Another day, another dollar (or actually $75,000 third-round prize money) for world No. 1 Serena Williams, who punched Serbian Vesna Dolonc’s clock 6-1, 6-2 on Wednesday to move into the third round at the 2014 Australian Oven…err, we mean Open.
“I was happy just to get that win under my belt and have a chance to go at the next round,” Serena said regarding the heat and a relatively quick match against the 24-year-old world No. 104 Dolonc. “I have been training for a long, long time in the heat in Florida as well as playing — I have been coming to Melbourne for years and years. So you just have to be ready for those hot conditions and just try to get through it.”
Also through it were No. 4 Li Na overcoming a late surge from Swiss teen qualifier Belinda Bencic 6-0, 7-6(5), and No. 9 Angelique Kerber defeating Russian Alla Kudryavtseva 6-4, 6-2.
“She played exactly like Martina Hingis, I feel,” Na said of the Swiss Bencic. “It’s very tough to play a decent player I never see before, because I cannot get any information. When comes to the court, it’s like, Okay, is similar like first round. It’s like, Okay. Yeah, I think today she give me very tough time end of the second set…Of course she win the juniors, so she has experience, used to play the big court.”
Seeds struggling into the third round Wednesday were No. 26 Lucie Safarova edging fellow Czech Lucie Hradecka 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-0, and No. 31 Daniela Hantuchova winning a marathon over Czech Karolina Pliskova 6-3, 3-6, 12-10.
Other seeds safely sojourning into third-round play were No. 14 Ana Ivanovic, No. 17 Samantha Stosur rolling last week’s title winner Tsvetana Pironkova 6-2, 6-0; No. 28 Flavia Pennetta, and No. 30 Eugenie Bouchard.
Stosur will next meet the former No. 1 Ivanovic.
“Last two tournaments last year we played, she won one, I won one,” Stosur said. “Couple three setters in there. It’s going to be a tough one.”
Aussie Casey Dellacqua thrilled the locals with a 6-3, 6-0 win over No. 18 seed Kirsten Flipkens, and Romanian Monica Niculescu was also an upset winner after upending No. 15 Sabine Lisicki 2-6, 6-2, 6-2.
“Since I knew I was playing Kirsten, I had practiced a lot of slice with my coach,” said Dellacqua, who will next meet Jie Zheng. “That’s all we did for a couple days. So I was very, very well prepared.”
Unseeded Americans were a mixed bag on the day as Lauren Davis outlasted Julia “Gorgeous” Goerges in three sets and Alison Riske dropped only two games against Yanina Wickmayer, but Madison Keys was bundled out in three sets by Zheng, and Irina Falconi lost in straights to No. 22 seed Ekaterina Makarova.
“I’d obviously love to be talking about winning the match, but it’s going to happen,” Keys said afterwards. “I’m learning how to deal with losses and learning from them.”
On the men’s side, they say if you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen. Or complain that you’re going to die, and retire from your match in Melbourne, then get out of the kitchen.
That’s what happened on Wednesday to Croatia’s Ivan Dodig, who joined the ever-growing list of retirements or withdrawals at this year’s Australian Open by throwing in the towel at 4-6, 4-6, 6-3, 4-1 against Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Damir Dzumhur due to the heat. He was the 10th withdrawal or retirement after a Grand Slam record-tying nine players pulled in the first round.
“I was thinking I could maybe even die here,” said Dodig about temperature that went above 104F for the second straight day. “It’s not acceptable to play in these conditions.”
The No. 32-seeded Dodig was one of four seeded upsets on the day, joining No. 14 Mikhail Youzhny who was ousted by German Florian Mayer in five sets, No. 23 Ernests Gulbis who was straight-setted by American Sam Querrey, and No. 30 Dmitry Tursunov who fell in four sets to Uzbek Denis Istomin.
“That was one of my best serving days ever,” said Querrey, who will next meet No. 15 seed Fabio Fognini, another winner Wednesday. “But I felt like I returned really well. [Gulbis] has a huge serve and I felt like I did a good job of making him play on his service games, even the games he was winning.”
Top 10 seeds in action had a relatively easy time as No. 2 Novak Djokovic rolled Argentine Leonardo Mayer 6-0, 6-4, 6-4; No. 3 David Ferrer topped Frenchman Adrian Mannarino 7-6(2), 5-7, 6-0, 6-3; No. 7 Tomas Berdych eased past Frenchman Kenny De Schepper 6-4, 6-1, 6-3; No. 8 Stanislas Wawrinka defeated Colombia’s Alejandro Falla 6-3, 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-4; and No. 9 Richard Gasquet subdued Russian veteran Nikolay Davydenko 7-6(3), 6-4, 6-4.
“The conditions were not easy for both my opponent and myself,” said Djokovic after defeating Mayer and setting up a meeting with Istomin. “I started the match really, really good. I was set and a break up only after, you know, 40, 45 minutes. You don’t want to spend too much time in the heat. You want to try to win as quick as possible.”
Other seeded players advancing into the third round were No. 17 Tommy Robredo, No. 19 Kevin Anderson, No. 20 Jerzy Janowicz, No. 28 Vasek Pospisil, and No. 29 Jeremy Chardy.
Round 2 action continues on Thursday in Melbourne, with highlights including (3) Maria Sharapova vs. Italian Karin “Take a” Knapp, (1) Rafael Nadal vs. Aussie comer Thanasi Kokkinakis, set your phaser on “spray” for Jack Sock vs. (25) Gael “Force” Monfils, Marin Cilic vs. (18) Gilles Simon, and the Lleyton-killer (24) Andreas Seppi vs. American “The” Donald Young. Also in action will be Roger Federer, Andy Murray, and Victoria Azarenka.
TENNIS-X NOTES, QUOTES AND BARBS
Serena Williams has won her last 24 matches in a row. Novak Djokovic has won his last 26 matches in a row. Maybe they should play each other?….Novak Djokovic is on a 23-match win streak at the Australian Open…Is 17-year-old Thanasi Kokkinakis the next Australian star? Watch him against Rafael Nadal andthen decide. Kokkinakis is trying to become the first Australian man to beat a world No. 1 at Tour-level since Mark Philippoussis defeated Andre Agassi in the round of 16 at 2003 Wimbledon…The last teenager to defeat a world No. 1 at a Grand Slam event was Rafael Nadal when he defeated Roger Federer at 2005 Roland Garros aged 19 years and 2 days…Leonardo Mayer is 0-14 against Top 10 players…After two days of 100+ temperatures the Australian Open never did enforce their extreme heat rule. Will they do it on Thursday when the mercury is again expected to reach record levels?…Bernard Tomic said it was unfair that the crowd booed him after retiring a set into his match against Rafael Nadal. Hey Bernard, at least you could have taken the mic and apologized directly to the crowd!…Roger Federer hasn’t played on Hisense Arena since 2004…Battery and stalking charges have been dropped against 37-year-old Jennifer Capriati in Florida after she completed 30 hours of community service and four hours of anger management counseling, the state attorney’s office in Palm Beach County said. The incident was from Valentine’s Day last year when Capriati’s ex-boyfriend said she started punching him, and he had to lock himself in the men’s locker room to get away from him. End of relationship, or did they go out to a romantic dinner afterwards?…Stefan Edberg said only Roger Federer could have convinced him to come out of retirement to coach the Swiss: “I think Roger is such a special person both on and off the court, a person that I really respect and because it was him, at least I gave it a thought. I talked with my family because I live a pretty comfortable life now and this is a change. But it’s such a great opportunity to be around Roger and I can have a good input in keeping him in this game as long as we can, because he’s so great for tennis.”…Sounds like fainting Canadian Frank Dancevic needs to stop his bitching about the Aussie heat and get in shape…China’s Peng Shuai puked on court Tuesday during her match due to the heat, and a ball boy collapsed…Why is it the players who lose complain the most about the heat? Coincidence? Instead of barking why not step up your training? Move to Dubai. Stop eating gluten or just plain get another job. Stan Wawrinka when asked by the media if he was going to go skydiving if he won the Australian Open: “I’m not going to win the tournament, so we’re not there yet. I can skydiving without winning the tournament.” — I can have skydiving?…Pat Rafter on Goran Ivanisevic’s assessment of his doubles game with Lleyton Hewitt: “He said it was f***ing bad, not just bad, it was really bad. I said, Yeah. He said, ‘You served okay,’ so I don’t know how he talks. He’s Croatian. It was just fun. Goran and I have been hanging out. We played a fair few tournaments with each other in Europe. We got to spend a fair amount of time with each other. He takes the piss out of me and he thinks it’s funny.”
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