Thanks for visiting the Australian Open Website. We can see you’re using Internet Explorer, and wanted to let you know that we will no longer be supporting this browser in future. We’d recommend you download a new browser if you'd like to continue keeping up with all of the latest tennis news!

Day 7 women's preview: Major winners on collision course

  • Gillian Tan

A clash between Grand Slam champions Barbora Krejcikova and Victoria Azarenka headlines women's Day 7 action on Sunday at AO 2022, when 16 starts shrinking to 8 and the top half of the women's draw vie for four quarterfinal berths.

MORE: Day 7 schedule of play

Barbora Krejcikova [4] v Victoria Azarenka [24]

In 2013, a 17-year-old Krejcikova came up short in the Australian Open junior girls' doubles final. That weekend, a 23-year-old Azarenka clinched her second major – and Krejcikova remembers seeing that journey unfold.

MORE: AO 2022 women's singles draw

"I spent a lot of time watching her on TV," said the Czech ahead of Sunday's fourth-round encounter. 

"I remember when I was a junior here and she was playing. I really admire her," she added, admitting that she used the potential Azarenka match-up as motivation in her win over Jelena Ostapenko. 

"I feel really, really honoured that I am going to play with her, on the same court against her. I think it's going to be a great match."

Nine years have passed since 2013, and it's Krejcikova who boasts recent accolades. The Czech won her maiden Grand Slam at Roland Garros last year and at world No. 4, she sits just one place below a career-best. 

Contrastingly, Azarenka – a former world No. 1 – is ranked 25, although she has been formidable this week, dropping just nine games in three matches while spending just three hours and 25 minutes on court. The Belarusian has been broken just once, a fraction of Krejcikova's nine times, and it's a gap that Azarenka, a two-time Australian Open champion, will want to extend. 

The 32-year-old has made some of her best memories on Rod Laver Arena, and outlasted Krejcikova in their sole prior battle at the Ostrava Open in 2020 in three sets. 

"Very dangerous player," said Azarenka on Friday. 

Bring on the explosives. 

Ash Barty [1] v Amanda Anisimova 

The Australian top seed will need to be her best as she takes on the unseeded American, who saved two match points en route to defeating defending champion Naomi Osaka. 

It's a rematch of the 2019 Roland Garros semifinal which Barty won 6-7(4) 6-3 6-3 en route to the title, though both players have matured.

"It's exciting to get to play Amanda again," said the Queenslander, unbroken in her last 58 consecutive service games. 

Anisimova is similarly eager about the match-up. "She's an amazing player, I look up to her a lot. I love her game, she's very consistent," said the 20-year-old of Barty. 

"Another amazing opportunity for me," added the world No. 60, who is striving to reach the final eight in Melbourne Park for the first time. 

Jessica Pegula [21] v Maria Sakkari [5]

The powerful Greek right-hander has a 2-0 win-loss record over her opponent, but the 27-year-old American will be looking to claw one back, especially after holding six match points during the pair's last battle in Miami last March. 

"I know she's going to compete really well … when she's firing on all cylinders she can be really tough," said Pegula, who has been relaxing by playing blackjack in her down time.

Sakkari's Melbourne form will make for a stern test for Pegula

Sakkari, yet to drop a set at AO22, is similarly expecting a challenge. 

"Her groundstrokes are very flat and fast, she has a great rhythm, [and] mentally she's very good," assessed Sakkari. "I'm very looking forward to the match."

Madison Keys v Paula Badosa [8]

Anticipation surrounds this first-time meeting of two of the season's most in-form players. 

Last weekend, Keys picked up the Adelaide International 2 title as Badosa triumphed at the Sydney Tennis Classic, and the two are among the tour's biggest ball-strikers. 

Both Badosa and Keys have been in sparkling touch in 2022

"I know she serves very big, very good forehand, she goes for it … and she likes to play on big stages as well," the Spaniard said of the American, who was a US Open finalist in 2017 and has reached semifinals of every major except Wimbledon. 

"It's going to be tough." 

The 24-year-old is aiming to equal her best major performance, after reaching the final eight at Roland Garros last year.