A+ performance, Anett!— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 27, 2020
Kontaveit advances to her very first Grand Slam quarterfinal, def. Swiatek 6-7(4) 7-5 7-5 in 2 hours & 42 minutes. #AO2020 | #AusOpen pic.twitter.com/7j93RtsBP3
The round of 16 is my favorite round of any major. There are plenty of matches to watch, and all of the players are interesting to watch. The 2020 Australian Open round of 16 is now over, an--though I didn't get to see every match--I saw most of them, and I enjoyed them.
Of all the fourth round matches I saw, the one I found the most riveting was the contest between Anett Kontaveit and Iga Swiatek. Also, this did not surprise me; both are great movers and can deliver laser-like groundstrokes.
Unfortunately, Swiatek sustained a leg injury and her movement became hampered. Like all leg- and thigh-injured players, she tried to compensate by keeping the points short. This tactic can work if you're Serena Williams or Petra Kvitova (on a good day), but, in the end, it failed the young Polish player.
I say "in the end" because Kontaveit, up 5-1 in the third said, served twice for the match and was broken both times. Swiatek was the perfect embodiment of the legendary "dangerous injured player," and just wouldn't give up. In the end, Kontaveit (who has had her own physical problems) prevailed, 6-7, 7-5, 7-5. It was a thrilling match, and both women performed beautifully. It may have been my favorite of all the Melbourne matches I've seen.
There are four players remaining who have won majors: Ash Barty (French Open), Petra Kvitova (Wimbledon), Simona Halep (French Open, Wimbledon), and Garbine Muguruza (French Open, Wimbledon). The last former Australian Open champion standing was 2016 winner Angie Kerber, and she was eliminated in the round of 16 by Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
Historic accomplishment for @Ons_Jabeur who becomes the first Arab woman in a Grand Slam quarter final following her win over Qiang Wang. pic.twitter.com/7BPnxFhrij— Jimmie48 Photography (@JJlovesTennis) January 26, 2020
There are two unseeded players in the quarterfinals--Muguruza (I know--that sounds crazy, but such are the twists and turns of Muguology) and Ons Jabeur, who is the first Arab woman to reach a major quarterfinal. Jabeur is a joy to watch, with her superb shot-making skills. She defeated Wang Qiang, another player who is fun to watch, in the fourth round.
Here is the singles quarterfinals draw:
Ash Barty (1) vs. Petra Kvitova (7)*
Sofia Kenin (14) vs. Ons Jabeur
Anett Kontaveit (28) vs. Simona Halep (4)
Garbine Muguruza vs. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (30)
*In 2019, eventual runner-up Kvitova defeated Barty in straight sets in the quarterfinals.
Meanwhile, in doubles, there has been quite a bit of consistency. The first, second, third, and fourth seeds are still around and will compete in the quarterfinals.
Here is the doubles quarterfinal draw:
Hsieh Su-wei/Barbora Strycova (1) vs. Jennifer Brady/Caroline Dolehide
Barbora Krejcikova/Katerina Siniakova (4) vs. Gabriela Dabrowski/Alona Ostapenko (6)
Chan Hao-Ching/Latisha Chan (7) vs. Elise Mertens/Aryna Sabalenka (3)
Coco Gauff/Caty McNally vs. Timea Babos/Kiki Mladenovic (2)