There have been a lot of different thoughts going through the mind after defeats for both Evo and then Muzza later this evening. I love my reflection period and try to balance my thoughts out over time. By nature, I am quite impulsive and my initial thoughts can be negative as a result in defeat. Then you search for the positives and after asses all the evidence and come to a conclusion. It can take days, weeks sometimes.
I think seeing Evo appearing for his interview with the BBC virtually in tears after his loss to Sebastian Korda confirmed what I already suspected. That he was devastated. Joao Sousa was a painful loss two years ago and this one ranks alongside it. There were chances and this could have been very different. Dan said that he was too passive and I think that is fair. As usual, he was exceptionally hard on himself but there is a lot of honesty in his interviews, win or lose. It shows how far he has come that I am no longer content with the third round of Wimbledon. I liked his chances against Khachanov in the last 16. This was an opportunity to make the last 8, it would have been a lot of hard work and high-quality tennis but it was achievable. Evo clearly thought the same. There are so many positives to take from this year so far for him, so no need to dwell too much on this. Korda is going to be some player, nothing new in that. He played well today too.
Muzza was well beaten by Denis Shapovalov. There was a point in the first set where Murray had almost reeled the Canadian in from 1-5 down. Shapovalov was starting to look tight but the way he played the big points to eventually hold was admirable. Some big plays including saving one of the breakpoints with a stop volley. From that moment on it was one-way traffic and you couldn’t really see Muzza getting back into this, especially having fallen 3-0 double breakdown in the second. The efforts from the first couple of rounds had unsurprisingly caught up with him. Shapovalov dealt with the on-court interview superbly. Giving Murray credit for being an ‘inspiration’ and then handling any stupidity that came his way in terms of questions made it almost as impressive as his performance on-court. It will be the Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut on Monday, he came past Dominik Koepfer in three.
Novak Djokovic struggled a bit against Denis Kudla but still won in straights. There were some sticky moments, he was a breakdown in the third and even 3-0, a double mini-breakdown in the tiebreak but found a way through. Christian Garin next. There was also a win for Andrey Rublev against Fabio Fognini in four, Rublev weathered the Fognini fightback in the second. Fabio said, “Rublev here on the grass plays worse and is not as suited as he is at the Australian Open or the US Open but he beat me anyway”. Martin Fucsovics will be his next opponent after he beat ninth seed, Diego Schwartzman, also in four. The Hungarian simply overpowering him.
In the Ladies, Ons Jabeur brushed off some early nerves to play pretty well against Garbine Muguruza. The use of the slice helped to disrupt Muguruza’s rhythm. Jabeur was seen throwing up on-court at match point but that is not the first time and she put it down to stress. Iga Swiatek will play her on Monday. The pole dropping just the one game against Irina Begu. It is in stark contrast to a week ago where she was still making the conversion to grass. She must be a fast learner. Should be a decent match this. Aryna Sabalenka won 6/0 6/3 against Maria Camila Osorio Serrano. The 20-year-old Colombian qualifier kept it more competitive than this in reality though. The second seed was impressive in saving breakpoints once again. It will be a totally different matchup against Elena Rybakina.
Elsewhere Madison Keys beat Elise Mertens. I am still to be convinced yet and think that when she plays someone with a bit of grass-court experience we will see where she is at. She plays the inform Viktorija Golubic, who dropped only three games against Madison Brengle. Karolina Pliskova put pay to my 150/1 shot for the third quarter, Tereza Martincova. Not really a surprise but the match was closer than the 6/3 6/3 scoreline suggests. It will be a huge hitting affair against Ludmilla Samsonova after the wildcard beat Sloane Stephen’s in a decider.
On a final note, it was great to see Nick and Venus get the win in the mixed doubles. Onwards and upwards.
Andy Del Potro (Al Davies).