Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs. Garbine Muguruza, Australian Open QF Preview

🇦🇺 Australian Open, QF preview + prediction:
🇷🇺 (30) Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs. 🇪🇸 Garbine Muguruza

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Garbine Muguruza will go head-to-head with a place in the semi-finals up for grabs at the 2020 Australian Open. Not many would have expected Pavlyuchenkova or Muguruza to be featuring at this stage of the tournament, but both have been playing exceptional tennis and will head into this quarter-final clash full of confidence. Who will emerge victorious?

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova will be competing at the quarter-final stage in Melbourne for the second consecutive year and for the third time out of the last 4 years. This will be Pavlyuchenkova’s 6th quarter-final appearance at a Grand Slam but the Russian has never made it to the semi-finals of a major, perhaps it will be 6th time lucky?

Pavlyuchenkova moved through the first week of the event without dropping a set. The 30th seed started the event with a 6/1 7/5 win over Nina Stojanovic before battling past Taylor Townsend 7/5 7/6. Pavlyuchenkova made her biggest move at the third round stage where she eliminated the second seeded Karolina Pliskova thanks to a 7/6 7/6 triumph. The Russian booked her spot in the final 8 with a hard-fought 6/7 7/6 6/2 win over the 17th seeded Angelique Kerber.

Garbine Muguruza is playing the best tennis she has played in years to reach the final 8 at Melbourne Park for the second time in her career. The 2-time former Grand Slam champion was rusty in her first couple of matches of the event, requiring 3 sets on both occasions, a 0/6 6/1 6/0 win over Shelby Rogers followed by a 6/3 3/6 6/3 win over Ajla Tomljanovic. Muguruza seriously picked up her level to advance to the final 8 with back-to-back wins over top 10 opponents, a 6/1 6/2 smashing of the 5th seeded Elina Svitolina before beating the 9th seeded Kiki Bertens 6/3 6/3. Muguruza’s level over the last few matches has been reminiscent of the form that saw her become a major champion.

Muguruza has won both of the completed matches between the pair, both in straight sets. A 7/5 6/1 win in Cincinnati in 2016 followed by a 6/1 6/2 in Birmingham in 2018. Expect Pavlyuchenkova to be far more competitive on this occasion.

I’m going to go for the upset here and side with Pavlyuchenkova. This is a tough match to call, both players head into this clash in great form and both play a very similar game. Pavlyuchenkova and Muguruza both command the court with their strong groundstrokes, both are efficient at moving up the court to finish points. It will come down to who can execute better on the day, I believe it is time for Pavlyuchenkova to take the next step, with Muguruza’s ex-coach by her side I think an in-form Pavlyuchenkova will come up with a plan to undo the Spaniard.

Prediction: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova to defeat Garbine Muguruza in 3 sets
Become a WTAADDICT subscriber to receive daily betting tips and analysis
50% off sale on subscriptions during the Australian Open. Join here

Simona Halep vs. Anett Kontaveit, Australian Open QF Preview

🇦🇺 Australian Open, QF preview + prediction:
🇷🇴 (4) Simona Halep vs. 🇪🇪 (28) Anett Kontaveit

Simona Halep and Anett Kontaveit will renew hostilities with a place in the final 4 at Melbourne Park up for grabs. It is Halep who heads into this clash as a strong favourite, the Romanian has dominated in this match-up in the past and is in ominous form having reached the quarter-final stage without dropping a set. Kontaveit is faced with a massive task playing in her first Grand Slam quarter-final.

Halep made a slow start to the season but is seemingly peaking at the right time. The fourth seed battled through her first couple of matches in Melbourne, starting with a 7/6 6/1 win over Jennifer Brady before beating Harriet Dart 6/2 6/4. The Romanian certainly raised her level in third and fourth rounds where she smashed Yulia Putintseva 6/1 6/4 and blitzed Elise Mertens 6/4 6/4. The fairly slow hard courts at Melbourne Park this year are working in the favour of the rock-solid Halep.

Kontaveit has surprisingly had the best tournament of her career. The Estonian is through to the final 8 of a major for the first time thanks to some contrasting performances. Kontaveit breezed through the opening round with a 6/0 6/2 win over Astra Sharma before scrapping past Sara Sorribes Tormo 6/2 4/6 6/1. The 28th seed produced her best performance of the tournament thus far in third round where she claimed a commanding 6/0 6/1 win over the 6th seeded Belinda Bencic. Kontaveit battled from behind to clinch a spot in the final 8, fighting from a set and a break down to defeat Iga Swiatek 6/7 7/5 7/5.

Simona Halep holds a perfect 2-0 head-to-head record over Anett Kontaveit. Halep easily defeated Kontaveit on both occasions, both in 2017, a 6/3 6/0 victory in Miami followed by a 6/2 6/4 victory in Rome. It will take a special effort on Wednesday from Kontaveit to avoid a similarly one-sided result.

I have to side with Halep here. All signs point to a Halep victory. Firstly, this Is a good match-up for Halep. The Romanian easily won the only previous matches between the pair, the consistency and defensive skills of Halep are too much for Kontaveit to deal with. Secondly, the slow court favours Halep. Kontaveit doesn’t have the consistency or stamina to outlast Halep in rallies over and over again so the Estonian will need to play an aggressive game and hit through the Romanian to win, that is not going to happen on a slow hard court with Halep playing so well at the moment. Expect Halep to be too solid.

Prediction: Simona Halep to defeat Anett Kontaveit in 2 sets
Become a WTAADDICT subscriber to receive daily betting tips and analysis
50% off sale on subscriptions during the Australian Open. Join here

Anett Kontaveit vs. Iga Swiatek, Australian Open R4 Preview

🇦🇺 Australian Open, R4 preview + prediction:
🇪🇪 (28) Anett Kontaveit vs. 🇵🇱 Iga Swiatek

Anett Kontaveit and Iga Swiatek will both be competing to reach a maiden Grand Slam quarter-final when they do battle in the round of 16 at Melbourne Park on Monday. Kontaveit will be making her fourth appearance at this stage of a major whilst Swiatek is making her second appearance in the fourth round of a major. This is a huge opportunity for both. 

Anett Kontaveit has been in surprisingly damaging form. The Estonian spent the later stages of 2019 away from the tour due to illness and injury but has quickly found her range in 2020. Kontaveit started her Australian Open campaign with a 6/0 6/2 win over Astra Sharma before claiming a less convincing 6/2 4/6 6/1 win over Sara Sorribes Tormo. It was at the third round stage where the 28th seed made her biggest move with a hugely impressive 6/0 6/1 demolition of the 6th seeded Belinda Bencic.

Iga Swiatek is a player on the rise, the 18-year-old is one of the brightest young prospects on tour and is already making an impact at the majors. Swiatek reached the round of 16 in Paris last year and has emulated that run in Melbourne. Swiatek didn’t drop a set during the first week, starting with a 6/3 6/2 win over Timea Babos before beating Carla Suarez Navarro 6/3 7/5. Swiatek also made her biggest move in the third round where she upset the 19th seeded Donna Vekic with a 7/5 6/3 win.

It was Kontaveit who emerged victorious in the only previous meeting between the pair, a 6/4 7/6 win in Cincinnati last year.

I’m going to give the slight edge to Kontaveit here. This is a very tough match-up to predict, a fairly even match-up. Both players have weapons to cause damage, the key differentiator is levels of experience. I’ll give Kontaveit the benefit of the doubt given her greater experience on the big stage and at the later stages of big events. Kontaveit has been at this stage before in Melbourne and has played in some big matches elsewhere, certainly more so than her vastly less experienced opponent, that could be the difference in an otherwise tight match-up.

Prediction: Anett Kontaveit to defeat Iga Swiatek in 3 sets
Become a WTAADDICT subscriber to receive daily betting tips and analysis
50% off sale on subscriptions during the Australian Open. Join here

Simona Halep vs. Elise Mertens, Australian Open R4 Preview

🇦🇺 Australian Open, R4 preview + prediction:
🇷🇴 (4) Simona Halep vs. 🇧🇪 (16) Elise Mertens

Simona Halep and Elise Mertens renew hostilities when they do battle at the fourth round stage at Melbourne Park on Monday. Halep is one of the favourites heading into the second week of the tournament but will be wary of her Belgian opponent given it was Mertens who emerged victorious in their most recent meeting.

Simona Halep moved through the first week in Melbourne without dropping a set. Halep’s first few matches had their complications, a 7/6 6/1 win over Jennifer Brady followed by a 6/2 6/4 win over Harriet Dart. Halep produced her most convincing performance in the third round where she smashed Yulia Putintseva 6/1 6/4. The reigning Wimbledon champion is seemingly in a good place right now and will be tough to beat from here.

Elise Mertens cruised through her first couple of matches at Melbourne Park. The 16th seed dropped just a combined 5 games through a 6/2 6/0 win over Danka Kovinic and a 6/3 6/0 win over Heather Watson. Mertens faced her biggest test in the third round where she required a roller-coaster 3 set match to get the better of Catherine Bellis, a 6/1 6/7 6/0 victory.

Halep holds a 2-1 head-to-head record over Mertens. It was Halep that won the first couple of matches between the pair, both straight set victories where the Romanian dropped just 3 games in each match. Mertens flipped the script in their most recent match, a 3/6 6/4 6/3 victory in the Doha final last year.

I’m going to side with Halep here. I think this is generally a good match-up for Halep. Halep crushed Mertens in their first few matches; it took an inspired performance by Mertens to defeat Halep in Doha. Mertens needs to play at her very best, over a long period of the match to have success in this match-up. Halep isn’t going to give the match away, Mertens needs to be able to hit through Halep, that will not be easy on a fairly slow hard court. Halep has more margin to her shots which gives her the edge in a match-up that will feature a lot of extended rallies given the movement and defensive abilities of both.

Prediction: Simona Halep to defeat Elise Mertens in 2 sets
Become a WTAADDICT subscriber to receive daily betting tips and analysis
50% off sale on subscriptions during the Australian Open. Join here

Petra Kvitova vs. Maria Sakkari, Australian Open R4 Preview

🇦🇺 Australian Open, R4 preview + prediction:
🇨🇿 (7) Petra Kvitova vs. 🇬🇷 (22) Maria Sakkari

Petra Kvitova continues her quest for a maiden Australian Open title on Sunday with a tricky clash against the 22nd seeded Maria Sakkari. Kvitova has stormed through the draw in an ominous fashion for her rivals. However, Sakkari will come into this match with confidence given her positive recent record over the 2-time former Wimbledon champion.

Petra Kvitova was rarely troubled in her progress through the opening week of the tournament. Kvitova started the event with a 6/1 6/0 pounding of Katerina Siniakova which actually left Siniakova in tears. It was in the second round that Kvitova faced some challenging moments but pulled through to defeat Paula Badosa 7/5 7/5. The 7th seed played another near-perfect match to book her spot in the round of 16 with a 6/1 6/2 win over Ekaterina Alexandrova.

Maria Sakkari has also navigated her way through the opening week without dropping a single set to reach the round of 16 for the first time at a major. Sakkari easily defeated Margarita Gasparyan 6/2 6/2 in the opening round before battling past Nao Hibino 7/6 6/4. Sakkari made her biggest move in the third round where she upset the 10th seeded Madison Keys 6/4 6/4. Sakkari is enjoying strong support from the large Greek community in Melbourne.

It was Maria Sakkari who won the most recent match between the pair. The Greek player claimed a hard-fought 6/4 2/6 6/3 victory over Kvitova in Cincinnati last year. Sakkari also defeated Kvitova in Rome earlier in 2019, via retirement with Kvitova retiring down 0/4 in the deciding set. Their other completed match also took place last year with Kvitova winning 6/1 6/4 in Miami.

I’m going to side with Kvitova here. Once Kvitova gets into a major tournament she becomes tougher and tougher to beat. Sakkari is the type of player that can only beat Kvitova if the Czech player has a bad day, I don’t see that happening here. Kvitova has already played a couple of ruthless matches in Melbourne and should be too strong for Sakkari on this surface. Kvitova has looked very sharp and focused and will know that she has a great opportunity to go all the way in Melbourne given the state of the draw.

Prediction: Petra Kvitova to defeat Maria Sakkari in 2 sets
Become a WTAADDICT subscriber to receive daily betting tips and analysis
50% off sale on subscriptions during the Australian Open. Join here

Qiang Wang vs. Ons Jabeur, Australian Open R4 Preview

🇦🇺 Australian Open, R4 preview + prediction:
🇨🇳 (27) Qiang Wang vs. 🇹🇳 Ons Jabeur

An unlikely fourth round clash from Melbourne Park sees the 27th seeded Qiang Wang come up against Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur. Wang and Jabeur are both featuring at the fourth round stage in Melbourne for the first time. Wang has previously reached the last 16 at a major on one other occasion (2019 US Open), whilst Jabeur has reached totally new territory at a major. Both enter this match on the back of big upset wins, it will be interesting to see who can maintain their composure and make the most of this great opportunity.

Qiang Wang caused the biggest upset of the 2020 season thus far when she defeated Serena Williams 6/4 6/7 7/5. Wang played the match of her life to defeat the 7-time former champion at the third round stage in Melbourne. Wang served brilliantly and was too solid for Williams from the baseline, certainly the biggest win of Wang’s career thus far. Wang cruised through her two prior matches in Melbourne, a 7/6 6/3 win over Pauline Parmentier, follower by a 6/1 6/2 win over Fiona Ferro.

Ons Jabeur has already claimed 3 big victories to reach the final 16 in Melbourne. Jabeur started the event in style with a 6/4 6/2 victory over the 12th seeded Johanna Konta before fighting from behind to defeat Caroline Garcia 1/6 6/2 6/3. Jabeur booked her ticket in the fourth round with an impressive 7/5 6/3 7/5 win over Caroline Wozniacki, a win that ended the Dane’s career.

Qiang Wang has won both of the of the previous meetings between the pair, both very comfortably. The most recent match between the pair took place just a few weeks ago in Shenzhen where Wang won 6/0 6/3. Wang also defeated Jabeur in Dubai back in 2017, a 6/3 6/1 win for Wang on that occasion.

I’m going to side with Wang here. In general, I believe Wang is the better player, her far superior ranking over the last few years proves that. Secondly, this is a good match-up for Wang, the head-to-head record proves that. Thirdly, Wang is far more consistent. Wang has the mix of power, stamina and defensive skills to tame the flashy game of Jabeur. Wang handled the power of Serena Williams brilliantly in the previous round, leaving her perfectly placed to deal with Jabeur. Furthermore, Jabeur likes to play drop shots to disrupt opponents, but this tactic doesn’t trouble Wang given how quick the Chinese player is when moving forward. Wang for the win.

Prediction: Qiang Wang to defeat Ons Jabeur in 2 sets
Become a WTAADDICT subscriber to receive daily betting tips and analysis
50% off sale on subscriptions during the Australian Open. Join here

Sofia Kenin vs. Cori Gauff, Australian Open R4 Preview

🇦🇺 Australian Open, R4 preview + prediction:
🇺🇸 (14) Sofia Kenin vs. 🇺🇸 Cori Gauff

An intriguing round of 16 clash from Melbourne Park sees the 14th seeded Sofia Kenin come up against Cori Gauff. Both Kenin and Gauff will be playing to reach the quarter-final stage of a major for the very first time. This will be the first career meeting between the pair.

Sofia Kenin has progressed to the round of 16 at Melbourne Park without dropping a set. The 14th seeded started the event with comfortable victories over a pair of qualifiers, a 6/2 6/4 win over Martina Trevisan followed by a 6/1 6/3 win over Ann Li. Kenin’s first real test came at the third round stage where she defeated China’s Shuai Zhang 7/5 7/6. Kenin came from a break down in both sets in her win over Zhang, saving a set point in a tense second set tiebreak to get the job done, a mature win from the 21-year-old.

Cori Gauff is the talk of the town. The 15-year-old is through to the second week of a major for the first time and did it in style with a shock straight set win over the 4th seeded Naomi Osaka at the third round stage. Gauff’s 6/3 6/4 win over Naomi Osaka was one of the upsets of the tournament thus far, though it must be said that Osaka played an awful match, Gauff was there to take advantage. The American sensation started the event with a 7/6 6/3 win over Venus Williams before beating Sorana Cirstea 4/6 6/3 7/5.

I’m siding with Kenin here. Kenin is the far superior player at this stage and should be smart enough to get through this one. Gauff is being heavily overrated based on a few wins this week. Looking closely at those wins they’re not as impressive as one would first assume, Venus Williams played a horrible match, Cirstea could have easily beaten Gauff and Osaka also played a very bad match. Kenin is too solid to make the same mistake, Gauff won’t be getting any gifts here. Kenin is a top 15 player for a reason, expect Kenin to be too strong for Gauff.

Prediction: Sofia Kenin to defeat Cori Gauff in 2 sets
Become a WTAADDICT subscriber to receive daily betting tips and analysis
50% off sale on subscriptions during the Australian Open. Join here

Ashleigh Barty vs. Alison Riske, Australian Open R4 Preview

🇦🇺 Australian Open, R4 preview + prediction:
🇦🇺 (1) Ashleigh Barty vs. 🇺🇸 (18) Alison Riske

Ash Barty continues her 2020 Australian Open campaign on Sunday with a fourth round clash against America’s Alison Riske. This match-up looms as a real test for the world number 1, Riske has won both of the previous matches between the pair, including a big upset victory at Wimbledon last year. Barty is working her way into some good form and will head into this match keen for revenge.

Ash Barty enters the second week of the tournament as the favourite to lift the trophy. The pressure is on. The top half of the draw has seriously opened up for Barty and her form is seemingly getting stronger and stronger. Barty made a scrappy start to the event with a 5/7 6/1 6/1 victory over Lesia Tsurenko before producing an improved performance to defeat Polona Hercog 6/1 6/4. Barty stepped up her level in the third round with a commanding 6/3 6/2 victory over the previously in-form 29th seeded Elena Rybakina. Barty has now won 7 matches in a row having won the tournament in Adelaide before arriving in Melbourne.

Alison Riske is through to the second week at Melbourne Park for the first time in her career. The 19th seed moved through a tough opening round match with a 7/6 2/6 6/3 win over Yafan Wang before cruising past Lin Zhu 6/3 6/1. Riske advanced to the round of 16 thanks to an extremely hard-fought 1/6 7/6 6/2 win over Julia Goerges. Riske has consistently defied the odds over the last 12 months and will fancy her chances of continuing that trend against Barty, an opponent she has good memories against.

Alison Riske holds a 2-0 head-to-head record over Ash Barty. Both of the previous matches between the pair were on a grass court, most recently Riske shocked Barty at Wimbledon last year with a 3/6 6/2 6/3 victory. Riske also defeated Barty 7/6 7/5 at an ITF event in Eastbourne in 2016.

I’m going to side with Barty here despite her previous struggles against Riske. This time the condition favour Barty, a reasonably slow hard court and a passionate Aussie crowd by her side. Barty has the game to control this match-up and is playing well enough to do just that. Barty has a far superior serve, a far more versatile game and the power and stamina to match Riske from the baseline. Barty will come into this match ready for a tough one given their most recent match and is too good to make the same mistake again.

Prediction: Ashleigh Barty to defeat Alison Riske in 2 sets
Become a WTAADDICT subscriber to receive daily betting tips and analysis
50% off sale on subscriptions during the Australian Open. Join here

Elina Svitolina vs. Garbine Muguruza, Australian Open R3 Preview

🇦🇺 Australian Open, R3 preview + prediction:
🇺🇦 (5) Elina Svitolina vs. 🇪🇸 Garbine Muguruza

A blockbuster third round clash at Melbourne Park on Saturday sees the 5th seeded Elina Svitolina take on a resurgent Garbine Muguruza. This is an early heavyweight battle at the first major of the year, two players that expect to be featuring at the later stages of major events doing battle for a spot in the round of 16.

Elina Svitolina arrived in Melbourne without a win to her name in 2020 but has done well to move through her first couple of matches at Melbourne Park without dropping a set. The 5th seed started the tournament with a 6/4 7/5 win over Katie Boulter before winning a late night clash with Lauren Davis 6/2 7/6. Svitolina is typically the type of player to get better and better as a tournament progresses, the Ukrainian will certainly need to raise her level against Muguruza in the next round in what will be her first major test of the tournament thus far.

Garbine Muguruza has come through a couple of rollercoaster matches to reach the third round at Melbourne Park. Muguruza started the week with a bizarrely lopsided 0/6 6/1 6/0 win over Shelby Rogers before battling past a nervy Ajla Tomljanovic 6/3 3/6 6/3. Muguruza’s ranking has significantly dropped over the last 12 months but the 2-time former Grand Slam champion is showing signs that she is getting her game back together, albeit in patches.

This has historically been a favourable match-up for Svitolina. It is the Ukrainian who holds a 5-2 head-to-head record over Muguruza at the tour level. All 5 of Svitolina’s victories over Muguruza have been on a hard court, including their most recent match which ended in a 7/5 6/2 victory for Svitolina in Wuhan late last year.

I’m going to side with Svitolina here. History shows that this is a good match-up for Svitolina and it is easy to see why. Svitolina is one of the toughest competitors on tour and also one of the most consistent, she gives nothing away for free and fights for every single point. Muguruza is a streaky player who often goes missing for periods in a match, we have seen that from the Spaniard in both of her matches at this event. Svitolina will always be there to take advantage of that drop and that is why she has a strong record over the Spaniard. Svitolina is simply too solid, Svitolina has the defensive skills, variety and stamina to cause Muguruza a whole heap of problems on a hard court.

Prediction: Elina Svitolina to defeat Garbine Muguruza in 2 sets
Become a WTAADDICT subscriber to receive daily betting tips and analysis
50% off sale on subscriptions during the Australian Open. Join here

Simona Halep vs. Yulia Putintseva, Australian Open R3 Preview

🇦🇺 Australian Open, R3 preview + prediction:
🇷🇴 (4) Simona Halep vs. 🇰🇿 Yulia Putintseva

Simona Halep and Yulia Putintseva will go head-to-head for the first time when they meet at the third round stage of the Australian Open on Saturday. This promises to be an entertaining match-up between two great competitors and two of the quickest players on tour, expect a lot of long rallies in this one!

Simona Halep has done well to navigate her way through the first couple of rounds without dropping a set. Halep started her Melbourne Park campaign with a hard-fought 7/6 6/1 victory over an in-form Jennifer Brady before defeating Harriet Dart 6/2 6/4. Both of Halep’s matches have had their complications, the fourth seed twice fought from a break down in the opening set against Brady and almost blew a 5-1 lead in the second set against Dart. In general, Halep has looked good, now that the reigning Wimbledon champion has her teeth stuck into the tournament she will be hard to stop from here.

Yulia Putintseva has equaled her best result at Melbourne Park by reaching the third round, matching her run from 2016. The Kazakh has overcome a very tough draw to get to the round of 32. Putintseva started the event with a commanding 6/1 6/3 win over Su-Wei Hsieh before battling past an in-form Danielle Collins 6/4 2/6 7/5 in what was an epic contest. Putintseva did extremely well to withstand the barrage of shots fired at her from Collins, one of the better wins in Putintseva’s career on a hard court.

I’ll side with Halep in this one. It will be interesting to see how Putintseva matches up against Halep in their first career meeting but I expect this to be a good match-up for the Romanian. Putintseva’s greatest strengths are her movement and her versatility, unfortunately for Putintseva those strengths wont be as effective against Halep. Halep has the movement and stamina to match Putintseva from the back of the court and won’t be too troubled by slice, higher balls or drop shots. Importantly Halep has the superior firepower from the baseline, both off the forehand and backhand side, Halep also has a superior serve and more damaging return of serve. It won’t be easy for Halep, it never is against Putintseva but she should get the job done.

Prediction: Simona Halep to defeat Yulia Putintseva in 2 sets
Become a WTAADDICT subscriber to receive daily betting tips and analysis
50% off sale on subscriptions during the Australian Open. Join here