Today was the first day where some of the WTA seeds started meeting other WTA seeds and that made for some pretty interesting matches. 7 of the 14 women’s seeds in action fell today but it’s important to remember that some of them would have lost to other seeds and for the men it was very successful as only 2 of the 14 men’s seeds in action today fell.
The first match on Stadium 1 saw Kei Nishikori, who got his opening match over Daniel Evans in what was quite a good win considering Nishikori wasn’t at his best. The first set wasn’t that good quality as both men were making quite a few errors but in the end it just came down to who held their nerve in the clutch points. Evans started really well as he broke easily in the opening game of the match but Nishikori quickly cleaned that up and broke back immediately. It was on serve from there as neither man was giving much away on serve until Nishikori got the break to go up 5-3 and after a tough deuce game where Evans had opportunities to break back, Nishikori eventually took it 6-3. The intensity picked up in the second set as both men stopped hitting so many error which saw Nishikori go up a break immediately but Evans recovered and bought it to 2-2. It was on serve from there until 4-4, when Evans started to react to the pressure and he was broken and Nishikori followed that up with a great game which included some serve-and-volley play as held to take a 6-3, 6-4 win. Nishikori will now go on to face the big serving Gilles Muller in the third round.
Rafael Nadal looked very strong in his opening match today as he moved past Guido Pella with relative ease. He played well here last year so he will be feeling comfortable and ready to make an impact again this week. The crowd was really enthusiastic for Nadal today and I think that really motivated him to get put on a great show today. Pella was playing good tennis but Nadal was just to aggressive for him and he easily got swept aside. The Argentinian was able to hang with him at the start of the match and he even managed to go up a break to lead 2-1 at the start of the first set but from there Nadal switched on and wasn’t challenged much after that. Nadal broke back immediately and then went on to lead 5-2. From there, Pella got another hold but Nadal served it out the next game to win the first set 6-3. Pella played his best tennis at the start of the second set again and he managed to get the break he conceded in the first game of the match back to level the score at 1-1 but from there Nadal kicked up the speed again. Nadal only lost one more service game on the way to the 6-3, 6-2 match where he broke Pella a total of five times. Nadal is now only one match away from a potential fourth round face off against Federer.
The youngest women in draw Kayla Day really challenged a top ten opponent in Garbine Muguruza out on Stadium 1 today in a match that will be a massive learning curve for the young seventeen year-old. Day went out there and even though Muguruza wasn’t playing that great, especially on her serve, full credit to the young American for putting in such a good effort. At the start, Day looked like she was playing on the adrenaline and energy of her home crowd and she rushed out to 4-1 lead with a break. Neither woman was able to break their opponent for the rest of the set as Day eventually got it 6-3. Both women wouldn’t let go of their serve throughout the second set but Day was probably the stronger and more consistent throughout as she had a total of five break point opportunities were as Muguruza didn’t have any until Day was serving to stay in the set at 6-5 down. Muguruza ended up taking that opportunity and the match rolled in to a final set. Day looked like she was sapped of energy in the decider and Muguruza had well and truly warmed in to the match as she only dropped one point behind her first serve. The Spaniard ended up taking it 6-2 but Day should be really happy and proud of how she played today. Muguruza has now set up a fourth round clash with Elina Svitolina.
Our feature match ended up being quite a competitive and entertaining battle as Novak Djokovic got past Kyle Edmund in the final day match on Stadium 1. It was quite competitive in the first set with the 6-4 scoreline and it was just that Djokovic was taking his opportunities with more confidence and aggression than the young Brit. Djokovic didn’t face a break point in the first set and he had to work really hard to get the one break he did off Edmund but that was all it took as he held on to that and closed the set out 6-4. The second set was what a lot of people have been saying was the best set of Edmund’s young career. He raced out to a 3-0 and then had break point to go up 4-0 with a double break but Djokovic showed his grit to fight back. Djokovic got the set back on serve at 3-2 but Edmund wasn’t calling it quits then as he broke and then went to serve for the set at 5-3. Djokovic got the break back and from there it was on serve until the tiebreaker. Edmund was still playing good tennis in the breaker and he got really close but Djokovic had found a rhythm which led him to the 6-4, 7-6(7-5) victory. He now has an absolute BLOCKBUSTER third round against Juan Martin Del Potro.
The first match of the night session was the absolute demolition of Stephane Robert by Roger Federer, who looked really dangerous out there tonight. Robert wasn’t playing well at all and he was giving so many free points to Federer when the Swiss was serving but Federer forced a lot of errors out of the Frenchman. Robert’s serving was dismal in the first set as he only made 23% of his first serves and to add to that he only won 50% of his second serve points. I’m surprised that Robert even got the two service holds he did in the first set as Federer took it 6-2. Robert did start to serve a little bit better in the second set but Federer also started playing better and there was nothing Frenchman could do at times in the set as Federer easily got the win 6-2, 6-1. Even though Federer did play very well, Robert’s performance out there was unacceptable but you have to put his performance down to nerves.
The final night match was an absolute gem of a match as Dominika Cibulkova was forced to save match point on the way to beating Kristyna Pliskova. A lot of people were highlighting this as an upset alert because Pliskova had been so good at this tournament so far and Cibulkova had been a bit shaky in her opening match. Pliskova was on the front foot from the start as she raced out to a 4-1 lead with the break and she wasn’t intimated at all by facing a top 5 opponent. She went on to take the first set 6-2 without facing a break point and losing only one point behind her first serve. Cibulkova was under pressure from the start of the second set and eventually she succumbed as Pliskova got and consolidated a break to lead 4-2. Pliskova tried to serve out the match at 5-4 for a straight set win but she wasn’t able to do it because Cibulkova took advantage of her nerves to level the set to 5-5. Cibulkova then broke to lead 6-5 and she went 0-40 up with three set points but Pliskoka fought them off and got it deuce. It proved to be in vain as Cibulkova did end up breaking and took the set 7-5 to send it to a third. Both girls were playing fantastic tennis in the final set and it was VERY entertaining as they each had to save quite a few break points on the way to 6-6, but they did exchange two breaks of serve each on the way to the breaker. The most tense part of the match was when Pliskova had the match point when serving at 6-5 in the third but Cibulkova’s survival instinct kicked in and she saved it with a winner. In the tiebreaker they both had opportunities but Pliskova was to passive in the end as she took the 2-6, 7-5, 7-6(7-4) in two hours and 48 minutes.
Caroline Garcia defeated Johanna Konta 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(7-1)
Grigor Dimitrov defeated Mikhail Youzhny 6-4, 6-0
Karolina Pliskova defeated Irina-Camelia Begu 6-4, 7-6(7-2)
Jack Sock defeated Henri Laaksonen 6-3, 0-6, 6-4
Alexander Zverev defeated Facundo Bagnis 7-6(12-10), 6-3
Svetlana Kuznetsova defeated Roberta Vinci 6-2, 2-6, 6-1
Taylor Fritz defeated Marin Cilic 4-6, 7-5, 6-4
Timea Bacsinszky defeated Kiki Bertens 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(10-8)
Elina Svitolina defeated Daria Gavrilova 6-2, 6-1
Nick Kyrgios defeated Horacio Zeballos 6-3, 6-4
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova defeated Barbora Strcyova 6-3, 6-2
Lucas Pouille defeated Jan-Lennard Struff 6-3, 6-2