What to Watch on Wednesday, Day 10 at the Australian Open
ABS-CBN Sports on Jan 26, 2016 09:47 PM
Andy Murray of Britain celebrates after defeating Bernard Tomic of Australia during their fourth round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Monday, Jan. 25, 2016.(AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
DENNIS PASSA, AP Sports Writer
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — The remaining semifinalists will be determined Wednesday at the Australian Open, with Andy Murray hoping to extend his quest for redemption at Melbourne Park and Milos Raonic aiming to continue his strong form which has included wins over No. 3 Roger Federer and No. 4 Stan Wawrinka in the past three weeks.
Murray, whose wife is due to have their first child next month, plays David Ferrer. While Murray has won majors at the U.S. Open and Wimbledon, he has lost all four finals he's contested here.
Raonic, who beat Federer in the Brisbane International final and Wawrinka in the fourth round over the weekend, takes on Gael Monfils in his quarterfinal.
On the women's side, two-time former champion Victoria Azarenka is bidding to continue her strong form — she hasn't dropped a set in four matches and has lost only 11 games — when she plays Angelique Kerber. Azarenka won the Brisbane title.
The other quarterfinal features two players who have never made it this far in a Grand Slam — Johanne Konta, a Sydney-born British player, and qualifier Zhang Shuai, who had lost her first 14 Grand Slam main draw singles matches and seriously considered retiring last year.
Here's a look at the quarterfinal matchups:
MURRAY VS. FERRER: The Scotsman has won 12 of 18 matches against Ferrer, including the last five. He also beat Ferrer on his favorite surface, clay, in four sets at last year's French Open. "It will be a tough match, he's obviously played some great ones here," Murray said. Ferrer is 34 and Murray says that kind of longevity gives other players optimism for how long they can play on tour. "The more players that do that, I think, the more other players look at it and go, 'I can do that as well'. You don't have to retire when you're 31 or when you're 32. As long as you still have the passion and dedication to work hard, and obviously if you can stay injury-free, it's possible."
AZARENKA VS. KERBER: This is a rematch of the Brisbane International final on Jan. 9 which Azarenka won in straight sets. Azarenka also beat the German player in three sets in the third round of the U.S. Open last year and holds a 6-0 record against her. "Overall, she's just consistent," Azarenka says." You have to really go out there and take it from her, because she's not going to give you anything. I'm preparing myself for a very tough match because she's very solid, very consistent, and an amazing fighter."
RAONIC VS. MONFILS: Raonic, who has not dropped a set this tournament, hasn't beaten Monfils in two previous matches, although that was in 2011 and 2013.
Monfils dropped his first set this year in a very acrobatic four-set win over Alexei Kuznetsov in the fourth round. Monfils entertained the Margaret Court Arena crowd with his manic all-over-the-court antics, including a bounding full-stretch dive that resulted in him needing an injury timeout for treatment on his right hand. "He can give you complete ends of the spectrum within one game," Raonic said. Asked to comment on what the craziest thing he'd ever seen Monfils do on court, Raonic said, smiling: "Probably the thing he does next."
KONTA VS. ZHANG: Konta is the first British woman to get this far at the Australian Open since Jo Durie in 1983, while it took Zhang eight years to win her first singles match at a major.
Zhang needed to win three matches in qualifying, so she's on a seven-match winning streak in Melbourne. Konta , who beat Venus Williams in the first round, is Zhang's occasional practice partner. Another player Zhang practiced with before the tournament began — former U.S. Open champion Sam Stosur — was in the crowd to watch her win her fourth-round match against American Madison Keys. Zhang said that since Stosur, who played a lefthander in the first round, needed a practice player, she and her coach hit with the Australian. Stosur lost in the first round.