Welcome to Tennis Elbow, the column that looks ahead to the latest in tennis. Today, Charles Blouin-Gascon previews day 10 of the 2021 Australian Open.
Two things can be true at once without being related whatsoever either.
Look, we’ll give it a try: American Jessica Pegula has come out of nowhere to make her first Grand Slam quarterfinal. Pegula is also the daughter of Terry Pegula, who has a net worth of $4.9 billion and is owner of the National Hockey League’s Buffalo Sabres and the National Football League’s Buffalo Bills.
Look, we need to explain this because it’s something we saw on Twitter and it frustrated us to no end.
Both of those things are true and yet, it’s not because she is the daughter of a billionaire that Pegula has just made the Australian Open quarterfinals. It probably didn’t hurt that her family is well off, because tennis tends to be a pricey sport to play, but it also doesn’t explain much beyond that. If it did, you could bet that every rich person’s failson would have picked up a racket and given it a god. If it did, you could bet that Pegula wouldn’t have had to wait until 2021 to make a major quarterfinal when she turned pro in 2009.
We say all this to say the following: congrats to the 26-year-old on a career highlight and don’t you dare minimize her accomplishment by tying it to her family’s money.
We’ll use the remaining space in this column to give you our official predictions for how the quarterfinals might unfold on day 10. As usual, you will find the full day 10 schedule here.
Rod Laver Arena: Karolina Muchova  vs Ashleigh Barty  (First match of the day)
Despite her ranking, it seems like absolutely no one in the world is talking about Ashleigh Barty. That’s probably fine with her; she’s taken full advantage of a straightforward draw to win four matches in straight sets. If she makes the final, it’s likely that she won’t have needed to beat or face a Top 20 player to get there. These are the breaks. We’re giving the Australian the edge over Karolina Muchova in three sets.
Australian Open quarterfinalist pic.twitter.com/Ulh43fBjVZ
— Frith (@pluckyloser) February 15, 2021
Rod Laver Arena: Jessica Pegula vs Jennifer Brady  (Second match of the day)
A couple of days ago in our day 8 preview, we wrote that no player on the women’s side had been more in control of their first matches than Jennifer Brady. If it weren’t for Barty, this would still ring true today. She has the advantage against Pegula here but what the heck, let’s shock the world. Pegula gets the win in three tight sets.
Rod Laver Arena: Andrey Rublev  vs Daniil Medvedev  (Not before 3pm AEDT)
Both Russians arrive in the quarterfinals not having been tested all that much. Sure, Filip Krajinovic pushed Daniil Medved to a fifth set in the third round, but the Russian closed the match with a 6-0 bagel. In how much danger could he really have been in, you know? We’ll side with Medvedev for the simple reason that the 23-year-old Rublev has still never won a set against him, let alone beaten him. Medvedev grabs the win in four sets.
Rod Laver Arena: Stefanos Tsitsipas  vs Rafael Nadal  (First match of the evening)
Welcome to what’s probably the very best match on day 10, between the would-be king of men’s tennis in Stefanos Tsitsipas against the man whose reign at or near the top is seemingly never-ending in Rafael Nadal. And yet, this isn’t a matchup that has been kind to the Greek since they first competed in 2018: Nadal holds a 6-1 edge in their head-to-head record. We envision more of the same. Nadal wins in five sets.
Follow Charles Blouin-Gascon on Twitter @RealCBG