Australian Open Quarterfinals Feature Sabalenka vs. Vekic, Djokovic vs. Rublev

Australian Open Quarterfinals Feature Sabalenka vs. Vekic, Djokovic vs. Rublev

4 min read

While you were sleeping on Monday night, the semifinals of the 2023 Australian Open started taking shape. Reigning Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina defeated Jelena Ostapenko, while two-time Australian Open winner Victoria Azarenka ended Jessica Pegula’s run. In men’s action, Sebastian Korda succumbed to a wrist injury, retiring to Karen Khachanov, and Stefanos Tsitsipas eased past unseeded Czech Jiri Lehecka.

Universal Tennis INSIGHTS is helping break down the remaining quarterfinals, which will take place tonight (in the U.S.) and Wednesday (in Melbourne).

(5) Aryna Sabalenka (12.77) vs. Donna Vekic (12.50)

Aryna Sabalenka has quietly made her way to her first Australian Open quarterfinal without losing a set. She dismissed No. 12 seed Belinda Bencic 7-5, 6-2 to set up a clash with Donna Vekic, a 26-year-old from Croatia. Sabalenka has been to the semifinals of Wimbledon and the US Open (twice), and Vekic is seeking her first final-four appearance at a Slam. The Australian Open marks Vekic’s first tournament of 2023, while Sabalenka kicked off her season with a title in Adelaide.



They have faced each other on six occasions, most recently in San Diego last October, with Vekic prevailing in three sets. Vekic seems to have Sabalenka’s game figured out, as she’s beaten her five times since 2016. But INSIGHTS is siding with Sabalenka at 64%. Sabalenka has the higher UTR Ratings (overall, hard-court, and three-month trending), but Vekic’s recent win-loss record is stronger.

(30) Karolina Pliskova (12.51) vs. Magda Linette (12.45)

Speaking of lop-sided head-to-head records, Karolina Pliskova is 7-2 against fellow 30-year-old Magda Linette across the last decade. But most recently, in 2022, Pliskova ousted Linette in the first round of the US Open, and Linette got her revenge in straight sets during the Billie Jean King Cup Finals.



INSIGHTS gives Pliskova, the 2016 US Open and 2021 Wimbledon finalist, the slight edge at 53% with the higher overall and hard-court UTR Rating. Like Sabalenka, Pliskova has yet to give up a set in Melbourne Park. Linette has the better three-month trending UTR, though far less week two Grand Slam experience. In her 30th major, Linette is playing in her first quarterfinal after upsetting favorite Caroline Garcia.

(4) Novak Djokovic (16.27) vs. (5) Andrey Rublev (15.85)

Novak Djokovic has had a heavily strapped hamstring for each of his matches this fortnight, and he finally played without pain when he dismantled Alex de Minaur in the fourth round. That spells bad news for his next opponent, Andrey Rublev, who has said quite simply, “No one wants to play Novak.”



Djokovic leads their head-to-head record 2-1, but the two split their meetings last year, with Rublev getting the upset at Djokovic’s home court in Belgrade and Djokovic beating Rublev handily on his way to his fifth ATP Finals crown. Though Djokovic is ranked No. 5 on the ATP Tour, he’s got the highest UTR Rating out of anyone at 16.27, and his recent win-loss record is 64-9 compared to Rublev’s 64-31. Per INSIGHTS, Djokovic should advance with 73% odds.

Tommy Paul (15.80) vs. Ben Shelton (14.89)

An American semifinalist is guaranteed Down Under as Tommy Paul faces fast-rising compatriot Ben Shelton. This Australian Open featured the most men’s U.S. quarterfinalists (three) since the 2005 US Open.

A year ago, Shelton was on campus at the University of Florida, juggling tennis practice with his homework. Now he’s into his first Grand Slam quarterfinal in his Australian Open debut (he’s the fourth American to achieve the feat since 1990). Shelton has yet to face a seeded player in this tournament, while Paul has beaten two, No. 30 Alejandro Davidovich Fokina and No. 24 Roberto Bautista Agut.



At 25, Paul has more experience, but he’s never been this deep into a major before, either. This will be the first meeting between Shelton and Paul, and INSIGHTS is siding heavily with Paul at 87%, based on UTR Ratings and his best win (Rafael Nadal in Paris last November).

UTR Ratings and INSIGHTS probabilities as of 9 a.m. EST, January 24, 2023.

Back to blog