That was a reasonably plain sailing day for the favourites and the seeds in the men’s. Lucas Pouille was the biggest upset against Dennis Novak. It has stuck in my mind that Dominic Thiem was talking up his pal, Novak’s, chances on the surface and he’s now proving ‘The Dominator’ right. Pouille had the physio out early in the second for what was apparently a knee/leg issue. The Frenchman fought back from two sets down but Novak upped his level in the fifth with some power play. Novak will play Milos Raonic next after the Canadian beat John Millman in three tie-breaks. Raonic says his body ”is behaving” at the moment.
Roger Federer put in a comfortable display against Lukas Lacko, he will play Jan-Lennard Struff next. Struff beat Ivo Karlovic 13/11 in the decider, from two sets down. Struff often gets a lot of criticism over his ‘fight’ so he deserves credit today. The draw looks a waltz in the park until the quarter’s for the Fed-Ex, especially after Borna Coric continued his poor form over five sets by losing to Daniil Medvedev in the opener on Monday. Medvedev could be Federer’s fourth-round opponent if he can take care of Adrian Mannarino next.
Sam Querrey is one of Federer’s potential last 8 opponents. He played very well again in beating Sergiy Stakhovsky in straights. He is playing Gael Monfils next and you never know what you’re going to get with the Frenchman, we know that. Having played well in beating Richard Gasquet in the first round he had problems with his knee and came from a set and a break down to beat Paolo Lorenzi. The Italian is a fighter but not known for his grass court pedigree. Probably a classic Monfils four-set win this.
The rain came and six matches were left unfinished. Marin Cilic is outclassing Guido Pella in just about every department as you would expect on grass. He has however lost his serve from nowhere at the end of play an now trails by a break in the third. Anderson is two sets to one-up against Seppi, this was never going to beat easy for Anderson due to styles. Stan Wawrinka is in all kinds of trouble against Thomas Fabbiano. He has come from a break down in the third though (he trails by two sets) and they come out finely poised at 5/6 and deuce on the Fabbiano serve. Tsitsipas is about the drop a two-set lead over Donaldson, always great value the Greek, plenty of peaks and troughs in his matches at the moment. I’ve backed Bemelmans to beat Isner but will trade out at a given chance. I’m gonna bottle it a little I think. The Belgian didn’t turn up for two sets and then upped it in two breakers to take it the distance. It is a lot of tennis for him now though. Three rounds of qualies and then an 8/6 in the fifth against Steve Johnson and now this.
A mention has to go out to Mackenzie McDonald and Radu Albot who both won brutal five-setters. McDonald beat Nicolas Jarry 11/9 in the fifth and Albot won in just under four and half hours, outlasting Aljaz Bedene. An intriguing player is Albot.
It was much improved from Serena today against Viktoriya Tomova. The fine-tuning continues match by match, that what it is about. Then we will see where we are at. Mladenovic followed by Madison Keys now, so it gets tougher. Mladenovic looks to be improving again, remember a year ago she was being praised through the roof. Keys would obviously be a match that Serena will need to be firing for should it happen. A lot better off the ground from Rena today and she just looked a lot more solid. Mladenovic will be a totally different matchup to Tomova as she has a lot more power. She took out Tatjana Maria who has been on fire of late.
Keys plays Evgeniya Rodina next. The American overcame a negative head to head against Luksika Kumkhum and is looking pretty comfortable at the moment. Rodina beat Sorana Cirstea, the Romanian once again frustratingly failing to duplicate the same form she showed in the first round against Magdalena Rybarikova.
Caroline Wozniacki is out of the women’s draw after losing to Ekaterina Makarova. This should have and could have been a lot more comfortable for the Russian but as someone who is well renowned for having a few nerves, it was hardly surprising there were some momentum shifts in this. Makarova blew a *5/1 lead in the decider and then managed to regroup to take it 7/5. Rollercoaster stuff. Caro has still not been past the last 16 at Wimbledon.
Karolina Pliskova took out Vika Azarenka, who still doesn’t look anywhere near right to me. Like I have said previously this is understandable with all that has been going on. Maybe not a win to get too carried away with right now for Pliskova. She will face one of my outside tips for the quarter, Mihaela Buzarnescu in the third round. She saw of Katie Swan 6/0 6/3, working her opponent all over the court as we have become used to. Let’s see if she can get into the point against Pliskova, if she can she will have a good chance.
Venus was slow starting against Alexandra Dulgheru as she was against Johanna Larsson in the first round. The Romanian picked up some knee injury and Venus upped her level again to take 12/13 games. It is not vintage just yet but she is getting the job done. Kiki Bertens next up.
Julia Goerges was flaky against Vera Lapko but came through in three. This was getting tense in the third set, but she won a long game at *2/2 and didn’t look back from there. There are times when she looks really suited to grass but she just needs to cut down on the lapses in concentration. Donna Vekic continued her good grass court form with a comfortable win over Rebecca Peterson and goes in as strong favourite against Yanina Wickmayer next.
Andy Del Potro