The quarter finals of the Australian Open get underway in Melbourne on Tuesday where the line up for the first half of the semi-finals will be finalised with all the singles action taking place on the Rod Laver Arena from here on in.
We’ve seen some brilliant tennis so far in the tournament and with a number of big names still remaining, the quality is only likely to improve from here on in. The drama certainly should, beginning with Tuesday’s action.
Sofia Kenin vs Ons Jabeur
The opening quarter final of the competition was billed to be Naomi Osaka against Serena Williams but that script clearly didn’t make its way to Sofia Kenin and Ons Jabeur as it is they who will battle it out for a place in a maiden Grand Slam semi-final.
There have been a couple of times in this tournament when I have expected the run of Ons Jabeur to end but she is still here and she has got my complete respect for that. I still expect Kenin to win this match as I rate her better but if there is one thing we’ve learnt over the last 12 months or so it is that there is rarely value in favourites in these matches where both players are looking to break new ground. I think Kenin will win but I don’t really want to get involved in this one.
Ash Barty vs Petra Kvitova
The pick of the women’s quarter finals on Tuesday is the one between the world number one Ash Barty and the beaten finalist of a year ago in Petra Kvitova, two women who have appeared to be at the top of their game so far in this tournament.
Both women had to come through deciding sets in the last round to make it into this stage but they had largely been on easy street before then so you wouldn’t think fatigue would be an issue. I sense the best player is going to win this match. Barty has actually won their last three meetings but it was Kvitova who won here at this stage 12 months ago and when she’s on it I think she is very tough to beat with her big serve and heavy ground strokes.
Bookmakers have Barty as the favourite for this match and I’d agree she probably should be based on the rankings but I always think Kvitova raises it for the big matches and she looks a little big to me I have to say. At 6/5 I think the Czech star is the bet to make it into the last four for the second successive year here.
Tennys Sandgren vs Roger Federer
The opening quarter final of the men’s draw sees Roger Federer looking to make it back to the semi-final of the first major of the year for the first time since 2018 when he takes on a Tennys Sandgren who has never been to the last four of a Grand Slam in his career.
Roger Federer was taken the distance by John Millman in the third round and then lost the opening set to Marton Fucsovics in the previous one but you’ve got to think this will be a more comfortable outing for him against a Sandgren who might just have reached the end of his limits after a fine campaign. The logical pick here would be Federer to win 3-0 but seeing as it is odds on and that it wouldn’t take a whole lot for the American to be inspired for a set to bust it, I’m happy to leave this one alone.
Milos Raonic vs Novak Djokovic
The one quarter final to be held in the night session sees the big booming serve of Milos Raonic going up against the relentless returning game of Novak Djokovic in a match the defending champion is understandably a warm order to come out on top in.
The head to head between these two doesn’t make good reading for the Canadian. Djokovic leads it 9-0 and in the 23 sets they have played against each other, Raonic has won just two of them. In saying that, Raonic has just completed two very good straight sets wins over Stefanos Tsitsipas and Marin Cilic so he appears to be in good touch. Djokovic has dropped a set in this tournament although it was in the first round and in the nine sets he’s played since he’s only lost 25 games.
This clearly isn’t a good match up for Raonic. There is too much pressure on his serve at all times and you have to think the improved first delivery of Djokovic is only going to make what has been a tough task for the Canadian in the past even harder. Djokovic relishes these battles with the big servers and history and what we’ve seen this week tells me the 10/11 on the defending champion to win in straight sets is decent enough value.
Back P.Kvitova to beat A.Barty for a 4/10 stake at 2.20 with 888sport
WON – Back N.Djokovic to win 3-0 for a 4/10 stake at 1.91 with Betfair
Back him here: