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3 matches to look forward to on Day 8 of the Australian Open

Jai Prakash
SENIOR ANALYST
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3.25K   //    25 Jan 2015, 20:15 IST

After an entertaining Day 7 that saw No. 3 seed Rafael Nadal, Brit Andy Murray, Australian sensation Nick Kyrgios and Tomas Berdych advance to the quarterfinals, the men in the top half of the draw will look to do the same in their fourth round matches on Day 8 of the Australian Open.

Maria Sharapova, Simona Halep, Eugenie Bouchard, Ekaterina Makarova also booked their spots in the last eight yesterday, while Serena Williams and Co will try and replicate that feat today.

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and defending champion Stanislas Wawrinka will be in action, and things have truly started hotting up in Melbourne.

Reminder: You can watch all the action live on Sony Liv Sports here.

Here are three matches that you shouldn’t miss on Day 8 of the competition:

1. Dominika Cibulkova vs Victoria Azarenka

This match kicks things off at the Rod Laver Arena. Cibulkova has been in fine form in the tournament, having beaten the likes of Kirsten Flipkens, Tsvetana Pironkova and Alize Cornet en route to the fourth round. The 2014 finalist will look to derail the two-time champion’s journey as she tries to cement her place in the last eight.

Azarenka came into the tournament unseeded, but she has produced outstanding tennis to take care of Sloane Stephens, No. 8 seed Caroline Wozniacki and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova in straight sets thus far. 

This will likely be a see-saw contest with a lot of high-speed rallies from the baseline. It is the Belarussian Azarenka who leads their head to head 7-3.

Match time: 5:30 am IST.

2. Serena Williams vs Garbine Muguruza

The No. 1 seed will be in action against her French Open slayer Garbine Muguruza in the fourth round.

Serena never looked like challenging the young Spaniard in their Paris encounter last year, but things could be very different in this match. The younger Williams likes to dictate points from the back of the court with her ferocious forehand, and her backhand passing shot is one of the best in the game, so Muguruza will have to once again up the ante if she wants to defeat Serena.

The Spaniard will be well aware of the weaknesses of the American and will try her best to exploit them. The 21-year year old is coming off two three-set matches, while Serena dropped her first set of the tournament against Elina Svitolina in the third round.

Serena’s only win against Muguruza came here in the second round two years ago. This match has all the ingredients to be a cracker, and it will be especially ineresting to see how Serena plays when she has revenge on her mind.

Match time: Around 7 am IST.

3. Kei Nishikori vs David Ferrer

In another exciting match on Rod Laver Arena, the No. 5 seed Kei Nishikori will look to continue his good run of form against the Spanish No. 2 David Ferrer. Ferrer has reached the fourth round with four-set wins in all his three matches so far. The Japanese No. 1 on his part has not had an easy road either, as he came back from a set down in his last two encounters.

Nishikori has been serving well throughout the tournament and will look to do the same against the Spaniard. Ferrer, on the other hand, will try to extend the rallies to get more control on the points as the match progresses. You can expect to see a lot of gruelling rallies and entertaining tennis from this match-up.

Nishikori leads their rivalry 6-3.

Match time: Not before 8:30 am IST.

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Jai Prakash
SENIOR ANALYST
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