Anything would look calm after the carnage that was Day Four at the Australian Open. With no major upsets on the cards, the usual suspects swept into to the fourth round fast as lightning – bar one pretty major Russian exception.
Quick does not mean less excitement. In fact, quick can be a lot of fun. Here are the key results from Day Five at Melbourne Park, alongside my commentary.
ROD LAVER ARENA
CoCo Vandeweghe d. Eugenie Bouchard 6-4 3-6 7-5
Oh, that’s strange. I though Bouchard was supposed to be having a resurgence…
Angelique Kerber  d. Kristyna Pliskova 6-0 6-4
Kerber notches her first straight sets victory of the season – albeit against an under-developed player. Having endured a couple of battles already in Melbourne, the German is now looking good for the quarter-finals. Vandeweghe stands between the defending champion and the last eight.
Stan Wawrinka  d. Viktor Troicki  3-6 6-2 6-2 7-6(7)
Another set dropped, bringing his total to three. But does 2014 champion Wawrinka really look in danger of an upset yet? Not really. Troicki can be dangerous, and the Swiss has proven himself first mentally and then physically superior to the two opponents who have challenged his Melbourne campaign thus far.
Mona Barthel d. Ashleigh Barty 6-4 3-6 6-3
This was a massive shame for the immensely talented Barty – who I might have backed for the upset against Venus in round four, as good as she is. Nevertheless, Barthel was one of the leading up-and-coming WTA players of a few years ago, and could be the feel-good story of the event as she continues her comeback from a 2016 of turmoil. The world no. 181 has already won more matches in January than she did during the whole of last season.
Roger Federer  d. Tomas Berdych  6-2 6-4 6-4
It was supposed to be close. But it turned into a masterclass from the man playing just his third official match back on tour after over six months sidelined by injury.
Federer started messy, but it soon became apparent that – as with Serena Williams against Lucie Safarova – this was part and parcel of the all-out, attacking game plan he had adopted. And as the games rolled by, the former champion began to zone in a way so unearthly and indescribably that I am not even going to try and put it into words.
Let us put it this way: Poor Tomas Berdych did not have much of a chance, and Roger Federer – given the circumstances – is looking incredibly sharp. Winning 95 percent of first serve points, converting on four of five break point opportunities, hitting 36 winners to 16 unforced errors and never being taken to deuce in a service game is pretty flipping brilliant. All the same, Kei Nishikori should be a more demanding task.
MARGARET COURT ARENA
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova  d. Elina Svitolina  7-5 4-6 6-3
Given that some were calling Svitolina – the in-form giant slayer – a title contender, this is quite the victory for former junior world no. 1 Pavlyuchenkova. Last season, the Russian was very open about the struggles with pressure that made her consider quitting the sport not that long ago. Her upcoming clash against a fellow countrywoman is definitely winnable… especially considering how Svetlana Kuznetsova made it through.
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga  d. Jack Sock  7-6(4) 7-5 6-7(8) 6-3
Post match, Tsonga said he was trying especially hard to concentrate during this match, because he knows his mind is prone to wander. Good signs for the Frenchman. He may have dropped another set he did not have to let go of (see round one), but it’s another step into an opportune section of the draw. Dan Evans could be all that stands between him and a clash with Stan Wawrinka.
Venus Williams  d. Ying-Ying Duan 6-1 6-0
The 27-year-old who had never seen Venus Williams play tennis prior to Wednesday would have been wishing this was not the case during this 58 minute washout. The American consolidated her scintillating round two victory, and if she keeps up this form, the semifinals are certainly on the horizon.
Kei Nishikori  d. Lucas Lacko 6-4 6-4 6-4
Nothing less than a straight sets win would have been a good enough warm-up for his collision with Roger Federer, and a straight sets win is just what Nishikori got. Now to see whether he can turn the heat right up for his biggest major fourth round match in some time.
Garbine Muguruza  d. Anastasija Sevastova  6-4 6-2
The Spaniard reaps revenge for her US Open loss to the Latvian last season. Each round I’m waiting for Muguruza to crumble and destroy my inward prediction of a semifinal showing for her, but it’s the fourth round now and she’s still looking strong and confident. Sorana Cirstea should be another straight sets victim come Saturday.
Svetlana Kuznetsova  d. Jelena Jankovic 6-4 5-7 9-7
Three hours and 36 minutes in length.
Svetlana Kuznetsova makes a habit of being a part of these marathon encounters on the women’s tour. In fact, the Russian features thrice in the top ten longest women’s matches of all time. She was the loser on all three of those occasions, but the veteran turned the tables on Friday.
Andy Murray  d. Sam Querrey  6-4 6-2 6-4
Sorry, but as if Sam Querrey was going to repeat his famous Wimbledon upset. The American was the last person expected to knock off the world no. 1 in London, and – seeded or not – he would have been lucky to even nab a set off an efficient Murray in Melbourne. There’s just something (or some things) missing with this guy.
Daniel Evans d. Bernard Tomic  7-5 7-6(2) 7-6(3)
Of course the Brits are bowing down and worshipping (and credit to Evans, whose run of form just keeps extending), but no one should have been surprised by this ‘upset’. Tomic looked frankly lethargic at times during his second round survival, and all eyes had transferred to him after Kyrgios’ shock exit from the event. If you don’t move your legs, you don’t get the win. An embarrassing defeat for the home hope.
Mischa Zverev d. Malek Jaziri 6-1 4-6 6-3 6-0
The incredibly talented German had little trouble backing up his phenomenal comeback upset of John Isner, proving once again how mentally strong he has become. A long-time tour player with a game bursting with variety and skill, his current form means he has a legitimate shot – however slim it may be – at the upset against Murray.
True, he’ll probably lose in five sets if he doesn’t get knocked out in straights. But I believe he has the skills to get it done. Did I ever mention how awesome he is?
(That’s an in joke you won’t get if you haven’t been following this blog. Lesson: Follow the blog!)
Thanks for reading! What did you make of Day Five? Let me know in the comments section