Petra Martic vs Elise Mertens, Australian Open R4 Preview

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๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ท Petra Martic vs ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ช 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.

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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 Marticโ€™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 ๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ R4 Preview
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ฆ (4) Elina Svitolina vs ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฟ (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 yearโ€™s Australian Open seems like a golden opportunity for Svitolina to make her mark on the biggest stage.

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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

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๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฑ (26) Agnieszka Radwanska vs ๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ผ 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?

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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. Hsiehโ€™s win over Muguruza was certainly the biggest win of her career, Hsiehโ€™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

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๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช (21) Angelique Kerber vs๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ 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.

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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.

Denisa Allertova vs Magda Linette, Australian Open R3 Preview

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๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฟ (Q) Denisa Allertova vs ๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฑ Magda Linette

Denisa Allertova and Magda Linette will go head-to-head in an unlikely third round match-up at Melbourne Park on Friday. Allertova and Linette has both reached the third round stage of a Grand Slam on 1 previous occasion, both will be aiming to reach the fourth round at a Grand Slam for the very first time with a victory here.

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Denisa Allertova is proving that she is much more capable than her current ranking of 130 in the world suggests. Allertova blasted her way through the qualifying draw at Melbourne Park without dropping a set. Allertova has continued to storm through the tournament in the main draw, beating Pauline Parmentier 6-3 6-0 in the opening round before beating Shuai Zhang 6-4 7-6. Allertova did also reach the third round stage at Melbourne Park in 2016. The quick hard courts in Melbourne really suit the same of Allertova.

Magda Linette started the event with a 2-6 6-4 6-3 win over Jennifer Brady before causing a big upset as she defeated the 22nd seeded Daria Kasatkina 7-6 6-2. Linette was seemingly struggling with an ankle injury throughout the match but Kasatkina was unable to take advantage of the situation.

The pair have never gone head-to-head in a completed match.

Magdalena Rybarikova vs Kateryna Bondarenko, Australian Open R3 Preview

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๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฐ (19) Magdalena Rybarikova vs ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Kateryna Bondarenko

An awesome opportunity presents itself to Magdalena Rybarikova and Kateryna Bondarenko on Friday when the pair meet at the third round stage at Melbourne Park, both will be aiming to reach the fourth round for the first time in their careers. The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 2 wins apiece, the pair have not played for over 6 years so it will be interesting to see how this match-up pans out with so much on the line.

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Rybarikova has been fairly impressive on route to the third round at Melbourne Park, surprisingly this is the first time the 29-year-old has reached the third round stage. Rybarikova started the week with a 6-0 7-5 win over Taylor Townsend before securing her spot in the third round by beating Kirsten Flipkens 6-4 0-6 6-2. One thing that has stood out for Rybarikova is that she has been serving very well in important moments. This was true at the end of the second set against Townsend and in the deciding set against Flipkens. When Rybarikova lands her first serve at a high percentage it really helps her game as she can take control of the point, the Slovakian is a much better player when she is on the front foot rather than when she is defending.

Kateryna Bondarenko is into the third round stage at Melbourne Park for the third time in her career. Bondarenko started the week by out-lasting Swiss qualifier Viktorija Golubic, winning 7-6 4-6 6-2 before upsetting the 15th seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2 6-3. Bondarenko produced one of her most exceptional performances in recent years to easily get past Pavlyuchenkova, the Ukrainian reminding us all of what she is still capable of.

The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 2 wins apiece. However these matches are irrelevant as they were over 6 years ago.

Jelena Ostapenko vs Anett Kontaveit, Australian Open R3 Preview

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๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ป (7) Jelena Ostapenko vs ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ช (32) Anett Kontaveit

A blockbuster third round match-up at Melbourne Park on Friday sees the 7th seeded Jelena Ostapenko take on the 32nd seeded Anett Kontaveit. Ostapenko and Kontaveit will both be aiming to reach the second week at the Australian Open for the first time. These two know each other well, the pair grew up on the junior circuit together and actually played doubles together at the ITF level years back. This will be the first tour level meeting between the pair of big hitters. Who will prevail?

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Jelena Ostapenko cruised through her opening round match in Melbourne, defeating Francesca Schiavone 6-1 6-4 in what was the first match played on Rod Laver Arena at this yearโ€™s event. The reigning Roland Garros champion was forced to work much harder for her second round win, fighting her way past Ying-Ying Duan with a 6-3 3-6 6-4 win. Ostapenko blasted 35 winners past Duan which included 10 aces. Ostapenkoโ€™s composure under pressure was the difference, especially at the end of the third set where she served very well.

Anett Kontaveit arrived in Melbourne in poor form but has done very well to reach the third round stage at Melbourne Park for the first time. Kontaveit had not previously won a main draw match at Melbourne Park. The Estonian started the event with a hard-fought 6-4 7-5 win over an in-form Aleksandra Krunic before securing her spot in the third round with a 6-3 4-6 6-3 win over Barthel. Kontaveit was quite streaky in both matches but she played enough good tennis to get through on each occasion.

This will be the first tour level meeting between the pair.

Elise Mertens vs Alize Cornet, Australian Open R3 Preview

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๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ช Elise Mertens vs ๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท Alize Cornet

Elise Mertens and Alize Cornet have been presented a golden opportunity to reach the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park, both have never reached the quarter-final stage of a Grand Slam. Mertens and Cornet will meet at the third round stage on Friday, the winner of this match will play either Lesia Kumkhum or Petra Martic for a spot In the quarter-finals. Clearly this is a very favourable draw, a unique opportunity, which of these two will step up and grab this opportunity?

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Elise Mertens arrived at Melbourne Park full of confidence after winning the singles and doubles titles at the Hobart International. Mertens is competing in the main draw of the Australian Open for the first time. Mertens cruised through her first main draw match in Melbourne, beating Viktoria Kuzmova 6-2 6-1. The Belgian secured her spot in the third round with a 7-5 6-3 victory over Daria Gavrilova on Rod Laver Arena. Mertens found herself down 0-5 in the opening set but managed to save 8 set points on route to winning the next 7 games to take the first set. Mertens is clearly in great form right now having won 7 matches in a row.

Alize Cornet advanced to the third round courtesy of a huge upset victory over Julia Goerges, Cornet defeated the German 12th seed 6-4 6-3. Cornet entered the second round match as a huge outsider. Goerges entered the match on 15-match winning streak and a perfect 5-0 record over Cornet. However, it was the Frenchwoman that stepped up and played the better tennis on the night, one of the biggest wins for Cornet in recent times. In the opening round Cornet defeated Xinyu Wang 6-4 6-2.

This will be the first career meeting between Mertens and Cornet.

Kaia Kanepi vs Carla Suarez Navarro, Australian Open R3 Preview

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๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ช Kaia Kanepi vs ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Carla Suarez Navarro

Kaia Kanepi and Carla Suarez Navarro will renew hostilities on Friday when they square off for a place in the round of 16 at the 2018 Australian Open. Kanepi and Suarez Navarro have a long history against each other, the head-to-head record between the pair is split at 4 wins apiece. This match-up features a huge contrast in styles. The extreme power of Kanepi up against the all-court, crafty Spaniard. Who will come out on top?

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Kaia Kanepi has blasted her way into the third round at Melbourne Park. Kanepi started the week by eliminating former finalist Dominika Cibulkova 6-2 6-2. Kanepi then defeated Monica Puig 6-4 6-3.Two good ins over dangerous opponents. Kanepi has shown that her best tennis is extremely good over the last few weeks. Kanepi bashed her way through the qualifying draw into the quarter-finals in Brisbane in week 1 and is playing at a similarly high level in Melbourne. Kanepi did make a slow start against Puig and looked off when she trailed 1-4 but rebounded nicely to win 11 0f the 14 games and equal her best ever run at the Australian Open by reaching the third round.

Carla Suarez Navarro arrived in Melbourne in poor form and with question marks surrounding her commitment to the tournament. The Spaniard has done well to reach the third round. Carla defeated Magdalena Frech 7-5 6-3 in the opening round. It was in the second round where Suarez Navarro claimed a big win, defeating Timea Babos 6-4 2-6 6-2. Carlaโ€™s ability to get past such dangerous opponent will give the former quarter-finalist a big boost of momentum.

The head-to-head record between the pair is split at 4 wins apiece. It has been a while since they last played, it was Kanepi that won 7-5 6-0 at the US Open in 2014.

Caroline Wozniacki vs Kiki Bertens, Australian Open R3 Preview

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๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฐ (2) Caroline Wozniacki vs ๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฑ (30) Kiki Bertens

Caroline Wozniacki survived an almighty scare in the second round to keep her hopes of capturing a maiden Grand Slam title alive in Melbourne. Wozniacki came from 1-5 15-40 down against Jana Fett in the deciding set, winning 6 consecutive games as her inexperienced opponent crumbled under pressure. Wozniacki will be back in action on Friday against Kiki Bertens where a spot in the 4th round is up for grabs. Wozniacki will be aiming for a far more straightforward victory on this occasion.

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Caroline Wozniacki can consider herself very lucky to still be in the tournament. The 2nd seed looked destined for an early exit with Jana Fett serving at 5-1 40-15 in the deciding set of their second round match. However, Fettโ€™s level quickly deteriorated with the finish line within touching distance. Wozniacki was experienced enough to make the most of the situation as she fought her way to a 3-6 6-2 7-5 win over Fett. The concern for Wozniacki was that Fett was all over her and really should have won that match, not a great sign for Wozniacki. It will be interesting to see if Wozniacki can make the most of her second chance in the tournament.

Kiki Bertens arrived in Melbourne in poor form but has done well to reach the 3rd round at Melbourne Park for the first time in her career. Bertens started the week with a very impressive win over Catherine Bellis, a 6-7 6-4 6-2 win over a very tough opponent. In the second round, Bertens beat Nicole Gibbs 7-6 6-0, another good win over a solid opponent. Bertens will need to raise her level even further if she is to get past Wozniacki in the next round.

Wozniacki has won both of the previous matches between the pair. The only recent match between the pair was last year in Doha where Wozniacki won 6-3 6-2.