MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Barbora Strycova expects to do a lot of running against Serena Williams in their Australian Open fourth round tie at Rod Laver Arena on Monday but the diminutive Czech will be no pushover for the world number two.
“She’s a powerful player, and I’m so small,” said 16th seed Strycova, who stands just over 5 feet 4 inches (1.64m).
“I run a lot, but … I have to do it. Otherwise I can’t play tennis. Without my legs, I cannot hit a ball!
“I will have to work hard and play my best tennis to beat Serena, because she is an amazing player (and) … it’s going to be a tough one, but I am also a tough player to play.”
The world number two said despite having only played Strycova twice she had a fair idea of what to expect.
“I have seen her play a lot. I saw her play in Sydney,” Williams said of Strycova’s run to the semi-final. “She’s super fit. She has a good game. She’s very aggressive, so that would be nice to play.”
Britain’s ninth seed Johanna Konta could set up a last-eight showdown with Williams if she gets past tricky Russian left-hander Ekaterina Makarova, who has a habit of knocking seeds out at the Australian Open.
Men’s ninth seed Rafa Nadal also continues his renaissance with a clash against the enigmatic Gael Monfils, who made the semi-finals at Flushing Meadows last year.
Third seed Milos Raonic, if he gets past Roberto Bautista Agut on Hisense Arena, will face the winner of that match in the last eight though he has been struggling due to illness.
(Writing by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Peter Rutherford)