Before last week, if you were checking out the 2013 Australian Open draw, a quarterfinal match-up of Serena Williams and Sloane Stephens would have been a pretty exciting prospect.
Williams, the 15-time Grand Slam champion, has been an inspiration for Stephens, who at 19 seems to be the "next big thing" in American tennis. After her 6-1, 3-6, 7-5 win over Bojana Jovanovski, Stephens was asked about the potential of a quarterfinal meeting with Williams (Serena still had to play her fourth round match against Maria Kirilenko, that she won easily 6-2, 6-0) and the 19-year-old seemed downright giddy about the possibility. Stephens, who has never made it to a Grand Slam quarterfinals nor beat Williams in a match) mentioned that before the fourth round Williams reached out to her and mentioned she needed to make more noise on the court (i.e., grunting during shots).
It was a fun little moment that showed just how excited Stephens must be to have made it this far in Melbourne and how these two playing against each other this far along in the tournament could potentially be a passing of the torch in some ways.
But, of course, Williams is the favorite. She's been rolling through her matches in Australia, dropping just eight games in her four rounds, and looks to be eying a sixth Australian Open title. But the Americans meeting will definitely be must watch TV for tennis fans, and as Stephens said after her match, she will make it as fun as possible for the fans in Rod Laver Arena.
Wozniacki bounced by Kuznetsova -- It's been a strange story for Caroline Wozniacki, the former No. 1 in the world that has still never won a Grand Slam title. Each event is another opportunity for her to shut up the critics and it seems each one ends with a disappointing exit a round or two too early. After making it at least to the quarterfinals each of the last two years in Melbourne, Wozniacki has struggled to stay healthy and play consistent tennis, bowing out of Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in the first round and now the fourth round exit in Melbourne.
You have to give her a little credit for fighting back after dropping the first set 6-2, but it seems like this will be another disappointing Grand Slam for Wozniacki.
Roger Federer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga set up exciting quarterfinal match -- Every great champion has a thorn in his side. For Federer, that thorn might by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The two have met 11 times in their careers, with Roger winning eight of those matches, but Tsonga is definitely a guy that Federer probably hates to see this early in his quest.
[Related: Federer shuts up cocky Australian]
The biggest upset by Tsonga of this matchup came at Wimbledon in 2011 when it seemed Federer was on cruise control. Tsonga overpowered the No. 2 seed on his way to a quarterfinal win and it seems we could be in for another show when the two meet on Wednesday.
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