Monday, 20 January 2014

Australian Open 2014 - Quarterfinals


1R - Bernard Tomic (Australia)
6-4 (Retired)    RANK 57
2R - Thanasi Kokkinakis (Australia) WC
6-2,6-4,6-2 1h53   RANK 570
3R - Gael Monfils (France) [25]
6-1,6-2,6-3 2h01    RANK 32
4R - Kei Nishikori (Japan) [16]
7-6(7-3),7-5,7-6(7-3) 3h17     RANK 17

Rafa, the King of Clay, Spain's Raging Bull, The Comeback King? Whatever you want to call Nadal he is indisputably the King of the Game right now, still dominant even after his career threatening injury. Bar that, the 27 year old, Nadal has 61 titles of which 13 are Slams, 1 is an Olympic Gold and a further 26 Masters! However his lone Australian Open title was in 2009.

His next opponent will be the rising star, Dimitrov. Whilst nobody is expecting anything from the young Bulgarian it will be interesting how the match plays out. Nadal will be looking to keep his straight sets run if he's aiming for the elusive second Aussie.


1R - Bradley Klahn (USA)        
7-6(9-7),4-6,4-6,3-6 2h34     RANK 93
2R - Yen-hsun Lu (Taiwan)       
3-6,3-6,6-7(11-13) 2h04       RANK 53
3R - Milos Raonic (Canada) [11] 
3-6,6-3,4-6,6-7(10-12) 2h36 RANK 11
4R - Roberto Bautista Agut (Spain) 
6-3,3-6,6-2,6-4 2h24           RANK 62

This 22 year old Bulgarian is the youngest guy left in the draw. For several years named as the main rising star he has finally broken out and reached his first QF. Since turning pro he has won one title, being the Stockholm Open last year against David Ferrer in the final. He is the most successful Bulgarian men's tennis player.

He will next play Nadal, to beat him is possibly an insurmountable feat, but Dimitrov has announced his arrival and the next match will determine how far up the ladder he has reached.


1R - Go Soeda (Japan)
6-1,6-1,6-3 1h27   RANK 112
2R - Vincent Millot (France) Q
6-2,6-2,7-5 2h01   RANK 267
3R - Feliciano Lopez (Spain) [26]
7-6(7-2),6-4,6-2 2h15     RANK 27
4R - Stephane Robert (France)
6-1,6-2,6-7(6-8),6-2 2h42   RANK 119

At 26 Murray can be considered "young" for this draw. In his career he has already garnered 28 Career titles, the most significant of which being his two Slams, one being his Wimbledon title last year. He also has an Olympic Gold medal to call his own. However out of the Top 4 players the No.1 title has still eluded him, will 2014 be his breakthrough? 

Just back from injury Murray is playing down his chances however he does have a very good record at the Australian Open in recent years. However his road is just about to get tougher as to win the title he'll most probably need to face the onslaught of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic consecutively!


1R - James Duckworth (Australia) WC 
4-6,4-6,2-6 1h46        RANK 133
2R - Blaz Kavcic (Slovenia)         
2-6,1-6,6-7(4-7) 1h47 RANK 99
3R - Teymuraz Gabashvili (Russia)             
2-6,2-6,3-6 1h41        RANK 79
4R - Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (France) [10]           
3-6,5-7,4-6 1h52        RANK 10

At 32, in tennis terms Federer can be considered a pensioner! But Federer is still fighting strong. This legend has amassed 77 titles in his career, 17 of which slams (of which 4 are Aussies), 6 Year End titles and 21 Masters. Of the many records he has one of them is making the last four of the every Aussie Open in the last ten years.

The next round will be very interesting, it is indisputably the match of the round and will end the road for one of the "Top 4". His comprehensive win over Tsonga will suggest that he still has it but could Murray be one step too far?


1R - Aleksandr Nedovyesov (Kazakhstan)
6-3,6-4,6-3 1h50  RANK 94
2R - Kenny De Schepper (France)
6-4,6-1,6-3 1h42  RANK 86
3R - Damir Dzumhur (Bosnia and Herzegovina) Q
6-4,6-2,6-2 1h44 RANK 188
4R - Kevin Anderson (South Africa) [19]
6-2,6-2,6-3 1h58   RANK 21

The 28 year old Czech boasts being a Wimbledon 2010 Finalist in his resume whilst being in a tough era of the Top 4. He is probably considered the most likely after the players with Slams already. Outside of the slams he owns 8 titles, the most prestigious of which being the BNP Paribas Masters in 2005.

He has yet to falter or be tested in the tournament, dispatching of all his opponents within 2 hours, in straight sets and not having needed a tiebreak for any, however his next opponent, David Ferrer, will bring a dogged match to the game. Will he be able to finally make the SFs here after being so close the last three years?


1R - Alejandro Gonzalez (Colombia) 
3-6,4-6,4-6 2h05              RANK 74
2R - Adrian Mannarino (France)     
6-7(2-7),7-5,0-6,3-6 3h02 RANK 71
3R - Jeremy Chardy (France) [29]  
2-6,6-7(5-7),2-6 2h11       RANK 31
4R - Florian Mayer (Germany)  
7-6(7-5),5-7,2-6,1-6 2h55 RANK 37

31 year old Ferrer is the most successful tennis player without a slam. His consistency has allowed him to be the first player to break the stranglehold the Top 3/4 had on the rankings. His greatest achievement being a finalist at the 2013 French Open and he is a reliable player in the slams, reaching the QF or better in his last 8 runs. He has amassed 20 titles within his career, the most significant of which being the BNP Paribas Masters in 2012.

Ferrer has been a little shaky coming into the QF but his dogged game has allowed him to progress without too many problems. His next opponent, Berdych will be feeling much fresher but with Ferrer's athleticism it's difficult to say where this match will be going.


1R - Andrey Golubev (Kazakhstan)
6-4,4-1 (Retired) RANK 85
2R - Alejandro Falla (Colombia)
6-3,6-3,6-7(4-7),6-4 2h47 RANK 87
3R - Vasek Pospisil (Canada) [28]
Walkover RANK 30
4R - Tommy Robredo (Spain) [17]
6-3,7-6(7-3),7-6(7-5) RANK 18

At 28 Wawrinka was always in the shadows of his Swiss compatriot but recently he's finally finding his path. With 5 titles in the bag and a recent SF appearance at the US Open Wawrinka is having the best time of his career to date. His most significant title probably being the Portugal Open last year where he beat Ferrer. He also managed to reach the finals of last years Mutua Madrid Open (Masters).

Whilst it wasn't the thrilling 5 setter we were all hoping for Robredo kept it close in every set. Having his first true test will put him in good stead against Djokovic but it might be a bit too much for Wawrinka to handle.


1R - Lukas Lacko (Slovakia)
3-6,6-7(2-7),1-6 1h50 RANK 96
2R - Leonardo Mayer (Argentina)
0-6,4-6,4-6 1h47        RANK 98
3R - Denis Istomin (Uzbeksitan)
6-3,6-3,5-7 1h59        RANK 49
4R - Fabio Fognini (Italy) [15]
3-6,0-6,2-6 1h33        RANK 16

This man needs no introduction, at 26 he has 41 titles, 6 of which Grand Slams, 16 of which masters, held the No.1 spot for 101 weeks, won the Tour Finals 3 times and brought Serbia to their first Davis Cup win; as well as breaking many records in between. he comes into this Australian Open having won the previous three and will surely be looking to add a fifth to his mantelpiece to exceed Agassi and Federer's record.

He goes into the QFs looking in great form, it's hard to deny him of being the overwhelming favourite over his opponent but either way it should be a good match and his first true test in his goal to winning his 5th Aussie.


1R - Kiki Bertens (Netherlands)
6-4,6-4 1h32 RANK 93
2R - Annika Beck (Germany)
6-1,6-2 0h56 RANK 54
3R - Samantha Stosur (Australia) [17]
7-6(10-8),4-6,2-6 2h14 RANK 17
4R - Serena Williams (USA) [1]
6-4,3-6,3-6 1h56   RANK 1

The 26 year old Serbian beauty was a teen-queen. She had it all going for her, winning the French Open at the tender age of 20 and reaching No.1 but it was all a matter of too much too early in her career and she subsequently fell apart. She has a further 11 WTA titles to her name.

She is finally finding her best form back, being unbeaten in 2014 and simply outplaying Serena Williams will put her back on the map. She will surely go into the next match as the favourite after two very strong performances.


1R - Hao Chen Tang (China) WC 
7-5,6-1 1h28              RANK 487
2R - Virginie Razzano (France)
6-2,7-6(12-10) 1h57   RANK 100
3R - Lauren Davis (USA)       
6-2,6-2 1h17              RANK 68
4R - Casey Dellacqua (AUS)      
7-6(7-5),2-6,0-6 1h43 RANK 120

Eugenie, 19, leads a group of teens as the new stars of the show as well as sparking the resurgence of Canadian tennis alongside her male counterparts. She is currently on her best run in a Grand Slam. Whilst she has yet to win a title her best run came at the HP Open in Osaka, where she lost in three sets to Samantha Stosur.

Her next opponent will really test her game, Ivanovic is playing well, she will go into the next match as an underdog however this is her best result in a Grand Slam so she has nothing to lose.


1R - Ana Konjuh (Croatia) Q
6-2,6-0 1h01 RANK 241
2R - Belinda Bencic (Switzerland) Q
       6-0,7-6(7-5) 1h20 RANK 187
3R - Lucie Safarova (Czech Republic) [26]
 1-6,7-6(7-2),6-3 2h38  RANK 26
4R - Ekaterina Makarova (Russia) [22]
 6-2,6-0 0h59  RANK 22

At 31 Na Li is part of the growing trend of late bloomers in women's tennis. She is also the most successful player under the Chinese banner ever, men's or women's. She was a Grand Slam champion at Roland Garros in 2011 and also made the final of the Australian Open twice. She has a further 7 titles to her name.

She had a slight hiccup against Safarova but she goes into the QF as the favourite having just thrashed Makarova with her aggressive tennis.


1R - Alexandra Cadantu (Romania)
6-0,6-2 1h03      RANK 60
2R - Monica Puig (Puerto Rico)
6-3,6-4 1h20      RANK 58
3R - Mona Barthel (Germany)
6-1,7-5 1h14      RANK 39
4R - Angelique Kerber (Germany) [9]
1-6,6-4,7-5 1h52 RANK 9

At 31, and only a day older than Li, Flavia is seeing a second wind to her career having achieved her best Grand Slam result, a SF at the recent US Open. Now she sees her first QF slam placement outside of the US. Flavia was the first of the female Italians to make the Top 10 breakthrough. She has 9 WTA titles to her name, her greatest success being at the now defunct LA Women's Tennis Championships in 2009.

She goes into the QF against Na Li as an underdog however she has been playing solidly and shouldn't be discounted.


1R - Katarzyna Piter (Poland) Q
0-6,1-6 0h54 RANK 119
2R - Varvara Lepchenko (USA)
6-4,0-6,1-6  2h03   RANK 50
3R - Zarina Diyas (Kazakhstan) Q
1-6,4-6 1h07  RANK 152
4R - Jelena Jankovic (Serbia) [8]
4-6,6-2,0-6 1h52     RANK 8

One of the hottest players on tour last year, 22 year old Halep has 6 titles to her name (all in 2013). The most significant of which being the Tournament of Champions where she beat Samantha Stosur. This is also her first Grand Slam quarterfinal, her previous best being at the recent US Open. On the cusp of the Top 10 this performance could be her entry to it.

Her next match will be against Cibulkova, who has been in great form at the tournament. It should be an interesting tussle between the two diminutive players.


1R - Francesca Schiavone (Italy)        
3-6,4-6 1h37  RANK 42
2R - Stefanie Voegele (Switzerland)     
0-6,1-6 0h57  RANK 46
3R - Carla Suarez Navarro (Spain) [16]  
1-6,4-6 0h59  RANK 16
4R - Maria Sharapova (Russia) [3]  
3-6,6-4,6-1 2h12  RANK 3

What she lacks in height she more than makes up for in pure aggression. At 24 Cibulkova's best performance in a slam was her semifinal run at the 2009 French Open. She has 3 WTA tour titles, one of which being the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford where she beat Radwanska. She has been a threat for a number of years but now finally she has reached the QF or better in all four slams.

Her next opponent will also be one of the hottest players on tour. It will be an interesting match to see who goes on to their first Australian semifinals.


1R - Yulia Putintseva (Kazakhstan)
6-0,5-7,6-2 2h02 RANK 112
2R - Olga Govortsova (Belarus)
6-0,7-5 1h15   RANK 98
3R - Anastasia Pavyluchenkova (Russia) [29]
5-7,6-2,6-2 2h15   RANK 30
4R - Garbine Muguruza (Poland)
6-1,6-3 1h13   RANK 38

24 year old Radwanska has 13 titles under her belt, known for her intelligent play she is a regularly in the latter stages of slams. Her best performance at a slam is her 2012 Wimbledon finals appearance and this is her fourth consecutive QF appearance at the Australian Open. One of her biggest and most recent achievements is winning the 2012 Sony Ericsson Open against Maria Sharapova.

She next faces an old nemesis, Azarenka. They both rose through the ranks together but Azarenka has undeniably been the more successful one. It will be a tough match for Radwanska but if she is to advance in her career she'll no doubt have to face this challenge in the future.


1R - Johanna Larsson (Sweden)                    
6-7,(2-7),2-6 1h46 RANK 91
2R - Barbara Zahlavova Strycova (Czech Republic) 
1-6,4-6 1h26         RANK 84
3R - Yvonne Meusburger (Austria)                 
1-6,0-6 1h00         RANK 49
4R - Sloane Stephens (USA) [13]                
3-6,2-6 1h31         RANK 13

At 24 Victoria has already been a two time Australian Open champion, World No.1 for 51 weeks, as well as having amassed 17 titles. For the past year or two she has also been the only consistent contender against the dominant Serena Williams.

With Serena out Azarenka is the legitimate front-runner in the tournament and she is the only female player to still be on her straight sets run. Her next opponent will be against a long-standing competitor Radwanska. It will be an interesting match but Azarenka should have all the answers to her game.

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