Rafa got off to a comfortable 6/1 6/1 6/1 routing of Victor Estrella Burgos today so, so far so good for the world number one. This was as comprehensive as the scoreline suggests. People may be going slightly overboard on Nadal’s performance though as impressive as it was. VEB is a nice matchup in my opinion. This quarter has been weakened today though as we will find out.
Kyle Edmund beat U.S Open finalist Kevin Anderson, avenging his defeat at Roland Garros last year. Impressive mentally from Edmund here in five sets and he now plays Denis Istomin next, who defeated Novak here last year! A big win though for Kyle and credit where it is due, a powerful display.
Jack Sock and compatriot John Isner were two of the big names dumped out at the first hurdle and they were followed by one of my boyz, Lucas Pouille. Sock, who has had a hip injury coming in hasn’t looked right since the Hopman Cup and Yuichi Sugita is certainly no mug! Sugita winning in four. It is just not happening right now for Sock maybe last years exertions are haunting him at the moment. Time to rest up! Isner lost to Matty Ebden in four and said he felt ‘flat’ after. This could have been a nasty one for Nadal in a few rounds but we will never know now. It doesn’t get much easier for Ebden who faces Alexandr Dolgopolov next, ‘The Dog’ is playing some good stuff currently. Pouille lost to qualifier Ruben Bemelmans, reports suggest the speed of the courts didn’t do the Frenchman any favours. Disappointing loss nonetheless.
Nick Kyrgios hammered Rogerio Dutra Silva 6/1 6/2 6/4, he also said the knee was better and now faces Viktor Troicki. He is sounding very mature at the moment and I think he knows he has a real shot at this. Tsonga and Shapovalov will play again, after that U.S Open encounter. Tsonga has no problems in beating Kevin Kim and Shapovalov hammered fellow young gun Stefanos Tsitsipas. The Canadian winning 6/1 6/3 7/6. This really should be some match again! Surely Night Session on the RLA?
Andrey Rublev came through a brutal encounter against David Ferrer, this young lad has some fight and bottle you know!! He is one round away from having a crack at Grigor Dimitrov who comfortably beat Dennis Novak. Marin Cilic made hard work of Vasek Pospisil, with several lapses of concentration but got home in four.
John Millman ousted Borna Coric in straights and the street fighter Damir Dzumhur came from two sets down to beat Paolo Lorenzi, Dzumhur said he hadn’t trained for 4/5 days after having a hamstring problem in the build-up.
Diego Schwartzman and Casper Ruud will face off in the second round after both won through 11/9 in deciding sets today. The Argentine came from two sets to one down against Dusan Lajovic and Rudd did the same against fellow qualifier Quentin Halys. Clocking up the time on court to over 8 hours between them. How much will Ruud have left in the tank, having already made it through qualies.
Other winners today included Gilles Simon, Pablo Carreno Busta, Gilles Muller, Pablo Cuevas and Ryan Harrison.
Belinda Bencic beat Venus Williams, she will fancy going a few rounds now as the winner of this was always going to. Venus was as humble as ever in defeat saying how well her opponent had played and gave her all the credit. Luksika Kumkhum is her second round matchup and then Martic/Begu for a place in the last 16. The latter taking out Ekaterina Makarova today.
Sloane Stephens is now on an eight-match losing streak after losing out to Shuai Zhang, she seems pretty philosophical about it right now and thinks it will come back again. Winning in New York was a heck of an achievement and I think a dip in form is understandable.
Last Years’s semi-finalist Coco Vandeweghe is out. The American lost in straights to Timea Babos and admitted after that she had been suffering from flu and hadn’t hit a ball in four days. There was a point penalty to Coco in this one for unsportsmanlike conduct and there had been several arguments with the umpire. She is great value to watch Coco, come what may. Kaia Kanepi beat the 2014 runner-up Dom Cibulkova and will face Monica Puig next, who saved a match point on her way to beating Sam Stosur.
Caroline Wozniacki made it through in straights, 6/2 6/3 against a tricky opponent in Mihaela Buzarnescu. Woz will be relieved to get through easily and with minimal fuss. I want to see her continue to be aggressive this fortnight. Jana Fett, who is next, is someone who is also very talented but should not cause many problems. Jelena Ostapenko beat Francesca Schiavone 6/1 6/4, she had to fight a bit in the second set but came through. The Latvian will look to gain momentum with each match.
There were also comfortable wins for Elina Svitolina and Julia Goerges. Svitolina beat Ivana Jorovic and now faces a dangerous encounter against Katerina Siniakova, who has already been a runner-up in Shenzhen this year, defeating Sharapova. Goerges brushed aside the talented Sofia Kenin 6/4 6/4, without dropping her serve all match. If she can continue in this form, she really has every chance. Alize Cornet is next up and that will be a different match altogether. Should be another good test!
There were also wins today for Daria Kasatkina, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Daria Gavrilova, Kiki Bertens (v Catherine Bellis), Denisa Allertova, Anett Kontaveit, Magdalena Rybarikova, Elise Mertens and Carla Suarez Navarro.
On to day two..
Andy Del Potro