The second week of the year’s first Grand Slam tournament kicks off today, as Round 4 of the 2021 Australian Open concludes. A spot quarterfinals awaits for today’s winners!
Jessica Pegula vs Elina Svitolina (5) – From 7PM ET @ Rod Laver Arena
It was another clinical display of tennis from Elina Svitolina in the third round, as the fifth seed comfortably defeated world No. 28 Yulia Putintseva 6-4, 6-0 to advance to the fourth round at Melbourne Park for the third time in four years.
World No. 61 Jessica Pegula has the task of trying to upset Svitolina in their fourth round clash on Sunday. Pegula has been in a rich vein of form herself, defeating 12th seed Viktoria Azareka in round one, Australian native and Grand Slam champion Sam Stosur in round two and world No. 52 Kristina Mladenovic in round three.
— wta (@WTA) February 13, 2021
Pegula is also yet to drop a set in her three wins that came against higher ranking players. Svitolina and Pegula have faced off once before at the Abu Dhabi
Open earlier this year, with Svitolina winning the match 6-4, 6-3. In the short period of time between their last encounter, Pegula looks to have noticeably improved the attacking side of her game and namely her forehand.
However, Svitolina has done nothing so far this tournament to suggest that she will be upset by the world No. 61 on Sunday, having defeated three top 50 ranked opponents with ease.
The fifth seeded Svitolina will once again advance to the quarterfinals in a tough two set win.
Head to Head – Elina Svitolina (-230)
Games Spread – Elina Svitolina -3.5 (-125)
Sets Handicap – Elina Svitolina +1.5 (-650)
Donna Vekic (28) vs Jennifer Brady (22) – From 7PM ET @ Rod Laver Arena
They may not be two household names for the fourth round at Melbourne Park, however world No. 33 Donna Vekic and world No. 24 Jennifer Brady will face off on Sunday with the winner advancing to the quarterfinals of the Australian Open.
Following her third round victory over Kaia Kanepi, Vekic is now in the fourth round of a major tournament for just the third time since her Grand Slam debut in 2014.
Brady picked up her Grand Slam form where she left off last year (making the US Open semi finals), advancing to her fourth career fourth round at a major, defeating Kaja Juvan in straight sets. Brady is yet to drop a set so far this tournament and has only allowed her opponent’s to win 11 games.
Things haven’t been as easy for Vekic, who has dropped two sets, however the 24 year old has shown resilience, fighting back after dropping the opening set of her third round match to win the second set in a tiebreak and the third set 6-4.
Since the resumption of tennis after last year’s pandemic shutdown, Brady has been one of the best players on the tour, winning her debut WTA singles title and making a semi finals appearance at last year’s US Open.
Having played fewer sets, Brady will have fresher legs for this matchup and her form has been undeniable to start the Grand Slam season.
If she does not get in her own way, as she did in the third round (24 unforced errors in her 6-1, 6-3 win), Brady will be able to navigate past the inconsistent Vekic in straight sets.
Head to Head – Jennifer Brady (-325)
Games Spread – Jennifer Brady -4.5 (-120)
Exact Sets- Jennifer Brady 2-0 (-125)
Mackenzie McDonald vs Daniil Medvedev (4) – Not Before 8.30PM ET @ Margaret Court Arena
Arguably the in form player in the world on the men’s side of the draw, Daniil Medvedev was put through his paces in the third round, needing all five sets to defeat world No. 33 Filip Krajinovic and secure a spot in the fourth round.
After winning the opening two sets against Krajinovic, Medvedev dropped his first and second set of the tournament in succession, however the world No. 4 found an extra gear in the fifth, defeating Krajinovic 6-0.
An impressive finish!
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) February 13, 2021
Contrastingly, world No. 192 Mackenzie McDonald recorded his first straight sets victory of the tournament in the third round, defeating world No. 91 Lloyd Harris.
McDonald has also taken the scalps of world No. 82 Marco Cecchinato and world No. 25 Berna Coric on the way to his second fourth round appearance at a major tournament. Medvedev has won his two previous encounters against McDonald, both on hard court surfaces in 2019.
While being pushed to five sets in the third round, Medvedev looked to lose his temper for the first time this tournament, making his 6-0 fifth set against Krajinovic’s momentum all the more impressive.
Given that his game is well suited to hard courts and he has now won with ease and under pressure, the world No. 4 is the obvious pick to advance past the world No. 192, with Medvedev winning this matchup with relatively ease.
Head to Head – Daniil Medvedev (-5000)
Games Spread – Daniil Medvedev -7.5 (-215)
Exact Sets- Daniil Medvedev 3-0 (-278)
Andrey Rublev (7) vs Casper Ruud (24) Not Before 8.30PM ET @ Margaret Court Arena
23 year old, seventh seed Andrey Rublev might look the best of any player through to the round of 16 so far this tournament. Rublev is yet to drop a set so far at Melbourne Park having defeated world No. 102 Yannick Hanfmann, world No. 74 Thiago Monteiro and world No. 65 Feliciano Lopez in the first three rounds.
Rublev’s next opponent is his first that’s ranked inside the top 50, world No. 28 Casper Ruud. Ruud has won a three set match (first round walkover) and two four-set matches so far this tournament.
After a first round exit at Melbourne Park last year, Ruud has returned from the pandemic shutdown with now three consecutive third round (or better) efforts at Grand Slams, with Sunday being his first appearance in the fourth round of a major tournament since his Grand Slam debut in 2018.
As great as Ruud’s performance has been, it is impossible to go past Rublev in this matchup as the world No. 8 has been broken just once in his three matches so far this tournament.
Rublev put 33 winners past Lopez in the third round, dominating the match and wrapping things up in just one hour and 32 minutes.
Not taking anything away from Ruud’s performance so far, however it will take a stronger player to upset Rublev in his current form.
Head to Head – Andrey Rublev (-1110)
Games Spread – Andrey Rublev -7.5 (-120)
Exact Sets – Andrey Rublev 3-0 (-137)
Fabio Fognini (16) vs Rafael Nadal (2) – Not Before 11PM ET @ Rod Laver Arena
It has been business as usual for Rafael Nadal to start the 2021 Australian Open, winning all three of his matches in three sets and comfortably covering a -7.5 games spread in each match.
World No. 17 Fabio Fognini will look to upset the 20 time Grand Slam champion when they face off in the fourth round on Sunday.
After his five set epic against fellow Italian Salvatore Caruso in the second round, Fognini put a dominant performance together against world No. 23 Alex de Minaur in the third round, beating the Australian 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 and advancing to the fourth round at Melbourne Park for the second consecutive year.
The record for 2️⃣1️⃣ Grand Slams is still alive 👀
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) February 13, 2021
Fognini will be confident going into this match, as he is the only man to ever defeat Nadal in a Grand Slam after trailing by two sets. As has been the case for the entirety of the tournament, picking Nadal to win his matches is dependent on his nagging back injury that saw him withdraw from the ATP Cup earlier this month.
However, the world No. 2 has shown nothing so far this tournament to suggest that he is hindered by the apparent injury and is impossible to pick against given his current form.
Nadal has been broken just twice so far this tournament and although Fognini is a tougher matchup for the Spaniard, Nadal will advance to the quarterfinals for the 13th time at Melbourne Park.
Head to Head – Rafael Nadal (-700)
Games Spread – Rafael Nadal -6.5 (-125)
Sets Handicap- Rafael Nadal -1.5 (-300)
Elise Mertens (18) vs Karolina Muchova (25) – Not Before 2AM ET Monday @ Margaret Court Arena
World No. 16 Elise Mertens has advanced to the fourth round at Melbourne Park for the second consecutive year after defeating world No. 12 and 11th seed Belinda Bencic 6-3, 6-1 in the third round.
Mertens’ opponent on Monday morning, world No. 27 Karolina Muchova also upset a higher ranked player in the third round, eliminating world No. 6 Karolina Pliskova to advance to the fourth round.
This is Muchova’s second career and second consecutive trip to the fourth round of a major, picking up where she left off at last year’s US Open. Merten’s is no stranger to the second week of Grand Slams, about to make her eighth fourth round appearance from 16 Grand Slam starts. Neither player has dropped a set in their opening three matches.
Having won the Gippsland trophy earlier this year and seeing how she has started the tournament at Melbourne Park, it is tough to pick against the Mertens in this matchup as she was a semifinalist at the 2018 Aus Open and looks to be in better form this time around.
Muchova has also taken some big scalps this tournament and will not make it easy, however Mertens is looking better on hard courts with every match she plays.
Head to Head – Elise Mertens (-210)
Games Spread – Karolina Muchova +3.5 (-110)
Sets Handicap – Elise Mertens +1.5 (-500)
Ashleigh Barty (1) vs Shelby Rogers – From 3AM ET Monday @ Rod Laver Arena
Although Melbourne has once again entered a lockdown due to COVID-19, there is no stopping the ‘Barty Party’ at the 2021 Australian Open, as the world No. 1 continues to dominate.
Barty has now advanced past the third round for the third consecutive year thanks to her 6-2, 6-4 win over world No. 32 Ekaterina Alexandrova.
In terms of a rankings matchup, things continue to get better for Barty, as she is set to face world No.57 Shelby Rogers in the fourth round.
A new week 💜 pic.twitter.com/xHrf7Xdwc0
— Ash Barty (@ashbarty) February 13, 2021
Despite her ranking, Rogers has earned her place in the fourth round having upset world No. 22 Anett Kontaveit with a 6-4, 6-3 third round win. Neither Barty nor Rogers has dropped a set so far this tournament.
Monday will be just the third time that Rogers has played in the fourth round at a major tournament since her Grand Slam debut in 2010.
Barty has defeated Rogers in the two games that they have played, however the world No. 1 needed all three sets to defeat Rogers at the Yarra Valley Classic earlier this month, winning the match 7-5, 2-6, 10-4. Barty’s dominant 6-2, 6-4 third round victory occurred with the world No. 1 converting just 29% of her break point opportunities.
If Barty can capitalise on these chances when coming up against Rogers, then the world No. 1 will undoubtedly once again advance to the quarterfinals with another straight sets win.
Head to Head – Ashleigh Barty (-400)
Games Spread – Ashleigh Barty -4.5 (-125)
Exact Sets- Ashleigh Barty 2-0 (-143)
Stefanos Tsitsipas (5) vs Matteo Berrettini (9) – From 3AM ET Monday @ Rod Laver Arena
As picked, Stefanos Tsitsipas responded positively from his five set second round match (where he was not broken once), to comfortably defeat Mikael Ymer 6-4, 6-1, 6-1, covering his games spread and nailing his exact sets pick.
Tsitsipas will face world No. 10 Matteo Berrettini in the fourth round, who has also advanced with a straight sets third round win.
Berrettini won all three of his sets in tiebreaks during his third round match against world No. 20 Karen Khachanov, landing clutch serve after clutch serve to advance to the fourth round at Melbourne Park for the first time in his career.
The two players met at the 2019 Aus Open, with Tsitsipas claiming a three set victory in their one career head to head.
Given that Berrettini has a huge serve (having put 51 aces past his opponents) and Tsitsipas is a brilliant returner (having won roughly 70% of the points on his opponents serve), this has the makings of being a thrilling back and forth match.
However, we like Tsitsipas to carry his dominant round three form into the fourth round, advancing past Berrettini in a four set epic.
Head to Head – Stefanos Tsitsipas (-400)
Games Spread – Stefanos Tsitsipas -4.5 (-115)
Sets Handicap- Stefanos Tsitsipas -1.5 (-180)
We’ve got 14 days of hard core tennis action, so strap yourself in!
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