On Day 9, Tomas Berdych overcame his inner demons, withstood the barrage from Rafael Nadal, and emerged unscathed. It was unexpected, refreshing, and almost uplifting to watch. Day 10 of the Australian Open has some very exciting matches to look forward to. Let’s begin with the one everyone is talking about.
Stan Wawrinka vs Kei Nishikori: Switzerland vs Japan. World number 4 vs World number 5. Couldn’t have asked for anything better. Reigning Aussie open champion Stan Wawrinka faces his toughest test of the Open as he comes up against high flying Kei Nishikori in the 3rd quarterfinal.
Wawrinka has continued his fine form from the Chennai Open while Nishikori has been going about his business in his usual calm and collected manner. A destruction of world number 9 David Ferrer in the 4th round will just add to his confidence. Wawrinka faced a stern test in his 4th round clash against Guillermo Garcia Lopez and will be glad to have gotten through without too much trouble. Wawrinka leads their head to head 2-1 but Nishikori did win their last meeting in the 2014 US Open quarterfinal in an epic 5 set encounter.
Both players will fancy their chances going into this match. Interestingly enough both players possess similar games. They are both incredible base line players and possess the ability to attack from either wing. Wawrinka has undoubtedly the bigger backhand and serve, but where Kei makes up is in his movement; and his forehand has got to be one of the best in the game today.
Whichever way this goes, fans are in for a thriller. So cancel all plans and plant yourself on the couch and just enjoy the action. This match will be the final match of the morning session on Rod Laver Arena.
Novak Djokovic vs Milos Raonic: The djoker takes on the avatar. Novak has never lost to Raonic; in fact, in 4 meetings he has just lost the 1 set. But Raonic is in the form of his life and thumping down serves like there is no tomorrow. He has already served 99 aces in just 4 rounds in this tournament and is set for a few more.
Novak has as usual progressed through the stages without dropping a set. He was tested slightly by the unnerving game of Gilles Muller but this should be a completely different level. 4 tie breaks have been contested between the 2 with Nole taking 3 of them. Expect a couple more tomorrow.. The keys for Raonic would be to just go all out. Be aggressive from the get go and hope Novak has an off day, which doesn’t happen too often. This match will be the first of the night session on RLA.
Madison Keys vs Venus Williams: The real Venus Williams seems to be back finally. After suffering from injury after injury and being diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome, she is now beginning to show glimpses of the form that won her 7 Grand Slam titles. She played really well against Agnieszka Radwanska barring a couple of games in the second set and she looks hungry for success.
This will be her first Grand Slam quarter final since 2010 . This will be the couple’s second meeting with Venus having won their only other meeting in straight sets. Keys though is on the back of fantastic wins over Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and unseeded compatriot Madison Brengle. She too is in some fine form and this could be one of the matches of the tournament. Upset on the cards maybe?
Serena Williams vs Dominika Cibulkova: Serena Williams recently joked that getting to the 4th round would be an impressive achievement at her age. Jokes aside though, Serena seems to be on a mission. Reaching just one Slam quarterfinal in 2014 has hit her hard and she seems to have regained her focus. She is striking the ball well and seems to be peaking at the right moment.
Cibulkova has never beaten Serena but this would be a perfect time to change that record. Tough victories against Alize Cornet and then Victoria Azarenka should be the perfect preparation for what is to come. Go big or go home has always been her policy, but can she sustain it against the world number 1? We will just gave to wait and see.
Other matches include the mixed doubles quarterfinals where Leander Paes/Martina Hingis take on Alexander Peya/Andrea Hlavackova and men’s doubles quartefinals where Pablo Cuevas/David Marrero take on Simone Bolelli/Fabio Fognini.