In Melbourne, Halep Cruises While Unseeded Sensations Make Push for Week 2

In Melbourne, Halep Cruises While Unseeded Sensations Make Push for Week 2

4 min read

And just like that, the fourth round of the Australian Open is set in stone. Unseeded players have made their mark Down Under with the women's draw featuring five and the men's draw still having three. While upsets have been commonplace all week long, Simona Halep (UTR Rating 12.94) and Stefanos Tsitsipas (15.97) have stealthily continued their campaigns in the bottom halves of the draws.

It's time to take an in-depth look at some upcoming matches with the help of Universal Tennis INSIGHTS.

Halep and Tsitsipas in Peak Form

Halep has efficiently made her way through with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Danka Kovinic. The No. 14-seeded Romanian has yet to lose a set and has won her most recent two matches with the loss of five total games. She's also riding an eight-match win streak after starting 2022 with a title in Melbourne.




She'll take on Alize Cornet (12.73) after the 32-year-old's stellar run continued with a three-set win over No. 29 seed Tamara Zidansek (12.46). Cornet was favored by INSIGHTS at 63% to beat the Slovenian but those odds flip now as Halep now has the higher chance of reaching the quarterfinals at 62%.

INSIGHTS' head-to-head tool shows Halep with every advantage including higher three-month trending UTR Rating, better recent win-loss record, and more wins over common opponents. Cornet has a 3-1 overall record against the two-time Grand Slam champion but they haven't shared a court since 2015. This week marks Cornet's sixth fourth round as she seeks her first Grand Slam quarterfinal appearance in 60 attempts.

In the men's draw, Tsitsipas ended the run of spirited Benoit Paire (14.83) in four sets. The 23-year-old Greek was so engrossed in the battle, he didn't realize he had won it.



INSIGHTS Predicts Next Women's Matches to Watch

No. 27 seed Danielle Collins (12.94) ended the run of young Dane Clara Tauson (12.77) in a 4-6 6-4 7-5 battle, and she could upset No. 19 seed Elise Mertens (12.71). Per INSIGHTS, the 28-year-old American has a favorable 64% chance. Collins beat the 26-year-old Belgian in Chicago last year in straight sets, and has been as far as the semifinals in Melbourne Park, in 2019.

"I was getting pretty hard on myself... " Collins said of her win over Tauson. "I needed to just try to get my rhythm back and get into some long rallies, and really make her play and work for it. We're gonna be seeing some really good results from her going forward, so it's going to be exciting."

In other women's results, unseeded Sorana Cirstea (12.49) upset No. 10 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (12.85) and may challenge Iga Swiatek (13.06) for a place in the quarterfinals. Cirstea has been to the quarterfinals of a major just once, in 2009 at Roland Garros.

Swiatek, the 2020 Roland Garros champion, has a 79% chance of advancing in her first meeting with the 31-year-old Romanian. Swiatek has the edge in every INSIGHTS head-to-head category, and just topped Daria Kasatkina (12.80), 6-2, 6-3.



INSIGHTS Predicts Next Men's Matches to Watch

Former US Open champion and No. 27 seed Marin Cilic (15.52) upset fifth seed Andrey Rublev (15.69) in four sets, and will next try to take out No. 9 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime (15.62). INSIGHTS had given the slightly more favorable odds to Rublev at 59% with the Russian holding two wins over Cilic in 2021. But Cilic made the final of the Australian Open in 2018 and has a ton of experience at the Grand Slam level.

INSIGHTS predicts another close one for Cilic: The Croatian has 44% odds of beating Auger-Aliassime thanks largely to a 3-0 career record over the Canadian (with a recent win in the final of Stuttgart last year).

No. 20 seed Taylor Fritz (15.50) will look to challenge Tsitsipas after he took out No. 15 Roberto Bautista Agut (15.40) in five sets to reach his first Grand Slam fourth round. Per INSIGHTS, the 24-year-old American has a 32% chance of pulling off the upset against Tsitsipas. The Greek has the advantage in every category including trending UTR Rating, win-loss record, and best win, and has scored two career wins over Fritz (both in 2019).



Honorable Mention

Unseeded Maxime Cressy (15.04) beat wild card Christopher O’Connell (15.19) to set up a fourth-round showdown with tournament favorite and No. 2 seed Daniil Medvedev (16.22). Before this week, the best Cressy (a 24-year-old former UCLA Bruin) had done in Australia was making the second round as a qualifier last year.

Fellow unseeded dark horse Kaia Kanepi (12.44) beat wild card Maddison Inglis (11.70) to reach her first Australian Open fourth round. The 36-year-old Estonian will be seeking her seventh career Grand Slam quarterfinal when she takes on No. 2 seed Aryna Sabalenka (13.10).


Stay tuned for more from INSIGHTS, and to learn more about Universal Tennis, click here.

•UTR Ratings and INSIGHTS probabilities as of 9 a.m. EST, Jan. 22, 2022.

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