Australian Open day nine preview: quarter-finals get underway with mammoth clashes

The Australian Open singles quarter-finals get underway on Shrove Tuesday, with some mouth-watering fixtures in store.

Defending champion Novak Djokovic faces his biggest challenge of the tournament so far as he takes on sixth seed Alexander Zverev.

Djokovic has won the last four meetings between the two and will be confident of progressing to the semi-finals where the winner of the match between Grigor Dimitrov and Aslan Karatsev awaits.

The pair face off earlier in the day, with Dimitrov the strong favourite, after the Bulgarian 18th seed upset Dominic Thiem in straight sets.

In the women’s quarter-finals, Serena Williams’ dream of achieving a record eighth Australian Open title faces a major stumbling block, in the form of world number two Simona Halep.

Halep toppled French Open winner Iga Swiatek in the fourth round after coming from a set down, while Williams had a difficult task of her own, seeing off seventh seed Aryna Sabalenka in a tightly fought three-set match.

Tuesday marks the first time Williams and Halep have played since their Wimbledon final clash in 2019, where Halep won in straight sets.

In the other quarter-final third seed Naomi Osaka, fresh from seeing off last year’s finalist, Garbine Muguruza, clashes with veteran Su-wei Hsieh for a place in the semi-finals.

Elsewhere there are a number of Brits in action, many of whom will be hoping to finish the day with a trophy lift.

In the men’s wheelchair doubles number one ranked pair Alfie Hewitt and Gordon Reid look to claim back-to-back Australian Open titles when they face French pair Stephane Houdet and Nicolas Peifer in the final.

In the women’s wheelchair doubles final Lucy Shuker partners with South African Kgothatso Montjane to take on her former teammate Dutchwoman Diede de Groot, who partners compatriot Aniek van Koot.

In yet another final, Andy Lapthorne partners with American David Wagner against home court favourites and world number one pair Dylan Alcott and Heath Davidson in the quad wheelchair final.

Elsewhere, Joe Salisbury and Neal Skupski team up with their respective partners as the second round of the mixed doubles continues.

You can check out the rest of SWL’s Australian Open coverage here.

Featured image: Edwin Martinez via Wikimedia Commons

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