Half of the semi-final draw for the 2016 Australian Open has been confirmed, with four places still on the line on Wednesday.
Andy Murray will be looking to book his place in a sixth Australian Open semi-final when he meets David Ferrer. The second seed was a beaten finalist in 2015, the fourth time that he has left Melbourne Park as a runner-up.
Standing in his way is eighth seed Ferrer, the only quarter-finalist yet to drop a set. The pair have met on 18 occasions, with Murray leading the head-to-head 12-6, with four of Ferrer’s victories coming on clay.
It’s not the first time that Murray and Ferrer have met in Melbourne either. Five years ago Murray triumphed in five sets to progress to the final. Ferrer may be 33, but the Spaniard continues to run like he’s a decade younger; a win against the Road Runner never comes easily.
On the line for Murray and Ferrer is a semi-final meeting with either 13th seed Milos Raonic or 23rd seed Gael Monfils. There can perhaps be no greater contrasting styles than those of Raonic and Monfils. The big-serving Canadian and the charismatic Frenchman may go about their game in different ways, but both methods have proven successful at the year’s first grand slam.
Monfils and Raonic have only met twice previously, with Monfils bagging the win both times. Raonic has only lost two sets on his way to the quarter-finals (both in his fourth-round clash with Stan Wawrinka), but he’s been on court for nearly 10 hours compared to the seven-and-a-half of Monfils.
In the women’s draw, Victoria Azarenka has the air of a women on a mission. The former world number one has looked in top form this year, winning a warm-up tournament in Brisbane before producing four dominating performances in Melbourne. Next on her list of potential victims is Angelique Kerber.
The German has never beaten Azarenka in six previous meetings, and will be aiming for her first grand slam semi-final appearance since 2012.
Wednesday’s second quarter-final is the coming together of two fairytales. Neither Johanna Konta nor Shuai Zhang could have dreamed that they would be fighting it out for a spot in the final four of a grand slam.
Konta, the world number 47 from Britain, is making her first appearance in the main draw at the Australian Open, having failed to qualify for three straight years. Zhang meanwhile had not won a grand slam first round match in 14 attempts. Regardless of who triumphs in this one, it’s been an amazing ride for both ladies.
Rod Laver Arena
KERBER, Angelique (GER)  vs AZARENKA, Victoria (BLR) 
KONTA, Johanna (GBR) vs ZHANG, Shuai (CHN)
FERRER, David (ESP)  vs MURRAY, Andy (GBR) 
MONFILS, Gael (FRA)  vs RAONIC, Milos (CAN) 
HINGIS, Martina (SUI) / MIRZA, Sania (IND)  vs GOERGES, Julia (GER) / PLISKOVA, Karolina (CZE)