Dominic Thiem was looking like he was cruising into the last 32 against Alex Bolt as he served for a two sets lead, but a drop in focus paved the way for his opponent to start throwing the kitchen sink at him. Thiem found himself two sets to one down against an inspired player and crowd. There wasn’t much left in the tank for Bolt though after his five-set first-round win over Albert Ramos-Vinolas. It is still worth keeping tabs on Ernests Gulbis in this little section. He clinically disposed of Aljaz Bedene. He can be patchy to say the least Gulbis, but when he is on, he is on. Remember Wimbledon a few years back?
Rafa wasn’t exactly lights out against Federico Delbonis but it was good enough to get it done in straights. We are one match away from that primetime fourth-round encounter between Nadal and Kyrgios now. Kyrgios will have to get past Karen Khachanov first though. The Russian got out of jail against Mikael Ymer, who served for it in the fifth. Nick beat Gilles Simon in four after initially coasting. The Frenchman has never shied away from a scrap though and Nick was relieved to get this done in without going the distance.
I seem to find myself chuckling away every time Daniil Medvedev comes on to my screen. What a character, even when he is being serious I seem to think of some of the top draw stuff he has brought to the court. He had far too much firepower in tennis terms for Pedro Martinez, he made the first set a bit trickier than it needed to be but after he took that it was one-way traffic. Elsewhere in the men’s, Sascha Zverev was a straight-sets winner again, as was Andrey Rublev, who is still undefeated this year. He goes off as favourite to beat David Goffin next, the Belgian has had problems with both his back and hip.
Belinda Bencic beat Jelena Ostapenko in straights but it wasn’t as simple as that. The Latvian played pretty well and considering the awful news that she has had off-court, there is a lot to be positive about on-court. She should have won the second set but Bencic clawed her way back from *2-5. She is a really good match player ‘The Swiss Miss’. Seeing as Collins also lost in this half today, I should probably back Bencic and Pavlyuchenkova, as I have for their quarters. They are still 25/1 and 100/1(plus) respectively on the outright. I said before that Bencic hasn’t performed in Melbourne yet, but there is no reason why she can’t. I will back the 25/1 each-way for sure now. Pavy is playing well, it was a very good standard against Taylor Townsend. Karolina Pliskova is next for her though.
Heather Watson admitted that she was nowhere near the level required to beat Elise Mertens for the second time in a week. She is also carrying a slight abdominal injury. Not ideal when you are playing someone as consistent as Mertens. The Belgian plays CiCi Bellis next, the American on her comeback from surgery. She was out for over a year and a half and only made her comeback in Houston, last November. Also on Brit watch, Harriet Dart can be pleased with the way she almost got herself back in the second set against Simona Halep, nearly getting it back to 5-5 from a double break down. Dart started hitting out and going for it. Carla Suarez Navarro has played her last competitive match at the Aussie, losing to 18-year-old Iga Swiatek. Gotta be a CSN fan!
Reports are saying that Camila Giorgi is playing well. She walloped Svetlana Kuznetsova 6/3 6/1 and we know she is dangerous when she is on fire. I quite like her chances against Angie Kerber next. We will see where the former champion is at here. Finally, Elina Svitolina was in a bit of trouble against Lauren Davis in the second set but managed to escape a tricky decider. The American serving for the second before losing a tight breaker.
Andy Del Potro