I really don’t think there is much more to see here in the top half. It isn’t the biggest call I will make but yesterday confirmed what most people have been thinking all along, Nadal will probably win the tournament and making the final looks a near cert now. The boys in the bottom half will need to keep themselves fresh from here on in or it will be all over. I wouldn’t say Rafa was brilliant against Jannik Sinner but when it mattered most he was. It was a little disappointing from the Italian, who having served for the first set and not taken it, saw his chances evaporate. Sinner admitted after it shows he has a way to go to catch up. Even so, the fact that Rafa has beaten him 7/5 6/3 6/0 without being at his best must sit pretty nicely against one of the best players in the World. His old pal, Diego Schwazrtman is next in line. El Peque having too much mental power to beat Jan-Lennard Struff in straight sets, the German had his chances, a double break up in the opener but flinched whenever the set was insight. That will not cut the mustard against someone as consistent as Diego. Schwartzman has given Rafa some good matches but only won one from eleven. I think he was actually a set and a break up against Nadal back in 2018 before the rain fell in Paris, playing incredible tennis. He isn’t in the same rich vein of form at the moment but I hope he gives another good account of himself.
Nole on the other hand was a little more fortunate. Lorenzo Musetti came out firing against a nervous-looking top seed. There was some brilliant shot-making once again from Musetti and he really was looking the part. Djokovic managed to raise his game from two sets down in the third and be more offensive at a similar time when the young Italian’s body started to give up on him. It was never going to be a contest then and the only surprise for me was that he didn’t see the match out, pulling out at 4/0 down in the fifth. Nole will need to be much quicker out of the blocks against a fresh Matteo Berrettini. I shouldn’t rule Nole out of this but I can’t help but feel he will come unstuck here, probably against Nadal but it will be interesting against Berrettini. Musetti is going to be a top, top player, no two ways about it.
Iga Swiatek showed a few nerves for the first time but nothing major. She just gets on with it. She is starting to have a big fan trail with Tweets from Andy Murray and Andy Roddick amongst others. She asked Muzza for a grass court practice with her reply. She just seems so incredibly down to earth and humble. Marta Kostyuk showed signs that she can be a top player against her but the consistency wasn’t quite there. She will play Maria Sakkari in the last eight after she hammered an out of sorts Sonya (Sofia) Kenin 6/1 6/3. Nervous and tentative was what I read about the American as opposed to clean hitting and great athleticism about Sakkari, who makes her first quarter-final at a slam. The match lasting just sixty-eight minutes.
Coco Gauff has also made her first quarter-final in a major. Having far too much on the day for Ons Jabeur, who was singing her praises after saying Coco is a player she ‘really admires’. Don’t we all eh? This lasting just fifty-three minutes. Coco won 78% of her service points and her net game was looking in good order. For me there really isn’t that much of a surprise that nerves haven’t played a part so far, she has always seemed ice-cool, very much like Swiatek. Will there be any against Barbora Krejcikova? I don’t think so. Krejcikova continued her remarkable run 9 match winning streak by beating Sloane Stephens. I obviously expected Sloane to give a much better account of herself than she did here, the 6/2 6/0 scoreline showed the contrast in performances. It really was great from one side of the net and below par on the other. Stephens is certainly heading in the right direction again though.
Andy Del Potro (Al Davies).