I obviously didn’t enjoy seeing Juan Martin Del Potro lose today, though it really didn’t come as too much of a shock. There were worrying signs for Delpo against Nishioka a couple of rounds ago and I wondered whether it would come back to haunt him physically. Karen Khachanov was superb and I certainly don’t begrudge him making his first grand slam quarter-final. I am annoyed I haven’t backed him if anything, as I am a big fan of his work. The power was unbelievable, off both wings but Delpo didn’t look quite as sharp as he would have liked. There was another great Del Potro moment here when after losing a point he went over and crouched over the flowers at the side of the court. The fans were patting him on the back and when he rose he had petals all over his head. Don’t think I have ever seen that before! Only Del Potro. Khachanov’s explosive pace will go toe-to-toe with Dominic Thiem after he comfortably beat Gael Monfils. I was disappointed with the Frenchman’s performance today. He got off to an awful start where he lost the first seven points on his serve and found himself 3-0, double break down. Thiem is playing better with each match, there are no two ways about that. Looking forward to this matchup.
Novak just eased his foot on to the accelerator and politely waved at Jan-Lennard Struff on the way past. The German admitting there was a big class difference between the two. It has been a very smooth ride for the Serb so far. The big question is, how much can Sascha Zverev ruffle him up in the last eight. Zverev is now on an eight-match winning street off the back of Geneva. He beat Fabio Fognini in four sets today and didn’t play too badly. ‘The Fog’ admitted after that he was suffering from a pain in his calf but hopes it’s not too serious. I am sure Sascha will up his level against Djokovic but you would think right now that Nole should have too much in the locker.
Kei Nishikori also just about finished off Benoit Paire. Nishikori missed match points in the fourth set and had to come back from 3/5 down in the fifth to take it 7/5. Another long one for Kei. Deep down he must be dreading seeing Rafa next.
Simona Halep made her first major statement of the tournament as she brushed aside the young Pole, Iga Swiatek. Swiatek had been having issues with her back in the lead up to her victory over Monica Puig but she didn’t use that as an excuse for her 6/0 6/1 loss. Is she hitting form at the right time now Halep? That alone would be too much to claim but it was more encouraging for her today. Can Amanda Anisimova test her next? The American was crunching winners and put an end to Aliona Bolsova’s run in Paris. Along with Marketa Vondrousova, they are the only players to not have dropped a set in the last eight.
Ash Barty is using her niche game to full effect at the moment. Sofia Kenin levelled the match up at a set apiece but the Aussie then went and bageled her. You didn’t really see Kenin backing up the Serena win today, the quotes I saw of 1/5 suggest it wasn’t generally fancied either. At this stage in her career, she probably saw that as her final against Rena. Also, let’s not forget, Williams did not play her best match. Barty will face Madison Keys for a place in the semis. It is actually quite easy to forget that Keys made the semis here last year too. She kept on top of Katerina Siniakova for a 6/2 6/4 win. Barty’s variation might well prove to be a stumbling block though.
Let’s get on with the quarters.
Andy Del Potro