Day 5 RG 19 – Seeds once again being kept on their toes but it’s comfortable for Nole and Serena.

Delpo was looking like he was in a bit of trouble today when he dropped the first set against Yoshihito Nishioka. He actually went to around 2/1 in running from a prematch of about 1/10. Afterwards, he confirmed that he had hurt his “hip, and this also resounded in my knee.” He dug deep as per usual though and ground out a five-set win. Will have to watch this closely but obviously doesn’t look great news from the outside. Delpo will want to make light work of Jordan Thompson next. There was also a battle of two Argentinians today that was settled from yesterday and Leo Mayer can be well chuffed with his win over Diego. It sounds like he played really well and Schwartzman didn’t really have a response today.

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The fact Novak Djokovic hasn’t headlined this, once again means that he comfortably navigated his way past Henri Laaksonen. Another solid performance from my tournament pick. Dominic Thiem will have to improve, he has dropped a set in both his first two rounds, but he has been lucky not to be taken to five in both. Alexander Bublik served for the fourth today but went missing from there on in. Pablo Cuevas will like his chances after he progressed when Kyle Edmund pulled out at two sets down. Thiem has beaten the Uruguayan in Buenos Aires this year and leads the head-to-head 3-2. On the subject of getting better, Sascha Zverev was today against Mikael Ymer. Dusan Lajovic caused him problems last year, let’s see how he gets on this time when they meet on Saturday.

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Borna Coric snuck through in a tidy straight sets today against Lloyd Harris and will face Jan-Lennard Struff in the last 32. Struff has shown some solid form this season and he overpowered Radu Albot today. Fabio Fognini and Roberto Bautista Agut will square off after both posting decent efforts. Fognini took out the dogged Federico Delbonis and Bautista gained revenge for his loss in Lyon last week to Taylor Fritz, by pummelling him today. Gael Monfils was remarkably quick in seeing off fellow Frenchman Adrian Mannarino tonight and will face another Frenchman, in Antoine Hoang next. Hoang took a major scalp in beating Fernando Verdasco. This sounds like it was one of those days for Nando. Finally, Karen Khachanov got bageled by Gregoire Barrere but managed to win in four.

 

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I was pretty happy with Rena’s performance today against Kurumi Nara. I thought it was much improved on the first round and she was striking the ball well and moving slightly better so good signs. Nara is pretty gritty, so it was good to see Williams working the point at times. By the way, this outfit really suits her. Class. She will play Sofia Kenin next, the American knew on Wednesday that she was through after Bianca Andreescu gave her a walkover. The shoulder needs time to rest for the grass by the sounds of it. With Halep also struggling today against Magda Linette, there is a big chance for Rena in this half, IF she can keep fit. The defending champion wasn’t at her best today from reports. She later said that she had been feeling ill.

Naomi Osaka once again came from a set and a break down to pip Vika Azarenka. She strangely found her game in the nick of time after the upset looked on. Again. I think it’s also easy to forget that Vika is likely to get tight these days, all considering. You can’t fault the way Osaka raises her level every time though. Katerina Siniakova is waiting for her after she upset Maria Sakkari, who ran out of the steam in the end.

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Ash Barty has made it to the round of 32 for the first time in Paris after she eased away from Danielle Collins. Belinda Bencic came out from one of the mandatory overnights to win the opening two games and the match against Laura Siegemund. That will help to conserve a bit of energy. Eleventh seed Aryna Sabalenka was ousted by Amanda Anisimova, that’s twice in the slams this year she has taken the Belarussian out. Caroline Garcia was also sent packing by Anna Blinkova. The 20-year-old Russian silencing the Chatrier late doors. One match I will be looking out for in the next round is Iga Swiatek against Monica Puig. Swiatek was supposed to be immense against Qiang Wang (6/3 6/0). She looks another real talent at the moment. Puig beat last years quarter-finalist, Daria Kasatkina 6/3 6/1. Madison Keys is dangerously locked at a set apiece with the Aussie Priscilla Hon overnight.

On a final note in the Ladies, I had tipped up Alona Bolsova to beat Sorana Cirstea, which she did. This is a great effort from the Spaniard who got through qualies and now two rounds here (beating Babos and Zvonareva on the way). It was a decent standard from her here, though I have since discovered Cirstea has an abdomen rupture (a third-degree tear that is about two centimetres). Sounds nasty! A winnable next round for Alona against Ekaterina Alexandrova. Loving the tats. Swag.

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On we go.

Andy Del Potro

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