I genuinely cannot believe Marin Cilic has lost to Guido Pella. This is a huge upset. For Cilic, this was a great opportunity, a good looking draw, playing well, looking confident. When Marin Cilic thinks too much, I think he seems to get unbearably tense. He was talking a good game and I for one fell for it. It is a very poor loss, no disrespect to Pella, who I am actually quite a big fan of, not so much on grass though. Cilic has lost this from two sets up and when he came off court on Wednesday he was a break down in the third. You couldn’t see this shocker of a performance coming though. Thomas Fabbiano came back out and got it done in straights against ‘Stan the Man’. Wawrinka apparently struggling with the Fabiano blocked return. John Isner saved match points against Bemelmans before winning the decider 7/5. Needless to say, another top serving performance from Isner. Other winners from the top half that were held over from Wednesday were Anderson, Tsitsipas and Kohlschreiber.
Kyle Edmund has made the third round for the first time, he had too much power for Bradley Klahn on Centre Court. Solid from the Brit who now faces Novak Djokovic. It is the fifth time they will have met and Djoko leads the series 3-1. Edmund won their only encounter this year though with a win in Madrid recently. Djokovic coasted past Horacio Zebaloos for the loss of just six games. There was a knee scare though in the third set, something the Serb says he is going to monitor. Sascha Zverev is up to his tricks of finding himself in trouble at a slam. His match has been held overnight having lost the third set breaker to Taylor Fritz and trailing two sets to one. Ernests Gulbis is already waiting in the next round having taken out Antalya Champion, Damir Dzumhur. Nick Kyrgios looked exceptionally impressive in dumping out Robin Haase in straights. Music to my ears after Cilic’s loss. A very disciplined effort from Nick, who now plays Kei Nishikori. Nishikori got of to a shaky start against Bernard Tomic, dropping the first set. His serve kept him a float though. Tomic said after he still wasn’t feeling great still, from last weeks illness. Karen Khachanov and Frances Tiafoe are both through from this quarter too.
Matty Ebden and Gilles Simon both won. Ebden continuing his top, grass court form. Some are saying he is in the best form of his career at the moment. Jiri Vesely knocked out 14th Seed, Diego Schwartzman. This really wasn’t an upset though as the little Argentine struggles on this surface considerably more than elsewhere. Vesely will play Fabio Fognini next after the Italian beat one of closest pals in Simone Bolelli routinely.
Juan Martin Del Potro put in the performance of the day as he ousted Feliciano Lopez 6/4 6/1 6/2. This could not have gone anymore to plan for the Argentine against a minimum top 16 player on the surface. He says his goal was just to reach the second week, he is now a strong favourite to do so. Benoit Paire is his next opponent. The Frenchman virtually has his leg fully bandaged, but still came back from the loss of a bagel opening set to beat Denis Shapovalov. Rafa Nadal was given a workout by Mikhail Kukushkin but not much more. It was more than competitive and Nadal was kept on his toes. As usual he had the answers. He will play 19-year-old Alex De Minaur on Saturday.
Garbine Muguruza has chucked in one of her sub-par performances and lost to Alison Van Uytvanck. The Belgian outgunned the defending champion, who had no response. I know I didn’t like her chances coming into this event but she really is a bit of a mystery the Spaniard. A competitive heat lies ahead against Anett Kontaveit for AVU. Ash Barty ended qualifier Eugenie Bouchard’s run. Just having a little bit too much craft for the Canadian and will have a battle of wits against the versatile Daria Kasatkina next. Should be a nice match on the eye. Muguruza’s loss means that it supposedly opens up that part of the draw for Angie Kerber, who had me frightened beyond belief today against formed junior champion Claire Liu. The German took it 6/4 in the third but will have to improve dramatically against Naomi Osaka on Saturday. Osaka beat Katie Boulter for the second time in a few weeks, but this was a much-improved effort from the Brit. A very high standard with some big blows being dealt by one another. Osaka played very well in the 6/3 6/4 victory. Plenty of positives for Boulter here too though.
Jo Konta is out having lost to Dominika Cibulkova. The Slovakian played well today and as has been the case, Konta couldn’t match it. It just hasn’t clicked the same way for Jo of late. What a difference a year has made. She doesn’t seem too concerned and is happy where she is at. There will be less pressure on her now. Simona Halep looked in real trouble early on against Saisai Zheng. Zheng served for the first set at 5/4 and failed to win another game as nerves got the better of her. It was comfortable, in the end. Su-Wei Hsieh is next with her enjoyable unorthodox style. Cibulkova will play Elise Mertens who beat Sachia Vickery 6/1 6/3. I am obviously disappointed for Sachia, she played very well against Vondrousova on Tuesday.
The round-up in the Ladies event starts with Belinda Bencic saving four match points to beat Alison Riske. She will now have a potentially brutal heat against Carla Suarez Navarro on Saturday. Barbora Strycova won one of the matches that were meant to start Wednesday, impressively making light work of Lesia Tsurenko. It is Goerges next and I am a little worried about the German in this one. She will need to play better than she has so far against Strycova. Aliaksandra Sasnovich backed up her performance of beating Petra Kvitova by totally outgunning Taylor Townsend. Interestingly she is currently only a slight underdog against Daria Gavrilova in the third round. Jelena Ostapenko surprised me by the ease with which she beat Kisten Flipkens, it sounds like Flipkens net game played right into the Latvian’s hands. Ostapenko’s next opponent Vitalia Diatchenko also tore it up, she supposedly had the physio out against Sharapova but gave Sofia Kenin a 6/4 6/1 going over yesterday.
Andy Del Potro