Blistering pace set on Rod Laver Arena
Originally published on: 21/01/12 07:52
The first match up was World No. 2 Petra Kvitova who took on Maria Kirilenko, but 38 minutes later the match was all over as the Russian was forced to retire with a left abductor strain. Kirilenko had taken a medical time out in an attempt to cure the problem during which time Kvitova remained focused on the game, “Because sometimes timeout is very tough for us, because, you know, when you are playing really well and then you have five minutes off, sometimes it’s tough to get back and play as before”.
It was then the turn of Maria Sharapova who was up against Angelique Kerber. Sharapova was in destructive form as she defeated the 24 year old German for the loss of only 3 games, admittedly this is 2 more than she has given either of her opponents in the previous rounds, but it was crumbs for the German who has worked hard recently to improve her physical game.
MaSha said that in the days between matches (she next faces Sabine Lisicki), she enjoys her afternoon naps. Those days as she explained are “Pretty routine. You practise. I usually do 30 minutes of shoulder work and exercises. Go back, take a nap, read my book, watch some tennis, do some treatment, have some dinner, go to sleep”.
And while MaSha was probably napping as the sun broke through over Melbourne Park Novak Djokovic arrived on court against Nicolas Mahut who was celebrating his 30th birthday. The Serb seemed like a man in a hurry, he dispensed with the Frenchman in an hour and a quarter, dropping 2 games along the way and breezed off to his presser, where he showed some compassion for his opponent: “ Well, it felt great.” He commented “Obviously I feel for my opponent, who evidently could not move on the court. He could not get over; you know, into the rally two, three strokes. You know, I think most of the people expected him to just retire the match and walk out of the court. But he managed to stay. So all the credit for him and happy birthday”
The World No. 1 is pretty happy about his performance this week and remarked “and hopefully I can continue the same way in the second one.”
So, all that action, or lack of it, left the crowd on Rod Laver Arena hungry for more. After all they had only had 3 hours and 31 minutes of action and by tennis standards that isn’t a lot. So a men’s doubles match was hastily re-scheduled and the Indian pair Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna played their match against the Austrian Carsten Ball and Treat Conrad Huey of the Philippines.
The match was over in 58 minutes at 4.46 pm local time with the Indians dominant 62 62.
But there was plenty of action still going on elsewhere in Melbourne Park, and perhaps today there was a decidedly egalitarian feel to the Aussie Open, as you didn’t have to be in possession of a showcourt ticket to catch some of the best action. We like that.