Manic Monday at Wimbledon always bring a bit of excitement with us tennis geeks, it is all ‘going off’ as they say. My fanatical side may be over unusually early this year but I still have a keen interest. This is the last time it will be like this with play on the middle Sunday next year. It will be the end of an iconic day of the Championships.
So the dream is over for Emma Raducanu. I really thought she was getting it together in the middle part of the first set but she couldn’t quite kick on. There were a few chances to get a break ahead but in fairness, Ajla Tomljanovic played those points quite well. Nerves were evident on both sides of the net and understandably so. Big moments for both players at totally different stages of their careers. You could see Raducanu was struggling with some sort of breathing difficulty towards the end of the set and it was becoming more and more apparent. Wimbledon has confirmed this but that is all we know for the time being. We all hope she is ok obviously, it has been a great few weeks for her.
Ons Jabeur is just amazing really. You have to have time for her. She sorted herself out after the first set to beat Iga Swiatek 5/7 6/1 6/1. She found a nice level here in the last two sets and I hope she can disrupt Aryna Sabalenka’s rhythm on Tuesday with good use of the slice. When her serving is on she is a nasty opponent. Sabalenka on the other hand showed patience against Elena Rybakina, she didn’t press the panic button and that is a marked improvement alone. The second seed goes in as a slight favourite at 4/6 with the bookmakers.
Karolina Muchova came from a breakdown in the first set to win in straights against Paula Badosa. She said after she was happier with her performance than against Pavlyuchenkova in the previous round. There is still room for improvement though and I have a feeling she is going to have to bring that against Angie Kerber. The former champion undoubtedly put in her strongest performance so far by beating Coco Gauff 6/4 6/4. I didn’t really see this coming but hindsight tells you how this could have been tricky for Coco. The match overall was a high standard. The question is will Angie keep this up?
Ash Barty once again wasn’t anywhere near her best in beating Barbora Krejcikova, she trailed by an early break. There are issues with her serve but when she plays reasonably solid tennis it gets it done. There has always been an opinion that she should be able to play on the surface and that it suits her game. Now, she is finally having a run. Will there be many of those nerves that you tend to see when players playfellow compatriots? She plays Tomljanovic for a place in the last four. The top seed goes in with the pressure firmly on her. Karolina Pliskova has also put in her best performance here so far after beating wildcard Ludmilla Samsonova. The Russian not playing to the same level this time out. Pliskova will play Viktorija Golubic who has put this run of form together on grass unexpectedly. Madison Keys was well beaten today and Golubic did all the front running to win 7/5 6/3. It could have been easier but she had blips when serving for sets. She returned well enough to outplay Keys at the end of the day.
Djokovic beat Christian Garin very easily. There isn’t really much to say apart from the fact he is operating at far higher levels than this and I don’t mean that disrespectfully to Garin. It is just the reality. The general consensus seemed to be that energy was being conserved and he just played well within himself. How close can Marton Fucsovics get? It was a very good performance to come from two sets to one down against Andrey Rublev. A player he had a poor record against coming in. The former junior champion seems to be finding his feet at SW19. An all-around good performance.
Denis Shapovalov wins performance of the day by beating the 2019 semi-finalist Roberto Bautista Agut 6/1 6/3 7/5. I was expecting him to back up the Murray performance and beat him but that really stands out as a result. I have to fancy him to beat Karen Khachanov after he prevailed 10/8 in the fifth over Evo’s conqueror, Seb Korda. Can you believe these two trade 13 breaks of serve in the decider? You would have thought it would be serve orientated. It wasn’t.
Matteo Berrettini was very comfortable against Ilya Ivashska. His first-serve percentage was lower than normal but his all-around game was strong enough to allow a few blips. You need to be careful though. He plays Felix AA in the last eight after he took out Sascha Zverev in five. Having gone two sets up the Canadian found himself in a decider but Zverev had big, big issues on serve including serving three double faults to give Felix the initial break in the fifth. I was impressed how Felix got over the line here having said that. It lasted just over four hours. It will be interesting to see how he recovers for Berrettini.
The Fed Express had a few problems closing out the opener against Lorenzo Sonego. I thought the Italian would probably get a bit closer than this but after the first set, it was one-way traffic. I did expect Sonego to nick a set but Federer relaxed in sets two and three. We aren’t sure who he will play Wednesday yet. What we do know is that Daniil Medvedev is the first person to break Hubert Hurkacz on the lawns of SW19 this year, several times in fact. He leads by two sets to one and they will finish off on Centre today.
Onto the Ladies quarter-finals today.
Andy Del Potro (Al Davies).