x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Tsonga and Djokovic will play it again

Despite losing to Djokovic in the 2008 final here, the Frenchman leads 4-2 in their head-to-head meetings and the Serb admits the Tsonga of 2010 is an upgraded model.

The 2008 men's final will be reprised in today's quarter-finals of the Australian Open while Roger Federer will face his toughest opponent so far in the tournament. The 2008 champion, Novak Djokovic, will face 10th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who he beat in four sets in the final. Despite losing that game, the Frenchman leads 4-2 in their head-to-head meetings and Djokovic admits the Tsonga of 2010 is an upgraded model.

"He's improved so much, and he's a top 10 player. He has been winning the big matches and knows what it feels like to be on a big stage," said Djokovic. "It's going to be very difficult for us. Jo can beat anyone if he's really on the roll and if he starts hitting the ball well." Federer takes on Nikolay Davydenko, who has beaten him in their last two matches, including earlier this month in Doha, and will be wary of the threat posed by the Russian sixth seed who showed resilience and power in his fourth-round win over Fernando Verdasco.

Despite his impressive recent form, Davydenko downplays any suggestion he is the favourite today. "He's already won the Australian Open a few times. He's No 1, I'm No 6. Why do I need to be favourite?" he said. The women's top seed, Serena Williams, takes on seventh seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus. Williams has yet to drop a set in the tournament, and Azarenka admits it will take some performance to beat her. "You have to show your best tennis and be aggressive and try to keep up with her level and be extremely tough," Azarenka said.

Sixth seeded Venus Williams will look to set up a potential semi-final clash with sister Serena when she takes on China's Na Li in today's opening match on Rod Laver Arena. Li won the pair's only previous encounter at the 2008 Olympics but Williams is confident she can overcome the 16th seed this time around. "I'm ready to go and I feel very well," she said. @Email:sports@thenational.ae Abu Dhabi Sports 2