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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 11 December 2018

Nadal, Dimitrov and Wozniacki bid for semi-final spots: Australian Open matches to watch on Day 9

It is the first day of quarter-final matches on Tuesday in Melbourne.

Rafael Nadal takes on Marin Cilic for a place in the semi-finals of the Australian Open on Tuesday. Clive Brunskill / Getty Images
Rafael Nadal takes on Marin Cilic for a place in the semi-finals of the Australian Open on Tuesday. Clive Brunskill / Getty Images

Ahead of the ninth day of action at the Australian Open on Tuesday, 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).

Elina Svitolina has only dropped one set in her route through to the quarter-finals. Tracey Nearmy / EPA
Elina Svitolina has only dropped one set in her route through to the quarter-finals. Tracey Nearmy / EPA

Elise Mertens (Belgium) v 4-Elina Svitolina (Ukraine)

Second match on Rod Laver Arena, likely to start around 6am

It has largely been serene progress for Svitolina so far. Apart from dropping the first set to Katerina Siniakova in the second round she has been largely untroubled.

World No 37 Mertens is on her best run at a grand slam, but the Belgian may find the raw power of Svitolina too much to handle.

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Read more

Roger Federer becomes oldest men's player since Jimmy Connors in 1991 to reach a grand slam quarter-final

Time for Grigor Dimitrov to deliver on his promise

Angelique Kerber survives scare to set-up quarter-final clash with Madison Keys

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Grigor Dimitrov beat Tuesday's opponent Kyle Edmund in Brisbane earlier in January. Darrian Traynor / Getty Images
Grigor Dimitrov beat Tuesday's opponent Kyle Edmund in Brisbane earlier in January. Darrian Traynor / Getty Images

3-Grigor Dimitrov (Bulgaria) v Kyle Edmund (Great Britain)

Third match on Rod Laver Arena, likely to start around 8am

Dimitrov reached the semi-finals 12 months ago and the Bulgarian is strong favourite to repeat that feat on Tuesday. He beat Edmund in three sets in Brisbane earlier this month. Edmund has shown impressive mettle in reaching his first major quarter-final, but this is probably a game too far for the 23 year old.

Marin Cilic has only beaten Rafael Nadal once, and that was in 2009. Andy Brownbill / AP Photo
Marin Cilic has only beaten Rafael Nadal once, and that was in 2009. Andy Brownbill / AP Photo

1-Rafael Nadal (Spain) v 6-Marin Cilic (Croatia)

First night match on Rod Laver Arena, noon

This should be the first real test of just how good Nadal's stamina and overall health is. Diego Schwartzman pushed him hard in the fourth round but lacked the consistency when it mattered to take advantage of the openings the world No 1 gave him.

Cilic, the 2014 US Open, does have the experience to capitalise if Nadal is slightly off-key. But the Spaniard has only lost one of his six meetings with Cilic, and that was in 2009, and he should triumph again, though it may take four sets to do so.

Second seed Caroline Wozniacki has not dropped a set since facing, and saving, match points in the second round. Mark Cristino / EPA
Second seed Caroline Wozniacki has not dropped a set since facing, and saving, match points in the second round. Mark Cristino / EPA

Carla Suarez Navarro (Spain) v 2-Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark)

Second match on Rod Laver Arena, likely to start no earlier than 2.30pm

Wozniacki is still hunting for her first grand slam title and given how open the draw is this is a real strong chance for the Dane to triumph at the 43rd attempt.

She had a real scare in the second round as she came from 5-1 down in the final set and saved match points to get past Jana Fett and she has not dropped a set since then.

Suarez Navarro at 29 has the experience to trouble Wozniacki and she did win their last encounter in Madrid last May in three sets.