Singles quarterfinal action at the 2014 Australian Open will wrap up on Day 10 as a handful of tennis superstars take aim at the semifinals.
Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Roger Federer and Victoria Azarenka will each make their presence felt inside Rod Laver Arena as the stakes continue to rise. With only four more singles semifinal berths to be won, the stage is set for another dramatic slate of matches at Melbourne Park.
Below are my predictions for Day 10's four remaining quarterfinal matchups.
Day 10 Women's Quarterfinal Predictions
Dominika Cibulkova (20) Over Simona Halep (11)
In a matchup of experience versus potential, 20th-seeded Slovak Dominika Cibulkova will take on 11th-seeded Simona Halep of Romania. And although there's a case to be made for each player, it's difficult to overlook Cibulkova's Grand Slam experience.
The 24-year-old has played in four Slam quarterfinal matches over the course of her career, while the 22-year-old Halep is set to make her Slam quarterfinal debut on Day 10.
On top of that, Cibulkova has taken two of the three meetings with Halep since 2011, topping her in their most recent match on the hard courts at Indian Wells in 2013.
Projected Score: 7-6 (5), 4-6, 7-5
Victoria Azarenka (2) Over Agnieszka Radwanska (5)
Two-time defending Australian Open women's champion Victoria Azarenka will be favored in her quarterfinal match against fifth-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska, and for obvious reason.
Azarenka, who is 12-3 all time against Radwanska, has won 18 consecutive matches Down Under dating back to 2012 and has cruised through the first four rounds at this year's tournament. The world No. 2 has yet to drop a single set and is the odds-on favorite to win the season's first Slam for the third straight year following Serena Williams' defeat in the Round of 16.
While there's no denying Radwanska's ability or experience, the fact she's lost at this stage in each of her past three tries sums up her prospects against Azarenka on Day 10.
Projected Score: 6-4, 7-5
Day 10 Men's Quarterfinal Predictions
Rafael Nadal (1) Over Grigor Dimitrov (22)
Rafael Nadal will be a heavy favorite to defeat Grigor Dimitrov and advance to the Australian Open semifinals on Day 10.
After all, Nadal is 3-0 all time against the up-and-coming Bulgarian and has been playing lights-out tennis since the tournament began. Rafa hasn't dropped a set en route to the quarterfinals and demonstrated elite poise in his tiebreak victories over Kei Nishikori in the Round of 16.
"Doesn't matter." -Dimitrov on whether he'd rather play Nadal or Nishikori. Not so sure about that one, Grigor. #AusOpen— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 20, 2014
Meanwhile, the 22-year-old Dimitrov is deep in uncharted territory. Prior to his impressive run at Melbourne Park this January, he had never been past the second round Down Under or the third round at any Grand Slam event.
Dimitrov is certainly capable of taking a set against Nadal, but in a best-of-five showdown, Rafa is almost a lock to advance.
Projected Score: 7-5, 6-4, 7-6 (4)
Andy Murray (4) Over Roger Federer (6)
This match truly could go either way as both men have proved through the first week that they are more than capable of winning it all.
Still, you've got to love Murray's chances given the fact he's reached the Australian Open final in three of the past four years and knocked off Federer en route to the final last year. Murray's five-set win has to give him plenty of confidence heading into his 21st meeting with the Swiss legend; per BBC Sport's Piers Newbery: "Obviously last year is pretty relevant because it's on the same court and it will be under the same conditions."
Although Federer has looked strong through the first four rounds, beating top-10 players in back-to-back rounds will be no easy task at age 32. Not to mention Murray has won three of their past four matches, winning eight of 12 sets over that time.
Projected Score: 6-4, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3
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