Serena beat Dayana Yastremska 6/2 6/1 and put in a pretty authoritative performance over her younger counterpart, who was happy to go after her shots. This ultimately was the difference, Serena was a lot better at it. There we some nice words for her opponent at the net at the end, who was pretty upset about her performance. It looks a tough route to the final now, Halep, Muguruza and Osaka are three possibilities to get there. Then it could be Kerber or Sloane etc in the final. So, it is just as well Rena looks in the zone here. She will need to play well every round from here on in. If she wins it, she will have earned it. It is Halep next after she put out a disjointed Venus is straights, with her best performance of the tournament, denying us another all Williams Grand Slam treat.
Naomi Osaka trailed Su-Wei Hsieh by 5/7 *1/4 before turning it around. The mixture from Su-Wei, as per usual, causing havoc with her opponent. Hsieh had certainly got in Osaka’s head here and was set to run away with it when she had 40/0 at 4/2 on her serve in the second. Something clicked with the fourth seed at that moment though and the balance was found. Winners were suddenly being picked off and the errors were kept to a minimum. This was a close call today but she had the maturity to figure it out. She will play Anastasia Sevastova in the last 16. That will be about as close a matchup as Hsieh as you can get, even though not identical. It is another player who will give you a lot of slice and variation. Sevastova beat Qiang Wang 6/3 6/3.
Garbine Muguruza accelerated away from Timea Bacsinszky after winning the first on a breaker. She says she has enjoyed a more relaxed offseason and hasn’t got so much pressure coming in, as a result, this year. She will play Karolina Pliskova on Monday after she beat Camila Giorgi. I was amazed to see that Pliskova holds a 7-2 head-to-head record over Muguruza. You would have thought they would have shared more of them, wouldn’t you?
Elina Svitolina came through a huge scare against Shuai Zhang, coming back from a double break down in the decider. Zhang obviously tightened up here but it showed good fight from the Ukranian. She admitted after that she is dating Gael Monfils, who has been seen at her matches. Interesting. Madison Keys will test her once again in the fourth round. The American beat Elise Mertens in straights. I think Keys will fancy this? She seems to be under no pressure and have a lack of spotlight in Melbourne. Too positive things.
Novak Djokovic wasn’t particularly impressive against Denis Shapovalov, despite winning in four. The match didn’t quite live up to what it might have been. Nole will need to be on his toes next against Daniil Medvedev. The Russian has been in superb form and this time blitzed David Goffin 6/2 7/6 6/3. Djokovic would be happy with Medvedev’s results so far. This could be a good matchup for Nole though. Let’s see if Medvedev can keep his aggression and consistency up against Nole, he will need to.
With both Sascha Zverev and Milos Raonic winning in straight sets over Alex Bolt and Pierre Hugues-Herbert respectively, do we have the Monday late night match on the Laver? I hope so, I think it looks to be a belter. Raonic has returned serve pretty well from what I have seen of him and he has stood up well from the baseline. Zverev looks to be going into this as a slight favourite, by the skin of his teeth and that’s about right if you ask me. Raonic has certainly closed the gap again with his performances.
Borna Coric keeps plugging away. He came from a set down against Filip Krajinovic, slugging it out. It sounds like Coric had to solve the problem today and he did, which is encouraging. Especially as he wasn’t at his best. He will take on Lucas Pouille in the last 16. The Frenchman nearly blew a two-set lead and a match point in his match with wildcard Alexei Popyrin, but just about pulled himself together in the nick of time to win in five. You can tell he is still struggling for confidence but wins like this will help.
Pablo Carreno Busta extended his head to head over Fabio Fognini with a four-set win. This sounded like it was a bit more of the Fognini experience that we are accustomed too. Patches of disinterest and patches of magic. The Italian admitted after that he struggles with PCB’s game. Kei Nishikori’s comfortable win over Joao Sousa means that he will play PCB for a place in the last eight. Sousa didn’t have anything left in the tank after losing a close first set. Ten tough sets against Pella and Kohlschreiber wasn’t ideal prep.
Andy Del Potro