Isner Limps Out, Off Federer Upbeat at Hot Australian Open
by Staff | January 14th, 2014, 8:46 am

For the second consecutive day at the Australian Open, 15 of the 16 seeded men in action advanced into the second round, with the lone loser attributed to injury. On Monday it was Tommy Haas. On Tuesday it was John Isner.
The big-serving American, who entered Auckland with a hot hand and the Auckland title under his belt, retired with a foot injury after two sets trailing Slovak Martin Klizan 6-2, 7-6(6).

“I know movement is not the best part of my game,” said Isner, who injured his foot the week before winning the Auckland title last week. “But at a certain point I’ve got to be able to move without pain and I wasn’t able to do that today.”

Last year Isner withdrew from the Australian Open with a bone bruise.

Aside from No. 5 seed Juan Martin Del Potro dropping the first set against American Rhyne Williams before rallying for a win, the Top 10 seeds in action were through in straight sets.

No. 1 Rafael Nadal needed only a set before Aussie opponent Bernard Tomic retired with a leg injury, No. 4 Andy Murray rolled Japan’s Go “Get Me a” Soeda 6-1, 6-1, 6-3; No. 6 Roger Federer in an ugly, mishit-filled display in the windy and hot conditions defeated Aussie James Duckworth 6-4, 6-4, 6-2; and No. 10 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga handled Italian veteran Filippo Volandri 7-5, 6-3, 6-3.

“It was sad,” said Tomic, who was grimacing in pain in the first game of the first set before eventually retiring after a set against Nadal. “I felt it yesterday. I took a day off after the final in Sydney. I started hitting. I went for one ball and felt pain in my left leg. I thought it was going to be OK. I went for one ball on the backhand and just felt it…I just felt like, if I continue playing, who knows, something worse can happen, cannot play maybe for a few months. I don’t want to do that.”

Federer remained upbeat despite his error-filled display in the 105 degree heat.

“Conditions were playing pretty quick, so we didn’t have much rhythm, much rallies,” the Swiss said. “I kept missing some opportunities, which made it harder on me, because I think I could have been in a more comfortable lead early. I think he did also well to stay in the match because and in most of the games, because he did serve well when he needed to…So it was a solid match from start to finish, yeah. Could have maybe won a few more break points here and there, but who cares now?”

Among the slew of lower seeds getting the job done, albeit in shaky fashion, were No. 16 Kei Nishikori outlasting Aussie Marinko Matosevic 6-2 in the fifth; No. 18 Gilles Simon saving seven (7) match points in topping German Daniel Brands 16-14 in the fifth; and No. 24 Andreas Seppi saving a match point in ending former No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt’s Oz Open experience 7-5 in the fifth.

“It would be nice to get through a bit more comfortabler [sic],” said Hewitt, who tied Andre Agassi’s record of number of five-set matches played in the Open Era. “With that said, I didn’t have a lot of choice after being down two sets to love today. That was the only way out of it. I had to try to keep fighting, find a way. You know, ended up one point from coming back from two sets.”

Unseeded winners of note into the second round were former Top 10er Marin Cilic coming from 0-2 sets down to defeat Spaniard Marcel Granollers, Aussie comer Nick Kyrgios topping German Benjamin “Not That” Becker in four, unheralded Aussie Thanasi Kokkinakis shocking Dutchman Igor Sijsling in four, Slovak Blaz Kavcic advancing when Radek “The Worm” Stepanek retired in the fourth set of their encounter with a neck injury, and Americans Jack Sock and Donald Young advancing.

“I started to feel it really early, maybe 5-6 in the third set,” said the Aussie teen Kokkinakis, the runner-up in the boy’s final last year, of cramping in the 5th set against Sijsling. “I was like, ‘Oh, this ain’t going to end too well.’  I just tried to make returns…I was trying to hang in there and try to find the cheap points.  I was shortening the points as much as I could, because when it was going for a while I wasn’t having much success.”

The Aussie will next face the world No. 1 Nadal, who he practiced with entering the event.

The top seeds on the women’s side returned to high form on Tuesday, with only No. 5 Aggie Radwanska struggling in an eventual victory over Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan 6-0, 5-7, 6-2.

“I think she was very, very nervous in the beginning but then she started playing much, much better,” Radwanska said of her teen opponent.

Other Top 10-seeded players advancing in straight sets were No. 2 Victoria Azarenka defeating Swede Johanna Larsson 7-6(2), 6-2; No. 3 Maria Sharapova handling a tough late-night assignment against American Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-3, 6-4; No. 8 Jelena Jankovic rolling over Japan’s Misaki Doi 6-1, 6-2; and No. 10 Caroline Wozniacki looking sharp in a 6-0, 6-2 dismissal of Spain’s Lourdes Dominguez Lino.

“I mean, it’s not easy, those conditions,” Azarenka said of the heat. “You can’t escape those. It’s pretty hot out there. But it’s the same for everybody. You just have to adapt to it and try to do the best way to prepare for those conditions…But I feel pretty good. Actually, I felt better as the match was going on than in the beginning…I just went out straight to go hit [practice after the match]. Actually put on a long sleeved shirt. It wasn’t probably the smartest thing to do, but I’m fine.”

Wozniacki had her own methods for dealing with the heat, which is expected to reach around 106F on Wednesday.

“Every time in the changeovers, ice bags, ice towels, everything; and then in the second set I could feel they were starting to heat up even more,” the Dane said. “I put the bottle down on the court and it started melting a little bit underneath, the plastic, so you knew it was warm…Yeah, just had an ice bath now. Yeah, I could go out and play another two sets now (smiling).”

On the upset tip were the Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina toppling No. 19 Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3, 6-3; New Zealand’s Marina Erakovic defeating No. 21 Sorana Cirstea 6-4, 7-6(6); and Spain’s Garbine Muguruza Blanco, who claimed her first career title last week, outlasting No. 24 Kaia Kanepi 6-2, 2-6, 6-2.

Matches to look for on Wednesday in Melbourne include (4) Na Li vs. Swiss teen riser Belinda Bencic, (1) Serena Williams vs. Serb Vesna Dolonc, (2) Novak Djokovic vs. Argentine Leonardo Mayer, (17) Samantha Stosur vs. the hot-handed Tsvetana Pironkova, Frenchman Adrian Mannarino vs. (5) David Ferrer, in men’s doubles Lleyton Hewitt/Patrick Rafter vs. Eric Butorac/Raven Klaasen, (28) Flavia Pennetta vs. Puerto Rican riser Monica Puig, Sam Querrey vs. (23) Ernests Gulbis, Nikolay Davydenko vs. (9) Richard Gasquet, and German riser Annika Beck vs. (14) Ana Ivanovic.


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33 Comments for Isner Limps Out, Off Federer Upbeat at Hot Australian Open

James Says:

“Conditions were playing pretty quick, so we didn’t have much rhythm, much rallies,” the Swiss said.

So, the court played a bit too quick for Federer.
Even Nadal served 5 aces in one set vs Tomic. Nadal normally doesn’t hit that many aces in a set unless the courts playing really fast. AO courts this year probably play quicker than USO courts.

mat4 Says:

First, a thing that was clear for those who watched that set, is that Rafa didn’t serve that fast, but his serves were very accurate, and Tomic seemed to be injured and didn’t move fast enough.

Then, the AO was already faster the USO last year, and as fast since 2009, based upon stats from Heavytopspin dot com.

Daniel Says:

Yes James,

Nadal hit 2 aces in a row down the T with a curve ball in one game alone, very unusual for him. The Fed match under the sun was very fast paced and a lot of shaky balls, reminded of Cincy.

The conditions is definitely quick and under the sun faster than usual, but come week 2 things will be more normal with temperature dropping and players getting their rhythm.

Brando Says:

Did not watch the match but just saw some highlights. Some quick thoughts:

Unlucky for Bernard:

Feel sorry for him that he had to pull out in front of his home crowd but he did the right thing in protecting himself by withdrawing. Unfortunate and I hope he recovers ASAP.


Seemed fine but a set is hardly much to go on.

Court Speed:

The big one. Finally saw it and IMHO: I don’t know what the fuss is all about. It does seem a tad quicker than say 2012 but I that’s more down to the immensely hot weather and lighter balls.

For me this court is slower at least than: Dubai, Beijing, Shanghai, Cincinnati and even the USO I feel.

It’s at Montreal/Toronto speed at best and will slow down in week 2 once the heat wave passes away.

The man in charge- Craig Tiley- said there has been no change so really it’s just the lighter, bouncer ball in that heat wave that’s causing the slightly quicker pace of proceedings.

No big deal IMHO.

The organisation:

Reading all the reports of players complaining about playing out in the heat makes me think that they should look at their schedule more closely since asking players to play out in weather that melts their plastic water bottle is a bit too much i feel.

Some people can pass out, suffer a heat stroke or even worse: a heart attack in such weather. I think they best play it safe. When Martina Navratilova say’s it’s too much to ask, then it really is too much to ask.

Humble Rafa Says:

It’s hot, it’s fast and Humble doesn’t like it.

I will get into a sauna and hit balls from now.

Humble Rafa Says:

Nadal hit 2 aces in a row down the T with a curve ball in one game alone, very unusual for him.

New trick I practiced over the holidays. More to come.

Daniel Says:

Every Slam has its problems. AO usually is the one with less schedule problems and goes more smoothly (all first round matches completed in 2 days).
RG and US Open have no roof and always rain, even just for 1 day). Wimby has the roof but they don’t play mid Sunday.
But, as usual, high temperatures and this year a tad higher than norm. I remember one year when Hingis almost fainted versus Capriati and lost a match he was under control mainly due to the heat. Capriati probably were under some magic powder effect because she seemed to handle it way better. Bad joke, I know:)

skeezer Says:

“The man in charge- Craig Tiley- said there has been no change so really it’s just the lighter, bouncer ball in that heat wave that’s causing the slightly quicker pace of proceedings.”
Give that quote to Mr. Nadal.

hawkeye Says:

So many fed “fans” hanging on the minutia of Rafa’s words.

Speaks volumes. Love it!

hawkeye Says:

didn’t realize heat stroke was “just a mental thing”.

Thanks Dr. Fed!!!!

Most competitors, though, followed Roger Federer’s line that, although conditions were tough, they were the same for both players. “It’s just a mental thing,” the Swiss said, albeit before Dancevic collapsed. “If you’ve trained hard enough your entire life or the last few weeks and you believe you can do it and come through it, there’s no reason. If you can’t deal with it, you throw in the towel.”

Dancevic disagreed. “I don’t think it’s much to do with the shape the players are in, some players are used to the heat, their bodies can genetically handle the heat, and others can’t,” Dancevic said. “It’s hazardous to be out there, it’s dangerous. It’s been an hour and a half after my match and I still can’t pee.”

hawkeye Says:

Woz should have told her water bottle that “it’s just a mental thing”. Maybe it wouldn’t have melted.

hawkeye Says:

Andy Murray has warned the Australian Open it risks damaging the reputation of tennis after players were forced to play in searing heat in Melbourne.

Where are all the fed fans saying Muzza is whining?

Maybe Muzza has to beat him a few more times.

Poor Muzza still gets no respect.

SG1 Says:

A 16-14 5th set in 105 Degree heat. Wow! That’s just crazy. There must have been some serious re-hydration after that match. Not sure if there’s an upside to winning a match like that.

skeezer Says:

“Speaks volumes. Love it!”
Thank you. I thought Craig-the man in charge,,,was spot on also!

“Rafael Nadal: I Don’t Understand Why The Australian Open Made The Courts So Fast”

Okiegal Says:

Rafa does make some profound statements on tennis issues……you gotta just love this guy!! He is amazing……me thinks! LOL

Vamos Rafa……..Love to hear your thoughts on various issues… court speed and such. Keep it up!

Okiegal Says:

I guess someone will have to have a heart attack before the powers that be make any changes during these heat waves. They say it is all in conditioning prior to the match, if you fall by the wayside..well you weren’t ready to play in the first place. That may be true, but the situation isn’t worth someone dying over…..just saying.

M Says:

“(28) Flavia Pennetta vs. Puerto Rican riser Monica Puig”

I’m not sure there will be a lot of people following this match, but I’m calling the upset.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Novak looking like a five time Oz champ. Incredible focus in this heat.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Boris, on the other hand, not looking in his finest form.

Michael Says:

The tournament has just started and we already have so many withdrawals due to the intense heat taking a heavy toll. It is the Jungle code of law “Survival of the fittest” which is in operation.

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Popsicle don’t melt in the heat. He looked great closing out Ebden.

Margot Says:

^ Not mid-day match though.

skeezer Says:

Wow Nole looking very good against Mayer. Bagels him in 22 minutes, then cruises through the rest of the match. Looking onimous so far…

Tennis Vagabond Says:

Skeeze, my feeling is that Nole needs revenge for the manner of his loss in the USO. If he gets to Rafa in the finals, Nole will rather die than give an inch. There will be blood all over the court.

hawkeye Says:

I hope Nole is thinking revenge when he next meets Rafa.

Would help Rafa.

Let emotions get the better of him.

Michael Says:

Although the much anticipated Novak Vs Rafa clash is not a complete given that we need to give discount for upsets, yet we might inevitably be heading towards it. I doubt Rafa’s grouse about the speed of the court has got something to do with it. He fears that Novak might hold the edge in such court conditions. It remains to be seen what is in store for us ?

skeezer Says:

“I hope Nole is thinking revenge when he next meets Rafa.
Would help Rafa.”

LMAO! Would help Rafa? UH?
I think Nole just has to remember those 7 consecutive wins in finals against Rafa and how he made him so desperate he had to resort to Lady moonball play to stay in a match. Failed.
He only needs to relflect on how he has owned him, then excecute. Done and owned. Game, set, match.

Okiegal Says:

I could look good against Mayer……and I don’t even play tennis! LOL

hawkeye Says:

In 2011, Nole found a tactical advantage vs Rafa and exploited it to it’s fullest. 7-0. Outstanding! Best year for ANY player in the history of the game. Dominated not just Rafa, but everyone else as well.

Old history. Nole couldn’t sustain it. Also, Nole made Rafa a better player in the process.

The best adapter in the game closed the loophole.

Since AO 2012?

Rafa is 6-3 h2h including 3-0 in majors.

King of the game.

hawkeye Says:

The heat is pretty scary. Best to err on the side of caution before something serious happens.

hawkeye Says:

The referee and doctor were then peppered by a particularly persistent interrogator. Folding under cross-examination, they admitted that the heat policy had been changed prior the event. There would not be a threshold as there had been in the past; there would be a subjective judgement. Who was the intrepid reporter extracting this bit of information? Paul McNamee, now a commentator for Fox, was also … the previous Australian Open tournament director. (Only in tennis.)

Read More:

Bad Knee Rules Says:

Paul McNamee never forgave new AO director for replacing Australian made Rebound ace with American made Plexicushion, he said openly that it wasn’t patriotic and had personal agenda.

“We’ve lost our Australian-ness, our uniqueness,” said Paul McNamee, the former Australian Open tournament director, in a recent interview with the Sydney Morning Herald. “The interesting thing is that it doesn’t play much different to Rebound.”

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