Serena through after blip – Day 4 Roland Garros 2021.

There were some worrying signs going into the decider of Rena v Buzarnescu. I could see the match slipping away, with Rena making a few more errors at the end of the second set. More importantly, she wasn’t capitalising on her break point opportunities. In fairness, Mihaela Buzarnescu was producing some clean winners on some of them. Ther killer instinct wasn’t there from Serena but she was a different player in the decider. She was moving and executing pretty well towards the end. There have been times where matches like this have slipped away from her, so it was a confidence boost to see that she responded positively to the disappointment of losing the second. There is a long way to go here and you know what my attitude is like, one match at a time. I can’t emphasise enough how much work there is to be done to go deep here. It will be an intriguing match against compatriot Danielle Collins on Friday. Collins beat Anhelina Kalinina for the loss of just two games.

With both Osaka and Kvitova withdrawing from this half in the last few days and Andreescu losing, we have lost some of the bigger names in this half but there are still plenty of people who are making their way through quietly. Marketa Vondrousova is going under the radar nicely with another straight-set win, this one over French Wildcard, Harmony Tan. Paula Badosa played pretty well in beating Danka Kovinic 6/2 6/0 and will play Ana Bogdan next and Daria Kasatkina beat tenth seed Belinda Bencic 6/2 6/2. She did make the quarters a couple of years ago. A few of the other seeds were made to work. Aryna Sabalenka beat Aliaksandra Sasnovich in a match that featured 14 breaks of serve and finished 7/5 6/3 and Vika Azarenka beat 18-year-old Clara Tauson in a match of decent quality from reports. Apparently much improved on her first-round showing against Kuznetsova.

Other winners included Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Elena Rybakina, Madison Keys and Sorana Cirstea, who backed up her win over Jo Konta by betaing last years quarter-finalist, Martina Trevisan.

Stefanos Tsitsipas was pretty comfortable against Pedro Martinez, despite going a break down in a couple of sets. There was too much firepower when push came to shove. Alexander Zverev made hard work once against, this time against Roman Safiullin but did get it done in three. He needed two breakers though against a lad he grew up on the junior tour with. Daniil Medvedev dropped the opener against the talented Tommy Paul but the American decided to go toe to toe with Daniil after the first set and got heavily criticised by the media and Twitter for it. It wasn’t the best changeup he will ever do for sure, Medvedev in four. Pablo Carreno Busta was made to work very hard by Enzo Couacaud. The Frenchman played really well here and PCB really had to dial in after losing the opener. This could have easily gone the distance.

Other players safely through in the men’s include Casper Ruud, John Isner, Fabio Fognini and Reilly Opelka. Opelka beating my outside tip for the quarter Jaume Munar in four sets. The quicker conditions in Paris really suiting him in this matchup. Munar has pulled out the doubles with a shoulder injury. Federico Delbonis did a little better though as he beat Pablo Andujar. The Spaniard had back to back five setters after beating Thiem and was running out of gas towards the end. Kei Nishikori took out Karen Khachanov in five. Nishikori said that he is pleased with how well he plays in the fifth sets despite his body saying ‘no’. Finally, Henri Laaksonen beat Roberto Bautista Agut in an upset. Some really good tennis from him here and the forehand bringing many cheap points. Disappointing from RBA and he said he was frustrated that he couldn’t get into this one.

Andy Del Potro (Al Davies).

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