Only the stars remain as we enter Round 4 of the 2021 Australian Open at Melbourne Park!
Garbine Muguruza (14) vs Naomi Osaka (3) – From 7PM ET @ Rod Laver Arena
Arguably the two in form players on the women’s side of the draw, world No. 14 Garbine Muguruza and world No. 3 Naomi Osaka will face off in the fourth round at Melbourne Park.
Neither of the two have dropped a set in their opening three matches with Osaka dropping only 13 games in the tournament so far and Muguruza dropping just 10.
With five Grand Slam titles between them, this has the potential to be a classic duel between two players in devastatingly good form.
Garbine Muguruza advances to the Round of 16 with a 61 61 win over Zarina Diyas.
Faces either Naomi Osaka or Ons Jabeur for a spot in the quarterfinals. Great Week 1 for the Spaniard. #AusOpen
— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) February 12, 2021
Although both players have had successful careers and often progress deep into Grand Slams, Saturday will be the first matchup ever between Muguruza and Osaka.
Muguruza has been more successful in her opening three matches in terms of games conceded, however Osaka has faced three top 50 ranked opponents to start her tournament and has conquered them with ease.
Given that Osaka committed five double faults and landed just 43% of her first serves in her round three victory, the in form Muguruza will win this encounter in an upset due to having the stronger service game and aggressive ground strokes. However Osaka will not go down without a fight.
Head to Head – Garbine Muguruza (+150)
Games Spread – Garbine Muguruza +2.5 (+102)
Sets Handicap – Garbine Muguruza +1.5 (-170)
Hsieh Su-Wei vs Marketa Vondrousova (28) – From 7PM ET @ Margeret Court Arena
World No. 71 Hsieh Su-Wei has continued her dream start to the 2021 Australian Open, making it to the fourth round at a major tournament for just the fourth time since debuting at a Grand Slam in 2005.
Su-Wei has defeated world No. 125 Tsvetana Pironkova, world No. 9 Biana Andreescu and world No. 134 Sara Erranni in her first three rounds.
Su-Wei will face a much tougher opponent in the fourth round when coming up against world No. 20 Marketa Vondrousova. After dropping her opening set over the tournament, 21 years old, Vondrousova has won her past six sets, winning her second and third round matches 2-0.
The only previous meeting between the two players came earlier this year in Abu Dhabi, with Hsieh Su-wei registering a straight sets victory. Since bursting onto the scene with an appearance in the 2019 French Open Final, Vondrousova hasn’t quite lived up to the hype with injuries resulting in a loss of continuity and form.
Both players have dropped just one set so far this tournament, however having already taken a top 10 scalp, Hsieh Su-wei should advance to her first ever Grand Slam quarterfinals, drawing on her previous victory over Vondrousova and 16 years of Grand Slam tennis to defeat the inconsistent 21 year old.
Head to Head – Hsieh Su-Wei (+195)
Games Spread – Hsieh Su-Wei +3.5 (+102)
Sets Handicap – Hsieh Su-Wei +1.5 (-140)
Felix Auger Aliassime (20) vs Aslan Karatsev- Not Before 8PM ET @ Margaret Court Arena
World No. 114 Aslan Karatsev has been one of the fairytale stories of the 2021 Australian Open. At the beginning of the week Russia’s Aslan Karatsev had not featured in the main draw of a Grand Slam, having failed to qualify on multiple occasions.
Now, the 27 years old is preparing for a fourth round clash against world No. 19 Felix Auger Aliassime, having become just the 15th qualifier to reach the men’s last 16 on debut at the Australian Open.
Karatsev has defeated world No. 96 Gianluca Mager, world No. 79 Egor Gerasimov and most recently world No. 9 Diego Schwartzman in his opening three rounds and is yet to drop a set at Melbourne Park.
GAME, SET, MATCH. 🇨🇦
Onto the second week at a Grand Slam for the second time in his career and for the first at the AO. pic.twitter.com/a642Ue7HES
— Tennis Canada (@TennisCanada) February 12, 2021
Similarly, his fourth round opponent Felix Auger Aliassime is yet to drop a set this tournament and is coming into this encounter fresh off a straight sets victory against world No. 12 Dennis Shapovalov.
Karatsev has a considerable amount of experience on hardcourts, and loves using his opponent’s power against them, as was evident in his match against Schwartzman, which saw him break the world No. 9 on five occasions.
However, Karatsev lacks the big game experience that Auger Aliassime has, as the world No. 19 will end Karatsev’s dream run at Melbourne Park and progress to his first ever Grand Slam quarterfinals.
Head to Head – Felix Auger Aliassime (-210)
Games Spread – Felix Auger Aliassime -3.5 (-120)
Sets Handicap – Felix Auger Aliassime -1.5 (-110)
Aryna Sabalenka (7) vs Serena Williams (10) – Not Before 9PM ET @ Rod Laver Arena
In what will be the first match of the tournament between two top 10 seeded players, Aryna Sabalenka and Serena Williams will square off on Saturday with a spot in the quarterfinals on the line.
Neither Sabalenka or Williams have dropped a set so far this tournament with the seventh seed only dropping 16 games so far and the 10th seed dropping just 13.
Williams was forced into a tiebreak in the opening set of her round three clash against Anastasia Potapova, which was the only time that she didn’t look like her dominant so far this tournament.
However, the 23 time Grand Slam champion won the tiebreak and made easy work out of Potapova in the second set, winning 6-2. Sabalenka will take confidence out of seeing Williams challenged and will need to draw on that to overcome the world No. 11 in their fourth round match.
Sabalenka is one of the few players on the tour that can match it with Williams for power and having now been given the blueprint of how to put her under pressure, the seventh seed should get past Williams, continuing her career best form and advancing to her first quarter finals appearance at a Grand Slam.
Head to Head – Aryna Sabalenka (-120)
Games Spread – Serena Williams +1.5 (-130)
Sets Handicap – Aryna Sabalenka +1.5 (-300)
Dominic Thiem (3) vs Grigor Dimitrov (18) – Not Before 11PM ET @ Rod Laver Arena
After dropping the opening two sets of his match against Nick Kyrgios, Dominic Thiem rallied from behind to steal a remarkable five set win.
Things will not get any easier for the world No. 3 when coming up against a fresh Grigor Dimitrov. The world No. 21 has played just eight sets through his opening three matches, winning his first and second round encounters in straight sets before Pablo Carreno Busta withdrew from his third round clash, giving Dimitrov a walkover victory (Dimitrov was leading 6-0, 6-1).
— ATP Tour (@atptour) February 12, 2021
Thiem and Dimitrov have faced off on five previous occasions, with Dimitrov currently leading their head to head 3-2. The world No. 21 has won all three of his matches over Thiem on hard courts.
Although Dimitrov is coming in with fresher legs and a better career head to head record, Thiem’s brutish power and incredible shot making ability will see him win this matchup, as the world No. 3 has drastically improved since their last encounter in 2019 and is now one of the best players in the world.
Head to Head – Dominic Thiem (-325)
Games Spread – Dominic Thiem -4.5 (-120)
Sets Handicap – Dominic Thiem -1.5 (-160)
Dusan Lajovic (23) vs Alexander Zverev (6) – Not Before 2.30AM ET Sunday @ Margaret Court Arena
Alexander Zverev has been in unreal form at Melbourne Park so far this tournament, having won nine consecutive sets after dropping the opening set of his first round matchup. Zverev has advanced to the fourth round following his 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 third round victory over world No. 36 Adrian Mannarino.
The sixth seeded Zverev will face world No. 27 Dusan Lajovic on Sunday morning. Lajovic is yet to put a dominant performance together in his three matches this tournament, winning his first round clash in five sets and his second and third round clashes in four.
This will be the pairs first meeting in a hard court event, with their two previous encounters coming at the 2018 and 2019 French Opens, that saw Zverev win both encounters in five sets.
Zverev was one of the biggest improvers on tour last season and has become a much better player since his last match against Lajovic. Zverev is not the passive player that he once was, as was on display against Mannarino, putting 19 aces and 35 winners past the Frenchman.
Given his superior power, skill, talent and big match Grand Slam experience, Zverev is the pick to win this one comfortably, once again advancing in straight sets.
Head to Head – Alexander Zverev (-1250)
Games Spread – Alexander Zverev -7.5 (-135)
Exact Sets – Alexander Zverev 3-0 (-358)
Iga Swiatek (15) vs Simona Halep (2) – From 3AM ET Sunday @ Rod Laver Arena
2020’s breakout star and French Open champion Iga Swiatek is looking to continue her rise up the ranks of women’s tennis in 2021 and has started the Grand Slam season in strong form.
Swiatek is yet to drop a set in her opening three matches, defeating world No. 77 Arantxa Rus, world No. 79 Camila Giorgi and world No. 46 Fiona Ferro in her opening three matches.
Swiatek will face second seed Simona Halep in the fourth round. Halep responded positively from her three set second round match, comfortably defeating Veronika Kudermetova 6-1, 6-3 in the third round.
A special thank you to the fans tonight 🙌
— Simona Halep (@Simona_Halep) February 12, 2021
The two players have faced off twice before in their careers, with the ledger currently tied at 1-1. Halep won their first encounter at the 2019 French Open, however Swiatek dominated their second match, beating the world No. 2 6-1, 6-2 on her way to winning her maiden Grand Slam at the 2020 French Open.
Although the 19 year old Swiatek is undoubtedly one of the most exciting talents for the future of women’s tennis, Halep is the more experienced player and is a proven performer on the hard and quick Australian surfaces.
The world No. 2 will advance to a quarterfinals for the third time in four years, with a hard fought two set win.
Head to Head – Simona Halep (-135)
Games Spread – Simona Halep -1.5 (-113)
Exact Sets – Simona Halep 2-0 (+160)
Novak Djokovic (1) vs Milos Raonic (14) – From 3AM ET Sunday @ Rod Laver Arena
The world No. 1 Novak Djokovic has been far from his best so far at Melbourne Park, dropping a set in the second round and needing all five sets to overcome 27th seed Taylor Fritz.
After winning the first two sets of the match, Djokovic dropped the third and fourth before overcoming an abdominal muscle tear to win the fifth set 6-2 and advance to the fourth round.
Djokovic will face world No. 14 Milos Raonic on Sunday morning. Raonic has been flying under the radar at Melbourne Park, as he often does and has advanced to the fourth round after a four set win over Marton Fucsovics.
Djokovic has never lost against Raonic, currently holding an 11-0 record over the Canadian, with three of those matches coming in Grand Slams. However, given the injury that Djokovic has sustained, Raonic may never have a better chance than Sunday to knock off the world No. 1.
‘I don’t know if I’m going to step out on the court or not’ was what Djokovic said after his round three match, making this a tough game to pick.
However, if Djokovic does manage to recover in just two days, he should be considered the clear favorite for this match given that he is playing on his most successful surface and coming up against an opponent that he has never lost to. It will take plenty of resilience, but you simply can’t bet against Novak at Melbourne Park.
Head to Head – Novak Djokovic (-195)
Games Spread – Novak Djokovic -3.5 (+100)
Sets Handicap- Milos Raonic +2.5 (-375)
We’ve got 14 days of hard core tennis action, so strap yourself in!
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