Day 6, Konta Ousts Wozniacki, Pliskova Survives & Rafa gets Over Line!

Johanna Konta has progressed to the Last 16 of The Australian Open  after a 6/3 6/1 demolition of Caroline Wozniacki. The Brit had all the answers for Wozniacki, pulling her all over the Court before dispatching  Winner after Winner. The Serve has also looked a huge weapon especially in recent weeks, today was no different. Her Win in Sydney means she is riding  high on confidence  and in this form She will give anyone a game. Wozniacki said “I think if she keeps playing like this, then she has good chances against Serena.” This is a match that should it happen (its odds on to), I’m fully aware Serena is going to have to be right on it!.  She Will play Ekaterina Makarova next after the Russian Won a topsy-turvy encounter against Dominkia Cibulkova. Makarova led by a set and 4-0 here before losing the plot. Berating herself between points and letting Cibulkova dictate she found herself back at one set all. In the Third it seemed inevitable Cibulkova would nick it. The key game was at 3-3 where Cibulkova failed t0 break with both players having chances. Slightly too erratic today Cibulkova, Makarova 6/2 6/7(3) 6/3.Karolina Pliskova came from *5/2 down in the Third to beat Latvian Jelena Ostapenko 4/6 6/0 10/8. Ostapenko served for it twice here and quite clearly tightened up. Pliskova just kept her level and once back on Serve you knew it was done. She Served huge from 3/5 and didn’t let Ostapenko have a sniff. Both players hammering 87 Winners between them here. Ostapenko painting the lines at times in this one in particular. The Latvian looks to have a big game so lets if her mental side can improve, she’s got time at just 19. In the Last 16 Pliskova will play Daria Gavroliva after the Aussie beat Timea Bacsinszky in the first of the night session matches on Rod Laver. A nervy match this one where both players had their chances. Gavrilova breaking at 4/5 in Third after both players had relinquished break leads in the decider. Serena progressed with minimal fuss as she disposed over Nicole Gibbs 6/1 6/3. I wouldn’t say there was the same intensity as her previous Wins against Bencic and Safarova, but it wasn’t needed as Gibbs struggled with the occasion. Williams raced into a 4-1 lead start despite being a notoriously slow starter and never really looked back. Her Last 16 Opponent is Barbora Strycova who beat Caroline Garcia of France, keeping up her good record against the French Player. This will be a different test  for Serena, Strycova will be buzzing all over the Court and she will need to remain focused as this is a player who can frustrate you….and herself at times. The last Fourth Round encounter is made up of Jennifer Brady and Mirjana Lucic-Baroni who beat Elena Vesnina and Maria Sakkari respectively. Lucic looked to be struggling badly with a left thigh injury, but Won the Last Two sets. The American Brady, who defeated Heather Watson has claimed the biggest scalp of her career by beating the 14th Seeded Russian.

Rafa Nadal came back from two sets to one down against Alexander Zverev. The youngster was close here, though ultimately his body let him down, in what looked like cramping. Nadal is unquestionably playing better but this match might just show that he is still vulnerable. When he was aggressive Zverev hit through Nadal’s barriers especially in the third set breaker, the Spaniard also handing opportunities to his opponent at times and struggling to contain the German’s delivery. Zverev will almost certainly be the real deal but this was an opportunity missed today. Rafa said after his 4/6 6/3 6/7(5) 6/3 6/2“Very tough match for me, I didn’t start playing my best and I wasn’t feeling too good at the start.” Gael Monfils awaits after his usual victory over Philipp Kohlschreiber, its 13-2 Monfils now. This is always a good match when these two play and should be nice on the eye, so I’m looking forward to this one. I haven’t seen much of Monfils this Tournament but he’s been getting the job done. Vesely, Dolgopolov and Kohlschreiber have been taken for the loss of just one set.  Milos Raonic beats Gilles Simon and afterwards said he had a fever for the last 48 hours. Could be one of those days where he got the job done should he make the Final here, I think he will! He plays Roberto Bautista Agut in the Last 16 after his victory over his old pal David Ferrer in 4. This will be another match up that will be similar to today for him. One that will be awkward but he should have too much firepower for. Dominic Thiem won a strange match, unsurprisingly involving Benoit Paire also in Four Sets. Thiem having several medical timeouts here for a right shoulder problem. He actually got broke three times in the Fourth Set and still won it, so it looks a classic Paire match to me. His Fourth Round opponent is David Goffin who battered Ivo Karlovic 6/3 6/2 6/4. Karlovic looked tired here from his earlier rounds, the match against Zeballos taking its toll. The Belgian didn’t have a break point to save and will fancy his chances on making the last 8 now. Sadly I fell asleep so missed Dimitrov v Gasquet which I was looking forward to. Reports only suggest it was an exceptionally one side affair though as Dimitrov ran away with it 6/3 6/2 6/4. The Frenchman seemingly not turning up here and Dimitrov dominating him in a match that finished just after 2am in Melbourne. Denis Istomin toppled Pablo Carreno Busta in a 5 set thriller setting up an encounter with the impressive Dimitrov.

Andy Del Potro

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