Rena will need to start playing a lot better as of Saturday. Julia Goerges will prove a much sterner task and one she will need to be back on her game for. It is partly what defines greatness, that ability to work your way into a tournament, even when not fit or not playing well and ‘dial’ in and find that form. She has done it before and I am sure she will do it again. Will she do it on Saturday? Let us see. It was better today after Kaja Juvan had taken the first set but it was hardly champagne by her standards. Come on Rena let’s do this!
I was probably expecting Angie Kerber’s loss to Lauren Davis a lot less than even Joe Bloggs. Where did that loss come from? She was one of my tips, so I definitely didn’t see it coming, especially against the American, who got into the draw as a Lucky Loser. Was Kerber feeling the exertions of Eastbourne? I wouldn’t have thought so, not at this stage anyway. Carla Suarez Navarro is next for Davis.
Ash Barty is seemingly cruising through the draw, this time Alison Van Uytcanck was beaten for the loss of just four games. Her biggest danger is that she could be caught cold at the business end here, as it has all been very plain sailing. She plays Harrier Dart in the third round after the Brit physically outlasted Beatriz Haddad Maia. A gutsy effort from Dart as it was she who initially had the trainer out.
Jo Konta and Sloane Stephens both wasted little time in setting up their third round encounter. Stephens won in just under an hour against Yafan Wang as Konta took about ten minutes longer against Katerina Siniakova. Very clean from the pair so far, something will have to give. I really hope we are treated to the high-quality encounter it should be.
Kiki Bertens had to save a match point against Taylor Townsend in the second set. It was on the American’s racket. Experience showed after that but it could have been so different, she was one shot away from an early exit. The winner of that will play either Elise Mertens or Qiang Wang for a place in the last eight after they both comfortably won again today. Elsewhere, Petra Kvitova was tested early doors against Kristina Mladenovic but was in cruise control after winning the first set. It will be interesting now as she will face Magda Linette, a different type of opponent to what she has been paired against so far. Belinda Bencic looks to be keeping herself fresh for Ash Barty in the fourth round unlike her next opponent Alison Riske who won 9/7 in the decider against Ivana Jorovic.
There was plenty of bite between Rafa and Nick and it made for compelling viewing. Nick was moaning a fair bit about Rafa and wasn’t frightened to voice it for everyone to hear. He also hit a ball at Rafa and said that it was intentional in the interview after. What is not reported is the praise he gave Nadal too. Rafa played well today, that extra consistency was something that Kyrgios didn’t have and you know Nadal will. The win meant a lot to him as he was pretty pumped and giving it at the end. Nick made it a match though and that’s the first blow in terms of Rafa being ‘softened up’. Anything else was unrealistic though.
I am so pleased for Dan Evans. He played very well against Nikoloz Basilashvili. The Georgian came back from two sets down against James Ward and there was an edginess around the place when he broke back in the third at two sets down here. Evo played a decent breaker though, making Basilashvili volley as often as possible, a clever play. It was a good all-around performance. Evo was expected to play Marin Cilic but something was clearly not right against Joao Sousa, who took full advantage in what was a pretty accomplished performance from him. Cilic missed twelve break point chances but he looked lethargic. Up the Evo.
Roger Federer sauntered through against Jay Clarke. You really feel it is very much cruise control for Federer at the moment. It has been nice for Jay to win a round and experience this though. Lucas Pouille seems to be playing quite well again but unless Fed plays well below par you don’t see anything but a win for the Fed-Ex. Kei Nishikori is in this quarter and he disposed of Cameron Norrie very quickly after a slow start. This particular Brit isn’t as at home on the grass in his defence. You would expect Nishikori to take care of Steve Johnson, who beat Alex De Minaur, the Aussie guilty of not taking his chances.
Diego Schwartzman will have to face a big task, as usual, on Saturday when he plays Matteo Berrettini. For some reason, I think El Peque has a real shot at beating the Italian here. Schwartzman maybe the seeded player for this but he is the underdog, again just as he likes it. Matteo Berrettini put an end to Marcos Baghdatis career with straight sets win today for the record. Bago apparently gave everything he had away to the crowd, including his shoes. Brilliant.
Sam Querrey notched a comfortable win, this one over Andrey Rublev and he will play John Millman in the third round. The American will like his chances of going a few more rounds with Simon going out. It was a tall order for Taylor Fritz to go deep after winning in Eastbourne and Jan-Lennard Struff was by all account decent today, though nervy in closing it out. That is JLS for you though. The German faces Mikhail Kukushkin after he beat a rusty John Isner. The results I am talking about show how the court speed is slower. Though I have to say I am scratching my head as to how Gilles Simon has lost to Tennys Sandgren. From two sets and a break down he threw away several leads in the decider and even 30-0 serving for it at 5/4. I wondered if he was injured as it didn’t seem right late on. Sandgren was really pumped and in fairness came-up with the clutch plays. He won 8/6 in the decider and will face Fabio Fognini, who loves a five-setter, this time taking out Marton Fucsovics 6/3.
Andy Del Potro