This was the perfect opener for Nole, people kept mentioning the Indian Wells loss but let’s be honest this was always going to be different. Kohlschreiber had the ability to extend him and keep him on his toes but not really hassle him. Monfils and Dimitrov both lost in this quarter today but I’m pretty sure that it is of little consequence to Djokovic. Monfils withdrew in the fifth against Humbert with an Achilles tendon injury and Dimitrov somehow lost from two sets up against Corentin Moutet.
Stefanos Tsitsipas and Sascha Zverev’s losses don’t come as a big surprise in the grand scheme of things. I didn’t fancy them as my preview indicated but I thought they would both win today. Thomas Fabbiano has backed up his semi last week in Eastbourne by beating Tsitsipas in five though and Jiri Vesely beat Zverev in four. Tsitsipas looks to be recovering from a tough clay court campaign to me. Vesely has got through qualies and has reached the fourth round here twice before, including last year.
Felix Auger-Aliassime and Karen Khachanov both won tough four setters. FAA struggled for periods against countryman Vasek Pospisil, who was playing his first match of the year and Khachanov beat the plucky, Soonwoo Kwon. Feli Lopez will fancy turning the Russian in the next round, I fancy it. Kyle Edmund finished off Centre Court proceedings for the day beating Jaume Munar comfortably. It can’t be an easy job for Kyle to go out there as British Number One but he handled it well. Munar isn’t up to much with his grass form mind.
In terms of some of my tips, it was nice to see easy wins for Roberto Bautista Agut and Kevin Anderson. Raonic and Stan remain the biggest threats to them in that quarter, they were both straight-sets winners today. Stan has been talking up his chances on grass this year and Bemelmans was put out of sight here. Daniil Medvedev made hard work of Paolo Lorenzi, who just wouldn’t go away, it took a tight straight sets with a couple of breakers.
Things are clearly not right in the Osaka camp, as the second defeat in a few weeks on the grass to Yulia Putintseva prove. The confidence is totally gone, she will need to sort herself out quickly as the ranking will slowly start to decline. Of course, this is not a complete crisis but it is certainly now officially a mini one. Caroline Garcia is another seed in the bottom half of the fourth quarter that is out. I liked her chances of going a few rounds here and can’t quite understand how she has been beaten 6/4 6/0 by Shuai Zhang. No excuses for that really, though I have to say Zhang was striking the ball very well the little I saw of it.
It really is a fantastic achievement from Coco Gauff. Bizarrely I told my mate that her style reminded me of a new version of Venus when I saw her in the second round of the Wimbledon qualifiers, then this all happens. It was a superb performance and it was how she played the day we watched her at Roehampton. She moves and hits so well. You just can’t believe the maturity for a 15-year-old. It is crazy. I think the composure she shows is unreal. Venus just didn’t have the answers. She will play Magdalena Rybarikova next after she beat Aryna Sabalenka, the tenth seed being ousted by the variety of the 2017 semi-finalist.
Caro Wozniacki got through after Sara Sorribes Tormo retired with a lumbar injury, the Spaniard was 4/0 up initially but was 5/4 down when shaking hands. Marketa Vondrousova is out, as Madison Brengle imposed her tricky game on the French Open runner-up. Vondrousova also said that she had a hand injury after. Elina Svitolina will get the chance to gain revenge for her loss at Edgbaston to Margarita Gasparyan, whose single-handed backhand will look to cause problems again. Simona Halep will play Mihaela Buzarnescu next after making a bit of a mountain out of the second set against Aliaksandra Sasnovich, but getting it done.
Like in the men’s it was nice to get a few of the ladies bets through to the next round. Madison Keys, Karolina Pliskova and Petra Martic all safely made it through. Martic was pushed hard by Jennifer Brady as expected but played well in the end to get through, having dropped the opener. Su-Wei Hsieh also beat an out of sorts Jelena Ostapenko and Pliskova will be keeping one eye on the potential third-round encounter with her.
Lastly, well done Heather Watson, she beat Caty Mcnally to set up a second round with Anett Kontaveit, where the pressure will be off. Kontaveit has been very hot and cold of late, so you just never know there.
On we go to day two. Action Packed!
Andy Del Potro