The only surprise we had with Ash Barty today was that she actually dropped serve once in the match. The first time this has happened since her match with Coco Gauff in Adelaide. I certainly would not say Amanda Anisimova did too much wrong, sometimes you just have to say too good. The top seed isn’t missing much at the moment and like I have mentioned before this is all going to be down to whether she can manage the pressure and expectation on her. It almost looks like a forgone conclusion but things can change in one match and the pressure will keep mounting. Should she manage this you feel that she will be able to play even more freely in all the majors. She will face Jessica Pegula next after the American took advantage of an error-strewn performance from Maria Sakkari. Barty is around the 1/6 (1.17) mark to make it through to the semis as it stands. Pegula is no doubt extremely underrated right now, it does look a big ask but she will be hoping to see a few nerves creep into the Barty game. There have been none so far.
Madison Keys thumped Paula Badosa 6/3 6/1. Now, as I was on Badosa I am pretty disappointed with this effort but I have to acknowledge Keys is on fire. The Spaniard’s comments after were pretty interesting, “Sometimes I was serving 180. I had to look what the serve [speed display] said because I didn’t understand how a winner came back that fast. I thought I was serving bad. Then I saw it was her game, that she was playing very, very good.” She also went on to say that she was pretty tired after a busy and successful start to the season. Keys is a new player right now though and is putting it down to just enjoying the game again. She will play Barbora Krejcikova for a place in the last four. The Czech beat Vika Azarenka who was suffering from a neck issue 6/2 6/2. It doesn’t do the French Open Champion any justice to bring that into play though as she really has upped her game in the last year. The forehand was the best shot on the court on the day. It is pretty much the toss of a coin for who makes the semis but Krejcikova is an ever so slight jolly at the time of writing at 4/5 (1.8).
Denis Shapovalov beat a lacklustre Alexander Zverev in straights. I really did not see this coming but Shapo seems to be finding some form and balance to his game as the tournament progresses. Shapo had played nine sets in beating Djere and Kwoon in his first two matches. Sascha once against struggled on his second serve and that gave the Canadian the inspiration he needed. Zverev was critical of his own performance, “I was playing bad all week, maybe not against John Millman but the other matches were bad too. There is no excuses at the end of the day I have to do better. I came here with a goal to win and be World No.1 but if I play like that I don’t deserve it.” He also said he thought it was his worst match since Wimbledon. Shapovalov will face Nadal in the quarters with the Spaniard winning a first-set tiebreak that lasted 28 minutes against Adrian Mannarino. The Frenchman was having issues with his adductor but admitted that “My body was still a little stiff for two days. It may have been one race too many.” Rafa is around the 4/11 (1.36) mark to beat Shapovalov, it actually looks a little on the short side to me. A lot will depend on how Denis deals with the occasion and his opponent.
Gael Monfils is still yet to drop a set as he beat Miomor Kecmanovic 7/5 7/6 6/3. Both players looked to be struggling as the match went on and in pain in between points but Monfils kept going after his shots and making them. It has been really good tennis from him so far and it will be interesting to see how he fairs against Matteo Berrettini next. You just wonder if his body will hold out. They played at the US with the Italian winning a final set breaker. Berrettini has beaten Pablo Carreno Busta in straights with some impressive service stats, 77% first serves in play and winning 87% of those points. Not only that but he only faced the one breakpoint which he saved and hit 57 winners.
Al Davies (Andy Del Potro).