?? 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.