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Australian Open Diary: Saturday 22 January

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Originally published on: 22/01/11 08:08

Tall order
Richard Berankis, Alexandr Dolgopolov, Jan Hernych, Milos Raonic and Bernard Tomic all made their third round debuts on the first Saturday of the Australian Open, and two had already survived through to round four before 18-year-old Bernard Tomic took to court to face Rafael Nadal in the evening match on Rod Laver Arena. While Hernych lost to Robin Soderling and Berankis lost to David Ferrer in straight sets, Ukranian Dolgopolov hit back from two sets down to take out 2008 finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 3-6 6-3 3-6 6-1 6-1. He followed the lead of lofty Canadian Milos Raonic, who knocked out 10th seed Mikhail Youzhny 6-4 7-5 4-6 6-4 in the first match on show court 3.

“I can’t say I would be shocked if I wasn’t here,” said Raonic after booking his spot in the fourth round, but taking it all in his stride, the 6ft5” 20-year-old added: “But I’m not really shocked I am here. I’ve put in the hours, so it’s all coming together.”

Dolgopolov was equally assured about his place in the last 16. “Jo’s a really big player in five sets,” he said after tiring out the Frenchman. “For sure it’s the biggest match I’ve won for now.” Watch out Robin Soderling…

Murray continues at a canter
“I got off to a good start and played well from there,” said Andy Murray after easing past Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-1 6-1 6-2 to earn himself a fourth round tie with either Jurgen Melzer or Marcos Baghdatis. Though Garcia–Lopez managed a flash between the legs winner in the first game of the clash, that was as good as it got for the Spaniard, who drilled a ball high on to the roof of Rod Laver Arena in frustration during one game.

Garcia-Lopez may have been even more riled by an accidental slip of the tongue from Murray during the Scot’s post match interview with Jim Courier. “It was a lot easier than the score line suggests. Sorry a lot harder than the score line suggests,” Murray quickly corrected himself, grinning. The world No.5 was then asked by Courier to describe each of his entourage in a little detail. Strenght and Conditioning coach Jez Green didn’t get off lightly. “He’s bald under that cap,” said Murray, before Green whipped it off to cheers from the crowd.

Talking of the Murrays…
Brother Jamie, currently the only Grand Slam champ in the Murray family, exited the Australian Open after he and Belgian partner Xavier Malisse were beaten 3-6 6-4 6-3 by Bjorn Phau and Janko Tipsarevic.

Doubles trouble
There was a bit of a kerfuffle on show court 2 as Feliciano Lopez and Juan Monaco (who both exited the singles in round two) took on No.3 seeds Mahesh Bhupathi and Leander Paes in the doubles. At 5-4 in the second set, the four players had a bit of an altercation at the net, which required the umpire to climb down from his chair in an attempt to calm things down. At the end of the match, Lopez had a heated discussion with Bhupathi, but it seemed to be Paes that he and Monaco had a problem with.

“He was trying to provoke us all the time,” said Lopez in his post match press conference. “I know it’s the style he ‘s been using the past 20 years…

“We don’t want to make a big story about something that happened,” Lopez, added.

At the time of writing, Paes and Bhupathi hadn’t had a chance to get their side of the story across, since both went straight off to compete in their respective mixed doubles matches. We await developments…

Elsewhere…
Kim Clijsters, Vera Zvonereva and Agnieszka Radwanska all progressed in straight sets, while Ekaterina Makarova bumped out 13th seed Nadia Petrova and Iveta Benesova downed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-3 1-6 7-5.

 

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