The women’s matches on Monday are shaping up to be pretty spectacular; however Sunday’s matches are not particularly enticing on paper. A few people have left comments about their lack of interest in the bottom half and to be honest, i’m feeling it a little too. The quarters could be interesting though.
Fantasy Tennis Updates: adamwells tops the Moo’s Tennis Blog league in Racquet Rally with tenniz-fan in 2nd place and mootennis following closely behind in 3rd place (woo!). In the TFF DreamTeam game, Grand Slammers is still in the lead. I’ve had an absolute mare…
1. Ekaterina Makarova v Julia Goerges (AO, R4)
In a match that i’d circled when the draw came out, Ekaterina Makarova emerged as the winner against the in-form, Karolina Pliskova. In a tight two setter, Makarova secured her second win over Pliskova, 6-4 6-4. Makarova is a tough cookie to break down at the Australian Open. This is her fifth consecutive appearance in the second week of the Australian Open… once again, I feel validated in calling her the Bourne-GOAT. Pre-tournament, Makarova would have expected to play Ana Ivanovic in the fourth round. However, thanks to the string of upsets in this section, Makarova will play Julia Goerges. Like Makarova, this is a happy hunting ground for Goerges. This is the third time that Goerges has reached the fourth round of a Grand Slam and they have all come in Melbourne.
It’s great to see the German player finding some form. Her high-risk game is awesome to watch when she’s on song (Stuttgart 2011), but for the last two years, she’s been mostly mediocre. It’s painful to see her at number 74 in the rankings. I’m not sure whether this is a turning point, but Goerges did enjoy two straight set wins in Auckland before losing to Caroline Wozniacki (no shame)… these are definitely good signs for Goerges fans, of which there are many. She seems like a lovely person and always gives nice handshakes (this is important to me haha).
This will be a first career match-up between Makarova and Goerges. I noticed that Makarova had strapping on her thigh… I don’t know if this was just precautionary. Anyway, i’m a little fencey with this match, but Makarova’s experience at this level is the only thing that separates the pair for me.
Prediction: Makarova d. Goerges in 3 sets
2. Simona Halep v Yanina Wickmayer (AO, R4)
There have been been upsets aplenty in the women’s draw; although this has produced less notable match-ups, it has been great to see how much this means to some of the players who won through on Friday. The best reaction of the day was from Yanina Wickmayer, who looked positively elated at reaching the fourth round of the Australian Open, the first time she has reached the second week of a Grand Slam since 2011. Wickmayer came from a set down to beat Sara Errani, 4-6 6-4 6-3. The pair played a fiercely competitive match in Cincy last year, which Errani won in a third set tiebreak. This time round, Wickmayer served it out to set up a fourth round encounter with Simona Halep.
Halep has looked vastly improved from her first round match, but did have a major wobble in her third round match with Bethanie Mattek-Sands. Up 6-4 5-1, Halep lost four straight games before finally putting away Mattek-Sands in straight sets. In a surprising head-to-head, Wickmayer has won all three previous matches against Halep. The most recent of those matches was in 2012 in Hobart when Wickmayer won, 6-4 6-0. Since 2012, a lot has changed in both players’s careers. I love Wickmayer’s tenacity and she’ll fancy her chances against Halep. Once again, i’d take the higher ranked player as Halep’s consistency will be tough to break down.
Prediction: Halep d. Wickmayer in 2 sets (1 tight, 1 easy)