For the second year running, No.1 seed Ashleigh Barty and No.7 seed Petra Kvitova clash in the quarterfinals. The past year has seen Barty turn around their rivalry impressively: Kvitova scored two wins in last year's Australian summer, 1-6, 7-5, 7-6(3) in the Sydney final and 6-1, 6-4 here, to extend a dominant head-to-head record to 4-0 - but since then Barty has won all three of their meetings (in the Miami and Beijing quarterfinals and WTA Finals round robin) to cut that lead to 4-3. Indeed, Barty now leads the hardcourt head-to-head 3-2.
In a battle between first-time Grand Slam quarterfinalists, No.14 seed Sofia Kenin holds a 3-1 record over Ons Jabeur - and has gone on to win the tournament after each win. Their first two meetings came in green clay US ITF events, with Kenin triumphing 6-4, 6-1 in the 2016 Wesley Chapel $25K (en route to her maiden ITF title) and Jabeur gaining a 6-3, 6-1 revenge in the 2017 Indian Harbour Beach $80K. On the WTA Tour, they have met twice, both times in 2019, with the American saving two set points to win 7-6(6), 6-3 in the second round of Hobart (en route to her maiden WTA title), and then again via retirement in the second round of Mallorca (en route to her second WTA title).
Ons Jabeur is the first Arab woman and Tunisian to reach the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam, and the first Arab player - male or female - in the last eight of a major since Morocco's former ATP World No.22 Hicham Arazi at the 2004 Australian Open. Jabeur is also the first African woman in the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam since South Africa's Amanda Coetzer at the 2001 Australian Open, and is seeking to become the first African major semifinalist since Coetzer at Roland Garros 1997.
World No.1 Ashleigh Barty is competing in her third career Grand Slam quarterfinal, and second in a row at her home major, where she is bidding to become the first Australian woman to reach the semifinals since Wendy Turnbull in 1984.
Last year's runner-up Petra Kvitova has reached her 12th Grand Slam quarterfinal this week, and fourth here in Melbourne. A win to reach her seventh Grand Slam semifinal would also mark the first time that the Czech has made the last four of a major in consecutive years since Wimbledon 2010-11. Kvitova has a 6-5 overall record in major quarterfinals, including 2-1 at the Australian Open, with her only loss coming to Vera Zvonareva in 2011.
Ons Jabeur is bidding to extend the Australian Open's streak of at least one unseeded semifinalist into a sixth year, joining Madison Keys in 2015, Johanna Konta in 2016, Mirjana Lucic-Baroni and CoCo Vandeweghe in 2017, Elise Mertens in 2018 and Danielle Collins in 2019. In the bottom half of the draw, Garbiñe Muguruza can also keep this streak alive.
21-year-old Sofia Kenin is the youngest player remaining in the draw, and is aiming to become the first player born in 1998 to reach the last four of a Slam (while Ons Jabeur is bidding to become the third member of the 1994 generation to make a Slam semifinal, following Eugenie Bouchard and Elina Svitolina). For comparison, two 1995-born players have made a Slam semifinal to date (Madison Keys and Elise Mertens), one 1996-born player (Ashleigh Barty), three 1997-born players (Jelena Ostapenko, Naomi Osaka and Belinda Bencic), and one player born in each of 1999 (Marketa Vondrousova), 2000 (Bianca Andreescu) and 2001 (Amanda Anisimova).
Ashleigh Barty will be going for her first ever Top 10 win at a Grand Slam against Petra Kvitova, having lost all five of her previous meetings at majors with players in that echelon. Barty's Slam record against Top 20 players is 2-10, with the second coming on Sunday over Alison Riske. Kvitova, meanwhile, will be bidding for her seventh Grand Slam Top 10 win, and second over a reigning World No.1 after her 2009 US Open third-round upset of Dinara Safina as the 19-year-old World No.72.
Ons Jabeur has defeated three former Top 5 players en route to the quarterfinals - Johanna Konta, Caroline Garcia and Caroline Wozniacki - and is going for her seventh career Top 20 win, and third at a Slam, against Sofia Kenin. By contrast, Kenin is the only quarterfinalist yet to face a Top 30 player.
ORDER OF PLAY
Click here to view the order of play for Day 9 at the Australian Open.
Ons Jabeur's Melbourne run isn't just notable for its historic significance but for showcasing her brilliant talent on a big stage - so where has the Tunisian been all this time, asks Steve Tignor for tennis.com.
Speculation about Ashleigh Barty's ability to handle the pressure of playing her home Slam as World No.1 has been rife - but the Australian has learned to shrug it off by embracing it, writes Alex Sharp for ausopen.com.