Jessica Pegula in the fourth round of the 2023 Australian Open, Melbourne
Jessica Pegula in the fourth round of the 2023 Australian Open, Melbourne | (Photo by Robert Prange/Getty Images)

Tennis | Australian Open 2023 | Jessica Pegula and Stefanos Tsitsipas look to continue Grand Slam dream on quarter-finals day

By Tony Fairbairn

  • Jessica Pegula [3] v Victoria Azarenka [24]
  • Stefanos Tsitsipas [3] v Jiri Lehecka
  • Jelena Ostapenko [17] v Elena Rybakina [22]
  • Karen Khachanov [18] v Sebastian Korda [29]
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – Third seeds Jessica Pegula and Stefanos Tsitsipas are looking to continue their Grand Slam dream and take advantage of a favourable draw on quarter-finals day at the Australian Open.

 

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Jessica Pegula [3] v Victoria Azarenka [24]  H2H & Match Fundamentals

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Jessica Pegula [3] v Victoria Azarenka [24] H2H: Tied at 2-2
Australian Open Melbourne, Australia
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Jessica Pegula’s march to a first Grand Slam title continues after a tough opening set against Barbora Krejcikova before prevailing in straight sets. The American is now the highest seed left in the tournament and will fancy her chances of winning a first Grand Slam title in Melbourne. However despite the American’s consistency over the last year, it’s about if he can do when it matters most and in her last two appearances in the Australian Open quarter-finals Pegula hasn’t been able to get over the finishing line. Can Pegula make it third time lucky in 2023?

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If Pegula wants to make it third time the charm then she will have to beat former champion Victoria Azarenka. The Belarusian has come through the draw in impressive fashion but had to overcome a three set battle against Lin Zhu to reach the last eight. Azarenka has made out of career out of hard work and perseverance with that continuing in the latter stages of her career as she is into her first Australian Open quarter-final for seven years. Now Azarenka looks to take her power game and win her first Grand Slam title since 2013.

Azarenka will look to dominate most of the match from the baseline and use her serve to set up quick and easy patterns of play. While Pegula will look to neutralise the power from Azarenka with her counter-attacking qualities, creating space to hit efficient winners. Night time conditions should help the American’s game in this one and she has the slight advantage given her consistency and confidence right now but this one could go the distance given the Belarusian’s performances this week.

Prediction: Pegula in three sets.

 

Stefanos Tsitsipas [3] v Jiri Lehecka  H2H & Match Fundamentals

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Stefanos Tsitsipas [3] v Jiri Lehecka H2H: Tsitsipas leads 1-0
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A five set thriller for Stefanos Tsitsipas over Jannik Sinner means that the third seed’s goal of winning a Grand Slam title remains intact. Tsitsipas may never have a better chance to win a Grand Slam title then this week in Melbourne given his draw as he looks for a dream final with a hampered Novak Djokovic. The third seed has two matches to win before he can think about the final as he looks to reach his fourth Australian Open semi-final in the last five years.

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The first of those matches is against big serving Czech Republican Jiri Lehecka who has an Australian Open to remember so far. Lehecka has so far knocked out three seeds on his way to the quarter-finals with Borna Coric, Cameron Norrie and Felix Auger-Aliassime all biting the dust. The 21 year-old has an aggressive game and isn’t afraid to play the war of attrition as proven in his last two matches. Now with nothing to lose, Lehecka is looking to spring another surprise and reach his first Grand Slam semi-final.

Lehecka will look to cause Tsitsipas problems with his first serve and set up effective winners through his forehand. The third seed will need to serve much better in this match if he wants to have a chance of winning this match as Lehecka is more than capable of punishing him on return. This will be a tough match for Tsitsipas but his experience should get him through a tough contest that is expected to go all the way.

Prediction: Tsitsipas in five sets.

 

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Jelena Ostapenko [17] v Elena Rybakina [22]  H2H & Match Fundamentals

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Jelena Ostapenko [17] v Elena Rybakina [22] H2H: Ostapenko leads 2-0
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After winning Roland Garros six years ago, Jelena Ostapenko has often struggled to back up her success and become a Grand Slam contender. However this year may be the year that changes as the Latvian has confidently bruised her way into the last eight, dispatching talented American Coco Gauff in the last round. A counter-attacking power game and an ability to break down any player’s game, Ostapenko will fancy her chances at making another deep run at a Grand Slam.

Next for Ostapenko is fellow big-hitter and Grand Slam champion Elena Rybakina after the Kazakh produced a flawless performance to defeat world number one Iga Swiatek. Seemingly unfazed by any opponent or court, Rybakina has powered her way to the last eight and if her Wimbledon run showed anything it’s that being the underdog suits her personality and game. Now Rybakina will look to continue to hit freely and rise to a second Grand Slam title.

This is a match that will see power meet more power as the angles of Ostapenko will meet the depth and consistency of Rybakina. This will be an interesting match-up that suits the Latvian more but Rybakina has a looked a dangerous threat over the last week and her slightly more controlled tennis may edge her through this match. Whatever happens the big loser is the tennis balls, that’s for sure.

Prediction: Rybakina in three sets.

 

Karen Khachanov [18] v Sebastian Korda [29] H2H & Match Fundamentals

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Karen Khachanov [18] v Sebastian Korda [29] H2H: Korda leads 2-1
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The US Open semi-finals have given Karen Khachanov a real boost and self-belief that he can achieve greater things as the Russian has been all business at this year’s Australian Open. A demolition of Yoshihito Nishioka proved that when Khachanov’s game is on, there aren’t many players in the world that can stop him as he looks to reach a second consecutive Grand Slam semi-final.

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However a tough test awaits Khachanov in the last eight as he faces an in-form Sebastian Korda, who has started the season very impressively. The American backed up his win over Daniil Medvedev with a fifth set tiebreak victory over Hubert Hurkacz as Korda looks to make a deep Grand Slam run in the main event after winning the Juniors event in 2018. Now the American looks to continue the momentum into the latter stages and reach his maiden Grand Slam semi-final.

Khachanov’s power will take on Korda’s athleticism for a place in the last four and Korda will need to serve well if he wants to stay fresh and neutralise the Russian’s power. Khachanov will look to make the points as short as possible and move the American around the baseline. The match-up favours Korda but Khachanov’s recent form suggests that he may be a step too far for the American.

Prediction: Khachanov in four sets.

 

 

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