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Miami diary: Friday March 26

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Originally published on: 27/03/10 15:55

Tropical Rain
Plenty of rain had fallen overnight and in the middle of an especially humid day in Miami, the heavens opened again to disrupt play. Coupled with the rain delays, two matches that had been scheduled for 10am starts on the outside courts turned into marathons. Aussie Open quarter-finalist Maria Kirilenko eventually prevailed 4-6 6-2 7-6 (4) against Melanie Czink, while next door on Court 3, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Tamira Pazsek finally finished their match at 4.20pm – with the Russian triumphing 7-6, 4-6, 6-3. After the day’s downpour, the schedule for the day was hurriedly revised, the most significant change being the bumping of Kim Clijsters off Stadium Court to Court 1, to allow Rafael Nadal and Taylor Dent to take to court after the Olivier Rochus had shocked last year’s finalist Novak Djokovic.

On that note…
The No. 2 seed got off to a sluggish start on Stadium Court in his match against Rochus. The Serb lost the first set 6-2, and managed to sneak a scrappy and very long second set on a tiebreak. In just under three hours, the 5’6 Belgian managed his third career win over a world No.2 – with previous scalps of Magnus Norman in 2000 and Marat Safin in 2002 – after breaking Djokovic in the final game of the match t o seal victory. A subdued Novak (unsurprising given that Rochus is ranked a lowly No.59 in the world) then raced to his press conference, and caught us all off guard. Known for wilting in the heat in the past, he admitted; “It was a bit humid, you know, he was making me run alot so the points were really long. That was exhausting”. Sanguine about the upcoming clay court season, Djokovic added: “I gotta rest now and try to make up for these defeats on clay courts”.  You said it, Novak.

Camera, Action…. err Lights
Kim Clijsters match-up with 20-year-old Petra Kvitova was moved to Court 1 and began at about 7pm – by which time you would already expect to see the floodlights on. Not so on Court 1, where Clijsters was 4-1 up before the floodlights finally sprung into life. The Belgian was unaffected by her last minute court change, but admitted to being disconcerted by the lack of light. “I like playing on smaller courts. But I like playing night matches. Even with a court like this, it doesn’t bother me at all. I was just waiting for people to turn the lights on in the beginning of the match because it was getting really dark.”

Guillermo Canas calls it quits
Guillermo Canas today officially announced his retirement from the game. The 32-year-old Argentine, who achieved back-to-back wins over Roger Federer in Indian Wells and Miami in 2007, has undergone four wrist operations and admitted to making the decision to retire ‘six or eight weeks ago’. “I’m gonna miss some things but I’m ready to make this step,” he said.

Wozniacki scrapes through, Ljubicic retires
Second seed Caroline Wozniacki was run close on Court 1, where she lost the first set to Tsvetana Pironkova before recovering to record a 6-3 3-6 6-4 victory.

Surprise Indian Wells champ Ivan Ljubicic was not so fortunate. After defying his 31 years last week to claim his first ATP Masters 1000 title, the Croat was laid out on court with a back injury after retiring from his match with Benjamin Becker while trailing 6-4 1-0.

Late start, quick finish
A late night, by Sony Ericsson Open standards, saw Andy Roddick and Igor Andreev take to court at 10.30 pm after Justine Henin showed what a feared competitor she still is, defeating fifth seed Elena Dementieva 6-3 6-2. When he did finally get on court, the American didn’t hang around long, negotiating the test of Andreev in an hour and 20 minutes.

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