We’re getting near the business end of things and – as the second week of what has been an engrossing and finely poised Australian Open so far – the tournament stars are beginning to shine.
On the men’s side, we had few surprises this last round, Fognini’s loss to Carreno-Busta and Bautista-Agut’s relative dismissal of Kachanov (given the Spaniard’s herculean efforts thus far) were the only real stories here.
As Novak was tested by Shapovalov in four, Federer blitzed past Fritz and Nadal is just looking superhuman again. Berdych, Raonic and perhaps Nishikori remain best of the rest. Doubts remain over the longevity of Cilic and Zverev for wholly different reasons.
There were some great battles in the women’s third round, Osaka, Svitolina and Muguruza all faced stern tests in Hsieh, Zhang and Bacsinszky. Kvitova rolled past Bencic and Halep regained her mojo when it mattered in an unenviable 3rd round match up with Venus.
But there were shocks too: Sabalenka out in straight sets to the largely unheralded Anisimova and Keys‘ domination of Mertens was unexpected, if not ultimately the final outcome.
Undoubtedly the story here was Sharapova’s defeat of defending champion Wozniacki. I predicted the Dane would not defend her title – as many did I’m sure – but to Masha?
Round 4 picks
Zverev Vs Raonic
Cilic Vs Bautista-Agut
Federer Vs Tsitsipas
Berdych Vs Nadal
Halep Vs Serena
Muguruza Vs Pliskova
Keys Vs Svitolina
Barty Vs Sharapova