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Australian Open diary: Tuesday 18 January


 

Originally published on: 18/01/11 09:21

What’s the rush?
Play began, as scheduled, on Rod Laver Arena at 11am but you can’t help but feel a tad sorry for ticket holders on the main show court today. Vera Zvonareva had sent Sybille Bammer packing by 12:15pm – winning 6-2 6-1 in 59 minutes. Then, Rafael Nadal stormed through the match that immediately followed, playing just 11 games. The world No.1’s Brazilian opponent Marcos Daniel retired injured with only his name on the scoreboard with Nadal leading 6-0, 5-0. “He’s a very nice guy. Hope he gets well soon” Nadal posted on facebook after returning to his hotel earlier than expected.

The quickfire action on Rod Laver Arena didn’t stop there. As if the court was functioning like a giant, blue treadmill, home girl Sam Stosur belted 20 clean winners for a 6-1, 6-1 victory over American teenager Lauren Davis. It was the most lopsided match of Stosur’s nine-year Grand Slam career, and meant that by 2.45pm all the action scheduled for that court was over. The match between Alicia Molik and Roberta Vinci – that had been scheduled for Margaret Court Arena – was hastily moved on to the main court to fill the void. Happily, the 29-year-old one-time-Aussie golden girl read the script, delivering value for money by rallying hard for a 1-6, 6-3, 8-6 triumph.

DelPo gives thanks
Juan Martin del Potro returned to Grand Slam action for the first time since January 2010 with a straight sets victory over Dudi Sela. The Argentine won in straight sets and spoke in his presser about how good it was to be back rubbing shoulders with the top 10 players. “I’m really enjoying this week,” said the 23-year-old, who has slumped to a lowly No.236 in the world after spending virtually the whole of 2010 on the sidelines. “I met with all the players, especially the top 10 players. They support me when I was very bad(ly injured) so now I face to face with them and I say thank you.”

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie
The remaining Aussie girls all went out of the tournament today. Sally Peers was checked 6-2 6-4 by, er Czech, Petra Kvitova, while Sophie Ferguson was beaten in three sets (7-6 0-6 6-3) by Petra Martic of Croatia.

Aussie teenager Bernard Tomic notched up a solid win against Jeremy Chardy – who’s had a bit of a buzzcut – winning 6-3, 6-2, 7-6, while fans await the conclusion of the second evening match as Lleyton Hewitt takes on David Nalbandian in a true popcorn tie and repeat of the 2002 Wimbledon final.

Murray downs Becks (No, not the beer)
“It’s nice to be through to the second round with no drama,” admitted Andy Murray after defeating Karol Beck, who had to retire with an injured shoulder two games away from defeat with the score at 6-3, 6-1, 4-2. It allowed a little extra time in the presser for the world No.5 to talk about his brother Jamie, who had had an unfortunate incident with a sparrow earlier in the day. Though he hadn’t seen it, the Scot’s mother Judy relayed the events out on court 17 to him.

“Jamie’s serve bigger than he thought. Just killed a bird (feathered variety) out on court 17 :(“ she tweeted, and when Murray was asked about it in his presser, he seemed to be trying particularly hard to fight back a smirk.

Safina, Ivanovic felled

Dinara Safina took the severest of thumpings from Kim Clijsters, losing 6-0 6-0 to the reigning US Open champ in just 44 minutes, but Ana Ivanovic took a worse – or more surprising hit – on Hisense Arena, losing 3-6 6-4 10-8 to world No.49 Ekaterina Makarova in two hours and 47 minutes despite hitting 36 winners.

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