Australian Open 2020: 4th round reflections and QF predictions

As we enter the final stages of another thrilling tournament all the ingredients are still there for a blockbuster finish. As is customary for the year’s first slam, we have new names emerging. We also have some of the game’s elite returning to the big stage after some lengthy spots in the wilderness.

We start with the men and the Big 3 are still safely through but have some truly fearsome company. Of them, Rafa by far had the toughest time against a much improved but ultimately still inessential Nik Kyrgios earlier today in yet another thriller. The Australian has a long long way to go to be mentioned with sincerity as a regular major challenger, but this was real improvement. Is it now too late? A discussion for another time.

Novak continues to breeze through what has been a kind draw so far, Federer looked comfortable in the end against Fucsovics who after a very bright powerful start wilted mentally and creatively rather abruptly. Raonic, one of my aforementioned comeback kids is looking sublime, sweeping past Cilic in straight sets. He should test Djoko hopefully. Tennys Sandgren is also happy to be back here downing the stubborn but tired Fognini in four. Zverev put away the rampant Rublev with businesslike fashion and Dominic Thiem had little trouble against habitual nearly-man Monfils.

For me though, the highlight of the men’s last 16 has to be Wawrinka’s 5 set defeat of 2019 US Open runner-up Medvedev. The Russian 4th seed, elastic and one of the great defenders was powerless against the sublime Swiss who painted masterpieces with his backhand, particularly in the first and fifth sets here.

The women’s draw has both the established favourites still alive and kicking: Barty (finally tested in 3 by tricky Riske), Kvitova and Halep are through and joined here by some young blood, new names and a dangerous comeback queen. Garbine Muguruza thrashed Svitolina (showing worrying signs of mimicking her beau Monfils) and is looking every inch the title challenger. Coco Gauff’s great run was halted by established compatriot Kenin, whilst Jabeur outlasted Serena’s conqueror Wang. Anna Kontaveit is looking strong and Pavlyuchenkova continues to roll on, denying Kerber a welcome comeback of her own.

QF predictions

Kenin Vs Jabeur – Kenin in 3

Barty Vs Kvitova – Petra in 3

Sandgren Vs Federer – Roger in 4

Raonic Vs Djokovic – Novak in 5

Nadal Vs Thiem – Rafa in 4

Wawrinka Vs Zverev – Staminal in 3

Kontaveit Vs Halep – Simona in 2

Muguruza Vs Pavlyuchenkova – Garbine in 3

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