Djokovic back on track
It was a good day for most of the big names at the Medibank International in Sydney on Wednesday with victories for Novak Djokovic, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and David Nalbandian.
Second seed Gilles Simon crashed out, however, going down 6-4, 6-4 to fellow Frenchman Richard Gasquet.
Djokovic will no doubt be feeling relieved to get a comfortable victory under his belt after his shock defeat to Ernests Gulbis in Brisbane last week and his much-publicised racket ranting.
The Serb had no problems in his opening match in Sydney, thrashing Frenchman Paul-Henri Mathieu 6-1, 6-2 to book himself a quarter-final spot.
Afterwards, Djokovic talked about his recent switch from Wilson to a HEAD racket.
“It’s a very hard thing to do, the 2008 Aussie Open champ said. Probably the most difficult decision in tennis, switching the racket when things are going good and with the way I finished the season.
“Head and Wilson are the two biggest companies in the sport, and they have some differences. They try to make the racket as best as possible, you know, to my wishes.
“They did a good job. They’re really trying. So even though the racket is the same practically, it takes time mentally to be able to get used to something new.”
Third seed Tsonga was also impressive as the countdown to the Aussie Open continues. He was too hot for Italian Simone Bolelli during a 6-4, 6-1 victory.
In his first match since the Davis Cup final last November, Nalbandian produced a dominant display to ease past Frenchman Michael Llodra 6-1, 6-3.
Aussie favourite Lleyton Hewitt also had a good straight-sets win against Serbias Janko Tipsarevic and up and down Croat Mario Ancic hit form against seventh seed Tommy Robredo with a 6-2, 6-1 victory.
The womens draw in Sydney featured no surprise results with quarter-final victories for top seed Serena Williams, second seed Dinara Safina and third seed Elena Dementieva, although fifth seed Svetlana Kuznetsova pulled out against Japans Ai Sugiyama with an abdominal strain.
It was far from plain sailing for Williams, however, who saved two match points before finally overcoming world No.12 Caroline Wozniacki.
The young Dane made the perfect start by taking the first set on a tie-break before Williams found her game in time to pull off a 6-7, 6-3, 7-6 victory.
Earlier, Safina proved too good for young Frenchwoman Alize Cornet 6-3, 6-4 while Dementieva earned a hard fought 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 victory over Polish sixth seed Agnieszka Radwanska.
At the Heineken Open in Auckland, Wednesdays big match ended with top seed Juan Martin Del Potro getting the better of young in-form Latvian Ernests Gulbis. The No.1 seed from Argentina recovered from a poor start to win 4-6, 6-4, 6-1.
It was generally a good day for the seeds with victories for second seed David Ferrer, third seed Robin Soderling, fourth seed Nicolas Almagro and American Sam Querrey, the seventh seed. Eighth seed Juan Monaco was the only big name to miss out on a quarter-final spot.
In the last singles match on court, fifth seed and defending champion Philipp Kohlschreiber from Germany produced the most exciting victory of the day when he edged past former world No.1 Juan Carlos Ferrero 7-6 in the decider.
At the womens Moorilla International in Hobart all four semi-finalists are unseeded after a week of shocks at the Tasmanian hard court event.
Slovakias Magdalena Rybarikova had the toughest passage into the last four when she scraped past Hungarys Melinda Czink 6-0, 1-6, 7-6, while there were straight-set wins for Czech Republics Iveta Benesova over Argentine Gisela Dulko and Frenchwoman Virginie Razzano who cruised past young Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova.
in the last semi of the day up and coming Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova fell to Petra Kvitova from the Czech Republic 1-6, 7-5, 6-3.
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