Even by my own knowingly bad standards, 7 of 16 match predictions corectly guessed is pretty piss-poor. But then, who really expected Alize Cornet to reach her first major QF at 32, and against an admittedly gingerly-returning Halep? Shapovalov’s straight sets dismissal of Zverev is even more surprising, but hey ho. Despite some unfancied names prevailing, the QF line up is still worth savouring.

QF Predictions [My picks in CAPS]

Krejcikova vs KEYS
Madison’s mauling of Paula Badosa was the only match I was actually able to complete in the last round, such are the joyous commitments of fledgling fatherhood. Highlight videos are my go-to otherwise.
Keys was in bullish form and the energetic Spaniard had no defence. Krejcikova is looking strong but I’ll go for another barnstorming performance from the American.

Shapovalov vs NADAL
What a match this promises to be! I dearly hope this delivers on the hype, but fear we could see a one-sided affair. A hardly-tested Rafa and a sublime but bound-to-be sluggish Shapovalov point to as much.

BARTY vs Pegula
Ash continues to look imperious and unruffled, I just cannot see that changing here, with no disrespect to Pegula. Of course, if Barty has even a slightly off day, the American looks ready to capitalise.

Rightly billed last match of the day, this will delight as a spectacle as much as hit the hearts of the tennis populace. Gael Monfils’ fairytale run here will probably end with the powerful Italian. But it will be such an end, to be worthy of remembrance! – Theoden reference for you there.

Not a done deal by any means, I was wrong to underestimate Sinner who looks like he belongs despite his only recent real emergence consistently in the big-time. Tsitsipas too could well still be recovering from the epic five-setter with young Fritz earlier today. But the Greek should have enough quality to prove the difference. Should.

Collins vs CORNET
Ah why not eh? I don’t know why but I have always been drawn to Cornet when attending events live, she entertains and will often produce something memorable at least once or twice. I like Collins’ game too but predict her to come unstuck against the whirlwind story that is Alize’s unlikely second coming herein Melbourne.

Auger-Aliassime vs MEDVEDEV
He is hanging in there, the Canadian. A week and a half of gruelling encounters in which we have seen both sides of his game, but still he endures and still he is dangerous. With a hint of caution [look at what happened to the comfortable looking Zverev against a similar opponent] I will back the Russian, but this could go the distance.

SWIATEK vs Kanepi
Again I am tentatively typing this but, I do think Iga will have too much sustained and measured quality to deal with the Kanepi barrage. But this could well be a sleeper match-of-the-round.


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