Angie Kerber continues to be the standout player in the women’s event. The 6/1 6/3 drubbing of Maria Sharapova was impressive. She ran her opponent ragged. There was a brief fightback from Sharapova but when Kerber upped her game again the Russian was seen making errors aplenty. For Sharapova, it showed she isn’t at that level right now, still. The consistency is nowhere near there either. Kerber is hitting the ball well though. The fact she has now gone tournament favourite is right. She will play Su-Wei Hsieh after she beat Aggie Radwanska in straights. Word has got about that A-Rad picked up a knee injury in the warm-up. She also had words with the umpire during the match or more an argument. Su-Wei has impressed with her level of performances and will go in free hitting against Angie.
In the same section of the draw, Caroline Garcia gutsed it out against Sasnovich. She does love a close match, doesn’t she? Thankfully she is winning them at the moment. Madison Keys will be a step up though and she goes into that as the slight underdog. Keys did another tidy little number on Ana Bogdan today, 6/3 6/4. This will be a step up for both when you think about it! The American is yet to drop a set on her way to the fourth round.
Simona Halep edged through 15/13 in the decider against Lauren Davis, serving for it four times and saving match points. An extraordinary match, Halep commented after “It was a very tough match, I never played the third set so long. I’m almost dead. I feel that my muscles are gone, I don’t know how my ankle is because I can’t feel it anymore.” I still think all is not quite right. She will play Naomi Osaka next after she destroyed Australian hopes by beating Ash Barty 6/4 6/2. This was power play from Osaka and Barty didn’t do too much wrong. Not many will beat her when she is on like this. Can she consistently pound away at Halep, if so, she has a great chance!
Karolina Pliskova also played well against Safarova today. When the serve is like this and the courts are like they are it makes her a serious contender. You still wonder whether there will be a poor performance somewhere! She didn’t drop serve today (Lucie only did once) in a 7/6 7/5 victory. She will face another Czech in the last 16 as Barbora Strycova gave Bernarda Pera a bit of a schooling.
Hyeon Chung outlasted Sascha Zverev in the young guns encounter. This lad has it all, mentally he is superb and his variation is a huge plus. This was a good level but when Chung took advantage early in the fourth he went on to drop just three games in sets 4 and 5, including a bagel in the decider. The Korean is a very cool customer and gets on with the job at hand. Novak Djokovic is next after he beat Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6/2 6/3 6/3. This was tighter than the score suggests but its another win for the Serb.
Dominic Thiem was really ripping his backhand at times today. Mannarino couldn’t get close to him if I am honest. Thiem will need to replicate this kind of performances from here on in if he does he will be an interesting proposition. He was very good today and he will go in as a very strong favourite against Tennys Sandgren, who toppled Maximillian Marterter in four. I hadn’t seen that much of him before, even though I obviously knew of him. He is looking a very compact player right now.
People were also buzzing about Tomas Berdych’s performance against Juan Martin Del Potro. 6/3 6/3 6/2 was emphatic. I obviously feel for DelBoy, I think he looked like he was struggling physically today. Berdych was a powerhouse though. Definitely striking the ball very crisply. Delpo mentioned how he is a danger, especially when hitting as hard as this. There is no doubt he is going under the radar as an almost forgotten force, this has made a few stand-up! Fabio Fognini is his opponent in the fourth round. Fabio had his usual peaks and troughs in a five-set win over Julien Benneteau. Interesting match this next with a contrast in styles!
The Fed-Express had no real worries getting past Richard Gasquet in the night session. I wouldn’t say Federer had it all his own way but it never looked like it would slip away from him. Marton Fucsovic is his next opponent. The Hungarian hitting his way past a tired Nicolas Kicker today. Fucsovics had too much power for his physically jaded opponent and now he has a dream matchup waiting for him.
Andy Del Potro