© Ella Ling

Bernard Tomic

Notes from Melbourne - day five


Our highlights reel of all the action from the fifth day of the 2012 Australian Open

Match of the day
Bernard Tomic v Alexandr Dolgopolov
It was never going to be anything else. In what Andy Murray had described as a ‘funky’ match-up, two tactical brains tried to out-fox each other in the Rod Laver Arena night session, single-handedly reviving the importance of the slice backhand with their mind-boggling style of play.

Although Tomic took the early break, it was Dolgopolov that went a set up 6-4, leaving the Aussie with the hard work. But he’s got quite used to hard work, this particular 19-year-old. Sneaking through the next two sets on two tie-breaks, he didn’t let losing the fourth set bother him unduly, breaking early in the fifth, and serving out on his second match point.

With Rod Laver Arena roaring its proverbial head off, Tomic becomes the first Australian male to make the fourth round since Lleyton Hewitt in 2010. And, by a quirk of fate, he will meet the same man who felled Hewitt at that hurdle: Roger Federer.

Win or lose, Tomic has annointed himself as a national hero. And rightly so.

The upset
Feliciano Lopez d. John Isner
John Isner in another five-setter? What a surprise. But this time the big man couldn’t find the clutch to pull off the win, going down 3-6, 7-6(3), 4-6, 7-6(0), 1-6 to his older and better. Although only two seed spots apart, Lopez at 18, Isner at 16, it’s not the sort of result many expected, especially with Isner riding on the wave of his marathon win over David Nalbandian two days ago. Still, credit to Lopez, who played a tactically perfect match, and continues to show what being in the twilight of your career can do for you. As he said during Wimbledon last year, he knows he hasn’t got that long left, so why not go for it? Why not indeed.

Stopwatch on…
The quickest singles win of the day belonged to Jelena Jankovic, who crushed Christina McHale 6-2, 6-0 in an hour and 19 minutes. But even quicker was Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond, who double-bageled Alexandra Dulgheru and Virginie Razzano in just 45 minutes.

Cruising like the QE2
Rafael Nadal, who dispatched Lukas Lacko in under two hours, and Victoria Azarenka, her toughest yet, but still a 4 & 2 win over Mona Barthel in an hour and a half. Caroline Wozniacki dropped just four games against Monica Niculescu, and Roger Federer needed only one tie-break to get past Ivo Karlovic in three.

Tomas Berdych got past Kevin Anderson in two very tight sets and one not-so-tight, 7-6(5), 7-6(1), 6-1, and Philipp Kohlschreiber took advantage of Alejandro Falla’s physical problems over three sets.

Later on, defending champion Kim Clijsters soared into the fourth round with a 6-3, 6-2 masterclass against Daniela Hantuchova, and Juan Martin Del Potro rocketed past Yen-Hsun Lu in three.

Stat of the day
The percentage of first serves achieved by Rafael Nadal. Been working on that one, perchance?

Second stat of the day
The last time no American men made it into the fourth round of the Australian Open. There weren’t even any American men in the draw in 1973. Killer.

Biggest disappointments?
Seeing Stanislas Wawrinka surrender in three tame sets to Nicolas Almagro…I would have not have wanted to be near Marcos Baghdatis when that happened. And it was a bit of a shame to see Alejandro Falla, who played so bravely to beat Mardy Fish, have nothing left against Philipp Kohlschreiber either.

Quote of the day
“Of course I hear it, I mean, I’m not deaf”
Victoria Azarenka on whether she can hear the crowd mimicking her ‘boing boing woo woo’ grunt

And another ‘well said’ to Maria Sharapova, in response to this absurdity…
Q: “They say the world is going to end this year. What would you like to do or achieve before the world blows up?”
Sharapova: “Why do you have to ask the most ridiculous questions?”

Tweet of the day
John Isner matches are like NBA games. No need to start watching ’til the end of the fourth. #AustralianOpen
Someone called @stableford makes a salient point.

One to watch
Julia Goerges. The German is into the fourth round after a juggernaut-esque 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 win over Schiavone-slayer Romina Oprandi.

In the infirmary
Alejandro Falla, Mardy Fish’s conqueror, had extended therapy for a blister, including iodine, bandages, tape, the works., followed by repeated cramp leg rubs, while Stan Wawrinka had what looked like a very painful neck massage.

John Isner also cited a ‘gnarly’ blister on his toe. But ouch of the evening was for poor Anabel Medina Garrigues, who went over on her ankle in the third game of her match against Li Na.

Strange decision…
By Eurosport to show Agnieszka Radwanska v Galina Voskoboeva on Margaret Court Arena rather than 16-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer v Ivo Karlovic on Rod Laver Arena.

Also a bit bizarre was Victoria Azarenka’s celebration of her win over Mona Barthel. She hurled a ball in anger. And was booed for it.

Special mention for
Ross Hutchins and Colin Fleming, through to the last 16 of the men’s doubles after thrashing Alex Bogomolov (who got in trouble for wearing un-authorised sponsorhip on his hat) and Igor Kunitsyn. Bryan brothers up next.

Come back tomorrow for…
Novak Djokovic v Nicolas Mahut, third on Rod Laver Arena

Milos Raonic v Lleyton Hewitt, second night match on Rod Laver Arena

Sabine Lisicki v Svetlana Kuznetsova, third on Hisense Arena

Andy Murray v Michael Llodra, first night match on Hisense Arena

Janko Tipsarevic v Richard Gasquet, second on Margaret Court Arena

  • http://twitter.com/rossmbrown Ross Brown

    Quickest singles match was actually Agnieszka Radwanska’s win over Galina Voskoboeva – 1hr 6mins. Clijsters, Wozniacki & Benesova also registered quicker wins than JJ.