Unbelievable, just when it looked like Djokovic was starting to look his old self. Wild Card Denis Istomin has caused a massive upset that I simply didn’t see coming. I’ve never been one of Nole’s biggest fans to be honest, but I’ve actually started to feel sorry for him right now! He’s just not himself. When push came to shove here against Istomin, he couldn’t raise his game to get him over the line. There is no doubting Istomin played well and his aggression, particularly in both tie breaks gave him every chance come the decider. 72 Unforced Errors off the Djokovic racket isn’t normal. Normally so reliable and solid off the ground he has become unusually vulnerable in longer exchanges. This is always going to breed confidence into your opponent. So in just under five hours, in Andy Roddick’s words “‘Schmovak Schmokovic'” has been beaten by Istomin 7/6(8) 5/7 2/ 6 7/6(5) 6/4. “There’s not much I could do. Of course, I was not pleased with my performance overall. But, you know, I have to congratulate my opponent today.” Kyle Edmund blew his chance of a supposed match up with Djokovic, in a very poor display against Pablo Carreno Busta. I was expecting a lot more from Edmund here,not underestimating his opponent. Carreno Busta is a useful operator, but I just expected a better performance. Far too many errors and a failure to break serve throughout will hurt, 6/2 6/4 6/2 was as emphatic as it sounds. Djokovic’s defeat was sandwiched in-between Milos Raonic comfortably beating Gilles Muller in straight sets and Nadal doing the same to Marcos Baghdatis. I still feel Raonic doesn’t gets the respect he deserves as the World Number 3. His results justify it and he’s right there now, not just making the numbers up to reach a Semi-Final and roll over. Muller has been on fire recently and to Win in Straights is impressive. Nadal also looks in good shape this season, I have fallen into this trap a few times with him before though. Baghdatis has always been a good match up for him, so it was today dropping just 7 games. He faces Alex Zverev next after the German won the battle of the 19 year olds, beating Frances Tiafoe 6/2 6/3 6/4. These two will probably see a fair bit of each other in the coming years, Zverev certainly physically more developed right now. Another two that will face off in the next round after Wins are Grigor Dimitrov and Richard Gasquet. I’m looking forward to this, should be a cracker! I enjoy watching both these lads as do most. Dimitrov beat Hyeon Chung in four sets. Chung played really well today, another youngster with a promising future ahead. Gasquet thumped Carlos Berlocq for the loss of just 3 games. There were also wins today for Gael Monfils and David Goffin, Stepanek certainly looked crocked and had the trainer out against Goffin. I read some comments from Dominic Thiem after his win over Jordan Thompson, saying thats the best he’s played in some time. That bottom Quarter now looks very open and highly competitive. On a Final note in the Men’s,Sounds like Fognini met his match after his five set defeat to Benoit Paire.”He’s very hard to understand. Fires an ace, plays a short ball, does not give you pace and much continuity and is therefore very difficult to play against ….. I struggle with these players who do not give me rhythm” This would of been a great match to have watched. I haven’t heard any reports of tantrums, racket smashing or sulking though strangely. Plus the amount of shot making on offer here would of been great value in its own right!
In The Women’s Singles, Serena Williams, Karolina Pliskova and Johanna Konta all impressed. Serena Won a very high quality match against Lucie Safarova 6/3 6/4.Firing down 15 Aces here, she upped her return game at the end of both sets to break her opponent, a single break each set being enough. This was a good test for Williams as Safarova kept her on her toes today. Rallies most ending in a winner here. Williams just took her level up that extra notch when it mattered. Konta had earlier fended off an early attack from Naomi Osaka to Win 6/4 6/2. The way Konta is serving at that moment is impressive, its seven straight wins now. Will this be her undoing? Three straight weeks is unchartered territory for her. Caroline Wozniacki is up next after her comfortable victory over Donna Vekic. Karolina Pliskova has dropped just 4 games on her way to the Last 32. Anna Blinkova was smashed 6/0 6/2, Blinkova landing just 9% of First Serves in first set due to nerves. Pliskova hasn’t even started to serve to her level this Tournament yet,and is still getting the job done very easily with her heavy ground strokes. Aggy Radwanska the 3rd seed has lost to veteran Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 6/3 6/2. I didn’t actually catch any of this but its very evident that the Croat was on fire today. Most crucially for her she kept the unforced errors count down, when she does that she’s a game for most. It sounds a case of the ball being dropped too short and getting punished. A-Rad said “I knew what to expect but, shooting, not playing, is the right word for that game. In or out. That’s it. It went so quickly. I was trying different things but everything was coming full power to my side. Hard to do anything.” Heather Watson suffered a poor loss to Jennifer Brady 10/8 in the Third. Watson blew Five Match Points, in a match that only she will know how she lost. She paid the ultimate price for not being attacking enough here. Letting her opponent off the hook in rallies. There were also Wins For Dominika Cibulkova and Ekaterina Makarova, who will face off in the Last 32. Cibulkova beating Su-Wei Hsieh and Sara Errani pulling out, at a set and 3/2 down against Makarova. Both players also have form at this Tournament.
Andy Del Potro