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Day 10 on Tap: Federer, Serena Shoot for Semis

Day 10 features Roger Federer, Serena Williams and the Bryan Brothers, all vying for semifinal spots down under.

By Chris Oddo

Serena Williams, 2013 Australian Open (January 22, 2013) -- Four quarterfinal tilts and a host of intriguing doubles and mixed doubles are on the slate in Melbourne on Day 10. Here’s what we’ll be watching:

Roger Federer vs. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Night Session, Rod Laver Arena

Federer takes an 8-3 head-to-head edge into his quarterfinal meeting with flamboyant Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, but Federer has had his issues with Jo-Willy in the past. Most famously, Tsonga came back from two sets down to defeat Federer in five at Wimbledon in 2011. While Federer has taken the last four against Tsonga, two of them were closely contested three-setters at the ATP World Tour finals in London.

In other words, Federer has the edge, but he hasn’t dominated Tsonga in their match-ups by any means. And the Frenchman has done a good job in Australia of being efficient -- he’s only been on court for 15 minutes longer than Federer in his first four matches.

All of this bodes well for a strong push from Tsonga, who has been in nearly as good a form as the transcendent Federer, but expect the Swiss maestro to reach his record 33rd Grand Slam final when it’s all said and done.

Pick: Federer in four

Victoria Azarenka vs. Svetlana Kuznetsova. 1st Match, Rod Laver Arena

Azarenka’s chances of retaining the No. 1 ranking are getting slimmer by the minute -- she needs a combination of a victory today coupled with a Serena Williams loss to remain in the running -- but her chances of reaching the semifinal where she’ll likely get another crack at Serena Williams are looking pretty good.

The Belarusian will face unseeded Svetlana Kuznetsova in the quarters, and while the career head-to-head looks balanced between these two, Azarenka has taken their only two post-2009 meetings in straight sets.

Will that be the case today? Hard to say. Kuznetsova is a two-time Grand Slam champion and she notched a very nice win over Caroline Wozniacki in the fourth round. But let’s not forget: Azarenka is a cut above Wozniacki, and Kuznetsova will have to play her best tennis of the tournament to beat her. Any walkabouts against Azarenka could prove to be fatal for the Russian.

Pick: Azarenka in two

Serena Williams vs. Sloane Stephens, 2nd Match, Rod Laver Arena

Does the 19-year-old upstart have a chance against Serena? Probably not, but in a weird way this match might be the best possible match-up for Stephens in her first Grand Slam quarterfinal. She’s got nothing to lose against the 15-time Grand Slam champion, and because she’s developed a nice friendship with Serena, she probably will be a lot more relaxed than she was in her very tenuous fourth-round victory over Bojana Jovanovski.

But Williams is on fire, and each time she tweaks her ankle (she did so in her doubles match yesterday) she only seems to emerge fitter and hungrier. She’s won 20 straight matches (one shy of a career-best 21), and she’s on the cusp of becoming the oldest woman to ever claim the WTA’s No. 1 ranking. She’s got a lot to play for, and when the stakes are high, Serena’s usually the one who comes out on top.

Pick: Serena in three

Jeremy Chardy vs. Andy Murray, 3rd Match, Rod Laver Arena

Murray lost four and four to Chardy in Cincinnati last summer, and that might be a blessing for the World No. 3. He’ll know to take Chardy seriously in this match, and because of that, we think he’s a lock to get it done.

Pick: Murray in four

Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan vs. Daniele Bracciali and Lukas Dlouhy, 2nd Match, Margaret Court Arena

With Bob and Mike gunning for their 13th Grand Slam title and the all-time doubles titles record, every Bryan Brothers match is a must-see at this point. The Bryans sharpened their focus with a tough three-set victory over Jeremy Chardy and Lukas Kubot in the third round, and with zero seeded teams left in their half, and only one (Granollers and Lopez) in the other half, they are the heavy favorite to earn the milestone title.

Pick: Bryans in two

(Photo Credit: Mark Peterson/ Corleve)


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