Australian Open 2021: Order of play Day 9 - how Tuesday's quarter finals will shape up
There are four heavyweight matches scheduled for Rod Laver Arena on Tuesday with everyone left in the tournament just three wins from glory. Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams, Grigor Dimitrov, Simona Halep, Sascha Zverev and Naomi Osaka will all be in action as we get to the business end of the first Grand Slam of the year.
Tuesday will see the quarter finals in both the men’s and women’s singles get under way at the 2021 Australian Open with a number of compelling matches scheduled for play.
Now at the business end of the first Grand Slam of the year, everyone still involved will have their sights set on going all the way at Melbourne Park. It only takes three more wins to be crowned champion from this point!
Here is some more information on each of the four quarter finals to be played at Rod Laver Arena on Tuesday.
She has been the surprise package in the women’s singles and now Hsieh Su-wei will have the chance to make the semi finals of a Grand Slam for the first time in her career. The 35-year-old, who is predominantly a doubles player, has never been this far in a major in the singles before. This is new territory for her.
Highlights: Osaka back from the brink to reach quarter-finals
The same, however, cannot be said of 2019 Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka. The third seed has played some exceptional tennis over the last week or so, with the 23-year-old untouchable on serve until the fourth round against Garbine Muguruza when she had to fight back from behind to win.
Hsieh is the oldest player to ever make her maiden appearance in a Slam quarter final and her often unorthodox shot selection could make this an awkward encounter for Osaka. If the veteran from Chinese Taipei can draw her opponent to the net, where Osaka hasn’t been all that comfortable recently, this could be a real contest.
Grigor Dimitrov (18) v Aslan Karatsev (Q)
Many focused on the fading physicality of Dominic Thiem to explain Grigor Dimitrov’s straight sets victory over the US Open champion in the fourth round, but the Bulgarian also deserves credit for the standard of tennis he is currently playing. He has earned his place in the final eight.
Thiem 'out of gas', Dimitrov 'took full advantage' - Henman
Indeed, Dimitrov hit 25 winners and made just 18 unforced errors in his 6-4, 6-4, 6-0 win over Thiem. The 29-year-old made it as far as the semi finals of the Australian Open back in 2017 and this is his best opportunity since then to repeat that achievement.
On the other side of the net will be qualifier Aslan Karatsev who pulled off a shock five sets win over Felix Auger-Aliassime in the last round to make it this far. The world number 114 also shocked Diego Schwartzman in the round before that. There can be no room for complacency from Dimitrov here.
Serena Williams (10) v Simona Halep (2)
This will be a true heavyweight clash. Serena Williams needs just one more Grand Slam title to equal Margaret Court’s all time record. However, the 39-year-old has been on this mission for a while now and with every passing major she doesn’t win the doubt grows over whether she will ever do it.
'No chocolate for me tonight, this means a lot' - Halep on win over Swiatek
Williams has played some excellent tennis over the past week or so with her battling fourth round win over Aryna Sabalenka a sign of where the American is with her game at the moment. With the courts a little faster at Melbourne Park this year, the conditions appear to be suited to Williams’s qualities.
Simona Halep had to dig deep to get the better of Iga Swiatek in the fourth round, coming from a set down to beat the Roland Garros champion. Williams will look to be the aggressor in this match-up, but the number two seed’s court coverage could prove to be a big factor.
Novak Djokovic (1) v Sascha Zverev (6)
Concerns over Novak Djokovic’s fitness and the abdominal injury he sustained in the third round against Taylor Fritz were not realised in the Serbian’s four sets win over Milos Raonic in the fourth round, although some grimaces and a wobble in the second set hinted that not all is well in the world number one’s world at the moment.
'I would retire if it was any other tournament but a Grand Slam' - Djokovic
Sascha Zverev will fancy his chances of exposing the vulnerabilities in Djokovic’s physicality. The number six seed has won 12 sets in a row since losing the first set he played in the tournament in the first round and looks to be improving as he moves through each round. That is ominous for Djokovic.
Against Raonic, Djokovic was able to contort and twist his aching body when returning the Canadian’s booming serves. Zverev is another big server, but he carries his power into the rallies too. The German is a far better all-round player than Raonic. This will be a true test of where Djokovic is right now.
Order of play, singles - Tuesday 16 February
Rod Laver Arena
Day session - 01:30 UK time
Hsieh Su-wei (Taiwan) v 3-Naomi Osaka (Japan)
Not before 04:00 UK time
18-Grigor Dimitrov (Bulgaria) v Aslan Karatsev (Russia)
From 08:00 UK time
10-Serena Williams (U.S.) v 2-Simona Halep (Romania)
1-Novak Djokovic (Serbia) v 6-Alexander Zverev (Germany)