Fourth round action begins on Sunday at the 2016 Australian Open with the top half of the women’s draw battling it out for quarter-final berths. For a full preview of the match at the top of the drawsheet between Serena Williams and Margarita Gasparyan, click HERE. This post covers one of the fourth round matches from the second quarter. Note there won’t be a preview for the other match between Daria Gavrilova against Carla Suárez Navarro… I ran out of time but i’d fancy Dasha’s intensity to help her to a three set victory.
It feels a long time since the WTA Germans had a decent Grand Slam tournament in singles… this week has demonstrated their strength in depth with the likes of Anna-Lena Friedsam, Laura Siegemund and Annika Beck joining Angelique Kerber in reaching the third round. Friedsam booked her place in the last 16 with a stunning, 0-6 6-4 6-4 victory over the US Open finalist, Roberta Vinci. Friedsam was struggling with a shoulder injury in the third set but played a really super final two sets. The German player has sealed some impressive results since being stretchered off the court in Bad Gastein last year with an ankle injury. She reached the final in Linz at the end of 2015 and started the year with a semi-final appearance in Shenzhen. While she can be a little shaky with her nerves, Friedsam closed out the match against Vinci with a commanding love hold.
Radwanska’s not been at her best this week but she is yet to drop a set in Melbourne… that’s all you can ask for! Radwanska defeated Eugenie Bouchard, 6-4 6-2, in the most hotly anticipated second round match of the tournament. She came back from a break down in the first set against Monica Puig on Friday to advance to the second week of the Australian Open for the sixth consecutive year. The match turned midway in the first set with Puig serving at *4-3 30-30 when she ballooned a smash long. Radwanska closed out the set with some neat play and never looked back from then, dropping just one point on her serve and committing two unforced errors in the second set.
Head-to-head record: The pair played their first match in Shenzhen earlier this year where Radwanska won, 6-2 6-4.
Interesting stat: Radwanska is currently on an 11-match winning streak, stretching back to Round Robin play at the WTA Finals in Singapore and through a title run in Shenzhen.
Analysis: This will be a tough one for Anna-Lena… she took a medical time-out midway through the third set against Vinci. Radwanska also seemed to be struggling with a foot/leg injury in her match aganst Puig. Aga’s consistency and craft from the baseline, coupled with her overwhelmingly superior experience at this stage of Slams will be very challenging for Friedsam to contend with.
Prediction: Radwanska d. Friedsam in 2 sets