© Ella Ling

Andy Roddick

Notes from Melbourne - day four


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

Match of the day
Andy Roddick v Lleyton Hewitt
The last on the schedule for Rod Laver Arena didn’t disappoint, the two former grand slam champions doing their bit for the older male tennis player. Roddick, as was fitting, took the first set, but Hewitt fought back to take the second, and then the third on a heavy net cord. Moments later, Roddick with his head in his hands as he spoke to trainer and doctor, the American retired. “Lleyton, that’s it,” he said, shaking hands. Horrible for him.

Biggest stat from that match? The ace count. Hewitt 11 Roddick 9.

Stop the clock
1 hr 3mins, 1 hr 4mins, 1 hr 8mins.
That was the length of the first three women’s matches of the day, Ana Ivanovic routing Michaella Krajicek the quickest, Maria Sharapova blitzing Jamie Hampton the second, and Serena Williams buffeting Barbora Zahlavova Strycova. Serena’s first set, a 6-0 bagel, took 22 minutes. If ever there was an ouch.

All three were eclipsed however by Sabine Lisicki, the 2011 Wimbledon semi-finalist, who took just 53 minutes to shatter Shahar Peer. Boom Boom is back.

At the other end of the spectrum, Julien Benneteau took four hours and 12 minutes to see off fellow Francophile Gilles Simon, the No.12 seed, 7-5, 7-6(8), 1-6, 3-6, 6-2.

Stat of the day
Serena Williams’ career record in second round Grand Slam matches. Her only loss came at the 1998 Australian Open to Venus. Frankly ridiculous.

Today’s win was also her 16th straight win at Melbourne Park (having won the 2009 and 2010 titles and missing last year injured), and her 500th career win.

Close second
The number of games Maria Sharapova, like Victoria Azarenka, has lost so far, one in each match. Terrifying.

Clutch control
Petra Kvitova avoided a nasty kerplosion against Carla Suarez Navarro, who famously conquered Venus Williams on these very courts a few years ago. The Wimbledon champion had screeched through the first set 6-2, only to lose the second by the same scoreline, and trail by a break in the third. But she Pojd-ed her way out of it, surviving 6-4 in the fourth.

In a similar state, David Ferrer did what David Ferrer does best during his 3 hour and 28-minute five-set survival mission against Ryan Sweeting. The powerful American very nearly produced the win of his life, only to be out-gritted by the Ferrer. How much it takes out of the Spaniard could make his quarter of the draw very interesting.

And Milos Raonic got a little testy during his 6-4, 5-7, 6-2, 7-5, but held onto his rocker to make it into the third round. His next match against Lleyton Hewitt is going to be a barn-stormer.

Controversy of the day
The life and times of umpire Khader Nouni, and whether he was right to disallow David Nalbandian a hawk eye challenge. Nonetheless, Nouni’s name was back on the umpire’s sheet today, for a men’s singles match and a ladies doubles.

Nalbandian meanwhile was fined $8,000 for three instances of racket abuse.

No time-wasting
Vera Zvonareva, Sara Errani, Angelique Kerber, Ekaterina Makarova, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Sara Errani, Juan Ignacio Chela, Zheng Jie, Novak Djokovic, Sabine Lisicki, Richard Gasquet (thanks to a retirement), Andy Murray, and Marion Bartoli all breezed into round three in straight sets.

The upsets
Michael Llodra took three hours and 13 minutes to take down Alex Bogomolov Jr, the 32nd seed, 6-1, 6-3, 4-6, 5-7, 6-4, while Vania King knocked off Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, the 15th seed, 5-7, 6-3, 6-4. 17th seed Dominka Cibulkova was also ousted 10-8 in the third by Hungarian 32-year-old Greta Arn. Nadia Petrova was toppled by Sara Errani, and Mikhail Kukushkin knocked out 19th seed Viktor Troicki in five.

Note of praise
To James Duckworth. The young Australian wild card with a walk that befits his surname produced a match that belied his lowly ranking, taking Janko Tipsarevic to four sets. Similar back-clap is due to another Australian, Matthew Ebden, who led Kei Nishikori by two sets before the Japanese awoke to win in five.

One to watch
Sloane Stephens. The American youngster kept Svetlana Kuznetsova on her toes, the Russian winning 7-6, 7-5. Stephens has a big game and an even bigger personality. Promising.

Hold the back page
Ana Ivanovic is afraid of sharks and snakes, and will only go up as far as her waist in the ocean. Bear it in mind next time you’re inviting her on a bushtrucker trial.

The daily trend
Removing one’s shirt in celebration, footballer style. Tommy Haas did it yesterday, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga today. Housewives worldwide rejoice.

Talk of the press room
Smashing rackets. After Marcos Baghdatis’s jaw-widening efforts, the subject of whether it is a good or bad thing to smash a racket dominated the day’s press conferences. Serena Williams, who praised the question, something I’ve never heard her do, said she used to smash a lot of rackets, but now doesn’t, Novak Djokovic the same, Andy Murray similar.

But it was Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who put it the best. “My father told me all the time, if you broke the racket, I broke you.” Enough said.

Quote of the day
“I was hectic”
Petra Kvitova describes her topsy turvy win over Carla Suarez Navarro

Player I’ve never heard of
Colin Ebelthite. He’s an Australian ranked No.615 in the world who won his first round doubles today, in case you were wondering.

Come back tomorrow for…
Lukas Lacko v Rafael Nadal, first on Rod Laver Arena

Ivo Karlovic v Roger Federer, second on Rod Laver Arena

Alexandr Dolgpolov v Bernard Tomic, first night match on Rod Laver Arena

Victoria Azarenka v Mona Barthel, first on Hisense Arena

John Isner v Feliciano Lopez, third on Hisense Arena

Kim Clijsters v Daniela Hantuchova, first night match on Hisense Arena

And the mixed doubles, which starts tomorrow. Always fun.