Tuesday at the 2014 Australian Open features two men’s quarterfinals and two women’s quarterfinals:
(4) Na Li (CHN) vs. (28) Flavia Pennetta (ITA)
The plucky Pennetta will look to be a scampering thorn in Li’s side during the quarterfinal, but she will respectively need a little help, utilizing her off-speed game to hopefully frustrate the powerful Chinese. While Li has the power advantage, it was the Italian who won their last meeting at 2010 Sydney on hardcourt in straight sets. While they’ve only met four times in their career (2-2 head to head), it has been roughly 14 years since they first faced each other when Li won the encounter easily — on clay. In their fifth meeting the world No. 4-ranked Li will have the edge, but look for the crafty veteran Pennetta to probe every potential weakness.
(14) Ana Ivanovic (SRB) vs. (30) Eugenie Bouchard (CAN)
Ivanovic seems to have turned back the clock to her former No. 1 days, as evident by the confident way she took after the ball in dismissing world No. 1 Serena Williams. The young Canadian Bouchard is similarly on top of her game, first time seeded at a Grand Slam, and first time in a Grand Slam quarterfinal. Something’s got to give, and the steady Bouchard will be the underdog against the Serb’s newfound baseline confidence. Bouchard by contrast leads the career head-to-head 1-0, winning last year at Wimbledon in straight sets over a pre-re-energized Ivanovic.
(7) Tomas Berdych (CZE) vs. (3) David Ferrer (ESP)
It’s always been a tight contest between the battering Czech and the retrieving Spaniard, but retrieving has the edge in this match-up, with Ferrer leading the career head-to-head 7-4. Berdych won their last meeting when Ferrer was drained from a long season a couple months ago at the ATP year-end championships. Prior to that Ferrer had won four of their five previous hardcourt meetings. No surprises here as the Czech will need to win a high percentage of first serve points, and the Spaniard will not be in the mood to give any ground.
(8) Stan Wawrinka (SUI) vs. (2) Novak Djokovic (SRB)
The mouthwater match-up fans have been waiting for. The 15-2 career head-to-head bears little relevance for fans who remember the two titanic meetings between the Serb and Swiss in 2013: the Australian Open one year ago when Djokovic prevailed 12-10 in the final set, and the US Open where the Serb needed to come back from 1-2 sets down to win 6-4 in the fifth. Is Version 2014 of Stan strong enough, both physically and mentally, to this time not only challenge the Serb, but now close the door?
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