Day 5 – Australian Open. Top-Seeds progress!

Rafa Nadal made very light work of Damir Dzumhur. The Bosnian had his his weapons totally blunted by Rafa. The 6/1 6/3 6/1 scoreline is much more one-sided than I thought it would be, I was expecting this one to be a lot more competitive. Nadal looks good so far, no doubt about it. He faces Diego Schwartzman next after the Argentine wore down Alexandr Dolgopolov, as he does to so many opponents. Rafa is giving plenty of respect to Diego and knows he will need to maintain his level. Should be another cracker.

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Marin Cilic continues to sneak through the draw. He is now one match away from a potential quarter-final with Rafa after beating Ryan Harrison in a tight straight sets. This was a pretty compact performance from the Croat. His next opponent is Pablo Carreno Busta who beat Gilles Muller. This was a good win for PCB, I thought Gilles might serve him off the court. The Spaniard said he wants to consolidate this season and he’s making a good start to that!

The big match of the last 16 from the top half is unquestionably Grigor Dimitrov v Nick Kyrgios. Dimitrov took out Andrey Rublev in what turned out to be a scrappy four sets, experience winning the day. Kyrgios put in another decent performance by also beating Jo-Wilfred in four, coming back from 2/5* in the fourth set tie-break. The 7/6 4/6 7/6 7/6 scoreline shows how close this one was. A great handshake as you would expect here with both players joking with each other. How good is that to see?? Kyrgios looked up to Jo as a kid and had the added benefit of Will Smith, another one of his heroes in the crowd. As you would expect Nick was buzzing about this. Fair play!

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Kyle Edmund just about got the job done against Nikoloz Basilashvili. The Brit found himself in trouble here when two sets to one down but won a crucial second game of the fourth set. 20 minute crucial to be exact. The lad is showing a great attitude this week and is remaining focused. The bookies have made him a 2/5 poke (71% chance) to beat the Italian veteran, Andreas Seppi. The fact Seppi beat Ivo Karlovic 9/7 in the decider will obviously have a bearing on that price. This is a tougher match than the odds suggest for Edmund. I am still pretty sure Kyle won’t want to get involved in long rallies here still!

 

Caroline Wozniacki put in her best performance to date with a 6/3 6/4 victory over Kiki Bertens. She says she feels she has nothing to lose now after saving the match points against Jana Fett in the previous round. Maybe this will loosen her up a bit. She will know she needs to improve still but this was a lot better from her. The tricky Maggie Rybarikova is next after she beat Kateryna Bondarenko in a bit of a see-saw contest.

Carla Suarez Navarro came into the event barely mentioned and has crept her way through. Beating Kaia Kanepi is a decent effort, the Estonian has been in some good form. Kanepi revealed after how she has been ill, Carla has worn her down. She will be a slight underdog against Anett Kontaveit but in truth, this is pretty much flip of a coin. Kontaveit beat Jelena Ostapenko in a match that had hard-hitting points and seventeen breaks of serve, such was the quality off the ground!

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Elina Svitolina comfortably schooled Marta Kostyuk 6/2 6/2. The 15-year-old joking when asked what she gained from that experience? “Well, a lot. How much you have to pay Svitolina to have a one-hour lesson, so I got it for free”. The match took 59 minutes. Reports suggest she was overawed a bit though. Denisa Allertova marches on after beating Magda Linette 6/1 6/4. Let’s see how Svitolina deals with this matchup. It has been clear from qualies and main draw that Allertova is playing well.

Alize Cornet made some interesting comments after her loss to Elise Mertens. Not afraid to get involved in things in the past she said, “I had chills and my head started spinning. I felt like I was in an oven. It’s as if they are waiting for a tragedy to happen before they change the rule. Maybe we should have a coalition of the players, saying we’re boycotting?”. Is it sour grapes? Probably. Is she right? Almost certainly! I do start to worry about the whole heat and players combination etc. Players are human and its a concern. For Mertens, the run continues. She is fancied and is expected to beat Petra Martic to book a place in the quarter-finals.

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Andy Del Potro

 

 

 

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