- Associated Press - Saturday, January 23, 2016

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) - Defending and six-time champion Serena Williams faces her second unheralded Russian in a row at the Australian Open on Sunday. If she wins her fourth-round match, she could play yet another Russian in the quarterfinals - the most well-known and successful player from the country.

Williams takes on 21-year-old Margarita Gasparyan in the fourth round after beating 18-year-old Daria Kasatkina in the third. Next up could be Maria Sharapova in a replay of last year’s final, won by Williams.

Neither player is looking ahead to that possible rematch just yet. Sharapova also has another match to play first against 12th-seeded Belinda Bencic on Sunday.

The top-ranked Williams beat Gasparyan 6-4, 6-1 in the first round at Wimbledon last year when the now 58th-ranked Russian was a qualifier.

If the unwritten rule is not to criticize your opponent ahead of a match, Williams went to the opposite extreme.

“She has a great forehand up the line,” Williams said of Gasparyan. “She has a good serve. She mixes up the ball well. I thought she played really well at Wimbledon. She was fearless. She’s obviously made leaps and bounds since then, gained a lot of confidence.”

Here are some other things to watch among the other fourth-round matches Sunday:

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HIGH EXPECTATIONS: Novak Djokovic continues his quest for a sixth title at Melbourne Park when he takes on Frenchman Gilles Simon, whom he’s beaten in nine out of 10 career matches. Djokovic, who won three Grand Slam tournaments in 2015 and has 11 titles overall, said that with this kind of success comes lofty expectations. “After the season that I’ve had, 2015, anything aside from a title or a final is not a success,” Djokovic said after his third-round win over Andreas Seppi. “There’s kind of just an energy, a feel, around you that is created by people close to you, the media, the tennis world, so forth, because of this high expectation.” He said familiarity helps. “I’ve been trying to keep the same team of people around me and follow the kind of a lifestyle that I think works for me that got me to where I am. Try not to pay too much attention on certain speculations, predictions and so forth, because that can cause a distraction that I don’t need.”

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THE OTHER MEN: Third-seeded Roger Federer plays David Goffin in a night match on Rod Laver Arena as he attempts to win his fifth Australian Open title and first Grand Slam since Wimbledon in 2012. No. 6 Tomas Berdych plays No. 24 Roberto Bautista Agut and seventh-seeded Kei Nishikori takes on 2008 runner-up Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The Djokovic-Simon winner plays the Nishikori-Tsonga winner in the quarterfinals, while it’ll be the Federer-Goffin victor vs. Berdych or Bautista Agut in the other quarter.

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FROM RUSSIA, WITH LOVE: Australia hasn’t taken long to fall in love with Russian-born Daria Gavrilova - and winning certainly helps. Gavrilova, who became a permanent resident in 2013 and received her Australian passport in December, is the only Australian woman left in the singles draw. She plays 10th-seeded Carla Suarez Navarro in a night match on Rod Laver Arena. Local crowds love her heart-on-her-sleeve mannerisms on court - falling to her knees in desperation when she misses a shot, smiling broadly when she hits a winner, and making hilariously funny comments in post-match, on-court interviews in her Russian-Australian accent. “I am very emotional,” she says. “I get frustrated with myself, and I guess I show it. Sometimes I shouldn’t be. When I’m happy, I guess I show it as well.”

The Gavrilova-Suarez Navarro winner plays the winner of the other fourth-round match between No. 4 Agnieszka Radwanska and Anne-Lena Friedsam.

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