Venus Loses, Federer v Safin Today at Australian Open
by Staff | January 22nd, 2009, 9:37 am
  • 27 Comments

Unfit and Injured Serena Advances, Venus Out at Australian Open

World No. 2 Serena Williams does not look particularly fit at this year’s Australian Open, but that has never stopped the American former No. 1 from toughing out matches, or toughing herself through seven Grand Slam wins in two weeks.


On Wednesday the younger Williams sister displayed her mental toughness, coming back from 3-5 in the second set to defeat Argentine Gisela Dulko 6-3, 7-5, advancing into the third round.

“It was a very tough second set, she started playing unbelievable, hitting winners left and right,” said Serena, who also struggled with an ankle injury during the encounter. “She had a couple of opportunities but I always felt I wasn’t going to lose. I feel I could play a lot better.”

The world No. 2 will next face China’s Shuai Peng, who eased past Sesil Karatantcheva, bageling the Bulgarian in the second set.

Older sister Venus also had a tough encounter, but unlike Serena was unable to rebound, losing 2-6, 6-3, 7-5 to 20-year-old Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro.

Venus won the first set easily before seemingly losing her concentration in the second when Suarez Navarro jumped out to a 3-0 lead. In the third set Venus failed to convert a match point at 5-4, then uncharacteristically gifted three straight games.

“When you go on court you have got to expect anything,” said Venus, who unlike big losses by her little sister Serena, credited her opponent. “I’m not surprised at how well she played. I haven’t quite figured out the areas of my game that went wrong, but I have to credit her.”

No. 14 seed Patty Schnyder was another upset victim Thursday, winning only four games against France’s Virginie Razzano.

Other seeded winners on Thursday were (4) Elena Dementieva (d. Iveta Benesova), (8) Svetlana Kuznetsova (d. Tatjana Malek), (12) Flavia Pennetta (d. (WC) Jessica Moore), (13) Victoria Azarenka (d. Tathiana Garbin who retired in the first with an abdominal strain), (18) Dominika Cibulkova (d. Chan Yung-Jan, bagel in the first), (20) Amelie Mauresmo (d. (Q) Elena Baltacha from a set down), (21) Anabel Medina Garrigues (d. Julie Coin), (22) Zheng Jie (d. Melinda Czink in three), and (31) Alona Bondarenko (d. Severine Bremond in three).

Aussie Samantha Stosur also thrilled the locals with a straight-set win over Germany’s Sabine Lisicki to advance.

Highlights Thursday at the Aussie Open, where the seeds start to meet, are (3) Dinara Safina vs. (25) Kaia Kanepi, (1) Jelena Jankovic vs. (26) Ai Sugiyama, (11) Caroline Wozniacki vs. Aussie hope Jelena Dokic, (19) Daniela Hantuchova vs. (15) Alize Cornet, and (29) Alisa Kleybanova vs. (5) Ana Ivanovic.

Federer v Safin, Djokovic v Delic Today at Aussie Open

Australian Open favorites Andy Murray, seeded No. 4, and world No. 1 Rafael Nadal both put on impressive displays Thursday in Melbourne, moving with ease into the third round.

Nadal topped Croat Roko Karanusic 6-2, 6-3, 6-2, while Murray subdued Spaniard Marcel Granollers 6-4, 6-2, 6-2. Nadal will next face former world No. 2 Tommy Haas, who Thursday dropped only four games again Flavio Cipolla.

“Is going to be the first big opponent, I think,” Nadal said of Haas. “I think he’s a very complete player. He can play slice, good backhand, good forehand. He can go to the volley. He have a good serve. No, he can do everything. If I want to win, I have to put more rhythm and intensity than him. Right now, well, going to be a very good test for see how I am. I going to have to play very well if I want have chances to win, no?”

Other Top 10-seeded winners were (5) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (d. Ivan Ljubicic from a set down), (6) Gilles Simon (d. Chris “Penthouse” Guccione from a set down), and (9) James Blake (d. Sebastien De Chaunac).

“I was a little bit lucky,” said Tsonga, who put aside back pain to beat the former Top 5er Ljubicic. “But I did it with my hurt [back pain]. I think it’s really good to win like that. Tonight my back was very stiff…I know what I have, and I know I can play with [the pain].”

Blake won in straight sets, but his opponent was flummoxed by a loud courtside fan who loudly cheered for Chaunac during and between points. Chaunac eventually snapped, dropped some f-bombs on the fan and waited for security to escort him out.

“People are entitled to have a few Heinekens but if they have one too many they may just forget how loud their voice can be,” Blake said.

Other seeded winners Thursday were (12) Gael Monfils (d. Stefan Koubek in four), (13) Fernando “Gonzo” Gonzalez (d. Guillermo Canas), (14) Fernando “Hot Sauce” Verdasco (d. Arnaud Clement, dropping only four games), (17) Nicolas Almagro (d. Fabio Fognini, bagel in the third), (18) Igor Andreev (d. Ernests Gulbis in five), (22) Radek “The Worm” Stepanek (d. Michael Berrer in four), (24) Richard “Baby Fed” Gasquet (d. Denis “Radioactive” Istomin), and (31) Jurgen “Tuna” Melzer (d. Andreas Beck in four).

The hot-handed Gonzalez and the shot-maker Gasquet next face each other on Saturday.

Mario “Baby Goran” Ancic was an upset-maker in an all-Croatian serving contest, outlasting No. 25 seed “Dr.” Ivo Karlovic 5-7, 7-5, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.

Thursday’s highlights in Melbourne are American-Bosnian Amer Delic vs. Serb (3) Novak Djokovic, (26) Marat Safin vs. (2) Roger Federer in a battle of former No. 1s, (8) Juan Martin Del Potro vs. Gilles Muller, (7) Andy Roddick vs. Fabrice “The Magician” Santoro, Marcos Baghdatis vs. (23) Mardy Fish, (19) Marin Cilic vs. (11) David Ferrer, (15) Stan Wawrinka vs. (20) Tomas Berdych, and (21) Tommy Robredo vs. Fat Dave slayer Yen-Hsun Lu of Taipei.

Djokovic vs. Delic will be second on the show court, and has drawn as much interest for the players’ collective Serb and Bosnian fans as the action on the court.

“I don’t want to underestimate anybody,” Djokovic said of Delic. “Delic deserves to be in the third round. If he came there, of course, he has a lot of qualities. He’s a big server. We played in Wimbledon in 2007 and we had a really close match, so I expect the same in this round.”

Delic wrote on his website, “As we all know, Bosnians and Serbs have had some differences in the past, however this is not the place nor time to settle those differences. Novak and I are tennis players playing in one of the greatest settings in the World of Tennis. I am only hoping for a fair fight that all the fans will enjoy, with the key word being “enjoy.” Thats what we are all here for to enjoy moments like these…”

TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS

Americans Andy Roddick and James Blake have each beaten two qualifiers to reach the Australian Open third round…

Serena Williams is now a winner of 29 of her last 31 matches in Melbourne…

Venus Williams loss means no hardcourt Slam finals since the 2003 Australian Open…

How slow is the Australian Open court with so many Spaniards still alive and well?…

Why were Marat Safin and Guillermo Canas playing doubles? (They got crushed)…

Rafael Nadal is the lone Grand Slam winner in the top half of the draw…

Dominika Cibulkova has dropped just two games in two matches…

5 Spanish men have reached the third round…

Amer Delic will try to become the first lucky loser to ever reach the Australian Open last 16. Can you name the last lucky loser to reach the fourth round at a Slam?

Since breaking up with Ana Ivanovic, Fernando Verdasco has lost just eight games in two matches…

Is it true Roko Karanusic has never defeated a left-handed player?…

Roger Federer has beaten Marat Safin nine of 11 times. Since losing to Safin in that epic 2005 Aussie SF, Federer’s won 8 of 9 sets over the Russian…

43-year-old Ken Rosewall won three matches at the 1977 Australian Open. 36-year-old Fabrice Santoro will try to do the same…

Still hard to believe, the last time Marat Safin won a title was at the 2005 Australian Open…

Fabrice Santoro, 36, is 10 years older than Andy Roddick. Roddick has eight more career match wins than Fabrice…

Juan Martin del Potro is undefeated in 2009. He’s 6-0…

ESPN opted for college basketball during prime time on Wednesday night in the U.S., leaving the coverage to the Tennis Channel. What a difference going from top-level commentary and an HD picture to Bill Macatee, Martina Navratilova, Viagra and strange Williams-sisters-licking-Oreos-contests commercials, and a picture on our cable that looked worse than watching on the internet. Will be the same for Thursday night…

Roger Federer on the new ATP CEO not being a European: “That was Rafa’s concern. I figured, let’s get a good man. Doesn’t matter where he’s from. I guess that’s why it was important for Rafa to meet him before, because I knew Adam from Nike. So for me it was important that Rafa got to meet him and got a good feeling about it. If Rafa maybe wouldn’t have agreed 100% chances would have been slimmer for him. I’m not sure. I think Rafa was comfortable with the decision, and he also then realized it was just important to get the right man and not an American or European. At the end of the day that doesn’t matter.”…

From Washington Post sports writer Sally Jenkins’ list of Top 10 things for sports-minded president Barack Obama to institute: No. 6, “Save tennis”: “Pick up a racket, and demonstrate that basketball is not the only game played on a court with a net. Once, great American champions sprang up from public courts like wildflowers, icons such as Billie Jean King and Arthur Ashe. Then manufacturing companies overpriced rackets and the sport gained a reputation as expensive and hard to teach. In Europe, it remains a common pursuit, and look at the result. Make American tennis a game of the people again. Venus and Serena can’t do it alone.”…

Dinara Safina on her off-court pursuits during tournaments: “I’m the laziest person. Nothing, nothing. Sight seeing, no. I’m so lazy to walk somewhere. If I need to buy something I will walk. But just to go to walk to the museum, no chance. I rather sit in the room. I can easily be 24 hours in the room without moving a step from anywhere and just changing the channels on TV. That’s how I am.”…

Bob and Mike Bryan say they feel “refreshed for the first time in 10 years” after putting down the racquets for much of the off-season and working out in their new gym…

India’s Sania Mirza had wrist surgery last May, and says she uses a Korean therapy similar to acupuncture to treat recurring pain in the wrist…

Ana Ivanovic says Serb tennis officials are working with a “high probability” for bringing a WTA Tour event to Serbia, with the German Open recently going under and a spot on the WTA calendar becoming available…

Coach Larry Stefanki speaking to The Statesman on getting pupil Andy Roddick to drop 15 pounds and get his weight under 200 during the off-season. “I was a little shocked that his weight was as high as it was,” Stefanki said. “And I said to him, ‘No, you have to be 190 to 195.’ He told me: ‘There’s no way I’m getting that thin. I haven’t been that thin since I was 21.’ And I said: ‘Yeah, but what happened when you were 21? You won a Slam.’”…

After the Aussie Open, with the first-round loss by Lleyton Hewitt, Australia will have no men ranked in the Top 100…


Also Check Out:
Safin Returning to Tennis, Senior Tennis
Federer, Nadal Cruise Into Wimbledon Semifinals
Tennis-X Funk/Trunk: Murray, Rafa, Kim-tastic
Serb Shocker: Djokovic Gets Thumped by Safin at Wimbledon
Serena v Lefty, Crying Game v Slicy in Wimbledon Women’s Semis

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27 Comments for Venus Loses, Federer v Safin Today at Australian Open

MMT Says:

Australia will have no men ranked in the top 100? Wow…how tennis has changed.


jane Says:

“How slow is the Australian Open court with so many Spaniards still alive and well?…”

Funny – I think it was Giner or JCF who mentioned last summer, when there was so much talk about slower grass, (hence Rafa winning Wimbledon or Hotsauce getting to Nottingham finals) that the next thing said by some tennis fans/pundits will be that hard courts are also slowing down; therefore Spaniards can do well on hardcourts, a surface that is not clay.

Maybe Spanish players are just good? On or off the clay.


jane Says:

Roddick should be through to at least the quarters; Nalby and Khols are both out, and Roddick should have no trouble with Santoro or Robredo. I don’t know about Lu as I missed most of the Fat Dave match…


Von Says:

The commentators did mention that the ‘Hisense” court is much slower than Rod Laver, due to the finsh that’a applied.

Hardcourts can be made fast and slow, e.g., the USO is very fast, while IW is slower.

“Americans Andy Roddick and James Blake have each beaten two qualifiers to reach the Australian Open third round…”

So did several top-ranked players. Why are they being singled out.


jane Says:

Von, yes, I’ve heard the AO court is more “gravelly” or has more stick to it. But I thought it funny to hear nonetheless, especially with reference to the Spanish players, because it is exactly what Giner (or JCF) predicted. That’s all.


Von Says:

Was there a “Fat Dave’”match? I thought there was a Lu v. Nalbandian match.

Just in case no one noticed, Malisse has a huge paunch too.

Too many handles are being thrown around.

“What a difference going from top-level commentary…”

Top level commentary would be wonderful, excedpt we are treated to 5 min ute an alyses throughout the matches that are selected to be aired. smack in the middle of a set the commentators decide to take an analysis break. I prefer to see the match then to hear them talk about the couldas, wouldas,and shouldas, but that’s just my personal preference. What’s the purpose of watching ESPN’s HDTV featuring the commentators coffee hour, only to be relegated to one’s computer to watch live streaming if one is desirous of watching a match in its entirety? Utterly frustrating!!


Polo Says:

Von,

I want to watch the matches on my big screen HDTV broadcast on ESPN but I cannot stand the commentators. So I turned on my computer for the live stream broadcast as per your recommendation. I put the TV on mute and turned up the volume on my computer speakers but watched the TV screen. When they show the commentators and all those useless clips, then I switch my gaze to my computer. I wish I had a TV with a PC input so I can just hook up my computer to my TV so I can watch the matches on a bigger screen.


jane Says:

Von,

Maybe I should’ve said “telly tubbie”? I think you posted about that the other day; that the commentators had said as much.

Anyhow, no slight meant to Nalbandian. I actually like the guy! I think I’ve just heard him called that in so many posts here that it seeped into my brain by osmosis. He should lose a bit of weight, though, I think. It might help with his movement. He’s got all the shots, as we know.

——————————–

By the way, I agree 100% about the coffee-talk. Last night I found it intolerable. I’ve been trying to use the streaming but sometimes the image is choppy which is frustrating too.


Colin Says:

Jane (and perhaps others, if non-British)- were those commentators Brits? If so they were thinking of a well-known British kids’ TV show called The Telly Tubbies. Apologies if you already knew this! On the subject of weight, I love Stefanki’s retort to Roddick. He certainly has a point.


Von Says:

Polo:

It’s funny, I’ve been doing the same thing, switching back and forth – leaving on my computer and watching my HDTV, however, it’s annoying, especially after working all day, one just wants to be content to move into the “couch potato” mode. I have a TV with the PC input and an HDMI monitor with the TV hookup, but I simply resent having to switch around. I suppose if I want to enjoy the GS tourneys henceforth, I’ll have to be more resilient, but alas, I’m a very stubborn gal. But in all honesty, why should we? We have a TV channel that’s being paid big bucks to broadcast the tennis matches and all we are seeing and/or hearing are some of these adolescent-minded commentators.
_____________
jane:

My remarks were meant for the article by Staff, not at you. I simply dislike handles. I didn’t like the commentators calling Dave “telly tubby” either. Truthfully, I think Nalby’s content with his appearance, it just seems to irk a selected few, e.g., the commentators and some reporters. Some people feel healthier with a few extra pounds. The media need to concentrate on themselves and leave the players to play their tennis. Roddick says he misses his “potatoes and cheetos”. I suppose that’s his comfort food.

As for their “coffee clutch”, I can’t believe Mary Carillo is still in her adolescent stage. The comments that emanate from her mouth just leaves me with my mouth agape.

Polo: FYI, I do turn down the sound whenever Carillo speaks, but sometimes out of curiosity I listen to her.
_______________
An addendum to the hardcourts at the AO topic, Pam Shriver classifies them as “medium paced hard-courts”, she even mentioned Venus should bring her Wimby grass court game to the AO.


Von Says:

Per Fed: “If Rafa maybe wouldn’t have agreed 100% chances would have been slimmer for him. I’m not sure. I think Rafa was comfortable with the decision, and he also then realized it was just important to get the right man and not an American or European. At the end of the day that doesn’t matter.”…

WOW, why should the players be involved in such an important decision? If the Nos. 1 and 2 players were to retire next month, then the other players would be stuck with their choice of an ATP CEO. And, what’s wrong with an American being the ATP CEO? Is that the only criteria that’s used to determine the CEO’s eligibility. I’m sure Helfant has more years of education than the Top 4 combined. This blows my mind.


margot Says:

Good to see Andy strolling into the next round. The next match with Meltzer will be interesting as there’s needle between them after the Davis Cup. I agree comments about how people look are not necessary, how they play is the thing. You guys moaning about coverage should try living in the old UK. Only way we can get decent comprehensive coverage seems to be by adding to Rupert Murdoch’s coffers. No way. But I did see Carla play Venus. Wasn’t she FANTASTIC! What a backhand, very like Gasquets, truly beautiful.


Von Says:

Watch the live streams, they are very good, except it’s tiring sitting at the computer for lengthy periods of time.

Carla’s backhand reminds me of Amelie Mauresmo’s also.


Von Says:

MMT:

“Australia will have no men ranked in the top 100? Wow…how tennis has changed.”

Tennis has gone through a seismic shift. From the Aussies, to the Americans, to global. domination by any one nation is now a thing of the past. However, hope springs eternal …


I like tennis bullies Says:

:: Americans Andy Roddick and James Blake have each beaten two qualifiers to reach the Australian Open third round… ::

nadal, djokovic, and federer have beaten two journeymen to reach the australian open third round…


funches Says:

Maybe it’s just me, but I’m guessing the reason the story mentioned that Roddick and Blake beat two qualifiers is because they beat two qualifiers. And by the way, they’re the only players in the round of 32 who got there by beating two qualifiers.

It’s called reporting.


MMT Says:

It seems to me that Europe is creating (by far) the most quality players, with an exception made for Argentina, who seem to have a lot of good players too. Americans on on the decline, Brits have one hope in Murray, and the Australians are ont he outside looking in.

I agree with Jane that the Spaniards are just better players, but I would throw the French and Russians in there as well.

Those countries that used to dominate tennis should really take note of who’s doing it now, and try to emulate it.


vamos Says:

Come on Novak, JJ, Dokic and Ana tonight!


aye aye Says:

Nole is on track again with the new weapon in his hands, this time again as a “hunter” and not a “hunted one”,


PJ Says:

I wouldn’t say Seppi (Federer’s first opponent) is a journeyman. He just missed being seeded.


Kroll Says:

Von
—-
Sorry I think you have an issue with people lampooning the idea of “fat” sportsman. But I don’t see what the problem is…as normal people, it makes sense, you can be what you want, but for sportsmen at the highest levels, it really makes a difference as to how your physique is. If you turn your fat into muscle, it should make a difference to your mobility and flexibility. So I don’t see how the issue of “being comfortable with oneself” comes. Its not a mental issue, its purely physical imho. Besides, I think it shows the dedication that a player has to the sport, so that you do Everything to go higher, and that includes putting a few hours in the gym. Maybe its not entirely a coincidence that Nalby has been so inconsistent over the years, his immense talent nothwithstanding.

And its actually pretty easy to flatten that tummy, for sportsmen who can hire whoever the hell they want for the same. Of course not for us, with grad school and jobs or whatever on our minds, but a top sportsman? I really don’t think so.


moimoi Says:

the only reason americans get singled out is because they suck and their media sucks! putting an american as the ATP ceo is a disaster for tennis, americans are very obnoxious and unlikeable and i think helfant will do his best to destroy tennis globally to aid american tennis! it will be a sad few years!


Von Says:

Kroll:

You’re right that I do have an issue about references to “fat” athletes, and ‘fat” people in general, which goes to the very heart of my thinking that we must be happy and/or comfortable with who we are. However, I do agree with you that an athlete’s goal should be first and foremost to go higher and attain new levels of fitness in order to be the best they can possibly be, and more dedication and work-out time would be the answer to solving unwanted fat and distended abdomens.

I do disgree though, that’s it’s not a mental issue. If that were the case, then we wouldn’t see over-achievers and under-achievers, would we, and we’d have hundreds of Federers and Nadals on the tennis circuit. It’s their mentality which manifests the driving force or the complacency that we see, and, in this instance, it’s Nalbandian, who has immense talent, but is sadly lacking the will-power and/or discipline to implement those changes necessary in his gym time, to achieve a svelte physique.

With respect to their financial ability to hire whomever they choose to help them flatten their tummies, build muscle and stamina, et al., again it’s a matter of a mental issue. To overcome every problem, we must first admit we have a problem, and then make a conscious decision to bring about the required changes. This is where the mental aspect is necessary, because if the mind does not perceive a change is needed, then the physical changes are never going to be implemented.


Kroll Says:

Von
—-
Good point. I was considering the absolute notion of “sportsman at the highest level” which is clearly stupid, as you ve pointed out. The standards (essentially the mean value) are higher, but there is clear variability around the mean and that should go a long way in defining the rankings.


margot Says:

But surely there is no need to comment on the state of someone’s stomach, the proof of the pudding is in the performance which must be pretty evident to the guy in question too. And if an athlete allows him/herself to get severely out of condition, isn’t that more an indication of a state of mind rather than body?
And now that Bush is gone couldn’t we be a bit more generous towards the yanks? After all Putin is busy holding Europe to ransom over gas but it would be daft to blame the Russian people for that!


Giner Says:

“How slow is the Australian Open court with so many Spaniards still alive and well?…”

I think you’re asking the wrong question here. Perhaps they’ve just improved? How slow was the US Open in 2003 when Juan Carlos Ferrero made the final?

If Roddick can win the US Open on such a slow surface and make the semis in slow Australia a few times, the finals at Wimbledon a few times (which had to be slow also if Nadal was to make 3 finals and win once), he should also be able to do similarly well at the French?

It’s only the third round and you are surprised to see this many spaniards? What, were you expecting them to lose in the first or second round simply because it’s a hard court? You need to look at the history of how they performed on hard courts. If it was grass you’d have a pretty good point.

“Why were Marat Safin and Guillermo Canas playing doubles? (They got crushed)…”

Safin experiments a lot in doubles. Choosing some interesting partners but changes them all the time. He’s partnered with Fed, Hewitt, and Philippoussis before to name a few.

“After the Aussie Open, with the first-round loss by Lleyton Hewitt, Australia will have no men ranked in the Top 100…”

That’s a scary thought, but at the 100 mark it doesn’t take many wins to get back inside it. Bernard Tomic was ranked over 700 going into AO (his first senior level tournament). He won one match and then lost in the second round, and as a result of his one win, his ranking will jump into the 100′s, according to a paper I read. That shows what little separates the players with triple digit rankings.

I’m fairly confident that Hewitt will finish the year in the top 30 or better. He hasn’t played since the Beijing Olympics so he has many points to pick up, and he’s looking quite competitive (gave Gonzo a real scare). As for the other aussie guys.. they are all underachievers.


Giner Says:

“Sorry I think you have an issue with people lampooning the idea of “fat” sportsman. But I don’t see what the problem is…as normal people, it makes sense, you can be what you want, but for sportsmen at the highest levels, it really makes a difference as to how your physique is. If you turn your fat into muscle, it should make a difference to your mobility and flexibility. So I don’t see how the issue of “being comfortable with oneself” comes. Its not a mental issue, its purely physical imho. Besides, I think it shows the dedication that a player has to the sport, so that you do Everything to go higher, and that includes putting a few hours in the gym. Maybe its not entirely a coincidence that Nalby has been so inconsistent over the years, his immense talent nothwithstanding.”

I agree completely with this, and it amazes me that Nalbandian has managed to do this well. He seems to be fit enough to handle 5 setters without getting tired. Slimming down would give him a further edge.

“Tennis has gone through a seismic shift. From the Aussies, to the Americans, to global. domination by any one nation is now a thing of the past. However, hope springs eternal …”

The Europeans are doing really well at the moment, in particular the French who must have a really good Davis Cup team right now without needing the services of PH Matthieu any further.

Top story: Coric Ends Nadal's Season In Basel, Federer Overwhelms Dimitrov; Ferrer v Murray In Valencia
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ATP - Oct 20 WTA - Oct 20
1 Novak Djokovic1 Serena Williams
2 Roger Federer2 Maria Sharapova
3 Rafael Nadal3 Simona Halep
4 Stan Wawrinka4 Petra Kvitova
5 David Ferrer5 Na Li
6 Tomas Berdych6 Agnieszka Radwanska
7 Kei Nishikori7 Eugenie Bouchard
8 Marin Cilic8 Ana Ivanovic
9 Milos Raonic9 Caroline Wozniacki
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