Australian Open Bottom Half 4th round Preview
Australian Open fourth round, Bottom half, preview,
Roger Federer (3) Vs Stefanos Tsitsipas (14)
Tennis fans and pundits are slow to annoint Stefanos Tsitsipas as Baby Fed after the name seemingly cursed Grigor Dimitrov and Richard Gasquet.
Federer has rarely been given any sleepless nights by his tennis heirs, but Tsitsipas is catching Federer at a better time than his elder brothers did.
Federer is a little more prone to having random bad days now and such days were really piling up after Indian Wells last season.
The Swiss has been having some fine days this Australian Open, though, making the last sixteen without dropping a set.
It’s still not quite safe to anoint him the favorite yet- Denis Istomin, Dan Evans and Taylor Fritz are all good match ups for the 6 time champ and we won’t really know if he is in slam winning form until he comes up against someone who can out-power him or test him at the back of the court.
Tsitsipas is a good match up for Federer, too, and if Federer is in tune, this match should be straightforward.
The two will trade sharp service game filled with shot-making and flair, so even if routine, this match won’t be short on entertainment.
This match does have some potential, however, to be anything but a cruise for Federer into the last eight.
Tsitsipas will make the 3rd seed work for his win, good match up or not, and will give 110% until the very end.
The Greek also has the potential to ask deeper questions about Federer’s overall form than the Swiss’ previous opponents with Tsitsipas capable of exploiting Federer’s at times vulnerable backcourt game, the Greek’s own baseline skills as explosive as Federer’s in his early days.
The 14th seed is primed for a fight, too- he defeated the in form 19th seed Nicolas Basilashvili in four brutal sets in round 3.
He’s also had a taste of what it’s like to play his idol when they met in the Hopman cup so he won’t be too unnerved by their first professional meeting.
This match is the first night match on Rod Laver Arena on Sunday night. Prime time slot for the prime cut of the bottom half last sixteen contests.
Cilic (6) Vs Bautista Agut (22)
Bautista is in as good form as anyone in the draw having won the title in Doha and making his way to the Australian Open fourth round for the fourth time in his career.
The 22nd seed has been involved in some almighty contests, too, having won the first two sets in both his first and second round matches, versus Andy Murray and John Millman, before dropping sets three and four and winning in five.
Round three saw Bautista get something of a rest after he beat Karen Khachanov in straights so he should still have plenty of running left in his legs.
Cilic will be ready for a fight himself after beating Fernando Verdasco in the third round, coming from two sets to love down and match point down in the fourth set tiebreaker.
Bautista Agut has made ten slam fourth rounds now and is looking to break through and make the last eight of a slam for the first time.
Although Bautista Agur trails 1-4 in the head to head, he has beaten Cilic at the Australian Open before, in the 3r in ’16, and if he can capitalize on Cilic’s lapses in a match and not let his own level drop, he could put in his personal best slam performance.
Cilic, one of the top players most prone to Grand Slam upsets, will be on his game in this one, only too aware of the dangers ahead. If he does make it through what is sure to be a tough match, it will bode well for the rest of his tournament for once Cilic clears a couple of tough hurdles in a slam, he becomes the man to to beat for the title.
Frances Tiafoe Vs Grigor Dimtrov (20)
Tiafoe is having his breakthrough slam; Dimitrov is putting his career back together again.
This match puts two talented shot-makers up against one another with a slam quarter-final to play for- Tiafoe’s first; Dimitrov’s first since he made the quarters last year in Melbourne, his best slam.
Their one match was in Canada last season which Dimitrov won on a third set tiebreaker, which bodes well for this last sixteen match up.
Dimitrov has Agassi in his corner, who knows a thing or too about young American shotmakers, and he’ll be offering some sound advice to Dimitrov how to take this match on, and the Bulgarian has shown us before how he is not afraid to go to plan B to get the win, and it’s that experience and dynamic style and approach which could make the difference here.
Tomas Berdych Vs Rafa Nadal (2)
With Berdych reinvigorated and Nadal going untested this slam, the outcome of this match really is hard to predict.
Berdych has beaten Nadal before in Melbourne, in the ’15 quarters, but that was a rare win, the Czech 4-19 in that head to head.
Sped up conditions in Melbourne play into Berdych’s hands, the Czech’s game naturally suited to faster courts and balls. Nadal, nevertheless, is still the more accomplished on hard courts, able to tinker his serve and game style to complement his already aggressive baseline game.
Toss a coin for this one and have a great time waiting to see which side it lands.
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