- Australian Open, Day Three
Fed extends Laver streak, Marathon Man strikes again
Four-time Australian Open champion Roger Federer has not played outside Rod Laver Arena since 2004, enjoying a run of 52 matches on the primary show court at Melbourne Park. It was so long since Federer last played on Hisense Arena, that it was called the Vodafone Arena back in those days. But on Wednesday, the No. 3 seed had been bumped onto Hisense for his second-round match against Andreas Beck, only for Beck to withdraw with a back injury, meaning Federer didn't need to step onto the court. "I knew it's been a long time since I've been on back then it was Vodafone still," Federer admitted. "I wasn't disappointed to hear that I was going to play there, to be quite honest. Will he be back on Rod Laver for his third round clash against Ivo Karlovic?
Echo on Rod Laver
Victoria Azarenka didn't give much away as she swept to a 6-1 6-0 victory against home favourite Casey Dellacqua, but the third seed was subject of mocking on Rod Laver Arena as members of the crowd attempted to imitate her loud shrieks. Clearly not too worried, Azarenka shrugged off the jibes, saying, "I'm loud always, I guess."
Marathon man masters Melbourne
John Isner may never win a grand slam, but he sealed his place in tennis history at Wimbledon in 2010, breaking nearly every record in the book when he beat Nicolas Mahut 6-4 3-6 6-7(7) 7-6(3) 70-68 after 11 hours and five minutes. And Isner was at it again in Melbourne, saving three break points at 8-8 in the final set to win a battle of endurance against David Nalbandian to claim a 4-6 6-3 2-6 7-6(5) 10-8 victory in four hours and 41 minutes.
At 8-8 in the final set, Nalbandian had seen two break points pass him by. With Isner serving at 40-Ad down, the American unleashed an ace down the line - umpire Kader Nouni overruled a line judge when she called it out. However, Nalbandian didn't hear the call above the noise on a packed Margaret Court Arena. When he realised, he immediately challenged the decision, but Nouni claimed it was too late for the Hawkeye replay. That prompted a fine display of Latin passion, venting his spleen at the umpire and then the tournament referee, but it did no good. The call stood, Isner went on to hold, and immediately broke in the following game to clinch the victory.
Making a racket
In a match lasting nearly five hours, it was always unlikely to pass without incident. Trailing by two sets to one, Isner felt hard done by after a contentious line call, venting his frustration on his racket. Perhaps trying to intimidate his opponent, Isner snapped it clean in half with his bare hands.
Quantity, not quality
Clearly unimpressed by Isner's racket cracking skills, Marcos Baghdatis went one better. Struggling against Stanislas Wawrinka, the passionate Cypriot smashed his racket on the ground, destroying the offending apparatus. Clearly not soothed, Baghdatis removed a second racket from his bag and destroyed that. He didn't even bother removing rackets three and four from the wrappers as he vented his fury. However, he has some way to go to match the exploits of bad-boy Marat Safin, who smashed a record 1055 racquets during his career.
Sing When You're Winning
Kim Clijsters dropped a single game in her thrashing of Stephanie Foretz Gacon, but perhaps provided the crowd inside Rod Laver Arena with greater entertainment after the match. The defending champion orchestrated the spectators to sing a stirring rendition of 'Happy Birthday' to her younger sister.
Top-ranked American, and eighth seed, Mardy Fish was sent tumbling out of the grand slam courtesy of a straight-sets loss to world No. 71 Alejandro Falla. The Colombian showed no sign of nerves as he upset Fish, pulling off one of the shots of the day with a delightful lob to win a 30-shot rally to claim a crucial 5-4 lead in the third-set tiebreaker.
When Mona Bartel arrived in Tasmania last week, she had just six career wins on the WTA Tour. Having come through three rounds of qualifying, she dumped out four seeded players on her way to her maiden WTA title. After dispatching Britain's Anne Keothavong on Monday, Barthel extended her unbeaten streak to 10 matches, claiming the scalp of No. 32 seed Petra Cetkovska.