Unbelievable, just when it all looked primed for Andy Murray to land his First Australian Open Title, Mischa Zverev has dumped him out in the Last 16. The German has had some good results since the end of Last Year, Wawrinka in Basel being one of his scalps but nothing on this scale or even remotely close. Today a mixture of Serve and Volley, patient baseline play and the unorthodox Forehand being an exceptionally useful weapon, undid Muzza. He made the Court look very small for Murray and each point seemed a slog or the pressure of a passing shot was put at his doorstep. I feel for Murray, this would of been a nice addition to the Trophy Cabinet and nobody could of argued had he Won here. He had his chances as you would expect, being breaks up and relinquishing them was the norm though. This certainly wasn’t Murray at anywhere near his best, losing four straight games and the set with it in the opener. This was followed at the start of the third (where I expected him to kick on having just levelled the match) by losing seven consecutive games. Not what you expect from him to say the least. Once being a break down in the Fourth he could not get it back to parity and with it went the Match, as Mischa coolly served it out with a 7/5 5/7 6/2 6/4 victory to keep the Zverev Family name real in Australia. Murray said “Just wasn’t meant to be. He served very well when he needed to, especially when he was behind in games. Yeah, he deserved to win because, you know, he played great when he was down, and also in the important moments”. Murray will go away and asses the situation now with surely the French at the front of his mind. Zverev will go on to play Roger Federer after he beat Nishikori in 5 sets in the opening Night Session Match. Federer had several wobbles here, being 5-2 (double break) down the in the opener before taking it to a tie break and losing it. He then played two big sets of Tennis, dominating again with the Forehand as Nishikori had few answers. It looked like it was done and dusted as Federer was pressing for a break early in in Fourth. He scuppered break points though and Nishikori went and broke with some big forehand play of his own taking it the distance. Federer broke at the start of the Fifth and never looked back from there. He has now been installed as the bookies favourite. I still think he will get beat but we will see, its a great opportunity for him it goes without saying. Stan Wawrinka could be that Man after he laboured to a 7/6(2) 7/6(4) 7/6(4) Victory over the awkward Andreas Seppi. Stan wasn’t at his best here again, but you feel he is starting to zone in now. He was breaks down in sets one and three before rallying. He upped his game in each breaker to flash a few winners and that was good enough. He will fancy making the Final now and when he’s on he’s on. He will face Jo-Wilfred Tsonga next after he ended Dan Evans chances here. The Brit came out playing very well and this was a good match to watch with both playing being aggressive from the baseline and happy to come in and volley. Really nice to see Two players playing this style as a match up, in an era where people don’t seem to trust their volleying ability by and large. Tsonga didn’t lose his Serve throughout though and after Evans took the First on a breaker, he found himself constantly under pressure on his own delivery there after. Tsonga also looks like he’s playing well now, so this should be a decent match against Stan with the Winner taking on Zverev or Federer in the Semi-Final. For Evans this has been a huge success and a great start to 2017, Runner Up in Sydney and Last 16 here. He Should be seeded at the Slams come the French. Top effort!
Coco Vandweghe came out with her usual Swagga and produced an outstanding performace here to oust Angie Kerber 6/2 6/3. Coco was 1-3 down in the Second Set and literally rolled off five straight games. She really is great to watch, it is just all out attack and when its working like it was today its a joy. Even someone with Kerber’s court coverage is powerless to defend the barrage. You could certainly argue Kerber constantly let here tee-off in this one though . With not much on the Serve and putting the ball down the middle of the Court during rallies she was asking for trouble. Coco ate her up hitting 30 Winners. She also managed a potential shot of the Tournament contender here, with a flick of the wrist on the forehand at full stretch she hit a clean winner down the line. The dab celebration after winning fits in perfectly with her image. As did her shrug after match point. She’s a proper character. She plays Garbine Muguruza in the First Quarter-Final, in what will be a match up of firepower. Muguruza still has her thigh strapped but it doesn’t seem to be hampering her performance. She was Winning a healthy percentage behind her Service and had too much power for Sorana Cirstea. She has just crept through this event at the moment, so poor has her form been since Winning the French Open by and large. That coupled with the thigh means she has been able to sneak by under the radar. This will hopefully be a decentmatch in the making, it has the potential unquestionably. Earlier on in the day Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova had defeated a tired looking Svetlana Kuznetsova in straight sets, 3 and 3. Kuznetsova just couldn’t get herself into this one and the Jankovic match quite possibly did take it out of her. There were far too many errors off her racket and Pavy remained far too consistent and solid off the ground. This probably wasn’t much of a surprise seeing as the faced in Sydney last week with the same outcome. This was followed by Venus Williams beating Qualifier Mona Barthel, also in straights. Both players came out making errors here in the First Set. The Second Set was of a much better standard with Barthel looking a lot more solid and Venus starting to flash a few winners, 20 in total. Pavluchenkova stands between her and a place in the Semi-Final, her First here for 13 Years were she to Win. Pavlyuchenkova is looking to make her First Grand Slam Semi-Final after reaching the Quarter’s of each major now but never advancing.
Andy Del Potro