Tennishead Down Under: Australian Open, Day 5
Originally published on: 26/02/10 15:13
It was a late night last night following the press conference with Andy Murray after his emphatic victory over Marcel Granollers. The conference started at 12.45am local time, which meant I didnt get back to the apartment by 2am!
But the schedule for day five was mouth watering. My day began with a trip to Margaret Court Arena to watch the battle between Marin Cilic and David Ferrer. Cilic, who two weeks ago won his second ATP Tour title in Chennai, made pretty light work of the No.8 seed and crowd favourite Ferrer. He wrapped the match up in just over two hours. Following his press conference and numerous TV interviews he was very generous with his time for tennishead more of that later.
A lot of focus has been put on the big four in this tournament (Roger, Rafa, Novak and Andy) but I think its far too soon to think like that. Cilic is an exciting player and he meets Argentine Juan Martin del Potro in the next round, who himself has impressive credentials. The tournament is still in its early stages in terms of the favourites.
Talking about one of the big four, Novak Djokovic was given an unlikely test when American Amer Delic took the reigning champ to four sets. Delic you may recall had dispatched Paul Henri Mathieu in the second round. He was a lucky loser in this tournament and from the way he spoke at the press conference he was delighted with the opportunity that he had been given. The 26 year-old, who grew up playing collegiate tennis in Illinois, played a great match today but the contest was marred by the off court activities of a small part of the crowd.
Delic was born in Bosnia and although he moved to Florida in 1996 (taking American citizenship) it seems some people wanted to view the match as Bosnia vs Serbia. A small section of Serbian and Bosnian fans clashed, forcing the police to intervene, arresting two men and ejecting another 30 people from the grounds. Its a shame for Amer that the attention should be off court when he played so well. Hes clearly a player capable of a higher ranking. On a lighter note, after the match when he spent some time with tennishead I got a great recipe for Cajun shrimp pasta with wine and cream. Thats dinner sorted.
All the talk of food started me thinking about the night sessions. For the first time this year there is a night session scheduled for the Hisense Arena. Ana Ivanovic takes on Alisa Kleybanova followed by Marcos Baghdatis against Mardy Fish. Talk about spoiled for choice. On Rod Laver Arena tennishead favourite Caroline Wozniacki takes on Aussie favourite Jelena Dokic. Then in a repeat of what some say is one of the best matches of all time when they met here in the 2005 semi-final Roger Federer takes on Marat Safin. In the 2005 match Safin saved a match point in the fourth set tiebreak before going on to win the match and the title. Marat has not beaten Federer since then.
The tournament organisers want to give more fans the opportunity to experience the night matches so have opened up Hisense. On Margaret Court Arena, where there have always been night matches Stanislas Wawrinka matches up against Tomas Berdych. I just hope it is the tennis that remains centre stage.
To wrap up my day on a positive note I got to spend some time with Yen-Hsun Lu, the first man from Chinese Taipei to contest a Grand Slam third round. He put in that fantastic performance on Wednesday when he defeated No.10 seed David Nalbandian in five sets. Currently enjoying a career high ranking of 61 and coached by Dirk Hordoff in Germany, tennishead hopes to see more of him in the future as we travel on the ATP World Tour.