World No. 1 Serena Williams is in trouble this week in Melbourne.
On Tuesday at the Australian Open the top seed played with a heavily-taped left thigh which somewhat hindered her movement, but luckily she needed little against Urszula Radwanska, rolling over the Pole 6-2, 6-1.
“I’ve been having it strapped all week, all last week as well. So just keep it up and making sure I’m able to keep moving as best as I can,” said Serena, whose movement was also hindered in the Sydney final where she limped to a loss against Russian Elena Dementieva. “It’s to support my hamstring. You know, just supportive and preventive, just to make sure that it doesn’t — I don’t have a Sydney moment.”
The younger Williams sister’s movement seemed around 75% — which could lead to a Melbourne moment when she faces the first player who can hit three consecutive balls in the court and make her run, unlike Radwanska.
Other Top 10-seeded winners Tuesday were (6) Venus Williams over Lucie Safarova 6-2, 6-2, (8) Jelena Jankovic cruising past Monica Niculescu 6-4, 6-0, and the elder Radwanska (10) Aggie Radwanska walloping Tatjana Malek 6-1, 6-0.
On the upset tip Tuesday, Russian Ekaterina Makarova defeated (18) Virginie Razzano 6-2, 6-3, American Vania King outlasted (23) Dominika Cibulkova 6-3, 6-7(7), 7-5, and Karolina “The Spreminator” Sprem found her old form in dismissing (25) Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-3, 6-2.
Among the unseeded, American Coco Vandeweghe received a 6-0, 6-1 spanking from Sandra Zahlavova.
At press time Aussie Alicia Molik and Julie Coin had just split sets, and Alize Cornet had split with (17) Francesca Schiavone after winning the first set 6-0.
On tap for Wednesday in Melbourne are (3) Svetlana Kuznetsova vs. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in an all-Russian, (15) Kim Clijsters vs. Thai Tamarine Tanasugarn, (5) Elena Dementieva vs. some unseeded player named Justine Henin, an all-Woz in (4) Caroline Wozniacki vs. Aleksandra Wozniak, Yanina Wickmayer vs. (12) Flavia Pennetta, Maria-killer Maria Kirilenko vs. Yvonne Meusburger, out on Court 18 (ouch) (19) Nadia Petrova vs. Kaia Kanepi, and an UPSET ALERT in (24) Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez vs. China’s Jie Zheng(CHN)
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
WAG THAT — From New York Times tennis blogger Joe Drape: “I’m not sure what the acronym WAG stands for, but it refers to players’ wives and there was an in-depth story and photo array on them over the weekend. In it, Andy Roddick’s bride, the model Brooklyn Decker, was widely admired.” — It’s “wives and girlfriends.” If you can blog, you can look things up on Google.
HINGIS COMEBACK BREWING — How much longer can Martina Hingis sit on the sidelines watching fellow former No. 1s and comeback queens Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin garner all the media attention. Not much longer it seems. “I can not imagine a life without tennis,” Henin told the wire services after beating Lindsay Davenport recently in an exhibition. Hingis’ two-year ban from pro tennis for testing positive for coke expired four months ago. “I’d like to play more exhibition games and see what happens. Past that, I just don’t know at the moment…I think the women’s game is somewhat monotonous at the moment. The young girls all play the same way, whereas Justine and Kim are successful because they vary their game.” — Talking smack is the first step Martina, keep it coming.
JAKE BLUES SAYS, ‘I HATE CROATIAN NAZIS’ — Young men of “Croatian background” left organizers of the “Happy Slam” red-faced when they were featured on Day One of the Australian Open on the grounds marching and giving Nazi salutes, chanting and spitting on photographers, and setting off flares. “The disgraceful display made a mockery of so-called multicultural Melbourne as tennis fans around the world tuned in for the first Grand Slam event of the year,” wrote the Herald Sun. “Police, tennis officials and politicians were red-faced and fuming. Premier John Brumby said our reputation as a friendly nation was on the line and called on fans to unite. Family First Senator Steve Fielding said racist louts should be banned from all sporting events for at least three years or jailed.”
MISC — If you’re going to screw with the Davis Cup, how about changing it in stages; first just do the semis and final in one spot, and let the various countries host the early rounds…Roger Federer organized the “Hit for Haiti” fundraiser on Sunday, raising $200K+ for earthquake victims in Haiti. Federer was joined by MC Jim Courier, Serena Williams, Lleyton Hewitt, Samantha Stosur, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Andy Roddick and Kim Clijsters, who wore microphones that led to entertaining on-court and courtside banter. Roddick after a linesperson’s call said “Did you really call a foot fault on me in a charity match? You realize Serena’s over there, right?”…24 Slams have passed without an American man winning…The Williams sisters are seeded No. 2 in the Aussie Open doubles and open against the Aussie team of Ferguson/Moore…Fashion-challenged American Bethanie Mattek-Sands lost in the final round of the Oz singles qualifying.
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