Sveta played a late night match on Friday, getting past Angelique Kerber in three close sets. Gotta love that game face. . .
Now onto Day Six Down Under, which was notable for retirements, withdrawals and old fashioned beat-downs. The men didn’t get to four-sets until Tsonga and Haas played the last match on Hisense. It’s like half the players woke up on Saturday morning with a touch of the Kim Clijsters.
How sick are we of the commentators saying that Nikolay Davydenko is under-appreciated? We all appreciate him, don’t we? Real tennis fans everywhere totally “get” Kolya and we don’t like being condescended to. But Davydenko’s still playing like he has something to prove, decimating Juan Monaco 6-0, 6-3, 6-4.
Sorry to see you go Juan. . .I offer this appreciation:
And Davy’s presser gave us a new contender for stupidest press conference question of the tournament! (Notice who pipes in towards the end):
Q. If you had to marry another Russian tennis player, who would it be?
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: Marry?
Q. Get married, like husband and wife.
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: If I married another tennis player? Man or woman? (Laughter.). I have already wife. I have my beautiful wife. I don’t want to have any ‑‑
IRINA DAVYDENKO: I hear you.
NIKOLAY DAVYDENKO: She’s here.
Q. Sorry about that. (Laughter.)
Now onto the injuries. According to ESPN2, Nicolas Almagro is playing the Australian Open with a broken wrist. From what I can find, the Spaniard injured it while taking a tumble playing doubles with David Ferrer in Auckland this month. But he beat Alejandro Falla in straight sets on Saturday. So what’s Mikhail Youzhny’s excuse? He withdrew from the tournament with wrist tendinitis (wrists are the knees of 2010), giving World No. 86 Lukasz Kubot a walkover and Novak Djokovic a sweet round of 16. (Nole lost just four games in his own third round match vs. World No. 103 Denis Istomin. To quote Brad Gilbert: “Easy Bake Oven, buddy!”)
Lleyton Hewitt and Fernando Verdasco also benefited from their opponents’ miseries. Baghdatis retired with a sore shoulder down 0-6, 2-4 against the Australian, bringing a much-anticipated match to a fizzling finish. After going down 1-6 in the first set, Roger Federer’s hitting partner, Stefan Koubek, tapped out with a fever against Fever.
I think I know how Baggy hurt his shoulder:
Easy enough: Roger Federer beat Albert Montanes 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 in his third round match on Saturday. Speaking of ovens, a bagel and/or a breadstick would have been nice, but Fed will take it. “I almost had the feeling that he had the upper hand at the baseline” Roger told Brad Gilbert after the match. HUH? WHAT? Albert Montanes had the upper hand over Roger Federer on the baseline? Keep that to yourself, Rog, geeze. But Roger hasn’t lost his confidence when it comes to overall domination. Here’s what he thinks about the field’s chances next week:
“A few guys have already won slams. That’s not an easy thing to do, because, I mean, Rafa and myself are still around and making it extremely hard for guys to take home any slams. Because over five sets in two weeks, I think we know best how it works.”
“Rafa and I know best”! Ha! I’m sure Roddick and Djokovic love that.
Click here to read the rest of Roger’s presser – he has some interesting things to say about the Players’ Council (his #1 goal = more tennis on television) and his family’s flirtation with Australian residency when he was a teenager.
There were some lopsided scores on the women’s side, too. Poor Carla Suarez Navarro was bageled by Serena Williams, who won the match 6-0. 6-3. Serena plays Aussie Sam Stosur next. Sam baked her own bread vs. Alberta Brianti, winning her third round 6-4, 6-1. The press is trying to shake up the stoic Stosur before her round of 16:
Q. After your win in L.A. (actually, Stanford), Serena called you a good framer. What was that all about?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: I guess she thought I hit too many frames or shanks during that match. Yeah, I don’t know. Maybe I hit a couple. But I hit with a bit of spin. Maybe she wasn’t expecting so many balls to drop in because of the spin. I don’t know.
Q. You didn’t see it as a lucky win?
SAMANTHA STOSUR: No. I actually thought I played well, and I thought she was trying to win the match as best as she could, as well. You know, I took it as a fair win. That’s all. Yeah, that’s all I can say really.
Here’s Serena’s (non)recollection of events:
Q. You weren’t terribly complementary after that match (in Stanford). You called her a good framer. That she hit a lot of balls off the frame of the racquet.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Yeah, I don’t remember that.
Q. You don’t remember that?
SERENA WILLIAMS: No.
Q. You said she hit some lucky shots and she was a good framer.
SERENA WILLIAMS: Like I said, I don’t remember that. She’s a good friend of mine, so I like her a lot.
Let’s take this to the court, shall we, ladies?
Saturday was a slow day. . .I might as well put in Serena’s quote about meeting Prince William:
“Prince William was really dapper and suave. You know, he was just basically, shazam. (Laughter.) I told him that I might like his little brother better because he’s the little brother, and he laughed and said he might like Venus better because she’s older. So we just had a little joke about that.”
Victoria Azarenka earned a bagel vs. Tathiana Garbin: 6-0, 6-2 and Venus Williams a breadstick in her two set win vs. Australian Casey Dellacqua. Even Vera Zvonareva had a pretty easy go of it, winning 6-1, 7-5 vs. Gisela Dulko. Francesca Schiavone took out 10th seeded Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2, 6-2. Daniela Hantuchova and Li Na fought the only battle of the day on the women’s side, with the Chinese player advancing: 7-5, 3-6, 6-2.
As of post time, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Tommy Haas are battling in the fourth set and Caroline Wozniacki and Shahar Peer are still in the first.
**UPDATE** Speaking of Haas, Davydenko and Melbourne, I offer this classic video:
(Haas won this match in 5 sets – the only time in 5 tries that he’s beaten the Russian.)