Day 7 winners move on the quarters and the caliber of play will reflect all the skills needed to reach the Round of 16.
The tour could benefit from a healthy and match ready Andy Murray and thus far he looks the part. Against Joao Sousa in the third round, Murray was a strong +10 and looked like a top four player once again. The Scotsmen has yet to lose a set at Melbourne, a feat that is in jeopardy against rugged Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov who came from down 2 sets to 1 to defeat Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis in round 3. Both these players reached the quarters here last year. Murray is getting the betting action but if you saw Dimitrov in the last two sets against Marcos, you know Andy has his hands full. Murray gets the edge because of his outstanding return game and reliable serve. Grigor had 8 doubles against 7 aces in his last match and that will not work against a hot top tier player.
Bernard Tomic will have a wildly enthusiastic crowd behind him in this pairing. The bad news is, he’ll need it. The unflappable Berdych has looked every bit the seven seed, racking up 20 aces against zero doubles in his straight set win over Viktor Troicki in Round 3. His winners (55) to unforced errors (19) was an astonishing +36! Berdych has made it look easy to date, winning every set and Tomic does not have the power to unnerve this veteran. Were it not for the home field advantage, the odds would be longer. Tomic has gone 4 sets twice and had 40 unforced errors against Philipp Kohlschreiber in Round 2. Take the favored Berdych in this one and enjoy the win!
10th seeded, 26-year old Russian gunslinger Ekaterina Makarova has had an impressive run in Melbourne. With three straight set wins, she arrives in the round of 16 with fresh legs and her power game intact. German Julia Goerges has been good to us but did drop a loosely played set against veteran Czech Klara Koukalova and has a history of tight play in big matches. The wakeup call will ring on the first point against the powerful Russian. We look for $6 million winner Makarova to assert her big game early and wear down Julia. But, this will be a tight one, pitting two seasoned veterans against each other. Both players were +1 in winners/unforced errors in the previous round but the Russian only lost serve once. With a better track record in majors and her big serve, the table is set for Ekaterina to move to the quarters.
Our two time winner, Belgian Yanina Wickmayer has started the season well, knocking off tireless fireplug and 14th seed Sara Errani in the third round. All Yanina’s wins have been three sets and she has played her best tennis in the third set but her 52 unforced errors pushes the envelope a little too hard. As irrepressible as Errani is, Halep is more unforgiving. With a +4 ratio and only 25 unforced errors in a tough two set win against hard-playing Bethanie Mattek-Sands, our pick to win the women’s draw has yet to drop a set. Young and fleet afoot, the Romanian will outdistance Yanina and move on.