US Open 2018: Making sense of Day 4 and my pick of Day 5 matches

Lahyani oversteps the mark

Okay, let’s try and pick apart what happened in that Kyrgios vs Herbert match. Mohamed Lahyani was until this week rightly heralded as one of the most respected figures on the tour, but this reputation is in danger of evaporating in just a few days.

Put simply, regardless of whether Lahyani’s seeming encouragement to a mentally absent Kyrgios was indeed a warning against a likely violation and not blatant favouritism – geeing up a competitor from what should be a wholly neutral position – the whole scenario just smacks of unprofessionalism.

Referees talk with players at length during a football match for example, the whole thing is really quite chummy and familiar, we see this to varying degrees in other sports – including tennis – only rugby thankfully retains a unique sense of outright authority for the person in charge.

But even though we see players and umpires converse both friendly and more commonly in adversarial spats, this level of familiarity here is a step too far. Herbert was right to complain, and even though I suspect Lahyani’s deep-down intentions to be quite innocent, the manner in which this was done just doesn’t help his cause.

Wozniacki blown away, but elsewhere things go by the book.

I saw Lesia Tsurenko play about six years ago at Wimbledon I think, and back then it was clear she had some devastating weapons even early on. In particular it was the backhand down the line which picked apart 2nd seed Wozniacki last night with such aplomb.

Caro was cruising at 3-1, but then once Tsurenko settled in and started painting the lines, there was nothing her Danish opponent could muster to compete.

Elsewhere, things were as you’d expect; Djokovic through in four after another questionable wobble, Father time Federer through with a grumble or two, Monica Puig and Marcos Baghdatis giving Caroline Garcia and Lucas Pouille something to think about before bowing out, and Madison Keys, Kiki Bertens, Maria Sharapova, Marin Cilic, Richard Gasquet and Petra Kvitová charging through with little fuss.

Angelique Kerber needed three sets to dispatch Johanna Larsson and Sabalenka was given a sterner test from Vera Zvonareva than one might have expected given their respective form at this time,

Day 5 picks – yes Williams sisters dominate

Serena vs Venus (Serena in 3)

Stephens vs Azarenka (Sloane in 3)

DelPo vs Verdasco (DelPo in 5)

Thiem vs Fritz (Fritz in 4)

Wawrinka vs Raonic (hopefully Stanimal in 3)





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