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Australian Open QF Day 1: Preview
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Women's Quarterfinal 1
Justine Henin vs. Nadia Petrova
Henin leads series 12-2
Last Meetins, 2010 Brisbane International R32
Henin won 7-5, 7-5
Justine Henin has dominated almost all the meetings with the Russian but the real question is whether she can do that all over again at such a Grand stage or not. All equations change at a slam level and the same holds true for Petrova, who has otherwise been a very strong player, beating the likes of Serena Williams last year. Henin started the campaign here in Melbourne with some delightful wins including her classic tussle with Elena Dementieva. She survived her first scare in the form of Alisa Kleybanova, and successfully fended off the challenge of compatriot Yanina Wickmayer in three gruelling sets. Petrova, on the other hand, took out WTA superstars like Kim Clijsters and Svetlana Kuznetsova to reach the quarterfinals. All in all, the match is bound to produce swashbuckling tennis, given the current form of these players.
TennisEarth'c Pick - Justine Henin in two tough sets.
Women's Quarterfinal 2
Jie Zheng vs. Maria Kirilenko
Zheng leads series 4-1
Last Meeting, 2010 Brisbane International R32
Zheng won 6-4, 6-4
Both Jie Zheng and Maria Kirilenko enter the last eight of the Australian Open as surprise quarterfinalists. Where Zheng took out some of the most consistent players in the circuit including Marion Bartoli, Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez and Alona Bondarenko, Kirilenko started her dream run with a three hour plus marathon win over comptriot and former champion Maria Sharapova. It will be difficult to say who had a tougher run to the quarters of the event but one thing is for sure, it will be a milestone achievement for either one of them to reach the semifinals.
TennisEarth's Pick - Jie-Zheng in straight sets.
Men's Quarterfinal 1
Andy Roddick vs. Marin Cilic
Series tied at 1-1
Last Meeting - ATP Masters Series Canada R16
Cilic won 6-4, 4-6, 6-4
Young Croat Marin Cilic became one of the most consistent players of the 2009 season when he won two titles and registered wins over some of the biggest players including Andy Murray to reach his first ever Grand Slam quarterfinal at U.S. Open. With a win over Juan Martin Del Potro in the fourth round, Cilic is sure to enter the match as a threat to American Andy Roddick, who reached the semifinal last year. The former World No.1 started his title bid here in Melbourne with two strong wins over Thiemo De Bakker and Thomaz Bellucci and survived real scares in the form of Spaniard Feliciano Lopez and Chilean Fernando Gonzalez. Only time will tell whether Roddick will be able to make another Grand Slam final or not, but this one is sure to be remembered as one of the best matches of the 2010 Australian Open.
TennisEarth's Pick - Marin Cilic in five sets.
Men's Quarterfinal 2
Andy Murray vs. Rafael Nadal
Nadal leads series 7-2
Last Meeting - ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Monte Carlo SF
Nadal won 6-2, 7-6(4)
This is a match-up everyone has been eagerly waiting for. Yes we are talking about the Nadal-Murray QF clash which is easily the most anticipated match of the year's first Grand Slam. Scot Andy Murray is in phenomenal form and is seen by many as the possible champion. Nadal, on the other hand has been less-than-perfect so far. Murray started his quest for maiden Grand Slam title with confident wins over players like Kevin Anderson and Marc Gicquel in straight sets. He strengthened his standing at the Open with a solid win over Florent Serra and reached the quarterfinal with a straight sets demolition of an in-form John Isner. Unlike Murray, Nadal's road to quarterfinal was paved with hurdles with a tough opener in the form of Peter Luczak, followed by a seemingly easy win over Lukas Lacko. Nadal then survived his first four set tussle with Philipp Kohlschreiber and made the quarterfinals with a hard-fought win over Croatian Giant Ivo Karlovic. As far as the on-court dominance in concerned, Murray has had an easier entry into the last eight, but that's OK, 'Rafa' knows his strengths.
TennisEarth's Pick - Andy Murray in four sets.
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