Only Evo left standing as Muzza, Raducanu & Watson lose, Muguruza also out – Day 4 Australian Open.

I think Murray gave us all a reality check after his straight-set loss to qualifier Taro Daniel, he said “This is a really important year for me for a number of reasons and I want to perform well in the big events. For me, tonight is not good enough in that respect. Making second rounds of slams is not something I find particularly motivating.” It is quite inevitable with all he has been through that there will be peaks and troughs but it is how many lows there are that will determine what will happen here and I think that is fair enough. I agree with him he needs to be generally getting further in the big ones or is there any point? Muzza doesn’t have anything to prove to anyone. Evo on the other hand didn’t even need to step on the court against Arthur Rinderkneck. The Frenchman pulled out before the start with a wrist injury. This gives Evo a nice rest. Evans plays Felix Auger Aliassime next after the ninth seed took four hours to beat Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in four tiebreak sets. The early betting has this as a toss of a coin, which it certainly wouldn’t have been at the start of the week. Evo has played three sets so far whereas FAA has played nine.

The biggest casualty on day four in the men’s was Diego Schwartzman, he had a couple of set points and was broken when serving for the first set against Chris O’Connell. The Argentine was physically shot thereafter and had treatment on what appeared to be his thigh. Stefanos Tsitsipas struggled more than most thought in beating Sebastian Baez, it took him four sets and he was level at a set apiece. Stefanos seems relatively happy with his performance though, saying that when he had got used to his opponent it went according to plan. Daniil Medvedev won the late night match with Kyrgios. Both players deserve a lot of credit, Nick for keeping Medvedev on his toes and leaving it all out there and the Russian for not being phased by any situation, including the crowd. Daniil is a monster mentally and this is a big one out of the way.

Other winners today were Andrey Rublev in three (against Ricardas Berankis), Jannik Sinner also in straights (against Steve Johnson), as was Roberto Bautista Agut (against Phil Kohlschreiber). Taylor Fritz apparently played really well in ousting Frances Tiafoe and Benoit Paire caused a mini upset against Grigor Dimitrov and said after he isn’t sure how much he has left in the tank for Tsitsipas after the nine sets he has played so far.

Third seed Garbne Muguruza put in a very lacklustre performance against Alize Cornet and was punished. Cornet didn’t even get broke in this. Muguruza said she had been suffering as most of her team had Covid and weren’t with her for most of the trip down under but even so, this effort was some way off. Anett Kontaveit was another seed to fall as she just kept trying to hit the ball harder and harder against Clara Tauson in her 6/2 6/4 loss. Old habits rearing their head again for the Estonian who came in with great form. Emma Raducanu also lost, she went down in a decider to Danka Kovinic. This could have been done in two but Kovinic tightened up against a physically comprised opponent. The Brit had blisters on her hand and had started slicing on her forehand side in the second set and it wasn’t for tactical reasons. As usual, people are going crazy that she has lost but there needs to be perspective. She over achieved in winning in New York and quite frankly too much is expected of her now. That is the reality but people are a little harsh. Heather Watson also lost in a tight two sets to Tamara Zidansek, who she had lost to in Adelaide in a deciding set breaker last week. She remains upbeat and says she is really raring to go for the rest of the season, great to see she had rediscovered her love for the game.

Iga Swiatek was an impressive 6/2 6/2 winner against Rebecca Peterson, facing only one breakpoint in the match. It starting to warm up for the Pole who plays Daria Kasatkina next, the Russian is playing quite well and had no problems against Magda Linette. Simona Halep also wasted no time in dropping just the two games against Beatriz Haddad Maia, a very steady effort against a player who tried her best to hit through the Romanian. Halep plays Danka Kovinic next in a match she should get through quite comfortably. Aryna Sabalenka scraped through against Xiyu Wang after losing the opener 6/1. Wang is a player that could have a good future in the game but there are bits she needs to sort out. Sabalenka has been on the ropes in both her opening matches but is still standing, for how long I am not sure.

Other winners today were Market Vondrousova (against Ludmilla Samsonova), she will play Sabalenka in the last 32, Elise Mertens (against Irina Begu) and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova ended Sam Stosur’s long and illustrious singles career. The former US Open champion was beaten 6/2 6/2. Twelfth seed, Elena Rybakina pulled out after losing the first set against Shuai Zhang with a left ankle injury. When having treatment she could be heard saying “I want to retire, I can not move.”

Al Davies (Andy Del Potro).

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