Finally had time to write some previews and I’ll be previewing the two WTA matches from the day session of Day 7 from the 2019 Australian Open. It’s been a relatively upset-free tournament and it’s shaping up to be a fantastic second week in the first Grand Slam of the year. Read on for previews of Kvitova-Anisimova and Barty-Sharapova…
Australian Open, Fourth Round
1.  Petra Kvitova (No.6) vs Amanda Anisimova (No.87)
Petra Kvitova has been playing absolutely stunning tennis at the Australian Open and is now on an eight-match winning streak after claiming the title in Sydney. All of her matches in Melbourne have been scheduled in the late afternoon or night session and she has capitalised on this scheduling very well, beating former top-25 players in Magdalena Rybarikova, Irina-Camelia Begu and Belinda Bencic. This has been one of Kvitova’s better runs at the Slams in a really long time, and is into the second week of the Australian Open for the first time since 2012.
Kvitova is still in the running to claim the World No.1 accolade for the first time in her career – she needs to reach the semifinals at least pending other results, and she’ll try to keep the dream alive against 17-year-old Amanda Anisimova. It’s absolutely no surprise that Anisimova has made it to the second week of a Slam in the early days of her career because of the sheer talent that she possesses. It’s not surprising that the young crop of players possess a ton of power, but Anisimova is so much different from the majority of them. Beating three very competent players in Melbourne without a loss of a set, Anisimova has shown that she possesses a solid serve, plays with controlled aggression, variety and has a very positive and focused mindset on the court. The young American is set to climb into the world’s top 65 and she definitely has so much more ahead of her.
Head to head: Anisimova won their only match-up back last year at Indian Wells, where she absolutely powered past Kvitova, 6-2 6-4.
Thoughts: There’s no doubt that Anisimova possesses so much talent and she absolutely has it in her to compete with Kvitova in terms of power and depth. This will be the biggest match of Anisimova’s young career, but it doesn’t seem like she’s affected by nerves at all! Grand Slams are totally different from the normal tour though so that could still be a factor for this one…
Kvitova is such a streaky player and she’s been playing so well this week that I feel that there’ll be a dip in form sooner or later. Then again, when Kvitova’s able to slog past the first few rounds, she’s always able to produce her best tennis at the latter rounds, but you just don’t know what to expect from the Czech! I have no idea what’s in store for this one. In the end, going for my first real upset pick this fortnight – the 17-year-old to reach her first Grand Slam quarterfinal in a battling performance.
Final Prediction: Amanda Anisimova d. Petra Kvitova in three sets
2.  Ashleigh Barty (No.15) vs  Maria Sharapova (No.30)
Ashleigh Barty is up to seven wins in 2019 (excluding Hopman Cup) and it seems like she’s the only female Australian player that is confident and capable of playing in front of her home crowd! Barty hasn’t dropped a set enroute to the second week but hasn’t played any players in the top 40 so it’s a pretty kind draw for her thus far. Barty has played tons of tennis this season and it seems like it has taken a toil on the Australian, who withdrew from doubles action with Victoria Azarenka due to an abdominal injury. No idea if it was just a precautionary withdrawal or if it’s anything serious so it’ll be interesting to keep an eye on Barty’s movement in the match.
Maria Sharapova looks slightly closer to her best level after a very disappointing start to the season, where she retired in Shenzhen in the quarters due to injuries. However, she seems fully fit and healthy during the course of three match wins in Melbourne and is definitely playing her best tennis in a long, long while. Sharapova secured her best win by ranking since the 2017 US Open over defending champion and World No.3 Caroline Wozniacki and is now into the second week of the Australian Open for the 11th time in her career!!
Head to head: Sharapova won their only previous encounter back in Rome last year, where she triumphed in three gruelling sets.
Thoughts: Before today I was definitely going to predict Barty for the win – she definitely has the weaponry to cause tons of problems to Sharapova, especially if the Russian is not having a good day. However after the withdrawal from doubles, I’m getting a bit confused with this one. Her movement will need to be great to be able to absorb and defend Sharapova’s heavy strikes, and if it is lacking, the five-time Grand Slam champion is definitely able to capitalise on it. Barty’s also not the most clutch player in the crucial points of a match and this one is definitely going to be one of the biggest matches of her career, especially in front of her home crowd. Ultimately, I’m going to back Sharapova’s sheer grit and fight to edge through the match in a battle.
Final Prediction: Maria Sharapova d. Ashleigh Barty in three sets
Thanks for reading! Please check out my Australian Open predictions here or at the top of the page!