Saturday, January 24, 2009

Australian Open: Day 5 & 6 - Round 32 Wrap

Between ethnic fights, streakers, upsets and marathon matches, round 32 at the Aussie Open didn't leave much room for prime time TV to offer the last 2 days (okay not really, Lost is back and am sure everyone watched those 2 episodes more than once to try and understand what the hell is going on on that island right?!). Anyhow, here's a summary of the main things that happened on days 5 and 6 in Melbourne:

Best Comeback

That would have to be Fernando Gonzalez' victory over Richard Gasquet, who was leading the Chilean 13th-seed, 6-3, 6-3, before Gonzalez struck back to win the marathon match 3-6, 3-6, 7-6, 6-2, 12-10. The good news is, Gonzalez is now in the last 16, the not so good news is that he'll be facing top-seed Rafael Nadal. Let's see if the 2007 finalist manages to recover from such a long match before Sunday.

Lethal Form Alert

Top-seeded Rafael Nadal, 4th-seed Andy Murray and 14th-seed Fernando Verdasco have all had unbelievable matches so far in Melbourne, particularly in the 3rd round. Nadal almost effortlessly ousted former world number 2, Tommy Haas, Murray defeated Melzer 5, 0 and 3, and Verdasco beat Stepanek 4, 0 and 0. Of course a special nod to second-seed, Roger Federer, is also necessary, as the Swiss ace disposed of Marat Safin in sublime fashion 6-3, 6-2, 7-6. Let's see how these players will perform with their tougher oppositions in the 4th round.

Relative Upsets

19th-seed, Marin Cilic, and 20th-seed Tomas Berdych, both managed to post wins over higher ranked players, to reach the 4th round. Cilic convincingly eliminated 11th-seed David Ferrer in straights, while Berdych dropped the first set before he dispatched Olympic doubles Gold medalist, Stanislas Wawrinka (seeded 15).

The Match-Turned-Brawl

Of course am referring to the Novak Djokovic - Amer Delic matchup which was brilliant on the tennis front but the fans got carried away and suddenly Serbian and Bosnian fans were throwing fists and chairs at one another. Djokovic, who is from Serbia and Delic, who is an American of Bosnian origin, were actually very friendly towards each other during the match, but apparently that made no difference to the crowds, who decided that creating a mini-civil war is a great idea at a tennis tournament.

Frenchmen Watch: 1 Man Down, 3 March On

As Gasquet suffered a heart-breaking loss in R32, his fellow Frenchmen, Tsonga, Simon and Monfils all avoided that fate as they booked themselves last 16 spots. Unfortunately for them, Simon and Monfils will next face one another, for the first time on the ATP tour.

Saying goodbye to Melbourne for the last time...

Marat Safin and Fabrice Santoro were both handed their final losses in Melbourne on Friday, as the Russian icon and the French veteran were both playing their very last Australian Open, after announcing their approaching retirement end of this year. Safin said his goodbyes with a not-so-terrible defeat to Federer, while Santoro received his exit pass from Andy Roddick. While Safin, a former finalist and champion in Melbourne, refrained from making a big fuss of his pending retirement, Santoro, the 2006 quarterfinalist, received a heart-warming ceremony after his defeat.



Last but not least... the streaking incident!!

Everyone is freaking out about the streaker who showed up on court during a doubles match featuring Venus and Serena Williams. The incident is being referred to as "scary" by most media channels, I kinda thought it was funny. The guy looked really silly and harmless, but the media are having a feast out of it. Here is a video of the incident:



Check here for the complete third round results.

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