We’re really getting into the business end of things now, the household names are stepping up to the mantle, thrillingly some young new faces are joining them in style.
After les filles stole the show for the majority of last week (and it was here that the biggest shock of the day again emerged), let’s start with the men and that set of fourth round matches.
I spoke yesterday of Novak Djokovic and his indifferent build up tournaments to the final slam of 2014, last week too he had looked very solid but never truly spectacular against unremarkable opponents.
In Philip Kohlschreiber the Serb had by far his biggest challenge and – a few scares aside via the German’s trademark clean hitting – Djokovic met that challenge with style. Novak looked on top form here which is too good for anyone else – the absent Nadal aside.
Andy Murray had had similar woes during the American hardcourt season and had again looked patchy last week. Throw into the mix his next opponent having had a wonderful summer across the pond and alarm bells would be right to ring.
But Jo Wilfried-Tsonga, for all his heroics in Canada a few weeks ago, is the most susceptible of the men’s elite to wander off mentally and lose concentration for large chunks of a set.
Now of course Andy has suffered from this either side of the Lendl era too, and did yesterday but stamped out the Frenchman’s hopes with some aggressive hitting which proved far too much.
Continuing this theme and to Stan Wawrinka now who has given us the trademark post-prime Slam winning year, namely that of largely struggling with the momentum shift such an achievement brings to life on and off court.
Therer have been highlights, post-Melbourne but Wawrinka has faltered on the biggest stage since February. Not here, as the Swiss overcame the evergreen Robredo challenge in a wonderful four set battle.
Finally we have the Raonic and Nishikori battle which was the match of the day; a five set epic which had it all. The big Canadian will be disappointed of course such has been his play over most of the year, but Nishikori is no slouch and has beaten all of the tops guys before. If he recovers well, expect the Japanese to give Stanimal a good game too.
Genie Bouchard followed her compatriot Raonic out of the Open breaking more American hearts and quashing my prediction from yesterday. Ekaterina Makarova is dangerous, and has beaten bigger players, but few expected this. Simply put, the Russian played the bigger points better. A shame for Bouchard.
Elsewhere Flavia Pennetta is busy proving last year is no fluke with another QF berth after crushing Casey Dellacqua’s supreme resurgent fortnight in straight sets, Serena steamrolled past Kanepi and some girl named Victoria Azarenka continues to remind us all of her own return to the very summit.
Day 9 picks
More goodies to come today, but surely Dimitrov vs Monfils and Wozniacki vs Errani have to be the highlights. It will be interesting too to see who will prevail from the surprise duo of young Bencic and the experienced Peng Shuai.
Bring it on…as they say.