I had one of those choices when I got home. Two matches on at the same time that you wanted to watch. Thiem v Tsitsipas or Pouille v Nozza! I saw bits of the Brit but he was nearly two sets down, so I switched to these two players hammering blows at each other, ripping their backhands and going for it. My kinda match. Thiem has confused me by playing last week again (he won). I didn’t see the need. If he wins this it will obviously prove me wrong and fair enough. Tstitsipas is turning in to one of the players I look out for more right now, fantastic player and top attitude. Whenever I watch him I just think what a top player he looks.
Thiem pressed at 4/4 in the third and got the vital break before serving out the set under pressure from the young Greek lad. Two players that come under the ‘easy on the eye’ category and go for it and they lived up to that in the third set. Stefanos will need to get out of the traps quickly tomorrow. Norrie actually nicked the third so it is game back on there too.
One of my tips, Kei Nishikori had me worried today at two sets to one down on the Chatrier to Benoit Paire. Paire isn’t the kind of player you want to have a hot spell when you are playing him. Thankfully Kei turned it round to take the last two sets 6/2 6/3. He will have to stay on it in the next round against Simon. I see the second serve of Nishikori’s was getting a fair few negative remarks today.
David Goffin got himself into a bit of a mess in the first set against Corentin Moutet but salvaged it and then ran away with it 7/5 6/0 6/1. He doesn’t want to let Gael Monfils start the same way in the third round.
Sascha Zverev dodged one against Dusan Lajovic, who has been playing very well recently. He led by a set and then two sets to one before starting to struggle physically. This could have been very, very nasty! First change of pants for Sascha. Doing likewise was Grigor Dimitrov, who came back from the same set scores but took the decider in dramatic fashion 10/8 against Jared Donaldson. Donaldson was cramping, never a nice way to lose a match.
Novak Djokovic won but it wasn’t comfortable with the Serb getting broken several times, Munar was still buzzing from beating his hero, David Ferrer in the first round. The Spaniard gave a good account of himself against Nole though. Others through to the last 32 are Pablo Carreno Busta, Roberto Bautista Agut and Karen Khachanov. Julien Benneteau will play Delpo in the second round after turning his (held overnight) match around against Leo Mayer. Jeremy Chardy fought off the Berdych comeback by winning in five, having been two sets up overnight.
Marco Trungelliti’s dream run has come to an end after getting outclassed by fellow countryman Marco Cecchinato.
In the Ladies, Simona Halep got off to a very slow start against Alison Riske, who raced to a 5/0 lead and took the opener 6/2. Halep mixed it up after that though and looked comfortable from there on in. This was the first round still. A few early nerves for Simona maybe. In fairness Riske was playing well in the opening set after coming off the back of a runners-up spot in Nurnberg last week where she lost to Larsson.
Petra Kvitova who nearly lost her opening round to Veronica Cepede Royg had no problems in blitzing Lara Arruabarrena 6/0 6/4. Once again the Czech had too much firepower here and although the Spaniard kept it competitive in the second, it was never going to be enough to trouble Petra.
Elina Svitolina was also a lot more solid against Viktoria Kuzmova winning 6/3 6/4. She will play Mihaela Buzarnescu, as I mentioned in the preview. This is a tough match and she will need to be on her game here Svitolina. She says she’s handling it all well at the moment. Buzarnescu looks to be playing very well right now and this could be a very good match on Friday.
Caroline Wozniacki bullied Georgia Garcia Perez as did Sloane Stephens to Magdalena Frech. It took Caro 51 minutes I believe. Good matchups there for the pair. Daria Kasatkina was also a comfortable 6/3 6/3 winner over Kirsten Flipkens.
Some of the last 32 spots will also be occupied by Madison Keys, Anett Kontaveit, Maria Sakkari (took out Suarez Navarro) and Naomi Osaka, who has snuck through her first two matches comfortably.
With the talk of spare underwear earlier, let’s see how I get on with Serena when she plays Ash Barty tomorrow. Embrace as they say! Loving the pic I saw on Instagram this morning of Nole with little Alexis. Thumbs up.
Andy Del Potro