The Australian Open quarterfinals begin with Roberto Bautista Agut taking on young gun Stefanos Tsitsipas and former champion Rafael Nadal vs Frances Tiafoe, a rising young American. Our panelists offer up their predictions.
Roberto Bautista Agut vs Stefanos Tsitsipas
Yesh Ginsburg: I have underestimated Bautista Agut at every turn. He has very quietly beaten everyone, and looked impressive doing it. Tsitsipas, meanwhile, is coming off the win of his life. There will be some nerves and tension there, and Bautista-Agut will take advantage. Bautista Agut in 4
Steen Kirby: RBA is looking to continue a career best run at this tournament, while Tsitsipas is in the best form of his life. A win over Federer should boost the Greek’s confidence and he has a bigger game than RBA. I expect him to rise to the occasion and secure a win. Tsitsipas in 4.
Eric Han: If Tsitsipas can be at the same level as he did against Federer, he has a good chance of advancing to the next round. Agut has already played three five-setters throughout the tournament, and I am not sure whether he has enough left in his tank to beat Tsitsipas. Tsitsipas in 4
Tracey Essex: Bautista Agut has had an amazing tournament, playing some of the best tennis of his career. But, the 30-year-old Spaniard has spent a lot of time on the court and muscled his way through some tough matches. I question how much he’s got left in him. On the other side of the net, Tsitsipas, the young, spunky and confident Greek, just took out his idol in the Round of 16. There’s always the risk of a letdown, coming off such a win. But I don’t see him succumbing to the magnitude of the moment. Tsitsipas is the more consistent and talented player and I don’t believe he’ll be going home quite yet. Tsitsipas in 5
Rafael Nadal vs Frances Tiafoe
Yesh: Frances Tiafoe is having an incredible tournament. Underestimated at every turn, he has managed to pick up good wins, even fighting some physical issues to beat Grigor Dimitrov. That all ends against Nadal, though. Tiafoe might be a future star, but right now he doesn’t have the weapons to beat Nadal. Nadal in 3
Eric: This will be their first meeting, and Nadal looked impressive last match as he dominated Tomas Berdych for most of the match. My gut feeling is that Nadal will win in straight sets, but I will perhaps give Tiafoe a set, perhaps the second set. Nadal in 4
Tracey: Frances Tiafoe has had an unbelievable run, and is probably the most talented of the American men on tour. I expect we’ll see a lot more deep runs in 2019. He has the talent, but will be at a disadvantage with a lack of experience at the stage in a Slam. Coming up against a nearly perfect Rafa Nadal, Tiafoe has gone as far as he can. Rafa hasn’t dropped a set yet, and he probably won’t when he meets Tiafoe in the quarterfinals. Nadal in 3
Steen: Nadal has yet to drop a set, despite how well Tiafoe is playing, only a serious slip up for Nadal would see the American reach his first slam semifinal. The status quo will remain in place, for now. Nadal in 3