Rafa and Djokovic continue to trade blows with one another. This time it was the turn of Spaniard to drop just five games in his 6/1 6/4 6/0 hammering of Stefano Travaglia. As a Nadal fan, my girlfriend thought it was disrespectful (to Travaglia) for the commentators to refer to it as a ‘routine’ victory. I get what she is saying but that is exactly what this was. The Italian won’t be the last person to suffer this shame, not even in Paris this year you would think. That is unless my 200/1 tip for the quarter at the start of the event, Sebastian Korda causes a huge shock. I remember saying at the time to obviously bear in mind that he will have to beat the GOAT on clay to do so. It is a great effort from the American who comfortably beat clay-court specialist, Pedro Martinez. I can’t expect too much change against Nadal though but it will be a match Korda can at least go into relaxed.
One of my tips for the second quarter, Casper Ruud, lost to Dominic Thiem. The commentary kept saying how for a set and half the Norwegian was the better player. That may have been fair enough but it says a lot about Thiem’s level that he still led by a set and a break when they were saying that. I think Ruud is going to be a very good player and certainly one of my favourite from that NextGen list. The 6/4 6/3 6/1 scoreline was very harsh on him, the match last over two hours and he kept the Dominator on his toes. I would imagine the Austrian was delighted to see Wawrinka lose to Hugo Gaston. It was a match that could potentially have taken a lot of him physically had Stan made it through. It was a great win for Gaston, who showed plenty of variation which he says is his game. The defeat kind of sums Stan’s last three years up at the majors. Promising efforts followed by a tame one by his high standards.
My other bets of Alex Zverev and Diego Schwartzman actually both put in very good performances against Marco Cecchinato and Norbert Gombos respectively. Cecchinato looked like a very nasty match for Sascha with the Italian posting some very good results, but this was a much more assured effort from the German. To get this done in three was very impressive and much more like it. Diego had to play well against Gombos and even trailed the first set by a double break (2/5) before winning 7/6 6/3 6/3. They will face tougher matches than most will give credit for next. Zverev will play Jannik Sinner who is on absolute fire. He is yet to drop a set against Goffin, Bonzi and now Coria. Schwartzman will play another Italian, Lorenzo Sonego, whose level was apparently exceptionally high in his straights sets win over Taylor Fritz. The third set breaker lasted over thirty minutes. A match where Fritz didn’t do a lot wrong by all account.
Simona Halep took little time in gaining revenge for her loss in the last eight to Amanda Anisimova last year, fifty-four minutes to be exact. The scoreline shows she was in a league of her own. It has been a tough year for Anisimova though, with the loss of her father, so it is very nice to see her go a few rounds here. It must be very difficult for her, it is easy to forget she is only 19-years-old still. What she has been through is pretty much as bad as it gets for most people and I have a great deal of sympathy for her. Halep will play Swiatek next after the Pole strolled past Genie Bouchard. Swiatek will expect to do better against the top-seed than she did last year when she only won the one game. If she plays as she has, then that at least won’t be a problem for her.
Kiki Bertens showed no signs of the physical issues that she had after her victory over Errani two days ago. This doesn’t come as that much of a surprise to me, though Katerina Siniakova put up a poor display. Elina Svitolina wasn’t that impressive in beating Ekaterina Alexandrova but did the necessaries at the end of the day. Anna Karolina Schmiedlova wasn’t at the races against qualifier Nadia Podoroska, she really struggled to back-up her win over Vika Azarenka. This probably comes as little surprise as it has happened before. Caroline Garcia came from a set down to beat Elise Mertens. There were nerves aplenty here by the end and I’m not sure how her fourth-round match against Svitolina will pan out.
Quite simply my bets from the top half have now all gone in the women’s. Martina Trevisan beat Maria Sakkari. This is a very disappointing effort from Sakkari, it may lead to a temporary blacklisting on the tipping front. The Italian qualifier has been very gutsy in Paris but you would expect Sakkari to have had too much here. Tsvetana Pironkova also lost to Barbora Krejcikova. I actually got my hopes up a little as I thought the Bulgarian could go very well now. The conditions weren’t really in her favour though in hindsight.
Onto day seven.
Andy Del Potro