Day 4 – Australian Open. A day of minor carnage!

One of my tips, David Goffin has fallen by the wayside today. 36-year-old Julien Benneteau has taken him. Benneteau was a full-on operator back in the day and after his run in Paris at the end of last season he continues his good form. I didn’t see this coming at all in what is supposed to be Benny’s swansong season/half season. What is clear is how much Goffin has been struggling with the heat here. Hindsight is a wonderful thing! Fabio Fognini up next for the talented veteran. Federer is an obvious beneficiary of this result.

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Del Potro is another potential winner from this outcome. He said he was struggling physically after his win over Karen Khachanov though. Delpo also said that Khachanov was hitting his serve and forehand harder than he was. I love DelBoy. What was noted here was that Khachanov didn’t struggle in the heat. Unlike a lost of his compatriots. DelBoy v Berdych in the third round.

Dominic Thiem almost became another big name casualty when he trailed Denis Kudla by two sets to love, but while Thiem upped his game the American’s apparently fell away with it. That sets up a third round with Adrian Mannarino after he beat Jiri Vesely in four. I am glad Mannarino has a shot at him here, he has been playing consistently well for a while now. Though the head to head doesn’t look great he looks to have a chance here.

Novak Djokovic dropped the first set against Gael Monfils but the Frenchman said that he really struggled with the heat. I am going to quote him again,  “I get super dizzy. I think I had a small heat stroke for 40 minutes”. Though Djokovic wasn’t at his best he is not the kind of player you want to be up against when you are feeling like that. Albert Ramos next for Nole.

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Hyeon Chung smashed up Daniil Medvedev 7/6 6/1 6/1 and continues to impress. That is top form. I love the way both Chung and Rublev are kicking on from last year. We will see exactly where he is at against Sascha Zverev next. Sascha beating compatriot Peter Gojowczyk in four sets. This was a decent standard by all account and much more like it from Zverev.

Stan Wawrinka came into the event with low expectations after knee surgery and Tennys Sandgren routed the former champ 6/2 6/1 6/4. Stan said after how he’s happy just to be back on the court. Fair enough really as I have said before a knee injury is serious business! Sandgren faces German Maximillian Marterer for a place in the last 16 after he upset Nando Verdasco in five.

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Two other players to cause upsets were Martin Fucsovics and Nicolas Kicker. The Hungarian besting Sam Querrey in four and Kicker beating Lukas Lacko, also in four. The Argentine not known for his love of hard courts in the past but these two will square off for a place in the Last 16. The winner of this will likely play The Fed-Express.

That is because Roger beat Jan-Lennard Struff in a tight straight sets. Struff gave this a right go today in fairness. Federer tends to win all the crucial points in these matches and that was the case today. He faces Richard Gasquet who surprised me by giving qualifier Lorenzo Sonego a 6/2 6/2 6/3 lesson. The Italian had been serving out of his nut through qualies and against Robin Haase. The stats didn’t look so favourable today though!

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All the concern surrounding Simon Halep’s ankle proved premature, for now anyway. She beat Genie Bouchard 2 and 2. Bouchard didn’t just put this on a plate today either. Her next opponent Lauren Davis came from a set down against Andrea Petkovic to then double bagel her. WOW!

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Ash Barty also came from a  set down again, as she did against Aryna Sabalenka in the opening round to outlast Camila Giorgi this time. She is gutsy and has a great all court game for me, it is as much going to be about dealing with the expectations for her now. The commitment and attitude are there, as is the ability to go close here and she will have to do it the hard way. Naomi Osaka next on the agenda. Another talented, big-hitting opponent to deal with. Sound familiar??

Jo Konta has gone though. Another one I clearly didn’t see coming if I am honest. The Konta camp seemed quietly confident I thought. It came out tonight that on her way to a press conference she stopped to congratulate Bernarda Pera’s coach. Class act that Jo and great to hear. The performance wasn’t there today on the court. Barbora Strycova awaits Pera.

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Karolina Pliskova hammered Beatriz Haddad Maia 6/1 6/1. It seems the Brazilian never got going and there were far too many errors. Pliskova will take that as this could have been a nasty one. She plays one of her pals, Lucie Safarova who also beat Sorana Cirstea surprisingly comfortably!

Su-Wei Hsieh has caused another upset by taking out Garbine Muguruza. The fact that Su-Wei went for it today and had the metal to execute it is a credit to her. She is a tricky customer, we know that but mixing it up like this.Props for taking the game to Muguruza! For the Spaniard, she says she needs a rest. Hsieh will face Aggie Radwanska who came from a set down against Lesia Tsurenko. I saw this was described as a case of Tsurenko ‘falling into A-Rad’s trap’. Not a pleasant way to lose that!

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The winner of that will face Angie Kerber or Maria Sharapova who both impressed today in dispatching of Donna Vekic and Anastasija Sevastova respectively. Kerber will go in as the slight favourite, but I didn’t expect to see Sharapova win so comfortably against the Latvian. Kerber is looking back to where she needs to be though. Who’s is going to get the night session? Barty v Osaka or this one?

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Madison Keys dropped one game against an immobile Ekaterina Alexandrova and plays Ana Bogdan who beat Yulia Putintseva. Another one of my tips Caroline Garcia came through 8/6 in the third against Marketa Vondrousova. Caro was pleased with her performance though and the standard was meant to have been more than acceptable. Aliaksandra Sasnovic in the next round. The Belarussian deserves respect.

Andy Del Potro

 

 

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