Between a match that entirely lived up to its expectations, and a defending champion who didn’t, it wasn’t exactly a bad Wednesday at the Championships.
Between all the gamesmanship, ump-arguing, underarm-serving and shot-making, Kyrgios-Nadal was about as entertaining a second-round spectacle as we could’ve hoped for. Hats off to both players, and here’s hoping old mate Nick can actually build on such a performance… one of these years.
On the flip side, Angie Kerber’s exit is a big loss, both for her own standing and a “quarter of death” that just got a little less deadly. Congrats to Lauren Davis though, who has now gone from falling short at the last hurdle of qualifying to equalling her career-best effort at a major. Coco Gauff might not be the only Cinderella after all…
Karolina Pliskova (CZE)  v Su-Wei Hsieh (TPE)  – First on No. 1 Court
Forgive me if you’ve heard this before, but the time is now for Karolina Pliskova. The highest-seeded player in her half with Naomi Osaka knocked out, she has as good a chance of anyone of making a serious run – assuming she gets through Su-Wei Hsieh, that is. Coming back from 0-5 down in the third to beat Pliskova in Dubai earlier this year, we’ve already seen what can happen when Hsieh gets inside the Czech’s head, and on a surface where her wonky shotmaking will have even more unpredictability, she could pull off a similar result. Still, the match is on Pliskova’s racquet, and as long as she can control the depth of the rallies she should be able to see-off the Taiwanese – it just might take a few topsy-turvy sets to do it.
Cori Gauff (USA) v Polona Hercog (SLO) – Third on Centre Court
One of these women looks like she’d be more at home at a death-metal concert, the other, sitting in geography class, so together, Polona Hercog and Coco Gauff make quite the pair. Easily the biggest story of the tournament, Gauff has seen her star soar exponentially in the past few days, and in Hercog, she gets a player who is literally one of the biggest on tour at 6’1. On paper, you would assume Hercog would have too much power for the 15-year-old to handle, but considering what we’ve seen already of Gauff in her victory over Venus Williams, expect her to largely handle what the Slovenian throws at her, and even answer in kind. Indeed, this could be quite the evenly-matched affair, and as long as Gauff doesn’t get the centre court jitters and keeps bombing her way through her service games, there’s every chance her improbable run continues.
Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN)  v Ugo Humbert (FRA) – Third on No. 1 Court
Particularly with the way things have gone in recent times for the “Next Gen”, seemingly more and more expectation is heaped on Felix Auger-Aliassime’s shoulders with each passing day – and no, it might not be exactly fair to for him to have to have that burden, but he seems to be doing an ok job of carrying it. That said, he’ll have his work cut-out against fellow young-gun Ugo Humbert, who besides having a fun name to say with an over-the-top French accent, has been quietly impressive grinding his way up the rankings, and will be able to put plenty of pressure on FAA by playing close to the lines and making myriad forays to net. That said, the Canadian should be able to see him off with his superior weight-of-shot from the baseline, but don’t be surprised if he has to endure a few momentum swings against him in the process.