The 2014 Australian Open is rolling right along, with the fourth round of this prestigious event about to get underway shortly.
The immense heat is no longer a factor, as Saturday was played in brisk conditions that should continue through the remainder of the weekend and into the beginning of the week. It’s good news for the tournament’s top competitors, as they should no longer have to battle both the elements and the opposition on their path to a Grand Slam championship.
Let’s take a look at where you can catch all of Sunday’s action, highlight the top matchups to watch, make some predictions on how the day will play out and more.
Where: Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia
When (local): Sunday, Jan. 19, at 11 a.m.
When (U.S.): Saturday, Jan. 18, at 7 p.m. ET
Watch: ESPN2, Tennis Channel
Live Stream: ESPN3
|2014 Australian Open - Day 7 Schedule|
|Arena (Start Time)||Matchup|
|Rod Laver Arena (7 p.m. ET)||Fourth Round|
|Angelique Kerber (GER)  vs. Flavia Pennetta (ITA) |
|Serena Williams (USA)  vs. Ana Ivanovic (SRB) |
|Fabio Fognini (ITA)  vs. Novak Djokovic (SRB) |
|Rod Laver Arena (3 a.m. ET)||Fourth Round|
|Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI)  vs. Tommy Robredo (ESP) |
|Margaret Court Arena (7 p.m. ET)||Fourth Round|
|Tomas Berdych (CZE)  vs. Kevin Anderson (RSA) |
|Hisense Arena (7 p.m. ET)||Fourth Round|
|Na Li (CHN)  vs. Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) |
|Florian Mayer (GER) vs. David Ferrer (ESP) |
Matchups to Watch
Fabio Fognini  vs. Novak Djokovic 
Djokovic made short work of his third-round opponent, Denis Istomin, winning two near-perfect sets before getting into a duel in the third. It appeared as if he could let one slip away, but Djokovic recovered to claim the “W.”
The World No. 2-ranked player spoke with the ATP staff of ATPWorldTour.com about the final set:
Things got tense towards the end of the match. I made some double faults. This is what happens. I could have easily got into a tie-break and then it's very even, very unpredictable who is going to win the third. I didn't want to drop the third set, obviously, so I was very focused to get the job done in straight sets.
The Serbian superstar’s victory in the match marks his 27th in a row since losing the finals of the 2013 US Open—or since proposing to girlfriend Jelena Ristic, however you wish to look at it.
It may be quite a while before Nole loses. He’s looking for a fourth straight Aussie Open title and fifth overall, an accomplishment that would make him the all-time leader in Happy Slam championships in the Open era.
With Fognini on tap in the fourth round, Djokovic looks to be a lock to make the quarterfinals. The Italian is 0-6 against the Djoker during his career and won’t be too much of a challenge in this event.
Prediction: Djokovic wins, 6-3, 7-5, 6-2
Serena Williams  vs. Ana Ivanovic 
Williams set the all-time record for victories at the Australian Open in the third round, dispatching Daniela Hantuchova in straight sets for her 61st career win in Melbourne. It was an impressive feat, but Williams has her eye on bigger prizes. The 32-year-old isn’t going to be resting on her laurels and should be eyeing her sixth championship in this event and 18th Grand Slam title overall.
She’ll first have to get past Ivanovic, a former No. 1-ranked competitor and home-crowd favorite. It won’t be easy, but an upset is almost out of the question.
The Australian is 0-4 in her four matches against the American superstar, the last of which came during the 2012 US Open. Serena won that one in straight sets, 6-1, 6-3, which may be similar to the final score of this matchup.
Williams is riding a 24-match win streak into this one and appears poised to take on anything that the sport can throw at her right now. Ivanovic has had a good run, but it will end on Sunday.
Prediction: Williams wins, 6-1, 6-2
Stanislas Wawrinka  vs. Tommy Robredo 
This should be one of the more thrilling matchups of the day. Wawrinka may be the higher-seeded competitor in the Happy Slam, but Robredo has had his number in five of their six prior meetings.
The veteran Spaniard’s only loss to his Swiss opponent came all the way back in 2007 when they met at New Haven. Robredo owns two very recent victories, taking care of business against Wawrinka last season at Cincinnati and Casablanca.
It’s worth noting that Robredo hasn’t had anything resembling an easy road to the fourth round. The 31-year-old has had to battle from the opening round (a five-set victory over Lukas Rosol), through a four-set, second-round showdown (against Julien Benneteau) before pulling off an upset against No. 9-seeded Richard Gasquet in the third (another four-set slugfest).
Wawrinka’s path has been a bit easier, with an easy victory in the opener (vs. Andrey Golubev, who retired in the second set with a leg injury) and third-round opponent Vasek Pospisil retiring from the tourney ahead of the match.
While the lack of preparation may end up being Wawrinka’s downfall, it’s more likely that the toll Robredo’s journey took on his fitness plays a bigger part. The elder challenger will have a tougher time advancing against fresher legs, which should make all the difference.
Prediction: Wawrinka wins, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6, 7-6