Day four saw the last of the second round matches completed during which both the intense heat and subsequent drama remained.
The heat caused play to again get suspended on the outside, uncovered courts and there was further disruption after rain, thunder and lightening joined the mix.
The headlines today belonged to Maria Sharapova and Juan Martin Del-Potro.
Sharapova who looked so impressive against the unpredictable quirk of Mattek-Sands, was truly tested early on against Knapp with a three set opus during the heatwave. Prevailing 10-8 in the third the result might prove ominous for her opponents with the Russian’s early test now priming her for the rest of the tournament. Similarly but admittedly unlikely it could hint at a vulnerability with ever increasing years on tour, it will be fun finding out either way.
Del-Potro may have been spared the daytime temperatures but couldn’t withstand the heat coming from his opponents play – the world number 62 outlasting the Argentine in five sets and nineteen more winners. An extraordinary performance and the shock of the tournament so far.
Federer, Nadal, Tsonga, Radwanska, Azarenka and (eventually) Murray all proceeded with minimal fuss however.
It’s early days still in this slam of course but there have been welcome signs of a mini renaissance for recently struggling players on both tours as Nishikori, Wozniacki and Cornet all posted wins, the Frenchwoman particularly impressive against the wily yet stylish Italian Camilla Giorgi who enjoyed a decent 2013.
Newly engaged Wozniacki (the missus has a girl-crush so I must mention her) will be optimistic of a better season and a win over Christina McHale is a promising start.
Elsewhere poor Andreas Seppi, so impressive against the dogged Hewitt went out after another five setter, this time to the American Donald Young who – rather like Monfils in his early years has yet to deliver on the potential hinted at.
Day 4 Seeds to fall
Juan Martin Del-Potro
Vasek Pospisil (withdrew from tournament)
Al’s Hero of the Day – Roberto Bautista Agut
Sharapova comes mighty close but anyone who can beat Juan Martin and hitting more winners than one of the tour’s most brutal of shot-makers has to take the spoils.