It was disappointing to see that Evo had drawn Nozza from the word dot. Irrespective of who won today it would have been nice to see them both have the opportunity to go a few rounds. Rough draws happen though, ask Kevin Anderson and Marin Cilic for example. It just wasn’t quite firing today for the British Number One. Evo said “I think Cam played all the tennis really. I fought hard and that was about it really. It was a difficult turnaround. I just found it tough to come back, it was a bit flat and I just felt after I won on Sunday I felt pretty flat ever since”. He also went on to say he won’t be playing the week before a slam again. The bottom line is although we wanted more here, you can say Australia has been a success based on winning his maiden title. Simple as that. Evans wants to produce more in the slams though this year and that now is the target. Norrie played a very intelligent match as he worked the cross-court patterns. It will be a good opportunity for him to make the last 32 as he faces Roman Safiullin next. That will more than likely be against Nadal and I hope he gets there.
Nadal says his back injury is far from 100% but he adjusted against Laslo Djere today. You just give these matches as a standard win for Rafa and in truth, we may be more than a couple of rounds away from his first test here. Talking of which Stefanos Tsitsipas played pretty well today against Gilles Simon. The match will be remembered for a brilliant performance from Stefanos (not so great from Gilles) and his on-court interview after with Jim Courier. One of those awkward interviews made that way by the crowd laughing. I felt pretty sorry for him all in all as he didn’t feel like he could say anything right.
Matteo Berrettini will be pleased with his days work, a straight-sets win over Kevin Anderson. I think going forward this might be a kind matchup for the Italian and not so for the South African. Similar styles with Berrettini doing everything just a little better. Others winners in the enclosure today were the three Russians, Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev and Karen Khachanov. Two seeds that fell though were David Goffin against Alexei Popyrin and Roberto Bautista Agut lost to Radu Albot. Goffin missed a load of chances including serving for the match and holding match points. Bautista-Agut apparently didn’t seem in great health against Albot. That’s one of the men’s tips down.
That was a pretty impressive start from top seed Ash Barty. Not only did she hammer Danka Kovinic 6/0 6/0, she only lost ten points in the match. When you put that into perspective that is something. The concentration levels required to do that. She will play fellow Aussie, Daria Gavrilova next after she beat Sara Sorribes Tormo in a late-night match. Garbine Muguruza was also pretty decent as she outplayed Margarita Gasparyan. It is all about maintaining this for two weeks though as we know with the Spaniard.
I thought the first day had gone too well, then I woke up today to see Maria Sakkari had lost out of my tips. I obviously didn’t see this coming against Kristina Mladenovic but its another reminder that maybe she isn’t quite ready yet. A harsh lesson for both of us. She refused to blame quarantine for defeat like most though, so fair play. Vika Azarenka was seen using an inhaler in her defeat to Jessica Pegula and she refused to comment any more on it after. Perfectly understandable. I like everyone else will hope its nothing serious going forward. Last years Champion Sofia Kenin struggled past Maddison Inglis, maybe the groin is still an issue?
On Brit watch, there were losses for Jo Konta and Francesca Jones. Konta pulled out having won the first set against Kaja Juvan, she said that she had ‘pulled her ab’ and that she didn’t know too much more on it right now. Jones lost her first Grand Slam match after going down to the experienced Shelby Rogers in two. She said its back to normality now but this has been a great month or so for her. There was better news with Heather Watson beating Kristyna Pliskova in two tiebreaks. She was very pleased with her level of play in both breakers. She plays Anett Kontaveit on Thursday. It would be great to see Heather get a result here, as difficult as it may look on paper. Other winners in the women’s were Elina Svitolina, Elise Mertens, Coco Gauff and the young Egyptian Mayar Sherif. Karolina Pliskova and Danielle Collins both won and will play each other next.
Andy Del Potro