Australian Open 2020, Day 6 Review: Sixth time’s the charm for Pavs, Muguruza & Kontaveit on fire 🔥

Prior to the third round of the 2020 Australian Open, all top ten seeds were still standing. After the third round and two wild days, just four of the top 10 seeds remain and three of the four pre-tournament favourites are out! This post wraps up the storylines from day 6 of the tournament with third round matches from the bottom half of the draw. Who you got as your champ now?!

Top stories 📚

1. Pavs beats Pliskova for the first time

No one beats Pavs seven times in a row. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova scored her first ever win over Karolina Pliskova, beating the number two seed in two tiebreak sets, 7-6(4) 7-6(3). Pavs was up an early break in both sets but Pliskova still had her opportunities to win both sets. Pliskova missed five break points at 5-5 in the first set and had two set points at 6-5 in the second set.

Pavs did so well at getting the first strike in the rallies after the serve and hit a torrent of down-the-line winners. I’ve said it many times before on the blog – when Pavs is on, she is one of the cleanest ball strikers in the game. Even a spate of double faults at the end of the second set didn’t throw her as she saved both set points with stunning winners.

I’m so happy for Pavs! She played a great match against Ash Barty in Adelaide and seems to be starting 2020 in fine form with new coach, Sam Sumyk, in tow. While I thought Pliskova would win this match, I was generally wary about her title prospects. Pliskova has now won a pre-Slam lead-up tournament for four of the last five Slams and I learnt my lesson this time having picked her as champ on multiple occasions. Despite being one of the most consistent players on the WTA tour, Pliskova is seemingly unable to translate that form into the Slams.

2. Top 10 seeds dropping like flies

The top ten seeds were perfect through the first four days. Since then, they’ve been dropping like flies! The number five and seed six seeds, Elina Svitolina and Belinda Bencic, won a combined four (!) games on Saturday as they tumbled out of the tournament. Both players came up against opponents who produced near-perfect performances.

Anett Kontaveit beat Belinda Bencic, 6-0 6-1 (!) in 49 minutes! I expected this to be a really tight three setter so when this scoreline appeared in my retinas this morning it took some time to digest the information. Kontaveit made a good start and it just snowballed from there as Bencic couldn’t get into the match. Even when Bencic did get on the scoreboard, she was unable to make an impact on return as Kontaveit had one of her best ever serving days. Bencic could have got more first serves in play and made a few less unforced errors but in my opinion, this result was more about Kontaveit peaking.

Garbiñe Muguruza produced a statement win as she overpowered Elina Svitolina, 6-1 6-2, to beat the Ukrainian player for just the second time in seven meetings on a hard court. Muguruza played another great match, hitting 31 winners to just nine (!) unforced errors. I’m so happy to see Muguruza in this rejuvenated form and without doubt, she’s a title contender. As well as Muguruza played, I was disappointed by Svitolina. She was hitting short for the majority of the match which allowed Muguruza to dictate and control the match. Svitolina was also poor on serve, even though she landed 77% of first serves in.

3. Bertens quietly into the second week, Mugu next!

Sneaking under-the-radar, Kiki Bertens is into the second week of the Australian Open for the first time in her career. Bertens came from a break down in the second set to beat Zarina Diyas, 6-2 7-6(3), in what was a good match. Bertens was superb in the first set but faced some resistance from Diyas who was much more aggressive in the second set. Bertens was a tad complacent and backed off a little. Still, she was supremely solid and played well when it counted in the second set tiebreak.

My predicted finalist is still alive (unlike the rest of my draw! 🙈) but I think Bertens will have to step it up in the next round when she plays Muguruza. Kiki vs. Garbi is my highlight from the slate of fourth round matches 🔥.

4. Best of the rest

Off to watch the rest of the matches from day 6. Results were as follows…

(4) Simona Halep d. Yulia Putintseva, 6-1 6-4 – Halep yet to drop a set as she moves into the second week of the Australian Open for the fifth time in her career.

(17) Angelique Kerber d. Camila Giorgi – Not sure about Angie’s form but she’s got history here so definitely one to watch.

(16) Elise Mertens d. CiCi Bellis, 6-1 6-7(5) 6-0 – Classic WTA scoreline. A great Slam comeback for Bellis. Mertens is a reliable customer at the Slams.

Iga Swiatek d. (19) Donna Vekic, 7-5 6-3 – If you weren’t already aware, Swiatek is the real deal.

Hot shot 🔥

Love me a forehand slice!

Favourite snap 📸

Love this shot of Simona. The shadow can make for some awesome shots on Rod Laver Arena.

Press highlight 📰

Very classy words from Belinda.

Recommended media 📺

Loved this. We have no excuses for not pronouncing Iga Swiatek’s name correctly! I hope the WTA produce more videos like this.

Sunday’s previews 🤔

Not too much to say as i’ve ultimately gone for the seeds in all four matches.

Ash Barty vs. Alison Riske: Should be a fun match. I’m really pleased to see Riske already building on her brilliant 2019 season and she’s dangerous having beaten Barty at Wimbledon last year.

Petra Kvitova vs. Maria Sakkari: If Kvitova’s level is off, I have no doubt Sakkari will sweep up. However, if Kvitova continues to play like she has through the first three rounds then I think she will be too good for Sakkari who is playing her first second week of a Slam.

Wang Qiang vs. Ons Jabeur: Obviously would have loved to see Serena-Woz at this stage but respect to both Wang Qiang and Jabeur who have earnt their places in the second week. Wang Qiang has dominated their previous matches and has a bit more Slam experience.

Sofia Kenin vs. Coco Gauff: The match of the day IMO. Gauff is still a bit of an unknown quantity at this stage of a Slam but she just keeps excelling. Kenin has a bit of pressure as the highest seed in her section but I like how she battled past Zhang Shuai. The winner will advance to their first ever Slam QF.

Follow Moo’s Tennis Blog on Twitter and Facebook. Feature photo by Omar Boraby Photography.

7 thoughts on “Australian Open 2020, Day 6 Review: Sixth time’s the charm for Pavs, Muguruza & Kontaveit on fire 🔥

  1. Hello James, indeed, many people’s predictions went down the drain over the past two days, including mine ! There are five Grand Slam winners left in the draw … so plenty of fireworks ahead ! Halep does extremely well with respect to her ranking points, she passed Pliskova, and running into the final would mean she would assure her position in the top four for a very long time. As a Dutchman, I am really curious how Bertens will do against Muguruza. It’s her first fourth round match, GS, ever. The other match : Gauff – Kenin. Playing conditions in Melbourne look very nice, until thursday, when temperatures are supposed to rise to 35+ Celcius. Best wishes !

    Like

    • Thanks for the comment, Maarten. I’m really looking forward to Bertens-Muguruza. I think Bertens will need to be a bit more aggressive than today’s match which she said in her press conference. Muguruza was so impressive today so will be a tough match.

      Like

  2. Muguruza was all kinds of awesome BUT I don’t think people should jump the gun with her… We have seen her play at this level (against Svitolina at the French last year, for example) and it hasn’t led to any huge results. She does look more motivated than she did most of last year. But she still doesn’t look like she really enjoys playing or competing like she used to…

    Even though most my favourite players are out, I have to say I’m really enjoying watching!

    Like

    • I guess its the Martinez factor that is helping her (Muguruza) – at least for the moment. I remember her shock loss, against Halep in France, 2018 very well. She sometimes plays unafraid, other times afraid. Anyway, to me she’s just as serious contender as are Halep and Kerber in their section of the draw.

      Like

    • Yes, with Muguruza it’s a fine line with her, you must be prepared for some disappointment. But, she does seem to be getting some confidence back and her coach also seems to be a positive influence again.

      Having been sick at the start of the tournament may also have made her more decisive in her play. As little time on court is a good decision.If I’m recalling correctly….some years back in Doha or Dubai, I watched Wozniacki play some incredibly attacking tennis only to find out in the post match interview she had a fever or something like that. Wouldn’t wish it on anyone, but sometimes it focuses the mind on the task at hand.

      I’ve really enjoyed the ebb and flow of the competition so far.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The thing with Muguruza is that the game that won her 2 Slams and got her to #1 is always going to be prone to going completely off the boil. You can’t take the ball and be that aggressive and execute it every single time. The problem is that in trying to develop a B game for when her A game goes, they inadvertently made her less up for taking risks and being aggressive. It’s a catch 22…

    I don’t enjoy watching her play these days generally because everything feels so laboured. She used to have such a simple game and such an upbeat presence. Now she’s like a watered down Sharapova.

    Like

    • She used to be so charming and endearing in interviews and press, whereas now I feel she seems to hold back and is almost a bit cold. I find her fascinating though and normally seek out her matches.

      Like

Leave a Reply to Andrew Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.