Former Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber and former junior champion Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova clash for the 15th time with a quarter-final spot on the line on Monday.
Angelique Kerber ?? vs Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova ?? Match Info
Date: Monday January 27
Tournament: Australian Open R16
Court: Margaret Court Arena
Time: 5.00pm local time (6.00am GMT)
Angelique Kerber vs Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova Head-to-Head
Tied at 7-7
2019 | Osaka SF | Pavlyuchenkova 6-3 6-3
2018 | Cincinnati R32 | Kerber 4-6 7-5 6-4
2018 | Miami R32 | Kerber 6-4 6-4
2017 | WTA Elite Trophy RR | Pavlyuchenkova 6-3 3-6 6-2
2017 | Tokyo SF | Pavlyuchenkova 6-0 6-7(4) 6-4
2017 | Monterrey final | Pavlyuchenkova 6-4 2-6 6-1
2016 | Brisbane QF | Kerber 6-4 6-4
2015 | Wimbledon R64 | Kerber 7-5 6-2
2015 | Fed Cup R2 | Kerber 6-1 6-0
2014 | Paris QF | Pavlyuchenkova 5-7 6-3 7-6(3)
2014 | Brisbane R16 | Kerber 6-2 4-3 RET
2013 | Stuttgart R16 | Kerber 6-0 6-4
2013 | Monterrey final | Pavlyuchenkova 4-6 6-2 6-4
2013 | Brisbane QF | Pavlyuchenkova 7-6(3) 7-6(3)
Angelique Kerber vs Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova Match Preview
It’s an even year, so that means Kerber is about to win another slam doesn’t it? Not quite, but the German is building some momentum once again down under, advancing into the second week of the Australian Open for the fifth straight season.
Kerber was untroubled in her first two matches as she cruised past Elisabetta Cocciaretto and Priscilla Hon in straight sets, but she was forced to dig deep in order to overcome dangerous Italian firebrand Camila Giorgi in the third round on Saturday. Kerber had beaten Giorgi in each of their previous four meetings, but you can never be sure of what you’re going to get with the unpredictable Italian, with Kerber needing to regroup after dropping the second set in a tiebreak before closing out the match 6-2 6-7(4) 6-3. In the end, Kerber – as expected – was the far steadier player, with Giorgi hitting a whopping 49 winners but coming unstuck by 65 unforced errors, compared to the German’s 15.
“I’m happy to be in the second week,” said Kerber. “Now it’s the same like the first week for me. I’m trying to staying focused, trying to keep going and playing, from round to round, better tennis. I have to improve. And it’s good to win a match like today which was really close and, yeah, just two points decide the match.”
Kerber is back at the scene of her maiden major triumph, where she saved match point against Misaki Doi in the opening round in 2016 before going on to beat Serena Williams in the final. The 32-year-old would go on to capture the U.S. Open title that season and also hit the No. 1 ranking, but she struggled with the pressure and expectation the following season and promptly dropped out of the top 20. Kerber bounced back in 2018 to win the Wimbledon title and reach the Australian Open semi-finals but once more she suffered a dip the next season, falling to No. 20 as she failed to pick up a title throughout 2019.
Now back on an even year, is Kerber set for more Grand Slam success in 2020? Into the second week, she’s not far away in Melbourne.
Meanwhile, Pavlyuchenkova – who has won the same number of career titles as Kerber despite being four years younger – is through to the Australian Open fourth round for the third time in the last four years afters stunning second seed Karolina Pliskova in straight sets on Saturday. The Russian had lost all six of her previous meetings with Pliskova, but Pavlyuchenkova wasn’t to be denied in their seventh encounter, prevailing in a marathon two-set encounter that lasted well over two hours by a 7-6(4) 7-6(3) scoreline.
“I am really happy, it was a lot of fun,” said Pavlyuchenkova in her on-court interview. “I really enjoyed it and even had goosebumps after some points. To get a win and beat Karolina for the first time was amazing.”
A junior Australian Open champion and World No. 1 in 2006, Pavlyuchenkova hasn’t been able to translate her teenage success onto the main tour, but she’s still maintained a remarkably strong presence near the top of the game for over a decade now, reaching five Grand Slam quarter-finals and hitting a career-high ranking of No. 13 in 2011. Pavlyuchenkova started and finished 2019 on bright notes, making the Australian Open quarter-finals and reaching finals in Osaka and Moscow, ending the season at No. 30. If she find some consistency through the middle of the season, she will no doubt be pushing towards the top 20 and maybe higher in 2020.
Angelique Kerber vs Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova Prediction
Evenly poised at 7-7, this match could really go either way. Both players have been successful in Melbourne in recent years and there will certainly be no secrets out there. With 33 wins over top 10 players, Pavlyuchenkova knows what it takes to beat the best, and I’m still not sure whether Kerber is close to her best form. I think this match will go the distance and am backing Pavlyuchenkova’s firepower to come out on top.