Usually my predictions are poor (certainly my SkyBet form has deserted me) but my QF winner picks were on the whole pretty much on the money.
Nadal, Djokovic and Tsitsipas are all safely through against their tired and/or inexperienced opponents. The Serb having things easiest with Nishikori lasting only a couple of one-sided sets before retiring.
Rafa looks imperious but then Tiafoe is still learning; something one feels isn’t necessary for this year’s Australian Open emergence. Tsitsipas is no flash in the pan though and was irresistible in his downing of the dogged and at times inspired Bautista-Agut.
I fell down with the Raonic Vs Pouille encounter: the Frenchman who for so long has been on the fringes of the big time played a blinder, transforming the Canadian’s tournament-long brilliance into something more brittle.
It was a case of three correct guesses for the women too. Osaka is looking powerful and confident and had too much for a weary Svitolina. The likeable American Collins looked overawed in the first set against Pavlyuchenkova but outplayed her Russian opponent in a superb match.
Petra Kvitova just had too much power for Ash Barty, crucially for the Czech, she can rely on touch as well when it matters. The home favourite though made a real contest of it in the second set and can be happy with her tournament and ongoing form. Ultimately it was Kvitova’s experience that clinched her the match.
Finally we come to the shock of the round and Serena’s capitulation against Pliskova, the kind of player who has rarely threatened the American over the years. Pliskova played some excellent stuff and is of course a former major finalist, but Williams really should have put this one to bed at 5-1 in the third. Is the belief still lacking? More likely a combination of fatigue and an all-too-common trait of hers: underestimating her opponents resolve.
Kvitova to beat Collins in 2
Osaka to beat Pliskova in 3
Nadal to beat Tsitsipas in 4
Djokovic to beat Pouille in 3