Australian Open R4: (10) Carla Suarez Navarro vs Daria Gavrilova
Daria Gavrilova is having an amazing tournament in her first Australian Open campaign representing the green and gold. Gavrilova has pulled off some monumental victories in the past couple of rounds to reach the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time in her young career. Daria now has a wonderful opportunity to go even further when she takes on Carla Suarez Navarro on Sunday evening on RLA.
Carla Suarez Navarro has quietly made her way through to the fourth round. The Spaniard has benefited from a dream draw to this point, Carla’s first three matches were all against opponents ranked outside the top 100. Carla started the week with a reasonably comfortable straight set win over Viktorija Golubic before being pushed to three sets by Greek rising-star Maria Sakkari. Carla then benefited from a Kulichkova retirement in the third round. The good thing for Carla is that she has not used much energy to this point and will be fresh heading into this clash which is always important for a player like her.
Daria Gavrilova’s route to the fourth round has been far tougher. The newly adopted Australian has won over the Australian public this week with passion and fighting spirit on the court. Gavrilova started the week with a hard-fought straight set victory over Lucie Hradecka before recording a 6-4 6-4 victory over Petra Kvitova in an impressive performance. It was in the third round where Gavrilova made the biggest impression, recording an extremely gutsy 6-4 4-6 11-9 victory over Kristina Mladenovic in an epic. Gavrilova’s energy and attitude towards the end of such a long match was truly impressive. Gavrilova seems be thriving in front of the Australian crowds and will like her chances against Suarez Navarro on Sunday in her first ever match on Rod Laver Arena.
Suarez Navarro emerged victorious in the only previous encounter between the pair, a 7-6 6-3 victory in Tokyo back in 2014. Much has changed since then and I believe Gavrilova has a pretty clear edge heading into their clash on Rod Laver Arena on Sunday night.
These two are quite evenly matched in terms of tennis ability, both play a pretty similar style. But the biggest difference is that Gavrilova has a far superior presence on court and will be boosted by a vocal Australian crowd. Gavrilova’s superior serve and ability to be more aggressive should give her the advantage here. Gavrilova has played far more tennis this week and far tougher matches, but Daria is extremely fit and I don’t think that will be a negative for her heading into this match, it could actually be a positive because she has been played in high intensity and high pressure situations whilst Carla has not.