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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 11 December 2018

Federer and Djokovic back in action: Australian Open matches to watch on Day 8

Fourth-round action continues in Melbourne, with Kerber and Berdych facing tricky opponents on Monday

Roger Federer has had a relatively easy three rounds at the Australian Open. Tracey Nearmy / EPA
Roger Federer has had a relatively easy three rounds at the Australian Open. Tracey Nearmy / EPA

Ahead of the eighth day of action at the Australian Open on Monday, the first grand slam tournament of the 2018 tennis season, here are some of the main matches to watch out for. All times mentioned are UAE (+4 GMT).

The full schedule for Monday's play on the main show courts can be found here.

Caroline Garcia found form towards the end of 2017 following back surgery. Dean Lewins / EPA
Caroline Garcia found form towards the end of 2017 following back surgery. Dean Lewins / EPA

Madison Keys (USA X 17) v Caroline Garcia (FRA X 8)

First match on Rod Laver Arena, 4am start

On paper Caroline Garcia is the favourite to win: she clinched back-to-back titles towards the end of last year and moved to the top 10 of the women's rankings. But Keys reached the US Open final last year before getting beaten by fellow American Sloane Stephens. Both Garcia and Keys are big hitters of the ball and will look to be aggressive against each other, especially early on. It will be a fun match to watch.

Angelique Kerber will have received a boost from her win over Maria Sharapova. Tracey Nearmy / EPA
Angelique Kerber will have received a boost from her win over Maria Sharapova. Tracey Nearmy / EPA

Hsieh Su-wei (TPE) v Angelique Kerber (GER X 21)

Second match on Rod Laver Arena, likely 6-7pm start

This match has a favourite on paper, too: Kerber. But the German will not take her opponent for granted. Hsieh has already slayed two giants - in a manner of speaking, of course - in consecutive rounds. First she shocked Garbine Mugurza. Then she stunned Agnieszka Radwanska. Known to be a doubles specialist, Hsieh is an experienced pro and has reached the fourth round at Melbourne once before. She will not be easy to beat, but Kerber has beaten her the only time the two have met on court. The 2016 champion is also in brilliant form this year and will be buoyed by her success against Maria Sharapova.

Marton Fucsovics (HUN) v Roger Federer (SUI X 2)

Third match on Rod Laver Arena, likely 9-10am start

While this match looks one-sided, people will likely tune in to watch because Federer is playing. For good reason, too: the reigning champion has been playing some great tennis, albeit under not a lot of pressure. But at 37, he still has plenty of tennis lessons to impart. Besides, it will be interesting to see how he is dealing physically ahead of the business end of the tournament. This match has straight sets written all over it, but it will still be a treat to watch.

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Novak Djokovic has been in good form despite a question mark over his fitness. Scott Barbour / Getty Images
Novak Djokovic has been in good form despite a question mark over his fitness. Scott Barbour / Getty Images

Novak Djokovic (SRB X 14) v Chung Hyeon (KOR)

First match of evening session on Rod Laver Arena, noon start

The only question mark over Djokovic's bid to win a men's record seventh singles title in Melbourne is his fitness. The Serb arrived here with a suspect elbow, which continues to nursed as he prepares for a difficult opponent in Chung. The South Korean will arrive on court fresh from a remarkable win over Alexander Zverev, and he is likely to pose a stiff challenge to the former world No 1. Djokovic may still go on to win, but not before he is severely tested by the 21-year-old Asian player.

Tomas Berdych was in total control during his win over Juan Martin del Potro. Toru Hanai / Reuters
Tomas Berdych was in total control during his win over Juan Martin del Potro. Toru Hanai / Reuters

Fabio Fognini (ITA X 25) v Tomas Berdych (CZE X 19)

Second match on Margaret Court Arena, likely 10am start

This match is probably too close to call - the closest of the five matches to watch on Monday. Fognini is a confident player who backs himself up and - as the cliche goes - express himself. But he can also be rash. On the other hand, Berdych has all the weapons at his disposal to win, especially a world-class service game. But he can also be brittle when the pressure is on him. Having said that, he has made a strong statement in 2018 - after suffering a few setbacks last year - by beating the formidable Juan Martin del Potro in the previous round.