I actually made my way down to the queue again today, getting up at 4.30am and leaving home at 5.30am. On arrival, I was a whopping 6833 in the queue. I have never seen it like that before. For the first time in my life, I actually decided to leave the queue. I was going to miss a fair bit of play before I had even got in, so it seemed the right decision. As Terry Tibbs said on The Fonejacker ” I couldn’t faaaaaccckkin believe it”.
So with no Courtside or even ‘Henman Hill’ action, I went back home to watch it. Serena played better again today. In fairness, Mladenovic came out firing and left it all out there. This was a good test for Serena. At *3/5 in the opener, she had to raise her level and intensity and she did that in abundance. She meant business as the aggression level was upped and she reeled off four straight games for the set. Having taken the opening two games of the second set there was a minor blip as Mladenovic broke back and the set went with serve from there on. Impressively, as the match wore on Serena served better and better, taking the second set tiebreak 7/2. Remember, one match at a time, nothing is a given. Three down. four to go.
Serena will now play Evgeniya Rodina who caused another upset by taking out Madison Keys. This could have been over in straights for the Russian who won nine games in a row at *2/5 in the first. The Russian did have treatment on her back and looked to be slightly hindered by her movement. Keys just had one of those days that the ball was flying all over the place. Interestingly after, she said at 5/2 in the opener she lost her focus and started thinking about the next round against Williams.
Karolina Pliskova has got away with one against Mihaela Buzarnescu who led by a set and 4/1, looking utterly dominant. Using her angles and moving the Czech around it looked like a winning combination. The Romanian sadly imploded though and after losing a second set tie-break, she fell away in the decider. Good fight from Pliskova but she could and should be on her way home. Buzarnescu was one of my 33/1 tips for the quarter and this looked a real runner for a while.
Kiki Bertens will take on Pliskova after beating Venus. Venus, as per usual left everything out there. Bertens served for it at 5/4 in the second but Venus has soooooo much heart and actually managed to turn it round to a set apiece and 2/0 in third. Not taking the points for 3/0 here was crucial. Bertens serving first in the decider meant Venus was always playing catchup and at *6/7 she was broke for the match. Bertens has looked good on grass for the first time but she should have a game that matches well to the surface. Gutted for Venus.
Julia Goerges is still in after beating her former doubles partner Barbora Strycova 10/8 in the third. This looked high quality and in the third, it was a question of who was going to crack first. Goerges served for the match on three occasions (these were the only times Strycova was broken in the match), finally serving it out. Goerges plays Donna Vekic next after she beat Yanina Wickmayer 7/6 6/1. She is yet to drop a set the Croat and she is serving very well. The scoreline says it all really, she nicked a tight first set and then went away from the Belgian in the second.
Camila Giorgi saved a match point in beating Katerina Siniakova. The aggressive Italian will play Ekaterina Makarova in the Last 16. Makarova apparently played a top draw final set to beat Lucie Safarova in three. I think I saw ‘unplayable’ as a quote.
Sascha Zverev made sure he wasn’t another casualty by brushing himself down and sorting himself out overnight against Taylor Fritz. He came back out looking a different player. He had been suffering from a stomach virus the night before, which explains the predicament. Fritz was by all account playing very well though.
Roger Federer still has little concern on his run. Another comfortable win for the top seed, who won this in very much the ‘Federer Exhibition’ style we have become accustomed to. Struff put up a decent fight in the second but as with Lajovic and Lacko, you knew the ending. Adrian Mannarino will be his next opponent after he beat Daniil Medvedev in five, having held a two-set lead. It is starting to sound like he is tiring from last weeks run to the final in Antalya though, he has made a few comments now.
Gael Monfils looks to be very fired up, I am assuming in response to Marion Bartoli’s comments about Nick and himself. Nick responded to Bartoli’s comments about them being ‘pathetic children’, they ‘can’t become men’, ‘wasting their life’ on Insta. Monfils let his tennis do the talking and ousted Sam Querrey in four. There were some pretty impressive service stats from the Frenchman too. I wasn’t expecting this and neither were the betting exchanges that saw money for Querrey. This is the first time Monfils has made the second week. He did win the Juniors back in 2004, so you always thought he could convert. Kevin Anderson will be a big test mentally again on Monday. The South African boomed his way past Phillip Kohlschreiber in three and he looks a different player in the slams these days.
Mackenzie McDonald breezed past Marin Cilic’s conqueror, Guido Pella. This didn’t surprise me, I still can’t believe Cilic lost to him on grass. On clay? Yes, not grass! I just need to let go of that one I think. McDonald is waiting for the winner of Milos Raonic and Dennis Novak, which got moved to Court 12 due to the length of Court One’s matches. They are tied at one set apiece and on serve in the third. Novak certainly playing at a level.
John Isner has made the Last 16 for the first time. A more routine victory against Radu Albot than that against Bemelmans. Isner broke the Moldovan once in each set and like Federer is yet to have lost his serve during the Championships. He will play Stefanos Tsitsipas, who made his first fourth round after hammering Thomas Fabbiano. I am so pleased for the 19-year-old, he is a top talent. Fabbiano wasn’t at the same level as against Stan but you know what I say, you can only beat what is put in front of you.
Andy Del Potro