Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Federer conquers Nadal

The results from last week were interesting to say the least.

Shanghai saw the Nadal train derailed when Roger Federer won another final against the top seed - the third this year. (He also won a fourth match against Rafa in the round of sixteen in Indian Wells).

The straight sets victory was a surprise to most and gave Federer his second Shanghai trophy.

I have to feel sorry for both finalists in Hong Kong. The weather was horrible and delayed the start of the match for about five hours for Dasha Gavrilova (7) and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (6).

Further delays meant that the match, which lasted over three hours anyway, finished well past midnight.

Gavrilova fought hard to win the first set, after being down a break, but it was Pavlyuchenkova who controlled the rest of the match. The deciding set was 2-2 with no break, but the next eight games were all service breaks, Pavlyuchenkova failing to serve out the match on two occasions.

In the tie break Gavrilova led 3-1, but the Russian reeled off six straight points to take the set and the title.

Maria Sharapova was granted a wildcard in Tianjin, and would normally have faced top seed Caroline Garcia in the first round. However, the French player’s late withdrawal meant that Maria would play ninth seed Irina-Camelia Begu.  

Sharapova won this battle and all others until the semi final, where she knocked over third seed Shuai Peng.

49 games to 22 was the domination into the final where Sharapova found things more difficult against unseeded Aryna Sabalenka, but still won 7-5. 7-6 (8).

First title since returning to the tour.

Barbora Strycova (2) triumphed in Linz, defeating top seed Magdalena Rybarikova in two decisive sets.

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Fedal final in Shanghai

Finals are decided in both Shanghai and Hong Kong.amd while one is as expected the other is a relative surprise considering the initial field.

The Shanghai crowd will be thrilled to have tickets to a Federer Nadal match up. It wasn’t looking like happening early though, as Juan Martin del Potro battled through an injury to take the first set in his semi final against the Swiss number two seed.

However, Federer was not going to surrender another clash to the Argentine 16th seed, remembering how the 2017 US Open quarter final loss scarred him 

Bouncing back with a brilliant serving exhibition, Roger lost just a single point on his own first serve in set two, and broke the first del Potro serve, enough to take the set 6-3 and level proceedings.

Set three was similar, with no break points on the Swiss serve and just a point taken off his first serve again. Tha Argentine was broken twice and Federer joined Rafa in the final 3-6 6-3 6-3.

In Hong Kong six of the eight seeds were dumped before the quarter finals, either through poor tennis or retirements because of injury pre match.

The remaining seeds, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (6) and Dasha Gavrilova (7) managed to navigate their way through the mess and book places in the final.

Pavlyuchenkova dispensed with Qiang Wang in straight sets and Gavrilova treated Jennifer Brady in the same way in respective semi finals.

In the only match between the two finalists so far, Gavrilova was the victor.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Another Nadal Federer showdown ?

The ATP tour has moved to Shanghai where the tournament has been headlined by 7 of the worlds top ten ranked players.

Having reached the quarter final stage, we have lost third seed Alexander Zverev in a wonderful battle with Juan Martin del Potro (16). Each player was broken only once in the match which was over in less than two hours but enabled a scoreline of 3-6 7-6(5) 6-4.

The top two seeds, Nadal and Federer, have been untroubled in reaching the final eight, neither dropping a set in their respective two matches.

Nadal has lost just seven games.and his serve is yet to be broken this tournament. A seventh title for 2017 is highly likely at this rate.

Grigor Dimitrov [6] will be Rafa’s final 8 opponent while other quarter finals are:

Marin Cilic (4) v Albert Ramos-Vinolas - expected quarter finalist Thiem (5) was ousted in the second round by Viktor Troicki.

Viktor Troicki v Juan Martin del Potro [16] - Troicki also removed John Isner (12) in round three.

Richard Gasquet v Roger Federer (2) - Federer would have been surprised not to see form player David Goffin (8) as his opponent but the Belgian lost his second round match to Gilles Simon. Gilles in turn lost to Gasquet in a lengthy three setter.

The women are in Hong Kong during the WTA Asian leg of 2017 and the quarter finals make for unusual reading.

Apart from losing Venus William (2) and Aga Radwanska (4) in the second round, to Naomi Osaka and Samantha Stosur respectively, Elena Vesnina (5) exited in round one courtesy of Luksika Kumkhum, ranked 130 from Thailand.

Shuai Zhang (8) also lost before the last eight and we had the unfortunate walkovers given by Elina Svitolina (1) and Caroline Wozniacki (3) before they even hit a second round ball.

Svitolina carried a groin injury into Hong Kong, suffered in the final loss to Garcia in Beijing, and Wozniacki cited an elbow complaint.

Two seeds are left in the quarter finals:

Nicole Gibbs v Jennifer Brady - all US clash

Lizette Cabrera v Dasha Gavrilova (7) - all Aussie battle

Qiang Wang v Samantha Stosur

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (6) v Naomi Osaka

Monday, 9 October 2017

Garcia grabs another title

Simona Halep (2) won her Beijing semi final easily against Jelena Ostapenko (8), and in doing so achieved her long awaited goal of world number one ranking.

The final was a match between Halep and the previous weeks Wuhan winner Caroline Garcia. The French player, unseeded again, had ousted 12th seeded Petra Kvitova in the semi final, following an epic quarter final victory over third seed Elina Svitolina.

In a close encounter, the final featured an attacking Garcia edging Halep with more winners and a presence on court which was just enough to give her the title.

The 6-4 7-6 (3) scoreline indicates the tightness of the contest. After swapping service breaks, the first set was on serve until Garcia broke in the final game and the second set tie break speaks for itself

Interestingly, Garcia didn’t face a break point entering the tie break, whereas Halep had to save nine, possibly indicating the Romanian’s slight vulnerability in this final.

Garcia jumps six places into the top ten to a career high ranking of 9 and Ostapenko climbs one spot to 7, also a career high.

The mens Beijing final featured old and new after semi finals in which Rafa Nadal (1) defeated Grigor Dimitrov (3) in a testing three setter, and Nick Kyrgios (8) dispatched Alexander Zverev (2) in a most impressive straight sets display.

The final, however, was one way traffic, all heading to Spain. Kyrgios had no answer to Nadal whose 2017 is increasing in titles.

Nick won only 48% of points on his serve and Rafa did not drop serve the entire match in which he surrendered a mere three games.

The Tokyo final was won by David Goffin (4) whose end to 2017 has been stellar.

He defeated unseeded Adrian Mannarino.

Mannarino had defeated top seed Marin Cilic with a semi final third set whitewash 6-0 and Goffin won his semi against Diego Schwartzman (8) in two tie breaks.

Goffin replaces Pablo Carreno Busta at number 10 in the world rankings, a career high previously achieved in February this year.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Halep closing in on No. 1

In Beijing Garbine Muguruza opened up the chances of three other players to take over her number one position in the world.

The Spaniard exited in the first round against Barbora Strycova 1-6 0-2 retired.

Karolina Pliskova (4) lost her chance when Sorana Cirstea delivered a big straight sets upset in the third round.

Elina Svitolina (3) made it to the quarter finals and fought for over three hours with Caroline Garcia (unseeded, but unlikely to be that way in tournaments for much longer).  The French woman appeared destined for defeat a number of times but climbed out of holes with a fierce determination, not unlike that displayed in her Wuhan final triumph last week.

Garcia won 6-7 (5) 7-5 7-6 (6) and Svitolina remains waiting for another chance to take the top mantle in WTA rankings.

Simona Halep (2), though, who has wasted several opportunities to grab the top spot in the past, only needs to win one more match and she will overtake Muguruza to achieve her goal.  It will be difficult, since her semi final opponent is Jelena Ostapenko (8), the Latvian yet to drop a set this tournament. 

However, Halep, apart from donating a set to Alison Riske in her opening match, has been ruthless ever since, and is hot favourite to win both her semi final and the final, and take the lead in both the WTA World Rankings and the 2017 WTA Points Race.

Winning the final, should Halep reach it, won’t be a walk in the park. It will be either Petra Kvitova (12) or Caroline Garcia who she will need to overcome and neither of those players will fold easily.

Petra is showing some of her Wimbledon winning form, dispatching Wozniacki for the loss of just five games, and then her Fed Cup team mate Barbora Strycova in another strong straight sets victory in the quarter final.

The men are also entertaining the Beijing crowds - the semi finals have been determined - 

Rafa Nadal (1) v Grigor Dimitrov (3)

Nick Kyrgios (8) v Alexander Zverev (2)

Nadal was down a set and taken to a second set tie break in his opener against Lucas Pouille, but has been comfortable since. Dimitrov will provide something harder.

The other semi is one between two of the young guns - Zverev already a top five player and Kyrgios set for the top ten if he can avoid his nagging injuries.

In Tokyo, another ATP 500 event is down to the final four:

Marin Cilic (1) v Adrian Mannarino

David Goffin (4) v Diego Schwartzman (8)

No luck for Milos Raonic who retired injured in the second round. Also out in the second round was US Open finalist Kevin Anderson (5).

We had already lost in the opening round Dominic Thiem (2), Sam Querrey (6) and Albert Ramos-Vinolas (7).

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Garcia wins in Wuhan

Although she may have come away from Wuhan with four significant scalps, it has ended up with little for Ash Barty, losing to Caroline Garcia in the tournament's final.

The match began with a close opening set but it was stolen by Barty, after two failed attempts by Garcia to serve it out. The Australian won the tie break 

Appearing the more composed player in set two, Barty cruised to 5-4 and served for the match. Then she mirrored Garcia's first set collapse. Broken for 5-5, another chance came as the French number one was herself broken next game.

However, Barty had lost all confidence and lost serve and the resultant tie break. 

The match was level but Garcia ran through the decider, losing just two games.

Garcia moves up five spots, to a career high 15 in the world, while Barty shifts up 14, to a career best of 23.

Tashkent also saw the crowning of an unseeded champion - Kateryna Bondarenko upset second seed Timea Babos in straight sets.

Final in Chengdu will be between Marcos Baghdatis and Denis Istomin, both unseeded.

Final in Shenzhen will be between Alexandr Dolgopolov (5) and David Goffin (2)

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Barty slays the best in China

Aussie Ash Barty has torn apart the Wuhan draw by defeating four seeds in her path to her third final of 2017, this her first Premier final.

Gone at Barty's pleasure are Johanna Konta (world number 7), Aga Radwanska (world number 13 and former Wimbledon finalist), Karolina Pliskova (world number 4, former number 1 and 2016 US Open finalist), and Jelena Ostapenko (world number 10 and this year's Roland Garros champ).

Barty has lifted her live ranking 14 places to 23, and if she defeats Caroline Garcia in the final she will become the highest ranked Australian female player. Already Ash is the 18th ranked in the 2017 points race.

Garcia made her way into the final by dispatching qualifier Maria Sakkari.

The final in Tashkent will be a battle between second seed Timea Babos and Kateryna Bondarenko - Babos defeated Aryna Sabalenka in one semi final, and Bondarenko won her semi final when Vera Zvonareva retired through injury.

Chengdu semi finalists:

Guido Pella v winner of Yen-Hsun Lu v Marcos Baghdatis 

Denis Istomin v Yuichi Sugita (5)

Shenzhen semi finalists:

Damir Dzumhur (6) v Alexandr Dolgopolov (5)

Henri Laaksonen v David Goffin (2)

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Seeds tumble everywhere

The fancied players are not living up to their seeding in a number of tournaments being played this week.

The biggest of these is clearly the WTA Premier event in Wuhan where carnage has occurred amongst the very best.

First round saw the departure of Petra Kvitova (11), Angie Kerber (12), Kristina Mladenovic (13), Anastasija Sevastova (15), and this years US Open finalists Sloane Stephens (14) and Madison Keys (10).

Simona Halep (2), last week's Tokyo winner Caroline Wozniacki (4), Johanna Konta (5), and Sveta Kuznetsova (6), followed in round two, their first and last appearances.

So the third round featured just six of the 16 appointed seeds in the tournament.

Ash Barty had been responsible for Konta's exit, and captured another big win in her next match, defeating Aga Radwanska (9).

Dominika Cibulkova also went by the wayside in the third round, well beaten by dangerous unseeded French player Caroline Garcia.

Elena Vesnina (16) came undone at the same stage, leaving only three seeds in the quarter finals, all in the top half of the draw.

Garbine Muguruza (1) v Jelena Ostapenko (8) - a battle between two of this years major winners

Karolina Pliskova (3) v Ash Barty - if Pliskova wins the event and Muguruza loses her quarter final, Karolina returns to number one in the world

Alize Cornet from France v Qualifier Maria Sakkari from Greece, ranked 80

Caroline Garcia (second French women in the final eight) v Ekaterina Makarova 

 No more success for the seeds in the WTA tournament in Tashkent.

Quarter final match ups:

Kurumi Nara (ranked 109) v Kateryna Bondarenko (133) - Nara had beaten top seed Kristyna Pliskova and Bondarenko knocked out seventh seed Nao Hibino.

Vera Zvonareva (308) v Aleksandra Krunic (seeded six) - Zvonareva was a former finalist at Wimbledon and the US Open in 2010 and left tennis in April 2015. After marriage and having a baby Vera decided to come back earlier this year to the lower tier ITF tour. Now she is enjoying some success on the WTA tour again. She defeated fourth seed Irina-Camelia Begu. 

Kateryna Kozlova (71) v Aryna Sabalenka (119) - Sabalenka defeated third seed Tatjana Maria.

Stefanie Voegele (196) v Timea Babos (seeded two) - Voegele defeated fifth seed Marketa Vondrousova.

In ATP events in both Chengdu and Shenzhen, four of the final eight are known:


Jared Donaldson v Denis Istomin (both unseeded)

Yuichi Sugita (5) v Dusan Lajovic

Seeds 2, 3 and 6 were dismissed from the bottom half of the draw - Albert Ramos-Vinolas, Karen Khachanov and Kyle Edmund.


Henri Laaksonen (ranked 107) v Zhizhen Zhang (ranked 495) - Laaksonen beat seventh seed Joao Sousa and Zhang beat fourth seed Paolo Lorenzi.

Donald Young (8) v David Goffin (2)

Monday, 25 September 2017

Wozniacki stars in Tokyo

The past week has provided several unexpected results in the tennis world, which continues to make this year such a thrilling spectacle.

But before details of that, as an Australian I want to talk of someone pretty well unmentioned to date - Lizette Cabrera. The 19 year old, born in Townsville, has been working hard on the ITF circuit over the last couple of years and also been battling through qualifying in WTA events, with limited success.

Her performance in Guangzhou this week was a breakthrough and should be recognised more broadly by the Aussie press. Lizette won.two qualifying matches then punched her way through the main draw to the quarter finals, beating world number 30, Anett Kontaveit, along the way.

Not too bad for the 153rd ranked player, who now sits at 136 and has won through qualifying in successive WTA tournaments, awaiting a first round main draw match in Tashkent.

Now to results of finals:

From her sensational 7th final appearance this year, Caroline Wozniacki (3) finally cracked it for a win. Her quarter final victory over Dominika Cibulkova (5) after saving match points was a little soured by the retirement of Cibulkova, but her destruction of top seed Garbine Muguruza in the semi final was out of this world, with attacking tennis which we had been used to seeing Garbine apply.

Her domination of Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the final completed a brilliant defence of the Premier title in Tokyo for Caroline.

Others to capture glory:


Damir Dzumhur d Fabio Fognini (3) and jumps 15 spots to a career high of 40 in the world rankings.


Qualifier Peter Gojowczyk d Benoit Paire (7) and moves 29 places up to 66, another career high


Jelena Ostapenko (1) d Beatriz Haddad Maia

Beatriz moves 13 spots up to a new career high of 58


Shuai Zhang (2) d Aleksandra Krunic

Krunic moves 9 spots to a new career high of 56

The elite women are in Wuhan for the next Premier tournament and already we have seen the 13th and 15th seeds - Kristina Mladenovic and Anastasija Sevastova - fall in first round matches.

Friday, 22 September 2017

Tennis in Asia and Europe

Davis Cup results see France and Belgium facing off in this years final, David Goffin a hero in driving Belgium's comeback from 1-2 down against Australia.

This week has seen a lot of tennis on both the WTA and ATP tours, the men playing in Europe, the women in Asia.

We have reached the quarter finals in St.Petersburg and Metz where the following matches are set:


Roberto Bautista Agut (1) v Viktor Troicki (7)

Fabio Fognini (3) v Ricardas Berankis - Berankis had knocked out fifth seed Philipp Kohlschreiber

Damir Dzumhur v Liam Broady - Dzumhur defeated sixth seed Paolo Lorenzi and Broady disposed of fourth seed Adrian Mannarino

Jan-Lennard Struff (8) v Jo-Wilfred Tsonga (2)


Kenny De Schepper v Mischa Zverev (5) - Kenny was a lucky loser from qualifying, replacing the original top seed Pablo Carreno Busta, who withdrew late from the tournament.

Marius Copil v Peter Gojowczyk - Copil and Gojowczyk defeated a pair of French seeds, Lucas Pouille (3) and Gilles Simon (8) respectively 

Denis Istomin v Nikoloz Basilashvili - Istomin dismissed sixth seed Richard Gasquet and Basilashvili defeated fourth seed Gilles Muller (4)

Benoit Paire (7) v David Goffin (2)

Quarter finals are underway in Tokyo and Seoul:


Garbine Muguruza (1) v Caroline Garcia (9)

Caroline Wozniacki (3) v Dominika Cibulkova (5)

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova v Barbora Strycova - Strycova defeated fourth seed Johanna Konta and eighth seed Kristina Mladenovic was ousted in the first round by Qiang Wang

LATE NEWS - Pavlyuchenkova has won in three sets to be the first player through to the final four.

Angie Kerber (7) v Karolina Pliskova (2)


Jelena Ostapenko (1) v Veronica Cepede Royg - Ostapenko won her way into a semi final

Sorana Cirstea (4) v Luksika Kumkhum - Kumkhum won her way into the semi against Ostapenko 

Beatriz Haddad Maia v Sara Sorribes Tormo

Priscilla Hon v Richel Hogenkamp

In Guangzhou the semi finals are:

Yanina Wickmayer v Aleksandra Krunic

Evgeniya Rodina v Shuai Zhang (2)

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Davis Cup Semis almost done

The ATP tour has had a weeks break since the US Open while the Davis Cup Semi Finals and Play Offs are underway.

The semi final between France and Serbia promised plenty until Novak Djokovic suffered his season ending injury. Still the strong French team was rocked in the first rubber with its second ranked player Lucas Pouille upset by Dusan Lajovic, ranked 80 in the world.

Thankfully for France, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga levelled the tie, beating Laslo Djere, ranked 95.

Disappointing to see the two highest ranked available Serbs - Viktor Troicki and Janko Tipsarevic - giving the semi final a miss after fighting to help their nation make it this far.

The fifth ranked doubles pair in the world - Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut - clinched a 2-1 advantage, winning the key doubles over Filip Krajinovic and Nenad Zimonjic.

Australia finds itself in a similar position after three rubbers, losing its first match to Belgium, David Goffin a four set winner over John Millman.

Nick Kyrgios was in a precarious position, down two sets to one against Steve Darcis, before steadying to take the last sets for the loss of only 3 games in total.

The doubles was a clinic put on by world number two John Peers and his partner Jordan Thompson 6-3 6-4 6-0 to defeat Ruben Bemelmans and Arthur De Greef.

Well done Marin Cilic and Dominic Thiem for committing to your nations - Croatia and Austria -- in the Davis Cup Play Offs - something a lot of top ten players refuse to do before their individual priorities.

A couple of WTA events have occurred this week - neither featuring the elite players, but each allowing others down the rankings to boost their status somewhat.

In Quebec City, Canada, Lucie Safarova was granted top seeding, ranked 37. She made it through to the semis, as did the third and fourth seeds, Timea Babos and Tatjana Maria respectively.

However, the finalists are Babos and seventh seed Alison Van Uytvanck. Alison knocked out Tatjana and Timea did the same to Lucie in the semis.

Second seed Oceane Dodin had to withdraw from her second round match through injury.

Tokyo has been a qualifiers dream. Three of the four semi final spots were won by them and the final was decided between two qualifiers.

Jana Fett, ranked 123, defeated top seed Kristina Mladenovic in the first round on her way to the semis.

Miyu Kato, raked 171, defeated fourth seed Kristyna Pliskova in the second round en route to the final four.

Zarina Diyas, ranked 100, defeated second seed Shuai Zhang in the second round and eighth seed Yulia Putintseva in a quarter final.

Ultimately Diyas proved too strong for Kato in the final.

Diyas moves 28 spots up to 72 in the world and Kato 48 places to 123.

Monday, 11 September 2017

Rafa wraps up US Open 2017

The US Open is finished for 2017 and appropriately Rafa Nadal was the closing attraction.

He was the dominating figure throughout, both with his tennis and his presence.

He is world number one again, by quite a margin, and with two Grand Slam titles he and Roger Federer have shared the major spoils for 2017.

The final was expected to be a bridge too far for Kevin Anderson, but even the hardened Rafa fans could not have believed the way he out served the South African who had used that weapon to his benefit so well in the tournament.

Set one began with six service holds, but that didn't tell the story. Nadal lost only three points on his serve during that period, whereas Anderson struggled, saving two break points in the fifth game which lasted sixteen points. 

Finally the 28th seed cracked in game seven, when leading 40-30. Two loose forehands, and a double fault in between, gifted the break to Nadal and from 4-3 the set was his, another break in the ninth game just icing on a cake being prepared for celebrations already underway.

Not too early for champagne as set two was also one way traffic, the break arriving with the second chance in the sixth game thanks to a winning smash. Still no break points on the excellent Spanish serve. Only seven points lost on the delivery from the line, and 12 from 12 points won at the net.

Comeback from Anderson ? No chance.

The third and final set was a siesta for Rafa, gaining a break in the opening game - Anderson led 40-15 but threw in four straight forehand errors of his own making, and Rafa simply held serve for the rest of the set.

6-3 6-3 6-4 was a picture of the total domination of the tournament from the top seed, and deserved.  Rafa Nadal has won 3 US Opens and 16 Grand Slam titles.

Kevin Anderson has moved to number 15 in the world rankings, a jump of 17 spots and now he is just five away from his career high.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Sloane Stephens wins US Open !

Madison Keys (25) entered the final of the US Open as the favourite, and deservedly so considering her form line, and that shows no disrespect for the performances of Sloane Stephens over the course of the last two weeks.

One of the pair would be the first American woman to hold a Grand Slam title, other than the Williams sisters, since Jennifer Capriati won the Australian Open in 2002. 

Stephens opened the better, breaking a clearly nervous Keys in the fifth game on the back of four unforced errors. 

At 3-5 Madison saved a break point but at game point, three more unforced errors donated the set to Sloane whose effort was stellar, facing no break points and committing just two unforced errors. Keys hit 10 winners to 2, but 17 unforced errors was her undoing.

Set two began with Stephens serving, and she was taken to deuce, giving Keys a sign of hope. It was dashed when Stephens attacked her backhand, forcing successive mistakes. 

After that tight game Keys could not take any chances and was broken three times by a decisive and ultra tidy Stephens who hit as many winners as her opponent but restricted her unforced error count to 4 as opposed to 13 from Keys.

6-0 was an unfortunate score line, and a disservice to the tournament performance from Madison Keys. However, all credit to Sloane Stephens for a brilliant match to cap off a wonderful comeback beginning only five weeks ago.

A Grand Slam win for Stephens and a final appearance by Keys is amazing when considering neither were fit to play the Australian Open in January.

American tennis is alive and thriving, especially on the WTA tour. One in the top five, thee others in the top twenty, and nine more in the top 100.

Sloane Stephens is now 17 in the world after spending the first week of August languishing at 934. Coco Vandeweghe has jumped six places to a new career high of 16, but 11 in this years points race.

Garbine Muguruza leads both the current world rankings and the 2017 points race.

Over the past two years, three players have won two Grand Slam titles apiece - Serena Williams (from just five entries), Angie Kerber and Garbine Muguruza.

Nadal v Anderson in final

The men's semi finals at the 2017 US Open trended the same way but one was more pronounced.

Top seed Rafa Nadal sounded a loud warning to everyone, but then he has been doing that consistently all tournament. His victory over Juan Martin del Potro (24) was brutal, especially considering the generous start he had given the 24th seed.

Set one saw one break of serve, in the fifth game, when del Potro converted a chance with a backhand winner. That held true and the set was transported to Argentina.

That was all she wrote for South Americas on this day.. Set two was a Spanish delight - Nadal hit 13 winners and committed 1 unforced error. He won 12 of 14 points on his serve. That's how few serves he needed in the 6-0 demolition.

Set three was not much tougher - 12 winners to 5 and facing no break points - 4-6 6-0 6-3, and ominous for del Potro.

Already having found plenty, Nadal looked for more blood in the fourth set. He crushed any spirit left in the Argentine heart with a 6-2 reminder of just how great Rafa is.

11 more winners, no break point chances given, strong when at the net, and 16 of 18 points won on serve. The match was over 4-6 6-0 6-3 6-2.

Despite the loss, Juan Martin can walk away proud of his efforts at this Open - the comeback against Thiem and the win over Federer the very next match were memorable.

Kevin Anderson (28) had earlier become the first man into the final, but now would be quaking in his boots, having seen the Rafa exhibition.

Still, it will be a two horse race, and Anderson was extremely impressive in removing Pablo Carreno Busta (12) from calculations.

The higher seed played to the rankings in set one, the only player to break serve. Once was enough and 6-4 was the result. Anderson's unforced errors cost him dearly because he was controlling the match, winners or errors - Pablo was sensible, winning most of the extended rallies whenever the booming serves of Anderson failed.

Set two was the turning point of the match, with the serve of Anderson consistently a problem for Pablo. Holding relatively quickly, Anderson was able to place pressure on Pablo when returning the Spanish serve.

Even so after suffering an early break, the twelfth seed broke back with 3 forehand winners.

Anderson took the set though, thanks to a double fault from Pablo at 5-6 and 30-30. Anderson converted the set point and levelled the match.

From that moment, the match was effectively done and dusted. Anderson reduced his unforced errors and was solid on serve, not facing a break point for the remainder of the match.  

He rallied better and managed to pick up a break in each of sets three and four to force his way into the final.

Perhaps thinking that this may be his last hurrah here, given the quality of opponent he will face in the final, Kevin celebrated as if he'd won the title, climbing into the stands and thanking everybody in what sounded like a victory speech, unlike the one he will probably give as losing finalist on Sunday in New York.

A wonderful tournament for Anderson, first South African in a US Open final since Cliff Drysdale in 1965.

Friday, 8 September 2017

Keys v Stephens Final

The women's semi finals at the 2017 US Open provided one set of competitive tennis and two players into the final who have never been there before, in fact never seen a final at Grand Slam level.

First up were Venus Williams (9) and Sloane Stephens, a mere 13 years and 7 Grand Slam titles between them.

Stephens refused to take notice of the greatness of Venus in set one, winning five straight games from 1-1, breaking twice and not facing a break point on her own serve.

Venus looked the complete antithesis of the player who had starred throughout the tournament to date.

A 180 degree shift occurred in game one of set two when Stephens couldn't convert three break chances.

Venus wasted two game points of her own before holding due to a couple of errors from Stephens.

Then Venus won the next five games to bagel Stephens and level proceedings.

Double the winners and double the points won on serve and the momentum was clearly now with Williams.

The third set was a ripper, with the best of Stephens from set one and Williams from set two, but raised higher.

Stephens opened brightly, breaking for 2-0, only to have Venus win the next three games.

Stephens once again attacked the Williams serve, gaining an advantage in the seventh game on the third break point, forcing a volley error.

Venus calmly forced Stephens into backhand problems and levelled at 4-4.

Playing catch up, Sloane played solid tennis for 5-5.

Then it was magic with a withering backhand to place pressure on the Williams serve at 0-15.  Another wonderful point ending with a Stephens forehand winner forced Venus into errors and a break of her serve.

Stephens served it out and found herself in the final - just a month ago she was 934 in the world, having played and lost two matches, coming back from a year out with injury.  Now she can claim semi finals in Toronto and Cincinnati, and a chance to win a Grand Slam title.  Her ranking is currently 22 with the possibility of moving to 17.

The second semi promised much more than it delivered, although Madison Keys (15) certainly delivered quality in spades against a disappointing Coco Vandeweghe (20).

Keys lost just three games for the match and never faced a break point.

25 winners against only 9 unforced errors is one statistic demonstrating how well Keys dominated.

Although Sloane Stephens is in fine form, there is no doubt Madison Keys starts a warm favourite to capture her first major.

Her only loss in the past 14 matches was to Garbine Muguruza in the fourth round at Cincinnati and she held three match points in that clash against the hottest player at the time. 

Thursday, 7 September 2017

del Potro slays Federer

Well Roger Federer will not be playing Rafa Nadal in this years US Open.

Rafa did his part, dismantling teenager Andrey Rublev in ruthless fashion, wasting just five games in the process.

Apart from the opening sets he lost to Taro Daniel and Leonardo Mayer in early matches, Nadal has not lost a set in the tournament. In the sets won he has captured 91 games and lost 37.

Rublev was the receiver of a Nadal clinic, the Spanish number one seed winning 22 points out of 31 on the Russian serve and breaking 7 times from 18 opportunities created.

Roger was outplayed by the one who denied him a sixth US Open title in 2009 - Juan Martin del Potro.

del Potro, seeded 24, had, only two days prior, mounted one of the best comebacks seen in Grand Slam tennis in the fourth round.  Many thought that this five set effort would place him at Federer's mercy, the Swiss number three seed only taken to three relatively basic sets by Kohlscheiber.

The Argentine was deaf to the experts as he wielded his lethal forehand from the outset.

No break points in set one though until Federer served at 5-5.  At 30-15 two Argentine winners, plus a Swiss double fault, gave the break to del Potro and he converted it into a 7-5 set win.

Not to be denied, Federer came alive in set two, breaking the 24th seed unexpectedly in the fourth game due mainly to unforced errors off the South American racquet.

Levelling at a set all, most pundits picked Federer to continue his momentum and take out the match.

But no, this was the night for Juan Martin.  He raced through the first three games before Roger evened things and it was 4-4.  A tie break eventuated where Roger opened a 3-1 lead.

Four set points were saved by del Potro and at 9 points to 8 the Argentine converted his first to take a two sets to one lead.

In a brilliant fourth set, del Potro hit 12 winners (the same as Federer) but only spent one unforced error compared with ten from the Swiss great.

On his serve del Potro won 20 of 23 points, leaving Federer with virtually no room to seriously challenge.

One break was enough, and it arrived in the fifth game.

Juan Martin del Potro is in the semi final with Rafa Nadal thanks to a wonderful 7-5 3-6 7-6 (8) 6-4 victory

Coco Vandeweghe (20) did two things - she defeated last years finalist and top seed Karolina Pliskova in a classy display, and in doing so confirmed the climb of Garbine Muguruza to the world number one ranking.

The match was full of exciting tennis, started on most occasions by the American.  

A service break apiece led to a tie break and Coco controlled it to 5-2 but two errors gave Pliskova a chance.  Two errors from the Czech racquet donated the set to Vandeweghe.

Serving machine Pliskova only managed the one ace for the set.

Broken in the fourth game of set two, Pliskova fought back and broke back, only to lose serve again for 2-4.  

Coco Vandeweghe became the third American in the semis, winning. 7-6 (4) 6-3.

Madison Keys locked the door on any other nation making the semis after her quality victory at the expense of Kaia Kanepi in the quarter final.

Straight sets was always the requirement and it was delivered in kind 6-3 6-3.

Keys will play Vandeweghe in one semi final as a result.

Venus Williams had already booked a semi final with Sloane Stephens.

So either Williams will win her eighth GS title or there will be a debut GS champion, the third for 2017.

Rafa Nadal will win his 16th GS title, or Juan Martin del Potro his second, or there is the unlikely possibility of Kevin Anderson or Pablo Carreno Busta taking out their first.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Kevin and Pablo in 1st GS Semi

Quarter finals began on Day Nine of the 2017 US Open, and both American women won their high quality matches.  The remaining men's competitor was outgunned, upsetting most predictions, and especially the home nation commentators hopelessly biased output.

In a thrilling three set battle, Anastasija Sevastova (16) broke the serve of Sloane Stephens in the opening game, only to see the unseeded American take the next four games with delight, the Latvian's forehand failing badly.

The two service breaks gathered by Stephens were more than enough to grant her the lead 6-3, but not security. Sevastova created the only break point of the second set with a backhand winner, and a backhand error from Stephens converted the break.

A terrific set of tennis from both players was captured by Sevastova who didn't face a break point and we were gifted a decider.

The final set made up for the lack of second set service breaks.  Sevastova appeared to have the match in her grasp when she broke to lead 2-1 and held that for 3-2.

However Stephens fired back with a break of her own for 3-3, and the two exchanged service drops till at 4-4 the match was on edge.

In the eventual tie break Sevastova delivered a poor forehand at 4 points to 5 and a backhand winner on the first match point gave a free semi final entry to Sloane Stephens 6-3 3-6 7-6 (4).

The score line was identical in the second quarter final between Venus Williams (9) and Petra Kvitova (13) but the match was a much harder hitting affair.

Venus took out the first set 6-3, winning the last five games after being down an early break.  Petra's 16 unforced errors didn't help her.

The Czech champ fought back in set two, the winning score line assisted by 16 winners and excellent work at the net.

The decider had Kvitova leading 3-2 with a break and 15-15.  A series of unforced errors followed by a double fault handed a break back to Williams and from there a tie break decided the result.

Venus glided through, assisted by four Czech forehand mistakes and a Petra double fault.

Now a semi final between Williams and Stephens.  There will be at least one American in the final.

Pablo Carreno Busta (12) was too strong for Diego Schwartzman, winning in straight sets.

Schwartzman was his own worst enemy, converting only two of ten break chances (Pablo took six of his eight), and winning just 9 points on his 27 second serves.

The 6-4 6-4 6-2 victory puts Pablo into just his first Grand Slam semi final.  Until this years Roland Garros quarter final, he had never been past the third round in a Grand Slam tournament.

He has certainly stepped up in 2017.

To make the final he will have to defeat Kevin Anderson (28), who broke American hearts late at night by saying farewell to Sam Querrey (17).

As expected with two big servers three of the four sets were decided by tie breaks, and after Sam won the second set, home hopes were high that the momentum would carry him through.

But Anderson savaged Querrey's second serve in set three, winning ten of fifteen points off it.  He managed to break the American serve in the sixth game helped by two double faults from Sam and that was sufficient to take a two sets to one lead.

Anderson won the fourth set tie break and the match, and is in his first ever Grand Slam semi final.  He had previously made just one quarter final at this level - here in 2015.

Tomorrow we have the remaining quarter finals - if Coco Vandeweghe (20) defeats Karolina Pliskova (1), Garbine Muguruza becomes world number one after the tournament finishes.

If Pliskova makes the final she will retain the top ranking.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

4 US Women in quarters

Quarter finals are finalised in the 2017 US Open and as expected Roger Federer (3) and Rafa Nadal (1) are both one step closer to meeting in the semi finals.

Each was completely at ease in disposing of their fourth round opponents, Nadal a straight sets winner over normally troublesome Alexandr Dolgopolov, and Federer the conqueror of Philipp Kohlschreiber.

Nadal lost just 7 games, hit 23 winners and submitted just 11 unforced  errors.

Federer hit 39 winners, twice as many as Kohlschreiber, won 88% of points on his first serve, and 73% of those on his second delivery.

Although the top two attractions were entirely impressive, the match of the day was not on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

On Grandstsnd, 2009 champion Juan Martin del Potro (24) mounted the comeback of this tournament, and one of the best in living memory, against Dominic Thiem (6).

Suffering from illness del Potro was easy to target through sets one and two, and Thiem had booked his spot in the final eight, leading 6-1 6-2.

Somehow the Argentine managed to feel better as the third set began and changed the match - Thiem lost the first three games and the last three games for a 1-6 score.  His points won on first serve was 29% and on second serve 44%.

del Potro broke for a 2-1 lead in the fourth set but Thiem went on a tear, winning the next four games, and sitting a game away from the quarter final.

Not acceptable for the Argentine and del Potro broke back and a tie break eventually decided the set.

Five backhand errors from Thiem helped del Potro to five set points and he put away a forehand winner on the first to level the match at two sets all.

No break of serve in the final set through the first nine games and Thiem saved a break point at 4-5, wasted a game point, then threw in a poor forehand and a double fault to lose the match.

Quarter finals:

Rafa Nadal (1) v Andrey Rublev - Rublev defeated David Goffin (9)

Roger Federer (3) v Juan Martin del Potro (24)

Four American women have won spots in the final eight - each is in a separate quarter final, making it possible for an all American final.

The best fourth round match was Madison Keys (15) v Elina Svitolina (4), where Keys won the opening set via a brilliantly played tie break, but was smashed in the second set.

Svitolina broke a seemingly out of energy Keys in the fifth game of the decider, based on four unforced American errors.

Out of nowhere, Madison lifted her game and broke back for 4-4.  Svitolina couldn't buy a first serve, and was broken again in the tenth game, losing the match to a revitalised Keys.

Svitolina also lost her chance to grab the world number one ranking.

Quarter finals:

Karolina Pliskova (1) v Coco Vandeweghe (20) - Pliskova thrashed Jennifer.Brady 6-1 6-0 and Vandeweghe defeated Lucie Safarova in a much closer match

Madison Keys (15) v Kaia Kanepi - Kanepi defeated Daria Kasatkina

Monday, 4 September 2017

Querrey brilliance

The first lot of quarter finalists have been established at Flushing Meadows, and Americans are front and centre.

Sloane Stephens is enjoying her comeback from injury in no uncertain terms, her latest  victim Julia Georges (30).  Goerges dropped the first set but looked the goods after levelling with momentum going into the decider.

However Stephens put her foot down, breaking in both the fourth and sixth games and won her way into the final eight 6-3 3-6 6-1.

The second American into the quarters is Venus Williams (9! who also took three sets to battle past valiant Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro.

Like Stephens, against the match trend, Williams trounced Carla in the third set, breaking serve three times, winning 65% of points on the Spanish serve and facing no break points on her own delivery.

Garbine Muguruza (3) was surprisingly cut down in the round of sixteen by a stunning Petra Kvitova (13).  Muguruza led 4-1 with a break in set one, and had chances to break again for 5-1, but Kvitova served big at the right times.

Next game she broke back and from that moment she controlled the match.

A tie break decided set one and Kvitova stole the first one from the third seed this tournament.

Muguruza fought back in the first game of set two, breaking the Czech serve.

That was the last gasp as Kvitova won the next four games, placing the latest Wimbledon champ in peril.  The two time previous Wimbledon champ proceeded to save a number of break back points and won a quarter final spot against Venus Williams.

Sam Querrey (17) is running the home campaign for the men's singles, and he played his best match for the tournament against Mischa Zverev (23).

Losing only five games over three sets, Querrey hit 55 winners and only offered 8 unforced errors.  He won 35 of 38 points on his first serve.

Quarter final opposition will come from another big server Kevin Anderson (28).

Quarter finals decided:

Sam Querrey (17) v Kevin Anderson (28) - Anderson defeated Paolo Lorenzi

Pablo Carreno Busta (12) v Diego Schwartzman - Pablo defeated Denis Shapovalov and Schwartzman overcame Lucas Pouille (16)

Anastasija Sevastova (16) v Sloane Stephens - Sevastova ended Maria Sharapova's promising run in three sets.

Venus Williams (9) v Petra Kvitova (13)

The battle for number one in the WTA rankings is still alive with Muguruza hanging on to the live position.  Svitolina or Pliskova can take over depending on their performances against American opponents.

Nadal and Federer will be centre stage Day 8 of the US Open.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Round of 16 set

Day six at the 2017 US Open saw the completion of third round matches and we now know who meets who in the round of sixteen.

No major upsets but a classic match between Coco Vandeweghe (20) and Aga Radwanska (10) lasted 2 hours 56 minutes before the American delivered a three set victory, one of the best wins of her career.

A match of turning fortunes, Vandeweghe attacked as she is known to do, but added some touch to her game which surprised Radwanska in set one, Coco going to the net twice as much, hitting twice as many winners and edging a service break extra to take the lead 7-5.

Radwanska settled in set two and the match just became higher in standard, winners outnumbering unforced errors for both players.  The only service break for the set came in the tenth and last game when Aga drilled a backhand winner on her first set point.

The final set was a pressure test and each player lived up to it.  Although Radwanska dropped her serve in the opening game, she fought hard and broke back in the fourth to level at 2-2. 

The next three games also were service breaks, each sealed with forehand winners, and it was Coco who finally settled the madness to take a 5-3 lead.

Aga held her nerve and serve, demanding that Coco serve the match out.

An ace at a nervous 30-30 was enough to set up match point and an error from Aga gave victory to the American.

Vandeweghe will face Lucie Safarova in the round of sixteen after the Czech player removed Japanese threat Kurumi Nara in an unseeded third round match.

Other fourth round matches decided will be:

Karolina Pliskova (1) v Jennifer Brady - Pliskova came back from a set down and saving match point against Shuai Zhang, while Brady knocked out Monica Niculescu in an absorbing clash ending in a tie break.

Elina Svitolina (4) v Madison Keys (15) - Svitolina defeated a brave Shelby Rogers and Keys came from behind to beat Elena Vesnina (17) who had appeared the winner for much of the match.

Daria Kasatkina v Kaia Kanepi - unseeded player Kasatkina beat Roland Garros champ Ostapenko and equally unseeded Kanepi removed the remaining Japanese entry Naomi Osaka.

The men's four third round matches left were results largely expected, except maybe for Juan Martin del Potro (24) easily defeating 12th seed Roberto Bautista Agut.

But this is hardcourt and del Potro is a former US Open champion, ranked below his talent.

The round of sixteen now includes:

Roger Federer (3) v Philipp Kohlschreiber (33) - Federer ended The hopes of Feliciano Lopez and Kohlschreiber deleted the final Aussie John Millman.

Rafa Nadal (1) v Alexandr Dolgopolov - Nadal defeated Leonardo Mayer and Dolgopolov handed Viktor Troicki his marching orders.

David Goffin (9) v Andrey Rublev - Goffin best Gael Monfils (18) who sadly had to retire with injury, and Rublev beat Damir Dzumhur.

Juan Martin del Potro (24) v Dominic Thiem (6) - Thiem defeated Adrian Mannarino (30)

It seems more than likely that a Federer / Nadal semi final will occur, and this would be the first time the two have ever played each other in a US Open match.

The mouth watering fourth round clash between Petra Kvitova (13) and Garbine Muguruza (3) is scheduled for Day Seven first night match on Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Muguruza and Kvitova set for sizzler

Day five at the 2017 US Open guaranteed that there would be a debut finalist when 2014 winner Marin Cilic was eliminated courtesy of Argentine Diego Schwartzman, who is enjoying his best season.

Diego surrendered a foot in height to the 5th seed and plenty of experience at this level and on a hard court.

However, the Croatian commited so many unforced errors, eighty for the match, evenly spread over the four sets, it helped him to bow out of the tournament, leaving Frenchman Lucas Pouille (16) as the highest seed left in the bottom half of the draw.

American, John Isner (10) was written in by many American commentators as a later combatant for compatriot Sam Querrey, but was outgunned by Mischa Zverev (23) later in the evening in three decisive sets, 6-4 6-3 7-6 (5).

Zverev outdid his younger brother in this event, and in the battle with Isner hit 34 winners and incredibly only was awarded 7 unforced errors for the entire match.

The Canadian teenager who has lit up the Open continues to delight the crowd. 18 year old Denis Shapovalov dismissed his older young Brit opponent Kyle Edmund in a Commonwealth Games clash.

Edmund began well, capturing the opening set 6-3, but only managed 6 games in the next two sets. Sadly the Jim Courier look alike retired after just one game into the fourth set, sending Shapovalov straight into the round of sixteen to play 12th seed Pablo Carreno Busta.  The Spaniard ended the run of Frenchman Nicolas Mahut in their third round match.

Fourth round matches in the bottom part of the draw are:

Sam Querrey (17) v Mischa Zverev (23)

Denis Shapovalov v Pablo Carreno Busta (12)

Paolo Lorenzi v Kevin Anderson (28) - Lorenzi beat Fabbiano while Anderson accounted for Coric

Lucas Pouille (16) v Diego Schwartzman - Pouille defeated Kukushkin to reach the round of sixteen

Half of the remaining women played their matches and Petra Kvitova (13) slaughtered Caroline Garcia (18) in what I mistakenly called a match to watch,

The twice Wimbledon champ channelled her grass court expertise and converted it into a hard court lesson for luckless Garcia who was left with a third round losers cheque and a sorry score line 6-0 6-4.

Traditionally a poor US Open performer, Kvitova is making up for her past failures and also for her missing time on the circuit this year.

Petra faced no break points on her serve but converted four of the ten she created on Caroline's serve.

The Czech star also won half of the points on the French girl's serve.

Petra has won 38 games in her three matches so far, while surrendering just 17.

However she now faces her toughest test in the round of sixteen - world number three, Wimbledon champ, and the hottest player on the tour right now, Garbine Muguruza.

If the tournament stopped here, the Spaniard would be world number one.  She has won 36 games and lost only 9 en route to possibly the match of the tournament to date with Kvitova.

Two of those games were donated to Magdalena Rybarikova (31) in the third round, the same player she defeated in the Wimbledon semi final.

One of those games was when - shock, horror - Garbine dropped her serve.

Still something had to happen to break the trend of a 56 to 30 point demolition.

Muguruza has displayed the best tennis of the tournament thus far and will take some beating.

Maybe it will come from Sloane Stephens, who has also been in tip top form so far, her latest victim Ash Barty, who just couldn't take advantage of opportunities that came her way. Stephens was far too solid and won in two sets.

Both players have much to be proud of this year.

Barty began with a ranking of 271 on 2 January and has progressed to what will be a career high of 36 when rankings are released after the completion of the US Open.

Stephens has an even more amazing story.  Out with injury, her ranking had slipped to 934 as recently as 7 August. Two semi finals later and she entered Flushing Meadows ranked 83.

After reaching the fourth round here, she is guaranteed a rise to 61 - winning the tournament would rocket her to the top twenty.

The round of sixteen decided in the bottom half of the draw:

Petra Kvitova (13) v Garbine Muguruza (3)

Venus Williams (9) v Carla Suarez Navarro - Venus became an Auntie before her match when Serena gave birth.  Carla defeated Wozniacki's conqueror Ekaterina Makarova and Venus overcame Maria Sakkari.

Maria Sharapova v Anastasija Sevastova (16) - Sharapova defeated Sofia Kenin and Sevastova defeated Donna Vekic.

Julia Georges (30) v Sloane Stephens - Goerges defeated Aleksandra Krunic.

Of the 24 remaining women, 6 from the USA, 3 from the Czech Republic, 3 from Russia - that's half.

Two each from Latvia, Japan and Spain.

Roger taken to 5 again

Day four and Roger Federer again proved that as well as being one of the greatest tennis players in history, he is one of the luckiest.

Roger has won majors against the like of Baghdatis, Gonzalez and Soderling, and always has the Centre Court when he wants it.

On Day Two of the 2017 US Open he had the pleasure of the Arthur Ashe Stadium roof and was one of a handful of players able to complete their first round matches.

His second round opponent Mikhail Youzhny needed Day Three to start and finish his first match while Rog sat back enjoying a cigar and brandy.

Once the two met late on Day Four Federer outclassed the Russian in set one 6-1.  Out in quick time, making it 17 out of 17 clashes between the two was looking a good bet.

Then the stuff of fairytales began, first a tie break won by Youzhny seven points to three. Then another set against the failing Swiss 6-3, making it the first time Mikhail had ever taken two sets off Federer in a match.

Sadly Youzhny suffered an injury in the fourth set and yet another piece of luck went Roger's way.  In spite of a brave fight to the finish, Mikhail just couldn't match the fitter player, and fell short 1-6 7-6 (3) 6-4 4-6 2-6.

The fourth of the top eight women's seeds bowed out in the second round, 2004 champ Sveta Kuznetsova (8). The Russian joined compatriot Youzhny on the exit route, directed by Japanese 116th ranked Kurumi Nara who won 6-3 3-6 6-3.

Another Russian carries the flag, Elena Vesnina (17), carrying some surprising good form into this tournament.  Her carriage into round three was at the expense of Kirsten Flipkens.

Another big name to fall was men's seventh seed Grigor Dimitrov, whose first round form was turned on its head as he was dumped in straight sets by young Russian Andrey Rublev, will jump into the top 50 after the the US Open, and achieve his career high ranking.

Other seeds to say farewell on this day:

Barbara Strycova (23) a Czech smashed by 91st ranked American Jennifer Brady 6-1 6-1

Tomas Berdych (15) another Czech defeated by Alexandr Dolgopolov in four sets

Dasha Gavrilova (25) finally downed by another unseeded American Shelby Rogers after a record three hours and thirty three minutes.

Americans will be thrilled as they have 7 women in the final 32.  Four are unseeded.

Half of the 32 are unseeded, making for an exciting third round.

Pick of the matches for me are:

Petra Kvitova (13) v Caroline Garcia (18)

Ash Barty v Sloane Stephens

The men's matches to watch are:

Mischa Zverev (23) v John Isner (10)

Kevin Anderson (28) v Borna Coric