Australian Open R4: (14) Victoria Azarenka vs Barbora Strycova
Two of the most in form payers throughout the first week at Melbourne Park will collide in the fourth round on Monday for a spot in the quarter-finals when Victoria Azarenka comes up against Barbora Strycova. Azarenka has a dominant record over Strycova, however the Czech will be very confident heading into this match given her stunning upset victory over Garbine Muguruza in the previous round.
Victoria Azarenka has made an outstanding start to the season, the Brisbane International champion has won all 8 of her matches in straight sets. Azarenka has dropped just 5 games in her opening 3 matches at Melbourne Park and clearly looms as Serena Williams’ biggest threat to the title this week. Azarenka started the week by humiliating Alison Van Uytvank with a 6-0 6-0 victory before thumping Danka Kovinic 6-1 6-2. Azarenka booked her spot in the second week at the Australian Open for a seventh year in a row with a dominant 6-1 6-1 victory over Naomi Osaka. Azarenka’s biggest test of the tournament so far will certainly come in the fourth round when she takes on an in form Barbora Strycova.
Barbora Strycova arrived in Melbourne in pretty poor form however she has really turned things around, recording some big upset victories to reach the second week at Melbourne Park for the first time. Strycova’s past to the fourth round hasn’t been easy, the Czech started the week with a great performance against Caroline Garcia where she recorded a 6-2 6-4 victory before scrapping past Vania King 7-6 6-4. It was in the third round that Strycova made her biggest move, defeating Garbine Muguruza 6-3 6-2 on Rod Laver Arena in one of the biggest upsets of the tournament.
Victoria Azarenka has won all four previous meetings between the pair, all on a hard court and all in straight sets. The most recent match between the pair took place at the Australian Open last year, it was Azarenka who prevailed 6-4 6-4 in reasonably tight match. Strycova has never won more than 4 games in a set against Azarenka in their 4 previous matches.
Azarenka clearly has the edge in this match-up and should once again getter the better of Strycova here. Strycova doesn’t really have any weapons to trouble Azarenka, especially when Azarenka is moving as well as she has been over the last couple of weeks. I do think Strycova will be reasonably competitive but Azarenka will ultimately prevail.