Miami diary: Thursday March 25
Originally published on: 26/03/10 10:59
Roddick ponders British Davis Cup debate
Andy Roddick’s pre-tournament press conference was pretty much an all-American affair, good humoured and full of banter. Perhaps it would have been fitting to hand out beers all-round in what was effectively a chinwag among friends. The subjects discussed ranged from his Indian Wells final defeat to Ivan Ljubicic, to his upcoming wedding anniversary with Brooklyn Decker, before a British journo brought up his recent absence from the US Davis Cup tie with Serbia. Asked if he thought players should have a direct say as to who captains the Davis Cup team, the 27-year-old remarked: “Well I have a feeling you are not as concerned about our team as you are maybe another team”. (We sense he saw that one coming…) Roddick then volunteered, “I think the most important thing for your team is to have your guy playing right now and that’s the priority. You know does he need to like his captain? Yes, he probably needs to like the captain”. So Mr Murray, who do you like?
There was a popular win on Stadium Court at 1.55pm local time in Miami as Ana Ivanovic defeated French qualifier Pauline Parmentier 6-4 6-3. And after a poor run of form saw her drop out of the top 50 this week, the Serb is confident that her game is on the up. “Obviously working with a new coach, with Heinz [Gunthardt], I can see the improvements almost on a daily basis,” she said. “I played well today and I kept my composure and just stuck with what I’ve been working on and I’ve been working hard.” She’ll face a stiff challenge in the next round against the in-form Agnieszka Radwanska who, sporting a tattoo we hadn’t seen before on her right calf, defeated Ekaterina Makarova 7-5 6-0.
Alejandro Falla of Colombia scored a 7-6 3-6 6-4 victory over Romanian Victor Hanescu on Thursday to the delight of the hefty Latino presence in Miami. The left-hander – currently ranked 70 in the world – has a career high ranking of 64, and will certainly bump that up if he can take out 23rd seed Jurgen Melzer in the second round.
Clijsters gets involved in Dubs
Packed to its 420-capacity max, Crandon Park’s court three saw the ever-popular Kim Clijsters team up with fellow Belgian Kirsten Flipkens to defeat Britain’s Sarah Borwell and American Raquel Kops-Jones 7-6 6-4. Fresh from the success of Venus and Serena as Doubles team of the Year at yesterday’s Sony Ericsson WTA Awards, the reigning US Open champ and fellow singles greats of the game clearly have the ability to draw significant crowds for the often-neglected doubles game. Rafael Nadal – who teamed up with fellow Spaniard Marc Lopez to claim the doubles title in Indian Wells – explained yesterday that doubles matches are great ‘practise’.
Federer fit for Miami
It’s a tough call to win Indian Wells and Miami back to back and Federer has managed it twice in a row – in 2005 and 2006. As he starts his quest for a 17th ATP Masters 1000 title, the imperious Swiss says the lung infection that ruled him out of Dubai is well and truly gone. “I felt good ever since I got the green light from the doctors, and I’ve been practising hard before Indian Wells and also now in between,” he said, adding: “I’ve had a lot of success here and I’ve always enjoyed coming here ever since I played the juniors back in ’95. I played my first Orange Bowl here at the Biltmore Hotel.” Plenty of inspiration for Junior Fed-wannabes, perhaps?
Kutzy’s up and down
It could have been the upset that the women’s competition really didn’t need. After the BNP Paribas Open lost all its former champions by round four in Indian Wells last week, the Sony Ericsson Open nearly lost the top seed and 2006 champ in round two. Taken to three sets by Peng Shuai, Svetlana Kuznetsova took the opening set at breakneck speed, before allowing the Chinese world No.52 to outplay her. After taking a heavy fall in the fifth game of the third set, she looked vulnerable to defeat – right up until the final game in fact, when she broke Shuai and took the match 6-2 3-6 6-4. Speaking afterwards, Kuznetsova said that she was unhurt by the fall, but had played a bit ‘up and down’. Proof that the early rounds can be a bit of a nightmare sometimes…
Crandon Park saw a record 14,335 attendance on Thursday, in comparison to the 13,195 people who showed up for session three this time last year.