Thumbs up for Serena, wins for Stefanos and Daniil – Day 6 Roland Garros 2021.

It was a big thumbs up indeed for Rena today. I was worried coming into the match against Danielle Collins that it could be tough. It was but I thought she played pretty well on the whole and she was aggressive on the return of serve. There was a blip at the start of the second having led by a set and a break, she then trailed 1/4 before reeling off the next five games for the match. That is as bad as it got though. My expectations are lower on clay right now but people are starting to talk this up. We have a long way to go but so far it has been smiles and nods of appreciation when I look at the first three rounds. We all know it doesn’t tend to get easier from here on and Collins could have been a far trickier obstacle. Elena Rybakina is next, a player that is going under the radar this year, she beat Elena Vesnina.

Vika Azarenka has made the fourth round for the first time in eight years, she ousted Madison Keys 6/2 6/2. She is getting better with every match in Paris. She faces Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova next after the Russian beat one of the favourites for the event, Aryna Sabalenka. The Belarussian had problems keeping the ball in the court, not for the first time, despite taking it to a decider. Pavy actually called for an MTO on her thigh/hip going into the final set and then promptly bageled Sabalenka. Pavy last made the fourth round in 2011.

Elsewhere in the women’s, Marketa Vondrousova beat Polona Hercog, still sneaking through the draw, the former finalist. Sorana Cirstea was too consistent for Daria Kasatkina. The Romanian keeping up her form from last week Strasbourg, she will play Tamara Zidansek, who despite being bageled in the opener beat Katerina Siniakova. Cirstea last made the last 16 here back in 2009. Paula Badosa Somehow managed to come from behind against Ana Bogdan, saving a match point on the way. She struggled to get herself in front but she timed this one to perfection. She will have to play better against Vondrousova.

Stefanos Tsitsipas was in an awkward position when he dropped the opener against John Isner. Being a set down against a player that will give you little rhythm would have seen him stress in times gone by but not now. He worked his way into this and won going away from Isner by the end. It was his first big hurdle passed but there are a few more tricky ones to navigate yet. Pablo Carreno Busta is next after he took care of Steve Johnson who had been enjoying a good week in Paris. The Spaniard just doesn’t budge though. What has impressed me most with him is his mentality though, there is a lot of belief within that he can cause plenty of damage here. We shall see how he fares next. Daniil Medvedev took a few games to adjust to Reilly Opelka as he trailed 1/3 but turned it round very comfortably. Total domination in the end. Daniil is proving why he is a top player though, he may have had a decent draw but he has come in with little match practice and is improving round by round. Christian Garin next.

Alex Zverev won in straights against Laslo Djere. The Serb was 5/3 and 40/0 on serve in the second though. It was quite a good performance from Sascha, so I won’t be too critical. Zverev plays Kei Nisikori next. Nishikori only played the one set before Henri Laaksonen pulled out with what seems to be a groin injury, apparently, he did it on a return of serve a few games in. Zverev has beaten him in Madrid and Rome recently but the one in Rome was a three-setter. Federico Delbonis dream run continues. A very easy win over Fabio Fognini, who didn’t really turn up. The Italian was referring to himself as ‘stupid’ after. Gotta love the guy, haven’t you? Great effort from Delbonis and he will play Alejandro Davidovich Fokina who upset Casper Ruud. I didn’t see this one coming. A great contrast in styles though here led to a good match on the eye.

Andy Del Potro (Al Davies).

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