A truly blockbuster fifth and sixth day in Melbourne seemed to deliver a whole weeks worth of drama as if the tournament was bottling it all up until now. For the sake of the tournament and testament to the current strength in depth on both tours, you feel that the next week’s matches will deliver just as much quality even without some established stars and tips for the title.
We start with the women and the tearful departure of former champ and resident number one in the world, Caroline Wozniacki. The Dane closed her hugely impressive career in Melbourne Friday after a three set battle with Tunisian Jabeur. But purely in terms of this tournament, there were bigger stories elsewhere. Coco Gauff’s dismemberment of Osaka, Qiang Wang’s steely silencing of Serena and other huge upsets seeing Bencic (lost to Kontaveit), Pliskova (lost to Pavlyuchenkova), Svitolina (lost to a resurgent Muguruza) and Keys (lost to Sakkari) all exit in round 3. Fascinating match-ups to come. One constant has been Ash Barty’s confident progress. Could this be time for an Aussie winner here for decades?
Not to be outdone in drama, the men produced some classics too. Roger Federer dashed local hopes by somehow overcoming a rampant John Millman yesterday 10-8 in the final set tiebreak. Tonight though it was Nick Kyrgios who provided the blockbuster story of the round with an epic five-setter of his own, beating Khachanov after nearly four and half hours. Raonic dismissed Tsitsipas in style and 2018 finalist Cilic overcame Bautista-Agut in another marathon encounter. Again, elsewhere it is plain sailing for the likes of Novak, Rafa, Medvedev and Zverev.
Fourth round predictions
All matches are must-watch quality frankly, so who do I think will emerge victorious?
Nadal Vs Kyrgios (Rafa in 4)
Monfils Vs Thiem (Thiem in 4)
Medvedev Vs Wawrinka (Medvedev in 5)
Rublev Vs Zverev (Rublev in 4)
Sandgren Vs Fognini (Fabio in 3)
Fucsovics Vs Federer (Roger in 4)
Raonic Vs Cilic (Raonic in 4)
Schwartzman Vs Djokovic (Novak in 3)
Barty Vs Riske (Barty in 2)
Sakkari Vs Kvitova (Petra in 2)
Gauff Vs Kenin (Gauff in 3)
Jabeur Vs Wang (Wang in 2)
Kontaveit Vs Swiatek (Kontaveit in 3)
Mertens Vs Halep (Halep in 3)
Muguruza Vs Bertens (Muguruza in 3)
Kerber Vs Pavlyuchenkova (Kerber in 3)