Su-Wei Hsieh and Marketa Vondrousova will meet on Saturday night in the Australian Open fourth round, no fans in the stands.
Hsieh got past Pironkova, Andreescu and Errani to get this far. Her first two matches were pretty straightforward, while the third round against Errani was a thriller. Su-Wei really looked like she will lose that match, as she was down 3-5 in the third set and Errani was two points away from victory multiple times. But Hsieh dug in and showed character to come out on top.
Vondrousova hasn’t quite played to her standard in 2021, even though on paper she has a 6-2 record. She met inferior opposition and often struggled to win her matches. This happened in the first round here in Melbourne as well, with Vondrousova being pushed to the brink by Peterson. The Czech player had a routine win in the second round against the 317th ranked Marino, but her big test came next against the in form Cirstea – and Vondrousova showed a superior gear in that match, winning with ease (barring a few shaky points late in the second set).
Hsieh won the only H2H meeting between the two, and it was actually just last month – a 3-6 6-3 7-6 success in Abu Dhabi.
Having watched these two women play in the previous round, as well as large chunks of their other matches in this tournament, I have a clear impression formed and it comes easy for me to take a side here. And I will go with Vondrousova.
Hsieh has been good, but not as good as it might seem by just looking at results. Her first opponent, Pironkova, played a horrid match in the first round. Then Hsieh met Andreescu, who was out for almost two years prior to the Australian Open, and was exhausted after her lengthy first round clash. Finally, Hsieh could have well lost to Errani a couple of days ago. She looked very vulnerable at times in that match, and Errani is no world beater right now, particularly on this fast surface.
Vondrousova has been exasperating many times lately, but it truly feels that she is finding her groove right now and growing from match to match. She was really impressive in the third round against Cirstea. The Romanian came into the match red hot, having beaten Kvitova, but Vondrousova left her no chance. She was solid, didn’t give away too many free points, and played a great all around smart agressive game. She’s gaining confidence and her shots are going in.
The Czech is the better player, I’m liking what I’m seeing from her and she should take care of Hsier considering Su-Wei’s limits and the vulnerabilities she showed against Errani. Even though Hsieh beat Vondrousova last month, that was not a Grand Slam match, Vondrousova wasn’t playing this well, and it was a coin toss anyway. In fact, I think that match will serve the Czech player very well, as she had the chance to get used to Hsieh’s rather unorthodox playing style – so she will know what she has to do.
My tip is Vondrousova to win. I’m tempted to go with 10/10 here, especially since the odds are on the low side (still value in my opinion). But my stakes have been pretty high lately and it’s women’s tennis, where the risk is always higher, so I’ll invest a more reasonable amount of 8 units. Prediction: Su-Wei Hsieh – Marketa Vondrousova 4-6 2-6.