Australian Open 2019, Quarter Final: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs Danielle Collins, Preview and Prediction
When the draw was announced for women’s singles matches at this year’s Australian Open, a potential quarter-final match was supposed to be a mouth-watering clash between two-time grand slam champion Angelique Kerber and former US Open Champion Sloane Stephens. But they both succumbed to the giant-killing spree of two gifted players, Danielle Collins and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, respectively.
Though there may be some disappointment for the fans who were looking forward to the Kerber-Stephens clash, on the evidence of the quality of tennis produced by those who vanquished them in the previous round, it is safe to bet on a very high-quality match in store. Both Collins and Pavlyuchenkova have produced some of the best tennis of their career in this tournament, especially the former for whom reaching quarter-final stage itself is unchartered territory.
But the way she has played in the previous four rounds, especially in the last two rounds against much higher ranked opponents, points at a supremely confident player at the height of her power. When she steam-rolled nineteenth seed Caroline Garcia in straight sets, one did not anticipate that she would do one better against the world number two Angelique Kerber in the next round.
The way Collins made Kerber look like an amateur beggared disbelief. She bagelled the German in the first set and gave away only two games in the second. Her giant-killing spree in this tournament is matched by her quarterfinal opponent, world number 42 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
Like Collins, Pavlyuchenkova has made a surprise run to the quarter-final stage. She has been a former world number 13, but in recent times, she has tended to hover in the thirties and forties, when it comes to her world ranking.
But in this tournament, she has played like a top fifteen player. She has rarely been a big server, but she has just about managed to hold on to her serves and extricate herself from tight situations, especially against the two seeded players that she has defeated on her surprise run to the quarter-final stage.
Against both the ninth seed Kiki Bertens and fifth seed Sloane Stephens, she came back from a set down to script thrilling come from behind victories. Her victory against Stephens especially should fill her with a lot of confidence as she weathered the early storm from the ferocious forehands of Stephens and then showcased her own array of strokes.
For both Collins and Pavlyuchenkova, history beckons. Neither would give an inch. Eventually, it may come down to who holds her nerves better in tight situations. It has all the makings of an extremely close encounter.
Prediction: Danielle Collins to win in 3 SetsPublished 21 Jan 2019, 17:58 IST