The semi-final line up at the Australian Open will be completed on Wednesday when the remaining quarter finals are all played out, on what looks like being another fascinating and high quality day inside the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne.
We’ve already seen Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Ash Barty and Sofia Kenin make it into the last four and on Wednesday the likes of Rafael Nadal, Simona Halep, Alexander Zverev and Garbine Muguruza will be out to join them.
Anett Kontaveit vs Simona Halep
The first quarter final on court on Wednesday sees the Estonian ace Anett Kontaveit meeting the 2018 finalist and reigning Wimbledon champion Simona Halep for a place in the semi-final on what is a huge day for both women.
These two have met on two previous occasions with Halep winning on both times and only dropping nine games in the four sets, although their most recent meeting was in 2017 and Kontaveit has improved since then but the 24-year-old is in her first Grand Slam quarter final at this level and it will be interesting to see how she copes with that. Halep is now vastly experienced at this level and should win the day but the odds suggest that so I’ll sit this one out.
Garbine Muguruza vs Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
The other women’s quarter final on Wednesday sees two of the better players in the tournament so far locking horns when Garbine Muguruza bids for a place in another Grand Slam semi-final when she takes on Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova who will be looking to reach the last four at the sixth time of asking.
Muguruza has looked very assured and accomplished in this tournament and will be well aware she has won all four meetings against the Russian that have been played to their full conclusion so she is probably a worthy favourite based on that. Pavlyuchenkova goes into the match off the back of possibly her best career performance to date, beating Angelique Kerber and firing down a whopping 71 winners in the process. I hope the Russian picks up her first win against Muguruza here as she is my outright pick and that is enough interest in the game for me.
Stan Wawrinka vs Alexander Zverev
The men’s quarter final in the day session sees the former champion Stan Wawrinka taking on the German ace Alexander Zverev, who amazingly for a man of his talents, will be hoping to reach the semi-final of a Grand Slam for the first time.
Wawrinka has made his way through the draw in this tournament but you wouldn’t say that has been a huge amount that has been convincing about it. He has had to go five sets twice this week and deep into four on another occasion and while his battling qualities should be applauded, you wonder what is left in the tank. Zverev doesn’t have that issue however. He hasn’t dropped a set this week and in Fernando Verdasco and Andrey Rublev he has seen off a couple of dangerous opponents.
I don’t think the market is giving Zverev enough credit here. I accept in the past he has been flaky at the Slams but that can’t be levelled at him here. He has played very well and given that he is donating the pot to the bush fire fund if he wins he won’t be lacking for support here. Wawrinka must be leggy at some point so I’m on the German to win this with a bit to spare.
Rafael Nadal vs Dominic Thiem
Moving into the night session and we have the one singles match, which sees the world number one Rafael Nadal taking on Dominic Thiem in a repeat of last season’s French Open final, for the right to face the earlier winner in the semi-final on Friday.
Nadal has oozed quality in this tournament and looks to be the one to beat here. I’m expecting Thiem to give him a game though with his renewed confidence from making the final of the ATP Finals at the o2 at the end of last season. You have to go with Nadal though and if he’s on it he could well come through in straight sets. I hope Thiem keeps this competitive from a watching point of view but I’ve no massive desire to bet on the outcome.
WON – Back A.Zverev (-1.5 games) to beat S.Wawrinka for a 4/10 stake at 1.80 with 888sport