For 90 minutes or so it looked like Andy Roddick was in serious trouble against upstart Robin Haase. The 23-year-old Haase was having his way with Roddick’s defensive-minded strategy pushing crushing serves and smacking winners. But then early in the second set tiebreak, Haase who easily won the first set turned into a pumpkin. A damaged pumpkin.
Roddick won the breaker and ended up running away with the match posting a solid 2-6, 7-6(2), 6-2, 6-2 win in the third round at the Australian Open Friday.
“He played great the first two sets,” said Roddick. “I played a bad second service game for him to get the first break. From then on, I didn’t play that badly. I thought my error count was really low.”
“I mean, listen, I think more often than not, if a guy is 65 in the world and is coming out of his shoes, you’re trying to figure out during the course of the match why he’s 65 in the world. The biggest thing was that breaker. He wins that, you know, I mean, I think that was the match,” he added.
Haase, who’s career has been marred by injury, twisted his ankle in the opening minutes of the contest but recovered until he began grimacing again in pain late in the match. Haase, who’s had a history of knee problems, could be seen limping on some points and then running all out moments later.
Roddick now moves on to meet Stanislas Wawrinka who broke the spirit of Gael Monfils in the first set to breeze in the last two 7-6, 6-2, 6-3 in the Laver night match.
After a hair-raising 5-set win over Gilles Simon Wednesday night, things went more to form for four-time champion Roger Federer. The Swiss dropped serve twice but still had it easy in a 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 victory over Xavier Malisse.
“The first two sets almost didn’t reflect how tough it could have been,” said Federer who has won his last 13 matches and seven straight over X-Man. “Or how tough it was. I think that maybe broke his will a little bit because he was up 3 1 in the second I think it was. Then I was able to come back and win 11 straight games which was obviously a great run I got on. I was able to do a few different things.
“I’m happy how my body is feeling and I’m moving well. That’s obviously key to good tennis play today is good movement. That’s what I got at the moment, so I’m very happy.”
In the fourth round Federer will face Tommy Robredo. The Spanish veteran took out Sergei Stakhovsky in four sets 5-7, 6-2, 6-4, 6-2. Federer has a 9-0 mark against Robredo.
Fernando Verdasco and Tomas Berdych will also square off on Sunday. Verdasco eased past youngster Kei Nishikori while Berdych blasted Richard Gasquet.
Novak Djokovic earned a date with Nicolas Almagro after Viktor Troicki pulled out with a stomach muscle strain down 6-2. Almagro won in three over Ivan Ljubicic.
On Saturday, the four youngest remaining men will be in action. Australian 18-year-old Bernard Tomic takes his Miloslav Mecir-esqe game against World No. 1 Rafael Nadal. Powerful 20-year-old Canadian Milos Raonic clashes with US Open semifinalist Mikhail Youzhny.
Another 20-year-old, the speedy Richard Berankis, meets David Ferrer and Russian Alexandr Dologopov faces former Australian Open finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
Also tomorrow, it’s Marin Cilic v. John Isner, Robin Soderling v. Jan Hernych, Jurgen Melzer v. Marcos Baghdatis and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez v. Andy Murray.
TENNIS-X NEWS, NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
VENUS DRIVES AUSSIE OPEN FASHION CAR CRASH — From Belinda White writing for The Telegraph: “Looking at the ‘car-crash couture’ currently darting around the courts at the Australian Open, it’s impossible to believe that tennis used to be such an impeccably stylish sport…For every trophy [the Williams sisters] added to their bulging cabinet, their outfits became brasher, louder and more overtly sexual…The 2011 Australian Open can best be described as a fashion nightmare, with the focus of the competition appearing to shift from, ‘who’s got the best backhand’, to ‘who’s got the sluttiest outfit’. Venus Williams warned us what was coming before the tournament began, promising more original dress designs than ever before: “There’ll be more illusion, and also skin… more skin this year,” she said. Well, she wasn’t kidding. We are only three weeks into 2011, but her canary-yellow, peek-a-boo lattice-style dress with abstract floral printed satin micro-skirt will take some beating on this year’s worst-dressed lists. The ensemble was offset by her favourite flesh-coloured granny pants, topped off with a surgical dressing protruding from beneath the hemline and through the lattice…And am I the only one wondering why girls in 2011 would want to flash so much knicker? It seems so regressive, yet they all compete in skirts so short, it’s a wonder they even bother with them at all. The sport is crying out for a style icon to lead it out of the sartorial mess it’s in.”
The Serena Williams Vacuum Effect: due to Serena’s various injuries, the last three players to reach No. 1 had not won a Grand Slam at the time — will Vera Zvonareva be the fourth? Stay tuned. Or don’t…World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki is 16-21 career against Top 10 players…According to the Sports Business Journal, the 2010 women’s finals of the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open all saw their lowest ratings of the past decade. Equal prize money anyone?…Emirates Airlines is reportedly interested in securing title naming rights to the Australian Open? The Emirates Airlines Australian Open?…The ATP World Tour earned a $28 million profit in 2009? What recession? Too bad Maria Sharapova earned approximately $25 million last year, almost matching the ATP. Sharapova should start her own tour…We alerted you yesterday, Julia Goerges is better looking than Maria Sharapova…The Sharapova-Goerges matches was delayed at the start for 10 minutes while a dead spot in the Hisense court was taken care of. Said Sharapova: “We warmed up and had to sit and wait for a while. I was the first one to notice it because I went to the umpire for the coin toss and I noticed there was something under my left shoe. I know I have a lot of foam in the heel but I thought they added some padding or something in there. All of a sudden I looked down and there was a pretty big bubble there. I mentioned it to the umpire and she said she would make a call.”…Roger Federer has won 13 straight matches…No joke, Jurgen “Tuna” Melzer is still in the draw…20 of the remaining 24 men in the singles draw are from Europe…Rafael Nadal is 15 sets from a Rafa Slam…Bernard Tomic is 6-foot-5 and he’s only 18…Venus Williams retired for the first time in 251 Grand Slam matches…Venus’s retirement means there are no American women in a Grand Slam Round of 16 for the fourth time in the Open Era. 2008 Roland Garros most recent…Stanislas Wawrinka is the only player in the fourth round who hasn’t lost a set. The Swiss is on an 8-match win streak…Serena Williams is rumored to be engaged to rapper Common….Rafael Nadal has lost just four games so far…Novak Djokovic had such an easy match Friday that afterward he met with Dancing With the Stars girl Kym Johnson for some impromptu dance lessons on Court 16…2010 finalist Justine Henin will fall out of the Top 30 in the next WTA rankings.
Rod Laver Arena 11:00 AM Start Time
Lucie Safarova (CZE) v. Vera Zvonareva (RUS)
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP) v. Andy Murray (GBR)
Alize Cornet (FRA) v. Kim Clijsters (BEL)
7:00 PM Start Time
Samantha Stosur (AUS) v. Petra Kvitova (CZE)
Rafael Nadal (ESP) v. Bernard Tomic (AUS)
Hisense Arena 11:00 AM Start Time
Robin Soderling (SWE) v. Jan Hernych (CZE)
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS)[16v]. Iveta Benesova (CZE)
Flavia Pennetta (ITA) v. Shahar Peer (ISR)
7:00 PM Start Time
Jurgen Melzer (AUT) v. Marcos Baghdatis (CYP)
Margaret Court Arena 11:00 AM Start Time
Simona Halep (ROU) v. Agnieszka Radwanska (POL)
Alexandr Dolgopolov (UKR) v. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA)
John Isner (USA) v. Marin Cilic (CRO)
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Monfils Masters Murray, Federer Next in Paris; Llodra Stays Hot
Isner v Mahut 59-59 Marathon Goes On Thursday at Wimbledon
Roddick Bests Isner To Reach Atlanta Final; Tipsarevic, Haas Seek Sunday Titles
Roddick v. Nalbandian; Monfils v. Soderling Friday
Federer, Roddick Advance In Basel; Murray Bummed Out; Serena Visits Panic Room