Jo Konta got the job done today, reaching the second week for the first time. I wouldn’t go overboard on Sakkari’s performance but Konta beat what was put in front of her and put in a solid performance in doing so. It is great to see the crowd are fully with her and know she has a shot at this. She plays Caroline Garcia on Monday after she had too much at her disposal for Madison Brengle (beat Kvitova last round). I read something that said that Brengle’s fastest serve of 88mph was 3 miles slower than Garcia’s average second serve speed. Garcia is backing up her last 8 spot at the French Open here and beat Konta this year in their meeting at Indian Wells.
Azarenka beat Heather Watson in 3 sets. The Brit is unquestionably in decent form again. Azarenka is not at her best, it goes without saying, but Watson played well today. If I am being slightly critical she may have got a bit tight in the last few games, but it might be me being harsh. She will look forward to the US swing which she always enjoys! Vika will play Halep in the last 16, as the Romanian beat Shuai Peng in what was said to be a very high-quality match. I still think she will come unstuck against a bigger hitter. That completes the fourth quarter.
In the third quarter, Ana Konjuh edged out Dominika Cibulkova who said she hadn’t got as many matches on grass coming into the event as she would have liked. The 19-year-old Croat, who has shown promise will play Venus Williams, who won another big-hitting contest in tight straight sets against Naomi Osaka. I really hope Venus keeps this going, especially the serving. She continues to show she knows how to operate on the grass. Osaka has the firepower and at times left even Venus watching balls fly by. She just needs to harness it a bit still, like Konjuh she is still only 19. Jelena Ostapenko somehow managed to beat Camila Giorgi in straights. The Italian served for both sets, Ostapenko will now face Elina Svitolina in the last 16 after she took out Carina Witthoeft in two. Not bad considering I thought she would get beat by Ash Barty in the first round. Both of these two have gone better than I thought, I certainly didn’t think both would have made it through to this stage!
I think today will be a bit of a concern for Muzza after he scraped past Fabio Fognini in 4 sets. We should have been going the distance here but Fabio blew up. It showed good fight from Muzza but this was a totally different matchup to both Bublik and Brown and it showed in his performance. Both players were quite patchy at times today. Fognini looks disinterested as he can do in the third after picking up an ankle injury but was fine again in the fourth just couldn’t close it out. Murray will play Benoit Paire next after he gave Jerzy Janowicz a bit of a hiding. It sounds like it was one of those days where it all went right. 63 winners in total for the talented Frenchman.
Jo-Wilfred Tsonga and Sam Querrey will come back tomorrow, Tsonga trails *5/6 in the decider. Kevin Anderson awaits the winner after he cruised past Ruben Bemelmans. I liked Anderson’s chances in the pre-warm-up event in Eastbourne where he lost to Gasquet but he’s going along nicely here at the moment.
Rafa Nadal played very well for a set and a half against Karen Khachanov, the Russian was very slow in joining the party though. Rafa was a bit lucky to get it done in 3 in the end, Khachanov having set points in the third. You felt it could potentially get nasty had he have lost it, but giving the Spaniard a two set head start is not ideal, to put it mildly! Gilles Muller is next after he beat Aljaz Bedene comfortably. From what I saw, he showed a lot of experience Gilles today and made sure it was played on grass court terms. Bedene said he didn’t really impose himself, so you can see why there would be a problem against his big serving, big hitting opponent!
Finally, Kei Nishikori fell to Roberto Bautista-Agut in four sets. Saying after, he has to work on grass each year to improve and how his results aren’t the best. Bautista will now play Marin Cilic who beat Steve Johnson in straights. He has yet to drop a set so far on his way to this stage. Solid stuff from the Croat more of the same should see him past Bautista!
Andy Del Potro