Day five preview: Quarterfinal action

11 January 2018, by

It is quarterfinal day at the Hobart International – and there is a mixture of familiar and fresh faces battling for a semifinal spot. The schedule includes two former champions, last year’s runner-up and some of the game’s brightest young stars.

Donna Vekic v Heather Watson
Centre Court, day session, first match from noon
Head-to-head: Tied at 1-all

Donna Vekic has made a perfect Hobart debut, not dropping a set so far this week in a difficult section of the draw. Now she faces Heather Watson, the tournament’s 2015 champion. Watson, who won their most recent match in Fed Cup last year, knows what to expect: “She’s going to be a really tough opponent but I feel good in myself and confident so I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing.”

> Watson’s experience telling in second round win

(2) Elise Mertens v (Q) Monica Niculescu
Centre Court, day session, second match
Head-to-head: Mertens leads 2-0

A year ago Elise Mertens and Monica Niculescu faced-off in the Hobart International final – today they meet again in the quarterfinals. The Belgian comprehensively won both of their meetings in 2017, but knows she can’t underestimate the tricky Niculescu who has come through qualifying this year. Can the Romanian get revenge for last year’s final defeat?

> Mertens continues momentum
> Niculescu sets up final rematch

(5) Lesia Tsurenko v Aryna Sabalenka 
Centre Court, day session, third match
Head-to-head: First career meeting

Fifth seed Lesia Tsurenko is aiming to match last year’s semifinal run, but first she needs to beat big-hitting Belarusian teen Aryna Sabalenka. The No.69-ranked Sabalenka has been in red-hot form this week, eliminating former world No.5 Eugenie Bouchard and top seed Zhang Shuai so far in her tournament debut. “It’s a really nice tournament and I really like this atmosphere,” Sabalenka said after her second round win. “Here I feel comfortable.”

> Sabalenka powers into quarterfinals
> Tsurenko comfortably advances

Mihaela Buzarnescu v Alison Riske
Centre Court, night session, not before 7pm
Head-to-head: First career meeting

This time last year 29-year-old Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu was ranked outside the world’s top 500, but now she’s in career-best form and verging on a top-50 debut. Could her fairytale late-career revival continue in Hobart? American Alison Riske is hoping not as she aims to match her Hobart International semifinal run in 2015.

> Riske’s tough test

It’s not too late to book tickets – and don’t forget this year kids can enter for free with a paying adult.

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