How to see: 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) on the tennis channel and 9:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on ESPN2 in the US; Streaming on the ESPN + and ESPN3 apps.
The Australian Open quarter-finals kicks off Monday night with a mix of Grand Slam event champions and unexpected first-time visitors in the final eight for each draw. As the number of games is reduced, fans no longer need to divide their attention.
Here are some games to watch out for.
The times for individual matchups are estimates and may vary depending on how the previous game was completed. All times are east.
Rod Laver Arena | Monday 8:30 p.m.
Hsieh Su-wei versus Naomi Osaka
When asked in 2019 why her games with Naomi Osaka often ended in three sentences, Hsieh Su-wei cheerfully replied, “We love each other too much.” It may have been a joke, but it underscores what makes both players happy makes. There’s a love for the game that bubbles up in the air in different ways for each of them.
Hsieh’s ingenuity has a special place in the modern game. She plays with two hands on either side, mixing unorthodox punches with consistently flat rally points that she can place deep in the field. Adjusting to Hsieh’s game can be a struggle for any player, especially as she can switch to a different style if the first one stops working. This has taken her to eight wins over top 10 players in the past four years, and now Hsieh is the oldest major quarterfinal debutante at 35.
Osaka is one of the most archetypically aggressive players on tour, with a mental resolve that can produce staggering statistics. She was two match points behind Garbiñe Muguruza in the round of 16 and then made no casual mistake on the next 22 points while scoring seven winners to secure the match.
Rod Laver Arena | Monday 11pm
Grigor Dimitrov Aslan Karatsev
Aslan Karatsev from Russia was the first qualifier in over 25 years to reach the quarter-finals of a major tournament. At the start of his last 16 against Felix Auger-Aliassime, he struggled to hit through the ball and was overwhelmed by the Canadian’s shootout. From the third set, however, Karatsev increased his level of play. As with his other three opponents, he dominated Auger-Aliassime with powerful ground shots and impressive yields.
Grigor Dimitrov from Bulgaria, the 18th seed, had an easy journey to the quarter-finals. He didn’t drop a set and didn’t have to end his game in the third round against Pablo Carreño Busta, who retired due to injury. Dimitrov, the 2017 ATP final winner, has never made it through the semifinals of a Grand Slam event (but he has made it to the semifinals in three of the four games). His one-handed backhand was sharp, and because he’s relatively well rested, he may have an advantage over the slightly worn Karatsev.
Rod laver arena | Tuesday, 3 a.m.
Serena Williams versus Simona Halep
Simona Halep defeated the reigning French Open champion Iga Swiatek in the round of 16 and avenged her defeat in Paris in a match in which she only won three games. Afterward, Swiatek praised Halep’s ability to adapt to the game, saying, “That’s the difference between the champions and less experienced players because I didn’t feel like I had many options.” Halep’s adaptability helped her advance to the 2018 Australian Open final. Having won two major titles since then, she is confident she can beat any opponent who even gives her a small opening to exploit.
In her round of 16 against Aryna Sabalenka, Serena Williams prevailed against a young, strong challenger by delving into the defense and forcing Sabalenka to be overly aggressive, leading to easy mistakes. For Williams, a convincing win over a top 10 player is no longer a guarantee. However, it is a statement that the greatest player of the modern age will continue to fight for the 24th record title in a Grand Slam event.
Rod Laver Arena | Tuesday 5 a.m.
Novak Djokovic against Alexander Zverev
Novak Djokovic from Serbia, the number 1 in the world and reigning individual champion of the Australian Open, has to contend with an abdominal injury at this year’s event. He admitted that he took “the maximum amount of pain medication” allowed in his third round match against Taylor Fritz. After beating Milos Raonic in the round of 16, he announced that he had made the decision to play the game only hours before.
Alexander Zverev from Germany, the sixth seed, reached his first Grand Slam final at the United States Open and lost in five sets to Dominic Thiem. Zverev has lost his last four games against Djokovic despite pushing him to three sets in the ATP Cup this month. While Djokovic struggles, Zverev can capitalize on but he must avoid the temptation to extend points in the hopes that Djokovic will wear out. Aggressive, positive play is required to get the defending champions off the field.