As the Australian Open hits its second week and the draws start to winnow down for the men and women, one can’t help but ask: What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?

Though the top-seeded pairings of Barbora Strycova/Hsieh Su-Wei and Juan Sebastian Cabal/Robert Farah are long gone, the quarterfinals promise some finals-worthy matchups.

With Strycova and Hsieh’s loss, among others, only one seeded team has made it through to the last eight on the top half of the women’s draw, and that’s Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova. Among the favorites going into the tournament, the third-seeded Czechs are in prime position to play for their third Grand Slam title together. On the bottom half of the draw, the young American upstarts Coco Gauff and Caty McNally will face the fourth-seeded team of Nicole Melichar and Demi Schuurs. Gauff and McNally have already knocked off two seeded duos.

The other quarterfinal in this section, though, really promises to be a battle.

No. 2 seeds Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka could be considered an underdog in their next match when they take on Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara. The seventh seeds haven’t lost a match in 2021, winning two tournaments before Grand Slam started. They’ve dominated at times during their double-digit winning streak and eked out wins on other occasions. Though Mertens and Sabalenka are at their best on hard courts, the momentum of Aoyama and Shibahara might be too much for them to overcome.


A similar situation is taking place on the men’s side—with a slight twist. Here, it’s the second-seeded team of Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic that’s gone undefeated so far this year, with two titles before the Australian Open. The Croatians, in their first year playing together, haven’t dropped a set yet this tournament, but face a difficult task in their next match when they take on Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut, the eighth-seeded team. The Frenchmen, who won the title in 2019, didn’t play any warm-ups together this year, but have won so much over the years, they can instantly pick up where they left off.

The winner of this match will either face the ninth seeds, Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek, or the Australian wild cards, Matt Ebden and John-Patrick Smith.

In the top half of the draw, the reunited team of Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares, seeded sixth, appears to be on a collision course with the defending champions, the fifth-seeded Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury. First, though, those teams have to get past a pair of unseeded duos: Marcelo Arevalo/Matwe Middelkoop and Marcus Daniell/Philipp Oswald, respectively.