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Australian Open - Day nine preview: Stefanos Tsitsipas takes centre stage

Day nine at the Australian Open marks the start of the quarter-finals and Greek third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas is the star of the show as he prepares to take on impressive Czech youngster Jiri Lehecka.

Tsitsipas, who came through a five-set epic with Italian ace Jannik Sinner in the previous round, is fully expected to see off the challenge of Lehecka and is 7/2 to go on and claim a first Grand Slam crown.

The winner of that quarter-final clash will face either Karen Khachanov or Sebastian Korda in the final four.

There are two mouthwatering last-eight encounters taking place in the women's draw too, with Jessica Pegula tackling two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka and Wimbledon winner Elena Rybakina meeting former French Open heroine Jelena Ostapenko.

Tsitsipas' experience should count for plenty

WhatStefanos Tsitsipas v Jiri Lehecka
WhereMelbourne Park, Melbourne
When00:00, Tuesday 24th January
How to watchEurosport, discovery+ and bet365's Sports Live Streaming
OddsStefanos Tsitsipas 1/7, Jiri Lehecka 9/2

Tsitsipas rarely fails to perform in the showpiece events and the gifted Greek should be confident of making his fourth Australian Open semi-final in the last five years.

Having also finished runner-up at the French Open in the early stages of his career, Tsitsipas is evidently edging closer to a maiden Grand Slam title and there's no reason why he can't challenge for silverware in Melbourne.

The 24-year-old dug deep to see off Sinner in five sets in his fourth-round showdown, meaning he has now won his last 11 matches, and Lehecka needs a career-best effort in order to land a knockout blow.

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That said, the 21-year-old Czech talent has shown great quality and composure throughout this tournament and wins over seeded stars Borna Coric, Cameron Norrie and Felix Auger-Aliassime say underestimate him at your peril.

That form gives him every chance of clinching at least a set, just as he did in his only previous meeting with Tsitsipas when losing in the ATP Rotterdam semi-final last February.

With that in mind, backing Tsitsipas to triumph but Lehecka to get a set on the board at 6/5 makes great appeal.

Korda ready to break new ground

WhatKaren Khachanov v Sebastian Korda
WhereMelbourne Park, Melbourne
When02:00, Tuesday 24th January
How to watchEurosport, discovery+ and bet365's Sports Live Streaming
OddsKaren Khachanov 11/10, Sebastian Korda 8/11

This is a first Grand Slam quarter-final for American ace Sebastian Korda, but he already looks primed to go one better by making the last four.

Khachanov has already made a Grand Slam semi-final in his career, having done so at the US Open last year, but while the Russian is a quality operator, Korda may have the greater potential.

The 22-year-old Floridian suggested that he could be poised for a deep run at the Australian Open after his preparations for the event concluded with a run to the Adelaide International final.

In that event, Korda claimed the scalps of Andy Murray and Sinner before bumping into Novak Djokovic, who was able to come from a set down to take the title.

And the 29th seed has certainly built on those performances at Melbourne Park, recording victories over last year's runner-up Daniil Medvedev and Polish world number 11 Hubert Hurkacz.

Khachanov, meanwhile, has faced only one top-32 performer on his path to the final eight and he did lose on both hard-court meetings with Korda in 2022.

That makes Korda a standout bet at 8/11 to seal a semi-final spot and the American is 17/2 to rule the roost in Melbourne.

Former Grand Slam champions tough to split

WhatElena Rybakina v Jelena Ostapenko
WhereMelbourne Park, Melbourne
When02:00, Tuesday 24th January
How to watchEurosport, discovery+ and bet365's Sports Live Streaming
OddsElena Rybakina 4/9, Jelena Ostapenko 7/4

Last year's Wimbledon champion Rybakina has shown her surface versatility in Australia and wins over world number one Iga Swiatek and last season's runner-up Danielle Collins make her a legitimate title contender.

The classy Kazakh performer had never gone beyond the third-round of a hard-court Grand Slam before her Australian adventure, but is now 4/9 to make the semi-final of one by beating Ostapenko.

The problem is that the Latvian should also be brimming with confidence after her convincing 7-5 6-3 win over in-form seventh seed Cori Gauff in the previous round.

Given Ostapenko has also won both previous meetings with Rybakina, this is a tricky match-up to call and is perhaps a quarter-final encounter that could take some settling.

The two former Grand Slam champions could put on a show at Melbourne Park and quotes of 6/5 about this going to a deciding set is ultimately where the value lies.

Pegula's irresistible form may continue

WhatJessica Pegula v Victoria Azarenka
WhereMelbourne Park, Melbourne
When02:00, Tuesday 24th January
How to watchEurosport, discovery+ and bet365's Sports Live Streaming
OddsJessica Pegula 4/11, Victoria Azarenka 11/5

Pegula has started the year in scintillating form and the American third seed will be hoping to make it third time lucky against Victoria Azarenka.

Having suffered defeat in the quarter-final in each of the last two years in Melbourne, hopes are high that Pegula can eventually end that hoodoo.

Azarenka is a two-time champion of the Australian Open and she does save her best efforts for her visits Down Under.

But those title triumphs came way back in 2012 and 2013 and in Pegula she is facing an opponent operating at the peak of her powers.

The Belarusian has been forced to come from a set down against Madison Keys and Lin Zhu in the previous two rounds but Pegula, who has won all eight of her matches in 2023 in straight sets, is a big hike in class.

Pegula is 4/11 for victory but there could be value in siding with her stamping her authority again in a 2-0 win, which is available at 11/10.

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