Former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic’s 2010 campaign hit a snag on Thursday when the comely Serbian was ousted in the second round of the Australian Open by equally-comely Argentine Gisela Dulko 6-7(6), 7-5, 6-4 in Melbourne.
Ivanovic’s serving yips proved the difference in the third set.
“I was really disappointed to fight back in the third set and then make a couple of double faults and basically hand her three match points, then having to fight back,” the Serb said. “That was definitely an area that let me down.”
The former No. 1 admitted that a lack of confidence is still playing a large part in keeping her from challenging for the top rank again, after last year struggling with bouts of little injuries, over-training and burn-out.
“What happens is that I start well and I play good, and then, because I have no expectation, I just go out there to enjoy. Then I think I can play like this all the time. Then I get tense and I start making mistakes because I want to play like that. Then I just want to go back to playing normal,” said the conflicted Serb. “I just have to get rid of that a little bit and just try to play consistent all the time. It might not be at the highest level, but just build on it.
Italian Alberta Brianti was also an upset winner Thursday, defeating No. 21 Sabine Lisicki in three sets.
Aussie fans had plenty to cheer about on the day as No. 13 seed Sam Stosur and Casey Dellacqua (d. Karolina Sprem) both advanced in straight sets.
No. 1 Serena Williams and No. 6 Venus Williams were straight-set winners over Petra Kvitova and Sybille Bammer respectively.
The younger Williams sister, even with her knee/thigh injury, agrees that she is still the person to beat, but acknowledges the comeback-minded Belgians.
“Yeah, I feel like if I play well I’m really tough to beat,” Williams said. “Still definitely feel that way. I’m so happy to see [Justine] Henin back and doing well. She’s such a good player and a fighter. I think she brings just a totally different theme to the game. Obviously Kim [Clijsters] is fun to have back on the tour, and her winning the US Open is awesome.”
Other Top 10 winners on the day were (4) Caroline Wozniacki defeating Julia Goerges, (7) Victoria Azarenka over Stefanie Voegele, (9) Vera Zvonareva topping Iveta Benesova, and (10) Agnieszka Radwanska over Alla Kudryavtseva, all in straight sets.
Friday’s matches of note in Melbourne include (2) Dinara Safina vs. Brit Elena Baltacha, (8) Jelena Jankovic vs. (31) Alona Bondarenko, unseeded Justine Henin vs. (27) Alisa Kleybanova, (15) Kim Clijsters vs. (19) Nadia Petrova, and Jie Zheng vs. (11) Marion Bartoli.
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
Serena Williams is 81-1 career in Grand Slam first- and second-round matches…
Prince William attended the end of Roger Federer’s match and then met the Swiss No. 1. He later returned (for some reason) to catch some of the Casey Dellacqua v. Karolina Sprem…
Andy Roddick has never lost to Feliciano Lopez in five meetings…
Stanislas Wawrinka has beaten Marin Cilic four of five times…
Roger Federer has never lost in the second round of a Grand Slam…
Casey Dellacqua is ranked No. 980…
Kim Clijsters hasn’t lost a Slam match since coming back. Then again neither has Justine Henin. Who’ll be the first to lose?…
Rafael Nadal has won nine straight matches at Roland Garros. Juan Martin del Potro has won nine straight Slam matches…
Phil Kohlschrieber faces his third straight lefty in a row today (Rafael Nadal). He’s 0-13 career vs. Top 3 players…
Former Russian Evgeny Koralev is the first Kazakh player to reach the third round at a Slam.
NO WONDER ANNA TURNED OUT LIKE THAT – The AP reported that Anna Kournikova’s mother was arrested in Florida and charged with child neglect after the 46-year-old Alla Kournikova left her five-year-old son home alone while she ran errands Tuesday, and the boy told police he jumped out the second-story window after he was found by a passerby. The elder Kournikova was released from the Palm Beach County Jail after posting $3,000 bail.
THANKS FOR NOTHING — Pat Cash on the statue erected outside Laver Arena in his honor at the Australian Open, speaking to the Heralad Sun: “It is the ugliest thing I have ever seen in my life…it just doesn’t look anything like me. My mum doesn’t like it either. I hate it.”
ROBBY IS BURNT — “It’s been almost five years since I reached the US Open semifinals,” blogs Robby Ginepri. “It looks like maybe I peaked then. I hate to think that, but at some point you have to be realistic. I have to find a way to enjoy my career again. I’m not enjoying the travel grind and living out of suitcases as much any more, and it’s getting to me a little.” Robby then adds, “I’m not sure if U.S. Davis Cup Captain Patrick McEnroe will ask me to play for the team this year. I think he’ll go with the younger generation, Sam and John Isner, but if he asks me I’ll be up for it.” — Uhhhh, not the best overall sales pitch.
MISC — How low has former Top 10er Nicole Vaidisova fallen? This week she is playing a $25,000 futures event in Florida. And she lost to American Christina McHale in the first round. That’s not going to impress Radek…Serena Williams again said her US Open meltdown wasn’t so bad, and she got hit with such a fine because she’s a woman: “I don’t know whoever got fined like that. People said worse, done worse. I think it was a bit much…In tennis I think [the women have] been able to do really well with having fought so hard to get equal prize money. I think that’s really good. But I think we still sort of, say, live in a man’s world. Some incidents can bring you back to life and back into reality.”…American Melanie Oudin is 1-6 since her run at last year’s US Open…Fabrice Santoro played in a record 70th major at the Aussie Open…Barbora Zahlavova Strycova set a match length record for women in the Open Era at a Slam, needing 4 hours, 19 minutes to beat Regina Kulikova 7-6(5), 6-7(10), 6-3 at the Aussie Open…John Isner made the trip from Auckland to Melbourne, but his luggage didn’t…Andy Roddick apologized to his fans via Twitter (but not the umpires(s)) after a profanity-laden berating of a chair umpire during his match. Roddick had also plowed into a linesperson, and subsequently yelled at him that he should get out of the way when he sees a player coming: “Apologies for the language today folks hopefully most kids were asleep by the time I went off……my bad,” he tweeted. “Did not realize that i didn’t shake the umpires hand we were mid argument and i guess it didn’t happen not a conscious decision.” — If it is true what many believe, that the bigger dick Andy acts, the better he plays, looks like he is the Australian Open favorite this year…Robby Ginepri blogging after his loss in Oz: “I had some issues with my neck in the five days leading up to the Australian Open, so my attitude was sub-par. I’ve had this neck problem before, and I have to figure a way to address it. I don’t have the full range of motion when I turn to the right when I serve, and it’s pretty painful.” — Ever heard of a chiropractor?…From Slam lockerroom neophyte John Isner: “Roger Federer congratulated me the other day on winning Auckland. That was pretty cool. I didn’t even think he would know about a tournament like that. Any time Roger congratulates you, let alone even talks to you, is pretty neat.”…Serena Williams on her ideal mixed doubles partner at the upcoming Olympics: “Obviously Andy [Roddick]. We have so much fun on and off the court. We’ve talked about it a little bit. There are some other Americans coming up. If Andy is not playing and doesn’t want to play, I have a couple other guys in mind. Tall Americans.”…After losing to Marin Cilic in five sets in a late-night encounter, Aussie teen Bernard Tomic whined about being put on late at night. Prima donna at 17-years-old with a nightmare dad, good luck with that Tennis Australia…Nikolay Davydenko on his drinking habits: “I don’t drink so much because I’m skinny. I only mix, sometimes with Red Bull to get power in nightclub or disco. But if I drink only vodka, I go to sleep straight away.”…Irishman Louk Sorensen lost in the second round to John Isner. No Irishman has ever cracked the Top 50 on the ATP Rankings, and hadn’t won a Slam match in 25+ years.
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