Today was the final day of third round action for the women and it was quite an average for the seeds. 6 of the 12 men’s seed went out but only 3 of the 9 women seeds fell.
The first match saw Angelique Kerber struggle but eventually come back from a deficit to get past Pauline Parmentier in the first match on Stadium 1. Kerber wasn’t able to hit with the depth she normally does and that was giving Parmentier a lot of opportunities to just batter the ball past the German. It took Kerber over an hour to capture the first set as neither women was handling the heat to well and there were a lot of errors as they exchanged one break each on the way to 5-5. From there Kerber had a lot of break points but Parmentier was able to really make Kerber work for it before she eventually broke and served it out 7-5. Parmentier faced a total of 11 break points in the opening set so Kerber really could have take this one quicker if she’d been able to take her opportunities. Kerber’s serving level only got worse in the second set and even though she broke Parmentier twice in the set she got broken four times throughout as the Frenchwoman took the set 6-3. The final set really should have gone the way of Parmentier as she got a break and went up 4-1. Kerber fought back to get it to 4-3 on serve but when Parmentier had break points to serve for the match at 5-3, Kerber hit a backhand that looked in and there were no challenges but the TV commentator hawk-eye showed it was out. This means Parmentier should have had the opportunity to serve for the match but I still think Kerber would have come out on top. Nerves started to creep in to Parmentier’s game at 5-5 and Kerber took the break on her fifth brek point opportunity before serving out a scrappy win. She now has Elena Vesnina in the fourth round.
Our feature match was out on Stadium 3 and it featured Kristina Mladenovic look very strong as she got a convincing win over Simona Halep, who’s really been struggling so far this year. The start of the match saw three games take 27 minutes so it started extremely competitive but Mladenovic proved to be to solid and consistent for Halep to keep up with. Halep started strongly as she went up 3-1 with a break of serve but from there it gave time for Mladenovic to warm into the match and she won five straight games on the way to taking the set 6-3 with some phenomenal tennis that Halep struggled to do anything about. Mladenovic didn’t slow down for the second set and after Halep got her first service game and a break off Mladenovic the Frenchwoman race forward and captured the match 6-3, 6-2. WOW. To demolish a top 10 player and a former champion at Indian Wells in the fashion has put Kiki’s stick in the ground as a favourite for the title this week. Halep put the loss down to the difference in confidence levels after the match which I think is true.
Dominic Thiem looked really strong in his match against Mischa Zverev on Stadium 1 and he is showing a lot of the doubters his over-scheduling might be the right thing for him to do. Zverev didn’t play a bad match at all but it was Thiem’s serving level that didn’t give him a look at a break of serve at any point throughout the match. Thiem looked very dangerous in the first set as he only dropped one point behind his first serve and two points behind his second serve. He broke Zverev twice without a massive fight back from Zverev and took the first set 6-1. The second set was a little more competitive as Thiem’s level dropped but it was still very strong as he only dropped five points behing his serve. Zverev’s second serve was his real weakness and he struggled to win many of the points behind it. Thiem closed out the great and confidence boosting win 6-1, 6-4 victory to set up a fourth round clash with Gael Monfils, which is definitely winnable.
Stan Wawrinka was very consistent and strong in his match and despite not being able to get his backhand going untill the second set he found a way to win the match. Wawrinka was very strong behind both his second and first serve and he didn’t face a break point which shows his serve was untouchable. Kohlshrieber wasn’t serving badly either but his second serve was a major weakness as he only won 37% of points behind. That’s what proved to be his undoing in the end as Wawrinka got the first break of the match when the German was serving to stay in the set at 6-5 down to get a 7-5 set. Wawrinka got a little more inconsistent on serve in the second set but he was still very good as he hit another 5 aces and he was winning 72% of all his service points. Kohlschrieber was more solid in the second set but it was just an early slip up that let Wawrinka go 3-0 up with a break that he didn’t come back from and the rest of the match was on serve from there as the Swiss closed out a 7-5, 6-3 win to set up a fourth round meeting with the surprise package this week: Nishioka Yoshihito.
Madison Keys played really stunning tennis to get the night session underway today as she got past Naomi Osaka. Osaka wasn’t playing well at all but even if she was I don’t think she would have been able to do much against the Keys we saw tonight, who was only playing her second match of the season. You could have blinked and missed the first set as Osaka wasn’t serving well at all and was broken twice on the way to Keys taking it 6-1 in 19 minutes. This was her second 6-1 opening set of the tournament so she’s showing that she comes straight out of the blocks and plays with full intensity from the moment she hits the first ball. Keys’s level dropped in the second and that gave Osaka the opportunity to win a couple of games but all Keys needed was a break to go 2-0 up at the start of the set and there were no more breaks from there. Osaka only won three of her thirteen second serve points in the second set and that’s the main stat I take away from this match and it’s something she can work on in training for Miami. Keys will take on the in-form Wozniacki tomorrow so this will be a true test to see what level she’s playing at.
The final night match was a matchup that I don’t find very entertaining at all due to the amount of errors they both hit but it was Gael Monfils who moved past John Isner in sraight sets. It was all Monfils from the start of the first set as Isner’s main weapon, his serve, was off today and Monfils raced to a 4-1 lead with the double break. Inner managed to fight his way through another game when he was serving at 5-2 but then Monfils served the set out without facing a break point and losing two points behind his first serve. Isner did serve better in the second set but he was still no match for Monfils, who again didn’t face a break point this set and wasn’t giving any free points away, especially on his service games. Monfils v Thiem will be interesting h Thiem has been playing well so far here and Monfils has been good but not at his best. Saying that, Thiem always has a tendency to lose suddenly at tournaments and this could be one of those tournaments so we’ll have to wait and see.
Two more high profile player have spoken about their thoughts on Maria Sharapova collecting wildcards and the situation in Stuttgart with her not being aloud on site until Wednesday, which is three days into the tournament and the day she will play her first match. Wozniacki was particularly unhappy with it as she said that she doesn’t mind second chances but she thinks handing out all these wildcards is disrespectful to players that don’t break the rules and that Sharapova should have to work her way back to the top of the game. Federer was saying that if players are unhappy about her getting wildcards they might need to change the rules on players with doping suspensions getting wildcards when they come back but he is said everyone has different opinions and he accepts that. Other players like Azarenka and Venus Williams have weighed in saying that there is no problem with giving her wildcards because she has served her time and she is someone who sells out stadiums.
Venus Williams defeated Lucie Safarova 6-4, 6-2
Elena Vesnina defeated Timea Babos 6-4, 1-6, 6-4
Shuai Peng defeated Agnieszka Radwanska 6-4, 6-4
Yoshihito Nishioka defeated Tomas Berdych 1-6, 7-6(7-5), 6-4
David Goffin defeated Albert Ramos-Vinolas 7-6(7-3), 6-4
Caroline Wozniacki defeated Katerina Siniakova 6-3, 6-1
Roberta Bautista Agut withdrew before the match with a abdominal injury letting Pablo Carreno Busta through