I was wrong in thinking Nick was ready for this and that is not having a pop! This was a match too far today. I thought he got a little tight on the big points and went into his shell a bit. Giving the Bulgarian a two sets head start wasn’t ideal and it was a tall order from there. Nick dug in but Dimitrov just looked to have a bit too much for him today. The 7/6 7/6 4/6 7/6 scoreline shows the fine margins as it did with Nick against Jo a few days ago. Blistering winners and errors were seen coming off both players rackets but Dimitrov was the steadier off the ground. This is unquestionably a match Grigor would have lost a year or so ago, so to win in four is a huge improvement. Do I think it is good enough to win this? He will need to up it.
Hats off to Kyle Edmund, this has impressed me this week. His maturity has really started to shine through and he didn’t let dropping the opening set against Andreas Seppi deter him today. Edmund took control midway through the second set and dominated Seppi from there on. The Brit will play Dimitrov in the quarter-finals having lost both there previous encounters (including Brisbane this year). The fact he has taken him to the wire both times is encouraging and he will have no pressure on him going into this. Let’s see what Grigor’s credentials are like now the expectancy is on him.
I keep singing Diego Schwartzman’s praises and once again today he showed why I love him. Yes, he lost in four to Rafa but he is just cut from a different cloth. Great effort today that led to a standing ovation on his departure from the Rod Laver Arena. The same happened at Roland Garros against Djokovic. Schwartzman gave Rafa a test today, ripping his backhand and throwing the sink at Nadal. Rafa knows how to play the big points though and I personally still think he is ‘The Don’ when it comes to this.
Marin Cilic got the better of Pablo Carreno Busta in what turned out to be a pretty physical encounter. Carreno Busta had his chances to take a two sets to one lead but Cilic got himself out of jail and got over the line 6/7 6/3 7/6 7/6. Rafa next!
Caroline Wozniacki looked comfortable today with her 6/3 6/0 win against Maggie Rybarikova. This was pretty routine and as one of my tips, it was nice to see it be so! Maggie is a player I admire and her variation is a joy but she couldn’t get close to Caro. One match at a time, three to go now for the Dane. There is no doubt she has looked more relaxed since the Fett match and for me, this has resulted in her being more aggressive. She may not be the stand out performer right now but that is not necessarily a bad thing!
It is Carla Suarez Navarro that will play Woz in the quarter’s after she came from 4/6 1/4* down against Anett Kontaveit. This is not the first time Kontaveit has blown a lead like this, she did something similar against Wozniacki at Wimbledon last year. The game is quite clearly there but there need to be a few adjustments on the mental aspect still. If Carla gets into a scrap then it probably won’t be on your terms. Kontaveit also served for it in the third but ended up losing 8/6. It is nice to see CSN do well on the flip side.
Elina Svitolina, like Caro, had a relatively easy time of it against Denisa Allertova, winning by the same scoreline in fact. Consistently decent from the Ukranian, against an opponent who had promised to offer so much more than this with her performances in the build-up. People are talking about the big improvements made to the Svitolina serve and this will come under scrutiny over the next week.
Elise Mertens will face the Ukranian in the quarters after beating Petra Martic 7/6 7/5. Another underrated player, who came in off the back of a title in Hobart has snuck her way through the draw. I remember a few days ago when she was 0/5 in the opening set against Gavrilova. Martic looked to have an injury today (apparently lower abdominal) but Mertens is looking solid as a rock. A very useful operator is the Belgian!
Andy Del Potro