On The Line Podcast: Australian Open third round review

The likes of Angelique Kerber, Rafael Nadal, Simona Halep, and Nick Kyrgios were all discussed in this edition of the podcast following third round action in Melbourne.

On The Line Podcast: Australian Open third round review
Angelique Kerber has been one of the most impressive players in Melbourne so far (Getty/Xin Li)

The past two days have seen the completion of third round matches at the Australian Open and following that Noel and myself got together to discuss all the main talking points of the past two days.

Unsurprisingly, there was a lot to discuss, with several people putting in very impressive performances, some mammoth matches taking place, and a few people rebounding well after tricky second round matches.

Women’s singles: Kerber surges into huge contention

Though there are many notable talking points on the Women’s side, perhaps the biggest was 21st seed Angelique Kerber’s impressive win over Maria Sharapova, in what was a surprisingly one-sided encounter.

There was a lot of excitement heading into this clash, with many expecting a tight contest, though 2016 continued her impressive form as she dropped just four games against the 2008 champion. The only Grand Slam champion left in the draw, Kerber is being considered by many now as a favorite for the title, and both Noel and I were impressed with her performance. Both of us also lauded the fantastic contest between Lauren Davis and Simona Halep, in which we both praised the American’s efforts by also the mental toughness of the Romanian to pull through.

Davis and Halep contested what is arguably the match of the tournament so far (Getty/Scott Barbour)
Davis and Halep contested what is arguably the match of the tournament so far (Getty/Scott Barbour)

Noel and I are both looking forward to Halep’s next match against Naomi Osaka, in the second week of a slam for the first time after being Ashleigh Barty, whilst we also praised Karolina Pliskova and Madison Keys, who have reached the second week without dropping a single set. Furthermore, we discussed how Caroline Wozniacki rebounded from a huge scare in the second round with a more comfortable win over Kiki Bertens, whilst also talking about the huge opportunity that Elina Svitolina has to make a Grand Slam semifinal for the first time.

Men’s Singles: Nadal and Federer continue to ease through

Though there are several talking points on the Men’s side, the focus remains on Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, who are both looking very comfortable so far in Melbourne.

Federer looked impressive as he beat Richard Gasquet for the 17th time in 19 meetings on Saturday to reach the fourth round, whilst Nadal crushed Damir Dzumhur for the loss of five games; with a final between the two still looming. Another talking point for Noel and myself were the wins for Grigor Dimitrov and Kyrgios. The Bulgarian beat Andrey Rublev in four sets whilst Kyrgios also prevailed in four sets over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, setting up an interesting meeting between the two; despite being lower-ranked, Kyrgios is arguably the favorite for that encounter.

Kyrgios has impressed so far (Getty/Cameron Spencer)
Kyrgios has impressed so far (Getty/Cameron Spencer)

Furthermore, both Noel and I talked about further slam troubles for Alexander Zverev, who lost to Hyeon Chung despite leading by two sets to one, whilst also talking about how we think Chung will fair against Novak Djokovic in the fourth round. The Serbian’s win over Albert Ramos-Vinolas and the injury timeout he took was also discussed, as was Tomas Berdych’s highly impressive win over Juan Martin del Potro, and Dominic Thiem’s encouraging performance against Adrian Mannarino after rallying from two sets down in his previous match.