Two years have seemed an eternity. Usually, I am all over Centre and Number One Court tickets but when I got a ground admission pass for Saturday I was more than content with that. With Evo and Murray both out (and playing on the wrong day) and Rena succumbing to injury, when she would have been playing yesterday meant I was quite chilled about what I watched. The truth is it was great to be back. I have missed this place badly.
It wasn’t long until the rain came for a few hours and the covers were up but after that, we got play straight through. I had a few options on the ground pass but thought I would go and see one of my tips from the preview and see if they could get the win, I had the choice of Ostapenko and Muchova on that first of all. Don’t ask me why (probably as I had bet on the outright and for the quarter) but I thought I would check out Ostapenko and keep an eye on the Czech. For a set and a half, it was pretty straightforward for the Latvian against Ajla Tomljanovic, she was a set and a break. The dynamics seemed to change very quickly as they can do. I certainly picked the right match for a bit of bite. Tomljanovic broke back and broke again to level up and then raced out to a 4/0 lead in the decider. Ostapenko promptly called for the trainer and had to receive treatment off court. Tomljanovic was not amused and basically said, what is the injury? Which part of the body? That there wasn’t one! After returning to the court Ostapenko got a break back initially but she couldn’t hold and she had run out of time. I would say that the serve just evaporated in the second when she was looking good, so her claims of an abdominal injury look to have some truth. She told Tomljanovic that she had no respect at the shake of hands. For a minute I didn’t think there was going to be one but they eventually did!
During my stay on court 15, I kept an eye on the score on the Raducanu v Cirstea match. The winner of that would play Tomljanovic. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing by the time I left Courside the Brit was closing in on victory. By the time I got to the hill she had a match point and what a point it was. I could see Cirstea had lost the previous point and that her cap had come off during it. The matchpoint was a fair reflection of what I have seen of Raducanu. Good movement, decent angles on shots and plenty of heart and fight. It is obviously great news for her and great for us Brits. I am biased but it would be great to see her make the last eight.
Karolina Muchova did take out Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, though apparently, it wasn’t so pretty from either side of the net. She is the more natural grass-court player in this matchup. Her fourth-round opponent will be Paula Badosa after she took out Magda Linette. I saw the last few games of this as it was right next to Ostapenko. It seemed from glancing over occasionally that Linette would win this but one final power shift to the Spaniard took her over the line. Gutsy!
Coco Gauff is still going nicely. Kaia Juvan put up a bit of resistance but Gauff on autopilot is just too good. It is going to be an interesting fourth round against Angie Kerber. Gauff should take her out you would think. Kerber was down then up against Aliaksandra Sasnovich. The Belarusian level dropping off quite substantially in the final two sets of her 2/6 6/0 6/1 loss. Ash Barty got past Siniakova in straights. This could have been a nasty one but the Aussie top-seed was quite solid and her opponent didn’t always maintain the level she is capable of. She will play Barbora Krejcikova on Super Monday. The French Open Champ beat off illness and Anastasia Sevastova. The illness she put down to and I quote, “what happens to girls every month.”
Without being able to get on Court 3 with a ground pass I was hoping for a hassle-free time for Matteo Berrettini. The only guy from my tips left in what has been pretty poor from me, to put it mildly. It was probably a nice matchup against Bedene on the surface in retrospect and he apparently played really well breaking once in each set to get it done in three. I think I read he has only been broken once so far this week. Which would have been against Pella. Ilya Ivashka next and I will say this shouldn’t be underestimated. The lad is playing well on the grass.
I can’t complain about the run Taylor Fritz gave me at 150/1 for his quarter. Great effort and he gave Sascha Zverev a decent match, taking the opening set on a breaker. A four-set loss to Zverev is no disgrace. I think I have said it every time but what an effort with surgery so recently. It gets a bit tougher for Sascha again against Felix AA. Kyrgios pulled out of this one after the second set. Another suffering from an abdominal injury. How has Nick forgotten his tennis shoes again?? Hilarious really. Nice to see him back and enjoying things. Once again a nice bit of respect between these two. Should be a good match on Monday when Zverev and FAA take to the court.
I was hoping Nozzer would put in the same kind of performance he has most of this season by and large. He didn’t think he had played to the same level either though. It wasn’t for lack of trying, but he fell two sets down before working his way into it. In the third, I thought he showed how much he wanted to make a mark on this match and he did. The refusal to throw in the towel and desire to extend the match was evident. It has been a really good few weeks for Norrie but it wasn’t to be this time. I watched a bit of this up on the hill. Lorenzo Sonego seems to be operating at a reasonable level after beating James Duckworth in straights. The prize is a matchup against Federer.
I kind of went into the Cilic/Medvedev encounter thinking Marin would probably get sorted in four by the Russian. Watching this on the big screen though Marin was playing some great tennis, painting the lines with his forehand winners, serving well and being really solid from the baseline. At two sets up I was thinking this is impressive so far. Medvedev had broken midway through the third and I had to leave to get home. The break had given off a bad vibe though and sure enough by the time I got home Medvedev had won in five. Reports say Cilic level had dropped off massively by the end. Disappointing but you know Medvedev will hang around for five if necessary and he got it done. Hubert Hurkacz looks comfortable on paper next but he hasn’t dropped serve in the event yet. The only player in this category. Alexander Bublik wasn’t up to much here by the sounds of it but still.
I did check-in (very) briefly on Heather Watson/Harriet Darts in their win over Shelby Rogers/Petra Martic in the doubles and Lloyd Glasspool/Harri Heliövaara v Aidan McHugh/Alastair Gray. Glasspool/Heliovaara won 8/6 in the third.
On we go then. A big day to come.
Andy Del Potro (Al Davies).