent match between the pair ended in a 6-1 6-4 win for Pliskova in Miami last year.

Angelique Kerber vs Su-Wei Hsieh, Australian Open R4 Preview

Australian Open 🇦🇺 R4 Preview
🇩🇪 (21) Angelique Kerber vs 🇹🇼 Su-Wei Hsieh

Angelique Kerber continues to impress in 2018. The 2016 Australian Open champion is in awesome form right now. The German enters this fourth round clash having won all 12 of her matches this year. Kerber will be back in action on Monday where she will take on Taiwan’s Su-Wei Hsieh. Interestingly, this will be the first career meeting between Kerber and Hsieh, this should be an entertaining match-up.

Embed from Getty Images

Angelique Kerber has rolled into the fourth round at Melbourne Park with little fuss. The former world number 1 stormed through her first few matches, cruising past Anna-Lena Friedsam and Donna Vekic. Kerber produced arguably her best performance of 2018 to secure her spot in the round of 16, a dominant 6-1 6-3 win over Maria Sharapova. Kerber was very aggressive and capitalized on her chances at all of the critical moments. Kerber is shaping as the favourite to win the tournament, the only former Grand Slam champion left in the draw heading into the round of 16.

Su-Wei Hsieh is playing the best tennis of her life. Hsieh has caused a couple of big upsets to reach the second week at a Grand Slam for the second time, the only previous time was a fourth round showing in Melbourne way back 2008. Hsieh started the event with a topsy-turvy 0-6 6-6 8-6 win over Lin Zhu before eliminating the 3rd seeded Garbine Muguruza courtesy of a 7-6 6-4 win, Hsieh’s first win over a top 5 player. Hsieh backed up one of the best wins of her career quite impressively as she defeated Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2 7-5. At this point of the tournament Hsieh has nothing to lose and a whole heap to gain.

This will be the first career meeting between Kerber and Hsieh.

Simona Halep vs Naomi Osaka, Australian Open R4 Preview

Australian Open 🇦🇺 R4 Preview
🇷🇴 (1) Simona Halep vs 🇯🇵 Naomi Osaka

Simona Halep continues her quest for a maiden Grand Slam title on Monday where she faces a very tough test against Japan’s Naomi Osaka. Halep has already survived a couple of almighty scares over the last week at Melbourne Park, none more so than her epic 3 hours and 45 minutes triumph over Lauren Davis in the third round. It will be interesting to see how the world number 1 recovers from her win over Davis, this is unprecedented territory for Halep who had never previously gone past 6-6 in the third set of a Grand Slam.

Embed from Getty Images

It has been a whirlwind week for Simona Halep. The world number 1 started the event with a tough 7-6 6-1 victory over Destanee Aiava, Halep suffered a severe rolled ankle in that first round match. Halep’s second round win was straightforward, an easy 6-2 6-2 win over Eugenie Bouchard. Halep secured her spot in the second week at Melbourne Park with a dramatic 4-6 6-4 15-13 victory over Lauren Davis in a match that equalled the record for most games played in a women’s match at the Australian Open. Halep was not at her best and was up against an inspired opponent, Halep showed her improved mental strength to save 3 match points and eventually outlast Davis to keep her Grand Slam dream alive in Melbourne.

Naomi Osaka has powered through the draw at Melbourne Park to reach the second week of the event for the first time in her young career. Osaka started the event with straight set wins over Kristina Kuccova and Elena Vesnina. Osaka secured her spot in the round of 16 with a very impressive 6-4 6-2 win over Ashleigh Barty. Osaka played a near flawless match to breeze past the Australian number 1, one of the better wins of Osaka’s career.

Halep has won both of the previous matches between the pair. Halep defeated Osaka 4-6 6-2 6-3 at Roland Garros in 2016 and more recently a 6-4 2-6 6-3 win in Miami in 2017.

Caroline Garcia vs Madison Keys, Australian Open R4 Preview

Australian Open 🇦🇺 R4 Preview
🇫🇷 (8) Caroline Garcia vs 🇺🇸 (17) Madison Keys

An exciting fourth round match-up at Melbourne park sees Caroline Garcia take on Madison Keys in what is a fascinating battle between two players on the rise. Garcia and Keys have had contrasting passages to the second week in Melbourne. Garcia has had to battle through all three of her matches, two of those wins were in 3 sets. whilst Keys has cruised through her matches, all in straight sets. The pair both have powerful, flashy games, Garcia is a bit more versatile but Keys has more firepower. It will be interesting to see who comes out on top in this one.

Embed from Getty Images

Caroline Garcia is into the fourth round stage at Melbourne Park for the very first time. Garcia came into the event with some question marks surrounding her fitness after she retired from her opening round match in Brisbane and did play another event before heading down to Melbourne. Nevertheless, Garcia has battled her way though some very tough matches. Garcia started the week with a 7-5 6-3 win over Carina Witthoeft before fighting from a set down to defeat Market Voundrosova 6-7 6-2 8-6 in extreme heat. Garcia secured her first appearance in the second week at Melbourne Park by beating Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-3 5-7 6-2. Garcia is clearly still confident in important moments after all her success late last year, the 24-year-old has raised her level at every important moment throughout the first week in Melbourne.

Madison Keys has cruised into the fourth round at the Australian Open without dropping a set. Keys stared the week with a 6-1 7-5 win over Qiang Wang in what loomed as a tough opening round match-up. Keys then produced a sublime performance to beat Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-0 6-1. Madison was given a tough test in the third round where she got past Ana Bogdan 6-3 6-4. Keys’ serve has been broken just twice throughout the event, both of the breaks were in the American’s opening round win over Wang. When Madison’s serve is firing she is extremely dangerous.

The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 1 win apiece. Most recently it was Keys who won 6-3 6-4 win Wuhan in 2016.

Anett Kontaveit vs Carla Suarez Navarro, Australian Open R4 Preview

Australian Open 🇦🇺 R4 Preview
🇪🇪 (32) Anett Kontaveit vs 🇪🇸 Carla Suarez Navarro

An unexpected round of 16 match-up at the Australian Open sees the 32nd seeded Anett Kontaveit take on Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro. This is a golden opportunity for both ladies to start the season on a huge high by reaching the quarter-final stage at the first Grand Slam of the year. This will be the first career meeting between Kontaveit and Suarez Navarro. Who will step up and make the most of this opportunity?

Embed from Getty Images

Anett Kontaveit is into the round of 16 stage at a Grand Slam for the second time. Kontaveit confirmed her spot in the fourth round with one of the biggest wins of her career, beating the 7th seeded Jelena Ostapenko 6-3 1-6 6-3. Kontaveit ended the match by winning 4 consecutive games, a surprisingly clutch effort from Kontaveit who seemed like she didn’t have it in her to close out the match. Kontaveit has also claimed wins over Aleksandra Krunic and Mona Barthel this week.

Suarez Navarro arrived in Melbourne in poor form having lost 6 matches in a row. The Spaniard reportedly struggled to find motivation during the off-season and lost in her opening match in Brisbane in Sydney before heading down to Melbourne. Carla started the week with a 7-5 6-3 win over Magdalena Frech. Carla navigated her past a pair of big hitters to reach the second week at Melbourne Park for the second time, claiming 3 set wins over Timea Babos and Kaia Kanepi. Carla has twice reached the quarter-finals in Melbourne and will look to emulate those results with a win over Kontaveit on Sunday.

Caroline Wozniacki vs Magdalena Rybarikova, Australian Open R4 Preview

Australian Open 🇦🇺 R4 Preview
🇩🇰 (2) Caroline Wozniacki vs 🇸🇰 (19) Magdalena Rybarikova

Caroline Wozniacki continues her quest for a maiden Grand Slam title on Sunday where she comes up against Magdalena Rybarikova with a quarter-final spot up for grabs at Melbourne Park. Wozniacki’s half of the draw has really opened up for the Dane, Wozniacki is now a strong favourite to reach at least the semi-final stage where she likely to meet Elina Svitolina. Interestingly, Wozniacki has not reached the quarter-final stage in Melbourne since 2012. Can the world number 3 make the most of her opportunity in Melbourne?

Embed from Getty Images

Wozniacki received a second life in the tournament on Wednesday where she saved a couple of match points in her second round match with Jana Fett. Wozniacki was down 1-5 15-40 against Fett but the Croatian tightened up with the finish line in sight, handing Wozniacki a pathway back into the tournament. Wozniacki was far more convincing in her third round match, comfortably beating Kiki Bertens 6-4 6-3.

Magdalena Rybarikova is into the second week at Melbourne Park for the first time in her career. It has been a surprisingly good week for Rybarikova who entered the event with little expectations having only started full training the week before the event. Rybarikova started the week with a commanding win over Taylor Townsend in straight sets before winning a couple of topsy-turvy 3 set battles against Kirsten Flipkens and Kateryna Bondarenko. At this stage of the tournament, Rybarikova has noting to lose.

Wozniacki holds a 3-1 record over Rybarikova. The most recent match between the pair took place at the U.S Open in 2014, Wozniacki won 6-1 3-6 6-2.

Petra Martic vs Elise Mertens, Australian Open R4 Preview

Australian Open 🇦🇺 R4 Preview
🇭🇷 Petra Martic vs 🇧🇪 Elise Mertens

An unexpected fourth round match-up at Melbourne Park on Sunday sees Petra Martic take on Elise Mertens. This is a huge opportunity for Martic and Mertens, both ladies will be playing to reach the quarter-final stage of a Grand Slam for the very first time. To add to the tension, this will be the first career meeting between Martic and Mertens.

Embed from Getty Images

Petra Martic has made a good habit of saving her best tennis for Grand Slam events. Martic came through the qualifying draw to reach the round of 16 at both Roland Garros and Wimbledon last year and now finds herself at the round 16 stage at Melbourne Park for the first time. Martic started the event with a couple of tough straight set wins over Alison Van Uytvanck and Irina-Camelia Begu. Martic confirmed her spot in the round 16 with a 6-3 3-6 7-5 win over Lesia Kumkhum. The final set of Martic’s win over Kumkhum was one of the most entertaining sets of tennis of the tournament thus far. The pair remained on serve until 5-5 where Martic finally broke the Kumkhum serve before she successfully served out the match. Martic kept her cool under pressure very impressively in the final set against Kumkhum.

Elise Mertens is in awesome form. Mertens arrived in Melbourne on a high having successfully defended her Hobart title. Mertens has cruised through to the round of 16 in Melbourne without dropping a set, the first time she has reached this stage of a Grand Slam. Mertens started the event with wins over Viktoria Kuzmova and Daria Gavrilova before securing her spot in the round of 16 with a 7-5 6-4 win over Alize Cornet in brutally hot conditions.

This will be the first career meeting between the pair.

Elina Svitolina vs Denisa Allertova, Australian Open R4 Preview

Australian Open 🇦🇺 R4 Preview
🇺🇦 (4) Elina Svitolina vs 🇨🇿 (Q) Denisa Allertova

Elina Svitolina enters the round of 16 stage of the Australian Open as the favourite to win the tournament. Svitolina will be back in action on Sunday against Czech qualifier Denisa Allertova. Svitolina is into the 4th round stage of the Australian Open for the first time, the 4th seed won more tournaments than any other player in 2017 however her record at the Grand Slam level was not impressive. The Ukrainian is certainly focusing more on the majors in 2018, this year’s Australian Open seems like a golden opportunity for Svitolina to make her mark on the biggest stage.

Embed from Getty Images

Svitolina cruised into the round of 16 at Melbourne Park, beating Marta Kostyuk 6-2 6-2. Svitolina was too solid and too experienced for Kostyuk in what was a fairly uncompetitive match. In the opening round, Svitolina cruised past Ivana Jorovic 6-3 6-2 before overcoming a slow start to beat Katerina Siniakova 4-6 6-2 6-1. Svitolina is currently on an 8 match winning streak having arrived at Melbourne Park on the back of winning the title at the Brisbane International.

Denisa Allertova is into the round of 16 stage at a Grand Slam for the very first time. Allertova is having a superb week, the 24-year-old rocketed through the qualifying draw without dropping a set and has brought that form into the main draw. Allertova has made the most of a favourable draw, defeating Pauline Parmentier, Shuai Zhang and Magda Linette to reach the fourth round stage in Melbourne.

Interestingly, It was Allertova who won the only previous match between the pair, a surprise 7-5 6-4 victory in Doha in 2016.

Agnieszka Radwanska vs Su-Wei Hsieh, Australian Open R3 Preview

Australian Open 🇦🇺 R3 Preview
🇵🇱 (26) Agnieszka Radwanska vs 🇹🇼 Su-Wei Hsieh

Su-Wei Hsieh caused one of the biggest upsets of the tournament when she eliminated Garbine Muguruza in straight sets in the second round. Hsieh will be back in action on Saturday where she will face a very different test against the 26th seeded Agnieszka Radwanska. Interestingly, these two have only gone head-to-head once previously, back In 2013 where Radwanska on in straight sets. Can Hsieh cause another big upset to reach the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time since 2008?

Embed from Getty Images

Radwanska has certainly not been at her best in the opening stages of the event. However, Radwanska has fought hard and managed to come from a set down in both of her matches to reach the third round. The two-time former semi-finalist started the week with a 2-6 6-3 6-2 win over Kristyna Pliskova before beating Lesia Tsurenko 2-6 7-5 6-3. Radwanska seemed destined for the exit door when Tsurenko served for the match at 5-4 in the second set after the Pole squandered a 4-1 lead. However Tsurenko threw in a nervy game and Radwanska was good enough to capitalize as she controlled the match after that moment.

Su-Wei Hsieh is yet another player enjoying her greatest success at the later stages of her career. Hsieh claimed her first ever top 5 victory to reach the third round at Melbourne Park for the first time since 2008 as she defeated the 3rd seeded Garbine Muguruza. Hsieh started the week with a topsy-turvy 0-6 6-0 8-6 win over Lin Zhu before beating Muguruza 7-6 6-4. Hsieh’s win over Muguruza was certainly the biggest win of her career, Hsieh’s awkward game bamboozled Muguruza in the extreme heat.

The only previous match between the pair took place in Miami in 2013. Radwanska won 6-3 6-2.

Angelique Kerber vs Maria Sharapova, Australian Open R3 Preview

Australian Open 🇦🇺 R3 Preview
🇩🇪 (21) Angelique Kerber vs🇷🇺 Maria Sharapova

The match of the tournament thus far sees two former champions at Melbourne Park go head-to-head at the third round stage when Angelique Kerber takes on Maria Sharapova on Saturday. Kerber is the form player on tour right now having won all 11 of her matches in 2018, the German will face a strong test from one of her biggest rivals when she meets a determined Sharapova on Saturday. The Russian enters this match confident after a great straight set win over Anastasija Sevastova. This will be the first meeting between the pair since 2015 where Kerber got the better of Sharapova in Stuttgart.

Embed from Getty Images

Angelique Kerber has cruised through her first couple of matches at Melbourne Park. The 21st seed started the week with a 6-0 6-4 victory over Anna-Lena Friedsam before beating Donna Vekic 6-1 6-4. Kerber is looking very relaxed and confident on at the moment, reminiscent of the Kerber that dominated the tour in 2016. Kerber will face her first real test of the tournament in the third round when she comes up against Sharapova.

Maria Sharapova started her Australian Open campaign with an average performance, beating Tatjana Maria 6-1 6-4. Sharapova really stepped up her level in the next round, playing one of her best matches since her return from a doping suspension to defeat Anastasija Sevastova 6-1 7-6. Sharapova had some trouble closing the match, failing to serve out the match at 5-4. Sharapova rebounded strongly to convincingly win the second set tiebreak. A good victory for Sharapova given her struggles against Sevastova last year, Sharapova certainly improved on her previous performances against Sevastova.

The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 3 wins apiece. It was Kerber who had the better of Sharapova in their recent matches. Kerber beat Sharapova 7-6 4-6 6-4 at Wimbledon in 2014 and 2-6 7-5 6-1 in Stuttgart in 2015. Both of those matches were of a very high quality, these two usually bring out the best in each other.