Sinner seals it with a break, stretching wide to guide a difficult return back, and Johnson, frazzled from too long achieving nothing, dumps into the net. Sinner meets Taro Daniel next.
I keep saying it, but Johnson has nothing for Sinnerâ€™s serve, and though he retains his own, a backhand return dumped into the net seals a love hold and the Austro-Italian is just a game away. His potential last-eight meeting with Tsitsipas looks tasty in the extreme.
Barbara Schett notes that Sinner still has the body of a child, and that needs to change before he can win a major. Iâ€™m not sure about that â€“ I think it depends on how long his matches are â€“ but his limbs are noticeably thin. Thing is, they give him leverage and flexibility, so Iâ€™d not be so quick to dismiss them, though I doubt heâ€™s ready to go five sets with your Medvedevs and Zverevs of this world. And he makes trouble for himself at 3-2 40-15, whacking a forehand at Johnson with the whole court to aim at, but another forehand elicits the net; his opponent just doesnâ€™t have the game to put him under any pressure. Sinner leads 6-2 6-4 4-2.
Back with our men, Sinner now leads Johnson 6-2 6-4 3-1, and this has been a very impressive performance. His serve is firing, his groundstrokes are on point, and his shot-selection is mature.
Halep tells Eurosport sheâ€™s worked hard and happy sheâ€™s reaping the rewards. Mats then says that when he got married, he was good for three years, but eventually he felt unhappy on the court because it was impinging on his bliss. Halep, recently married, isnâ€™t in that space though â€“ her husband is with her, tennis is her priority, and sheâ€™s in a good space in her life. She thinks sheâ€™s calmer on court too â€“ Iâ€™d agree with that, and Iâ€™m sure the happiness in her personal life is part of it, but Iâ€™m also sure no longer being the best player not to win a major also helps.
Asked what sheâ€™s eating to play so well â€“ sheâ€™s won seven matches straight â€“ she says that sheâ€™s been eating ham and cheese and otherwise just a few eggs. Asked about playing so late, she says it was hard to stay awake but the Kyrgios v Medvedev match was great and she really enjoyed it. At 30, sheâ€™s old enough to start enjoying the game, and last year wasnâ€™t easy because she was injured, but sheâ€™s ready to play some good matches her and is happy with her aggression today. Finally, sheâ€™s told that given she was coached by Darren Cahill and played doubles with Aussie girls, sheâ€™s basically Aussie, and accepts the nickname â€œAussie Simonaâ€. The interviewersâ€™ obsession with Australianness is quite something.
Simona Halep beats Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-2 6-0!
Devastating, spectacular behaviour from Halep, who absolutely wipes Haddad Maia off the court. She is gunning for this, and meets Kovinic, who beat Raducanu next. Ah, thatâ€™s a bit of a shame, her v Raducanu wouldâ€™ve been something, but if Halep keeps this up this pot is hers.
Back with the men, Sinner has broken Johnson first up, and the end looks night in this one too. He leads 6-2 6-4 1-0.
Seven in a row for Halep, whoâ€™s absolutely flying. No one won anything by playing well in round two, but make no mistake: she is playing well and is one game away from progression.
Johnson gets to 30, but Sinner bangs a violent serve down the middle and thatâ€™s the second set. He leads 6-2 6-4 while, on Laver, Halep has to go through deuce but eventually secures her double-break. Haddad Maia is not long for this match, the score 6-2 4-0.
Meantime, Halep consolidates despite a game featuring two doubles, and thatâ€™s five in a row for her. She leads 6-2 2-0.
Sinner has Johnsonâ€™s serve under constant pressure, but at 30-all, Johnson finds a kicking ace, his second of the game … then nets a forehand. He goes long in the next rally, and this might be the set here … he needs a first serve, canâ€™t get one, and when Sinner sends a forehand spinning to the corner, Johnson canâ€™t respond. Sinner will now serve for the second set.
A forehand winner and backhand return earn Halep two break points; she goes long with a forehand return to cede one, but punishes another onto the line, and at 6-2 2-0, sheâ€™s nearly there and both players know it.
Johnson is making a better fist of this set, and at 40-30, he finds a big serve out wide, racing in to despatch a clean-up high volley. If he can make it to a breaker, heâ€™s got a chance, but heâ€™s not making any impression when Sinner has the balls. 4-3 to him, first set Sinner 6-2.
Looking at the draw, Sabalenka and Swiatek are the best of Halepâ€™s half. Iâ€™d take her to beat both.
Halep is playing very nicely indeed, and when Haddad Maia goes long on the forehand, she seals the set 6-2.
Sinner races to the net to retrieve a drop, flipping cross-court; it earns him break point, but Johnson, who rig is worth a once-over, finds a big serve and quickly cleans up. He leads 3-2 in set two, having lost the first 6-2.
Halep now leads 5-2 and though Haddad Maia is playing pretty well, thereâ€™s just nothing she can do.
Sinner bangs a forehand down the line which Johnson squash-shots back; it dips over the net, but a terrific get on the volley earns Sinner 6-2 2-2, and heâ€™s just too good.
Sinner, meanwhile is 16/1 behind Medvedev, Zverev, Nadal and Tsitsipas. Thatâ€™s a bit tight â€“ I donâ€™t think heâ€™s ready yet, and itâ€™s take something significant to beat the top two. Zverev seems to have got over a hump in recent times, and though Iâ€™d not take him to beat Medvedev in a final, heâ€™s probably good enough to beat everyone else.
Halep is whacking it â€“ sheâ€™s such a powerhouse â€“ and holds to love, having lost just one point on serve so far, and Iâ€™m checking the odds on her to win the thing. Sheâ€™s third favourite at 13/2, behind Barty, Osaka and Halep. Iâ€™d say her best is better than Bartyâ€™s, but Iâ€™d love to see them play, as I would her v Osaka. 4-1.
Halep is giving Haddad Maia hell here, but she eventually wrangles a hold, sealing the deal with a big service winner down the middle. Halep leads 3-1.
Johnson is playing OK, but Sinner is just too good for him and takes the first set 6-2.
Not gonna lie, I absolutely love Halep and her confounding mix of fragility and invincibility. Itâ€™s great to see her back, and womenâ€™s tennis being as unpredictable as it is, Iâ€™d not totally rule her out of title contention. She leads 3-0.
Back on court, Halep has broken Haddad Maia for 2-0, and Sinner is absolutely wasting Johnson, leading 5-1.
So far today (yes, there’s even more to come):
Emma Raducanu lost in three to Danka Kovinic, but was hampered by finger-blisters and raised her reputation even higher with her canniness and tenacity.
Andy Murray was beaten by Taro Daniel in straight sets, but the match was an intense and competitive one.
Daniil Medvedev beat Nick Kyrgios in a thriller, then registered his disapproval of behaviour in the crowd.
Aryna Sabalenkaâ€™s servve malfunctioned (again), but she made it through, while Garbine Muguruza lost to Alize Cornet and Anett Kontaveit lost to Clare Tauson.
Sam Stosur, US Open champ in 2011, lost to Anastasia Pavlyuchenova â€“ a defeat that marked the end of her singles career. She received precisely the gratitude youâ€™d expect.
Alex De Minaur is into round three following a straight sets win over Kamil Majchrzak.
And Nick Kyrgios lost to Daniil Medvedev in four thrilling sets and in front of a buzzing crowd, after which Medvedev criticised those cheering his fault. Weâ€™ll have a report for you on that presently.
Sinner is a serious player and a potential major winner; Johnson, though no mug, will do well to hang with him, and as I type that, he seals the double break to lead 3-0.
OK, and breathe. But not too much: Sinner and Johnson are away, Sinner leading 2-0 in set one, while Halep and Haddad Maia are about to knock up.
Interviewed on Eurosport, Medvedev continues the teacher vibe, saying heâ€™s not angry just disappointed. He expected a row, playing the home favourite, especially that being Kyrgios, but didnâ€™t like people cheering his faults, surmising that those making the noise â€œprobably have a low IQâ€. Or maybe theyâ€™re just bad at answering IQ-style questions, who can say.
Anyhow, he says a few years ago heâ€™d have had some tantrums, broken some rackets and shouted at his box for no reason, but heâ€™s more mature now. He didnâ€™t want to lose his serve, and felt a bit in danger in set three, especially with Kyrgios pumping up the crowd, but he came through in set four. He is an absolute player.
Medvedev says he came to win and heâ€™s happy he did, his stoic face plastered on. Itâ€™s not easy when you get booed between first and second serves, he says, and of course boos follow â€“ Jim Courier says theyâ€™re saying â€œSiuuuuuâ€, explains itâ€™s a soccer thing, and they continue. Medvedev, though, is naused right up and tells people to show respect for Courier, who won the Aussie Open, even if they donâ€™t have respect for him â€“ itâ€™s a bit supply teacher, but heâ€™s right. Courier then gets nearer to explains again, without chastising the grown adults making it, and Medvedev maintains that itâ€™s distracting, which it is. He thinks heâ€™s got the game to win the thing, but we love tennis because other people do good things, and the crowd warm to him, through the suiuuing. Good for him.
Daniil Medvedev beats Nick Kyrgios 7-6(1) 6-4 4-6 6-2!
Thatâ€™s brilliant from Medvedev, riding out the wave of patriotism to impose his superior fitness and class â€“ he meets Gasquet next. But Kyrgios remains a special player and character â€“ he created a proper event there, and loved every second of it. So did we, and all those lucky enough to be there in person.
Medvedev gets 0-15, so Kyrgios slams his racket into the court and serves an ace with his new one; of course he does. But Medvedev then moves him side to side before dispensing a disguised drop and Kyrgios doesnâ€™t have the gas to run it down; he knows this is it, going long with a forehand, and thatâ€™s two match points and 2-5 15-40…
Medvedev is such a pro, and he races through a love hold sealed with
a kiss an ace. He leads 7-6(1) 6-4 4-6 5-2.
Yeah, on Laver, Medvedev digs out a backhand that gives him a break in set four, and at 4-2 heâ€™s just two holds away from the match.
Emma Raducanu, though. She is an absolute superstar, brimming with talent, mentality and equanimity; weâ€™re going to be seeing a lot more of her.
Kovinic looks emotional, saying it was amazing and that she really enjoyed the match â€“ sheâ€™s been waiting a long time to get to this stage of a major. Sheâ€™s glad she showed she can play at a high level and was low on energy in the third set, so didnâ€™t want to show emotion in order to conserve what she had. Well done her.
Back on Laver, weâ€™re on serve in set four, Medvedev leading 3-2 and by two sets to one.
Danka Kovinic beats Emma Raducanu 6-4 4-6 6-3!
That was a bazzing match – well played both â€“ and Kovinic meets Halep or Haddad Maia next. Sheâ€™s mever made the last 32 of a Slam before.
She needs a first serve, canâ€™t find one, and Raducanu waits for her, slamming a forehand down the line and into the corner! But what a backhand down the line Kovinic finds at 40-30!
Even if Raducanu loses here, her stock will rise â€“ her gutsiness and intelligence mark her as very special â€“ but though she makes 0-15, Kovinic clatters a forehand winner to draw level in the game. Next, she dredges up an ace, Raducanu nets a backhand, and after two hours 37 minutes, Kovinic has two match points…
Lovely hands at the net from Raducanu, giving her 15-0, and she quickly makes 40-15, securing the hold when Kovinic races in to meet a poor drop, only to blaze wide. Kovinic leads 5-3 in the decider, and will now serve for the biggest win of her career.
Kovinic holds to love, and sheâ€™s a game away from round three.
So, Kovinic leads Raducanu 6-4 4-6 4-2 and Medvedev leads Kyrgios 7-6(1) 6-4 4-6 1-0.
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