It was a good day all in all for the Brits.
Evo came through reasonably comfortably against Dusan Lajovic as you would expect. Evans has got the job done in straight sets both times now and looked to be enjoying his appearance on Court One. The last time he played on their he lost to Joao Sousa in a high-quality match, so it was nice to get a ‘W’ next to his name after that loss. I did like the way Evo was saying he will be back on the practice courts as there is still improvement to be made as he settles into the event. It is a testament as to how far he has come that he made light work of this. A trip down memory lane once again with the slice backhand and net play reminiscent of Henman, his game is so suited to grass. Sebastian Korda will be a tough one next up. The American is making giant strides and after beating De Minuar in his opener he beat Antione Hoang in three. Hopefully, Evo can bring his game and make things tricky for his opponent. He is a slight favourite at around 4/5 in the markets and I expect to see this on one of the main show courts once again for the British Number One.
I was absolutely loving watching Muzza v Oscar Otte. Compelling viewing. It was high on drama and was great to see both players so passionate. Murray shouting in both joy and anguish, Otte doing the same and at one point appearing to mimick smoking a joint to his box having taken a fall on the baseline. Absolute scenes really. Otte is quite the character you can tell. It has been an action-packed few days for him when you consider in his first match he wasn’t aware in the final set breaker against Arthur Rinderkneck that he had won, he thought the breaker was to ten points! Murray was looking in complete control at a set and a break but then got quite tentative and Otte started believing and hitting bigger. It made for a great atmosphere and despite trailing two sets to one he managed to turn it around. There was some vintage Muzza in the latter stages with passing shots and lobs. How we have missed him.
Cam Norrie made it a nice hat-trick for the men as he came back in his match against Lucas Pouille that he had trailed by a set when the match was held overnight. Ultimately Nozzer has proved to be playing at a very high level this season and the consistency was on show against a patchy player who is capable of great tennis followed by sum massive slumps in matches. Add to that their confidence levels are at different ends of the spectrum and you can see why Pouille blew the fourth set when leading by a break. Nozza in four, he plays Alex Bolt next. Liam Broady lost to Diego Schwartzman but he can be very happy with his performance, losing in four sets. The ninth seed is so tenacious but Broady gave this a right go and nearly took the match into a decider. He says he feels a better player over the last few months and this performance was proof of that.
Elsewhere in the men’s, there was a win for Novak Djokovic who had far too much for Kevin Anderson. The South African isn’t up to this sort of challenge at the moment. Nice and straightforward for Nole. Andrey Rublev dismantled Lloyd Harris, there were straight-sets wins for Felix Auger Aliassime, Marin Cilic and Sam Querrey, Querrey beating eleventh seed Pablo Carreno Busta but it’s really isn’t a surprise. Matteo Berrettini had a midmatch struggle against Guido Pella but raced away in the end and Taylor Fritz won after having surgery only three weeks ago. Frances Tiafoe backed up beating Tsitsipas with a straight-sets win over Vasek Pospisil. John Isner and Casper Ruud are both out though, losing to Yoshihito Nishioka and Jordan Thompson respectively. Finally, Nick Kyrgios beat Ugo Humbert. This was finished off from the night before and the Aussie took it 9/7 in the decider despite tacking a heavy fall a few games earlier. Murray was also saying about how dangerous Centre was again last night in his match (Nick was on Court One). A good win for Nick against a player I tipped up to go very well, there is good respect between these two, which was nice to see.
Katie Boulter can be really pleased with her performance against second seed Aryna Sabalenka. She said she would have a go and that is exactly what she did taking the match to three sets. She fed off the patriotic crowd and had Sabalenka sweating here. Had it not been for an arm injury she has been carrying this could have been different. Hopefully, she can take this form on with her now and kick on. Emma Raducanu saved set points in the first set against Vitalia Diachenko and then bageled her in the second for her first win at Wimbledon. The 18-year-old Brit will face Marketa Vondrousova after she defeated Anett Kontaveit for her first win on the grass. Sam Murray lost to Sorana Cirstea, no disgrace in that. The Romanian has been in good form and took Murray out 6/3 6/3.
Ons Jabeur got through the first set against Venus and then ran away with it. It just wasn’t clicking in the second set for Venus but Ons really suits grass very well and this was always going to be a big ask for Queen V. Just happy she got a win here in her opener against Buzarnescu. Jabeur will play Garbine Muguruza next. There were more straightforward routes into the next round though for Karolina Muchova, French Open runner-up Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Iga Swiatek, Elise Mertens and Karolina Pliskova (who continued her good record against Donna Vekic). Vika Azarenka and Jelena Ostapenko were impressive winners also, Vika showing no signs of her injury from last week, which is a huge positive for her. A couple of big hitters progressed in Wildcard Ludmilla Samsonova, who took out Jessica Pegula in three and Coco Vandeweghe is back at Wimbledon and winning, she beat Olga Govortsova. Sloane Stephens beat Kristie Ahn, who still looked to be hobbling having beat Heather Watson, it wasn’t so good from Sloane this time after playing well against Kvitova. Elina Svitolina was pushed by Alison Van Uytvanck but having played a good second set the Belgian couldn’t maintain that in the third.
Belinda Bencic lost to Kaja Juvan, I did say coming in that she doesn’t always back her form up at these events and so it proves once again. Madison Brengle beat a disinterested Sofia Kenin, the American came in with no prep and played like it. Bianca Andreescu also lost, she went down to Alize Cornet who had beaten her a few weeks ago on grass, this time it was more comfortable, 6/2 6/1. The Canadian suffering from a lack of confidence and a lack of match fitness at the moment, as she heads to her favourite time of the year now.
Andy Del Potro (Al Davies).