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Miami diary: Saturday March 27


 

Originally published on: 28/03/10 10:49

Sun shines on Crandon Park
Friday’s downpour became a distant memory as the crowds flocked to the tennis to enjoy a beautifully sunny first Saturday in Key Biscayne. But we spare a thought for those still recovering from the aftermath of the devastating 8.8 magnitude earthquake to hit the people of Chile in February. Chilean Fernando Gonzalez and the retired Brazillian Gustavo Kuerten were on-site to announce a fundraising initiative that will take place next Saturday, April 5 to aid those affected. Gonzalez – who has recently visited 12 damaged cities in his native country – made an impassioned plea for the public to support the event. “I saw that they really need help,” he said. “I’m trying to do this event for Chile. We can do it now. I’m really happy for that. We’re going to try to make a big show, and hopefully the people can have fun.” All funds raised will benefit Hogar de Cristo’s Chilean earthquake relief campaign.

Venus can-can
Cruising to her 12th straight victory (after winning back-to-back titles in Dubai and Acapulco) Venus Williams raced past Italy’s Roberta Vinci in 70 minutes, offering more thought for her attire than the 6-1 6-4 scoreline in her post-match presser. Of a dress that appeared to be the sporting equivalent of an outfit you could do the ‘can-can’ in, the world No.5 said: “I was just really having fun with the design and making it really different. I borrowed a lot of aspect of ready to wear sportswear with the whole corset and then the flounce on the bottom.

“It’s supposed to be sexy and fun,” she added.

Colourful court 2
There was plenty of colour on Court 2 today – which was packed for the intriguing match between Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska and the now-lowly ranked Ana Ivanovic. In a whirl of pink (Radwanska) and brilliant orange (Ivanovic), the Pole prevailed 7-5 7-5, but it was encouraging to see the popular Serb hitting some vintage Ana forehands and cracking the occasional blistering backhand. The ever-constistent Radwanska deserved to triumph, but with new coach Heinz Gunthardt on the bench for the world No.58, watch out for Ana’s impending resurgence.

Murray left gutted by Fish
In the second big upset of the men’s tournament, No. 3 seed Andy Murray was defeated 6-4 6-4 in just over an hour and a half by home boy Mardy Fish. Why, we could only ask? “I just wasn’t very good today and I’m gonna need to get a lot better” lamented the Scot, before speaking of the need to get his ‘mind right’ and ‘refocus’ after struggling to find the form he so brilliantly displayed in Australia. “I’ve gone through bad patches before and I just need to practise hard, work hard and get stronger. I’m sure I’ll start playing better again.”

Double trouble
Rafael Nadal was in action in the doubles, partnering fellow Spaniard Bartolme Salva-Vidal against, uh oh, the Bryan Brothers. The American second seeds were as classy as ever, powering through 6-0 6-3. Whether that gave Nadal ample practice for his next singles match against David Nalbandian remains to be seen. The Argentine – a former world No.3 who has slipped alarmingly to No.140 in the world – is creeping back into form, so it could prove to be a tough test for 23-year-old Rafa.

A-Rod rocks
Andy Roddick has been just as busy off court as he has on it. Today he took on Miami Heat’s Dwayne Wade and then followed up with a game of the always amusing H-O-R-S-E. The American No.1 will also be featuring in Fernando Gonzalez’s Chilean fundraiser next week – even if he makes it to the final, he says. Asked for his opinions on all manner of things, from British Davis Cup business to the impending fine for player Wayne Odesnik (who faces a drugs ban), last week’s Indian Wells finalist will prove to be a master multi-tasker if he can remain focused on his own game. With no Ljubicic, nor Djokovic in Roddick’s side of the draw, the 27-year-old has a clear(er) path to the final – that’s if he isn’t distracted by the never-ending side-show that comes hand in hand with being one of the tour’s most interesting characters.

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