Wozniacki Rybarikova head to head header Australian Open Caroline Wozniacki

Six juicy matches to watch on Sunday

Features

The third round is in the books; now it gets interesting. Here’s six sensational fourth-round matches to feed your weekend tennis addiction.

1. No.21 Magdalena Rybarikova (SLO) vs. No.2 Caroline Wozniacki (DEN)
Through the first three rounds, Rybarikova has won an impressive 44 points more than she has lost (159-115) in the dominant rally length of 0-4 shots. When a fifth shot (or more) has landed in the court extending the rally, she actually has a losing record: 67 points won, 80 points lost. That’s what makes this such a tough match-up for the Slovakian. Wozniacki is 14 up (99-85) in the longer rallies, and will do all she can to extend exchanges as long as possible to frustrate her opponent. 

PREDICTION: Wozniacki in 2 sets

2. No.33 Anett Konteveit (EST) vs. No.39 Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP)
Attacking early in the point has powered Estonian Anett Kontaveit through to the fourth round of the 2018 Australian Open. She has hit 12 clean return winners – third-best for the tournament in that specific metric. That has helped her win a substantial 61 per cent (63 of 103) of her second-serve return points. This is exactly how she needs to play a consistent Suarez Navarro, who puts a million balls back in the court.

PREDICTION: Suarez Navarro in 3 set

5715081417001
20 Jan 18
Match highlights form Jelena Ostapenko against Anett Kontaveit on the third round of the Australian Open 2018.

Jelena Ostapenko v Anett Kontaveit match highlights (3R)

Video

3. No.4 Elina Svitolina (UKR) vs. No.130 Denisa Allertova (CZE)
Three rounds of qualifying. Check. Three rounds of main draw. Check that box too. Allertova has not dropped a set in six matches at the 2018 Australian Open. She is third-best in baseline points won for the tournament at 57 per cent (132 of 233). It’s all extremely impressive, but now she gets her biggest test against the tournament’s No.4 seed. Allertova defeated Svitolina 7-5 6-4 in Doha in 2016. She will have to be at her very best to repeat that performance on this stage.

PREDICTION: Svitolina in 3 sets

4. No.49 Kyle Edmund (GBR) vs. No.76 Andreas Seppi (ITA)
All you need to know about Edmund is that he loves his forehand – especially as a run-around standing in the ad-court. The right-handed Brit has crushed 82 forehand winners so far for the tournament, and will be looking to hit a couple of hundred more against Seppi. All you need to know about Seppi is that he has a world-class backhand. It’s a rock. Seppi will need to take a lot of backhands down the line to stop Edmund dominating the ad-court with his forehand.

PREDICTION: Edmund in 5 sets

5714847310001
19 Jan 18
Kyle Edmund v Nikoloz Basilashvili match highlights from round three at the Australian Open 2018

Kyle Edmund def. Nikoloz Basilashvili match highlights (3R)

Video

5. No.6 Marin Cilic (CRO) vs. No.10 Pablo Carreno Busta (ESP)
This is a really fun match to watch because of the contrast in styles. Cilic blasts serves and ground strokes at will. Carreno Busta loves a longer rally, full of spin and running and lactic acid. Cilic won their only meeting in Basel in 2016, taking it 6-0 7-6(4). The hot hard courts of Melbourne suit the Croatian perfectly: Cilic has won 47 of 50 service games this week, crushing 56 aces, including three on second serves. Carreno Busta will have to be at his consistent best to win this one.

PREDICTION: Cilic in 3 sets

6. No.1 Rafael Nadal (ESP) vs. No.26 Diego Schwartzman (ARG)
Nadal has defeated Schwartzman three times, not yielding a set. Schwartzman is an extremely athletic baseliner who can run and hit all day long. The only problem is the current world No.1 can do it better. Nadal has hit 53 forehand winners through the first three rounds while committing only 65 forehand errors – that’s actually a great ratio – and has already played two opponents with a similar baseline game in Victor Estrella Burgos and Damir Dzumhur. He only lost eight games combined in six sets. 

PREDICTION: Nadal in 3 sets