© Ella Ling

Kim Clijsters

Notes from Melbourne - day seven


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

Match of the day
Kim Clijsters d. Li Na 4-6, 7-6(6), 6-4

Playing in what is likely to be her last Australian Open, against the woman she beat in last year’s final, Clijsters went over on her ankle midway through the first set. Of all the bad luck. Monologueing  to herself as to whether she should retire, she soldiered on heavily strapped, unsurprisingly dropping the first set 6-4 to the relentlessly solid Chinese.

Clinging on to reach a second set tie-break, it looked like Li’s revenge mission would be complete as she advanced to a 6-2 lead. Four match points later, Kim was still in it, saving the last with a drop shot. Guts with a capital.

Winning two more points to take the tie-break, and then somehow, who knows how, winning the third set 6-4 on her second match point, Kim wore an expression of sheer disbelief as she celebrated making the quarter-finals. Imagine if she’d never come back.

A bit of perspective
It was easy to get caught up in the Bernard Tomic hype, Australia’s latest hero into his first fourth round at Melbourne Park. But Roger Federer poured cold water on that one very quickly, handing the 19-year-old a bit of perspective with a 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 defeat in an hour and 44 minutes. Federer advances, Tomic goes back to school.

Third time lucky?
For the past two years in a row, a strange sort of quarter-final hoodoo has existed over Rafael Nadal at Melbourne Park, undone by an injury against Andy Murray in 2010, undone by a hamstring injury against David Ferrer in 2011. Will the third time be the charm?

He looked in middling to good nick against old buddy Feliciano Lopez, taking him down 6-4, 6-4, 6-2, and moving into the quarters for the fourth time in fifth years without dropping a set.

Victoria Azarenka is yet to spend more than an hour and a half on the court and once, and her fourth round against Iveta Benesova was no different. Dispatching the left-hander 6-2, 6-2 in an hour and 17, Azarenka and her running gear are into the quarters.

Even more emphatic was Agnieszka Radwanska’s 6-1, 6-1 win over Julia Goerges, the eighth seed taking just 54 minutes to reach her third Australian Open quarter-final. She lost to Daniela Hantuchova back in 2008, and Kim Clijsters in 2011.

Last match of the day saw Caroline Wozniacki motor past Jelena Jankovic 6-0, 7-5, despite needing to serve for the match twice. Still, Ca-roo is still going.

Daily villain
Tomas Berdych squeaked his way to a 4-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(3), 7-6(2) win over Nicolas Almagro to reach the quarter-finals, a three hour and 54 minute grind-fest. The Czech plays Nadal next, a repeat of the 2010 Wimbledon final.

But he did himself no favours by refusing to shake Almagro’s hand after the Spaniard rocketed a ball at the big Czech at the net. Berdych went down like he’d been sniped, but to be fair, it only hit his arm. Reacting or overreacting?

A for effort
Colin Fleming and Ross Hutchins

The British duo, the 15th seeds, battled bravely against the Bryan brothers, recovering from dropping the first set 4-6 to blister through the second 6-0. But the world No.1s found their range again in the third to take it 6-2 and move into the quarters. Shame for Flembo and Hutch, but another promising Slam for them.

F for failure
The Melbourne Park internet, down from 10am to 4pm, and then again at 7pm. In this day and age, a little remarkable. But it did provide some amusing scenes as the world’s press corps flapped at not being able to out-tweet each other. Those with internet on their phones (and inviting death by roaming charges) were extremely smug.

Lucky losers
Vera Zvonareva and Svetlana Kuznetsova departed the singles yesterday in a blaze of inglory, but returned to the court today for doubles together. Chattering away as if they were ladies who lunch, they calmly knocked out Gisela Dulko and Flavia Pennetta, the No.4 seeds and former world No.1s. Huh.

Good day for the Brit-pack
Four out of four for Britain’s junior contingent, as Josh Ward-Hibbert came through 1 and 2 against Aussie Matthew Tanza, Luke Bambridge bounced Daniel Masur of Germany 6-0, 7-6, Kyle Edmund had a tougher 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 fight against Alexandre Favrot of France, and Liam Broady saw off Matteo Donati 7-5, 6-3.

Petra Kvitova watching boyfriend Adam Pavlasek, the 10th seed, come from a set down to win his junior match, and Bernard Tomic making a brief appearance to produce some fistpumps during sister Sara Tomic’s junior Grand Slam debut. She lost, alas.

Name of the day
Mackenzie McDonald
What country could he possibly be from?

Quote of the day
“I talk a lot…unless I stuff up.”
Introducing 14-year-old Sara Tomic, future champion.

Stat of the day
The temperature, in degrees, at 2pm this afternoon. Hot.

Come back tomorrow for
Ana Ivanovic v Petra Kvitova, first on Rod Laver Arena

Andy Murray v Mikhail Kukushkin, second on Rod Laver Arena

Ekaterina Makarova, third on Rod Laver Arena

Sabine Lisicki v Maria Sharapova, first night match on Rod Laver Arena

Novak Djokovic v Lleyton Hewitt, second night match on Rod Laver Arena

Kei Nishikori v Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, second on Hisense Arena

Richard Gasquet v David Ferrer, third on Hisense Arena