It’s little more than stating the obvious to say that in tennis, it takes something special to kill a giant. And yet, as Coco Gauff and Qiang Wang found out on Sunday, sometimes it takes even more to back it up.

The conquerors of Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams respectively, Gauff and Wang had without doubt, scored the biggest wins of their careers two days earlier. Now they had to back it up while dealing with the inevitable come-down from that adrenaline high while also contending with two opponents – Sofia Kenin and Ons Jabeur – who were anything but sympathetic. Understandably, they weren’t quite able to manage it.

On the flip side, the end to their improbable runs gives us one even more improbable quarterfinal in Kenin and Jabeur. Say what you will about the tennis scriptwriters, but they know how to keep us guessing!

Here’s your three-to-see on Monday, Day 8 at the Australian Open:

Danill Medvedev (RUS) [4] v Stan Wawrinka (SUI) [15] – Third on Margaret Court Arena (Not before 3:00pm AEDT)

A battle of “The Temper” and the “TemplePointer”, sparks are sure to fly when Daniil Medvedev and Stan Wawrinka square off. A rematch of their cracking 7-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 quarterfinal (won by Medvedev) at last year’s US Open, the hope is we can get a repeat performance here, and it certainly helps that both players come in well-rested, Medvedev having not dropped a set since the first round, Wawrinka being barely on court for an hour before John Isner retired from their third-rounder. Likely to feature some of the most arduous tennis you’ll see anywhere, Wawrinka will need to stop Medvedev from getting comfortable in rallies by being willing to drop his bombs early and often – the caveat being it’s a very high risk, high reward way to play. In any case, Wawrinka should still get enough licks in to make this a must-watch encounter.

Angelique Kerber (GER) [17] v Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) [30] – Fourth on Margaret Court Arena (Not before 5:00pm AEDT)

Now over a decade into her career, It’s still hard to know what to figure out Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova. She possesses some of the most lethal shots in the women’s game, and yet as her five major quarterfinal appearances without a win will attest, she tends to run out of steam just as things get interesting. Again, she arrives at a similar test, having just ousted no. 2 seed Karolina Pliskova, but with 2016 AO champion Angie Kerber on deck. A rivalry that Pavlyuchenkova leads 7-6, the Russian actually comes in the bookies’ favourite despite their seedings, and yet while she will definitelys hold an offensive advantage over the German, Kerber has to like her chances on this surface of making this match into a slower game where she can set-up winning angles. If Pavlyuchenkova is to keep her run going, she’ll have to keep attacking even through the inevitable Kerber counterpunches, but even if she can’t do it consistently, she’s likely to do it enough to give us three sets of see-saw tennis.

Nick Kyrgios (AUS) [23] v Rafael Nadal (ESP) [1] – First on Rod Laver (Night session)

It’s the match everyone highlighted when the draw came out, and now we’re actually getting it – Kyrgios v Nadal has the potential to be, if not among the best of the tournament, at least among the most memorable. It’s no secret these guys don’t get along, and assuming Kyrgios still has gas left in the tank after his five-setter with Karen Khachanov, he’ll be extremely motivated to even up a rivalry that Nadal leads four wins to three. Fatigue aside, it will still be an incredibly tough ask, with the speed of this court more favourable to Nadal’s style of play, and that means Kyrgios will have to take even bigger risks than usual to keep the Spaniard off-balance. Doable? Certainly. Likely? No, but it’s that hope for a flash of brilliance from the Aussie that makes it worth watching regardless.


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