Watching parts of Murray today had its similarities with the Kuznetsov opener, highs and lows. He’s got the job done though, I have to say Klizan was as patchy as ever. It looked like we were going the distance but after Murray broke back, a few games later he played a solid tie-break and that was all she wrote. Still a fair bit of room for improvement for the Scot but these boys are different animals over 5 sets and so it proved here! Next up is Juan Martin Del Potro, who got through after Nico Almagro retired in the third set. It is the same wrist problem that had been rumoured previously, he was actually taken to hospital after. As you would expect Delboy showed a lot of concern for his opponent as is usually the case, even though these two are pals. The trouble is the Argentine has picked up an adductor injury of his own and says he would have struggled had Almagro been able to continue. If fit and I hope he is, this will be a cracker, once again its a shame its so early in the tournament. Stan Wawrinka posted a banging effort against Dolgopolov. This was an extremely impressive win in what was a high standard affair. We all know what flashes of brilliance ‘The Dog’ has in his locker but Stan weathered and matched him. Another nasty one in Fognini lies next up, this should be another potential stormer. Fognini will need to be right on it here to stand a chance. My concern for Stan at the moment is that maybe he’s playing too well right now. That will be fine if he keeps it up for two weeks, but has he peaked too early? I associate him with being a player who works his way into a slam, I maybe being a bit negative unnecessarily, he played very well today. Kyrgios has lost the plot a bit today against Anderson, broken rackets etc were part of the makeup. Big Kev took 16 out of the last 19 games. Nick was honest enough after and said he’s been suffering a little with motivation since the passing of his grandfather. For totally different reasons to what I was saying about Tsonga yesterday but again understandable! Talking of Tsonga, his conqueror, Renzo Olivo was beaten comfortably by Kyle Edmund and he plays the big-hitting South African next. Gasquet and Monfils both won easily which means they face-off in the next round, always an intriguing matchup this one and always difficult to call. Monfils for me! Pablo Cuevas, Marin Cilic (sneaking through his qtr quietly but playing well) and John Isner (ditto) all recorded straight sets wins. Hyeon Chung will fancy his chances against Kei Nishikori, in what I have seen ramped up as the ‘King of Asia’ (number one v number two). Kei had the trainer out today against Jeremy Chardy and I just feel he might feel the pressure here a bit more than his younger counterpart.
Second seed Karolina Pliskova had a hard fought three sets win over Ekaterina Alexandrova as both players tried to land the first heavy blow, not always succeeding. Like most I remain unconvinced about her on clay for the time being, in truth her section has opened up and on other surfaces, she would race through it. I’m sure she will go here, just not sure where yet! You just feel that whoever can get into the point and move her about will succeed here. Elina Svitolina got the job done, this could have turned into a nasty one. Tsvetana Pironkova has been known to smell blood with a potential casualty in her sight. The highs and lows have started for the Ukranian, let’s see how she deals with it! Madison Keys lost in that section today to Petra Martic, which opens the door little bit more, though Sevastova still remains in there after she hammered Genie Bouchard 3 and 0! Marketa Vondrousova has gone though, Daria Kasatkina appears to have done a number on her today, in straights. The Russian was a step up from what Vondrousova has beaten over the last month and maybe the rise in standard took her by surprise. Suarez Navarro and Aggy Radwanska both won, the latter was pushed hard by Alison Van Uytvanck. The Belgian, whom I affectionately know as Alison Van Sputantspanck mixes her game up well on the clay and proved a tough nut to crack. I was surprised to see Pavlyuchenkova get beat by the Veronica Cepede Royg. In the past I would have expected her to struggle in this sort of matchup at the French but not now. Big win for the Paraguayan though, good effort! Simona Halep held off Tatjana Maria, I thought the German played well and it was a nice little test for the Romanian, without being over strenuous. Daria Kasatkina next will be a few gears up, let’s see how the ankle holds up!
Andy Del Potro