MATCH POINT: Tsitsipas takes out Sinner at last year's Australian Open

Stefanos Tsitsipas vs. Jannik Sinner

“I have a good memory from last year,” Tsitsipas said when he was asked about his match with Sinner at this same event 12 months ago.

He would. Tsitsipas won in surprisingly straightforward fashion, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2. He’d like nothing more than a repeat performance.

“It’s about maintaining that. It’s about building within that,” he said. “It’s about perhaps maybe sticking to what worked previously, and continually sort of adding to it when out there in the match.”

Tsitsipas took it to Sinner last year by using his wider range of shots and superior court coverage. He did something similar when they met again in Rome four months later. What had appeared at one stage like a budding rivalry has become something of one-way traffic in Tsitsipas’s favor.

How can Sinner turn the tide in this matchup? He says he’s “changed a little bit, for sure, my game,” without elaborating. The key would seem, as it always is against Tsitsipas, to target the backhand. Sinner’s poor results aside, that would seem to a be a manageable proposition for someone with such a natural crosscourt backhand stroke

But Tsitsipas has been playing and talking with a renewed sense of confidence and ambition so far Down Under. And why not? He’s made three semifinals in five tries in Melbourne. The Greek fans who follow and cheer for him there should help him get one step closer to his fourth. Winner: Tsitsipas


Tsitsipas took it to Sinner last year by using his wider range of shots and superior court coverage.

Tsitsipas took it to Sinner last year by using his wider range of shots and superior court coverage.

Coco Gauff vs. Jelena Ostapenko

Between the two of them, Gauff and Ostapenko have dropped just one set this week, and they seem to be getting better as they go. Gauff is coming off a 6-3, 6-2 win over Bernarda Pera, while Ostapenko has won the second set of each of her last two matches 6-0. Now the always-offensive Latvian will collide with the mostly-defensive American, for a chance, potentially, to face top seed Iga Swiatek in the quarterfinals.

Gauff won her only meeting with Ostapenko, more than two years ago in Linz. So she knows the drill.

“Obviously, there’s going to be shots she hits that are just going to be too good, accepting that,” Gauff said.

But she said she was prepared to face the Ostapenko barrage, and the lack of rhythm you get from it, because she faced something similar against Pera.

“Bernarda was hitting the ball pretty hard. I think she was hitting big shots,” Gauff said. “I was also trying to be offensive when I can. I think that’s going to be a similar matchup.”

The courts are pretty quick this year, and the balls are pretty slow. Gauff will have to find rhythm and offense where she can, and make Ostapenko try her all-or-nothing shots from difficult positions. But adding a little offense to a mostly defensive game plan is basically what Gauff does every time she walks out there. Winner: Gauff


These doubles partners have singles glory in sight.

These doubles partners have singles glory in sight.

Jessica Pegula vs. Barbora Krejcikova

Pegula is 28, Krejcikova 27, and they’ve been on tour together for nearly a decade. But they’ve never played. Which means each of them will need to figure the other out on the fly, in the fourth round of a Grand Slam.

On paper, they seem evenly matched. Krejcikova has been as high as No. 2 in the world, while Pegula is currently No. 3. Neither woman wins with raw power: Pegula does it with consistency, precise placement, and the flat penetration of her shots; Krejcikova does it with sweeping spins and a mastery of every part of the court. Can the Czech disrupt the American’s well-drilled rhythm? Can the American rush and wear down the Czech?

It’s tough to say right now. Pegula is at the top of her game, while Krejcikova is on her way back there. Let’s see how their styles mesh, and clash. Winner: Krejcikova