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Day 8 on Tap: Federer and Serena Highlight Night Session

A combined 32 Grand Slam singles titles will highlight the night session on Day 8, with Roger Federer and Serena Williams bidding for quarterfinal spots.

By Chris Oddo

Serena Williams, Australian Open (January 20, 2013) -- A combined 32 Grand Slam singles titles will highlight the night session on Day 8, but for those who want to get an early start on things, there’s plenty to get excited about in the day session, too.

Roger Federer vs. Milos Raonic, 2nd Match, Night Session

It would be a stretch to say that Roger Federer got lucky against Milos Raonic last year, but to say that he was fortunate to escape the pair’s three meetings in 2012 without suffering a loss would not be out of line at all. Raonic played Federer close each time they met, pushing the Swiss maestro to third-set tiebreakers the last two times they met.

But Raonic was ineffective when it came to returning serve against Federer. Of the six breaks of serve that occurred in the nine sets they played, only one went to Raonic. With they way Federer is playing thus far in Melbourne it’s hard to see a different outcome occurring in this match.

That said, if Raonic can hold serve early and often, he’ll at least put himself in position to benefit from any loose Federer games, should they happen.

Pick: Federer in four

Serena Williams vs. Maria Kirilenko, 1st Match, Night Session

Maria Kirilenko, one of five Russians through to the final sixteen in Melbourne, holds an 0-5 career record against Serena. Looking at the bright side for the 25-year-old 14th seed, at least Kirilenko has taken a couple of sets from Serena in the past, including one in their last meeting at Stanford in 2011.

But Serena has only lost six games in three matches thus far. In other words, Miss Williams isn’t feeling generous these days, so Kirilenko will have to earn every game she gets.

Pick: Williams in three

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs. Richard Gasquet, 3rd Match, Rod Laver Arena

If past history is any indication, this all-French affair ought to be a doozy. Both players have beautifully crafted, imaginative games, and neither player seems to dominate the other as their relatively close head-to-head attests. Gasquet holds the career edge of 4-3, but only once has either player managed consecutive victories against the other.

Pick: Tsonga in four

Caroline Wozniacki vs. Svetlana Kuznetsova, 1st Match, Rod Laver Arena

Isn’t it nice when old friends get together to try and knock each other out of a Grand Slam? Kuznetsova, who missed six months due to injury last year, appears to be back with a vengeance in Melbourne. Playing with a ranking of 75 in the world, the two-time Grand Slam champion seems more relaxed than she has been in years. But will she remain so when all her best shots keep coming back of the human backboard also known as Caroline Wozniacki?

Wozniacki defeated Kuznetsova four times in a row in a two year span, including two fourth-round tilts at the U.S. Open, but Kuznetsova ended the streak with a win over the Dane in Sydney just over a week ago.

Pick: Wozniacki in three

Sloane Stephens vs. Bojana Jovanovski, 3rd Match, Hisense Arena

The two youngest players remaining in the women’s draw will battle it out for a coveted quarterfinal spot. What’s not to like about that?

Pick: Stephens in two

Andreas Seppi vs. Jeremy Chardy, 2nd Match Hisense Arena

A classic dark horse battle between two players with nothing to lose.

Pick: Seppi in four

(Photo Credit: EPA)


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