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andrewbroad
Dec 21st, 2008, 11:20 PM
===============
AUSTRALIAN OPEN (Melbourne, Australia; outdoor hard (Plexicushion); Major)
=============== http://www.australianopen.com/

Welcome to the master-thread of my Australian Open 2009 reports! I reported on each day of the main draw (starting on 19th January), including TV-reports of all the attractive women's matches on the evening-session of Rod Laver Arena that the BBC deigned to televise. I acquired other matches on DVD in December 2009, and have now written them up.

From here, you can navigate quickly to the individual posts within this thread (these links open in new windows - or tabs if you prefer):
Jelena Dokić wins wild-card play-off (http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?p=14601952#post14601952) (Sunday 21st December 2008)
Maria Sharapova's withdrawal (http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?p=14753914#post14753914) (Sunday 11th January 2009)
Tournament-preview (http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?p=14803269#post14803269) (Sunday 18th January 2009)
Day 1: First round: Top half (http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?p=14813810#post14813810) (Monday 19th January 2009)
Day 2: First round: Bottom half (http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?p=14822609#post14822609) (Tuesday 20th January 2009)
Day 3: Second round: Top half (http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?p=14832588#post14832588) (Wednesday 21st January 2009)
Day 4: Second round: Bottom half (http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?p=14840174#post14840174) (Thursday 22nd January 2009)
Day 5: Third round: Top half (http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?p=14849052#post14849052) (Friday 23rd January 2009)
Day 6: Third round: Bottom half (http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?p=14855464#post14855464) (Saturday 24th January 2009)
Day 7: Fourth round: Top half (http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?p=14868444#post14868444) (Sunday 25th January 2009)
Day 8: Fourth round: Bottom half (http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?p=14874499#post14874499) (Monday 26th January 2009)
Day 9: Quarter-finals: Top half (http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?p=14885383#post14885383) (Tuesday 27th January 2009)
Day 10: Quarter-finals: Bottom half (http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?p=14891104#post14891104) (Wednesday 28th January 2009)
Day 11: Semi-finals (http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?p=14899366#post14899366) (Thursday 29th January 2009)
Day 12: Women's Doubles final (http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?p=14904460#post14904460) (Friday 30th January 2009)
Day 13: Women's Singles final (http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?p=14911887#post14911887) (Saturday 31st January 2009)
Day 14: Mixed Doubles and Men's Singles finals (http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?p=14915886#post14915886) (Sunday 1st February 2009)Full TV-reports for:
Anna Chakvetadze (http://abroad.sqweebs.com/tennis/chakv/australian_open2009.html) (second-round TV-report added 1st January 2010)
Daniela Hantuchová (http://abroad.sqweebs.com/tennis/hantu/australian_open2009.html) (full first-round TV-report added 22nd February 2009)
Jelena Dokić (http://abroad.sqweebs.com/tennis/dokic/australian_open2009.html) (second-round TV-report added 1st January 2010)
Lucie Šafářová (http://abroad.sqweebs.com/tennis/safar/australian_open2009.html) (third-round TV-report added 3rd January 2010)
Vera Zvonarëva (http://abroad.sqweebs.com/tennis/zvona/australian_open2009.html) (semi-final TV-report added 16th February 2010)I'm also working on my Australian Open 2010 reports (http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=399696).

--
Dr. Andrew Broad

andrewbroad
Dec 21st, 2008, 11:21 PM
===============
AUSTRALIAN OPEN (Melbourne, Australia; outdoor hard (Plexicushion); Major)
=============== http://www.australianopen.com/

Jelena has won a wild card into the main draw of the Australian Open 2009!

rr + Sophie Letcher, 6-3 6-0
rr - Monika Wejnert, 6-4 3-6 4-6
rr + Marija Mirkovic, 6-4 6-2

qf + Brittany Sheed, 6-2 6-2
sf + Emelyn Starr, 6-1 6-1
_f + Monika Wejnert, 6-7(3) 7-5 6-3

I'm delighted for Jelena. I haven't had much to say to the JD community in the last two years, with her not having played the few tournaments I vowed to still report on when I took my current job, but I still love her so much; my heart bleeds for her when I read about how she was battling severe depression for two years (after her well-documented family-problems), but 2008 has been something of an encouraging turnaround, with Jelena winning three ITF singles-titles, and coming out trimmer, fitter and more confident than in 2004-2007. I just hope that she can reestablish herself on the WTA Tour in 2009, before it's too late.

I can't believe it's been 9˝ years since I inducted Jelena into my Eternal Fanship!

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Photos
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1. http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/news/articles/
(there are photos with this week's articles)

2. http://www.tennis.com.au/pages/default.aspx?id=4&pageId=13869
(photos in various places around the site, e.g. "Photos", and "News" under "AO Play-off")

3. http://tennisrulz.com/forum/showthread.php?t=7770&page=15 (pp.15-18)

4. http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=363520

5. Search Getty Images for "dokic"

Jelena's beauty is well documented, and while she may not be quite as delectable at 25 as of old, there are certainly some real gems of her from this week.

Monika Wejnert has been a real discovery for me this week. Her results have been impressive (Jelena was the only player to beat her at the wild-card play-off, or even take a set off her), and she also looks very cute. I hope she too manages to find a way into the Australian Open 2009, despite not winning the play-off. Certainly a name to look out for in the future!

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Videos
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Videos (match-highlights & interviews):
http://www.tennis.com.au/pages/default.aspx?id=4&pageId=11501

The highlights: The cameras are close up on the players at all times, so you don't get to see any of the rallies, but you do get a good impression of strokes and footwork. Jelena's fantastic groundstrokes of flairsome power are obviously well documented, and she looks to be moving well too. Wejnert looks a bit lightweight, with slow take-backs on her groundstrokes, but she does seem to accelerate suddenly to the point of impact, especially on her backhand.

The interviews: Jelena's accent is a lot more Serbian and less Australian than it was in the days when her interviews were regularly televised.

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Pretournament articles
----------------------

Dokić to launch Australian Open bid [Teletext 495->498] (Tuesday 25th November 2008)
>>>
Dokić eyes Open place [Teletext 498]

Former world No.4 Jelena Dokić is determined to earn her place in January's Australian Open after being denied a wild card last year.

The 25-year-old, now world No.177, will contest the wild-card play-off next month, where the winner earns direct entry into the main draw.

Tournament-director Craig Tiley said: "She will have an opportunity, but she will have to earn it."
<<<

http://tennis.com/news/ticker.aspx (Tuesday 25th November 2008)
>>>
Jelena Dokić will try to qualify for next year's Australian Open, report Australian press. The former Top-5 player, now ranked No.177, is competing for Australia again, and would be eligible for Tennis Australia's wildcard play-offs.
<<<

Dokić eyes up Australian Open berth [Teletext 495->498] (Monday 8th December 2008)
>>>
Dokić eyes Aussie Open [Teletext 498]

Jelena Dokić has returned to Australia from her Monte Carlo home as she prepares to try and gain a wild-card entry into the Australian Open.

The former Serbia & Montenegro ace, 25, is training for the 15th-21st December play-off, with the winner gaining entry into the Major event.

Dokić - a world No.4 in 2002 - has resurrected her career, and patched up her relationship with Tennis Australia.
<<<

Dokić buries hatchet with Aussie Open, guns for wildcard (Reuters, Monday 8th December 2008)
Writing by Ossian Shine; editing by Ed Osmond
>>>
Peace has broken out in Jelena Dokić's war of words with the Australian Open after she apologised for lashing the Major tournament when she was overlooked for a wild-card entry this year.

Former world number-four Dokić, who, together with her firebrand-father Damir, has endured a rocky relationship with Australian tennis-officials for years, most recently hit out over a perceived lack of support.

"I definitely think I deserved a wild card into the main draw," she raged in January after being overlooked for the 2008 tournament.

"I think I've done more in one week, and had more big wins in one week, than some of those girls have in their whole careers," she said of the unheralded recipients.

Yugoslav-born Dokić also accused wild-card selectors of a conflict of interest. Some were involved in coaching candidates for the four free spots into the main draw.

Dokić represented Australia until switching to Serbia and Montenegro in 2001 following a fall-out with her adopted nation, but then switched back to Australia in 2006.

Back in Melbourne to play for a wild-card berth in the 2009 Open, however, Dokić is adopting a conciliatory tone.

"I have apologised to him [Open tournament-director Craig Tiley] and Tennis Australia," she told reporters. "I made some remarks in January that were out of line.

"At the time, I should not have said that."

Dokić is competing in the Australian Open play-off from 15th-21st December. The men's and women's singles winners from the week-long event will gain wild-card entries into the year's first Major, which begins on 19th January.

Dokić's ranking went into freefall, and she dropped out of the world's top 600 after missing most of 2007. She resurrected her career this year, however, with three titles on the second-tier ITF-circuit, and has climbed back up to 179th.
<<<

My comment:
>>>
I don't see why Jelena should have had to apologise. After all that she's done for Australian tennis over the years, it is they who should be apologising for denying her a wild card for the Australian Open 2008. Instead of setting conditions, they should be down on their knees, begging for her to play in their Major!
<<<

Dokić back on track for Aussie Open [Teletext 495->498] (Tuesday 9th December 2008)
>>>
Dokić on track in Oz [Teletext 498]

Former world No.4 Jelena Dokić admitted the 2009 season is her last chance to return to the big time - beginning with her Australian Open qualifying-bid.

The 25-year-old, back in Melbourne to compete for an entry into the Major, believes she is capable of resurrecting her career.

She said: "I have worked hard and think I am close to having a good year. If I get in the draw, it would be great."
<<<

Jelena Dokić aware that time is ticking to regain top form (Tuesday 9th December 2008)
By Roger Vaughan (Fox Sports/AAP)
>>>
Jelena Dokić's tennis-career is in a vastly better state than a year ago, but she knows time is running out to regain her star-billing.

The 25-year-old is back in Melbourne to prepare for the 15th-21st December Australian Open wildcard play-off.

Last summer, she needed a rigorous fitness-regimen before Christmas to shed 10kg of excess weight.

Then, Dokić slammed the Australian Open when the tournament did not grant her a discretionary wildcard.

But, after a poor start to 2008, Dokić flourished and brought her international ranking up to #179: the best since 2004.

She is now Australia's fourth-ranked player, but is mindful that next year will be crucial.

Dokić was ranked as high as fourth in the world six years ago.

Asked if 2009 would be the last chance to again reach such heights in the sport, Dokić replied: "I would think so - I mean, you always have chances, but I did get my ranking up this year, I'm on track.

"I'm in the best shape I've probably been in the last four years, I've made a couple of steps forward and I need to continue for the next six months.

"I think I'm on the way, I didn't play a full schedule this year and I still got my ranking up enough to be in the quallies of tournaments.

"I've worked hard on my physical and mental condition, I think I'm close to having a really good year."

Dokić has also apologised to Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley for her comments at the start of the year.

She says if the qualifiers are her lot, then so be it.

"I made some remarks in January that were a little bit out of line, and at the time, I shouldn't have said anything.

"I regret what I said... I just hope everyone understands that and I'm just here to do the play-off.

"I don't expect anything, I'm in the 'quallies' and I'm happy with that.

"If I get in the main draw, that will be great, but also if I have to play quallies, it's not a bad idea, either."

Dokić spent five weeks practising in Germany before returning to Australia, and looked fit and sharp during a practice-session.

Her play-off opponents will include West Australian Jessica Moore, ranked 138th in the world, and Monique Adamczak of New South Wales, who is 203rd.

"It's just like every year: we're here to compete, and it will depend on who's in the best form," Dokić said.

"I feel good, I've been training a lot, training hard, and I give myself just as much of a chance as anyone else.

"I have some confidence now... the [wild-card] play-off will be a really, really good test for me."
<<<

Dokić begins tilt at Open berth
Jesse Hogan (The Age, Monday 15th December 2008)
>>>
A fit-again Jelena Dokić will today try to make her Christmas and New Year a little less stressful by securing early entry into the main draw of the Australian Open.

Dokić is one of 16 women competing for a solitary place in the Open, to be earned through winning the wild-card play-off tournament beginning today at Melbourne Park.

The tournament, which also has a men's draw, gives local players a chance to qualify for next month's Major tournament without having to get through the official qualifying-tournament, which is open to all nationalities.

Dokić's ranking of #179 is a far cry from her peak of No.4 in 2002, although the trim 25-year-old said she was much fitter than she had been during recent Open qualifying-attempts.

"I've played a lot more this year and got my ranking up enough to get into qualifying for all of the [Australian] events, so it's been a lot better... it's probably the best year I've had in the last three years," Dokić said.

"There's still work to do. With the lack of matches and play, and starting from zero, I'm not where I want to be, but considering how much I've played — I put all the hard work in, especially at the end of the season — I think I've done a good job."

Dokić, who has been in Melbourne for a week, is easily the oldest in her group, in which she will play 18-year-old Marija Mirkovic and 16-year-olds Monika Wejnert and Sophie Letcher.

Other entrants in the women's draw include Jessica Moore - who reached the second round of this year's Australian and US Opens - Sophie Ferguson and Jade Hopper.
<<<

-------------------------------
Wild-card play-off: Round robin (Monday 15th December 2008)
-------------------------------

+ Jelena Dokić [EF] d. Sophie Letcher, 6-3 6-0

Dokić off to a flying start in Open play-off (The Age/AAP)
>>>
Trim, fit and confident, Jelena Dokić made a flying start to the Australian Open wild-card play-off on Monday.

The former world No.4 walloped Gold Coast junior Sophie Letcher 6-3 6-0 as she set her sights firmly on a spot in the first Major of the year next month.

Dokić entered this week's play-offs fitter than at any point in recent years - and with the results that have been consistently missing in the past.

Still just 25, Dokić has armed herself with three ITF titles and months of solid training aimed at building her speed and strength.

And she showed today there was a steely attitude to her latest comeback.

"I didn't have to play to my maximum," Dokić said.

"I feel like I've come into this play-off with more confidence than usual - I've already come into this with some matches and good practice, so it was not so hard to get used to the conditions."

She said it was hard to judge her form and her potential, but expected a lot of improvement.

"Obviously I think I'm not close [to my best], and I still need more matches and still more work, but compared to 12 months ago, I think I've made a huge improvement.

"In this play-off, the first match I've had was a lot more comfortable than I had last year."

Dokić said she had concentrated on off-court work rather than hitting balls this year.

"I haven't been hitting that much; I've just been really focusing on my fitness-work: gymwork, footwork, a lot of running, endurance, everything," she said.

"I've improved my serve a lot, and I think everything will come together as I go forward."
<<<

-------------------------------
Wild-card play-off: Round robin (Tuesday 16th December 2008)
-------------------------------

- Jelena Dokić [EF] lt. Monika Wejnert, 6-4 3-6 4-6

Dokić falters in Aussie Open charge [Teletext 495->498] (Tuesday 16th December 2008)
>>>
Dokić in Aussie Open blow [Teletext 498]

Former world No.4 Jelena Dokić saw her hopes of reaching the Australian Open dented when she lost in the wild-card play-offs at Melbourne Park.

The Australian former Wimbledon- and Olympic semi-finalist - now ranked #179 in the world - was defeated 4-6 6-3 6-4 by 18-year-old Monika Wejnert.

But Dokić can still qualify for the latter stages as she bids to reach her first Major in three years.
<<<

Dokić loses to Aussie junior (Tuesday 16th December 2008)
By Kim Trengove
http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/news/articles/2008-12-16/200812151229306478280.html
>>>
Jelena Dokić's hopes of obtaining a wildcard into Australian Open 2009 took a step back today when she lost to 18-year-old Queenslander Monika Wejnert at the wildcard play-off.

Dokić, who yesterday defeated Gold Coast teenager Sophie Letcher 6-3 6-0, was slowly ground down by the composed Wejnert 4-6 6-3 6-4.

While many observers considered her a a favourite to win the wild card, the former world No.4 Dokić made an error-riddled showing on the second day of the round robin play-off.

The field is divided into four groups for the men and four for the women, with the top two in each group progressing to the quarter-finals on Friday. Dokić's next opponent is Marija Mirkovic, who was also beaten by Wejnert yesterday, and today fell to Letcher.

Mirkovic was the recent winner of the Optus 18s Australian Championships: an event Wejnert withdrew from because of a wrist-injury.

Wejnert, from Brisbane, won her first Pro Circuit title in Perth a few weeks ago, and is an emerging talent on the Australian tennis-landscape.

"She's probably the highest ranked I've beaten so far in my career, so it's great," a delighted Wejnert said after the match. "I was a bit nervous coming in, and [early in the game] she just kind of hit me off court, but then I stabilised and it was good.

"She definitely has a great forehand, and I knew if I stayed in a crosscourt rally, she would always come on top of me, so I was trying to avoid that as much as possible."
<<<

-------------------------------
Wild-card play-off: Round robin (Wednesday 17th December 2008)
-------------------------------

+ Jelena Dokić [EF] d. Marija Mirkovic, 6-4 6-2

Dokić keeps wildcard-hopes alive
By Tennis Australia
http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/news/articles/2008-12-17/200812171229496642138.html
>>>
Jelena Dokić has kept her Australian Open wildcard-hopes alive with a straight-sets win over Marija Mirkovic at Melbourne Park today.

Dokić eased past the newly-crowned Optus 18s Australian Girls' Singles Champion 6-4 6-2 to confirm her place in Friday's quarter-finals of the Australian Open Wildcard Play-off.

The former world No.4 had to beat Mirkovic to guarantee her position in the last eight after she lost to 16-year-old Monika Wejnert in her second round-robin match on Tuesday.

Earlier, Wejnert maintained her unbeaten status for the tournament with a comfortable 7-5 6-3 win over Sophie Letcher.

The Queenslander withdrew from the Optus 18s Australian Girls' Singles Championships last week with a wrist-injury, but is now the form-player heading into the final stages of the play-off.

In the Magenta Group, Isabella Holland sealed her spot in the quarter-finals with a fighting 4-6 6-3 6-3 win over Alison Bai.

Holland, who lost to Mirkovic in the Optus 18s final on Saturday, said she was excited to move one step closer towards playing at the Australian Open.

"It's definitely an exciting thought, but I'm just going to go out there and play my game; I've got nothing to lose; I've kind of come in as the underdog, so I'm just going to enjoy the experience," she said.

"Even if it doesn't go my way, I'm really just focused on getting some match-practice against some of the older girls."

Sophie Ferguson will also advance from the Magenta Group after she won her third consecutive match for the tournament with a 6-4 6-2 win over Shannon Golds.
<<<

Timing the key for Jelena Dokić
Bruce Matthews (Herald Sun)
>>>
A scratchy Jelena Dokić knows she must cut the rust from her powerful groundstrokes to stay in the hunt for an Australian Open wild card.

Dokić rebounded from a shock second-round defeat in the round-robin series with a 6-4 6-2 win against teenager Marija Mirkovic at Melbourne Park yesterday to qualify for tomorrow's quarter-finals.

"I think I really have to step it up now. I play the top player from another group [West Australian Brittany Sheed], and there's no room for errors, bad points or bad games, or lack of concentration," Dokić said.

While Tuesday's loss to 16-year-old Monika Wejnert was a wake-up call for Dokić, the former world No.4 is still struggling for timing with her lack of match-practice.

"I had a really horrible performance yesterday. I really didn't focus much at all in a match I should've won. It was a little bit better today, but I still need to improve a lot," Dokić said.

"I wanted to win in two sets, to have a comfortable match to try and get into the quarter-finals.

"Maybe it was good because it was better today, but I'm still just a little frustrated with yesterday. Even if I didn't get through, it would've been my own fault.

"I always prefer to try to win all the [round-robin] matches, because you can get yourself in an uncomfortable position and you never know, you mightn't get through. So it's good that I'm through."

Dokić said she was still struggling with the pace on the slower Melbourne Park outside courts.

"I've come from a much faster surface and indoors, and I'm standing too far back," she said.

"Sometimes my footwork is off, so it's just the timing."
<<<

----------------------------------
Wild-card play-off: Quarter-finals (Friday 19th December 2008)
----------------------------------

+ Jelena Dokić [EF] d. Brittany Sheed, 6-2 6-2

Dokić lifts Australian Open chances [Teletext 495->498]
>>>
Dokić boosts Aussie hopes [Teletext 498]

Former world No.4 Jelena Dokić secured her place in the semi-finals with a comfortable victory against Brittany Sheed.

Dokić defeated the Australian teenager 6-2 6-2 at Melbourne Park to set up a clash with Emelyn Starr, who stunned world No.270 Sophie Ferguson.
<<<

Dokić through to AO Wildcard Play-off semi-finals (Tennis Australia)
>>>
Jelena Dokić won through to the Australian Open Play-off semi-finals on a day in which many of the other favourites were sent packing.

Dokić proved too strong for West Australian teenager Brittany Sheed 6-2 6-2 at Melbourne Park this morning, and will now play Grafton 20-year-old Emelyn Starr, who upset the highly-ranked Sophie Ferguson from New South Wales in three sets.
<<<

Dokić sets sights on Fed Cup return
Ella Ling (Tennis Australia)
>>>
[Jelena Dokić is through to the Australian Open Play-off semi-finals.]

Jelena Dokić breezed into the semi-finals of the Australian Open Play-off today, and then revealed she was in talks to return to the Fed Cup squad.

The former world No.4 crushed West Australian teenager Brittany Sheed 6-2 6-2 in just 53 minutes as she zeroed in on a spot in next month's Major event.

She then said she was anxious to represent Australia in international competition again.

"Sure. Of course I would love to play Fed Cup. I think in the previous times that I've played, I've always been available," Dokić said.

"If I get called for Fed Cup, I would love to play.

"We have been talking, but even for the first tournament, it's too early to say anything."

Dokić has had preliminary discussions with Fed Cup captain David Taylor and Tennis Australia officials.

She is back on friendly terms with TA and Open tournament-director Craig Tiley after levelling a blast at them for refusing her a wild card into the 2008 Open last January.

"Just generally, Tennis Australia [considered] my first step was to come here," she said.

"And I really wanted to apologise, which I did, for my comments last year to everybody - not just to Craig Tiley and Tennis Australia, but all the coaches.

"I think they were all affected by that, and that was the first step for me.

"So I've done that, [and] I just wanted to do the play-offs, see how well I can do here, and whatever happens from now on is a bonus for me."

Dokić, a former Wimbledon semi-finalist, has won five WTA titles, and has a 9:2 singles-record in Fed Cup for Australia.

She is currently ranked #179 - back inside 200 for the first time since 2004 - and is Australia's fourth-highest-ranked player.

Dokić is noticeably fitter and leaner than last year, and said she was more confident in her latest comeback-attempt following consistently good results on the world-tour this season.

"Every year, I say that I just wanted to get a couple of matches in the play-offs," she said.

"This year, I did a lot better than last year, and I'm playing a lot better, which is good.

"I think it's going well. It's going slowly, but I'm going forward."

Dokić will now meet Tamworth's Emelyn Starr for a place in the final – Starr defeated Sydney's Sophie Ferguson 6-4 2-6 6-4.

In other quarter-final matches, Colin Ebelthite upset Davis Cup player Peter Luczak 6-4 6-2, Carsten Ball went down to Marinko Matosevic 6-3 6-7(9) 6-3, and Monika Wejnert defeated Olivia Rogowska 7-6(8) 7-6(3).
<<<

Jelena Dokić through to semis of Australian Open wild-card play-off
Bruce Matthews (Herald Sun/AAP)
>>>
Jelena Dokić is through to the semi-finals of the Australian Open wild-card play-off after beating Britanny Sheed this morning.

Dokić took just 53 minutes to beat the WA-based Sheed 6-2 6-2.

The former world No.4 was impressive in difficult conditions, handling the gusty wind much better than her less experienced opponent.

After breaking serve in the opening game, Dokić remained in control apart from a lapse late in the second set when she dropped serve once.

Dokić is in her best form for several years, and collected three ITF titles this year.

She said she had been steadily gathering pace during this week's tournament.

"It was good; I played calm, steady tennis and safe tennis," Dokić said.

"She can be a tough player, she was No.1 in her group and she beat the No.1 seed.

"I watched her play a little bit and she can hit the ball well, but I had to keep her moving and not make errors."

Yesterday, Dokić rebounded from a shock second-round defeat in the round-robin series with a 6-4 6-2 win against teenager Marija Mirkovic at Melbourne Park.
<<<

Dokić is ready to answer the call
Linda Pearce (The Sydney Morning Herald)
>>>
Having moved to within two wins of only her second main-draw Australian Open appearance in nine years, Jelena Dokić is also back in contention for a Fed Cup recall, yesterday declaring herself available to represent her adopted nation for the first time since 2000.

Fed Cup coach Nicole Bradtke was at Melbourne Park to watch Dokić crush West Australian teenager Brittany Sheed 6-2 6-2 in the quarter-finals of the Open's wildcard play-off, and will return for today's semi against Emelyn Starr to provide an informal report for captain David Taylor. Australia play an Asia-Oceania zone qualifying-series in Perth in February.

"That fourth position [behind Samantha Stosur, Casey Dell'Acqua and doubles-stalwart Rennae Stubbs] is definitely up for grabs for a number of girls, Jelena being one - and I guess Sophie Ferguson, Jess Moore - so Dave's just asked me to have a look at her," Bradtke said. "She was very impressive today, and she looks in great shape."

Dokić built a 9:3 record in nine ties for Australia after a famous début in 1998, before switching allegiances to her homeland: Serbia. She is now eligible to play for Australia again, and ranked No.4 nationally, while attempting to claw back the goodwill lost through her ill-advised criticism of Tennis Australia last January.

"If I get called for Fed Cup, I would love to play," said Dokić, who added that she had spoken with TA officials, including Taylor, who also coaches Stosur. "I think my first step was to come here, and I really wanted to apologise - which I did - for my comments last year to everybody."

Dokić, 25, has a fractured relationship with at least one of her potential Fed Cup teammates, and a second player was cautious last week when asked whether a recall had been earned, but Bradtke said "the big picture" desire to return to the World Group suggested the best players should be chosen, regardless. "I'd like to think that the girls were mature enough to get beyond that," she said. "I think everyone deserves a second chance."

While top-seeded Moore failed to qualify for the quarter-finals, Ferguson yesterday was beaten by Starr: the 20-year-old surprise from Grafton. The other women's semi will be contested by teenagers Monika Wejnert and Isabella Holland.
<<<

-------------------------------
Wild-card play-off: Semi-finals (Saturday 20th December 2008)
-------------------------------

+ Jelena Dokić [EF] d. Emelyn Starr, 6-1 6-1

DOKIC CLOSING IN ON AUSTRALIAN OPEN [Teletext 495->496]
>>>
Dokić into wild-card final [Teletext 496]

Jelena Dokić hammered Emelyn Starr to reach the Australian Open play-off final and earn a chance of revenge against Monika Wejnert.

The former world No.4, beaten by Wejnert in the round-robin stage, cruised to a 6-1 6-1 win over her unheralded opponent at Melbourne Park.

Wejnert beat fellow teenager Isabella Holland 6-4 6-4 in her semi-final, and has dropped only one set all week.
<<<

Dokić, Wejnert advance to final
By Rob O'Gorman (www.australianopen.com)
>>>
Jelena Dokić has sealed her place in the Australian Open Wildcard Play-off final with a blistering 6-1 6-1 defeat of Emelyn Starr at Melbourne Park today.

Dokić was far too strong for the Grafton 20-year-old, and will now face a rematch against Queensland teenager Monika Wejnert in Sunday's final after Wejnert beat Isabella Holland 6-3 6-4.

The former world No.4 said she was focused on reversing her loss to Wejnert earlier in the week, in tomorrow's final.

"After my loss [to Wejnert] in the round robin, I was really disappointed.

"I had really tried to focus a lot more, and that was a careless performance and shouldn't have happened, so maybe it was good for me in a way.

"I would like to play her again; I think it would be a good test for me.

"I was actually up in that match, even considering I didn't play that well, so that's why I was disappointed that I lost and really lost my concentration at the end.

"But in a way it helped me; I've really put up my level in the last three days."

Wejnert said she was pleased with her performance today, and was looking forward to tomorrow's final.

"Yeah, it was a great match and I was playing well, so hopefully I will keep it up for tomorrow," Wejnert said.

"I've had some very tough matches and I'm playing well, so hopefully I will keep going."

The 16-year-old has been the stand-out performer this week in the play-off, with five consecutive wins over older opponents.

Wejnert, who pulled out of last week's Optus 18s Australian Girls' Singles Championships, said she would not be intimidated coming up against the more experienced Dokić in the final.

"It's not really important; they're just a normal person and they're beatable - anyone is beatable," she said.

"I'm guessing she's a bit more polished this time, so I'm looking forward to the match."

"I've always wanted to play in the Australian Open, and this is obviously giving me an opportunity to get there."
<<<

Dokić in Australian Open wild-card final (The Sydney Morning Herald/AAP)
>>>
Jelena Dokić has set up a re-match with Queensland junior Monika Wejnert for an Australian Open wild-card spot.

The pair both sailed into Sunday's play-off final with straight-sets victories on Saturday.

Dokić beat Tamworth's Emelyn Starr 6-1 6-1, and Wejnert scored a 6-3 6-4 win over Isabella Holland.

Sixteen-year-old Wejnert inflicted Dokić's only defeat of the play-off tournament earlier in the week when she upset the former World No.4.

Dokić, who said she was anxious to atone for her slip-up in the event, said the key to her two unfussed wins in the past two days was her decision not to rush her game.

"I was taking too many risks considering that I haven't played matches in the last two or three months," she said.

"So I tried to get that under control and get my timing together.

"I'm still not playing to my maximum, and I'm trying to get there slowly.

"I was trying to do it too fast and too soon in the first two matches, and was just making some unnecessary errors.

"After my loss [to Wejnert] in the round robin, I was really disappointed.

"I had really tried to focus a lot more, and that was a careless performance and shouldn't have happened, so maybe it was good for me in a way.

"I would like to play her again; I think it would be a good test for me.

"I was actually up in that match, even considering I didn't play that well so that's why I was disappointed that I lost, and really lost my concentration at the end.

"But in a way it helped me; I've really put up my level in the last three days."

Dokić said were she to win the wildcard play-off, she would go into her first round in next month's Australian Open on a high.

"If I can win here, it would be a huge step for me, just considering the confidence that you gain."
<<<

-------------------------
Wild-card play-off: Final (Sunday 21st December 2008)
-------------------------

+ Jelena Dokić [EF] d. Monika Wejnert, 6-7(3) 7-5 6-3

First set:
DOKIĆ ___* * *@* *_ 6(3)
WEJNE *@* * *___* T 7(7) (Wejnert had 3 SPs at *5-3)

Second set:
DOKIĆ _@ @*__@* *@ 7
WEJNE @ @__*@__*__ 5

Third set:
DOKIĆ *@___@*@* 6
WEJNE __@*@____ 3

DOKIC FIGHTBACK EARNS WILD-CARD SPOT [Teletext 495->496] (Sunday 21st December 2008)
>>>
Dokić earns wild-card spot [Teletext 496]

Jelena Dokić secured a wild-card place in the Australian Open after coming from behind to beat Monika Wejnert.

Wejnert, 16, won the opening set on a tiebreak at Melbourne Park, but Dokić hit back from a break down in the second to win 6-7 (3/7) 7-5 6-3.

She said: "I think the nerves set the whole match for me today, and straight away from the beginning, they were there and didn't let go until the third set."
<<<

Dokić wins wild card at Australian Open (AP)
>>>
Former Wimbledon semi-finalist Jelena Dokić won a wild-card spot at next month's Australian Open by beating Monika Wejnert 6-7(3) 7-5 6-3 in a play-off on Sunday.

The 25-year-old Dokić - a former No.4 in 2002 - fell behind 0-3 in the opening set, but recovered for the win in a play-off organised by Tennis Australia to allocate the spots for local players.

She will now attempt to qualify for tune-up tournaments in Brisbane and Hobart before taking her place in the main draw at Melbourne Park beginning on 19th January.

"I don't have to worry about the Australian Open now," Dokić said. "I came into here wanting to play qualifying, but to be in the main draw gives me two tournaments before the Open to play."

A series of injuries and personal problems - many of them involving her father Damir - accompanied Dokić's ranking plummet to #617 in 2006.

But she won three ITF titles this year, and has improved her ranking to #179: her first time inside the top 200 in four years.

Dokić moved to Australia with her family in 1994, but renounced her former home in 2001, and took up citizenship in her native Serbia. She decided to play again for Australia in 2006.

She was a semi-finalist at Wimbledon in 2000, losing in straight sets to Lindsay Davenport, but made bigger headlines there the year before when, as a 16-year-old qualifier, she beat No.1 Martina Hingis in the first round.

Dokić, who has five career WTA singles-titles, said she no longer speaks to her father, who has been kicked out of the US Open, Wimbledon and other tournaments for volatile outbursts. When the family left Australia, Damir Dokić also implied that the Australian Open draw was rigged against his daughter.
<<<

Dokić wins Australian Open wild card
By Rob O'Gorman (www.australianopen.com)
>>>
Jelena Dokić has secured a wild card into Australian Open 2009 after beating teenager Monika Wejnert 6-7(3) 7-5 6-3 in the Wildcard Play-off women's final at Melbourne Park today.

The 16-year-old Wejnert showed composure well beyond her years throughout the epic encounter, but ultimately came up short as the more experienced Dokić held sway in the final set.

Dokić, who lost to Wejnert earlier in the week during the round-robin stage, said she felt nervous before the match, and was relieved to come away with the win.

"She came in today with absolutely no pressure; she's played well all week, and she's beaten everybody, so the pressure was on me to beat her today," Dokić said.

"I lost to her in the group, so I really felt nervous going out there, and the conditions were really, really difficult the first two sets, so I'm happy to have come through; but it was not an easy match; it was not a pretty match, but I did what I had to do."

"I think the nerves set the whole match for me today, and straight away from the beginning, they were there and kind of didn't let go until the third set."

In a high-quality affair, Wejnert raced to a 4-1 lead in the opening set, and held three set-points at 5-4 before Dokić broke back to force the set into a tiebreak. Wejnert showed plenty of composure to win the tiebreak 7/3 and claim the first set.

In the second set, Wejnert scored a break of serve to lead 4-3 before Dokić broke straight back to level the set at 4-4.

Wejnert then served a double fault on break-point to hand Dokić the second set 7-5.

In the third set, Dokić saved a break point at 2-3, and then stormed away to take the set 6-3 and secure a main-draw spot in the Australian Open 2009.

"I played a good game there at 3-2, and just never looked back from there, just played three really, really good games," Dokić said.

"I don't have to worry about the Australian Open now. I came into here wanting to play qualifying, but to be in the main draw gives me two tournaments before the Open to play, which is extra practice, which is good."

Wejnert said she was disappointed to fall short in the third set, but pleased with her effort in the tournament.

"Definitely it's a bit of a disappointment, obviously, but I played really well and I felt my game's improving, so I really got out what I came for," Wejnert said.
<<<

--
Dr. Andrew Broad

andrewbroad
Jan 12th, 2009, 08:07 AM
===============
AUSTRALIAN OPEN (Melbourne, Australia; outdoor hard (Plexicushion); Major)
=============== http://www.australianopen.com/

I am devastated to report that Maria Sharapova has pulled out of the Australian Open. It's bad enough whenever a member of my Eternal Fanship misses a Major, but to lose one when she's the defending champion feels like losing a limb!

Maria hasn't played since Montréal 2008 due to her right-shoulder injury. She underwent arthroscopic surgery on 15th October 2008 to fix the problem, and apparently it has, but she is not yet match-fit, and it would have been a disservice to the brilliant Maria who carved up the competition at the Australian Open 2008 if the error-strewn one that lost to Alla Kudryavtseva on 26th June 2008 had shown up! ;-)

Just over seven months after she lost the #1 ranking, Maria will drop from #9 to around #14 (her lowest since she won Wimbledon 2004) as she will be losing 2000 ranking-points from her current total of 5030. Worse still, by May she will have gone 16 months without reaching a Major quarter-final. :-(

I wish Maria a full recovery in time for the year's other Majors, if not much sooner...

--
Dr. Andrew Broad

--------
Articles (Sunday 11th January 2009)
--------

SHARAPOVA TO MISS AUSTRALIAN OPEN [CEEFAX 480->485]
>>>
Sharapova to miss Australian Open [CEEFAX 485]

Defending champion Maria Sharapova has been forced to pull out of the Australian Open with a shoulder-injury.

The 21-year-old is taking longer than expected to recover from an operation, and said she was "very sorry" to miss out on defending her title.

"My shoulder is doing great, but I just started training a few weeks ago. I am just not near the level I need to be to compete at the top level," she said.

The first Major tournament of 2009 starts in Melbourne on 19th January.
<<<

SHARAPOVA WILL MISS AUSTRALIAN OPEN [Teletext 495->496]
>>>
Sharapova misses defence [Teletext 496]

Defending champion Maria Sharapova has been forced to withdraw from the upcoming Australian Open due to injury.

The Russian, 23, has not played since Montréal in August because of a nagging shoulder-complaint, but had hoped to be ready for the year's first Major.

She said: "My shoulder is doing great, but I just started training a few weeks ago, and am not near the level I need to be to compete at the highest levels."
<<<

MARIA WITHDRAWS FROM AUSTRALIAN OPEN
http://www.mariasharapova.com/
1/11/2009 3:00:00 AM
>>>
Australian Open 2008 champion Maria Sharapova will not defend her title at Melbourne Park next week.

Sharapova has advised tournament-officials that she is withdrawing from the event.

"I am very sorry to announce that I am not going to be able to defend my title at this year's Australian Open," Sharapova explained. "My shoulder is doing great, but I just started training a few weeks ago, and I am just not near the level I need to be to compete at the highest levels."

Sharapova dominated the Major of Asia Pacific in 2008, producing some of the best tennis of her career, not dropping a single set on the way to her third Major.

"The Australian Open is one of my favourite tournaments; they have the best fans in the world, and I am going to miss everything about the tournament. I promise I will see everyone next year," she said.

Sharapova went on to win her first 18 matches of the season, and went on to reclaim her world No.1 ranking in May. A nagging shoulder-injury hampered her progress in the second half of the year, forced her out of the Olympics and the US Open, and ending her season. The last match she played for the year was in Montréal in August.

Tournament-director Craig Tiley said he was disappointed for Sharapova, because he knows how hard she has been working since the injury, and how much she wanted to defend her crown.

"She played some amazing tennis on Rod Laver Arena last year, and has a massive legion of fans in Australia. I know she has been working around the clock to try and get back from the shoulder-injury. In the end time, beat her this year."

"We wish her well with her return to tennis, and look forward to seeing her back in Melbourne next year," Tiley said. "Maria is always welcome here."
<<<

OUT OF AUSTRALIA
http://www.mariasharapova.com/
1/11/2009 2:53:00 AM
>>>
I am very very sad to report that I am just not ready to compete at the level required to win a Grand Slam. I have been working very hard over the past few weeks and my shoulder is doing great, but there is way more preparation and training needed to compete to win my fourth grand slam and I have just ran out of time. If they can move the Australian Open back another 3 weeks, I think I could be ready!! I have very mixed feelings, I am so disappointed and sad that I can't defend my title from last year and at the same time, I am so excited to be back on the tennis court training.

After spending a majority of the last few months in Phoenix/ Scottsdale, it's been nice to spend some time at home with a normal regime of waking up and going to practice. I know that I'm working pretty hard when I need to take little power naps in between practices.

<snip non-tennis-related paragraphs>

On another note, I wanted to let everyone know that I started working with a new Nike design team end of last year and have been working very hard on this years dresses. I cannot wait to play in them and unfortunately will have to debut the Australian dress a little later. There will be six of them altogether, changing colors in between the grand slams. The color palette is stunning and starting in 2010 you will see some really cool graphics.

I want to thank all my fans for their support, especially all my fans in Australia, I promise I will be there next year.
<<<

Sharapova pulls out of Australian Open (Reuters)
(Editing by Nick Mulvenney)
>>>
Reigning Australian Open champion Maria Sharapova has withdrawn from this year's event because of a slower-than-expected recovery from a shoulder-injury.

The Russian said she was making steady progress, but was not fit enough to compete at the tournament, which starts on 19th January.

"I am very sorry to announce that I am not going to be able to defend my title at this year's Australian Open," the world number-nine said in a statement.

"My shoulder is doing great, but I just started training a few weeks ago, and I am just not near the level I need to be to compete at the highest levels."

Sharapova won her first Australian Open title last year when she beat Serbia's Ana Ivanovic in the final at Melbourne Park, but has not played since July 2008.

The 21-year-old won her first 18 matches in 2008 to briefly reclaim the number-one ranking before injury struck at Montréal, forcing her to withdraw from last year's Beijing Olympics and the US Open.

"The Australian Open is one of my favourite tournaments: they have the best fans in the world, and I am going to miss everything about the tournament," Sharapova said.

"I promise I will see everyone next year."

Australian Open officials, who announced on Saturday that they were lifting prize-money to record levels this year, said they were disappointed for Sharapova.

"I know she has been working around the clock to try and get back from the shoulder-injury. In the end, time beat her this year," tournament-director Craig Tiley said.

"We wish her well with her return to tennis, and look forward to seeing her back in Melbourne next year."

Sharapova is the first major casualty for this year's Australian Open, but the fifth champion in the last eight years not to defend his/her singles-title.

André Agassi (2001 winner), Serena Williams (2003), Justine Henin-Hardenne (2004) and Marat Safin (2005) also missed the first Major of the year because of injury.

Players have long been demanding that the Australian Open, which is traditionally held in the last two weeks of January, be moved back to March to allow them to play in cooler conditions, and enable them to take a longer break between seasons.

Tennis Australia officials did agree to push the 2007 tournament back one week, but later scrapped the plan and reverted to the original dates.
<<<

'08 champ Sharapova withdraws from Aussie Open (TENNIS.com)
>>>
Defending champion Maria Sharapova has withdrawn from the Australian Open due to her slower-than-expected recovery following a shoulder-injury.

Sharapova advised tournament-officials on Sunday that she would not be able to defend her title at Melbourne Park beginning on 19th January.

Her Australian Open triumph started an 18-match winning-streak last season, enabling the Russian to briefly reclaim her No.1 ranking in May. However, the shoulder-injury hampered her progress in the second half of the year, forcing her out of the Beijing Olympics and the US Open and ending her season.

"I am very sorry to announce that I am not going to be able to defend my title at this year's Australian Open," Sharapova said in a statement. "My shoulder is doing great, but I just started training a few weeks ago, and I am just not near the level I need to be to compete at the highest levels."

Australian Open tournament-director Craig Tiley said he was disappointed for Sharapova, who beat Ana Ivanovic of Serbia in the 2008 final.

"She played some amazing tennis on Rod Laver Arena last year, and has a massive legion of fans in Australia," Tiley said. "I know she has been working around the clock to try and get back from the shoulder-injury. In the end, time beat her this year."

Serena Williams, who beat Samantha Stosur in three tough sets at the Sydney International on Sunday, said she was aware of Sharapova's ongoing shoulder-concerns.

"I know she's been dealing with some injuries," Williams said. "She's been having a tough time. Everyone has tough injuries."

Asked if she'd miss the challenge of playing Sharapova in Melbourne, Williams said: "I'm focused on the rest of the people and the rest of the draw."

"I think my major threat is like you see people today like Sam Stosur in that first-round match, who are playing unbelievable and they want to do their best."
<<<

Sharapova Out Of Australian Open
By Tennis Week
>>>
Maria Sharapova has timed out of the Australian Open.

The reigning Australian Open champion announced today she has withdrawn from the Melbourne Major, which begins on 19th January, because she needs more training-time after recovering from the moderate tear in her rotator-cuff tendon she suffered last spring. She is the second former top-ranked Major champion to withdraw from the Australian Open, joining Lindsay Davenport, who is pregnant with her second child.

"I am very very sad to report that I am just not ready to compete at the level required to win a Grand Slam [sic]. I have been working very hard over the past few weeks, and my shoulder is doing great, but there is way more preparation and training needed to compete to win my fourth Grand Slam [sic], and I have just run out of time," Sharapova said in a post on her website MariaSharapova.com. "If they can move the Australian Open back another three weeks, I think I could be ready!! I have very mixed feelings: I am so disappointed and sad that I can't defend my title from last year, and at the same time, I am so excited to be back on the tennis-court training."

It marks the second straight Major event the former World No.1 will miss. Sharapova pulled out of the 2008 US Open last August, snapping her streak of 23 straight Major tournament-appearances.

Sharapova said she has been on court training regularly.

"After spending a majority of the last few months in Phoenix/Scottsdale, it's been nice to spend some time at home with a normal regime of waking up and going to practice," Sharapova said. "I know that I'm working pretty hard when I need to take little power-naps in between practices."

When she pulled out of the Olympics and the US Open in August, Sharapova said her doctor told her she had been playing with a moderate rotator-cuff tendon tear since April.

"I met with Dr. David Altchek, who is the premier shoulder-doctor in the world. He looked at all my tests from April and today, and informed me that I have been playing with a moderate tear in my rotator-cuff tendon since April," Sharapova said. "He actually couldn't believe that I've been playing this long with this injury. You can imagine that I was not very thrilled to hear that my medical team did not see this tear in my shoulder back in April. The good news is that it didn't get much worse since April, but we could have started the healing-time back then instead of now."

The injury did not require surgery. [False - Maria underwent arthroscopic surgery on 15th October 2008.]

Playing her first match since her second-round setback at Wimbledon, the then-third-ranked Sharapova served 17 double faults in squeaking by 56th-ranked Marta Domachowska 7-5 5-7 6-2 in a two-hour, 55-minute struggle in Montréal last July.

Sharapova, who received treatment on her right shoulder twice in the match, withdrew from the Rogers Cup after the match. She has not played since.

Injuries stalled Sharapova's season in recent months after a stirring start to the season in which she captured her third career Major championship at the Australian Open, beating then world No.1 Justine Henin, and dispatching future No.1 Ana Ivanovic in the final to claim the Melbourne Major.

The three-time Major champion went on a torrid tear to start the 2008 season. Sharapova posted a 21:1 record and captured titles in three of her first four tournaments: the Australian Open, Doha and Amelia Island. In addition, she reached the Indian Wells semi-finals. However, her strained serving-shoulder and a viral illness have slowed her progress.

Last season, Sharapova pulled out of the Dubai Tennis Championships, the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami, and the German Open in Berlin due to illness or her shoulder-injury. She withdrew from her scheduled semi-final in Rome against Jelena Jankovic, citing a strained left calf before pulling the plug on her season with the shoulder-injury.
<<<

Piotr'ek
Jan 12th, 2009, 10:17 AM
Hey Andrew, which day womens qualies will start ?

hugo2004
Jan 12th, 2009, 11:05 PM
wednesday the 14

andrewbroad
Jan 13th, 2009, 11:15 PM
Hey Andrew, which day womens qualies will start ?

The women's qualifying starts on Thursday 15th January (only the men play on Wednesday), and my tournament-preview on Sunday will include a round-up of the women's qualifying.

andrewbroad
Jan 18th, 2009, 10:54 PM
===============
AUSTRALIAN OPEN (Melbourne, Australia; outdoor hard (Plexicushion); Major)
=============== http://www.australianopen.com/
Contents
--------

1. Photos
2. UK TV-alert
3. Notable absentees
4. Qualifying
5. First-round draw
6. Lucie Šafářová preview
7. Vera Zvonarëva preview
8. Daniela Hantuchová preview
9. Jelena Dokić preview
10. Anna Chakvetadze preview
11. Nicole Vaidišová preview
12. Andrew's wishes
13. Order of Play for Monday

---------
1. Photos
---------

Jelena Dokić practising:
http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/news/galleries/2009-01-17/200901171232119992546.html

I wanted to post many more links here, but I don't have time both to catch up with photos and to get this preview out before the start of play. I've seen a lot of photos of Ana Ivanović practising in the last few days, and also some of Daniela Hantuchová, Anna Chakvetadze, Marion Bartoli, Dominika Cibulková, Nathalie Dechy and Jelena Janković.

Where to look at many players:
* http://www.tennis.com/photogallery/photogallery.aspx?pgid=1
* http://sports.yahoo.com/ten/gallery
* http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/tennis/photos.html
* http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/news/photos/

Where to search for specific players:
* http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/bios/indexw.html
* http://news.yahoo.com/
* Getty Images

--------------
2. UK TV-alert
--------------

The evening-sessions on Rod Laver Arena will be televised on BBCi from 08:25 GMT each day of the tournament (digital viewers press Red or select the appropriate Freeview-channel: it could be either 301 or 302).

This coverage will consist of the women's match on the evening-session of the Rod Laver Arena (on days that there is one), followed by the men's match, followed by recorded coverage of these matches (or Andy Murray's match) on a continuous loop.

Additionally, all Andy Murray's matches will be televised live on either BBC 1 or BBC 2 (his first match is on Tuesday). I think it's quite possible that bits of other matches might be shown in these programmes if Murray's match starts late or finishes early, as was occasionally the case when the BBC used to do this for Tim Henman.

Other Australian Open coverage on BBC television:
* Saturday 24th January: highlights on BBC 1 (13:00 to 14:30 GMT);
* Saturday 31st January: highlights of Women's Singles final on BBC 2 (13:00 to 14:00 GMT);
* Sunday 1st February: Men's Singles final live on BBC 2 (from 08:30 GMT).

The Women's Singles final will be on the Rod Laver Arena evening-session for the first time this year, therefore it will be live on BBCi.

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/6102132.stm

--------------------
3. Notable absentees
--------------------

#9 Maria Sharapova [EF] (recovering from right-shoulder surgery)
#20 Katarina Srebotnik (left-Achilles injury)
#29 Li,Na (right-knee injury)
#195 Michaëlla Krajíček [DF] (left-ankle injury)
#320 Tatiana Golovin [DF] (hasn't played since May 2008 due to back-injury)
#586 Romana Tabaková [DF] (too low)
#725 Iroda Tulyaganova [EF] (hasn't played since May 2008 due to lower-back and left-wrist injuries)

It looks like Australian Open 2000 champion Lindsay Davenport, who is pregnant again, has retired, as she no longer appears in the rankings despite having played enough tournaments in the last year.

-------------
4. Qualifying
-------------

This section presents my selections - for full results, see
http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/scores/draws/us/


4.1 First round (Thursday 15th January)
---------------

What rocked:
+ Karolina Šprem [DF] d. Anna Tatishvili, 6-2 6-3
+ Yuliana Fedak d. EMILIE LOIT [18], 6-3 3-6 8-6
+ Viktoriya Kutuzova d. Sanda Mamić, 6-0 6-3
+ IOANA RALUCA OLARU [16] d. Olivia Sánchez, 6-4 7-5
+ Olga Puchkova d. Nina Bratchikova, 6-3 6-4
+ MARET ANI [5] d. Chan,Chin-Wei, 6-3 6-2
+ YAN,ZI [8,S] d. Sally Peers [WC], 6-3 7-5
+ VARVARA LEPCHENKO [6] d. Renata Voračová, 6-3 6-1
+ ELENA BALTACHA [19] d. Anastasija Sevastova, 6-3 6-4
+ URSZULA RADWAŃSKA [13] d. Nathalie Vierin, 6-0 6-1

Nice winner, nice loser:
+ Katie O'Brien d. Sandra Záhlavová, 7-5 6-3
+ Kimiko Date Krumm d. Ksenia Pervak, 6-3 6-3

What sucked:
- Zuzana Kučová [s] lt. STÉPHANIE DUBOIS [11], 1-6 6-4 0-6
- Eva Hrdinová lt. Lenka Wienerová, 4-6 3-6
- AIKO NAKAMURA [23,S] lt. Katalin Marosi, 6-7(5) 3-6
- Zuzana Ondrášková lt. Tzipora Obziler, 1-6 0-6
- LUCIE HRADECKÁ [4,S] lt. Ekaterina Ivanova, 7-5 1-6 3-6
- Jelena Pandžić lt. VANIA KING [10], 7-6(4) 1-6 1-6
- Kumiko Iijima [s] lt. Zuzana Kučová, 6-7(5) 3-6

Zuzana is not to be confused with Kristína Kučová: the Selesian who won the Girls' Singles at the US Open 2007!


4.2 Second round (Friday 16th January)
----------------

What rocked:
+ Karolina Šprem [DF] d. ANDREJA KLEPAČ [7], 6-1 6-3
+ Viktoriya Kutuzova d. Alexandra Stevenson, 6-3 6-2
+ Olga Puchkova d. Neuza Silva, 6-4 6-4
+ VARVARA LEPCHENKO [6] d. Martina Müller, 6-4 6-2
+ Katie O'Brien d. JULIE DITTY [3], 3-6 6-3 6-3
+ ELENA BALTACHA [19] d. Carly Gullickson, 5-7 6-0 6-0
+ URSZULA RADWAŃSKA [13] d. Tzipora Obziler, 7-6(0) 6-4

What sucked:
- Yuliana Fedak lt. Chanelle Scheepers, 2-6 3-6
- IOANA RALUCA OLARU [16] lt. Marija Mirković, 3-6 4-6
- YAN,ZI [8,S] lt. Alexandra Panova, 6-7(2) 6-2 7-9

Nice winner, nice loser:
+ Kimiko Date Krumm d. MARET ANI [5], 6-4 4-6 6-0


4.3 Third round (Saturday 17th January)
---------------

What rocked:
+ Karolina Šprem [DF] d. Katalin Marosi, 6-1 6-2
+ Katie O'Brien d. BETINA JOZAMI [21], 6-0 7-6(2)
+ ELENA BALTACHA [19] d. JELENA KOSTANIĆ TOŠIĆ [1], 6-1 6-3
+ Kimiko Date Krumm d. Marija Mirković, 7-5 6-1

Nice winner, nice loser:
+ Viktoriya Kutuzova d. Olga Puchkova, 7-5 7-5

What sucked:
- VARVARA LEPCHENKO [6] lt. Sesil Karatantcheva, 4-6 0-6
- URSZULA RADWAŃSKA [13] lt. STÉPHANIE DUBOIS [11], 4-6 4-6

-------------------
5. First-round draw
-------------------

The draw is very lopsided for me, as I have five members of my Eternal Fanship in the top half, and just one in the bottom half. To be honest, my expectations are very low, as they're all slumping apart from Vera Zvonarëva [7] - and her preparations have been hit by illness this week, although she certainly showed what she is capable of on the big stage by beating four top-seven players to reach the final of the Sony Ericsson Championships!

For me, the draw is highlighted by a mouthwatering but unfortunate first-round match between Vera and Magdaléna Rybáriková, and a potential second-round match between Anna Chakvetadze [17] and Jelena Dokić.

Realistically, Venus Williams [6] is the favourite for the title, as she beat Majorless world #1 Jelena Janković and Vera both 6-2 6-2 at the Hong Kong exhibition.

Elena Dementieva [4] is the second-favourite in my eyes, as she won both Auckland and Sydney. She may be 27, but she has never looked more ready to win a Major (except, perhaps, after the semi-finals of the French and US Opens of 2004). The problem is: she would likely have to beat Venus Williams in the quarter-finals, and then Serena Williams [2] in the semis.

You can never count Serena Williams out after her unbelievable winning of the Australian Open 2007, and she does have the easiest draw of the top eight seeds, but her form at Sydney was far from convincing, as she saved match-points in two matches, then lost 6-3 6-1 to Dementieva.

There are four players who could be #1 on 2nd February, as Dementieva, Serena Williams and Dinara Safina [3] could all usurp Janković [1] by winning the Australian Open.

Safina only has an outside shot, as she lost to Dominika Cibulková in the Hopman Cup final, and her form at Sydney was poor by her own admission, even though she reached the final.

I don't see Janković as a title-contender, as she has bulked up during the off-season, and is struggling to adapt to her new, muscular body, losing her mobility (not to mention the sexy, feminine shoulders that she had! ;)) as a result. She's also been ill in the last fortnight.

Could Ana Ivanović [5] go one better this year? Her pretournament interview was very positive - "I feel like a girl who can actually win this," she said - but she has been slumping since winning the French Open, and even though it seemed she had turned a corner by winning Linz, she then bombed out of the Sony Ericsson Championships, and her form at Brisbane was far from conVINCIng as she saved match-points against Roberta Vinci, then lost 6-3 6-2 to over-the-hill Amélie Mauresmo.


Key
---

[Q] qualifier
[WC] wild card
[LL] lucky loser
[EF] member of my Eternal Fanship
[DF] member of my demi-fanship
[s] Selesian
(* ?x v ?y) I prefer ?x to win
(!) enthusiastic support
(!!) very enthusiastic support!
(my loyalty is to ?x) I like both players, but prefer ?x
(my Reason says ?x, but my Passion says ?y) I prefer ?x in tennis-terms, but want ?y to win because she's more attractive
(my Passion says ?x, but my Reason says ?y) I find ?x more attractive, but want ?y to win because I prefer her game


5.1 Top quarter
---------------

* JELENA JANKOVIĆ [1] v Yvonne Meusburger
* Kirsten Flipkens v Rossana de los Ríos (komaan Kirsten!)
* Viktoriya Kutuzova [Q] v Nathalie Dechy (davai Viktoriya!)
* AI SUGIYAMA [26] v Stéphanie Dubois [Q]

* Lucie Šafářová [EF] v SYBILLE BAMMER [24] (POJĎME LUCIE!!)
* Marina Eraković v Petra Cetkovská (slight preference to Marina)
* Tsvetana Pironkova [DF] v Karolina Šprem [Q,DF] (my Reason says Karolina, but my Passion says Tsvetana)
* MARION BARTOLI [16,DF,S] v Melanie South (allez Marion!)

* Yaroslava Shvedova v NADIA PETROVA [10] (davai Yari!)
* Sania Mirza [DF] v Marta Domachowska (my loyalty is to Sania)
* Monika Wejnert [WC] v Karin Knapp (go Monika!)
* ÁGNES SZÁVAY [23] v Galina Voskoboeva

* MARIA KIRILENKO [27,DF] v Sara Errani (davai Maria!)
* Monica Niculescu [s] v Katie O'Brien [Q] (my Passion says Katie, but my Reason says Monica)
* Maria Elena Camerin v Edina Gallovits (forza Maria Elena!)
* VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF] v Magdaléna Rybáriková [DF] (my loyalty is to VERA)


5.2 Second quarter
------------------

* Alla Kudryavtseva v DINARA SAFINA [3] (Kud is the lesser of two evils)
* Aravane Rezaï v Ekaterina Makarova (allez Aravane!)
* Patricia Mayr v Julia Schruff [Q]
* Kimiko Date Krumm [Q] v KAIA KANEPI [25] (ganbatte Kimiko!)

* DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [19,EF] v Casey Dell'Acqua (POĎME DANIELA!!)
* Mathilde Johansson v Jill Craybas (allez Mathilde!)
* Andrea Petković v Kathrin Wörle [Q]
* ALIZÉ CORNET [15] v Mariya Koryttseva (allez Alizé!)

* CAROLINE WOZNIACKI [11] v Shahar Pe'er (my loyalty is to Caroline)
* Virginia Ruano Pascual v Mariana Duque Marino (¡vamos Virginia!)
* Jelena Dokić [WC,EF] v Tamira Paszek (GO JELENA!!)
* ANNA CHAKVETADZE [17,EF] v Anne Keothavong (DAVAI ANNA!!)

* ALISA KLEYBANOVA [29] v Sofia Arvidsson
* Barbora Záhlavova Strýcová v Stéphanie Cohen-Aloro
* Yanina Wickmayer v Alberta Brianti [Q] (komaan Yanina!)
* ANA IVANOVIĆ [5,DF] v Julia Görges (my loyalty is to Ana)


5.3 Third quarter
-----------------

* VENUS WILLIAMS [6] v Angelique Kerber
* Roberta Vinci v Carla Suárez Navarro (forza Roberta!)
* Melanie Oudin [Q] v Akgul Amanmuradova
* María José Martínez Sánchez v TAMARINE TANASUGARN [32]

* ANABEL MEDINA GARRIGUES [21] v Isabella Holland [WC]
* Elena Vesnina v Julie Coin (davai Elena!)
* Jessica Moore [WC] v Christina McHale [WC] (go Jessica!)
* FLAVIA PENNETTA [12,DF] v Mara Santangelo (forza Flavia!)

* Kristina Mladenović [WC] v PATTY SCHNYDER [14]
* Jarmila Gajdošová v Virginie Razzano
* Hsieh,Su-Wei [s] v Chan,Yung-Jan (jia you Su-Wei!)
* DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [18] v Chanelle Scheepers [Q] (poďme Domi!)

* Sabine Lisicki v ALEKSANDRA WOZNIAK [30] (komm jetzt Sabine!)
* Klára Zakopalová v Samantha Stosur (pojďme Klára!)
* Iveta Benešová v Vera Dushevina (pojďme Iveta!)
* ELENA DEMENTIEVA [4] v Kristina Barrois (davai Elena!)


5.4 Bottom quarter
------------------

* Anastasia Rodionova v SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA [8]
* Ayumi Morita [s] v Tatjana Malek (my Passion says Tatjana, but my Reason says Ayumi)
* Nicole Vaidišová [EF] v Séverine Brémond (POJĎME NICOLE!!)
* ALYONA BONDARENKO [31] v Olivia Rogowska [WC] (davai Alyona!)

* ZHENG,JIE [22] v Camille Pin (jia you Jie!)
* Sorana Cîrstea v Melinda Czink (hai Sorana!)
* Ekateryna Bychkova v Lourdes Domínguez Lino (davai Ekateryna)
* Kateryna Bondarenko v AGNIESZKA RADWAŃSKA [9]

* VICTORIA AZARENKA [13] v Petra Kvitová
* Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova v Tathiana Garbin
* Elena Baltacha [Q] v Anna-Lena Grönefeld (go Elena!)
* Olga Govortsova v AMÉLIE MAURESMO [20] (davai Olga!)

* Peng,Shuai [s] v FRANCESCA SCHIAVONE [28] (jia you Shuai!)
* Sesil Karatantcheva [Q] v Nuria Llagostera Vives
* Gisela Dulko [DF] v Anastasiya Yakimova (¡vamos Gisela!)
* SERENA WILLIAMS [2] v Yuan,Meng [WC]

-------------------------
6. Lucie Šafářová preview
-------------------------

Lucie is coming off an injury-plagued 2008 in which she went 20:23, although her year had one very bright highlight: her fourth WTA singles-title: at Forest Hills!

But I'm hoping that 2009 will be more like 2007 for Lucie, when she reached her first Major quarter-final at the Australian Open, the final of Paris with a win over world #1 Justine Henin, and upset Amélie Mauresmo in the third round of the French Open as well as the fourth round of the Australian Open.

2009 started encouragingly for Lucie at Brisbane, where she beat #581 Isabella Holland 6-4 6-3 and #51 Samantha Stosur 6-4 6-4 to reach the quarter-finals, where she led 5-1* and had a set-point in the first set before losing 7-6 6-4 to eventual champion Victoria Azarenka.

Lucie had to play her first qualifying-match for Sydney the day after her Brisbane quarter-final: she retired with a leg-injury when trailing Yuan,Meng 1-6 2-3. "I think it will be okay in three to four days, and I will be 100% in Melbourne," she said.

P.S. I love Lucie's new profile-photo at www.sonyericssonwtatour.com (http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com)! :hearts:


6.1 First round
---------------

Oh dear! Lucie has drawn Sybille Bammer [24], whom she trails 0:4 head to head! The last of these meetings was 7-5 6-4 in the third round of the Olympics - one of Lucie's better 2008-results. :(

The now-28-year-old Bammer broke through in 2007 with a win over Serena Williams at Hobart - just before Williams won the Australian Open! Bammer won Pattaya City and compiled an impressive 45:25 record on the WTA Tour in 2007.

2008 was much less impressive for Bammer: only 27:25. She did upset world #2 Svetlana Kuznetsova to reach the quarter-finals of Doha, and reached the quarter-finals of the Olympics with the aforementioned win over Lucie - having beaten #15 Patty Schnyder in the previous round. She then reached her first Major quarter-final at the US Open by beating #13 Marion Bartoli.

Bammer comes into the Australian Open on a 3-match losing-streak: she lost to Ana Ivanović at Linz 2008, to Melanie Oudin at Québec City, and started 2009 with a 6-4 6-3 loss to #10 Agnieszka Radwańska at Sydney. So it's Lucie's job to extend this losing-streak to 4 matches!

-------------------------
7. Vera Zvonarëva preview
-------------------------

Vera comes into the Australian Open 2009 on the back of the best year of her career, as she enjoyed a consistent 2008 (compiling a 65:22 win/loss record - as many match-wins as world #1 Jelena Janković), then stepped up to reach the final of the Sony Ericsson Championships by beating four top-seven players!

Vera started 2009 by leading Team Russia to the final of the Hong Kong exhibition. In her semi-final rubber, she beat Zheng,Jie 7-6 6-4. In the final, she beat Gisela Dulko 6-4 0-6 6-3 in one rubber, but lost 6-2 6-2 to Venus Williams in her other rubber as Team Americas beat Team Russia 4:1.

Vera then pulled out of Sydney with a gastrointestinal illness. From what I remember of players having gastrointestinal illnesses in the past, I'm not too worried about Vera missing the Australian Open, but obviously her preparation has not been ideal.


7.1 Articles
------------

A capsule-look at top women in the Australian Open
By The Associated Press (Saturday 17th January 2009)
>>>
VERA ZVONARËVA (7)

Age: 24
Country: Russia
2008 Match-Record: 65:22
2008 Singles-Titles: 2
Career Singles-Titles: 7
Major Titles: 0 (Best Finish: QF - French Open 2003)
Last 5 Australian Opens: 1r 2008, 4r 2007, 1r 2006, 2r 2005, 4r 2004

Topspin:
* Reached a season-high eight finals in 2008, but only collected two titles.
* Among her final-defeats was the season-ending WTA championship, helping her to a year-end top-ten finish for the first time.
* Won Bronze at the Olympics - part of a Russian sweep of the medals - and helped Russia win the Fed Cup.
* Withdrew from her first-round match in Australia last year in the second set because of a left-ankle sprain.
* Can be prone to emotional outbursts.
* Has never advanced beyond the last eight at a Major.
<<<

2009 Australian Open - Women's Breakdown - Top 10 and Others to Watch
Nick Bollettieri (Friday 16th January 2009)
http://nickstennispicks.com/2009/01/15/2009-australian-open-womens-breakdown-top-10-and-others-to-watch/
>>>
Vera Zvonarëva (RUS)
Height: 5'7"
Weight: 130 lbs.
D.O.B.: 7th September 1984
Turned Pro: September 2000
Plays: Right-handed (two-handed backhand)
Current Ranking: #7
2008 Titles: Prague and Guangzhou
2008 Australian Open: 1st Round

Nick's Thoughts:

Zvonarëva is a tough competitor, and competes hard in each and every single one of her matches. Like so many others, though, she struggles on the big stage. She has only been to the quarter-finals of a Major once - back in 2003 at the French Open - and has been to the fourth round of the Aussie Open twice.

Last year, she got bounced in the opening round by Ai Sugiyama, and she doesn't want to let that happen again. It's pretty simple if you ask me; she cannot think about the past, and must focus on the here and now. It's all about confidence for Zvonarëva!
<<<

^What Nick doesn't mention is that Vera retired against Sugiyama, having sprained her left ankle just before the Australian Open 2008.


7.2 First round
---------------

Vera has a mouthwatering match with the gorgeous Magdaléna Rybáriková. It's unfortunate that it's a first round, as I really wanted Magda to win a couple of matches here, but the draw has made that wish incompatible with my Eternal-Fanship loyalty to Vera.

The only time I've seen Magda play was in the final of the Girls' Singles at Wimbledon 2006, which was on BBCi. Magda was up against a 15-year-old Caroline Wozniacki, and took the first set with some Daniela Hantuchová-esque play: those backhands down the line, and beautiful backhand drop-volleys. But inexplicably, Magda started slicing her backhands (but staying back), and lost 3-6 6-1 6-3.

Magda has a big serve, and a forehand with a long backswing that can be both a major weapon and an error-source. Since I haven't seen her play since Wimbledon 2006, I don't know whether she has shortened that backswing as I suggested.

I've been waiting since 2005 for Magda to establish herself on the WTA Tour, and at last she is in the process of doing so.

Last year, Magda rose from #279 to #58, winning ITF St. Petersburg-Vsevolozhsk and ITF Patras in March/April 2008, successfully qualifying for the French Open and Wimbledon (where she lost in the second and first rounds of the respective main draws), and posted her career-best result at a Major by reaching the third round of the US Open.

Magda reached her first WTA Tour semi-final at Tashkent 2008, but sadly, on her 20th birthday (4th October), she retired with illness after losing the first set 6-3 to Sorana Cîrstea. Magda finished 2008 with a 48:21 win/loss record.

After a first-round loss at Auckland, Magda reached her second WTA semi-final at Hobart this week, beating world #13 Flavia Pennetta 7-5 6-3 in the second round (her first-ever win over a top-twenty player), and then sinking Melinda Czink 6-0 1-6 7-6 (9/7) in blistering heat, so it's excusable that she lost 6-1 6-3 to Iveta Benešová in the semi-finals the next day (Thursday). Magda just rose to a career-high #50.

After her Hobart semi-final and before the AO draw was made, Magda said: "I'm looking forward to Melbourne now. My best [Major] performance was [the] US Open third round, so now I will aim further, but it's going to be very hard."

Vera has never played Magda before. They were due to meet in the second round of Prague 2008, but sadly that match didn't even get on court, as Magda withdrew with a low-back strain. Vera, of course, went on to win that tournament.

I expect Vera to have the edge in this match, purely because she's coming off such a great 2008. But from Magda's perspective, it's a good time to play Vera because Magda just reached a semi-final while Vera was sidelined by illness this week. I expect Vera to have a win, but not an easy win.

Prediction: Vera d. Magda 6-7(3) 6-3 6-4.


7.3 Later rounds
----------------

Vera should have an easy second-round match against #101 Maria Elena Camerin or #76 Edina Gallovits.

Vera should meet Maria Kirilenko [27] in the third round, whom she leads 3:0 head to head (6-2 6-3, 6-2 6-0 and 6-4 6-4). But #39 Sara Errani is liable to upset Kirilenko, whom she leads 2:0 head to head; Errani is also coming off an impressive run to the semi-finals at Brisbane that included a win over #21 Daniela Hantuchová.

It's difficult to predict whom Vera might meet in the fourth round, as Nadia Petrova [10] is recovering from viral meningitis and lost 6-2 6-4 to Alizé Cornet in the first round of Sydney, while Ágnes Szávay [23], who suffered a sophomore-slump last year, lost 6-3 7-5 to Anne Keothavong in the first round of Hobart. It could just as easily be an unseeded player such as Yaroslava Shvedova, Marta Domachowska or Karin Knapp.

Vera could meet Majorless world #1 Jelena Janković in the quarter-finals, although Janković is struggling to adapt to her new muscular body: she's not moving as well, and has also been ill recently. Janković leads Vera 6:4 head to head, with Vera winning their last meeting: at the Sony Ericsson Championships 2008. My dream is for Lucie Šafářová to come through to that quarter-final instead of Janković.

With the Williams-sisters and on-form Elena Dementieva safely tucked away in the bottom half, Vera's likely semi-final opponents would be Dinara Safina [3], Ana Ivanović [5] or even future legend Caroline Wozniacki [11], although my dream is for Daniela Hantuchová [19] to reach the semi-finals, just as she did last year.

-----------------------------
8. Daniela Hantuchová preview
-----------------------------

Daniela is coming off a 2008 in which she reached her first Major semi-final at the Australian Open, but a stress-fracture in her right heel sidelined her for ten weeks from April to June. She came back at Wimbledon, but had lost her fitness, and went 10:13 for the rest of the year (overall 22:20 for 2008), dropping from #9 at the end of 2007 to her current #21.

Daniela started 2009 with a 6-7(1) 6-4 6-0 to #39 Sara Errani in the first round of Brisbane, which implies that she has not regained her fitness during the off-season. Daniela led 7-6 4-4* with break-points, then lost every single game left in the match!

At Sydney, Daniela trounced #72-ranked qualifier Klára Zakopalová 6-3 6-0, made a 3-1* start to her second-round match against #10 Agnieszka Radwańska, but lost 6-3 7-5 - a far cry from her 6-2 6-2 thrashing of Radwańska in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open 2008!


8.1 First round
---------------

Daniela starts against #57 Casey Dell'Acqua, whom she's never played before.

The Australian had a famous run at last year's Australian Open, where she upset #15 Patty Schnyder 4-6 7-5 8-6 in the second round and #18 Amélie Mauresmo 3-6 6-4 6-4 in the third round. She also beat #14 Nicole Vaidišová 6-1 3-6 6-4 en route to the fourth round of Indian Wells, #9 Marion Bartoli 6-7 6-3 6-2 en route to the third round of the French Open, and #12 Patty Schnyder 6-4 3-6 6-1 en route to the third round of Wimbledon.

But despite these fine results at the Majors, Dell'Acqua barely broke even with a 19:19 win/loss record for 2008, and didn't play from mid-September to the end of the year because of shoulder-injuries.

Nick Bollettieri may think Dell'Acqua can upset Daniela, but Dell'Acqua has struggled to handle the home-pressure in Australia this time: her only match of 2009 has been a 6-1 6-2 loss to #38 Sara Errani in the first round of Sydney, which does little to frighten me as a Daniela-fan!


8.1.1 Article
-------------

2009 Australian Open - Nick's Picks - Women's Singles Round 1
Nick Bollettieri (Friday 16th January 2009)
http://nickstennispicks.com/2009/01/16/2009-australian-open-nicks-picks-womens-singles-round-1/
>>>
Daniela Hantuchová (SVK) vs. Casey Dell'Acqua (AUS)

There is no question that Hantuchová has the strokes to win consistently, but she needs to stay healthy. She comes in ranked #21, but has been as high as #5 in the world.

Dell'Acqua reached the fourth round last year, and will have the fans behind her 100%. This should be good.
<<<

8.2 Second round
----------------

Daniela's second-round opponent would be either #65 Jill Craybas (Daniela leads their head to head 4:0) or, preferably, #87 Mathilde Johansson (0:0).

So I fancy Daniela's chances of reaching the third round (but not as much as I fancy Daniela! ;)).


8.3 Third round
---------------

Daniela's likely third-round opponent is Alizé Cornet [15], who will turn 19 on 22nd January. Daniela beat Cornet 6-4 6-1 in the first round of the Australian Open 2007, and 6-2 7-5 in the second round of the Australian Open 2008, so can she continue this pattern against Cornet in the third round of the Australian Open 2009?

Cornet's impressive 2008, which included a 3-6 6-4 6-4 win over Daniela at New Haven (they are now 2:1 head to head), suggests otherwise, although Daniela does have the advantage - and Cornet the disadvantage - that the Australian Open is played on Plexicushion rather than clay!


8.4 Fourth round
----------------

Daniela's likely fourth-round opponent would be the nightmarish Dinara Safina [3], who loves to fight back from the brink of defeat as much as Daniela loves to choke!

The good news is that Daniela won their last three meetings (most recently Sydney 2008) for a 3:2 lead.

The bad news is that Safina was very impressive later in 2008: she won Berlin with wins over world #1 Justine Henin, #6 Serena Williams and #9 Elena Dementieva; she reached the French Open final with wins over new #1 Maria Sharapova and #8 Elena Dementieva - both after trailing a set and 2-5, and saving match-points - and #4 Svetlana Kuznetsova before losing to #2 Ana Ivanović. She also won titles at Montréal, Los Angeles and Tokyo, as well as the Olympic Silver Medal.

Safina started 2009 by reaching the Hopman Cup final with her brother Marat Safin - only to be thwarted by Slovak duo Dominika Cibulková and Dominik Hrbatý! Safina then reached the final of Sydney despite being unhappy with her form.

-----------------------
9. Jelena Dokić preview
-----------------------

Ten years ago, Jelena looked like a world #1 in the making. She thrashed Martina Hingis 6-2 6-0 at Wimbledon 1999, Venus Williams 6-1 6-2 at Rome 2000, won five WTA singles-titles and reached a career-high ranking of #4. But then her well-documented family-problems caught up with her, and she fell off the tennis-radar, battling depression and injuries.

2008 was a something of an encouraging turnaround for Jelena, as she compiled a 35:10 win/loss record mainly on the ITF circuit, winning three ITF singles-titles, working her way back to her current ranking of #187. She gained her place at the Australian Open by winning the wild-card play-off tournament in December.

Jelena's 7-6 7-6 loss to Amélie Mauresmo at Brisbane was encouraging, as she hadn't played someone ranked as high as #23 for years. Less encouraging is that she pulled out of Hobart-qualifying after spraining her right Achilles' tendon while practising. "The Australian Open is still 10 days away, so I still have some time, which is good, and I should be all right," she said.

Jelena is at the crossroads of her career, as she has indicated that she might retire if she fails to reestablish herself on the WTA Tour in 2009. So it's very important that she takes advantage of her wild-card opportunities in Australia, otherwise she'll be struggling to get into WTA tournaments and the other three Majors later in the year.


9.1 First round
---------------

Jelena starts against #80-ranked 18-year-old Tamira Paszek, whom she's never played before.

Paszek has amazing groundstrokes, and was very impressive as a 16-year-old in 2007. She took a set off Maria Sharapova at Birmingham, and reached a career-high ranking of #35 after reaching the fourth round of Wimbledon with wins over #17 Tatiana Golovin and #13 Elena Dementieva; she also reached the fourth round of the US Open with a win over #12 Patty Schnyder.

Paszek suffered a sophomore-slump in 2008, with a win/loss record of 16:18 after her 33:18 of 2007. The nadir was a 6-match losing-streak that included a 6-1 6-0 loss to Tamarine Tanasugarn at Birmingham. She looked so fat then, and yet two months later, she upset world #1 Ana Ivanović at Montréal and looked quite delectable!

Paszek reached the final of Bali 2008 with wins over #16 Flavia Pennetta and #11 Daniela Hantuchová, although she was hammered 6-3 6-0 by Schnyder in that final. Paszek finished 2008 on a 3-match losing-streak, and it's Jelena's job to extend that to 4 matches here.

It's a difficult match to call, as Paszek has been so up and down in the last year. If she's down on Monday, then the resurgent Jelena definitely has a chance.


9.2 Second round
----------------

If Jelena beats Paszek, she should be facing a mouthwatering second-round match with Anna Chakvetadze [17], although having to lose one of them in the second round feels like a dagger in my heart!

Anna slumped from #6 to #18 in 2008 following a traumatic ordeal in December 2007 in which she was tied up by housebreakers, although she did manage to win Paris and reach the New Haven final. But her win/loss record was only 28:23.

Anna beat Sania Mirza 6-4 6-4 as Team Russia reached the final of the Hong Kong exhibition, and her 7-6 6-3 loss to Venus Williams was encouraging, considering that Williams thrashed #1 Jelena Janković and #7 Vera Zvonarëva both 6-2 6-2 in that tournament!

Less encouraging was Anna's 3-6 6-4 6-4 loss to Gisela Dulko in another rubber of the Hong Kong final, and then her 7-6 1-6 7-5 loss to #44 Carla Suárez Navarro in the first round of Hobart - after leading 5-2 in the third set!

Despite Anna's struggles, I think she would have too much game for Jelena at this stage of Jelena's comeback (they've never played each other before). Anna has groundstrokes of flairsome power like Jelena, but plays with greater variety, has better defensive skills, and is so deceptive! For Anna, it's just a matter of cutting out the unforced errors that plagued her in 2008.


9.3 Third round
---------------

Should Jelena upset the odds to reach her first Major third round since Wimbledon 2003, her likely opponent would be 18-year-old Caroline Wozniacki [11].

After a surprising loss to #76 Elena Vesnina at Auckland, Wozniacki had a very impressive Sydney, thrashing #19 Dominika Cibulková 6-1 6-2 and #110 Melanie South 6-2 6-0. She then had three match-points against Serena Williams before losing 6-7 6-3 7-6 in the quarter-finals.

I saw a few points of that match at www.sonyericssonwtatour.com (http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com). The way Wozniacki stranded Williams with a pinpoint crosscourt forehand to set up a down-the-line forehand winner suggests great things for Wozniacki in 2009!

Wozniacki has been tipped to upset Ana Ivanović [5] in the fourth round, so it's not looking too optimistic for Jelena in the third round!

----------------------------
10. Anna Chakvetadze preview
----------------------------

Anna is coming off a 2008 in which she slumped from #6 to #18 following a traumatic ordeal in December 2007 in which she was tied up by housebreakers, although she did manage to win Paris, and reach the semi-finals of Rome, fourth round of Wimbledon and the New Haven final. But her win/loss record was only 28:23.

Anna beat Sania Mirza 6-4 6-4 as Team Russia reached the final of the Hong Kong exhibition, and her 7-6 6-3 loss to Venus Williams there was encouraging, considering that Williams thrashed #1 Jelena Janković and #7 Vera Zvonarëva both 6-2 6-2 in that tournament!

Less encouraging was Anna's 3-6 6-4 6-4 loss to Gisela Dulko in another rubber of the Hong Kong final (Team Americas beat Team Russia 4:1), and then her 7-6 1-6 7-5 loss to #44 Carla Suárez Navarro in the first round of Hobart - after leading 5-2 in the third set!

I feel that 2009 is the time for Anna to reestablish herself as the force that reached #5 in the world after reaching the US Open 2007 semi-finals. Her kind of class is permanent, her slump isn't a career-wrecking slump like some in women's tennis, and at the age of 21, she still has plenty of time to get back on track. Technically, it's mainly a matter of cutting out the unforced errors that plagued her in 2008.


10.1 Article
------------

2009 Australian Open - Women's Breakdown - Top 10 and Others to Watch
Nick Bollettieri (Friday 16th January 2009)
http://nickstennispicks.com/2009/01/15/2009-australian-open-womens-breakdown-top-10-and-others-to-watch/
>>>
Anna Chakvetadze (RUS)
Height: 5'7"
Weight: 128 lbs.
D.O.B.: 5th March 1987
Turned Pro: 2003
Current Ranking: #18
Plays: Right-handed (two-handed backhand)
2008 Titles: Hobart, s'Hertogenbosch, Cincinnati, and Stanford
2008 Australian Open: Quarter-finals

Nick's Thoughts:

Chakvetadze experienced some crazy stuff off the court, which I am sure contributed to her so-so year in 2008. She has to control her emotions, focus on her game, and believe she can do it. She has been as high as #6 in the world, so the talent is there. Hopefully we will see the best of her in 2009!
<<<

10.2 First round
----------------

Anna has an interesting first-round match against #53 Anne Keothavong. What makes me nervous is that Keothavong is English, like me. No member of my Eternal Fanship has ever lost to a player from the British Isles, but it's not easy to be surrounded by people and media who believe that Keothavong can beat a slumping Anna! It would be very embarrassing for me if Anna lost after I have told these people that they are wrong.

I'm surprised by the progress that 25-year-old Keothavong has made in the last year. When I watched her play at Wimbledon a few years ago, I never thought she was a world-class talent, but she had an impressive 2008, winning four ITF tournaments (Capriolo, Jounieh, Barnstaple and Kraków). She also played in several WTA tournaments, and reached the third round of the US Open. Her win/loss record for 2008 was 52:28.

Keothavong has also had an impressive start to 2009, reaching the quarter-finals of Auckland with a win over Carla Suárez Navarro (who would beat Anna at Hobart), and advancing by retirement to the semi-finals, where she lost 6-7 6-1 7-5 to Elena Vesnina. She upset #25 Ágnes Szávay 6-3 7-5 in the first round of Hobart, although she lost to #62 Virginie Razzano in the second round.

I'm also surprised to recall that there is a head to head between Anna and Keothavong! They played each other in a couple of ITFs in England in 2003/2004, when Anna was 16: Anna leads 2:0 (6-0 6-4 and 7-5 6-2).

I don't think Keothavong really has the weapons to beat Anna, so it's a matter of whether Anna has the unforced errors to beat herself.


10.2.1 Articles
---------------

Keothavong faces Chakvetadze-test [CEEFAX 485]
>>>
British number-one Anne Keothavong was handed a tough draw in the Australian Open when she was paired against Russian Anna Chakvetadze.

The 21-year-old Russian is seeded 17th at Melbourne Park, while Keothavong is ranked #53 in the world.
<<<

Tough draw for Keothavong and South [Teletext 495->496]
>>>
Keothavong faces Russian [Teletext 496]

British No.1 Anne Keothavong will kick off her Australian Open campaign against Russian Anna Chakvetadze.

If Keothavong, who secured a place in the semi-finals of the ASB Classic last week, sees off the 17th seed, she could face Jelena Dokic in the second round.

Fellow Englishwoman Melanie South will face 16th seed Marion Bartoli, while top seed Jelena Jankovic clashes with Yvonne Meusburger.
<<<

British No.1 Keothavong fancies her chances against Russian
(The Independent, Saturday 17th January 2009)
By Paul Newman in Melbourne
>>>
The Australian Open draw could have been kinder to Anne Keothavong, but the British No.1 will go into her first-round match against Anna Chakvetadze here next week on a high.

Keothavong equalled her best performance by reaching the semi-finals in Auckland last week and, after climbing to a career-high No.53 in the world-rankings, will have no fears about taking on the 21-year-old Russian, who has slipped from No.5 to No.18.

"I'm looking forward to the match," Keothavong said. "I don't think she's been playing her best tennis in the last couple of months. I have nothing to lose, I'm feeling good, and I'm going into the match with a lot of confidence."
<<<

10.3 Second round
-----------------

I hope for a mouthwatering second-round match with Jelena Dokić, although having to lose one of them in the second round feels like a dagger in my heart!

Ten years ago, Jelena looked like a world #1 in the making. She thrashed Martina Hingis 6-2 6-0 at Wimbledon 1999, Venus Williams 6-1 6-2 at Rome 2000, won five WTA singles-titles and reached a career-high ranking of #4. But then her well-documented family-problems caught up with her, and she fell off the tennis-radar, battling depression and injuries.

2008 was a something of an encouraging turnaround for Jelena, as she compiled a 35:10 win/loss record mainly on the ITF circuit, winning three ITF singles-titles, working her way back to her current ranking of #187. She gained her place at the Australian Open by winning the wild-card play-off tournament in December.

Jelena's 7-6 7-6 loss to Amélie Mauresmo at Brisbane was encouraging, as she hadn't played someone ranked as high as #23 for years. Less encouraging is that she pulled out of Hobart-qualifying after spraining her right Achilles' tendon while practising. "The Australian Open is still 10 days away, so I still have some time, which is good, and I should be all right," she said.

Despite Anna's struggles, I think she would have too much for Jelena at this stage of Jelena's comeback. Anna has groundstrokes of flairsome power like Jelena, but plays with greater variety, has better defensive skills, and is so deceptive!

Anna's other potential second-round opponent is #80-ranked 18-year-old Tamira Paszek, whom she leads 2:0 (6-1 7-5 in 4r US Open 2007, and 6-3 6-2 in 2r Miami 2008).

Paszek has amazing groundstrokes, and was very impressive as a 16-year-old in 2007. She took a set off Maria Sharapova at Birmingham, and reached a career-high ranking of #35 after reaching the fourth round of Wimbledon with wins over #17 Tatiana Golovin and #13 Elena Dementieva; she also reached the fourth round of the US Open with a win over #12 Patty Schnyder.

Paszek suffered a sophomore-slump in 2008, with a win/loss record of 16:18 after her 33:18 of 2007. The nadir was a 6-match losing-streak that included a 6-1 6-0 loss to Tamarine Tanasugarn at Birmingham. She looked so fat then, and yet two months later, she upset world #1 Ana Ivanović at Montréal and looked quite delectable!

Paszek reached the final of Bali 2008 with wins over #16 Flavia Pennetta and #11 Daniela Hantuchová, although she was hammered 6-3 6-0 by Schnyder in that final. Paszek finished 2008 on a 3-match losing-streak, and hasn't played so far in 2009.

I'd be pretty confident of Anna beating Paszek, due to the 2:0 head to head and Paszek's slump being much deeper than Anna's. But Paszek is so up and down, so she could be dangerous on an up-day!


10.4 Third round
----------------

The seedings project a third-round match between Anna and 18-year-old Caroline Wozniacki [11]. This is bad news indeed for Anna, as not only does Wozniacki look like a future superstar, she also leads Anna 2:0 head to head (3-6 6-4 6-1 in the New Haven 2008 final, and 2-6 6-1 6-4 at Moscow 2008).

After a surprising loss to #76 Elena Vesnina at Auckland, Wozniacki had a very impressive Sydney, thrashing #19 Dominika Cibulková 6-1 6-2 and #110 Melanie South 6-2 6-0. She then had three match-points against Serena Williams before losing 6-7 6-3 7-6 in the quarter-finals.

I saw a few points of that match at www.sonyericssonwtatour.com (http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com). The way Wozniacki stranded Williams with a pinpoint crosscourt forehand to set up a down-the-line forehand winner suggests great things for Wozniacki in 2009!

Wozniacki has been tipped to upset Ana Ivanović [5] in the fourth round, so it's not looking too optimistic for Anna in the third round!

----------------------------
11. Nicole Vaidišová preview
----------------------------

Nicole is coming off a mainly disastrous 2008, in which she went 19:19 and dropped from #12 to #41 after reaching just one semi-final all year: Sydney. Now that that's come off the rankings, she's dropped even further to #52! :(

Nicole's on-court attitude in 2008 often left much to be desired - at times, it even looked like she was tanking. She changed coaches from her stepfather Aleš Kodat to David Felgate in April, and her relationship with ATP Tour player Radek Štěpánek may also have been a distraction.

Nicole was also hampered by a right-wrist injury in 2008, which is supposedly better now.

Nicole: "It was just a year for me of transition, a lot of changes, and it took a toll. I'm just ready for next year. I took some time off and did a lot of rehab, and I feel as well as I can be."

But things are already going from bad to worse in 2009. At Sydney, Nicole recovered from *1-4 to beat Alla Kudryavtseva 7-6 4-6 7-5, but couldn't do the same against an on-form Elena Vesnina in the second round: 4-6 3-6. Then, in the first round of Hobart, Nicole lost 6-1 6-1 to #131 Mara Santangelo! :eek:

Nicole is always capable of getting her act back together for a Major, though, as we saw at Wimbledon 2008, where she reached her second Wimbledon quarter-final in a row. Grass favours a player with huge weapons, and is more forgiving of impatience than clay or a slow hard court.

Plexicushion could favour Nicole too, as she reached the fourth round of last year's Australian Open with three very impressive sets of statistics over lesser players, then lost to Serena Williams. And she reached her second Major semi-final at the Australian Open 2007, of course, although that was on Rebound Ace.


11.1 First round
----------------

Nicole's first-round opponent is #96 Séverine Brémond, who beat her in their only previous meeting: 7-5 6-3 in the second round of the US Open 2008.

Brémond went on to reach the fourth round of that US Open - her second Major fourth round (she also reached the quarter-finals of Wimbledon 2006).

Brémond didn't have a particularly impressive 2008 apart from that, compiling a 26:20 win/loss record. Looking at her results, the ones that jump out at me are semi-finals at ITF Monzon and ITF Saint-Malo in April, a final at ITF Zagreb in May, a successful qualification for Wimbledon followed by a first-round loss in the main draw, a final at ITF Saint Raphael in October, and a win over #35 Tamarine Tanasugarn in the first round of Québec City.

Since that win, Brémond is on a 3-match losing-streak: #189 Angela Haynes at Québec City, #139 Catalina Castaño at Brisbane 2009, and #97 Camille Pin at Sydney - the last two losses coming in first rounds of qualifying.

So it's a good time for Nicole to avenge her US Open loss to Brémond; unfortunately, after Nicole's unbelievable loss at Sydney, it's also a good time for Brémond to snap her losing-streak! :(


11.2 Later rounds
-----------------

Nicole would likely meet Alyona Bondarenko [31] in the second round - just a solid counterpuncher, whom Nicole beat 6-1 6-4 at Zürich 2007, so it would be Nicole's match to win or lose.

In the third round, Nicole could face her old nemesis Svetlana Kuznetsova [8], whom she trails 0:4 head to head; however, Kuznetsova has suffered an abdominal muscle-injury, and is racing against time to be fit for the Australian Open.

The fourth round could throw up Agnieszka Radwańska [9], and that's as far ahead as I want to look at this stage. Nicole has never played Radwańska, but on Nicole's current form, just looking at Radwańska's run to the Sydney quarter-finals is discouraging enough: she beat #26 Sybille Bammer and #21 Daniela Hantuchová, then only lost 6-2 5-7 6-4 to on-form Elena Dementieva.

-------------------
12. Andrew's wishes
-------------------
12.1 Second round: Top half
---------------------------

+ Kirsten Flipkens d. JELENA JANKOVIĆ [1]
+ Viktoriya Kutuzova [Q] d. AI SUGIYAMA [26]
+ Lucie Šafářová [EF] d. Marina Eraković
+ Tsvetana Pironkova [DF] d. MARION BARTOLI [16,DF,S] (my Reason says Marion, but my Passion says Tsvetana)

+ Sania Mirza [DF] d. Yaroslava Shvedova
+ Monika Wejnert [WC] d. ÁGNES SZÁVAY [23]
+ MARIA KIRILENKO [27,DF] d. Monica Niculescu [s]
+ VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF] d. Maria Elena Camerin

+ Aravane Rezaï d. Alla Kudryavtseva
+ Kimiko Date Krumm [Q] d. Patricia Mayr
+ DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [19,EF] d. Mathilde Johansson
+ ALIZÉ CORNET [15] d. Andrea Petković

+ CAROLINE WOZNIACKI [11] d. Virginia Ruano Pascual
+ Jelena Dokić [WC,EF] d. ANNA CHAKVETADZE [17,EF] (having to lose one of them so early is like a dagger in my heart - sorry, Anna!)
+ Barbora Záhlavova Strýcová d. ALISA KLEYBANOVA [29]
+ ANA IVANOVIĆ [5,DF] d. Yanina Wickmayer


12.2 Second round: Bottom half
------------------------------

+ Roberta Vinci d. VENUS WILLIAMS [6]
+ María José Martínez Sánchez d. Melanie Oudin [Q]
+ Elena Vesnina d. ANABEL MEDINA GARRIGUES [21]
+ FLAVIA PENNETTA [12,DF] d. Jessica Moore [WC]

+ Kristina Mladenović [WC] d. Jarmila Gajdošová
+ DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [18] d. Hsieh,Su-Wei [s]
+ Sabine Lisicki d. Klára Zakopalová
+ Iveta Benešová d. ELENA DEMENTIEVA [4]

+ Ayumi Morita [s] d. Anastasia Rodionova
+ Nicole Vaidišová [EF] d. ALYONA BONDARENKO [31]
+ ZHENG,JIE [22] d. Sorana Cîrstea
+ Ekateryna Bychkova d. Kateryna Bondarenko

+ VICTORIA AZARENKA [13] d. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
+ Olga Govortsova d. Elena Baltacha [Q]
+ Peng,Shuai [s] d. Sesil Karatantcheva [Q]
+ Gisela Dulko [DF] d. SERENA WILLIAMS [2]


12.3 Third-round wishes
-----------------------

+ Viktoriya Kutuzova [Q] d. Kirsten Flipkens
+ Lucie Šafářová [EF] d. Tsvetana Pironkova [DF]
+ Sania Mirza [DF] d. Monika Wejnert [WC]
+ VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF] d. MARIA KIRILENKO [27,DF]

+ Aravane Rezaï d. Kimiko Date Krumm [Q]
+ DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [19,EF] d. ALIZÉ CORNET [15]
+ Jelena Dokić [WC,EF] d. CAROLINE WOZNIACKI [11]
+ ANA IVANOVIĆ [5,DF] d. Barbora Záhlavova Strýcová

+ Roberta Vinci d. María José Martínez Sánchez
+ FLAVIA PENNETTA [12,DF] d. Elena Vesnina
+ DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [18] d. Kristina Mladenović [WC]
+ Sabine Lisicki d. Iveta Benešová

+ Nicole Vaidišová [EF] d. Ayumi Morita [s]
+ ZHENG,JIE [22] d. Ekateryna Bychkova
+ VICTORIA AZARENKA [13] d. Olga Govortsova (my Passion says Olga, but my Reason says Victoria)
+ Gisela Dulko [DF] d. Peng,Shuai [s]


12.4 Fourth-round wishes
------------------------

+ Lucie Šafářová [EF] d. Viktoriya Kutuzova [Q]
+ VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF] d. Sania Mirza [DF]
+ DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [19,EF] d. Aravane Rezaï
+ Jelena Dokić [WC,EF] d. ANA IVANOVIĆ [5,DF]

+ FLAVIA PENNETTA [12,DF] d. Roberta Vinci
+ DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [18] d. Sabine Lisicki
+ Nicole Vaidišová [EF] d. ZHENG,JIE [22]
+ Gisela Dulko [DF] d. VICTORIA AZARENKA [13]


12.5 Quarter-final wishes
-------------------------

+ VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF] d. Lucie Šafářová [EF]
+ DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [19,EF] d. Jelena Dokić [WC,EF]
+ FLAVIA PENNETTA [12,DF] d. DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [18]
+ Nicole Vaidišová [EF] d. Gisela Dulko [DF]


12.6 Semi-final wishes
----------------------

+ DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [19,EF] d. VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF]
+ Nicole Vaidišová [EF] d. FLAVIA PENNETTA [12,DF]


12.7 Final wish
---------------

+ DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [19,EF] d. Nicole Vaidišová [EF]

----------------------------
13. Order of Play for Monday
----------------------------

I list only those courts on which members of my Eternal Fanship are scheduled.

Rod Laver Arena (start 11:00 AEDT = 00:00 GMT)
MS 1r: ANDY RODDICK [7] v Björn Rehnquist
WS 1r: JELENA JANKOVIĆ [1] v Yvonne Meusburger
MS 1r: Andrea Stoppini v NOVAK ÐOKOVIĆ [3]
|
Evening-session (start 19:30 AEDT = 08:30 GMT)
WS 1r: DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [19,EF] v Casey Dell'Acqua
MS 1r: Andreas Seppi v ROGER FEDERER [2]

That means Daniela will be on BBCi! :D I'm very relieved that the organisers have continued to schedule women's matches on the Rod Laver Arena evening-session after all the controversy surrounding late finishes last year, which prompted the BBC-commentators to suggest that there should be no women's matches in that session! :-||

Hisense Arena (start 11:00 AEDT = 00:00 GMT)
WS 1r: Julia Görges v ANA IVANOVIĆ [5,DF]
MS 1r: Juan Martín del Potro v Mischa Zverev
WS 1r: Jelena Dokić [EF] v Tamira Paszek
MS 1r: MARAT SAFIN [26] v Ivan Navarro

Margaret Court Arena (start 11:00 AEDT = 00:00 GMT)
WS 1r: Magdaléna Rybáriková [DF] v VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF]
MS 1r: Potito Starace v Bernard Tomić
WS 1r: CAROLINE WOZNIACKI [11] v Shahar Pe'er
WS 1r: DINARA SAFINA [3] v Alla Kudryavtseva
MS 1r: Marc Gicquel v DAVID NALBANDIAN [10]

Show Court 3 (start 11:00 AEDT = 00:00 GMT)
MS 1r: Robby Ginepri v TOMÁŠ BERDYCH [20]
WS 1r: Melanie South v MARION BARTOLI [16,DF,S]
MS 1r: Samuel Groth v MARDY FISH [23]
WS 1r: Anne Keothavong v ANNA CHAKVETADZE [17,EF]

I think there's a chance Anna's match could be on BBCi if it hasn't finished by 08:25 GMT, because Keothavong is British.

Court 21 (start 11:00 AEDT = 00:00 GMT)
MS 1r: Xavier Malisse v Michaël Llodra
WS 1r: Kirsten Flipkens v Rossana de los Ríos
MS 1r: Guillermo García-López v Agustín Calleri
WS 1r: SYBILLE BAMMER [24] v Lucie Šafářová [EF]

Full order of play:
http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/scores/schedule/

--
Dr. Andrew Broad

andrewbroad
Jan 20th, 2009, 01:07 AM
===============
AUSTRALIAN OPEN (Melbourne, Australia; outdoor hard (Plexicushion); Major)
=============== http://www.australianopen.com/
Contents
--------

1. Photos
2. First-round results
3. First-round scoreboard-report: Zvonarëva v Rybáriková
4. First-round review: Dokić v Paszek
5. First-round scoreboard-report: Šafářová v Bammer
6. First-round TV-report: Chakvetadze v Keothavong
7. First-round TV-report: Hantuchová v Dell'Acqua
8. First-round draw: Bottom half
9. Second-round draw: Top half
10. Andrew's wishes
11. Order of play for Tuesday

Wow: could this have been the greatest-ever Day 1 at a Major? 5:0 for my Eternal Fanship, and two of them were televised on BBCi!

---------
1. Photos
---------

Jelena Dokić:
http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/players/related/wta040344.html

Daniela Hantuchová:
http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/players/related/wta080394.html

Vera Zvonarëva:
http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/players/related/wta260142.html

Various players including Jelena Dokić, Daniela Hantuchová, Anna Chakvetadze, Vera Zvonarëva, Ana Ivanović, Caroline Wozniacki, Alizé Cornet and Mathilde Johansson:
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/2/photogallery/

Various players including Jelena Dokić, Daniela Hantuchová, Vera Zvonarëva, Ana Ivanović:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/7836743.stm

Search-list for Monday:
hantuchova
chakvetadze
zvonareva
dokic
safarova
ivanovic
maria kirilenko
rybarikova
mirza
bartoli
wozniacki
shahar peer
domachowska

----------------------
2. First-round results (Monday 19th January 2009)
----------------------

Nice winner, nice loser:
+ VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF] d. Magdaléna Rybáriková [DF], 7-6 (7/2) 6-0
+ Jelena Dokić [WC,EF] d. Tamira Paszek, 6-2 3-6 6-4
+ Tsvetana Pironkova [DF] d. Karolina Šprem [Q,DF], 6-0 6-4
+ ANA IVANOVIĆ [5,DF] d. Julia Görges, 7-5 6-3
+ Sania Mirza [DF] d. Marta Domachowska, 6-1 6-4
+ CAROLINE WOZNIACKI [11] d. Shahar Pe'er, 6-3 6-2
+ Marina Eraković d. Petra Cetkovská, 6-4 7-5
+ Nathalie Dechy d. Viktoriya Kutuzova [Q], 6-3 6-0

Nick Bollettieri <http://nickstennispicks.com/>: "I really think it is going to be difficult for Ivanović to win this tournament if she continues to serve like she did in her opening match. Her toss is all over the place, and is causing her to hit to the opponent's forehand side almost 100% of the time. I suggest she relaxes her arm a bit, because right now it is as stiff as a board. If she gets that toss under control, her chances of winning go up dramatically."

Ana Ivanović: "I don't expect myself to step on the court and play perfect tennis from the very first moment. You just want to give yourself the best possible chance, and time to work yourself into the tournament. I'm very pleased to have a victory, obviously. I took some time to adjust to rhythm and everything, to slowly get into the match, because I never played against her before. Actually, I'd never seen her play."

What rocked:
+ Lucie Šafářová [EF] d. SYBILLE BAMMER [24], 6-3 6-1
+ ANNA CHAKVETADZE [17,EF] d. Anne Keothavong, 6-1 6-7 (4/7) 6-1
+ DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [19,EF] d. Casey Dell'Acqua, 7-6 (13/11) 6-4
+ MARION BARTOLI [16,DF,S] d. Melanie South, 6-2 6-4
+ ALIZÉ CORNET [15] d. Mariya Koryttseva, 6-3 6-4
+ Mathilde Johansson d. Jill Craybas, 6-2 1-6 7-5
+ Virginia Ruano Pascual d. Mariana Duque Marino, 6-3 6-2
+ Kirsten Flipkens d. Rossana de los Ríos, 6-3 6-2
+ Monica Niculescu [S] d. Katie O'Brien [Q], 6-4 6-4

What sucked:
- MARIA KIRILENKO [27,DF] lt. Sara Errani, 0-6 4-6
- Yaroslava Shvedova lt. NADIA PETROVA [10], 3-6 6-7 (3/7)
- Maria Elena Camerin lt. Edina Gallovits, 3-6 6-2 3-6
- Aravane Rezaď lt. Ekaterina Makarova, 6-1 5-7 4-6
- Monika Wejnert [WC] lt. Karin Knapp, 6-7 (6/8) 4-6
- Yanina Wickmayer lt. Alberta Brianti [Q], 4-6 2-6
- Barbora Záhlavova Strýcová lt. Stéphanie Cohen-Aloro, 3-6 4-6
- Kimiko Date Krumm [Q] lt. KAIA KANEPI [25], 4-6 6-4 6-8

All other results:
+ JELENA JANKOVIĆ [1] d. Yvonne Meusburger, 6-1 6-3
+ DINARA SAFINA [3] d. Alla Kudryavtseva, 6-3 6-4
+ Galina Voskoboeva d. ÁGNES SZÁVAY [23], 6-3 3-6 6-4
+ AI SUGIYAMA [26] d. Stéphanie Dubois [Q], 6-0 7-6 (7/5)
+ ALISA KLEYBANOVA [29] d. Sofia Arvidsson, 7-5 7-5
+ Patricia Mayr d. Julia Schruff [Q], 6-4 6-1
+ Andrea Petković d. Kathrin Wörle [Q], 5-7 7-6 (7/0) 4-0 retired (adductor-strain)

--------------------------------------------------------
3. First-round scoreboard-report: Zvonarëva v Rybáriková
--------------------------------------------------------

+ VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF] d. Magdaléna Rybáriková [DF], 7-6 (7/2) 6-0

Because it was match between two very special girls, and started as early as midnight in England, I decided to follow live scores at www.australianopen.com.

Magda broke first for *2-0, but Vera responded with four games in a row (including a five-deuce marathon at 2-2*) for 4-2*. However, Magda broke back, and Vera had to serve to stay in the first set at *4-5 and *5-6 - with a seven-deuce marathon at 5-5* in between.

Vera dominated the tiebreak, and then Magda fell apart in the second set - possibly wilted in the 34°C heat - and didn't win a single point on her serve as Vera won her 17th 6-0 set since the start of 2008.

Nevertheless, it was an encouraging performance for Magda in her first-ever match against a top-seven player (she had never previously played anyone ranked higher than #13). Slowly but surely, Magda is working her way up towards the top of women's tennis, and just might be the next player I shall induct into my Eternal Fanship.


First set
---------
ZVONARËVA __@*@* * *T 7(7)
RYBÁRIKOV *@____*@* *__ 6(2)

The match was first on Margaret Court Arena, and started at 11:13 AEDT.

Magda serving 0-0: 30/0. 30/15. 40/15. Held.
Vera serving 0-1: 30/15. 40/15. 40/40. Ad Magda (BP). Held.

A bad start for Vera, being broken from 40/15, but I can't pretend I'm not a little bit excited for Magda!

Magda serving 2-0: 0/30. 15/30. 15/40 (BPx2). 40/40. Ad Magda. Deuce #2. Ad Vera (BP #3). Broken.

Phew! When Vera was game-point down after squandering two break-points, I began to think of the awful consequences of losing her in the first round. Of the six members of my Eternal Fanship that I have here, only Vera can realistically expect to be in the second week after the 2008 she had - without her, they'd probably all be out by the second round, as at the US Open 2008.

Vera serving 1-2: 0/40 (BPx3). 40/40. Ad Magda (BP #4). Deuce #2. Ad Vera. Held.

Phew! Four break-points saved, and now Magda has the baggage of missed opportunities. It will be tough for her to serve after that...

Magda serving 2-2: 15/15. 30/15. 30/40 (BP #1). 40/40. Ad Magda. Deuce #2. Ad Vera (BP #2). Deuce #3. Ad Vera (BP #3). Deuce #4. Ad Magda. Deuce #5. Ad Vera (BP #4). Broken.

What a game! Two game-points saved, four break-points needed. Vera is a terrific fighter, and that game suggests that Magda may be too, but it's a rough introduction to top-seven tennis for her at the moment.

Vera serving 3-2: 15/0. 15/30. 40/30. Held.

Vera has now won four games in a row, as I just knew she would after winning that big game at 2-2*.

Magda serving 2-4: 0/15. 40/15. Held.

Credit to Magda for hanging in when Vera has the momentum!

I'm really enjoying following these scores now that both girls seem to have settled down. Of course I'm happy when Vera's a break up, but whatever happens, this match will have a very nice winner! :D

Vera serving 4-3: 15/0. 15/30. 30/30. 30/40 (BP). Broken.

And in the twinkling of an eye, the momentum has switched back to Magda, and she has the advantage of serving first...

Magda serving 4-4: Held to love.
Vera serving 4-5: Held to love.

An excellent response by Vera, putting the pressure back on Magda immediately. I feel the next game will be more important for Magda than for Vera, because it's Magda's serve and Vera has a huge advantage of experience.

Magda serving 5-5: 0/15. 30/15. 30/40 (BP #1). 40/40. Ad Magda. Deuce #2. Ad Magda. Deuce #3. Ad Vera (BP #2). Deuce #4. Ad Vera (BP #3). Deuce #5. Ad Magda. Deuce #6. Ad Vera (BP #4). Deuce #7. Ad Magda. Held.

Wow - what a game! Four break-points saved, four game-points needed. It's a good thing Vera gets to sit down before she has to serve again!

Meanwhile, Vera's potential semi-final opponent Ana Ivanović has just taken a tough first set 7-5 against gorgeous Julia Görges.

Vera serving 5-6: 15/0. 15/15. 30/15. 30/30. Held.

Well, it looks like I could be right with my 6-7(3) 6-3 6-4 prediction! But boy will I regret it tomorrow if this match keeps me up past 3am in England!

6-6 tiebreak (all scores Zvonarëva/Rybáriková): 0/0*. *1/0. *2/0. 2/1*. 2/2*. *3/2. *4/2. 5/2*. 6/2* (SP #1). Vera won the first set 7-6 (7/2) at 12:17 AEDT (1h04m).

I feel Vera's experience paid off in that set after trailing *4-5 and *5-6. I don't think I'll be up until 3am after all. It will be tough for Magda to come back from such a tough first set in which she had chances - especially in the 34°C heat.

There was a seven-minute delay between the last scoreboard-update of the first set and the first of the second, which implies a bathroom-break.


Second set
----------
ZVONARËVA *@*@*@ 6
RYBÁRIKOV ______ 0

Vera serving 0-0: 0/15. 15/15. 15/30. 30/30. 40/30. Held.
Magda serving 0-1: 0/40 (BPx3). Broken.

As I predicted, Magda's falling apart a bit after losing that first set. But I'm impresssed with her performance so far against a top-seven player. I'm sure this will be a valuable learning-experience for her.

Vera serving 2-0: 15/0. 15/15. 15/30. 30/30. Held.
Magda serving 0-3: 0/40 (BPx3). Broken.

This match is over. Magda hasn't won a point on serve in this second set.

Vera serving 4-0: 30/0. 30/40 (BP). 40/40. Ad Vera. Held.

But Magda is still putting pressure on Vera's serve. Vera perhaps guilty of a little complacency there, but she remains on course for one of her beloved bagels (last year, she won 16 sets 6-0 - more than anyone else).

Magda serving 0-5: 0/40 (MP #1). Vera won 7-6 (7/2) 6-0 at 12:41 AEDT (second set 24m, match 1h28m).

I thoroughly enjoyed following those scores, and am delighted for Vera that she won. I'm also pleased for Magda, as I feel she is continuing to make great progress despite that second set!


3.1 Statistics
--------------

Both girls had negative W:UE ratios: Vera 24:29, Magda 16:36.

Vera got 61% of her first serves in, winning 69% of the points when she did so, and 48% on second serve. From the first set to the second, she seemed to take some pace off her first serve, as she got more first serves in, but her first-serve winning-percentage dipped.

The corresponding percentages for Magda were 55%, 63% and 24%, but they slumped from a respectable (60%, 68%, 32%) in the first set to an abysmal (25%, 0%, 0%) in the second!

Vera served much faster than Magda: fastest 103-95mph, average first serve 98-95mph, average second serve 87-75mph. Magda's service-speeds suggest there was something wrong with her, because I've always thought of her as having a big serve.

Vera served 6 aces and 5 double faults, Magda 3 aces and 7 double faults.

Vera broke 5 times from 14 BPs (converting just 2 of 11 BPs in the first set, but 3 of 3 in the second), Magda twice from 7 BPs.

Vera won 11 of 15 points at the net (73%), Magda 9 of 14 (64%). All these points were in the first set.

In points, Vera won 80-59 (first set 55-52, second set 25-7).


3.2 Articles
------------

Australian Open: Day 1 Preview
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=2892
>>>
(7) Vera Zvonarëva (RUS) vs. Magdalena Rybáriková (SVK) - Zvonarëva leads 1:0

Zvonarëva fell in the first round at Melbourne Park in 2008, but after her astonishing run at the Sony Ericsson Championships, where she beat Svetlana Kuznetsova, Ivanović, Janković and Elena Dementieva to reach the final, it's hard to imagine the intelligent Russian succumbing to a similar fate this time around.

But, although 'What Vera Did Next' could well prove to be one of the most compelling stories of 2009, the resurgent 24-year-old arrives in Melbourne short of match-practice, having missed Sydney with a stomach-bug.

Meantime, at the Moorilla Hobart International, 20-year-old Rybáriková beat Flavia Pennetta for her first top-twenty win, on her way to her second Tour semi-final. The reward was a top-fifty début this week for the Slovak No.3, and if she can keep her momentum, the 5'11" player will give Zvonarëva much to contemplate.
<<<

Zvonarëva through after first-set scare
By Amy Blake (www.australianopen.com)
>>>
World No.7 Vera Zvonarëva has advanced to the second round of Australian Open 2009, surviving a first-set scare against Slovakia's Magdalena Rybáriková before winning 7-6(2) 6-0.

In a colourful Margaret Court Arena, the tight opening set saw both players record 16 winners and three aces apiece, while Zvonarëva just bettered her opponent with two fewer unforced errors.

The world No.58 pushed the seventh seed to her capacity in the first set, which lasted an hour and six minutes.

Displaying on-court maturity beyond her 20 years, Rybáriková was the first to make her move, breaking Zvonarëva's serve in the second game.

The Russian was quick to claw back, winning the next four games, including taking a break at 3-2.

Rybáriková then went on her own winning streak, getting the advantage back by winning three consecutive games to level at 5-5.

The battle for the crucial 11th game saw some fancy net-work from both players and six deuces, including four unconverted break-point opportunities for Zvonarëva.

At 5-6 and with a first-set loss on the horizon, Zvonarëva was able to keep her cool and serve to take the momentum going into the tiebreak.

From there, the 24-year-old didn't look back, showing the athleticism and powerful forehand that have become her trademarks.

The second lasted a mere 22 minutes, with Zvonarëva breaking Rybáriková's serve three times to finish with a rush.

Quick facts:
* Zvonarëva served three aces in the second set, while Rybáriková did not have any.
* Zvonarëva won a total of 80 points to Rybáriková's 59.
* Of Rybáriková's 59 points won, 52 of them were in the first set.
* Rybáriková had an average first-serve speed of 153km/h.
* Zvonarëva's first-serve speed was an average of 158km/h.
<<<

Women's tennis gets off to heated start in Melbourne (AFP)
>>>
The women's Australian Open has got underway with victories for world number-one Jelena Janković, seventh seed Vera Zvonarëva, and Serbian pin-up Ana Ivanović.

<snip Janković v Meusburger>

Seventh seed Zvonarëva dug deep to claw past Magdalena Rybáriková of Slovakia 7-6 (7/2) 6-0 and into the second round, relieved to overcome early jitters.

The Russian was pushed all the way in the first set by her 20-year-old opponent, but after easily winning the tiebreak, she took control and won the second in just 23 minutes.

The 24-year-old, who has never gone beyond the quarters in 24 Majors, has not played this year, and looked rusty early on as she struggled to cope with the powerful groundstrokes of her younger opponent.

But as the match wore on, Zvonarëva began to get her timing, and showed enough to suggest she would push her more fancied rivals for the year's first Major title.

She admitted her lack of recent tournament-play had caused her problems against Rybáriková, who reached the semi-finals in Hobart last week.

"It was a bit of a struggle in the first set, because I had no rhythm and everything was new - practice is nothing like an official match," Zvonarëva said.

"But then I was able to find my rhythm a little bit better, and I was very happy the way I played in the second."

Rybáriková, the world number 57, started impressively, holding her first serve comfortably, then breaking Zvonarëva to open up a 2-0 lead.

The experienced Russian broke back immediately to get games back on serve, then broke again, and looked likely to race away with the first set.

However, Rybáriková fought back, broke again in the eighth game, then held her next service-game to love to take the set into a tiebreak.

Zvonarëva, though, took the tiebreak comfortably, then stormed through the second set against an increasingly despondent Rybáriková.

"I lifted my game in the second set: I started to play a little bit faster, and started to hit my shots a little bit better," Zvonarëva said.

"Maybe she wasn't able to deal with that; she wasn't ready that I could change my game after the first set."

<snip Ivanović v Görges>
<<<

3.3 How I feel about my Eternal Fanship and Magda
-------------------------------------------------

I haven't inducted anyone into my Eternal Fanship since Lucie Šafářová in January 2008, and since I'm already struggling to keep up with eight active players, I'm in no rush to find the next member of my Eternal Fanship.

Magda might just be the next player I induct into my Eternal Fanship. I certainly have the requisite Passion, but she would also have to satisfy my Reason. It's not enough to be gorgeous; I only induct a player into my Eternal Fanship if she's a joy to watch in tennis-terms too.

It's because Magda is up and coming that she's the first player I think of when I ask myself who my next Eternal Fanee will be. The other candidates have been around since 2004 without convincing me to induct them, so the next one will probably either be Magda or some junior I haven't heard of yet...

-------------------------------------
4. First-round review: Dokić v Paszek
-------------------------------------

+ Jelena Dokić [WC,EF] d. Tamira Paszek, 6-2 3-6 6-4

This match took place in the Australian mid-afternoon, while I was sleeping in England, so it was very pleasant to wake up and see that Jelena had won a main-draw singles-match at the Australian Open for the first time since 1999!

That seems unbelievable, but she suffered first-round exits in 2000, 2001 (to Lindsay Davenport) and 2006, boycotted the Australian Open in 2002-2005, and was too low-ranked to get into the main draw in 2007-2008.


4.1 Statistics
--------------

The match took 1h48m (first set 29m, second set 39m, third set 40m).

Both girls had negative W:UE ratios: Jelena 35:49 (12:12 in the first set, then 23:37 for the next two combined), Paszek 12:28. In other words, Jelena was tending to dominate with her own winners and errors, giving Paszek few chances to take the initiative (although she did have a positive W:UE of 5:4 for the second set).

Jelena got 67% of her first serves in, winning 72% of the points when she did so, and 40% on second serve. These percentages didn't vary tremendously from set to set.

The corresponding percentages for Paszek were 57%, 69% and 47%, after she pulled them up from (39%, 67%, 29%) in the first set.

Jelena served 10 aces (6 in the second set) and 9 double faults (5 in the first set), Paszek no aces and 7 double faults.

Jelena broke 5 times from 9 BPs (two breaks in the first set, three in the third), while Paszek was very wasteful, converting only 4 of 15 BPs (just one of 7 in the third set).

In a very baseline-oriented encounter, Jelena won 3 of 8 points at the net (mostly in the third set: 2 of 5), Paszek 2 of 2.

In points, Jelena won 88-82 (first set 28-20, second set 25-30, third set 35-32).


4.2 Jelena's first-round press-conference
-----------------------------------------

Source: www.australianopen.com

Q. How did you feel serving out the match today? Had a lot of close first-round matches.

JELENA DOKIĆ: That was a while ago. But having that first match of the year in Brisbane really helped. Had some chances there, which I missed. I think probably would have happened today if I didn't have that much under my belt.

It was good to be in that position. You know, I kind of had a match where I was winning in Brisbane and lost it. So it was good to have that one.

I played a pretty comfortable game at 5-4. I served well, but I was tight.

Q. How satisfying is that, to get a win in a Grand Slam? [sic] Do you feel the pressure is off your shoulders?

JELENA DOKIĆ: I don't think there was any pressure on me, because she's 70 in the world. She was the clear favourite in this match still, just like Amélie [Mauresmo] was in Brisbane.

I knew I had a chance to beat her if I played well. I practised with her a couple of times. I knew if I can hang in there, not make too much errors, kind of hang in the match, I knew I could have a shot.

After I won the first set, I really got nervous. But it's great. This is huge for me. You know, after pretty much a three-year absence, to start the year with a win at a Grand Slam [sic] is really huge for me.

I didn't really have any goals or expectations for myself for the first three or four months of the year. I just wanted to work really hard and see what I can do.

Q. Compared to the Mauresmo-match, quality-wise do you think you were better, worse?

JELENA DOKIĆ: No, I think I played much better against Amélie. That was a solid match for me. I didn't get nervous at all. Even though I had those chances, I missed them. She played some good points.

Today I was really, really nervous. I don't know if I ever had my right hand that tight, you know. Pretty much cramped up, especially in the third set.

But you can't help the nerves sometimes. It was a pretty big court for me to play on straight up. Yeah, it was a little bit of everything. I'm glad that I got through. I really played the big points well, which I'm really proud of myself. I really played the third set well.

You know, she had some chances, and I did as well. I won a couple of those close games.

Q. Do you feel like you need to take the next step? There's Casey [Dell'Acqua] and Sam [Stosur] left. Do you feel like you need to take another step and get the No.1 spot in Australian women's tennis back?

JELENA DOKIĆ: I mean, we're all out here competing. I think Sam's a great player. She really has the potential to be a top-twenty player. She really has the big shots.

Casey I don't know so well. I haven't watched her play that much. She had a pretty good year last year.

I'm not out here to compete against them. I'm out here to do as best as I can and see how far I can do, then try to challenge the best in the world.

It would be great to be the No.1 Australian, of course. But, you know, at this stage this is not my goal. I still have a long way to go. I'm just trying to work hard every day, every practice-session, every gym-session. For me, this is what I need to do right now.

Q. You had a lot of support out there. Do you actually hear the crowd at all, or do you block it out to stay focused?

JELENA DOKIĆ: No, I did. It was good. Especially after I lost the second set, I got up in the third, they really got behind me, which was great. I don't know when was the last time that the crowd was really like that. I think it was even better than in Brisbane.

It was a good feeling. At 5-4 going to serve, at 30-All, they were really behind me. So it was great to have that.

Q. You have a new clothing-sponsor?

JELENA DOKIĆ: We're working on it. <smiling>

Q. Can you tell us about how difficult it was to come back, because you've been for such a long time trying to play competitively.

JELENA DOKIĆ: I was trying, but it was not really there. I had other issues going on in my life. I think that was obvious. I battled severe depression for about two years. Didn't play for months at a time. Was really seriously thinking about not playing.

You know, tennis is not the most important thing in the world, but it's something that I love. I was very disappointed when I couldn't play well. It was a tough time in my life. I had a lot to go through, a lot of family-issues.

It's really a miracle for me. It's really emotional to win today. What I had to go through, it's really great to have this win. I don't think a lot of people know what it means to me. <tearing up> It's great to be here at a Grand Slam [sic].

Q. What kept you going?

JELENA DOKIĆ: I don't know. It was tough at times. But, you know, sometimes you just try to believe; you have faith. God was my No.1 priority. I really turned to that. Just a few people that were around in my life helped out, so...

Yeah, I don't know how I turned it around, because this time last year, I was still trying. You know, I gave myself another six months, just tried to hang in there. You know, I'm trying to get ahold of it now and try not to go back again, try not to get in that stage of my life.

But I think it's over. I think I dealt with everything. You know, I'm really enjoying my tennis. It doesn't really have anything to do with ranking, money or anything. I just really love the game.

I think if I didn't like it so much, I don't think I would have played again.

Q. How are you feeling physically? You had a bit of an injury coming in.

JELENA DOKIĆ: It was not as serious as it seemed at first. It was more precaution, because a Grand Slam [sic] is a priority always. But it's good. It's no problems today. Also, fitness-wise I feel pretty good.

Q. What's the longest you went without touching a racquet?

JELENA DOKIĆ: About seven or eight months. That was in 2007. Yeah, I was really struggling with everything: with my weight, with my mental state, with everything.

Q. Did you ever think then [that] you would be in this position again?

JELENA DOKIĆ: No. That's why I said I wanted to take small steps. Satellites was the first goal. I did well last year. Didn't play a full year, but I did well.

For me to even play, I think I played a good match against Amélie in Brisbane. To win today is absolutely amazing. People think, "Oh, it's just the first round of a Grand Slam [sic]." But for me, it's a lot.

I pretty much went three years without playing. I heard on the men's side, like Hewitt and Baghdatis had injuries and they were off for four months. For me, I was laughing at that because I was out for three years. People don't know how hard it is to get back, to play in matches.

It's really difficult, but I think I've picked it up pretty quickly - even surprised myself.

Q. After you hadn't picked up a racquet for so many months in 2007, was there one thing that made you pick it up and start again?

JELENA DOKIĆ: No. I mean, I don't know. Just something clicked overnight. Like I said, I was dealing with so much stuff. I pretty much lost my family. Had no one there. Was really struggling. You know, people sometimes think you go off, you go on a holiday, you start partying and stuff like that. But it was not what happened with me. I wish it was. But I had really serious stuff to deal with.

I said to myself at the end of 2007, "I will really try to get back in shape and give it one more shot." I played pretty well in Hobart, Australian Open last year. Kind of went step by step. Yeah, if I didn't have a little bit of a comeback in 2008, I wouldn't have played any more.

I was trying. I really wanted to give it one last shot. It was just a matter of whether I would be mentally strong enough again to play at this level and to compete, so...

Q. Do you have any expectations for the future?

JELENA DOKIĆ: Not at all. Like I said, I dealt with so much off the court that this is a joke to me now. Even though I still get nervous in matches like today, really this is like I'm really enjoying to be here every day. I went through Hell and back. This is hopefully a reward for me for everything I went through.

I will try my best. If it ends up to be top 50 or top 20 or top 10, I'll be happy, as long as I can play for a few more years.

Q. Have you mended that relationship with your family?

JELENA DOKIĆ: No. I don't talk to my father.

Q. You don't talk to him?

JELENA DOKIĆ: No. I haven't for years. I talk to my mom. We're mending that relationship. As soon as I left home, my relationship, you know, went down the hill with my dad. It went down the hill with my whole family.

The biggest thing I regret is my brother, who is eight years younger than me. I didn't have contact with him for years until the last 12 months. That was the hardest thing to deal with.

But, yeah, I still feel like I've lost them. I will try my best, you know, to do what I can to patch up my things with my brother and my mom. I'm trying to do that. It will be difficult.

But it's not just that. I had so much to go through while my dad was on the Tour. I was just so young, and just had no real idea what was going on. But it was real difficult to take all that, what was going on off the court, all the outbursts. It was not easy to play with that. I played with a huge pressure on my shoulders. I kind of just cracked by the time I was 19 already.

Q. Away from your family and your personal drive to get back on the court, who has been the biggest influence for you?

JELENA DOKIĆ: I can really say only one person for about three or four years. Like I said, I'm trying to mend the relationship with my brother and my mom. But my boyfriend was there. We've been together for six years. He was there with me.

So it was probably even tougher for him at times than it was for me because he had to watch me go through all that. It was a constant battle every day, just how I will be, whether I will be able to get out of bed. He was there the whole time no matter what.

Yeah, that was probably the person that I have to thank the most for being here. A lot of it goes to him, so... [end of interview]


4.3 Articles
------------

Dokić a winner again at Melbourne Park
By Matthew Trollope (www.australianopen.com)
>>>
Jelena Dokić has finally rejoined the winners' circle at Melbourne Park, moving through to the second round for the first time in 10 years by defeating Austrian Tamira Paszek in three sets: 6-2 3-6 6-4.

The Australian last won her first round match in 1999, reaching the third round as a 15-year-old wildcard.

Today on Hisense Arena, she held her nerve when serving for the match to record a hard-fought victory.

Dokić began in scintillating fashion, showcasing her ball-striking ability in easily claiming the first set.

Games went on serve in the second set until Paszek, currently ranked world No.80, broke serve to lead 4-3. From there, Dokić made a number of errors, and the Austrian broke again to take the match into a third set.

Dokić's game continued to be littered with errors as she quickly went down 0-1.

Impressively, she managed to tighten up her game, finding the court with her stinging drives and vastly-improved serve, and jumping to a 4-1 lead.

Errors then crept back into Dokić's game and Paszek recovered a break, but the Australian demonstrated a cool head in producing a delicate dropshot followed by a powerful serve + forehand combination to go up 5-3.

After Paszek held, Dokić came out to serve for the match, and courageously went for her shots, whipping a crosscourt forehand winner on her second match-point to progress.

Quick facts:
* Dokić hit 10 aces to Paszek's none.
* Dokić struck 35 winners, compared to just 12 from the Austrian.
* The Australian committed 49 unforced errors to Paszek's 28.
* Paszek was wasteful on break-points, converting only four of 15.
<<<

Janković & Ivanović make progress (BBC Sport)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/7836741.stm
>>>
Jelena Dokić, who had not reached the second round of a Major event since 2003, did just that with a 6-2 3-6 6-4 win against Tamira Paszek.

The 25-year-old, now back playing under the Australian flag, is hoping to launch a comeback after seeing her ranking slide to #187.

"I was so nervous today - it was a big match for me," she said.

"I wasn't the favourite, but I knew I had a chance. The crowd helped me - it's been a while, but it's great to be back."
<<<

Dokić Delivers on Day 1
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=2895
>>>
Dokić makes the cut

A pair of indirect entrants into the main draw - namely Kimiko Date Krumm and Jelena Dokić, who both made it as high as No.4 in the world in years past - drew large crowds on Day 1 as well.

Dokić, who won an Australian Open wildcard play-off during the off-season to gain entry, won a see-saw battle with Tamira Paszek: 6-2 3-6 6-4. It was her first Major main-draw win since the 2003 season, having fallen first round in all four of her Majors played since then. She was elated after the win.

"Having that first match of the year in Brisbane really helped," Dokić said. "I had some chances there, which I missed. That probably would have happened today if I didn't have that much under my belt. And like Amélie [Mauresmo] was in Brisbane, Tamira was the clear favourite today, so I didn't have any pressure on me. I knew I had a chance to beat her if I played well. This is huge for me. After a three-year absence, starting the year with a win at a Grand Slam [sic] is really huge for me."
<<<

Dokić savours emotional win
By Matthew Trollope (www.australianopen.com)
>>>
An emotional Jelena Dokić has revealed her battle with depression, a feud with her family, and how she spent several months without touching a racquet in the years preceding her appearance at Australian Open 2009.

Following her three-set win over Austrian Tamira Paszek on Hisense Arena late this afternoon, Dokić tearfully admitted that she seriously contemplated giving up the sport during her years away from the game.

"Tennis is not the most important thing in the world, but it's something that I love. I was very disappointed when I couldn't play well," she said.

"It was a tough time in my life. I had a lot to go through, a lot of family-issues.

"It's really a miracle for me [to be back playing and winning]. It's really emotional to win today. What I had to go through, it's really great to have this win. I don't think a lot of people know what this means to me."

Dokić said she had not spoken to her father Damir for a number of years.

She described his outbursts during her earlier playing-career as "difficult to take", forcing her to play with enormous pressure on her shoulders that caused her to "crack" during her late teens.

She said she was only now starting to mend her relationship with her mother and brother.

"The biggest thing I regret is [not having a relationship with] my brother... I didn't have contact with him for years until the last 12 months. That was the hardest thing to deal with," she said.

"I still feel like I've lost them [her family]. I will try my best to do what I can to patch things up with my brother and my mum. I'm trying to do that. It will be difficult."

The 25-year-old Australian said that a new faith in God, as well as the support of her boyfriend – whom she has been with for six years – helped her find her way back onto the tennis-court.

"He [her boyfriend] is probably the person I have to thank the most for being here," Dokić said.

Her performance today was her best in a decade at Melbourne Park, when in 1999 she reached the third round as a wild-card entrant into the main draw.

Since then, Dokić has experienced a tumultuous relationship with her homeland Major, suffering heartbreaking defeats, and becoming involved in spats with officials over the years in which she represented both Australia and Yugoslavia.

The crowd-darling during her maiden-run through the draw in 1999, the next year was an unhappy one for Dokić, losing to unheralded Hungarian Rita Kuti Kis: a player she expected to beat.

The 2001 tournament was even sourer as she switched to representing Yugoslavia, angry with having drawn American second seed Lindsay Davenport in the opening round.

Dokić did not reappear in Melbourne until 2006, by which time she was representing Australia again. She lost in the first round in traumatic circumstances, reaching match-point against Frenchwoman Virginie Razzano and striking what she thought was a forehand winner, which was instead called long. From there, she suffered a collapse, losing 6-1 in the third set.

She did not play in 2007, and failed to qualify in 2008.

Dokić said that her past experiences in the Open had not played on her mind when taking to the court against Paszek.

"That was a while ago," she said.

"Having that first match of the year in Brisbane [against Amélie Mauresmo] really helped. [I] had some chances there, which I missed. I think [the same thing] probably would have happened today if I didn't have that match under my belt."

Dokić repeatedly apologised for her comments made at the 2008 Open, mended her relationship with Tennis Australia, and won the December wild-card play-off, deservingly taking her place in the 2009 main draw.

She performed strongly, all the while having to battle through nervous tension. Dokić said she was extremely pleased to have clinched her opening match.

"After I won the first set, I got really nervous. But it's great. This is huge for me. You know, after pretty much a three-year absence, to start the year with a win at a Grand Slam [sic] is really huge for me," she said.

"I didn't really have any goals or expectations for myself for the first three or four months of the year. I just wanted to work really hard and see what I could do."

Dokić will next face Russian 17th seed Anna Chakvetadze.
<<<

Dokić pours out her heart after winning in Melbourne (Reuters)
By Julian Linden (editing by Pritha Sarkar)
>>>
Jelena Dokić struggled to hold back her emotions at the Australian Open on Monday as she finally revealed the extent of the pain and torment she has endured since breaking up with her own family.

Dokić was all smiles after she registered her first win at Melbourne Park in a decade by beating Austria's Tamira Paszek 6-2 3-6 6-4, but broke down at her post-match news-conference as she recounted her family-problems.

"I went through Hell and back," she said, her voice cracking as tears welled in her eyes.

"I pretty much lost my family. I had no-one there. I was really struggling.

"I battled severe depression for about two years. I didn't play for months at a time. I was really seriously thinking about not playing. It was a tough time in my life."

Dokić said she still does not speak with her father, but is now trying to mend her relationship with her mother and brother.

"As soon as I left home, my relationship went down the hill with my dad. It went down the hill with my whole family," said the 25-year-old, adding she had put on weight and did not even pick up a racket for seven months.

"The biggest thing I regret is my brother, who's eight years younger than me. I didn't have contact with him for years until the last 12 months. That was the hardest thing to deal with.

"But I still feel like I've lost them. I'll try my best to do what I can to patch up my things with my brother and my mom."

Dokić was once regarded as one of the brightest prospects in women's tennis when she reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon in 2000 and a world-ranking of #4, but her early success was overshadowed by events off the court.

In 1999, her father was cited for drunk and disorderly conduct after an incident at a tournament in England, where he lay down in the middle of the road after being ejected from the event.

SALMON-OUTBURST

The following year, he was thrown out of Wimbledon after he smashed a journalist's mobile phone, and was then evicted from the US Open following an outburst over the price of salmon in a restaurant.

In 2001, he accused Australian Open organisers of rigging the draw to ensure his daughter lost in the first round, then ordered his family to leave Australia and move back to Serbia.

Two years later, Jelena had had enough, and walked out to live by herself. She initially lived in Europe but then returned to Australia, appealing for people to forgive her as she had never wanted to leave in the first place.

"I had so much to go through while my dad was on the Tour," she said. "I was just so young, and just had no real idea what was going on.

"It was really difficult to take all that, what was going on off the court, all the outbursts.

"I played with a huge pressure on my shoulders... I kind of just cracked by the time I was 19."

Dokić tried to resurrect her tennis-career, but was unable to find the motivation. She considered quitting in 2007 before deciding to make one last attempt to get back in shape and form.

"Tennis is not the most important thing in the world, but it's something that I love," she said.

"It's really a miracle for me, and it's really emotional to win today. I don't know how I turned it around, because this time last year, I was still trying. I gave myself another six months.

"I'm really enjoying my tennis. It doesn't really have anything to do with ranking, money or anything. I just really love the game. I think if I didn't like it so much, I don't think I would have played again."
<<<

Aussie tennis-player Dokić says she "cracked" at 19 (AFP)
>>>
Australia's Jelena Dokić said on Monday that she "cracked" when she was 19 and at the top of her game, blaming her downfall largely to the controversies caused by her now estranged father Damir.

The former world number-four beat Austrian Tamira Paszek 6-2 3-6 6-4 on Monday to reach the second round of the year's first Major for the first time since 1999.

Serbian-born but Australian-raised, Dokić, 25, was once one of the brightest stars on the women's tour, winning five titles, and reaching the Wimbledon semi-finals in 2000 as a 17-year-old.

But she dropped out after her career went into a downward spiral following a series of incidents involving her father.

As well as alleging that the Australian Open draw was rigged, he was ejected from the US Open in 2000 for abusing staff about the price of a salmon-lunch.

He also made headlines for smashing a journalist's phone at Wimbledon the same year, and at one point threatened to kidnap her.

An older and more reflective Dokić faced the media after her win over Paszek, and confided that she had "lost" her family and had suffered from depression.

"I was trying, but it was not really there," she said about half-hearted attempts to resurrect her career over the past four years.

"I had other issues going on in my life. I think that was obvious. I battled severe depression for about two years - didn't play for months at a time."

Dokić said that for seven months in 2007, she didn't pick up a racquet, and her boyfriend wasn't sure some days whether she would even get out of bed.

"I was dealing with so much stuff - I pretty much lost my family," she said. "I had no one there; I was really struggling.

"You know, people sometimes think you go off, you go on a holiday, you start partying and stuff like that.

"But it was not what happened with me. I wish it was [sic], but I had really serious stuff to deal with."

She said she was trying to mend her relationship with her mother and brother, but said there was no contact at all with her father.

"I talk to my mom - we're mending that relationship," she said.

"As soon as I left home, my relationship went down the hill with my dad. It went down the hill with my whole family.

"The biggest thing I regret is my brother, who is eight years younger than me.

"I didn't have contact with him for years until the last 12 months. That was the hardest thing to deal with.

"But, yeah, I still feel like I've lost them. I will try my best to do what I can to patch up my things with my brother and my mom. I'm trying to do that ...it will be difficult."

She said she hadn't been able to cope with the pressure of life on the Tour.

"I had so much to go through while my dad was on the Tour. I was just so young, and just had no real idea what was going on.

"But it was real difficult [sic] to take all that, what was going on off the court, all the outbursts. It was not easy to play with that.

"I played with a huge pressure on my shoulders. I kind of just cracked by the time I was 19 already."

Dokić was born in Serbia, but moved to Australia when she was 11.

She is making what she acknowledges is her final attempt to make a comeback to the sport.

Now ranked #187 in the world, she showed some glimpses of her past form when she pushed Amélie Mauresmo in the WTA tournament in Brisbane two weeks ago.
<<<

Victorious Dokić forging ahead in tennis-career (AP)
>>>
Being the daughter of one of the most volatile tennis-fathers was never going to be easy for Jelena Dokić.

Just how difficult became apparent after her first-round Australian Open win Monday - years after the antics of her father, Damir, last hit the headlines.

"It was real difficult [sic] to take all that, what was going on off the court, all the outbursts," Dokić said. "I played with huge pressure on my shoulders. I kind of just cracked by the time I was 19."

The now 25-year-old Dokić revealed that she suffered from depression for two years, was estranged from all of her family - including her mother and younger brother - and didn't pick up a racket for seven or eight months in 2007, while she contemplated whether she could ever return to tennis.

"I had so much to go through while my dad was on the Tour; I was just so young, and just had no real idea what was going on," Dokić said after her 6-2 3-6 6-4 win over Tamira Paszek of Austria: her first appearance in the main draw of a Major in three years.

In a sport that regularly spawns overbearing parents, Damir Dokić stood out from the rest.

He was ejected from a 1999 tournament in Birmingham, England, for calling club-members "Nazis who supported the bombing of Yugoslavia", and was subsequently arrested for lying down on a road.

The next year, he fought with a television-crew at the Australian Open, and smashed a journalist's mobile phone at Wimbledon.

He was thrown out of the US Open after an argument over the price of fish, and was barred by the Women's Tennis Association from attending tournaments for six months. And he implied that the Australian Open draw in 2001 was rigged against his daughter.

Damir and Jelena Dokić ended their coach-player relationship in 2003 when he called for her to undergo psychiatric and drug-testing after she started dating a Brazilian race-driver.

Ultimately, it took a huge toll on Jelena.

"I was trying, but... not really there," Dokić said on Monday. "I had other issues going on in my life - I think that was obvious. I battled severe depression for about two years, didn't play for months at a time. It was a tough time in my life."

It all started off so rosy. She was a semi-finalist at Wimbledon in 2000, losing in straight sets to Lindsay Davenport, but made bigger headlines the previous year when, as a 16-year-old qualifier, she beat No.1 Martina Hingis in the first round.

Dokić, who has five career singles-titles, saw her ranking plummet from a high of No.4 in 2002 to No.617 in 2006.

Last year, she slowly began a comeback, winning three ITF titles and improving to No.187.

Dokić moved to Australia from Europe with her family in 1994, but renounced the country in 2001, and took up citizenship in her native Serbia. She decided to play again for Australia in 2006.

In December, she won a wild-card tournament for Australian players to gain a spot in the Open.

There were plenty of anxious moments when she took the court against Paszek at a 10,000-seat arena on Monday at Melbourne Park.

"It was a pretty big court for me to play on straight up," Dokić said. "I really played the big points well, which I'm really proud of.

"It's really a miracle for me - really emotional to win. What I had to go through, it's really great to have this win. I don't think a lot of people know what it means to me..."

Her voice trails off, and tears well in her eyes. When she composes herself, she says that last year at this time, she gave herself six months to take one last crack at the game she loved.

"Just something clicked overnight," Dokić said. "I pretty much lost my family, had no one there; I was really struggling.

"People sometimes think you go off, you go on a holiday, you start partying and stuff like that. But it was not what happened with me. I wish it was [sic]."

She started her comeback by just trying to get into condition.

"I said to myself at the end of 2007: I will really try to get back in shape and give it one more shot," she said. "It was just a matter of whether I would be mentally strong enough again to play at this level and to compete."

While her tennis has improved, her family-relationship is still tenuous.

"I don't talk to my father - I haven't for years," Dokić said. "I talk to my mom [Liliana]. We're mending that relationship.

"The biggest thing I regret is my brother [Savo], who is eight years younger than me. I didn't have contact with him for years until the last 12 months. That was the hardest thing to deal with. But I still feel like I've lost them."

She received emotional support from her boyfriend of five years: Tin Bikić.

"It was probably even tougher for him at times than it was for me, because he had to watch me go through all that," Dokić said.

She's optimistic for the future.

"Even though I still get nervous in matches like today, I'm really enjoying to be here every day," she said. "I went through Hell and back. This is hopefully a reward for me for everything I went through."
<<<

Jelena Dokić proves ladies can bounce back
Barry Flatman: Tennis Correspondent of the Sunday Times
>>>
In this enlightened and politically correct age of tennis, everything is supposedly equal. At this year's Australian Open, the women will not only earn the same as the men; the ladies' final will also be given prime-time evening-status, albeit 24 hours earlier. However, there is distinct evidence to suggest it is easier to make a comeback in the female game.

Martina Navrátilová, Monica Seles, Jennifer Capriati, Martina Hingis and Lindsay Davenport make a quintet of champions and former world No.1s who stepped away from the game, only to change their mind and give it another go.

It is going a little too far to suggest Jelena Dokić and Kimiko Date Krumm could soon be added to that list of successful second-time-arounders. Yet, although one was successful and the other beaten on the opening day of 2009's first Major event, both proved the possibilities of still being extremely competitive despite several years out of the spotlight.

Dokić and Date Krumm could not have more different stories; one tragic, the other almost romantic. The first is a tale of pain and clinical depression. The second focuses on finding out there are other things to life apart from the tennis-court, and then realising there was still a competitive flame burning in her core.

The adolescent troubles of Dokić have been documented over the years, and the majority of her issues focused on her bombastic father Damir.

She has not spoken to him in years, but has made several attempts at reclaiming her position of almost a decade ago, when she reached the Wimbledon semi-final and achieved a world-ranking of No.4.

She sees 2009 as her last opportunity to make a comeback. "I think if I do come back, it will be this year," she said. "I don't think I'll push it any further than that if I don't."

Australian support was obvious for the girl who has been pulled between her adopted country and Serbia. Her popularity helped push her to a 6-2 3-6 6-4 win over 70th-ranked Tamira Paszek, and tears flowed afterwards as Dokić described the anguish she had suffered over the years.

She hopes the hard times are over. "I pretty much went three years without playing," she said. "I heard on the men's side, players like [Lleyton] Hewitt and [Marcos] Baghdatis had injuries and they were off for four months. For me, I was laughing at that because I was out for three years. People don't know how hard it is to get back."

The delight for both Dokić and Date Krumm is that both have the ability to recapture former glories. Women tennis-players are unique in that way.
<<<

---------------------------------------------------
5. First-round scoreboard-report: Šafářová v Bammer
---------------------------------------------------

+ Lucie Šafářová [EF] d. SYBILLE BAMMER [24], 6-3 6-1

This match took place in the Australian early evening, while I was sleeping in England; when I woke up and checked the www.australianopen.com scoreboard at 19:25 AEDT, Lucie was up 6-3 *4-1.

She soon held serve, and at 5-1*, Bammer led 30/0, but Lucie won the last four points of the match to break for victory at 19:30 AEDT (first set 39m, second set 33m, match 1h12m).

I am delighted with Lucie's victory, especially after she lost all four of her previous matches with Bammer - even at good times of her career. Last year, Lucie lost in the first round of all the Majors except the French Open, so it's great to get a win under her belt immediately.


5.1 Statistics
--------------

The big difference was that Lucie broke 4 times from 6 BPs, while Bammer wasted all of 5 BPs!

Lucie got 64% of first serves in, winning 81% of the points when she did so, and 43% on second serve. From the first set to the second, she seemed to go for bigger serves, as she got fewer in, but won a higher percentage of points when she did so.

The corresponding percentages for Bammer were 67%, 62% and 35%, her first-serve percentages deteriorating from the 70s in the first set to the 50s in the second.

They each served 2 aces and one double fault.

In points, Lucie won 63-46 (first set 31-26, second set 32-20).

Sadly, W:UE ratios and service-speeds are not available for this match.

--------------------------------------------------
6. First-round TV-report: Chakvetadze v Keothavong
--------------------------------------------------

+ ANNA CHAKVETADZE [17,EF] d. Anne Keothavong, 6-1 6-7 (4/7) 6-1

I saw the third set on BBCi!

The match started in the Australian late afternoon, while I was sleeping in England. When I woke up and checked the scoreboard at 19:25 AEDT, Anna was one game away from victory at 6-1 6-5*.

Anna dropped the second set on a tiebreak before BBCi started showing it. The commentators said Keothavong had come out of that tiebreak "rocking and rolling", but she played very poorly in the third set, with numerous basic errors.

Anna's form was far from convincing, as some worrying unforced errors crept into her game, but Keothavong did little to test her in that third set.

I'll post my full TV-report at a later date.

-------------------------------------------------
7. First-round TV-report: Hantuchová v Dell'Acqua
-------------------------------------------------

+ DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [19,EF] d. Casey Dell'Acqua, 7-6 (13/11) 6-4

BBCi showed this match from 4-5* in the first set (prior to which I followed live scores at www.australianopen.com).

Daniela played very poorly in the three games before the tiebreak, but much more like her usual self from the tiebreak onwards. Dell'Acqua is a left-handed player who likes to go for broke on her groundstrokes, so it isn't easy to get into a rhythm against her.

Dell'Acqua is an even bigger choker than Daniela. She served for the first set at *5-4 and *6-5, and wasted five set-points (one at *6-5 and four in the tiebreak).

The second set was much more comfortable for Daniela, as she cruised through on the strength of a single break in the first game. She had her first match-point in a game of five deuces at 5-3*; then at *5-4, she recovered from 0/40 to serve out the match.

Daniela's form was a far cry from that which took her to the semi-finals of the Australian Open 2008, and will need to improve quite a lot if she is to get past Alizé Cornet in a likely third-round match.

Sam Smith observed that Daniela had been doing a lot of physical training in the gym, and speculated that she was putting fitness-training ahead of tennis-training to set herself up for later in the year, "and if she gets a few results [now], she gets a few results".

I'll post my full TV-report at a later date.

--------------------------------
8. First-round draw: Bottom half
--------------------------------
Key
---

[Q] qualifier
[WC] wild card
[LL] lucky loser
[EF] member of my Eternal Fanship
[DF] member of my demi-fanship
[S] Selesian
(* ?x v ?y) I prefer ?x to win
(!) enthusiastic support
(!!) very enthusiastic support!
(my loyalty is to ?x) I like both players, but prefer ?x
(my Reason says ?x, but my Passion says ?y) I prefer ?x in tennis-terms, but want ?y to win because she's more attractive
(my Passion says ?x, but my Reason says ?y) I find ?x more attractive, but want ?y to win because I prefer her game


8.1 Third quarter
-----------------

* VENUS WILLIAMS [6] v Angelique Kerber
* Roberta Vinci v Carla Suárez Navarro (forza Roberta!)
* Melanie Oudin [Q] v Akgul Amanmuradova
* María José Martínez Sánchez v TAMARINE TANASUGARN [32]

* ANABEL MEDINA GARRIGUES [21] v Isabella Holland [WC]
* Elena Vesnina v Julie Coin (davai Elena!)
* Jessica Moore [WC] v Christina McHale [WC] (go Jessica!)
* FLAVIA PENNETTA [12,DF] v Mara Santangelo (forza Flavia!)

* Kristina Mladenović [WC] v PATTY SCHNYDER [14]
* Jarmila Gajdošová v Virginie Razzano
* Hsieh,Su-Wei [S] v Chan,Yung-Jan (jia you Su-Wei!)
* DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [18] v Chanelle Scheepers [Q] (poďme Domi!)

* Sabine Lisicki v ALEKSANDRA WOZNIAK [30] (komm jetzt Sabine!)
* Klára Zakopalová v Samantha Stosur (pojďme Klára!)
* Iveta Benešová v Vera Dushevina (pojďme Iveta!)
* ELENA DEMENTIEVA [4] v Kristina Barrois (davai Elena!)


8.2 Bottom quarter
------------------

* Anastasia Rodionova v SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA [8]
* Ayumi Morita [S] v Tatjana Malek (my Passion says Tatjana, but my Reason says Ayumi)
* Nicole Vaidišová [EF] v Séverine Brémond (POJĎME NICOLE!!)
* ALYONA BONDARENKO [31] v Olivia Rogowska [WC] (davai Alyona!)

* ZHENG,JIE [22] v Camille Pin (jia you Jie!)
* Sorana Cîrstea v Melinda Czink (hai Sorana!)
* Ekateryna Bychkova v Lourdes Domínguez Lino (davai Ekateryna)
* Kateryna Bondarenko v AGNIESZKA RADWAŃSKA [9]

* VICTORIA AZARENKA [13] v Petra Kvitová
* Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova v Tathiana Garbin
* Elena Baltacha [Q] v Anna-Lena Grönefeld (go Elena!)
* Olga Govortsova v AMÉLIE MAURESMO [20] (davai Olga!)

* Peng,Shuai [S] v FRANCESCA SCHIAVONE [28] (jia you Shuai!)
* Sesil Karatantcheva [Q] v Nuria Llagostera Vives
* Gisela Dulko [DF] v Anastasiya Yakimova (Ąvamos Gisela!)
* SERENA WILLIAMS [2] v Yuan,Meng [WC]

------------------------------
9. Second-round draw: Top half
------------------------------

* Kirsten Flipkens v JELENA JANKOVIĆ [1] (komaan Kirsten!)
* Nathalie Dechy v AI SUGIYAMA [26] (allez Nathalie!)
* Lucie Šafářová [EF] v Marina Eraković (my loyalty is to LUCIE)
* Tsvetana Pironkova [DF] v MARION BARTOLI [16,DF,S] (my Reason says Marion, but my Passion says Tsvetana)

* Sania Mirza [DF] v NADIA PETROVA [10] (go Sania!)
* Karin Knapp v Galina Voskoboeva
* Monica Niculescu [S] v Sara Errani (hai Monica!)
* VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF] v Edina Gallovits (DAVAI VERA!!)

* Ekaterina Makarova v DINARA SAFINA [3]
* Patricia Mayr v KAIA KANEPI [25]
* DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [19,EF] v Mathilde Johansson (my loyalty is to DANIELA)
* ALIZÉ CORNET [15] v Andrea Petković (allez Alizé!)

* CAROLINE WOZNIACKI [11] v Virginia Ruano Pascual (my loyalty is to Caroline)
* Jelena Dokić [WC,EF] v ANNA CHAKVETADZE [17,EF] (having to lose one of them so early is like a dagger in my heart)
* ALISA KLEYBANOVA [29] v Stéphanie Cohen-Aloro
* ANA IVANOVIĆ [5,DF] v Alberta Brianti [Q] (ajde Ana!)

-------------------
10. Andrew's wishes (updated after Monday)
-------------------
10.1 Second round: Bottom half
------------------------------

+ Roberta Vinci d. VENUS WILLIAMS [6]
+ María José Martínez Sánchez d. Melanie Oudin [Q]
+ Elena Vesnina d. ANABEL MEDINA GARRIGUES [21]
+ FLAVIA PENNETTA [12,DF] d. Jessica Moore [WC]

+ Kristina Mladenović [WC] d. Jarmila Gajdošová
+ DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [18] d. Hsieh,Su-Wei [S]
+ Sabine Lisicki d. Klára Zakopalová
+ Iveta Benešová d. ELENA DEMENTIEVA [4]

+ Ayumi Morita [S] d. Anastasia Rodionova
+ Nicole Vaidišová [EF] d. ALYONA BONDARENKO [31]
+ ZHENG,JIE [22] d. Sorana Cîrstea
+ Ekateryna Bychkova d. Kateryna Bondarenko

+ VICTORIA AZARENKA [13] d. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
+ Olga Govortsova d. Elena Baltacha [Q]
+ Peng,Shuai [S] d. Sesil Karatantcheva [Q]
+ Gisela Dulko [DF] d. SERENA WILLIAMS [2]


10.2 Third-round wishes
-----------------------

+ Kirsten Flipkens d. Nathalie Dechy
+ Lucie Šafářová [EF] d. Tsvetana Pironkova [DF]
+ Sania Mirza [DF] d. Karin Knapp
+ VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF] d. Monica Niculescu [S]

+ Ekaterina Makarova d. Patricia Mayr
+ DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [19,EF] d. ALIZÉ CORNET [15]
+ Jelena Dokić [WC,EF] d. CAROLINE WOZNIACKI [11]
+ ANA IVANOVIĆ [5,DF] d. ALISA KLEYBANOVA [29]

+ Roberta Vinci d. María José Martínez Sánchez
+ FLAVIA PENNETTA [12,DF] d. Elena Vesnina
+ DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [18] d. Kristina Mladenović [WC]
+ Sabine Lisicki d. Iveta Benešová

+ Nicole Vaidišová [EF] d. Ayumi Morita [S]
+ ZHENG,JIE [22] d. Ekateryna Bychkova
+ VICTORIA AZARENKA [13] d. Olga Govortsova (my Passion says Olga, but my Reason says Victoria)
+ Gisela Dulko [DF] d. Peng,Shuai [S]


10.3 Fourth-round wishes
------------------------

+ Lucie Šafářová [EF] d. Kirsten Flipkens
+ VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF] d. Sania Mirza [DF]
+ DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [19,EF] d. Ekaterina Makarova
+ Jelena Dokić [WC,EF] d. ANA IVANOVIĆ [5,DF]

+ FLAVIA PENNETTA [12,DF] d. Roberta Vinci
+ DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [18] d. Sabine Lisicki
+ Nicole Vaidišová [EF] d. ZHENG,JIE [22]
+ Gisela Dulko [DF] d. VICTORIA AZARENKA [13]


10.4 Quarter-final wishes
-------------------------

+ VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF] d. Lucie Šafářová [EF]
+ DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [19,EF] d. Jelena Dokić [WC,EF]
+ FLAVIA PENNETTA [12,DF] d. DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [18]
+ Nicole Vaidišová [EF] d. Gisela Dulko [DF]


10.5 Semi-final wishes
----------------------

+ DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [19,EF] d. VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF]
+ Nicole Vaidišová [EF] d. FLAVIA PENNETTA [12,DF]


10.6 Final wish
---------------

+ DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [19,EF] d. Nicole Vaidišová [EF]

-----------------------------
11. Order of play for Tuesday
-----------------------------

I list only those courts on which members of my Eternal Fanship are scheduled.

Court 8 (start 11:00 AEDT = 00:00 GMT)
MS 1r: Nicolas Massú v NICOLAS ALMAGRO [17]
WS 1r: Nicole Vaidišová [EF] v Séverine Brémond
WS 1r: Tatjana Malek v Ayumi Morita [S]
WS 1r: Elena Vesnina v Julie Coin

Full order of play:
http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/scores/schedule/

--
Dr. Andrew Broad

andrewbroad
Jan 21st, 2009, 12:12 AM
===============
AUSTRALIAN OPEN (Melbourne, Australia; outdoor hard (Plexicushion); Major)
=============== http://www.australianopen.com/
Contents
--------

1. Photos / Videos
2. First-round results
3. First-round review: Vaidišová v Brémond
4. First-round TV-report: Stosur v Zakopalová
5. Second-round draw
6. Second-round previews
7. Andrew's wishes
8. Women's Doubles: First-round draw
9. Order of play for Wednesday

------------------
1. Photos / Videos
------------------
1.1 Photos
----------

Lucie Šafářová off-court:
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/2/photogallery/?Event=melbourne_week1

Various players including Elena Dementieva, and Caroline Wozniacki on a motorbike:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/7838994.stm

Search-list for Tuesday:
vaidisova
dulko
pennetta
zakopalova
wozniacki
dementieva
peng
bondarenko

It's surprising enough that Kateryna Bondarenko beat Agnieszka Radwańska [9], but it's even more surprising that she was able to grip the racket with those fingernails!


1.2 Videos
----------

http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/2/multimedia/default_video.asp
- Day 1 Highlights: Jelena Dokić breaking down in her press-conference
- Night 1 Highlights: Daniela Hantuchová v Casey Dell'Acqua
- Night 2 Highlights: Samantha Stosur v Klára Zakopalová

----------------------
2. First-round results (Tuesday 20th January 2009)
----------------------

Nice winner, nice loser:
+ Tatjana Malek d. Ayumi Morita [S], 7-6 (7/4) 6-2

What rocked:
+ Gisela Dulko [DF] d. Anastasiya Yakimova, 6-3 5-7 6-3
+ FLAVIA PENNETTA [12,DF] d. Mara Santangelo, 6-2 5-7 6-2
+ DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [18] d. Chanelle Scheepers [Q], 6-0 6-0
+ Sabine Lisicki d. ALEKSANDRA WOZNIAK [30], 6-4 6-3
+ Iveta Benešová d. Vera Dushevina, 6-4 0-6 6-2
+ Peng,Shuai [S] d. FRANCESCA SCHIAVONE [28], 7-6 (7/4) 6-1
+ ALYONA BONDARENKO [31] d. Olivia Rogowska [WC], 5-7 6-3 6-2
+ ELENA DEMENTIEVA [4] d. Kristina Barrois, 7-6 (7/4) 2-6 6-1
+ ZHENG,JIE [22] d. Camille Pin, 6-3 6-3
+ Jessica Moore [WC] d. Christina McHale [WC], 1-6 6-3 9-7
+ Kateryna Bondarenko d. AGNIESZKA RADWAŃSKA [9], 7-6 (9/7) 4-6 6-1
+ Elena Baltacha [Q] d. Anna-Lena Grönefeld, 6-1 6-4
+ María José Martínez Sánchez d. TAMARINE TANASUGARN [32], 7-5 6-3

Heartbreaker
Tom Perrotta (TENNIS.com)
>>>
Jessica Moore d. Christina McHale, 1-6 6-3 9-7: McHale, the 16-year-old American wildcard who won a USTA play-off for a spot in the tournament, served for the match at 5-3 in the third set. Cramps, unfortunately, got the better of her. The loss left her in tears on the court.
<<<

What sucked:
- Nicole Vaidišová [EF] lt. Séverine Brémond, 2-6 1-6
- Elena Vesnina lt. Julie Coin, 4-6 6-4 1-6
- Klára Zakopalová lt. Samantha Stosur, 6-7 (5/7) 6-7 (0/7)
- Olga Govortsova lt. AMÉLIE MAURESMO [20], 4-6 3-6
- Hsieh,Su-Wei [S] lt. Chan,Yung-Jan, 3-6 3-6
- Roberta Vinci lt. Carla Suárez Navarro, 5-7 4-6
- Sorana Cîrstea lt. Melinda Czink, 2-6 2-6
- Ekateryna Bychkova lt. Lourdes Domínguez Lino, 3-6 0-6

All other results:
+ SERENA WILLIAMS [2] d. Yuan,Meng [WC], 6-3 6-2
+ VENUS WILLIAMS [6] d. Angelique Kerber, 6-3 6-3
+ SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA [8] d. Anastasia Rodionova, 6-2 3-6 6-3
+ VICTORIA AZARENKA [13] d. Petra Kvitová, 6-2 6-1
+ PATTY SCHNYDER [14] d. Kristina Mladenović [WC], 2-6 6-4 6-2
+ ANABEL MEDINA GARRIGUES [21] d. Isabella Holland [WC], 6-1 7-5
+ Sesil Karatantcheva [Q] d. Nuria Llagostera Vives, 2-6 6-1 6-2
+ Virginie Razzano d. Jarmila Gajdošová, 6-1 6-7 (2/7) 6-4
+ Tathiana Garbin d. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, 6-4 2-6 7-5
+ Akgul Amanmuradova d. Melanie Oudin [Q], 6-1 6-4

Quote of the day comes from Serena Williams: "Maybe with the fat, I would be able to, like, absorb more of the heat."

------------------------------------------
3. First-round review: Vaidišová v Brémond
------------------------------------------

- Nicole Vaidišová [EF] lt. Séverine Brémond, 2-6 1-6

Another deplorable scoreline for Nicole, to go with the 1-6 1-6 loss to Mara Santangelo at Sydney. What's wrong with her?

The match took place during the Australian afternoon, while I was sleeping in England, so all I've got to go on is the statistics and this little article:

AWOL
Tom Perrotta (TENNIS.com)
>>>
Troubles abound for the once sure-fire superstar Vaidišová, who refused to talk to the press afterwards, and faces a potential fine.
<<<

3.1 Statistics
--------------

The match lasted 1h02m (first set 32m, second set 30m).

Nicole had a woeful W:UE ratio of 14:27, while Brémond's was almost the opposite at 24:14. The contrast was especially extreme in the second set: Nicole 7:18, Brémond 13:4.

Nicole got 65% of her first serves in, but won only 46% of the points when she did so, and 27% on second serve. She upped her first-serves-in percentage from the first set to the second, only for her winning-percentages on both serves to deteriorate.

The corresponding percentages for Brémond were 63%, 74% and 40%. She seemed to go for bigger serves in the second set, as her first-serves-in percentage dipped slightly, but she won 86% of the points when she did get it in.

Unfortunately service-speed statistics aren't available for this match, but to have a first serve like Nicole's and win only 46% of points on it suggests that her right-wrist injury might have flared up again - or perhaps even the shoulder-injury that restricted her serve in 2006.

Brémond served 9 aces and 6 double faults, while Nicole served no aces and 4 double faults.

Brémond's high counts of aces and winners suggest that either Nicole's movement was restricted by injury, she wilted in the 40°C heat, or she was simply not trying - I hate to suggest that, but there were certainly times in 2008 when she gave less than 100% effort.

Nicole broke twice from 6 break-points (converting 1 of 3 BPs in each set), which leaves only one game that she won on her own serve - which is the best serve in women's tennis when it's on.

Brémond broke 7 times from 16 break-points, so perhaps Nicole was lucky to hold serve even once.

Nicole won 3 of 5 points at the net (60%), while Brémond won 5 of 9 (56%) - including 4 of 7 in the second set.

In points, Brémond won 71-46 (first set 34-23, second set 37-23).

---------------------------------------------
4. First-round TV-report: Stosur v Zakopalová
---------------------------------------------

- Klára Zakopalová lt. Samantha Stosur, 6-7 (5/7) 6-7 (0/7)

I saw this match on BBCi from 5-5 in the first set, but that was extremely lucky, because the cretins started the "live coverage of Rod Laver Arena evening-session" with a repeat of Andy Murray's (mercifully short) first-round match! :fiery:

I like Klára because she has a pretty face and flairsome groundstrokes (a rather weak serve, though), and I forgive her for the crimes against my Eternal Fanship that she committed in the early '00s under the name Koukalová.

Stosur is a serve-and-volley player with a big serve and not-so-good volleys today. She is one of the world's top doubles-players, but can get very nervous on a singles-court, as was the case for much of this match.

Stosur led *5-1 in the first set, but needed a tiebreak to close it out - and Klára had her chances in the first set as she served for it at *6-5, and also led *3/2 in the tiebreak.

In the second set, Klára broke first for *3-1, but then let herself down with a catalogue of loose errors; Stosur broke back immediately; Klára broke to serve for the second set at *5-3, but Stosur broke back immediately again, and ultimately won the second set on a tiebreak too.


First set
---------

The match was first on the Rod Laver Arena evening-session with a 19:30 AEDT start, but BBCi joined it almost an hour late due to the aforementioned Murray-repeat.

Stosur serving 5-5: Stosur's pinpoint forehand down the line forced Klára to hit a crosscourt backhand wide. 15/0. Stosur came to the net, forcing Klára to net a backhand. 30/0. Serve + forehand drive-volley winner. 40/0. Stosur off-forehand wide. 40/15. Double fault (second serve long).

Klára serving 6-5: Double fault (second serve into the net). 0/15. Stosur forehand long. 15/15. Serve + crosscourt backhand winner. 30/15. A penetrating off-forehand return forced Klára to earth a backhand. 30/30. Stosur forehand just long. 40/30. Stosur blasted a wild off-forehand wide.

Chris Bailey reminded me of the unpleasant fact that it was Klára who ended Monica Seles's Australian Open career in the second round in 2003 (and beat 15-year-old Maria Sharapova in the first round). Back then, she was known as Klára KoUKaLová (KUKL = witchcraft).

6-6 tiebreak (all scores Zakopalová/Stosur):
{0/0*} Klára on the fourth stroke hit a forehand long.
{*0/1} Stosur blasted a wild forehand return wide.
{*1/1} Klára dumped a cheap forehand into the net.
{1/2*} Klára's deep return forced Stosur to bunt an backhand half-volley long.
{2/2*} Stosur netted a backhand dropshot from the baseline (and Klára was right onto it).
{*3/2} Klára ran around her backhand, but blasted a wild forehand very long.
{*3/3} Stosur's well-placed crosscourt forehand forced Klára to net a forehand.
{4/3*} Stosur tried to serve and volley, but netted a poor forehand volley.
{4/4*} Service-winner down the middle.
{*4/5} Stosur stranded Klára with an off-forehand, and hit a backhand winner down the line.
{*4/6: SP #1} Second serve: Stosur played a good spreading rally, came to the net, but hit a choky off-backhand volley wide. Sam Smith: "She just gets so uptight."
{5/6*: SP #2} Service-winner out wide - right in the corner - forced Klára to net a backhand return with a cute little girly noise. Stosur won the first set 7-6 (7/5).

Stosur took a medical time-out to get both calves massaged. I wouldn't mind that job - as long as I could go round the back and do it! ;-) Stosur then leant against the side of the court and stretched her legs.

Stosur may have won the first set, but Klára has the momentum after fighting back from 1-5*.


Second set
----------
ZAKOPA * *@__* * *__ 6(0)
STOSUR _*__@* * * *T 7(7)

Klára serving 0-0: Klára's crosscourt forehand forced Stosur to net a forehand. 15/0. Klára backhand long. 15/15. Klára forehand just long. 15/30. Klára blasted an off-forehand into the tramlines. 15/40 (BP). Klára drew Stosur to the net with a short ball, and passed her with a short-angled crosscourt forehand winner. 30/40 (BP #2). Klára backhand winner down the line. 40/40. Klára hit a "fearsome" crosscourt forehand winner back behind Stosur. Ad Klára. Deep first serve on the service-line forced Stosur to net a backhand return.

Two break-points saved!

Sam Smith said that all Czech players in tennis-history tended to build the rally with crosscourt shots and then hit winners down the line.

Stosur serving 0-1: Stosur backhand long. 15/0. Serve + crosscourt forehand winner. 30/0. Serve out wide + crosscourt backhand dropshot-winner back behind Klára. 40/0. Stosur down-the-line forehand long. 40/15. Klára's down-the-line forehand forced Stosur to hit a defensive one-handed backhand into the net. 40/30. Stosur challenged a serve that was called long: Hawk-Eye showed that it caught about 10% of the service-line, so they replayed the point. Stosur wasted a terrific first serve by dumping a forehand into the net on the third stroke. 40/40. Deep first serve out wide + forehand winner down the line. Ad Stosur. First serve down the middle forced Klára to lunge and net a forehand return.

Klára serving 1-1: Stosur's short-angled crosscourt forehand forced Klára to slip and hit a forehand long. 0/15. A deep return just inside the baseline forced Klára to hit a forehand long. 0/30. Serve out wide induced Stosur to net a forehand. 15/30. A tentative first serve induced Stosur to blast a forehand return just long. 30/30. Stosur hit a forehand long, and yelled. 40/30. Klára's short-angled crosscourt forehand onto the sideline forced Stosur to hit a forehand long.

Stosur serving 1-2: Klára backhand return long. 15/0. Klára hit a pinpoint backhand return-winner down the line. 15/15. Stosur forced a defensive lob, let it bounce, and hit a forehand smash-winner down Klára's forehand-sideline. 30/15. Double fault (second serve clipped the netcord and landed long). 30/30. Klára's deep crosscourt forehand return forced Stosur to hit a forehand long. 30/40 (BP). Klára's crosscourt backhand return forced Stosur to hit a backhand wide.

Sam Smith: "When Sam Stosur gets on a bad track mentally, she finds it very difficult to get herself out of it. Zakopalová is a very competent player: makes a lot of balls in court. She's got some rare old grips with her groundstrokes and serve, but she knows how to /compete/, and she can see what's happening down the other end. With Stosur, the panic sets in very quickly, and then she just tries to bat everything as hard as she can - that's her defence-mechanism."

Klára serving 3-1: Serve out wide + crosscourt forehand forced Stosur to hit a forehand wide. 15/0. Service-winner out wide. 30/0. Klára backhand long. 30/15. Stosur pounced on a short, weak ball with an off-forehand winner onto the sideline. Klára challenged the call: Hawk-Eye showed that it caught about 50% of the sideline. 30/30. Stosur came to the net, but Klára's crosscourt forehand pass forced her into error. 40/30. A deep, penetrating forehand return forced Klára into error. 40/40. Klára bunted a defensive forehand long off a deep ball from Stosur. Ad Stosur (BP). Klára dumped a forehand halfway up the net to give Stosur the break back.

Sam Smith gave some suggestions for players who struggle with nerves: get them in the best shape and their tennis so good that they're confident, or give them coping-mechanisms such as the way Amélie Mauresmo jogs up and down, or Daniela Hantuchová faces the back fence and skips.

Stosur serving 2-3: Klára hit two forehands long. 30/0. Double fault (second serve clipped the netcord and landed way wide). 30/15. Ace #3: down the middle. 40/15. Klára forehand long.

Suddenly, Klára's making a lot of loose shots, so the momentum is firmly back with Stosur.

Klára serving 3-3: Klára sprayed a forehand long off a deep ball from Stosur. 0/15. Klára came to the net behind a sliced backhand down the line, and hit an easy forehand volley-winner, but still looked annoyed with that point. 15/15. Stosur netted a backhand. 30/15. Stosur forced a short ball and hit an off-forehand winner. 30/30. Stosur hit a big forehand return just long. 40/30. Stosur forehand return-winner down Klára's forehand-sideline. 40/40. Stosur netted a forehand. Ad Klára. She stopped the point to challenge a ball on her baseline, and Hawk-Eye showed that it was long.

Chris Bailey: "Zakopalová doesn't appear to me to have a flat serve - it's all sliced. They're all going to Stosur's forehand."
Sam Smith: "It's such a Czech way of playing: get the serve in, and go from there."

Stosur serving 3-4: Klára hit an off-backhand winner back behind Stosur. 0/15. A very wide serve induced Klára to net a tentative backhand return. 15/15. Stosur netted a forehand off a deep ball from Klára. 15/30. Klára's forehand hit the netcord and dropped dead for a winner. She apologised with her palm, but turned away smiling. 15/40 (BP). Stosur on the third stroke blasted a forehand long.

Klára serving 5-3: Klára on the third stroke netted a forehand. 0/15. A weak second serve was punished by Stosur's forehand return fierce. 0/30. Stosur netted a forehand. 15/30. Klára blasted a crosscourt forehand wide. 15/40 (BP). Klára forehand just long.

Stosur serving 4-5: Stosur's serve + crosscourt backhand opening lacked conviction; she sprayed an off-forehand wide on the fifth stroke, and said "aargh!". 0/15. Klára's penetrating forehand forced Stosur to hit a forehand just long. 0/30. Klára netted a backhand. 15/30. Stosur served and volleyed on second serve: crosscourt forehand drop-volley winner. 30/30. A deep ball from Stosur forced Klára to hit a defensive backhand long. 40/30. Stosur netted a forehand on the third stroke. 40/40. Stosur spread Klára, forcing her to net a backhand. Klára dropped her racket. Ad Stosur. Klára hit a choky forehand very long.

Klára serving 5-5: Anxious look on Klára's face after she missed a first serve, but a deep, flairsome forehand forced Stosur to net a backhand. 15/0. Stosur came to the net behind a sliced backhand that was really too short, but Klára netted a very makeable crosscourt forehand pass. 15/15. Forehand return just long. 30/15. Crosscourt backhand return-winner. 30/30. Serve out wide forced Stosur to hit a crosscourt forehand wide. 40/30. Ace #1: down the middle, just inside the centre-line.

Stosur serving 5-6: Klára ran down a dropshot, hit a deep sliced backhand just inside the baseline, forcing Stosur to net a forehand. 0/15. Klára netted a forehand. 15/15. Stosur forehand just long. 15/30. Klára netted a backhand. 30/30. Klára backhand long. 40/30. Service-winner down the middle.

6-6 tiebreak (all scores Zakopalová/Stosur):
{*0/0} Klára backhand just long.
{0/1*} Klára backhand just long.
{0/2*} Serve out wide forced Klára to hit a crosscourt forehand wide.
{*0/3} Klára on the third stroke netted a backhand.
{*0/4} Klára netted a down-the-line forehand.
{0/5*} Klára dumped a backhand return into the net.
{0/6*: MP #1} Stosur hit an off-forehand onto the sideline, inducing Klára to hit a crosscourt backhand wide. Stosur won 6-7 (5/7) 6-7 (0/7) at 21:40 AEDT. Klára looked very disappointed.

Stosur's on-court interview: "Definitely was [hard work]. Things went wrong towards to the end of the first set, but I just hung in and tried not to let them get worse. It's never over: no matter what the score is, anything can happen. I just had a bit of cramps going on - it's never happened to me before."

--------------------
5. Second-round draw
--------------------
5.1 Top half
------------

* Kirsten Flipkens v JELENA JANKOVIĆ [1] (komaan Kirsten!)
* Nathalie Dechy v AI SUGIYAMA [26] (allez Nathalie!)
* Lucie Šafářová [EF] v Marina Eraković (my loyalty is to LUCIE)
* Tsvetana Pironkova [DF] v MARION BARTOLI [16,DF,S] (my Reason says Marion, but my Passion says Tsvetana)

* Sania Mirza [DF] v NADIA PETROVA [10] (go Sania!)
* Karin Knapp v Galina Voskoboeva
* Monica Niculescu [S] v Sara Errani (hai Monica!)
* VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF] v Edina Gallovits (DAVAI VERA!!)

* Ekaterina Makarova v DINARA SAFINA [3]
* Patricia Mayr v KAIA KANEPI [25]
* DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [19,EF] v Mathilde Johansson (my loyalty is to DANIELA)
* ALIZÉ CORNET [15] v Andrea Petković (allez Alizé!)

* CAROLINE WOZNIACKI [11] v Virginia Ruano Pascual (my loyalty is to Caroline)
* Jelena Dokić [WC,EF] v ANNA CHAKVETADZE [17,EF] (having to lose one of them so early is like a dagger in my heart)
* ALISA KLEYBANOVA [29] v Stéphanie Cohen-Aloro
* ANA IVANOVIĆ [5,DF] v Alberta Brianti [Q] (ajde Ana!)


5.2 Bottom half
---------------

* VENUS WILLIAMS [6] v Carla Suárez Navarro
* María José Martínez Sánchez v Akgul Amanmuradova
* ANABEL MEDINA GARRIGUES [21] v Julie Coin
* FLAVIA PENNETTA [12,DF] v Jessica Moore [WC] (my loyalty is to Flavia)

* PATTY SCHNYDER [14] v Virginie Razzano
* DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [18] v Chan,Yung-Jan (poďme Domi!)
* Sabine Lisicki v Samantha Stosur (komm jetzt Sabine!)
* Iveta Benešová v ELENA DEMENTIEVA [4] (pojďme Iveta!)

* Tatjana Malek v SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA [8] (komm jetzt Tatjana!)
* ALYONA BONDARENKO [31] v Séverine Brémond (my loyalty is to Alyona - slightly)
* ZHENG,JIE [22] v Melinda Czink (jia you Jie!)
* Kateryna Bondarenko v Lourdes Domínguez Lino (davai Kateryna!)

* VICTORIA AZARENKA [13] v Tathiana Garbin (davai Victoria!)
* Elena Baltacha [Q] v AMÉLIE MAURESMO [20] (go Elena!)
* Peng,Shuai [S] v Sesil Karatantcheva [Q] (jia you Shuai!)
* Gisela Dulko [DF] v SERENA WILLIAMS [2] (Ąvamos Gisela!)

------------------------
6. Second-round previews
------------------------
6.1 Šafářová v Eraković
-----------------------

Lucie has never played Marina Eraković before, and there's little separating them in the rankings: Lucie at #60, Marina at #68.

Marina compiled an impressive-looking 36:21 win/loss record for 2008, although many of her tournaments were on the ITF circuit. She scored a big upset at the start of 2008, beating #22 Vera Zvonarëva to reach the semi-finals of Auckland. In February, she won ITF Mildura and was runner-up at ITF Berri - both in Australia.

Marina won six matches to qualify and reach the semi-finals of the WTA Tier III at Memphis, albeit without beating anyone higher than #116. Her results then tailed off a bit, but she had a very impressive grasscourt-season, winning ITF Surbiton and reaching the semi-finals of Tier III Birmingham by beating #29 Alyona Bondarenko. She reached the third round of Wimbledon, but from there, she finished 2008 on a 9-match losing-streak.

Marina started 2009 with a 7-5 6-4 win over #65 Nuria Llagostera Vives to reach the second round of Auckland, where she lost 6-2 6-3 to on-form #4 Elena Dementieva. At Hobart, she lost 6-1 4-6 6-1 to #24 Zheng,Jie in the first round. She won her first round here 6-4 7-5 over #85 Petra Cetkovská.

Lucie has showed some impressive signs of a return to form this month, with that 6-4 6-4 win over Samantha Stosur at Brisbane, and thrashing Sybille Bammer [24] 6-3 6-1 in the first round here, so I fancy her chances of beating of beating Eraković.


6.1.1 Article
-------------

Australian Open: Day 3 Preview
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=2902
>>>
Court 10
Lucie Šafářová (CZE) vs. Marina Eraković (NZL) - First meeting

Two years ago, when she was on the cusp of the top 20 it was hard to imagine that Lucie Šafářová wouldn't enjoy a long run as a seed at the Majors.

But after winning four titles and recording her best Major result right here at Melbourne Park - she was a quarter-finalist two years ago - the rangy left-hander went into reverse gear.

Things started to look up at Brisbane, where the 21-year-old scored a striking win over Sam Stosur, but she'll be tested by 20-year-old Kiwi Eraković, who is ranked just eight places lower at No.68, and got a taste for Major success at Wimbledon last year.

In fact, it's hard to believe that this is Eraković's first main-draw appearance in Melbourne. She's a fine doubles-player, so the net might be her best bet against the powerful Czech baseliner.
<<<

6.2 Zvonarëva v Gallovits
-------------------------

World #76 Edina Gallovits went 27:17 in 2008, winning five matches to qualify and reach the quarter-finals of Hobart, thrashing #51 Klára Zakopalová 6-2 6-0 to reach the quarter-fials of Barcelona, and winning ITF Auburn and ITF San Diego back to back in November.

I saw Gallovits lose 6-4 6-2 to Anna Chakvetadze in the second round of Wimbledon. The main thing I remember about that match is that Anna made an error whenever Gallovits sliced a backhand to Anna's forehand, but Gallovits didn't seem to pick up on that as the winning tactic, so I didn't come away with the impression that Gallovits is a very smart player - unlike Anna and Vera.

Gallovits has made a good start to 2009, beating #22 Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-3 6-3 to reach the quarter-finals of Auckland, but losing to #100 Melinda Czink in the third qualifying-round for Hobart. She beat #101 Maria Elena Camerin 6-3 2-6 6-3 in the first round here.

Vera has never played Gallovits before, but she's in a different league to her, and should win easily.


6.3 Hantuchová v Johansson
--------------------------

Mathilde Johansson went 45:24 in 2008, winning ITF singles-titles at Cali in February, and Petange in July. She got some Major experience by losing 6-2 7-5 to Serena Williams in the second round of the French Open, and 6-7 7-5 6-3 to Svetlana Kuznetsova in the first round of Wimbledon (after qualifying). But she finished 2008 on a 4-match losing-streak.

Mathilde got a couple of wins in Auckland-qualifying, but nothing Daniela should be too worried about, as her opponents were #180 and unranked. She lost to #144 Aiko Nakamura in the third qualifying-round for Auckland, and to #263 Sophie Ferguson in the first qualifying-round for Sydney. In the first round here, she squeezed past #65 Jill Craybas 6-2 1-6 7-5.

Daniela has never played Johansson before, but should have too much big-time experience - and of course talent - for the world #87.


6.4 Dokić v Chakvetadze
-----------------------

Jelena Dokić v Anna Chakvetadze is a mouthwatering match, although having to lose one of them in the second round feels like a dagger in my heart! But not as agonising as the BBC's plans to snub them even though they will be playing on the Rod Laver Arena evening-session!

Ten years ago, Jelena looked like a world #1 in the making. She thrashed Martina Hingis 6-2 6-0 at Wimbledon 1999, Venus Williams 6-1 6-2 at Rome 2000, won five WTA singles-titles and reached a career-high ranking of #4. But then her well-documented family-problems caught up with her, and she fell off the tennis-radar, battling depression and injuries.

2008 was a something of an encouraging turnaround for Jelena, as she compiled a 35:10 win/loss record mainly on the ITF circuit, winning three ITF singles-titles, working her way back to her current ranking of #187. She gained her place at the Australian Open by winning the wild-card play-off tournament in December.

Jelena's 7-6 7-6 loss to Amélie Mauresmo at Brisbane was encouraging, as she hadn't played someone ranked as high as #23 for years. Less encouraging is that she pulled out of Hobart-qualifying after spraining her right Achilles' tendon while practising. "The Australian Open is still 10 days away, so I still have some time, which is good, and I should be all right," she said.

Jelena beat Tamira Paszek 6-2 3-6 6-4 in the first round, which suggests that her Achilles' tendon has healed, since she was able to come through such a tough match.

Anna, like Jelena, is one of the most flairsomely talented players in the game - not to mention ultracute! Anna broke through by winning the prestigious Tier I Kremlin Cup at Moscow in October 2006, and followed up with a very consistent 2007, winning four WTA singles-titles and reaching three Major quarter-finals - including her run to the US Open 2007 semi-finals.

Anna slumped from #6 to #18 in 2008 following a traumatic ordeal in December 2007 in which she was tied up by burglars who broke into her house, although she did manage to win WTA Paris and reach the New Haven final. But her win/loss record for 2008 was only 28:23.

Anna beat Sania Mirza 6-4 6-4 as Team Russia reached the final of the Hong Kong exhibition, and her 7-6 6-3 loss to Venus Williams was encouraging, considering that Williams thrashed #1 Jelena Janković and #7 Vera Zvonarëva both 6-2 6-2 in that tournament!

Less encouraging was Anna's 3-6 6-4 6-4 loss to Gisela Dulko in another rubber of the Hong Kong final, and then her 7-6 1-6 7-5 loss to #44 Carla Suárez Navarro in the first round of Hobart - after leading 5-2 in the third set!

Anna came through the first round here with a less-than-convincing 6-1 6-7(4) 6-1 win over Anne Keothavong, who offered very weak resistance in the third set.

Despite Anna's struggles, I think she would have too much game for Jelena at this stage of Jelena's comeback (they've never played each other before). Anna has groundstrokes of flairsome power like Jelena, but plays with greater variety, has better defensive skills, and is so deceptive! For Anna, it's just a matter of cutting out the unforced errors that plagued her in 2008.

But still, I believe that class is permanent, and now that Jelena's finally back playing at this level, she just might rediscover something resembling her form from of old: the kind of form that saw her hitting winners at will past Martina Hingis at Wimbledon 1999.

With both Jelena and Anna being members of my Eternal Fanship, I feel very bad to wish a second-round loss on either of them, but my loyalty is to Jelena, because she needs it more.

Jelena is at the crossroads of her career, as she has indicated that she might retire if she fails to reestablish herself on the WTA Tour in 2009. So it's very important that she takes advantage of her wild-card opportunities in Australia, otherwise she'll be struggling to get into WTA tournaments and the other three Majors later in the year.

From a more selfish perspective, there's more chance of Jelena being televised on BBCi if it's she who advances, because, as an Australian, she's far more likely to be scheduled on the Rod Laver Arena evening-session again. She's already very popular in Australia at the moment, and this would increase exponentially with every win she could get here.


6.4.1 Articles
--------------

Australian Open: Day 3 Preview
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=2902
>>>
Top seed Jelena Janković is back in action as the second round gets underway at the Australian Open on Wednesday, against former junior-star Kirsten Flipkens. But the Serbian world No.1 will probably understand that much of the focus will be on another player who shares her first name: Jelena Dokić.

Rod Laver
(17) Anna Chakvetadze vs. (WC) Jelena Dokić (AUS) - First meeting

As it happens, Chakvetadze was runner-up to Flipkens in the Wimbledon junior-final back in 2003, but whereas the Belgian has struggled in the senior ranks, Chakvetadze has cashed in her chips in fine style.

That said, 2008 wasn't the happiest of seasons for the 21-year-old, who dropped out of the top 10. The young Russian's Major results took a backward step and, despite winning the Paris Indoors in February - marking seven tournament-wins from seven finals - Chakvetadze spent much of the year conspicuously short of back-to-back wins, let alone trophies.

On the other side of the net, Dokić's troubles have been well documented, but the former world No.4 - now clawing her way back from No.187, was impressive against Tamira Paszek on Monday. Both have it all to play for, but are prone to self-admonishment. It could be an emotional night.
<<<

2009 Australian Open - Nick's Picks - Women's Singles Round 2
Nick Bollettieri <nickstennispicks.com>
>>>
Jelena Dokić (AUS) vs. Anna Chakvetadze (RUS) - Dokić won her first Major singles-match since 2003 in front of her home-fans on Monday. No one has ever questioned her ability to be a top-notch player, but sometimes outside forces have a tremendous impact on your life. We are thrilled to have her back on the tour, and hope she can remain competitive for years to come. Chakvetadze is very sold [solid?], and for Dokić to win this match, it is not going to be easy. The question is: How much does she have left in her tank after a very emotional win in the first round?
<<<

2009 Australian Open: Day Three Preview
Aaress Lawless <www.onthebaseline.com>
>>>
Jelena Dokić (AUS) v. Anna Chakvetadze (RUS)[17]

A tearful Jelena Dokić revealed in her post-match press-conference on Monday just what it feels like to finally be back where she believes she belongs. It has been a long five years for Dokić in her Melbourne-return, but with every win, she is signalling that perhaps, happy days are here again.

Despite Chakvetadze's seeding, this is a winnable match for Jelena. Facing a top-twenty seed in the second round is never ideal, but if she had to pick one player, it might likely have been Chakvetadze. Anna hasn't been the same since her family was robbed in the 2007 off-season, and her results continue to slide. Factor in the support of the crowd and the emotion of the moment, and fans in Rod Laver Stadium might have something to cheer about on Wednesday night.

Jelena Dokić in three sets.
<<<

Australia Day comes early at Melbourne Park (Reuters)
By Greg Stutchbury (editing by Pritha Sarkar)
>>>
Former world number-four Jelena Dokić and teenage sensation Bernard Tomić are expected to inspire a surge in ticket-sales as the pair have been given top billing at the Australian Open on Wednesday.

Melbourne Park will be a seething mass of green and gold on Day Three, with local fans keen to provide a tidal wave of raucous support to two of their own, who will both play under floodlights on Rod Laver Arena.

World number-two Roger Federer will have to take a back seat for once as he continues his quest for a record-equalling 14th Major title.

Federer was shunted into the day-session - albeit on centre court - for his contest against Russia's Evgeny Korolev.

Dokić, the on-again, off-again, on-again Australian who has had well-publicised battles with her tempestuous father Damir, won her first Melbourne Park match in a decade when she beat Austria's Tamira Paszek on Monday.

An emotional Dokić later said she had almost given up tennis because of her continuous battles with her father before finally walking out on her family.

When she returned to Australia three years ago, she asked fans to forgive her, which they did in spades on Monday with their chants of 'Aussie, Aussie, Aussie! Oi! Oi! Oi!'

CROWD-SUPPORT

She will be hoping for similar support when she faces Russian 17th seed Anna Chakvetadze.

"They really got behind me, which was great," said Dokić, who will be appearing in a Major second round for the first time since the 2003 US Open.

"I don't know when was the last time that the crowd was really like that."
<<<

Match Analysis: Jelena Dokić v Anna Chakvetadze (www.australianopen.com)
>>>
BACKGROUND

Jelena: After her hard-fought victory over Tamira Paszek in the first round, the tearful Dokić has become the event's sentimental favourite. It was the first time the much-put-upon native of the former Yugoslavia and former world No.4 passed the first round since 1999, and she really looks like she's getting past her family- and emotional problems that essentially took her off the Tour from 2004-2007. The aggressive blonde hasn't looked this confident since 2002.

Anna: This Martina Hingis play-alike is one of the most creative players on tour, with soft hands, quick feet and incredible anticipation, hence her rise to the world No.5 ranking in September of 2007, after she reached the US Open semi-finals. But since she and her family were mugged at home in Moscow in December 2007, she lost a tremendous amount of confidence and rhythm, and has yet to regain her once-stellar form.

CURRENT FORM

Jelena: Her three-set win over Paszek showed off relentless, lethal groundstrokes, and a vicious return of serve. However, her own serve is often spotty, and although she's a much smarter player than she was as a teen, she doesn't move as fast as she did then, and is still prone to bouts of wildness.

Anna: At times in her three-set win over Anne Keothavong, the old, effective Chakvetadze returned: misdirecting balls, sweeping backhands down the line, and forehands crosscourt. But the shaky Russian was also there, tearing up, getting down on herself, over and under-hitting. The 17th seed remains an enigma.

STRENGTH

Jelena: Her outright aggressiveness and little fear of whom she is playing has always been one of her greatest strengths. She can rip winners off both wings, and easily munch on slow second serves. When she gets into the zone, she's almost untouchable.

Anna: An extremely smart player for a 21-year-old, she has remarkable anticipatory skills. She's a terrific offense-to-defense player, who has an underrated first serve and deft placement. But all that can go away when she's lacking self-belief.

TACTICS

Jelena: Dokić needs to attack Chakvetadze's second serves, go hard at her forehand crosscourt, and not get frustrated when the Russian frequently changes place [pace?]. She has too dare the Russian to try to trade big blows with her. She must trick Chakvetadze into playing a macho contest, instead of attempting to engage in a chess-match.

Anna: At this point in her young career, the most important thing for Chakvetadze is to keep positive and keep her brittle emotions in check. She has all the tools to be a top-five player again, and once she's able to string Dokić out, should have the upper hand in rallies. But she's having trouble closing out rallies after she sets up a winning shot - a sure sign of a lack of confidence. She has to yell at herself, "I believe!"

HEAD-TO-HEAD

The two have never played, but they do share Tamira Paszek in common: Dokić beat her on Monday in three sets, and Chakvetadze took the Austrian down twice on hardcourts in straight sets.
<<<

------------------
7. Andrew's wishes (updated after Tuesday)
------------------
7.1 Third-round wishes
----------------------

+ Kirsten Flipkens d. Nathalie Dechy
+ Lucie Šafářová [EF] d. Tsvetana Pironkova [DF]
+ Sania Mirza [DF] d. Karin Knapp
+ VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF] d. Monica Niculescu [S]

+ Ekaterina Makarova d. Patricia Mayr
+ DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [19,EF] d. ALIZÉ CORNET [15]
+ Jelena Dokić [WC,EF] d. CAROLINE WOZNIACKI [11]
+ ANA IVANOVIĆ [5,DF] d. ALISA KLEYBANOVA [29]

+ María José Martínez Sánchez d. VENUS WILLIAMS [6]
+ FLAVIA PENNETTA [12,DF] d. ANABEL MEDINA GARRIGUES [21]
+ DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [18] d. PATTY SCHNYDER [14]
+ Sabine Lisicki d. Iveta Benešová

+ ALYONA BONDARENKO [31] d. Tatjana Malek
+ ZHENG,JIE [22] d. Kateryna Bondarenko
+ VICTORIA AZARENKA [13] d. Elena Baltacha [Q]
+ Gisela Dulko [DF] d. Peng,Shuai [S]


7.2 Fourth-round wishes
-----------------------

+ Lucie Šafářová [EF] d. Kirsten Flipkens
+ VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF] d. Sania Mirza [DF]
+ DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [19,EF] d. Ekaterina Makarova
+ Jelena Dokić [WC,EF] d. ANA IVANOVIĆ [5,DF]

+ FLAVIA PENNETTA [12,DF] d. María José Martínez Sánchez
+ DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [18] d. Sabine Lisicki
+ ALYONA BONDARENKO [31] d. ZHENG,JIE [22] (my Reason says Jie, but my Passion says Alyona)
+ Gisela Dulko [DF] d. VICTORIA AZARENKA [13]


7.3 Quarter-final wishes
------------------------

+ VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF] d. Lucie Šafářová [EF]
+ DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [19,EF] d. Jelena Dokić [WC,EF]
+ FLAVIA PENNETTA [12,DF] d. DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [18]
+ Gisela Dulko [DF] d. ALYONA BONDARENKO [31]


7.4 Semi-final wishes
---------------------

+ DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [19,EF] d. VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF]
+ Gisela Dulko [DF] d. FLAVIA PENNETTA [12,DF]


7.5 Final-wish
--------------

+ DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [19,EF] d. Gisela Dulko [DF]

------------------------------------
8. Women's Doubles: First-round draw
------------------------------------

These are just my selections - the full draw is at:
http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/scores/draws/wd/

* Anna Chakvetadze [EF]/Alisa Kleybanova v CARA BLACK/LIEZEL HUBER [1]

* (VERA ZVONARËVA [EF]/VICTORIA AZARENKA)[13] v Brittany Sheed/Bryanne Stewart

* (DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [EF]/AI SUGIYAMA)[9] v Isabella Holland/Sally Peers

* Lucie Šafářová [EF]/Galina Voskoboeva v Marina Eraković/Jelena Kostanić Tošić

* (MARIA KIRILENKO/FLAVIA PENNETTA)[7,DF] v Liga Dekmeijere/Aleksandra Wozniak

AO Doubles Preview
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=2899
>>>
Other seeds of note include Daniela Hantuchová and Ai Sugiyama at No.9; Sugiyama's regular partner of 2008, Katarina Srebotnik, is out with injury, but of course the popular 'Hantuyama' unit isn't short on history or prospects.
<<<

------------------------------
9. Order of play for Wednesday
------------------------------

I list only those courts on which members of my Eternal Fanship are scheduled.

Rod Laver Arena (start 11:00 AEDT = 00:00 GMT)
WS 2r: ANA IVANOVIĆ [5,DF] v Alberta Brianti
MS 2r: Jérémy Chardy v NOVAK ĐOKOVIĆ [3]
MS 2r: Evgeny Korolov v ROGER FEDERER [2]
|
Evening-session (start 19:30 AEDT = 08:30 GMT)
WS 2r: Jelena Dokić [EF] v ANNA CHAKVETADZE [17,EF]
MS 2r: Bernard Tomić v Gilles Müller

I'm delighted that Jelena and Anna are on the Rod Laver Arena evening-session, because that means they'll be on BBCi at 08:30 GMT! :D Thank God there are no Britons on Wednesday's order of play! (in singles).

That's what I wrote before I heard the following announcement on BBCi: "Tomorrow, you'll get a chance to see a couple of matches featuring the second and third seeds - Roger Federer and Novak Đoković - and you can also see those matches repeated again at 8:30 in the UK." :fiery: :fiery: :fiery:

Margaret Court Arena (start 11:00 AEDT = 00:00 GMT)
WS 2r: Sania Mirza v NADIA PETROVA [10]
MS 2r: MARAT SAFIN [26] v Guillermo García-López
WS 2r: VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF] v Edina Gallovits
WS 2r: CAROLINE WOZNIACKI [11] v Virginia Ruano Pascual
|
(not before 19:30 AEDT = 08:30 GMT)
MS 2r: JUAN MARTÍN DEL POTRO [8] v Florian Mayer

Show Court 3 (start 11:00 AEDT = 00:00 GMT)
MS 2r: Dominik Hrbatý v DAVID FERRER [11]
WS 2r: DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [19,EF] v Mathilde Johansson
MS 2r: STANISLAS WAWRINKA [15] v Brydan Klein
MD 1r: (MAX MIRNYI/ANDY RAM)[9] v Greg Jones/Peter Luczak

Court 10 (start 11:00 AEDT = 00:00 GMT)
MD 1r: (JEFF COETZEE [S]/WESLEY MOODIE)[5] v Robby Ginepri/Vincent Spadea
WD 1r: Iveta Benešová/Barbora Záhlavová Strýcová v Chan,Yung-Jan/Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
WS 2r: Lucie Šafářová [EF] v Marina Eraković
MD 1r: Philip Petzschner/Alexander Peya v (ARNAUD CLÉMENT/MARC GICQUEL)[12]

Full order of play:
http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/scores/schedule/

--
Dr. Andrew Broad

andrewbroad
Jan 22nd, 2009, 02:32 AM
===============
AUSTRALIAN OPEN (Melbourne, Australia; outdoor hard (Plexicushion); Major)
=============== http://www.australianopen.com/
Contents
--------

1. Photos / Videos
2. Second-round results
3. Second-round review: Hantuchová v Johansson
4. Second-round review: Zvonarëva v Gallovits
5. Second-round review: Šafářová v Eraković
6. Second-round scoreboard-report: Dokić v Chakvetadze
7. Second-round draw: Bottom half
8. Third-round draw: Top half
9. Andrew's wishes
10. Women's Doubles: First round
11. Order of play for Thursday / UK TV-update

Another amazing day for my Eternal Fanship, as the five players that I had in the second round went 4:1, including 6-0 6-0 for Vera Zvonarëva. The mouthwatering all-EF match between Jelena Dokić and Anna Chakvetadze didn't disappoint - except that the BBC instead showed repeats of Đoković and Federer's matches at the time they had promised live coverage of the Rod Laver Arena evening-sessions! :fiery:

------------------
1. Photos / Videos
------------------
1.1 Photos
----------

At the time of writing, there are FOUR members of my Eternal Fanship on the front page of www.sonyericssonwtatour.com! Daniela Hantuchová, Jelena Dokić, Anna Chakvetadze and (non-AO-related) Maria Sharapova.

Jelena Dokić (seven second-round photos added):
http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/players/related/wta040344.html

Anna Chakvetadze (two second-round photos added):
http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/players/related/wta310623.html

Daniela Hantuchová (one second-round photo added):
http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/players/related/wta080394.html

Various players including Jelena Dokić, Anna Chakvetadze, Ana Ivanović, Caroline Wozniacki, Kirsten Flipkens and Jelena Janković:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/7841385.stm

Various players added to "Australian Open - First Round" including Flavia Pennetta, Séverine Brémond, Sabine Lisicki, Zheng,Jie and Elena Dementieva:
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/2/photogallery/

Another site to search:
http://www.fotosports.com/

Search-list for Wednesday:
dokic
chakvetadze
hantuchova
zvonareva
safarova
ivanovic
mirza
bartoli
wozniacki
cornet
ruano pascual
flipkens
makarova

It seems Ekaterina Makarova is more attractive than I had realised!


1.2 Videos
----------

http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/2/multimedia/default_video.asp
- Day 3 Highlights: Ana Ivanović v Alberta Brianti
- Night 3 Highlights: Jelena Dokić v Anna Chakvetadze

-----------------------
2. Second-round results (Wednesday 21st January 2009)
-----------------------

Nice winner, nice loser:
+ Jelena Dokić [WC,EF] d. ANNA CHAKVETADZE [17,EF], 6-4 6-7 (4/7) 6-3
+ Lucie Šafářová [EF] d. Marina Eraković, 6-1 3-6 9-7
+ MARION BARTOLI [16,DF,S] d. Tsvetana Pironkova [DF], 7-5 6-2

What rocked:
+ VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF] d. Edina Gallovits, 6-0 6-0
+ DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [19,EF] d. Mathilde Johansson, 6-3 4-6 6-3
+ ANA IVANOVIĆ [5,DF] d. Alberta Brianti [Q], 6-3 6-2
+ CAROLINE WOZNIACKI [11] d. Virginia Ruano Pascual, 6-3 6-3
+ ALIZÉ CORNET [15] d. Andrea Petković, 6-1 6-0

What sucked:
- Sania Mirza [DF] lt. NADIA PETROVA [10], 3-6 2-6
- Monica Niculescu [S] lt. Sara Errani, 2-6 3-6
- Kirsten Flipkens lt. JELENA JANKOVIĆ [1], 4-6 5-7
- Nathalie Dechy lt. AI SUGIYAMA [26], 6-1 1-6 3-6
- Ekaterina Makarova lt. DINARA SAFINA [3], 7-6 (7/3) 3-6 0-6

All other results:
+ KAIA KANEPI [25] d. Patricia Mayr, 6-3 6-1
+ ALISA KLEYBANOVA [29] d. Stéphanie Cohen-Aloro, 6-1 3-6 6-2
+ Galina Voskoboeva d. Karin Knapp, 6-4 6-1


2.1 Quotes
----------

Ana Ivanović: "As you progress through the tournament, you come up against tougher opponents, so you automatically raise your level. I think I still have to work a little bit on my serve. I know there is still lots of room for improvement, so that gives me confidence."

Virginia Wade: "Ana is building it up, but still has a long way to go in her own mind before she feels she is at the level she was last year - when she played so well and won the French [Open]. If anything starts to go wrong, she shatters; and she's got a tough draw there."

Dinara Safina: "It's better to lose the match being aggressive than lose the match being passive. Whenever I'm passive, I lose. Without going for the shots, without risk, you're never gonna be successful. When you lose without doing anything, too many things go into your mind, like, 'Why I was passive? Why I was not going for my shots?'"

Jelena Janković: "Nobody has nothing to lose against me. I'm just always the favourite because I'm the number-one player in the world, which is normal. I have to go out there expecting that opponents are really going to try their best and go out there and play with no pressure."

Sania Mirza: "I'm just happy to be back [from a wrist-injury] and doing what I love doing: playing tennis and competing. There was a big crowd out there, and I haven't played like that for six months. Of course I'm disappointed at losing, but I will try and take positives from this. I was a break up and I played a decent match, but I still have a lot to work on. There are no excuses. I could blame it on a lack of match-practice time, or on playing the world number 10. I had a sore stomach as well. But at the end of the day, I have to give her credit."

----------------------------------------------
3. Second-round review: Hantuchová v Johansson (Wednesday 21st January 2009)
----------------------------------------------

+ DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [19,EF] d. Mathilde Johansson, 6-3 4-6 6-3

This match was second on Show Court 3, and took place during the Australian mid-afternoon, when I sleeping in England. Well, not quite: I was up finishing my first-round reports for other members of my Eternal Fanship before their second-round matches began, and when I finally went to bed at about 14:00 AEDT, I checked the scoreboard and Daniela was up 6-3 3-3.

The statistics indicate that:
* Daniela had a lapse in the second set, while Johansson's first-serves-in percentage peaked.
* The third set was actually more one-sided than the 6-3 (with two breaks) scoreline implies.


3.1 Statistics
--------------

The match lasted 2h05m (first set 38m, second set 47m, third set 40m - I'm guessing they took a bathroom-break before the start of the third, as it contained fewer points than the first).

Daniela went for her shots, with a W:UE ratio of 38:38, troughing at 9:17 for the second set, with positive W:UE ratios for the first and third sets.
Johansson's W:UE ratio was only 18:38, and was negative for all three sets - even in the second set, it was 9:17 - the same as Daniela's.

Daniela got 58% of her first serves in, winning 62% of the points when she did so, and 58% on second serve. These percentages troughed at (53%, 56%, 38%) in the second set, but she improved her winning-percentages for (57%, 67%, 89%) in the third.

The corresponding percentages for Johansson were all inferior: 55%, 53% and 46%. The big difference in the second set was that Johansson got 69% of first-serves in (winning 60% when she did so); her first-serves-in percentages were in the 40s for the first and third sets.

Daniela served 3 aces and 5 double faults, Johansson one ace and 5 double faults.

Daniela served faster than Johansson in all three categories: fastest 106-101 mph, average first serve 97-91 mph, average second serve 81-80 mph. I think Johansson's serves were particularly slow by WTA Tour standards.

Daniela broke 6 times (twice in each set) from 8 BPs, which is a very efficient conversion-rate for her. Johansson broke 4 times from 7 BPs (1 of 3 in the first set, 3 of 4 in the second, and she didn't have any BPs in the third).

Daniela won 12 of 16 points at the net; Johansson won 7 of 9.

In points, Daniela won 93-75 (first set 34-22, second set 30-33, third set 29-20).


3.2 Article
-----------

Hantuchová's love affair continues
By Matthew Trollope (www.australianopen.com)
>>>
Daniela Hantuchová loves Melbourne. It is evident in her results at Melbourne Park, and in her reaction to arriving in the city for the year's first Major.

"I couldn't wait to get started at the Australian Open, after having so many great memories from last year," she said. "I'm just very excited to be here, to be playing one match at a time and really having fun."

Last year, the glamorous Slovak won through to the semi-finals - the first time she had progressed that far at a Major. She got past Maria Kirilenko and Agnieszka Radwańska before falling to Ana Ivanović: a match in which she led 6-0 2-0 before succumbing.

She also made the quarter-finals in 2003, the fourth round in 2006 and 2007, and has started the 2009 event strongly, winning her first two matches.

Hantuchová's defeat of local favourite Casey Dell'Acqua was a dramatic opening-night match on Rod Laver Arena that extended to nearly two hours. Both women had several chances to claim the first set in a tiebreak before Hantuchová - the 19th seed - prevailed 13 points to 11. She went on to take the match 7-6(11) 6-4.

She said her 6-4 4-6 6-3 win over Frenchwoman Mathilde Johansson in her second-round match was a much more satisfying performance.

"It was a good fight. There were some great points on which I think I played well... I felt like I was really hitting my shots and going for more, and I felt like I was moving better - just overall I was less nervous [than against Dell'Acqua]," she said.

In many ways, Hantuchová's career-results – three titles and one Major semi-final showing – are a loose translation of her talent.

After bursting onto the tennis-scene in 2002 by defeating Martina Hingis in the final at Indian Wells and rising to world No.5 in early 2003, Hantuchová went into a tailspin. She lost form and confidence, languishing outside the top 50 by mid-2004.

To her credit, she was able to work her way back up the rankings-ladder before putting in a brilliant performance in 2007, winning Indian Wells again to effectively see her career come full circle. That year, she also won her third career title in Linz, and qualified for the Tour Championships.

The Slovak said she is accustomed to the nerves that come with playing on the professional circuit. "It's natural; I think if you weren't [nervous], it wouldn't be normal. It shows that I care," she said.

"But it's [also] about how you're able to manage it, and I think I handled it pretty well today [against Johansson]... in the first few rounds of a Grand Slam [sic], it's always tough."

If there was ever a time that nerves could affect her, it should be here at Melbourne Park. After making the semi-finals last year, Hantuchová stands to lose a large bundle of points if she does not replicate that performance in 2009. However, she said she did not view the situation in that way. "It's actually the opposite; I feel very honoured to be able to be in this position," she said.

It is a situation she would like to find herself in more often if she is to rebuild her ranking following an injury-plagued 2008, during which slipped to world No.21. Hantuchová said she has worked hard on her fitness during the off-season, and aims to qualify again for the season-ending WTA Tour Championships in 2009.

Should things not go her way on the tennis-court, Hantuchová has many interests to keep her occupied off it. She is an accomplished classical pianist, speaks four languages, and loves rollerblading, jet-skiing, swimming and cooking.

But she is yet to indulge in these interests so far in Melbourne this year, preferring instead to concentrate solely on her tennis. "I try to save my energy for my matches, and I try to stay focused," she said. "On my days off, I practise in the morning and have a massage, and just kind of relax."
<<<

---------------------------------------------
4. Second-round review: Zvonarëva v Gallovits (Wednesday 21st January 2009)
---------------------------------------------

+ VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF] d. Edina Gallovits, 6-0 6-0

It was the first double bagel of Vera's career, and she is now on a 20-game winning-streak since *5-6 in the first set of her first-round win over Magdaléna Rybáriková! :worship:

The match was third on Margaret Court Arena, so it took place in the Australian mid-afternoon, while I was sleeping in England.


4.1 Statistics
--------------

The match lasted all of 46 minutes (first set 21m, second set 25m).

Vera had a positive W:UE ratio of 15:8 (9:2 in the first set, 6:6 in the second), while Gallovits's was an abysmal 6:28 (14 UEs in each set).

Vera got 74% of her first serves in, winning 91% of the points when she did so, and 50% on second serve. From the first set to the second, she upped her first-serves-in percentage from 71% to 79%, and her second-serve winning-percentage from 40% to 67%.

The corresponding percentages for Gallovits were 67%, 37% and 33%. She upped her first-serve winning-percentage from 31% in the first set to 41% in the second.

Vera served considerably faster than Gallovits in all three categories: fastest 104-100mph, average first serve 99-92 mph, average second serve 87-82 mph.

There were no aces from either player - just 3 double faults from Gallovits.

Vera broke 6 times from 9 BPs, while Gallovits had one BP (in the first set) but didn't convert.

Vera won 8 of 10 points at the net, Gallovits 2 of 6. Most of the net-play occurred in the first set.

In points, Vera won 54-22 (first set 26-10, second set 28-12).


4.2 Articles
------------

Jelena, Dinara Survive on Day 3; Ana, Vera Cruise
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=2904
>>>
Some were tested while some cruised, but all of the favourites in the top half of the draw moved past their second-round opponents at the 2009 Australian Open on Wednesday.

<snip Ivanović v Brianti, Safina v Makarova>

Janković battles past Flipkens; Zvonarëva serves up double bagel

Jelena Janković and Vera Zvonarëva followed them into the last 32, although they had far different experiences. Zvonarëva, the No.7 seed, took just 46 minutes to rout Edina Gallovits 6-0 6-0; Janković - ranked No.1 in the world and the top seed - was tested by the crafty Kirsten Flipkens, but was able to prevail 6-4 7-5.
<snip>
<<<

Janković hangs tough at Aussie Open, Ivanović glides through (Greg Wood, AFP)
>>>
Top seed Jelena Janković battled into the Australian Open third round on Wednesday, as fellow Serb Ana Ivanović showed glimpses of the grace and power that swept her to last year's final.

But it was the low-profile Russian seventh seed Vera Zvonarëva who produced a perfect 6-0 6-0 display, while her third-seeded compatriot Dafina Safina salvaged a patchy come-from-behind win.

<snip Janković v Flipkens, Ivanović v Brianti>

Russia's Zvonarëva may have trouble improving her game after a near-perfect display when she served up a dreaded "double bagel" 6-0 6-0 scoreline to Edina Gallovits of Romania.

The 24-year-old won an incredible 91% of her first serves as she blew the hapless Gallovits off court in 46 minutes.

She had the best year of her career in 2008, winning Olympic Bronze and reaching the final of the season-ending WTA Championships, coming into the Australian Open as a dark horse capable of upsetting high-profile rivals.

<snip Safina v Makarova>
<<<

-------------------------------------------
5. Second-round review: Šafářová v Eraković (Wednesday 21st January 2009)
-------------------------------------------

+ Lucie Šafářová [EF] d. Marina Eraković, 6-1 3-6 9-7

The match was third on Court 10, so it would have taken place in the mid-to-late Australian afternoon, while I was sleeping in England.


5.1 Statistics
--------------

The match lasted 2h16m (first set 27m, second set 36m, third set 1h13m).

Lucie got 63% of first serves in, winning 79% of the points when she did so, and 53% on second serve. Her first-serves-in percentage improved significantly from set to set (50% to 58% to 72%), while her first-serve winning-percentage deteriorated slightly from set to set, so it was a good trade-off for her.

The corresponding percentages for Eraković were 55%, 71% and 48%. Her first-serves-in percentage was very constant from set to set, while her first-serve winning-percentages varied wildly (50% to 94% to 68%), and she picked up an 11% second-serve winning-percentage for the first set to the high 50s for the second and third sets.

Lucie served 7 aces and 5 double faults (3 in the first set), Eraković 8 aces and 4 double faults. They each served 4 aces in the third set, which is not surprising as it was longer than the first two sets combined!

Lucie broke 4 times from 13 BPs, which is a pretty disappointing conversion-rate. Eraković broke twice from 6 BPs.

In points, Lucie won 107-96 (first set 28-17, second set 23-31, third set 56-48).

Unfortunately, W:UE ratios, points won at the net and service-speeds are not available for this match.


5.2 Article
-----------

Eraković says narrow loss 'hurts a lot' (The New Zealand Herald / NZPA)
>>>
Marina Eraković came agonisingly close to making the third round of the Australian Open before losing 1-6 6-3 7-9 to the Czech Republic's Lucie Šafářová yesterday.

The first set raced by in 27 minutes, with the New Zealand 20-year-old struggling to find her way as the Czech left-hander used angles on her shots to good effect.

Eraković battled back in the second set to break her opponent's serve in the fourth game before taking the set 6-3.

The third and final set was a game-for-game dogfight, with Eraković holding a break-point on Šafářová's serve at 3-3, but not being able to capitalise on it. Each player then continued to hold serve, with Eraković holding off several match-points before finally being broken in the 16th game as world No.60 Šafářová prevailed after two hours and 16 minutes.

The final set alone took 1h 13m to complete, and the end came with Eraković double-faulting.

Eraković admitted it would be tough to recover from the loss, especially since she came so close to advancing to the round of 32.

"It's definitely a hard one to lose. You really want to do well at the Aussie Open, and when you have a match like this, it hurts and it hurts a lot," she said. "It's a tough one to take, but I have to take it.

"I don't think there was any one thing to change the match."

Although disappointed, Eraković quickly found a couple of positives to take from the match to work with in future tournaments.

"Maybe a good point was that even though I stuffed up the first set, I fought back and started playing more aggressive. If I had done that earlier, things may been different," she said.

Šafářová, 24, showed her extra experience - gleaned from reaching the Australian Open quarter-finals in 2007.

In contrast, this week marked the first time in the main draw in Melbourne for Eraković: the world No.68, who served at just 55% on her first serves, compared with Šafářová's 63%.

Eraković was the first New Zealand woman to make the second round of the Australian Open singles since Claudine Toleafoa in 1991.
<<<

------------------------------------------------------
6. Second-round scoreboard-report: Dokić v Chakvetadze (Wednesday 21st January 2009)
------------------------------------------------------

Very nice winner, very nice loser:
+ Jelena Dokić [WC,EF] d. ANNA CHAKVETADZE [17,EF], 6-4 6-7 (4/7) 6-3

A well-contested and very emotional match: Anna looked close to tears at 4-6 *1-4, but it was Jelena who cried at the end, as she sat at her chair after shaking hands.

In the first set, the first seven games were serve-dominated, and it was Anna who broke first for *4-3 - only for Jelena to break straight back to love as she won the last three games of the set.

In the second set, Jelena led *4-1, served for the match at *5-3, and was also one game away from victory at *5-6. Jelena led 3/2* in the tiebreak, only for Anna to dominate the rest of it and force a third set.

I expected Jelena to wilt in the third set after missing those chances, and because I don't think she's as fit as she used to be. But she's done a lot of hard work in the last year, and Anna was the one who got tired. Jelena broke at the start of the third set (after Anna had led 40/15), and again in the last game as Anna served a quadruple fault.

It was Jelena's first win over a top-twenty player since beating #17 Daniela Hantuchová at Linz 2003 (the week after she upset #1 Kim Clijsters to reach the final of Zürich). After a long losing-streak in 2004, she spent much of the intervening years in tennis-wilderness: either on the ITF circuit or not playing for months at a time, as she struggled with depression following her well-documented family-problems.

Anna is already down from #5 to #18 since her traumatic loss in the US Open 2007 semi-final, and even more traumatic burglary-ordeal in December 2007, but we must be ready for the big jump deep as she defends her lone title of 2008 in February: WTA Paris.

The match was first on the Rod Laver Arena evening-session, but since the BBC made good on their threat to show a repeat of Đoković v Chardy instead of live Jelena v Anna on the Red Button (no longer called BBCi, apparently), I had to make do with live scores at www.australianopen.com. :fiery:

I can only hope that the match will be available to order on DVD from Tennis Videos International <http://www.users.bigpond.com/tennisvideos1/>. I usually wait until the end of the tennis-season before I order my next batch of matches from TVI, but I'm seriously considering making an exception for the Australian Open 2009 now that the BBC has robbed me of watching such a mouthwatering match!


First set
---------
DOKIĆ * * *__@*@ 6
CHAKV _* * *@___ 4

The match started at 19:46 AEDT.

Jelena serving 0-0: 0/15. 15/15. 15/30. 30/30. 40/30. Held.

Already, the signs are that both girls are going to make this competitive. :)

Anna serving 0-1: 0/15. 40/15 (the score briefly reverted to 30/15 - did Jelena make an incorrect Hawk-Eye challenge?). Held.

Anna holds more easily than Jelena. That's not unexpected, as Jelena has often struggled on serve throughout her career, while Anna has an excellent one-two punch (although it has gone AWOL at times since the burglary), and usually holds serve reliably - at least until she has to serve for a set.

Jelena serving 1-1: 40/0. Held.

"Anything you can do, I can do better."

Anna serving 1-2: 0/15. 15/15. 15/30. 30/30. Held.

I feel the momentum shifting more and more towards Jelena, with 0/15 and 15/30 openings on Anna's serve. Just enough to make Jelena confident, without the baggage of any wasted break-points so far...

Jelena serving 2-2: 40/0. 40/15. Held.
Anna serving 2-3: 0/15. 15/15. 15/30. 30/30. 30/40 (BP #1). 40/40. Ad Jelena (BP #2). Deuce #2. Ad Jelena (BP #3). Deuce #3. Ad Anna. Held.

Three break-points go begging for Jelena, and a pattern is developing that suggests Anna is much more comfortable serving in the left court than in the right court.

Jelena serving 3-3: 0/30. 15/30. 15/40 (BPx2). 40/40. Ad Anna (BP #3). Deuce #2. Ad Anna (BP #4). Broken.

Typical for a player who squanders break-points to get broken herself in the next game! Anna is lucky not to be carrying that same baggage herself, but both the score and the momentum are firmly in her favour now.

Anna serving 4-3: 0/40 (BPx3). Broken.

Wow - a champion's response from Jelena! In the blink of an eye, she cancels Anna's break and seizes the momentum.

Jelena serving 4-4: 15/0. 15/15. 40/15. 40/30 (the score briefly reverted to 40/15, which suggests an incorrect Hawk-Eye challenge for Jelena). Held.

The sequence of scores of the last two games suggest that Jelena has hit one of her purple patches. For Anna, saving this set could be like trying to stop a runaway horse...

Anna serving 4-5: 15/0. 15/30. 40/30. 40/40. Ad Jelena (SP #1). Deuce #2. Ad Jelena (SP #2). Jelena won the first set 6-4 at 20:23 AEDT (37 minutes).

A very well-contested set, with the breaks occurring at exactly the right times for drama. I really hope I will be able to order it from Tennis Videos International one day and watch it!

It would be fascinating to see how emotional they both get. Anna is famous for getting emotional on court - crying and putting her body through all sorts of contortions - while this is a very emotional return to the Australian Open for Jelena, who broke down in her first-round press-conference.


Second set
----------
DOKIĆ * *@*__@__*__ 6(4)
CHAKV _*___*@ @* *T 7(7)

Jelena serving 0-0: 40/0. 40/15. Held.
Anna serving 0-1: 40/0. 40/15. Held.

That was a very important game for Anna to steady the ship.

Jelena serving 1-1: 40/0. Held.

Jelena continues to hold serve easily after being broken for 3-4* in the first.

Anna serving 1-2: 0/40 (BPx3). 40/40. Ad Jelena (BP #4). Broken.

I feel just like the Jelena of 1999-2002 is back! :D A set and a break up, and really threatening to run away with this match unless her bubble suddenly bursts...

Jelena serving 3-1: 40/0. 40/30. Held.

It feels like a long way back from *1-4, but it's only one break.

Anna serving 1-4: 15/0. 15/15. 40/15. 40/40. Ad Anna. Held.

A vital hold for Anna, because she would have been history if she had gone 1-5* down. Still in with a fighting chance, albeit a 12.5% one if we give her a 50% chance of breaking back, 50% to win the second set from 4-4* and 50% to win the third, although those chances could greatly improve if Anna were to regain the momentum...

Jelena serving 4-2: 15/0. 15/15. 15/40 (BPx2). Broken.

Good for Anna. I must confess I've been getting very excited for Jelena, but as an Anna-fan too, it's important for me that she at least adds more respectability to the scoreline.

Anna serving 3-4: 0/30 (the scoreboard briefly reverted to 0/15 - an incorrect challenge for Anna?). 0/40 (BPx3). Broken.

The moment of truth for Jelena: serving for the match...

Jelena serving 5-3: 15/0. 15/15. 30/15. 30/40 (BP). Broken.

...but Anna breaks back, and the momentum switches back to her! I now give Anna a 25% chance of winning this match (50% for the second set and 50% for the third), as she has the momentum but Jelena still has the lead (and Anna has been struggling on serve since *2-3 in the first).

Anna serving 4-5: 15/0. 15/15. 30/15. 30/30. 40/30. Held.

Anna's chances of victory are being boosted with every game now, as she levels up at 5-5 with two games in a row, and it would be interesting to see how much Jelena would have left in the tank if this were to go to a third set... her victory is in great danger right now.

Jelena serving 5-5: 40/0. 40/30. Held.

Once again, Jelena is one game away from victory...

Anna serving 5-6: 40/0. Held.

A tiebreak is very much about luck, although it could be tougher for Jelena if she dwells on those leads of *5-3 and 6-5*.

6-6 tiebreak (all scores Jelena/Anna): *0/0. 1/0*. 1/1*. *1/2. *2/2. 3/2*. This point is HUGE... 3/3*. *3/4. *3/5. 3/6* (SP #1). 4/6* (SP #2). Anna won the second set 7-6 (7/4) at 21:16 AEDT (second set 53m, match so far 1h30m).

The delay between the last scoreboard-update of the first set and the first of the third was less than two minutes. I'm surprised they didn't take a bathroom-break - and glad that /I/ didn't! ;-)

Can Jelena put the disappointment of blowing at 6-4 *5-3 lead behind her, and how much does she have left for the third set? Her chances feel considerably less than 50% at the moment...


Third set
---------
DOKIĆ @* * * *@ 6
CHAKV __* * *__ 3

Anna serving 0-0: 15/0. 15/15. 40/15. 40/40. Ad Jelena (BP). Broken.

I thought Anna had the momentum, but a new set is a new story. It's lucky for Jelena that they're not playing in the day-session, otherwise I'd be reminded of the 2002 Australian Open final between Jennifer Capriati and Martina Hingis, where Hingis was 6-4 4-0 up, Capriati took the second set, Hingis broke at the start of the third, but wilted soon after that.

Jelena serving 1-0: 0/15. 15/15. 40/15. Held.
Anna serving 0-2: 40/0. 40/30. Held.

Jelena deserves a medal for her determination after losing that second set after being on the verge of victory.

Quite a long delay at this changeover - I wonder if someone is taking a medical time-out? So I checked at http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=367394&page=42 : it seems it was for Jelena's right Achilles' tendon - the one that kept her out of Hobart.

Jelena serving 2-1: 30/0. 30/30. 40/30. 40/40. Ad Jelena. Deuce #2. Ad Jelena. Deuce #3. Ad Jelena (it only flashed up for a second on the scoreboard). Deuce #4. Ad Jelena. Deuce #5. Ad Anna (BP). Deuce #6. Ad Jelena. Held.

What a game! Six game-points needed, one break-point saved, and Anna will be feeling very bad right now.

Anna serving 1-3: 0/15. 15/15. 30/15. 30/30. 40/30. 40/40. Ad Anna. Deuce #2. Ad Anna. Held.

Full marks to Anna for hanging in this match. She recovered from *1-4 in the second set, but it will not be necessary to fight back from 1-4* in the third.

Jelena serving 3-2: 0/15. 15/15. 30/15. 30/30. 40/30. 40/40. Ad Jelena. Held.

Anna continues to fight, while Jelena continues to maintain her break. How she would love to get a second break, rather than go through what she did in the second.

Anna serving 2-4: 0/30. 40/30. 40/40. Ad Anna. Held.

It's such a shame that they can't both win! I think they should be allowed to advance to the third round as a doubles-team, playing two against one!

Jelena serving 4-3: 0/15. 15/15. 40/15. Held.

The moment of truth again for Jelena, albeit at 5-3* rather than *5-3 this time...

Anna serving 3-5: 30/0. 30/40 (MP #1). 40/40. Ad Jelena (MP #2). Deuce #2. Ad Jelena (MP #3). Jelena won 6-4 6-7 (4/7) 6-3 at 22:04 (third set 48m, match 2h18m).

She really didn't want to have to serve for the match again, did she?

Anna finished the match with a quadruple fault, but it was Jelena who was in tears after shaking hands.

I don't know what to feel right now. It's tough for Anna to lose in the second round of a Major - it won't be any consolation to /her/ that she lost to another hottie - and I feel sorry for Anna, but I'm glad Jelena managed to close it out in the end, because it would have been a devastating - possibly even career-ending - blow for her to lose after the leads she had in the second set, and then match-points in the third.

Anna still has many years ahead of her, while Jelena is thinking of retiring if she fails to make an impact in 2009. It's strange to think that Jelena is only four years older at 25, considering that I inducted Jelena into my Eternal Fanship in June 1999, and Anna in December 2006.


6.1 Statistics
--------------

Both girls had negative W:UE ratios: Jelena 27:35, Anna 28:50. Jelena's W:UE ratio deteriorated slightly from set to set, while Anna's deteriorated dramatically: from 10:14 to 8:15 to 10:21, implying that she went for her shots more in the third set because she was tired.

Jelena got 68% of her first serves in, winning 70% of the points when she did so, and 45% on second serve. Her first-serve winning-percentage dipped from 77% in the first set to the late 60s in the next two, while her second-serve winning-percentage improved dramatically from set to set (33% to 46% to 55%).

Anna got 67% of her first serves in, winning 66% of the points when she did so, and 33% on second serve. Her second serve was a liability especially in the first and third sets: 31% and 21%, respectively.

Jelena's first serve was slightly faster than Anna's - fastest 108-106 mph, average 100-99 mph - but Jelena's second serve was /much/ faster than Anna's: 94-79 mph. Jelena's second serve is exceptionally fast: sometimes it looks like she just hits two first serves!

Jelena served 3 aces and 9 double faults, which is a bit high. But Anna served 5 aces and a monstrous 16 double faults (6 in the first set, 7 in the third) - including a quadruple fault to finish the match. :-(

Jelena broke 6 times from 15 BPs (2 of 5 in every set), while Anna broke 3 times from 7 BPs. Jelena won the first set by 2 breaks to 1 (Anna wasted 3 BPs), and the third by 2 breaks to 0 (Anna wasted 1 BP); they had 2 breaks each in the second.

Jelena won 12 of 20 points at the net (5 of 6 in the first set, but only 3 of 8 in the second), while Anna was more selective, winning 10 of 12 (but she only came in once in the third set).

In points, Jelena won 118-104 (first set 37-29, second set 38-40, third set 43-35).


6.2 Jelena's on-court interview
-------------------------------

"It's been a long time; last time I was on this court, it was a bit different.

"Thank you all for supporting me; it's unbelievable. I really just wanted to put in a good display tonight - she's a top-twenty player - but the crowd really pulled me through.

"It's been an amazing night, and no matter what happens from here on in, I will not forget this memory for a long time. This is a great start to the year, and hopefully this time next year, I'll be a top-twenty player myself."


6.3 Jelena's second-round press-conference
------------------------------------------

Source: www.australianopen.com


Q. You must be very proud of that.

JELENA DOKIĆ: Yeah, I am. Yeah, I just went into the match just wanting to see how I would go against a top-twenty player. I was very nervous to be on centre court again. It's been a long time.

Just really wanted to see where I was with my shots and fitness and movement. I started to play well. I think she had a slow start, but she started to play really well in that second set. I let her off that 5-3 game where I had 30/15 and did a few unforced errors and double faults.

But overall, I think the things went her way in the third set. She really had the momentum. It's amazing I was able to come out and pull it out.

Q. Could you imagine six months ago getting a standing ovation on Rod Laver Arena?

JELENA DOKIĆ: No, I could not. I said 2008 and 2009 are the years I'm going to try and come back and do something. I've put in a lot of hard work last year - especially the end of last year.

You know, I've just been really, really focused and really wanted it so bad. Things are going really well at the moment. I couldn't imagine a better start to the year. In Brisbane, I said it was a good start. I lost to Amélie [Mauresmo] in two tight sets. I had her in both sets, and I could have won that match.

I just wasn't in that position for a long time, and I didn't know how to treat the situation and what to play.

You know, I was very proud of that match, even. But, you know, to be in the third round of a Grand Slam [sic], you know, players lose match-fitness and their physical shape and their shots in six months away from the game, let alone the three years. To beat a top-twenty player is amazing.

Q. How much did that match you were talking about there help you in the tight situations?

JELENA DOKIĆ: You know, like I said, she's the one that I think had the pressure on her. She was supposed to win today. She was the clear favourite, so that went kind of in my favour. But I think as the match went on, and as I was up, I was up the whole time until the tiebreak in the second set.

She kind of just went on with it. I really had to finish it off. She is a fighter. She always hangs in there. But this is a huge confidence-boost for me.

You know, no matter what happens from here on, I'm really happy with such a good start to the year. I want to be top 50 by the end of the year, and I think if I continue playing like I have been playing, this should be achievable.

Q. What was the reason you went quite a few times to play in Italy? It was because you won Rome and you performed well there? Some psychological reason?

JELENA DOKIĆ: Well, I feel good in Italy. I played really well there. It was my first title, so there's no question about that. Clay is not my favourite surface, so I wanted to play on clay and really build my game a little.

That surface doesn't suit me. You have to play long matches and points. I think that went in my favour. It was just comfortable. It felt like the most natural thing to do. It was in Europe, and that's where I was training at the time. I think that really helped me.

You have some wins and you have some losses, but you really have to grind it out. It's tough, no matter what people think. The ITF circuit is, you know, we're all trying to win out there.

Q. Are you getting used to using your emotions and using the crowd and using the way you're feeling?

JELENA DOKIĆ: Yeah, I came back I think two or three years ago to Australia, and obviously the crowd, I didn't expect them to be on my side and to understand what happened seven years ago. You know, each year it's gotten better and better.

But, you know, I will regret the decision that I made. I can say that I made it under the influence of my dad, but I will regret leaving for the rest of my life. It will always be the mistake that I made.

But, you know, it's really amazing. The crowd has just gotten better and better every year in Brisbane already.

But I think tonight was an amazing experience. It's been the best that I've ever had. I don't expect everybody to understand, of course. But, look, I'm trying my best. I'm fighting and playing for this country. You know, I'm proud to play for this country again.

So, you know, I think by the reaction tonight, people have really - things have swung my way, and I'm really happy about that. I was really glad to make the decision three years ago to come back.

Q. Does it play on your mind? Do you wonder what if you hadn't had those years in the wilderness?

JELENA DOKIĆ: Yeah, it always does. But, look, I cannot go back and change things. What's done is done. I can only look forward. I think we all can. Hopefully the crowd can do that as well.

Q. Can you talk about the role that your boyfriend and his brother have played in your career?

JELENA DOKIĆ: Like I said the other day, it's been really tough to deal with some personal issues. My boyfriend has always been there for me. It's actually our five-and-a-half years' anniversary today. We always give each other something, and this is my present to him today.

Yeah, he's played a huge part in everything. When you have emotional breakdowns and everything I had to deal with, you really get weak mentally. It's not easy to come back and be strong, and able to compete and play. It's really tough. So I really had to work on and build that.

You go crazy basically, and you react the way you shouldn't. He's dealt with all that and stuck by my side, so...

Q. Do you still dream of maybe winning a Grand Slam? Getting back to the top 10?

JELENA DOKIĆ: I think that's a little bit too much to ask right now. Like I said, players after six months out of the game really struggle coming back. It takes a long time. I actually think I react well and I improve quickly and my confidence goes up quickly, which plays a huge part in my game.

Of course I don't expect to win here - not this year. After what I've been through, like I said, my goal is to be in the top 20 by the end of my career. If I do that, I'll be satisfied.

You know, I will try as hard as I can to even do better if it's possible. We'll see how I go. It's a good start. It's a great start to have third week of the year and have a top-twenty win in a Grand Slam [sic]. Hopefully I can keep it going.

Q. Your next opponent will be Wozniacki. What do you know about her, and how do you see your chances?

JELENA DOKIĆ: I watched a little bit. I don't know her that well. I don't know a lot of the players that have come up. I haven't watched tennis that much in the last couple [of] years. Of course it will be a tough match.

After today and getting these two wins here, I really don't care what happens in the next match. I really want to put a good performance in. Again, she's a favourite. She'll be a tougher match. She has all the pressure on her.

Q. Did you read anything in these days that you would have not liked to read?

JELENA DOKIĆ: I don't read the papers that much, honestly. You know, you always expect to get positive press and negative, and it's something that comes with this line of work. It's normal.

But, yeah, like I said, I just try to do my best on the court and, yeah, I will try not to read the papers too much.

Q. How is your injury, and is it going to affect your next round?

JELENA DOKIĆ: It's been here for a while. I'm trying to treat it and keep it as good as possible, but I pulled up well after my first match. Wasn't sore at all. We'll see how I go tomorrow.

It's something that's not so serious. It's something that I just have to keep an eye on.


6.4 Articles
------------

Aussie hope Dokić beats Chakvetadze [Teletext 495->498]
>>>
Dokić shocks Chakvetadze [Teletext 498]

Jelena Dokić scored her first win over a top-twenty player for five years to book her third-round place in Melbourne.

The 25-year-old former world No.4 took the first set 6-4 against 17th-seeded Russian Anna Chakvetadze, but let slip a 4-1 lead in the second before going down in the tiebreak 7/4.

Dokić raced into a 3-1 lead in the decider, and sealed a 6-4 6-7 (4/7) 6-3 win when Chakvetadze double-faulted.
<<<

Determined Dokić drops Chakvetadze
By Vanessa Skendaris (www.australianopen.com)
>>>
Australian Jelena Dokić has beaten 17th seed Anna Chakvetadze of Russia in front of a packed Rod Laver Arena crowd on Wednesday night: 6-4 6-7(4) 6-3.

In a competitive first set, both players held their serve in the first six games. Chakvetadze was the first to win a break for the match, but Dokić broke back straight away, levelling the opening set at four games apiece.

Dokić - a former world No.4 - went on to win the next two games, breaking Chakvetadze again and pinching the set 6-4.

It looked like Dokić had the second set under control as she dashed to a 4-1 lead, running all over the 21-year-old Russian.

But Chakvetadze worked the Australian hard, winning the next two games and bringing herself back into the match.

The set then became an exchange of breaks as Chakvetadze found her range and levelled the set 5-5, eventually forcing it to a tiebreak.

Dokić - a 2000 Wimbledon semi-finalist - made numerous errors in the tiebreak, which gave Chakvetadze a mini-break, the Russian ultimately snatching it 7/4 in a set that lasted 52 minutes.

In the deciding set, the 25-year-old Australian raced to a 3-1 lead, moving well around the court despite calling for a trainer for treatment on her ankle in the first exchange of ends.

Serving to stay in the match at 3-5 down, Chakvetadze saved two match-points, but failed to survive another, handing the match to Dokić by serving a double fault.

Dokić, who received a standing ovation after her win, has set up a tantalising clash with 11th seed Caroline Wozniacki in the next round.

Quick facts:

* Chakvetadze served five aces to Dokić's three, but paid the price for 16 double faults.

* The Russian had 50 unforced errors to Dokić's 35.

* Chakvetadze had more winners: 28-27.

* Dokić only capitalised on 6 of 15 break-point opportunities, while Chakvetadze converted 3 of her 7 break-point chances.
<<<

Making up for lost time
By Eleanor Preston (www.australianopen.com)
>>>
Jelena Dokić is fast becoming one of the most compelling stories of this tournament, and she created another intriguing chapter by beating 17th seed Anna Chakvetadze in a sizzler of a night-session match on Wednesday.

Dokić's resurgence has given the public – both in her adopted country and around the world – the chance to get to know this complex and characterful young woman a little more than they did when she first burst onto the scene as a teenager.

In those days, Dokić hit the ball fiercely, and proved, by reaching as high as No.4 in the world, that she had talent in abundance - but the controversy surrounding her father Damir rather eclipsed her personality. Perhaps as a consequence of what must have been an immensely difficult personal life, Dokić was guarded in public. Now, estranged from her father and back under Australian colours after a short-lived return to Serbia – a move encouraged by Damir - she has opened her heart.

"You know, I will regret the decision that I made. I can say that I made it under the influence of my dad, but I will regret leaving for the rest of my life. It will always be the mistake that I made," said Dokić, when asked about the crowd's reaction to her against Chakvetadze. "It's really amazing. The crowd has just gotten better and better every year. But I think tonight was an amazing experience. It's been the best that I've ever had. I don't expect everybody to understand, of course. But, look, I'm trying my best. I'm fighting and playing for this country. I'm proud to play for this country again. So, you know, I think by the reaction tonight, people have really... things have swung my way, and I'm really happy about that. I was really glad to make the decision three years ago to come back."

Many of those in the crowd at Rod Laver Arena must have read her compelling but rather sad story in the local newspapers, and it is one of the reasons why her arrival on court was greeted with a throaty roar. Granted, the Melbourne Park faithful like to get behind their home-players, but their reaction to Dokić was about more than that; it was a warm rush of empathy which welcomed her back onto one of the sport's biggest stages.

Dokić does not give much away on court, but the television-pictures of her waiting for announcer Craig Willis to say her name told their own story about what it meant for her to be back on centre court. In the doorway and just out of the public's view, her eyes shone and she allowed herself a brief smile before Willis's trademark tone beckoned her onto court. Her demeanour changed instantly as the game-face came down and she walked out, ready to do battle against Chakvetadze.

Together, they produced a match of enduring quality and drama, and arguably the pick of the women's matches so far at this tournament. There were times when they were so closely matched in their standards and styles of play that it was hard to distinguish between them, dressed as they were in green and white and sporting almost matching ponytails.

Dokić's game is a tad less crafty than Chakvetadze's, for the Russian has a remarkable knack for surprise and disguise in her shots. But she could not match Dokić for purity of ball-striking.

The only threat to Dokić's chances of winning seemed to be the sheer importance of the match to the Australian, and there was a distinct wobble when she first came to serve for it at 5-3 up in the second set. The crowd willed her to finish Chakvetadze off, but the Russian's obstinacy and some frazzled nerves from the home-player saw to it that there would be a third set.

Dokić, to her credit, regrouped quickly after losing the tiebreak, and was soon up a break and set fair on her journey back to the big time.

"Thank you all for supporting me," Dokić told the crowd afterwards, her voice cracking with emotion. "It's great. I really wanted to put in a good performance in tonight. This crowd really pulled me through, and they were unbelievable. No matter what happens from here, this has been an amazing experience, and a memory I will not forget for a long time."

She even got a laugh out of them when she was asked about how she thought she might fare against talented young Dane Caroline Wozniacki in the third round. "Honestly? I don't care," she said, before that smile of hers returned. After all that Dokić has been through, you could not blame her for wanting to enjoy her moment to the full.
<<<

Dokić Win Over No.17 Seed Augurs Well For Comeback
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=2906
>>>
Jelena Dokić's comeback from tennis-oblivion converted from dream to reality on Wednesday night, when the former world No.4 beat No.17 seed Anna Chakvetadze in their second-round match at the Australian Open: 6-4 6-7(4) 6-3.

Playing on Rod Laver Arena for the first time in eight long years, the 25-year-old not only outplayed her more fancied opponent stroke-for-stroke, she never let the tension of the occasion get the better of her. It was as if she'd never been away.

Years of family-breakdown, depression and disenchantment with tennis were quickly forgotten as Dokić made an aggressive start, breaking Chakvetadze - who is struggling with her own loss-of-form issues - and holding on to take the first set with surprising ease.

As the Russian's double-fault and unforced-error count mounted in the second set, Dokić served for the match at 5-3. However, Chakvetadze regained her composure, capitalising on a momentary loss of concentration on Dokić's part. With some crafty play of her own, the 21-year-old took the set in a tiebreak.

But Dokić shrugged off that disappointment by breaking her opponent in the first game of the decider, and although Chakvetadze would draw level and then seize a break of her own for 4-3, Dokić married patience and power to win three games in a row. Chakvetadze capitulated on Dokić's third match-point, scooping a backhand long.

"I think she had a slow start, but she's a fighter, and she began to play really well in that second set," observed Dokić, who reached the semis at Wimbledon as a 17-year-old, and has five Tour-titles to her name. "I let her off that 5-3 game where I had 30/15 and did a few unforced errors and double faults.

"She was the one with all the pressure, and I think that helped me. I just wanted to put on a good performance, and then things started going my way. This is a big confidence-boost."

If one casualty of the Dokić family's dramas was the player's relationship with the Australian public, it was clear after the 2-hour, 16-minute contest that the world No.187 appreciated the heartfelt homecoming.

"Thank you all for supporting me: it's unbelievable," said Dokić, her voice cracking as the sell-out crowd stood in ovation. "It's been an amazing night, and no matter what happens from here on in, I will not forget this for a long time."

Dokić, who secured her place in the draw by winning a wild-card play-off event run by Tennis Australia in December, faces No.11 seed Caroline Wozniacki in the third round. At least tonight, the intense competitor professed to be pretty sanguine about the prospect.

"You know, no matter what happens from here on, I'm really happy with such a good start to the year," Dokić said. "I want to be top 50 by the end of the year, and I think if I continue playing like I have been playing, this should be achievable.

"My goal is to be top 20 [again] by the end of my career," she smiled. "If I do that, I'll be satisfied."
<<<

Safin-family surges through Open with Federer
By Ossian Shine (editing by Pritha Sarkar)
>>>
Former world number-four Jelena Dokić thrilled a seething mass of green and gold local fans by beating Russian 17th seed Anna Chakvetadze 6-4 6-7 6-3.

"I've just been really, really focused and really wanted it so bad," the on-again-off-again-on-again Australian said.

"Things are going really well at the moment."
<<<

Triumphant Dokić wins back support of Australians (Reuters)
By Julian Linden (editing by Pritha Sarkar)
>>>
Jelena Dokić, riding high on a wave of public sympathy and support, upset Russian 17th seed Anna Chakvetadze 6-4 6-7 6-3 on Wednesday to reach the third round of the Australian Open.

The Serbian-born Australian registered her first win over a player ranked in the top-twenty for five years, and her first victory on Melbourne Park's centre court for a decade.

Dokić's brave win was charged with a combination of raw emotion and pain.

Facing an opponent ranked 169 places above her, Dokić tried to keep her feelings under control as she tried to mend her fractured relationship with the Australian public.

"I was very nervous to be on centre court again. It's been a long time," said the 25-year-old, who struggled with an Achilles' injury during the match.

"She had a slow start, but she started to play really well in that second set.

"She really had the momentum. It's amazing I was able to come out and pull it out."

Although she began her playing-career in Australia, Dokić's relationship with her adopted country turned sour when her family returned to Serbia in 2001 after her now-estranged father Damir accused Australian Open organisers of rigging the draw to ensure his daughter lost in the first round.

Two years later, Dokić walked out on her family and returned to Australia. Her relationship with her family has never been the same, and she is trying to patch things up with Australia.

Earlier this week, Dokić broke down and revealed the extent of the pain and torment she endured since breaking up with her own family.

The former world number-four pleaded for understanding.

"I made it under the influence of my dad, but I will regret leaving for the rest of my life. It will always be the mistake that I made," she told a news-conference on Wednesday.

"I don't expect everybody to understand, of course, but I'm trying my best."

Dokić was wildly cheered by the crowd at Melbourne Park and appreciated the backing.

"I'm fighting and playing for this country. I'm proud to play for this country again, and I think by the reaction tonight... things have swung my way," she said.

"I cannot go back and change things. What's done is done. I can only look forward. I think we all can. Hopefully the crowd can do that as well."
<<<

Jelena Dokić shows emotion after 'amazing win' at Australian Open (The Daily Telegraph - UK)
>>>
An emotional Jelena Dokić scored her first win over a top-twenty player in five years when she downed 17th seed Anne Chakvetadze 6-4 6-7 (7/4) 6-3 in the second round of the Australian Open.

The 25-year-old, who is known as much for her estranged father Damir's antics during the early part of her career as she is for her tennis, described the crowd's reaction during the thrilling three-setter as "amazing".

Dokić only picked up her racquet again at the end of 2007 after battling depression and other personal issues in the two years prior.

"I came back two or three years ago to Australia, and obviously the crowd, I didn't expect them to be on my side, and to understand what happened seven years ago," Dokić said.

"I will regret that decision that I made. I can say that I made it under the influence of my dad, but I will regret leaving for the rest of my life. It will always be the mistake that I made.

"But I think tonight was an amazing experience. It's been the best that I've ever had."

In a match that lasted over two hours, Dokić looked composed throughout, and used her powerful groundstrokes to run her Russian opponent around the court.

But she interspersed that by coming to the net on occasions to force the error from Chakvetadze, and with the Russian battling fatigue in the final set, Dokić was able to hold her nerve to claim her confidence-boosting win.

Her efforts have earned her a match with 11th seed Caroline Wozniacki, who beat Virginia Ruano Pascual 6-3 6-3.
<<<

Dokić's dream continues (Linda Pearce, The Age)
>>>
Jelena Dokić has taken the most important step in her improbable comeback, beating her first top-twenty opponent in more than five years to reach the third round of the Australian Open for the first time in a decade. She was reduced to tears, but rewarded with a standing ovation. At 25, Dokić's career has begun again.

Still carrying some extra kilograms, but no longer the burden of the paternal tyranny that ruled her life for so long, Dokić upset 17th seed Anna Chakvetadze 6-4 6-7 (4/7) 6-3 in 137 minutes before a capacity-crowd that contributed to a record one-day attendance at any Major of 63,557.

This time last year, Dokić had fallen off the computer, having battled depression that affected her so badly that some days her victory lay in simply getting out of bed. Now she is back to 187th, and will tomorrow face Danish sensation Caroline Wozniacki - the 11th seed - for a place in the fourth round. Not so long ago, how unthinkable that would have been, for not since 2006 had she even played a Major match, much less won one.

"It's been a long time," Dokić said before leaving the court. "The last time I played on this court, the story was a bit different, but thank you all for supporting me; it feels really unbelievable. It's been an amazing night, and no matter what happens from here on, this is an amazing experience and a memory I will not forget for a long time."

And how would she recover ahead of her match against Wozniacki, Dokić professed not to care. This had been achievement enough. "She's a great player. I have nothing to lose, and I'll just try to play good tennis."

Later, she spoke of her regrets at following her father's instructions to return to represent her birth-nation: Serbia; of her top-fifty ambitions by the end of the year, and top twenty eventually. Dokić also dedicated the win to her boyfriend, Tin Bikic, as a present to celebrate the couple's five-and-a-half-year-anniversary.

The Serbian-born Australian's first-round defeat of Austrian teenager Tamira Paszek was her first in a decade at the Australian Open, but she had not won on Rod Laver Arena in her two previous attempts - against Martina Hingis in the third round of 1999, and Lindsay Davenport in the opening round two years later.

Chakvetadze is not in the class of either former No.1, although once ranked as high as fifth, and now 18th. Last night, indeed, she was well below it for much of the early stages, playing so limply that she appeared close to tears at 1-4 in the second set.

In contrast to a tense final practice-session in which she ordered a replacement hitting-partner and left coach Borna Bikic in no doubt about her displeasure, Dokić appeared composed and calm. She also appeared utterly intent, while tightening considerably in the latter stages of a second set she failed to serve out at 5-3. The tiebreak, too, was disappointing, and the danger was that, knowing the match should already be over, she would fall away in the third.

But, in fact, Dokić gained the early service-break, and managed to hang on through the final six games of an extremely tense decider in which she called a trainer to inspect a sore right foot while leading 2-1. Of immense help was the shaky Chakvetadze serve - the Russian finishing with consecutive double faults: her 15th and 16th of the match.

Dokić won the wild-card play-off last month, and was named for a Fed Cup recall after pushing Amélie Mauresmo in the first round of the Brisbane International, but then withdrew from the Hobart qualifying-event with an Achilles' injury that did nothing to endear her to the locals anticipating the return of one of the few local drawcards in the women's game.

But there was no question about the crowd's support last night, which Dokić discovered to her surprise and delight. Her great mistake and regret, she said, had been to renounce her Australian status - however much it had been forced upon her. "I don't expect everybody to understand, of course, but I'm trying my best, and I'm proud to play for this country," she said.

Much of her career prize-money is gone - lining the pockets of Damir - but Dokić told The Age recently that the financial price was one she was prepared to pay to gain the independence that was at once liberating and terrifying. She needed to escape a dire situation, but was left alone and, often, bereft. She was depressed, and struggled with her mind and body.

But now she is competing again - for what she admits is the last time.

"I said that 2008 and 2009 are the years I'm just trying to come back and play again, and do something, and I have put in a lot of hard work last year - especially at the end of the year - and I have been really, really focused, and just wanted it so badly," she said. "Things are going well at the moment. I couldn't dream a better start to the year."
<<<

Brave Jelena Dokić scores vintage Australian Open win
By Nikki Tugwell (The Daily Telegraph - Australia)
>>>
Jelena Dokić dedicated her win last night to the most important man in her life.

Estranged from her father Damir, her boyfriend Tin Bikic has been her rock for the past five-and-a-half years, and after securing a third-round berth with victory against Russian Anna Chakvetadze, she said it was a gift to him.

"It's been really tough to deal with some personal issues," Dokić said.

"My boyfriend has always been there for me.

"It's our five-and-a-half years anniversary today... this is my present to him today."

After being in the tennis-wilderness for the past five years, the former world No.4 certainly won back the hearts of her adopted country with an inspirational performance, fighting off an Achilles' injury-scare to prevail 6-4 6-7 (4/7) 6-3 in a 2h17m epic.

Her boyfriend's brother Borna is Dokić's coach, and after her three-set win, the siblings embraced emotionally.

"When you have emotional breakdowns and everything I had to deal with, you really get weak mentally," Dokić said.

"It's not easy to come back and be strong and able to compete and play.

"It's really tough. You go crazy, basically, and you react the way you shouldn't.

"He's dealt with all that and stuck by my side."
<<<

As have I! There have been times in the last five years when I've felt disappointed in Jelena (now that I know the extent to which she was affected by her family-problems, I am more understanding of what I perceived at the time as a loss of motivation), and I've had to endure numerous false dawns of a comeback, but I never for a moment regretted inducting her into my Eternal Fanship.

---------------------------------
7. Second-round draw: Bottom half (to be played on Thursday)
---------------------------------

* VENUS WILLIAMS [6] v Carla Suárez Navarro
* María José Martínez Sánchez v Akgul Amanmuradova
* ANABEL MEDINA GARRIGUES [21] v Julie Coin
* FLAVIA PENNETTA [12,DF] v Jessica Moore [WC] (my loyalty is to Flavia)

* PATTY SCHNYDER [14] v Virginie Razzano
* DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [18] v Chan,Yung-Jan (poďme Domi!)
* Sabine Lisicki v Samantha Stosur (komm jetzt Sabine!)
* Iveta Benešová v ELENA DEMENTIEVA [4] (pojďme Iveta!)

* Tatjana Malek v SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA [8] (komm jetzt Tatjana!)
* ALYONA BONDARENKO [31] v Séverine Brémond (my loyalty is to Alyona - slightly)
* ZHENG,JIE [22] v Melinda Czink (jia you Jie!)
* Kateryna Bondarenko v Lourdes Domínguez Lino (davai Kateryna!)

* VICTORIA AZARENKA [13] v Tathiana Garbin (davai Victoria!)
* Elena Baltacha [Q] v AMÉLIE MAURESMO [20] (go Elena!)
* Peng,Shuai [S] v Sesil Karatantcheva [Q] (jia you Shuai!)
* Gisela Dulko [DF] v SERENA WILLIAMS [2] (Ąvamos Gisela!)

-----------------------------
8. Third-round draw: Top half (to be played on Friday)
-----------------------------

* JELENA JANKOVIĆ [1] v AI SUGIYAMA [26]
* Lucie Šafářová [EF] v MARION BARTOLI [16,DF,S] (my loyalty is to LUCIE)
* NADIA PETROVA [10] v Galina Voskoboeva
* VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF] v Sara Errani (DAVAI VERA!!)

* KAIA KANEPI [25] v DINARA SAFINA [3]
* DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [19,EF] v ALIZÉ CORNET [15] (my loyalty is to DANIELA)
* Jelena Dokić [WC,EF] v CAROLINE WOZNIACKI [11] (my loyalty is to JELENA)
* ANA IVANOVIĆ [5,DF] v ALISA KLEYBANOVA [29] (ajde Ana!)

------------------
9. Andrew's wishes (updated after Wednesday)
------------------
9.1 Third-round wishes
----------------------

+ JELENA JANKOVIĆ [1] d. AI SUGIYAMA [26]
+ Lucie Šafářová [EF] d. MARION BARTOLI [16,DF,S]
+ NADIA PETROVA [10] d. Galina Voskoboeva
+ VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF] d. Sara Errani

+ KAIA KANEPI [25] d. DINARA SAFINA [3]
+ DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [19,EF] d. ALIZÉ CORNET [15]
+ Jelena Dokić [WC,EF] d. CAROLINE WOZNIACKI [11]
+ ANA IVANOVIĆ [5,DF] d. ALISA KLEYBANOVA [29]

+ María José Martínez Sánchez d. VENUS WILLIAMS [6]
+ FLAVIA PENNETTA [12,DF] d. ANABEL MEDINA GARRIGUES [21]
+ DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [18] d. PATTY SCHNYDER [14]
+ Sabine Lisicki d. Iveta Benešová

+ ALYONA BONDARENKO [31] d. Tatjana Malek
+ ZHENG,JIE [22] d. Kateryna Bondarenko
+ VICTORIA AZARENKA [13] d. Elena Baltacha [Q]
+ Gisela Dulko [DF] d. Peng,Shuai [S]


9.2 Fourth-round wishes
-----------------------

+ Lucie Šafářová [EF] d. JELENA JANKOVIĆ [1]
+ VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF] d. NADIA PETROVA [10]
+ DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [19,EF] d. KAIA KANEPI [25]
+ Jelena Dokić [WC,EF] d. ANA IVANOVIĆ [5,DF]

+ FLAVIA PENNETTA [12,DF] d. María José Martínez Sánchez
+ DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [18] d. Sabine Lisicki
+ ALYONA BONDARENKO [31] d. ZHENG,JIE [22] (my Reason says Jie, but my Passion says Alyona)
+ Gisela Dulko [DF] d. VICTORIA AZARENKA [13]


9.3 Quarter-final wishes
------------------------

+ VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF] d. Lucie Šafářová [EF]
+ DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [19,EF] d. Jelena Dokić [WC,EF]
+ FLAVIA PENNETTA [12,DF] d. DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [18]
+ Gisela Dulko [DF] d. ALYONA BONDARENKO [31]


9.4 Semi-final wishes
---------------------

+ DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [19,EF] d. VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF]
+ Gisela Dulko [DF] d. FLAVIA PENNETTA [12,DF]


9.5 Final-wish
--------------

+ DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [19,EF] d. Gisela Dulko [DF]

--------------------------------
10. Women's Doubles: First round
--------------------------------

These are just my selections - the full draw is at:
http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/scores/draws/wd/


10.1 First-round result (Wednesday 21st January 2009)
-----------------------

+ (MARIA KIRILENKO/FLAVIA PENNETTA)[7,DF] v Liga Dekmeijere/Aleksandra Wozniak, 3-6 6-2 6-1


To be played on Thursday:

* Anna Chakvetadze [EF]/Alisa Kleybanova v CARA BLACK/LIEZEL HUBER [1]

* (VERA ZVONARËVA [EF]/VICTORIA AZARENKA)[13] v Brittany Sheed/Bryanne Stewart

* (DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [EF]/AI SUGIYAMA)[9] v Isabella Holland/Sally Peers

* Lucie Šafářová [EF]/Galina Voskoboeva v Marina Eraković/Jelena Kostanić Tošić


10.2 Second-round draw
----------------------

* (MARIA KIRILENKO/FLAVIA PENNETTA)[7,DF] v Mervana Jugić-Salkić/Anne Keothavong

---------------------------------------------
11. Order of play for Thursday / UK TV-update
---------------------------------------------

The good news is that Andy Murray is second on the Rod Laver Arena evening-session, therefore the BBC cannot use him as an excuse not to show live women's tennis from 08:30 GMT.

The bad news is that the women's match we can expect to see on BBC Red Button is Venus Williams v Carla Suárez Navarro, in which my interest is tepid.

Or perhaps a repeat of Elena Baltacha v Amélie Mauresmo, which, as I write this, is being televised live on BBC Red Button from 00:00 GMT.

The best possible scenario would be if the day-session overran, so that we could see the end of Sabine Lisicki v Samantha Stosur (I enjoyed watching their Birmingham 2008 match) on BBC Red Button from 08:30 GMT.

In addition to the usual BBC Red Button coverage, there will be live tennis on BBC 2 from 09:45 to 12:00 GMT - intended for Murray's match, but it might well contain a bit of women's tennis.

Full order of play:
http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/scores/schedule/

--
Dr. Andrew Broad

andrewbroad
Jan 23rd, 2009, 12:52 AM
===============
AUSTRALIAN OPEN (Melbourne, Australia; outdoor hard (Plexicushion); Major)
=============== http://www.australianopen.com/
Contents
--------

1. Photos / Videos
2. Second-round results
3. Second-round TV-report: Suárez Navarro v V.Williams
4. Third-round draw
5. Third-round previews
6. Who'll win the Australian Open now that Venus Williams is out?
7. Andrew's wishes
8. Women's Doubles: First round
9. Mixed Doubles: First-round draw
10. Order of play for Friday

------------------
1. Photos / Videos
------------------
1.1 Photos
----------

Various players including Jelena Dokić, Daniela Hantuchová, Vera Zvonarëva, Lucie Šafářová, Ana Ivanović, Marion Bartoli, Caroline Wozniacki and Alizé Cornet:
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/2/photogallery/

Various players including Jelena Dokić, Elena Baltacha, Elena Dementieva, Alizé Cornet:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/7843853.stm

Search-list for Thursday:
dokic
pennetta
dulko
lisicki
benesova
cibulkova
cornet
peng
malek
dementieva
jessica moore


1.2 Videos
----------

http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/2/multimedia/default_video.asp
- Day 4 Highlights: Sabine Lisicki v Samantha Stosur, Gisela Dulko v Serena Williams
- Shot of the Day: Thursday: Gisela Dulko hitting a down-the-line backhand winner onto the sideline

-----------------------
2. Second-round results (Thursday 22nd January 2009)
-----------------------

Nice winner, nice loser:
+ FLAVIA PENNETTA [12,DF] d. Jessica Moore [WC], 6-4 6-1
+ ELENA DEMENTIEVA [4] d. Iveta Benešová, 6-4 6-1
+ ALYONA BONDARENKO [31] d. Séverine Brémond, 7-6 (7/1) 1-6 6-2

What rocked:
+ DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [18] d. Chan,Yung-Jan, 6-0 6-2
+ Peng,Shuai [S] d. Sesil Karatantcheva [Q], 6-4 6-0
+ ZHENG,JIE [22] d. Melinda Czink, 7-6 (7/0) 5-7 6-3
+ Kateryna Bondarenko d. Lourdes Domínguez Lino, 7-5 7-5

What sucked:
- Gisela Dulko [DF] lt. SERENA WILLIAMS [2], 3-6 5-7
- Sabine Lisicki lt. Samantha Stosur, 3-6 4-6
- Tatjana Malek lt. SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA [8], 2-6 2-6
- Elena Baltacha [Q] lt. AMÉLIE MAURESMO [20], 6-4 3-6 2-6

I watched Baltacha v Mauresmo casually on BBC Red Button. Baltacha won the first set with an audacious off-backhand dropshot from behind the baseline!

Gisela led *5-3 in the second set, and had six set-points in that game.

"Dulko, who has three WTA Tour singles-titles to her name, and has beaten top-ten players six times in her career, was at her best, mixing it up from the baseline, and tirelessly retrieving Williams' huge shots."
<http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=2908>

Incidentally, there is a TV-advert currently doing the rounds in the UK for a stool-softener called DulcoEase! ;-)

All other results:
+ Carla Suárez Navarro d. VENUS WILLIAMS [6], 2-6 6-3 7-5
+ VICTORIA AZARENKA [13] d. Tathiana Garbin, 4-1 retired (abdominal strain)
+ Virginie Razzano d. PATTY SCHNYDER [14], 6-3 6-1
+ ANABEL MEDINA GARRIGUES [21] d. Julie Coin, 6-1 6-4
+ María José Martínez Sánchez d. Akgul Amanmuradova, 6-2 6-4

------------------------------------------------------
3. Second-round TV-report: Suárez Navarro v V.Williams
------------------------------------------------------

+ Carla Suárez Navarro d. VENUS WILLIAMS [6], 2-6 6-3 7-5

Wow - I thought Venus Williams was the clear favourite for the title after crushing world #1 Jelena Janković and #7 Vera Zvonarëva both 6-2 6-2 at the Hong Kong exhibition!!

I watched this match casually on the BBC Red Button. After an expectedly one-sided first set, the one-handed Suárez Navarro started playing some good spreading rallies and took the second. Suárez Navarro is very adroit at opening up the court with crosscourt groundstrokes. It wasn't a case of Williams giving away the match with a load of unforced errors; Suárez Navarro was actually dominating her at times!

In the third set, Williams led 5-2* and served for the match at *5-3, but Suárez Navarro played an amazing game to break back, then saved a match-point at *4-5 as Williams tightened up; Suárez Navarro broke for *6-5 and managed to serve out a win!

Virginia Wade: "Carla Suárez Navarro came out of the woodwork last year, and we all said to ourselves [that] this is just the most natural player, with the most fantastic backhand and serve. But we thought that she might not be able to make it, because she's not very tall, and quite slight. But talk about being a giant-killer today!"

Peter Fleming: "Venus clearly was not hitting the ball as well as she'd like to. But her backhand, which normally is the shot she likes to use to intimidate opponents, wasn't working like it normally does. When she loses that weapon, she has to defend and keep the ball in play to win points, and that's not her strength."


Third set
---------
SUÁREZ N _*___* *@*@* 7
WILLIAMS * *@* *_____ 5

Williams serving 5-3: Suárez Navarro opened up the court with an off-backhand, and hit a crosscourt backhand winner. 0/15. Suárez Navarro's off-forehand induced Williams to hit a crosscourt backhand just wide. 0/30. A deep ball from Suárez Navarro pushed Williams onto the back foot, but Williams's mishit backhand turned into a dropshot-winner! 15/30. Suárez Navarro dominated the point with crosscourt groundstrokes and advanced to the net, inducing Williams to hit a backhand lob just long. 15/40 (BPx2). Suárez Navarro pushed Williams to one side of the court with a series of crosscourt forehands, then hit a pinpoint forehand winner down the open line.

The commentators said Suárez Navarro had a very slight body, but amazing timing.

Suárez Navarro serving 4-5: Williams's penetrating down-the-line forehand approach forced Suárez Navarro to hit a defensive backhand lob long. 0/15. Suárez Navarro crosscourt backhand wide. 0/30. Suárez Navarro hit a "scary" short-angled crosscourt forehand winner just inside the sideline from about three feet behind the baseline. 15/30. After a long rally in which Suárez Navarro failed to push home the initiative after stranding Williams with a crosscourt backhand, Williams hit a down-the-line forehand just wide. 30/30. Suárez Navarro hit a forehand long - off a forehand from Williams onto the baseline. 30/40 (Williams MP #1). Service-winner out wide. 40/40. Service-winner out wide. Ad Suárez Navarro. After a long baseline-rally, Suárez Navarro sprayed a crosscourt forehand wide. Deuce #2. Forehand return just long. Ad Suárez Navarro. Her short-angled crosscourt backhand forced Williams to hit a crosscourt backhand wide.

Williams serving 5-5: Suárez Navarro defended well, and Williams hit a crosscourt backhand just long. 0/15. Double fault (second serve into the net). 0/30. Suárez Navarro crosscourt backhand just wide. 15/30. Williams backhand long. 15/40 (BP #1). Service-winner out wide. 30/40 (BP #2). Williams forced a short ball from Suárez Navarro, but hit a down-the-line forehand just wide, and wasted a Hawk-Eye challenge.

Suárez Navarro serving 6-5: A longish baseline-rally ended with Suárez Navarro hitting a crosscourt forehand winner just inside the sideline. 15/0. Suárez Navarro opened up the court with a crosscourt backhand, but hit an off-backhand just wide. 15/15. Serve out wide forced a short return, giving Suárez Navarro an easy forehand winner down the line. 30/15. Short-angled first serve out wide - on the sideline - forced Williams to net a backhand return. Loud cheer from the crowd. 40/15 (Suárez Navarro MP #1). Suárez Navarro opened up the court with a first serve out wide, but hit an off-forehand just wide. 40/30 (Suárez Navarro MP #2). First serve long by a whisker. A nailbiting rally ended with Williams netting a forehand. Suárez Navarro won 2-6 6-3 7-5 at 22:01 AEDT!!!

I guess Suárez Navarro's English is not as hot as her tennis (Rafael Nadal's didn't use to be either). She struggled through her on-court interview; the most profound thing she said was: "I don't know what to say!"

-------------------
4. Third-round draw
-------------------

* JELENA JANKOVIĆ [1] v AI SUGIYAMA [26]
* Lucie Šafářová [EF] v MARION BARTOLI [16,DF,S] (my loyalty is to LUCIE)
* NADIA PETROVA [10] v Galina Voskoboeva
* VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF] v Sara Errani (DAVAI VERA!!)

* KAIA KANEPI [25] v DINARA SAFINA [3]
* DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [19,EF] v ALIZÉ CORNET [15] (my loyalty is to DANIELA)
* Jelena Dokić [WC,EF] v CAROLINE WOZNIACKI [11] (my loyalty is to JELENA)
* ANA IVANOVIĆ [5,DF] v ALISA KLEYBANOVA [29] (ajde Ana!)

* María José Martínez Sánchez v Carla Suárez Navarro
* FLAVIA PENNETTA [12,DF] v ANABEL MEDINA GARRIGUES [21] (forza Flavia!)
* DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [18] v Virginie Razzano (poďme Domi!)
* ELENA DEMENTIEVA [4] v Samantha Stosur (davai Elena!)

* ALYONA BONDARENKO [31] v SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA [8] (davai Alyona!)
* ZHENG,JIE [22] v Kateryna Bondarenko (jia you Jie!)
* VICTORIA AZARENKA [13] v AMÉLIE MAURESMO [20] (davai Victoria!)
* Peng,Shuai [S] v SERENA WILLIAMS [2] (jia you Shuai!)

I'm looking forward to Azarenka inflicting another hurting on Mauresmo, having thrashed her 6-2 6-1 in their only previous meeting: Zürich 2008.

-----------------------
5. Third-round previews
-----------------------
5.1 Šafářová v Bartoli
----------------------

Lucie is 0:2 head to head against world #17 Marion Bartoli: 4-6 6-2 6-3 in the third round of the US Open 2007, and 6-0 6-3 at Berlin 2008, when Lucie was pretty much at the trough of her slump.

Marion is a Selesian player (two hands both sides like Monica Seles) who takes the ball early and also has a very unorthodox serve (with a cocked wrist, and the way she puts her legs together and stands on tiptoes). She's an experimental player who is always adding and removing quirky features to and from her game, such as the energy-jumps she was doing before each serve in the summer of 2007. Her game has also been called chess-like (she is coached by her father, who is a keen chess-player).

Marion reached the Wimbledon 2007 final with a sensational upset of top seed Justine Henin in the semis. But she has struggled to scale such heights again, and had a deep slump (although not as deep as Lucie's) in 2008, when she struggled with an energy-sapping virus that made it hard for her even to get out of bed.

Marion went 29:26 in 2008, with numerous first- and second-round losses. She had a four-match losing-streak from Rome to Birmingham, but looked revitalised as she stormed to the semi-finals of Eastbourne for the loss of 9 games in two matches - only to fall 6-4 6-1 to #69 Bethanie Mattek in the third round of Wimbledon, where she was defending her final.

Marion reached the final of Stanford and semi-finals of Montréal - both runs including victories over #8/#9 Anna Chakvetadze. She reached the fourth round of the US Open with a 6-1 7-6(3) over #24-ranked former champion Lindsay Davenport (most probably Davenport's last-ever match in a Major). After the US Open, she reverted to slump-mode, although she did battle through to the semi-finals of Linz before losing 6-0 6-1 to Vera Zvonarëva.

Marion began 2009 with a run to the Brisbane-final, albeit with a retirement from Amélie Mauresmo in the semis, and a 6-3 6-1 loss to #16 Victoria Azarenka in the final. Marion retired in the first round of Sydney, but has reached the third round of the Australian Open by beating Melanie South 6-2 6-4 and Tsvetana Pironkova 7-5 6-2.

Marion's recent form gives little reason for optimism that it will be third time lucky for Lucie against her, but Lucie certainly exceeded expectations against Sybille Bammer in the first round, so hopefully she can pull another stunt.


5.2 Zvonarëva v Errani
----------------------

Vera faces a dangerous floater in #39 Sara Errani, whom she has never played before.

Errani went 38:25 in 2008. What jumps out from her 2008 results is that she gave Lindsay Davenport a huge scare in the first round of the Australian Open (2-6 6-3 5-7), thrashed #15 Ágnes Szávay 6-0 6-3 to reach the quarter-finals of Rome, won Palermo with a win over #21 Flavia Pennetta in the semi-finals, and won her next tournament - Portorož two weeks later - with wins over #19 Maria Kirilenko, #29 Caroline Wozniacki and #32 Anabel Medina Garrigues. She also beat #17 Victoria Azarenka as a qualifier in the first round of Moscow.

Errani's form in early 2009 is a bit worrying for Vera: she beat #21 Daniela Hantuchová 6-7 6-4 6-0 in the first round of Brisbane, and went on to reach the semi-finals, losing 6-3 6-1 to #16 Victoria Azarenka. She thrashed Casey Dell'Acqua 6-1 6-2 in the first round of Sydney, losing 6-1 6-2 to Serena Williams in the second round. She has reached the third round here by thrashing Maria Kirilenko [27] 6-0 6-4 and Monica Niculescu 6-2 6-3.

Vera should certainly have the edge over Errani after her vastly superior 2008, and with her current 20-game winning-streak - but that could work against Vera if it suddenly turns tough after she's been winning so easily. Still, it would be a major surprise if Vera actually lost to Errani.


5.3 Hantuchová v Cornet
-----------------------

As expected, Daniela's third-round opponent is Alizé Cornet [15], who turned 19 on Thursday.

Daniela beat Cornet 6-4 6-1 in the first round of the Australian Open 2007, and 6-2 7-5 in the second round of the Australian Open 2008, so can she continue this pattern against Cornet in the third round of the Australian Open 2009?

Cornet's impressive 2008, which included a 3-6 6-4 6-4 win over Daniela at New Haven (they are now 2:1 head to head), suggests otherwise, although Daniela does have the advantage - and Cornet the disadvantage - that the Australian Open is played on Plexicushion rather than clay!

Cornet went 37:24 in 2008, and improved from being a good junior with a counterpunching style to a top-16 player who can compete with the world's best, although she's not yet ready to beat them all.

Cornet excelled on clay in 2008, reaching the final of Acapulco, semi-finals of Amelia Island, and semi-finals of Charleston with a 7-5 6-4 win over #13 Ágnes Szávay. She had an amazing run to the Rome-final as a qualifier, beating world #20 Francesca Schiavone 6-3 6-2, #5 Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-2 6-4, and #8 Anna Chakvetadze 3-6 6-4 6-3, before losing 6-2 6-2 to Jelena Janković. She won her first WTA singles-title at Budapest - albeit without facing anyone in the top 106.

Cornet also showed some form on hard courts, beating #20/21 Nicole Vaidišová in the first rounds of both the Olympics and New Haven. I saw Cornet play Serena Williams in the third round of the Olympics, and was impressed with her newfound aggression as lost 3-6 6-3 6-4. And she beat Daniela - then #12 - to reach the semi-finals of New Haven.

Cornet suffered a 4-match losing-streak in late 2008, before reaching the quarter-finals of Linz and losing 7-5 6-1 to #9 Vera Zvonarëva.

Cornet went 2:1 in singles-matches at the Hopman Cup, losing 6-3 6-2 to world #3 Dinara Safina, but beating Flavia Pennetta and Hsieh,Su-Wei. At Sydney, she beat #11 Nadia Petrova 6-2 6-4 and Alisa Kleyanova to reach the quarter-finals, but lost 6-3 6-4 to Safina. She has reached the third round here by beating Mariya Koryttseva 6-3 6-4 and Andrea Petković 6-1 6-0.

Daniela has a chance of beating Cornet, but it's probably 40% at best. She's going to have to play a darn sight better than she did in the first two rounds!


5.3.1 Articles
--------------

Australian Open: Day 5 Preview
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=2909
>>>
Hisense
(15) Alizé Cornet (FRA) vs. (19) Daniela Hantuchová (SVK) - Hantuchová leads 2:1

Player head-to-heads often acquire interesting patterns; this is the third year in a row these two have faced off at the Australian Open - and in a later round each time. In 2007, Hantuchová was a handy first-round winner over a Cornet ranked No.192 in the world; last year in the second round, she beat the French teen - then at No.59 - in two closer sets.

But Cornet is a very different proposition in 2009: she won their most recent encounter at New Haven in three, and with a ranking of No.14, has to be considered the favourite today.

That said, Hantuchová - under enormous pressure to defend points from her rousing run to the semis last year - must be pleased with the gutsy wins that have seen her justify her seeding this week. But the 25-year-old won't be content with that - not when she knows she has the talent to get back to the top ten. A win today would do her self-belief the world of good, and the fact she's now the underdog might just help.
<<<

2009 Australian Open - Nick's Picks - Women's Singles Round 3
Nick Bollettieri <nickstennispicks.com>
>>>
Alizé Cornet (FRA) vs. Daniela Hantuchová (SVK) - Cornet is the French hope for the next wave of top players. She is really talented, but has yet to get past the third round of a Major. Hantuchová has it all. She moves well, can volley, has extremely sound groundstrokes, and can serve. She has got to end the points quickly, because getting into long rallies in this heat will not benefit her.
<<<

2009 Australian Open: Day Five Preview
Aaress Lawless (www.onthebaseline.com)
>>>
Daniela Hantuchová (SVK)[19] v. Alizé Cornet (FRA)[15]

Alizé Cornet has overtaken Marion Bartoli for the No.1 ranking in France, and is quickly becoming that nation's biggest hope for the future. She reached the quarter-finals in Sydney last week, and heads into this match with the knowledge that she beat Hantuchová in three sets during the past summer in New Haven.

Hantuchová spent a considerable portion of 2008 on the injured-list because of a stress-fracture in her right heel. Her results since returning have been mediocre, and the two-time Indian Wells champion ended the season ranked outside the top 20.

Pick: Alizé Cornet in three sets.
<<<

Nerve Centre: Hantuchová v. Cornet (Abigail Lorge, TENNIS.com)
>>>
Perennial Australian Open foils Daniela Hantuchová and Alizé Cornet met in the first round of this tournament in 2007 and in the second round in 2008, with Hantuchová winning both matches in straight sets. The 2009 edition of their showdown Down Under - a third-round contest slated for Friday - is compelling not only because it should be very competitive, but also because it features two women who are, as I found out this afternoon, markedly different in comportment and disposition.

Hantuchová, the 25-year-old Slovakian stunner, was unwilling to entertain questions about her history of folding in big matches. She lost to Ana Ivanovic in the semi-finals of last year's Australian Open after leading 6-0 2-0 - a notoriously epic collapse. But Hantuchová insisted that the experience – her career-best finish at a Major – was a positive one for her.

"I think that was a great thing," Hantuchová said, rejecting the suggestion that the memories of Oz '08 might be less than fond. "It showed me that if I play my tennis, I can [finish] where I want. I was very pleased making the semi-finals. So actually that was a great match for me, to show me how close I am."

The former top-five player, who in past years has appeared alarmingly thin, looks fit and healthy here. Hantuchová said on Wednesday that she worked hard on improving her strength and power in the off-season, emphasising weightlifting instead of running during her training-sessions in Orlando.

But it remains to be seen whether Hantuchová's psyche has been fortified along with her physique. She was eager to assume the identity of the underdog for her third-round match on Friday, when she'll be facing the slightly higher-seeded Cornet.

"This time she is the favourite, so it's nice to be in this position where I have no pressure," Hantuchová said. "Tennis is as much physical as mental, and I think the mental part is actually more important, but the most important thing is to always keep fighting and stay positive, even though sometimes things don't go your way."

With a reputation for mental fragility in the big moments, Hantuchová is somewhat accustomed to matches not going her way; many tennis-observers consider her career to be a case of unfulfilled potential. But she began working with a new coach - Albert Portas - in November, and has a lofty goal for 2009: qualify for the year-end championships.

The immediate task at hand, however, is her match with a French teenager who has, as Hantuchová acknowledged, improved dramatically over the past year. Hantuchová and Cornet both live on the Côte D'Azur (Cornet is a Nice-native; Hantuchová resides in Monte Carlo), but that is where their similarities end. Energized by her 6-1 6-0 drubbing of Germany's Andrea Petkovic, Cornet was as giddy and affable on Wednesday as Hantuchová was curt and guarded.

"If I'm playing like that, I can go really far in the tournament," effused Cornet, who will celebrate her 19th birthday on Thursday. Mademoiselle then proceeded to gush about everything and everyone in her life, including Roland Garros ("it's my heart; I love to play on the clay"); Amélie Mauresmo ("she's a really nice girl; she's really funny"); her family ("I really love to be with them"), her coach of 10 years: Pierre Bouteyre ("he's like my second father or my second brother"); her pals on tour: Caroline Wozniacki and the Radwańska sisters ("we grew up together, so it's fun"); her hometown ("it's a beautiful city"); and even the family pooch: Andy: named for her favourite player on the men's tour.

The loquacious Cornet exuded a much more positive energy than Hantuchová: she of the long legs and short answers. But more telling is the difference in their approach to Friday's match: Hantuchová wants to minimise expectations, while Cornet relishes the opportunity to make the fourth round of a Major.

"I'm young, but everybody has something to lose, because when you're on the court, you just want to win," said the birthday-girl. "I already lost to her last year and two years ago in the same tournament, so I don't want to lose to her a third time."

I know Hantuchová is enormously talented and fiercely focused. And I concede Cornet's sore shoulder, which has been bothering her for two months and worsened during the Hopman Cup, is a worry. But I pick Cornet to prevail over last year's semi-finalist. Given the Frenchwoman's higher seeding, it's not a nervy pick. But after what I heard today, I wouldn't bet against her in a battle of nerves.
<<<

5.4 Dokić v Wozniacki
---------------------

Jelena may have upset the odds to reach her first Major third round since Wimbledon 2003, but her likely opponent was always going to be 18-year-old Caroline Wozniacki [11], and so it has proved. Not surprisingly - with Wozniacki being so young, and Jelena being off the main Tour for so long - they've never met before.

Wozniacki won the Girls' Singles at Wimbledon 2006 when she was just 15, and in 2008, she really began to translate that promise to the WTA Tour, compiling a phenomenal 58:20 win/loss record.

Wozniacki reached the fourth round here last year, upsetting #21 Alyona Bondarenko 7-6 6-1 in the second round, and losing 6-1 7-6 to Ana Ivanović in the fourth round.

She reached the quarter-finals of Doha after thrashing world #9 Marion Bartoli 6-2 6-3, but caught a harsh lesson from #5 Maria Sharapova: 6-0 6-1. Fourth rounds at Indian Wells and Miami followed - she thrashed #10 Bartoli 6-3 6-1 at the latter.

After a modest clay-court season, I saw Wozniacki lose 6-4 6-1 to Ana Ivanović in the third round of the French Open, but in the first set, Wozniacki had Ana "swatting away as if she's trying to get rid of a particularly persistent fly". Wozniacki seems to enjoy long rallies, so Jelena won't want to get into too many of those!

At Eastbourne, Wozniacki scored a stunning 6-2 6-2 win over #4 Svetlana Kuznetsova, and at Wimbledon she had the momentum against #3 Jelena Janković before losing 2-6 6-4 6-2. And all this was before her 18th birthday!

Wozniacki won her first WTA singles-title at Stockholm, beating #10 Agnieszka Radwańska 6-4 6-1 in the semis, and #63 Vera Dushevina 6-0 6-2 in the final - in fact she dropped just 19 games in five matches there!

Wozniacki thrashed #12 Daniela Hantuchová 6-1 6-3 to reach the third round of the Olympics, where she lost 7-6 6-2 to eventual Gold-medallist Elena Dementieva. Wozniacki's second WTA title quickly followed at New Haven, beating #13 Marion Bartoli 6-4 6-0, #18 Alizé Cornet 7-5 6-4, and #11 Anna Chakvetadze (previously 7:0 in finals) 3-6 6-4 6-1.

Wozniacki reached the fourth round of the US Open by beating #14 Victoria Azarenka 6-4 6-4, and again took a set off #2 Jelena Janković before folding 3-6 6-2 6-1.

Wozniacki then brushed off a couple of first-round losses to win her third title at the Tokyo Japan Open, beating #33 Kaia Kanepi 6-2 3-6 6-1 in the final, and beat #12 Anna Chakvetadze again in the first round of Moscow. She was runner-up to #5 Elena Dementieva at Luxembourg (2-6 6-4 7-6), and won ITF Odense in the off-season, beating #64 Sofia Arvidsson 6-2 6-1 in the final.

Although Wozniacki began 2009 with a surprising loss to #76 Elena Vesnina at Auckland, she had a very impressive Sydney, thrashing #19 Dominika Cibulková 6-1 6-2 and #110 Melanie South 6-2 6-0. She then had three match-points against Serena Williams before losing 6-7 6-3 7-6 in the quarter-finals.

I saw a few points of that match at www.sonyericssonwtatour.com. The way Wozniacki stranded Williams with a pinpoint crosscourt forehand to set up a down-the-line forehand winner suggests great things for Wozniacki in 2009!

Wozniacki has been tipped to upset Ana Ivanović [5] in the fourth round here, and eventually to win Majors (perhaps even here), so it's not looking too optimistic for Jelena in the third round!

But Jelena has already upset the odds in such a major way that I wouldn't count her out completely from beating Wozniacki, who will be the one with all the pressure on her, while Jelena will enjoy the support of the Rod Laver Arena evening-crowd.


5.4.1 Articles
--------------

Australian Open: Day 5 Preview
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=2909
>>>
Rod Laver
(11) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) vs. (WC) Jelena Dokić (AUS) - First meeting

It's no surprise Wozniacki and Dokić haven't played before, considering the seven-year age-gap, and the fact Dokić has been out of action for much of the young Dane's rise.

But after her superb three-set victory over Anna Chakvetadze on Wednesday night - her first win over a top-twenty player in five years - Dokić is looking like a teen-phenom who just happens to be in her mid-twenties.

While not taking anything away from that result, it has to be said the 21-year-old Russian has seemed out of sorts for months; by contrast, 18-year-old Wozniacki goes from strength to strength, although it will be interesting to see how she fares next time a big match gets close, after she failed to convert four match-points against Serena Williams in Sydney.

Only the most optimistic Dokić-devotee would believe she could pull off another win under the lights, but the Australian couldn't ask for a more relevant test as she pursues her comeback.
<<<

2009 Australian Open - Nick's Picks - Women's Singles Round 3
Nick Bollettieri <nickstennispicks.com>
>>>
Jelena Dokić (AUS) vs. Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) - Dokić got another huge win in front of her home-fans, and now will look to continue that streak against Wozniacki. The young, talented Dane is just outside the top ten, and is ready to break through this year. The question here is: Will Dokić have enough juice left after another big win?
<<<

2009 Australian Open: Day Five Preview
Aaress Lawless (www.onthebaseline.com)
>>>
Caroline Wozniacki (DEN)[11] v. Jelena Dokić (AUS)

As inspirational as Jelena Dokić's comeback has been, she will have to play near-perfect tennis to get past Caroline Wozniacki. The young Dane was recently voted On The Baseline's Newcomer of the Year for 2008: a distinction she heartily deserved after a stellar season.

It's tough to pick against Dokić after her first two comeback-wins in Melbourne, but I just wonder how much emotional - and physical - energy is left in her tank after those two tough victories. After all, it has been a long time since Dokić played this many top players in a row.

Pick: Caroline Wozniacki in two sets.
<<<

Emotional Jelena Dokić turns back time (Courtney Walsh, The Australian)
>>>
A decade after announcing her arrival as a tennis-prodigy at Melbourne Park, Jelena Dokić stands a win away from her finest Australian Open performance after last night upsetting talented Russian Anna Chakvetadze.

Despite a second-set wobble and third-set injury scare, Dokić made the third round of her home Major for only the second time with the 6-4 6-7 (7/4) 6-3 win over the 17th seed.

Dokić was just 15 when she recorded her best Australian Open appearance, though she was thrashed by then world No.1 Martina Hingis in that third-round encounter in 1999.

More than a generation has passed since, with her next opponent rising Danish star Caroline Wozniacki - among the hottest players on the Tour now - aged only eight at the time.

But asked how she felt about playing the world No.12, the message was simple, given the personal enormity of last night's achievement.

"Honestly, right now I don't care," Dokić said, close to tears.

"No matter what happens, I hope to play well."

The three-set victory over Chakvetadze is important for several reasons. From a tennis-perspective, it proves Dokić still has the game to match it with the sport's elite, for Chakvetadze is a significant talent who reached a career-high ranking of five in 2007: the year she reached her maiden Major semi-final in the US.

By reaching the third round, Dokić will receive a significant rankings-boost from her position of #187, which will further her chances of gaining entry into the year's remaining Majors.

It will also boost her chances of landing sponsorships to ease the financial burden.

Following Dokić's opening-round win over Austrian Tamira Paszek, she was coy when asked about wearing Fila-clothing a fortnight after appearing in Adidas-apparel in Brisbane, describing it as a "work in progress".

The quality of the 25-year-old's strokeplay from the baseline, and her ability to overcome problems in the second and third sets, should further her cause when pushing for new deals.

Dokić proved early on that she had benefited from her three-set opening-round win over Paszek - her first Major match in three years - with her powerful groundstrokes finding their mark early.

But it was Chakvetadze who made the initial move, establishing an advantage when breaking Dokić in the seventh game of the first set.

Dokić, who steadily improved her ranking on the ITF circuit last year - after controversially missing out on a wild card into the 2008 Australian Open - showed she was ready for the occasion by breaking immediately.

She continued that momentum to claim the first set, her groundstrokes carrying the power and accuracy that once saw her labelled a legitimate contender to win a Major.

While Chakvetadze is an élite talent, a weakness is her renowned volatility, and it appeared this could hinder her chances of fighting back.

Dokić was outstanding early in the second set, achieving her second break to reach a 4-1 lead, but a lack of match-play at the upper echelon told as she struggled to put her 21-year-old opponent away.

Twice the Australian moved to within two points of claiming the match in straight sets, with only inches defying her on the second try, as attempts at outright winners narrowly missed the line.

The lack of match-craft was pivotal with Dokić trailing at 3/4 in the second set tiebreak. After opening up the court, the Australian overplayed a simple forehand to gift the world No.18 the advantage she needed to level the match.

Dokić refused to lament the missed opportunity, breaking immediately in the third.

However, an Achilles' problem that caused Dokić to withdraw from an event in Hobart last week seemed a concern as the former world No.4 led 2-0, with a trainer called to the court at the next change of ends.

But it proved little hindrance, with Dokić's court-coverage a feature as she maintained the pressure on her younger opponent by successfully chasing balls from one side to the other.

While Dokić squandered two match-points at 5-3, it was the Russian that faltered, serving successive double faults to hand the Australian a memorable victory.

"It was unbelievable," she said.

"No matter what happens from here, it is an amazing experience, and a moment I will not forget for a long time.

"I really wanted to put in a good performance... and things started going my way, and then I got nervous, but this crowd really pulled me through."
<<<

Faith helps to resurrect doubting Dokić's career
Linda Pearce (The Age), Tuesday 20th January 2009
>>>
Jelena Dokić was 15 when she won her previous Australian Open match. Before her defection, and return. Before becoming a victim of the most disfunctional of tennis-families, of depression and of crippling doubts. Yesterday, Dokić spoke of the roles played by her religion and her boyfriend of six years in resurrecting a career she doubted could ever flourish again.

"Sometimes you just try to believe; you have faith. God was my No.1 priority. I really turned to that," Dokić, now 25, said after her 6-2 3-6 6-4 defeat of Austria's world No.80 Tamira Paszek on Hisense Arena. "Just a few people that were around in my life helped out.

"I don't know how I turned it around, because this time last year, I was still trying. You know, I gave myself another six months, just tried to hang in there. I'm trying to get a hold of it now and try not to go back again, try not to get in that stage of my life. But I think it's over. I think I dealt with everything. I'm really enjoying my tennis."

The only way back from what was effectively three years away, she said, was with small steps. First, the ITF circuit. Last month, the Open's wildcard play-off. A quality two-tiebreak loss to Amélie Mauresmo at Brisbane. Now this.

"To win today is absolutely amazing. People think, 'Oh, it's just the first round of a Grand Slam [sic]'. But for me, it's a lot," said the 187th-ranked Dokić. "I dealt with so much off the court that this is a joke to me now. Even though I still get nervous in matches like today, I'm really enjoying to be here every day. I went through Hell and back. This is hopefully a reward for me for everything I went through. I will try my best. If it ends up to be top 50 or top 20 or top 10, I'll be happy, as long as I can play for a few more years."

Dokić became tearful when describing what the victory meant to her: the emotions of what she called "really a miracle for me", which provided a second-round meeting with Russian 17th seed Anna Chakvetadze. Not her best match, but one of her most satisfying.

Permanently estranged from her father Damir, Dokić is slowly rebuilding her relationship with her mother Liliana. Her great regret is that contact has only resumed in the past year with her little brother Savo. "But, yeah, I still feel like I've lost them," she said, paying tribute to her stoic boyfriend of six years: Tin Bikić.

"But it's not just that. I had so much to go through while my dad was on the Tour. I was just so young, and just had no real idea what was going on. But it was real difficult to take all that, what was going on off the court, all the outbursts. It was not easy to play with that. I played with a huge pressure on my shoulders. I kind of just cracked by the time I was 19."
<<<

Damir Dokić hoping to reconcile with daughter Jelena
By Darren Walton (Fox Sports / AAP)
>>>
Damir Dokić says he hasn't given up on reconciling with estranged daughter Jelena, and even believes he may one day coach Australia's tennis heroine again.

Speaking from his home in Belgrade, Dokić tonight told AAP he would consider contacting Jelena after the Australian Open, where the former world No.4 has reached the third round for the first time.

Damir confirmed his relationship with Jelena had soured in the past few years since she left the family-home in the Serbian capital to live in Zagreb with her boyfriend Tin Bikić and her coach: Bikić's brother Borna.

But he said he spoke to Jelena as recently as "about a month ago", and claimed that the 25-year-old told him that reconciliation was possible.

"Everything is possible," Damir said.

"I can't tell you for sure, but why not?"

Damir said he had not watched his daughter's second-round upset win over Russian seed Anna Chakvetadze, but had heard the result and was feeling proud.

"Of course I'm proud," he said.

Damir hasn't been back to Australia since taking Jelena and the rest of the family back to Serbia after believing the 2001 Open draw had been rigged to pit his daughter against defending champion Lindsay Davenport.

But he also refuses to rule out a return.

"Yeah maybe. Of course, why not? I like Australia," said tennis's most controversial father, who lived in Sydney for seven years, during which Jelena rose to be the world's No.1 junior player.

Despite saying, "I don't watch tennis", Damir continues to dream of building a complex in Serbia and coaching.

"My plan is to make one tennis-club and start coaching again," he said.

"But I don't have a place for it in Belgrade."

Belgrade-authorities and the sport's national federation have already blocked one proposal from Damir to build such a centre in the capital city.

In the meantime, he will continue doing what he does.

"I have a small business. I make b*****: the best thing of all," Damir said proudly.

"It's better than w*****, believe me."

But any chances of reconciliation - let alone an unlikely coaching-reunion - appear to be resting solely in the hands of Jelena, who says she is extremely happy with her coaching-arrangement.

"Sometimes you need a couple of people that you can trust.

"There's not too many of those around," she told the Seven Network on Thursday night.

The pointed remark seemed directed towards her overbearing father, and came just three days after the tennis-star opened up to journalists to reveal she still feels like she has "lost" her entire family.

"I don't talk to my father. I haven't for years. I talk to my mum. We're mending that relationship," she said.

"As soon as I left home, my relationship went downhill with my dad.

"It went downhill with my whole family."
<<<

-----------------------------------------------------------------
6. Who'll win the Australian Open now that Venus Williams is out?
-----------------------------------------------------------------

Objectively, I now consider Elena Dementieva [4] the favourite for the title because she won both Auckland and Sydney, thrashing Serena Williams 6-3 6-1 in the process; she has beaten Williams in their last three meetings.

There's a big question-mark over Dementieva's self-belief, as she's 27 and has never won a Major, but she has never looked more ready to win a Major (except maybe when she reached the French and US Open 2004 finals), and she did win Olympic Gold last year, which in her mind is an even bigger achievement than winning a Major! (I put Olympic Gold just below winning a Major, and above winning any other tournament).

Of course, with 2009 being an odd-numbered year, there's always the chance that Serena Williams [2] might get her act together for the Australian Open, although her form today was, by her own admission, "D- at best".

Dementieva and Williams would meet in the semi-finals.

To recap and update what I said in my tournament-preview:
* I count Jelena Janković [1] and Svetlana Kuznetsova [8] out because of their recent physical problems, but they still have to be beaten.
* I give Dinara Safina [3] an outside shot at winning the title, but she's not on her best form right now.
* I give Ana Ivanović [5] an outside chance because she reached last year's final and won the French Open, but she's been slumping since then, and her form is far from ideal.

Vera Zvonarëva [7] is carving up the lesser opposition, having won her last three sets 6-0, but doesn't have a great career-record against top-seven players. However, that all changed at the Sony Ericsson Championships, when she beat four of them in a row to reach the final!

As an Eternal Fan of Vera, I'm hoping that that will give her the belief she needs to reach her second Major quarter-final (she reached her first by beating Venus Williams at the French Open 2003) and go beyond that stage for the first time in her career. I'm hoping that her confidence hasn't been dented by her 6-2 6-2 thrashing by Venus Williams at Hong Kong, and after her first two wins here, I'm no longer concerned about her withdrawal from Sydney with gastrointestinal illness.

I even think this Australian Open could be won by a rank outsider, such as:
* Caroline Wozniacki [11] has been tipped by experts as a future Major champion; she had three match-points against Serena Williams at Sydney, and won her first two matches here easily.
* Victoria Azarenka [13] won Brisbane, and thrashed Hobart-champion Petra Kvitová 6-2 6-1 in the first round here.
* Marion Bartoli [16] reached the Wimbledon 2007 final, and seems to be putting last year's illness-induced slump behind her; she can perform miracles with her Selesian groundstrokes when she's on.
* Dominika Cibulková [18] won the Hopman Cup, and like Vera, she won three sets in a row 6-0 here.

Or how about an unbelievable miracle by a member of my Eternal Fanship? Jelena Dokić and Lucie Šafářová have already exceeded expectations here, beating Anna Chakvetadze [17] and Sybille Bammer [24], respectively; they are supremely talented, have nothing to lose, and you should never underestimate the power of a comeback!

Daniela Hantuchová [19] reached her sole Major semi-final here last year, but has been slumping since a ten-week lay-off with a stress-fracture in her right heel last April-June, and her form in her first two matches here has been far from convincing. For her to win the Australian Open 2009 would be the most unbelievable and desirable miracle of all!

------------------
7. Andrew's wishes (updated after Thursday)
------------------
7.1 Fourth-round wishes
-----------------------

+ Lucie Šafářová [EF] d. JELENA JANKOVIĆ [1]
+ VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF] d. NADIA PETROVA [10]
+ DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [19,EF] d. KAIA KANEPI [25]
+ Jelena Dokić [WC,EF] d. ANA IVANOVIĆ [5,DF]

+ FLAVIA PENNETTA [12,DF] d. María José Martínez Sánchez
+ DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [18] d. ELENA DEMENTIEVA [4]
+ ALYONA BONDARENKO [31] d. ZHENG,JIE [22] (my Reason says Jie, but my Passion says Alyona)
+ Peng,Shuai [S] d. VICTORIA AZARENKA [13]


7.2 Quarter-final wishes
------------------------

+ VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF] d. Lucie Šafářová [EF]
+ DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [19,EF] d. Jelena Dokić [WC,EF]
+ FLAVIA PENNETTA [12,DF] d. DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [18]
+ Peng,Shuai [S] d. ALYONA BONDARENKO [31] (my Passion says Alyona, but my Reason says Shuai)


7.3 Semi-final wishes
---------------------

+ DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [19,EF] d. VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF]
+ FLAVIA PENNETTA [12,DF] d. Peng,Shuai [S]


7.4 Final-wish
--------------

+ DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [19,EF] d. FLAVIA PENNETTA [12,DF]

-------------------------------
8. Women's Doubles: First round
-------------------------------

These are just my selections - the full draw is at:
http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/scores/draws/wd/


8.1 First-round results (Thursday 22nd January 2009)
-----------------------

- Anna Chakvetadze [EF]/Alisa Kleybanova lt. CARA BLACK/LIEZEL HUBER [1], 2-6 3-6

+ (VERA ZVONARËVA [EF]/VICTORIA AZARENKA)[13] d. Brittany Sheed/Bryanne Stewart, 6-2 6-1

+ (DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [EF]/AI SUGIYAMA)[9] d. Isabella Holland/Sally Peers, 6-1 6-1

+ Lucie Šafářová [EF]/Galina Voskoboeva d. Marina Eraković/Jelena Kostanić Tošić, 6-2 6-2


8.2 Second-round draw
---------------------

* (VERA ZVONARËVA [EF]/VICTORIA AZARENKA)[13] v Alizé Cornet/Camille Pin

* (DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [EF]/AI SUGIYAMA)[9] v Vera Dushevina/Olga Savchuk

* Lucie Šafářová [EF]/Galina Voskoboeva v Gisela Dulko [DF]/Roberta Vinci

* (MARIA KIRILENKO/FLAVIA PENNETTA)[7,DF] v Mervana Jugić-Salkić/Anne Keothavong

----------------------------------
9. Mixed Doubles: First-round draw
----------------------------------

* Jelena Dokić [EF]/Paul Hanley v Patty Schnyder/Wesley Moodie

Full draw:
http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/scores/draws/xd/

----------------------------
10. Order of play for Friday
----------------------------

I list only those courts on which members of my Eternal Fanship have singles-matches:

Rod Laver Arena: Day-session (start 11:00 AEDT = 00:00 GMT)
WS 3r: DINARA SAFINA [3] v KAIA KANEPI [25]
MS 3r: Amer Delić v NOVAK ĐOKOVIĆ [3]
WS 3r: JELENA JANKOVIĆ [1] v AI SUGIYAMA [26]
|
Rod Laver Arena: Evening-session (start 19:30 AEDT = 08:30 GMT)
WS 3r: Jelena Dokić [WC,EF] v CAROLINE WOZNIACKI [11]
MS 3r: MARAT SAFIN [26] v ROGER FEDERER [2]

If any man can show any just cause why Jelena Dokić v Caroline Wozniacki may not be televised by the BBC tomorrow, let him speak now or forever hold his peace!

Hisense Arena: Day-session (start 11:00 AEDT = 00:00 GMT)
MS 3r: JUAN MARTÍN DEL POTRO [8] v Gilles Müller
WS 3r: DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [19,EF] v ALIZÉ CORNET [15]
MS 3r: ANDY RODDICK [7] v Fabrice Santoro [S]
|
Hisense Arena: Evening-session (start 19:30 AEDT = 08:30 GMT)
WS 3r: ANA IVANOVIĆ [5,DF] v ALISA KLEYBANOVA [29]
MS 3r: Marcos Baghdatis v MARDY FISH [23]

Margaret Court Arena (start 11:00 AEDT = 00:00 GMT)
WS 3r: NADIA PETROVA [10] v Galina Voskoboeva
MS 3r: MARIN ČILIĆ v DAVID FERRER [11]
WS 3r: Lucie Šafářová [EF] v MARION BARTOLI [16,DF]
WD 2r: (SAMANTHA STOSUR/RENNAE STUBBS)[5] v Agnieszka Radwańska/Urszula Radwańska
(not before 19:30 AEDT = 08:30 GMT)
MS 3r: STANISLAS WAWRINKA [15] v TOMÁŠ BERDYCH [20]

Show Court 2 (start 11:00 AEDT = 00:00 GMT)
MD 2r: Carsten Ball/Chris Guccione v (CHRISTOPHER KAS/ROGIER WASSEN)[13]
(not before 12:30 AEDT = 01:30 GMT)
WS 3r: VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF] v Sara Errani
MS 3r: TOMMY ROBREDO [21] v Lu,Yen-Hsun
XD 1r: Anastasia Rodionova/Stephen Huss v Jessica Moore/Carsten Ball

Full order of play:
http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/scores/schedule/

--
Dr. Andrew Broad

andrewbroad
Jan 24th, 2009, 02:16 AM
===============
AUSTRALIAN OPEN (Melbourne, Australia; outdoor hard (Plexicushion); Major)
=============== http://www.australianopen.com/
Contents
--------

1. Photos / Videos
2. Third-round results
3. Third-round review: Zvonarëva v Errani
4. Third-round review: Hantuchová v Cornet
5. Third-round review: Šafářová v Bartoli
6. Third-round TV-report: Dokić v Wozniacki
7. Third-round scoreboard-report: Ivanović v Kleybanova
8. Third-round draw: Bottom half
9. Fourth-round draw: Top half
10. Andrew's wishes
11. Women's Doubles: Second round
12. Order of play for Saturday / UK TV-update

------------------
1. Photos / Videos
------------------
1.1 Photos
----------

Daniela Hantuchová (two third-round photos added):
http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/players/related/wta080394.html

Lucie Šafářová:
http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/players/related/wta310553.html

Various players including Vera Zvonarëva, Ana Ivanović, Marion Bartoli, Alizé Cornet, and Nadia Petrova on the beach:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/7846259.stm

More second-round photos added, including Flavia Pennetta, Dominika Cibulková, Alyona Bondarenko, Peng,Shuai, Elena Dementieva, Zheng,Jie, Victoria Azarenka, and María José Martínez Sánchez:
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/2/photogallery/

Search-list for Friday:
dokic
zvonareva
hantuchova
safarova
maria kirilenko
ivanovic
mirza
bartoli
wozniacki
cornet
kleybanova
errani


1.2 Videos
----------

http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/2/multimedia/default_video.asp
Day 5 Highlights: Hantuchová v Cornet
Night 5 Highlights: Dokić v Wozniacki

(These two videos weren't working when I tried them - just a black screen - but they might have been fixed by the time you read this.)

----------------------
2. Third-round results (Friday 23rd January 2009)
----------------------

Nice winner, nice loser:
+ Jelena Dokić [WC,EF] d. CAROLINE WOZNIACKI [11], 3-6 6-1 6-2
- Lucie Šafářová [EF] lt. MARION BARTOLI [16,DF,S], 6-3 2-6 1-6
- DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [19,EF] lt. ALIZÉ CORNET [15], 6-4 4-6 2-6

What rocked:
+ VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF] d. Sara Errani, 6-4 6-1

What sucked:
- ANA IVANOVIĆ [5,DF] lt. ALISA KLEYBANOVA [29], 5-7 7-6 (7/5) 2-6

All other results:
+ JELENA JANKOVIĆ [1] d. AI SUGIYAMA [26], 6-4 6-4
+ DINARA SAFINA [3] d. KAIA KANEPI [25], 6-2 6-2
+ NADIA PETROVA [10] d. Galina Voskoboeva, 6-1 *0-0 retired (back-pain)

-----------------------------------------
3. Third-round review: Zvonarëva v Errani
-----------------------------------------

+ VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF] d. Sara Errani, 6-4 6-1

The match was second on Show Court 2, and got underway just before 14:00 AEDT, when I went to bed in England.

It seems that Errani put up fiesty resistance in the first set, but there was a massive dip in her statistics (particularly her first-serve winning-percentage and BP conversion-rate) in the second set.


3.1 Statistics
--------------

The match lasted 1h13m (first set 43m, second set 30m).

Vera had a negative W:UE ratio of 20:27 (at least it was positive in the second set at 9:8), while Errani's was an abysmal 7:25 (including 2:13 for the second set).

Vera got 62% of her first serves in, winning 74% of the points when she did so, and 52% on second serve. These percentages were pretty much the same in both sets, except that she upped her second-serve winning-percentage from 42% to 64%.

The corresponding percentages for Errani were 61%, 50% and 42%. Her first-serve winning-percentage dipped from 60% in the first set to an abysmal 30% in the second set - lower than her second-serve winning-percentages!

Vera served much faster than Errani in all three categories: fastest 106-88 mph, average first serve 100-78 mph, average second serve 85-74 mph. Errani's serves were exceptionally slow by WTA Tour standards!

Vera served one ace and one double fault, Errani no aces and 5 double faults.

They each had 7 break-points, but Vera converted 4 (two in each set), whereas Errani only converted one (it was in the first set; she converted 0 of 5 BPs in the second).

Vera won 10 of 15 points at the net (67%), which is a bit disappointing, because I think she has the best volleys of all the players in my Eternal Fanship. Errani won 7 of 12 points at the net (58%).

Interestingly, both players were very selective and successful going to the net in the first set (Vera 4 of 5, Errani 4 of 4), and went there more often in the second set, but with a lower success-rate (Vera 10 of 15, Errani 7 of 12).

In points, Vera won 66-44 (first set 35-29, second set 31-15).


3.2 Article
-----------

The media have been very short with this match, but have described Vera's performance using terms such as "scintillating" and "looked in top form".

Zvonarëva sets up all-Russian clash
By Vanessa Skendaris (www.australianopen.com)
>>>
World No.7 Vera Zvonarëva has eased into the fourth round of the Australian Open 2009, defeating Italian Sara Errani in straight sets: 6-4 6-1.

In a close first set where both players held their serve for the first four games, the 24-year-old Russian was the first to make a move, securing the first break with a speedy crosscourt winner.

Errani, who reached the top 50 for the first time last year, was quick to recover, winning the break back to level the match at 4-4.

Errani pushed Zvonarëva hard, but Zvonarëva kept firing, cracking 11 winners en route to successfully securing the set in 43 minutes.

Zvonarëva - a quarter-finalist at Roland Garros in 2003 - demonstrated her top-ten quality as she raced to a 3-0 lead in the second set, easily breaking the 21-year-old Italian's serve.

Looking for answers to get herself back into the match, Errani tried approaching the net. Her efforts were largely in vain as Zvonarëva was in damaging form, unleashing her passing winners, and outgunning the Italian in 30 minutes.

Zvonarëva has set up a clash in the fourth round with fellow Russian Nadia Petrova. The women's 10th seed advanced after her opponent, Galina Voskoboeva of Kazakhstan, was forced to retire injured after Petrova won the first set 6-1.

Quick facts:

* Errani had just two winners, and recorded 13 unforced errors in the final set.

* Errani's fastest serve for the match was 142km/h, while Zvonarëva's was 171km/h.

* Zvonarëva had 27 unforced errors for the match to Errani's 25.

* Errani served five of the six double faults recorded in the match.
<<<

------------------------------------------
4. Third-round review: Hantuchová v Cornet
------------------------------------------

- DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [19,EF] lt. ALIZÉ CORNET [15], 6-4 4-6 2-6

The match was second on Hisense Arena, so it would have been played in the Australian mid-afternoon, while I was sleeping in England.

Nick Bollettieri <http://nickstennispicks.com/> questioned Daniela's ability to generate power and hurt her opponents. My response is that she /can/ do this: she does it through immaculate timing - what I call "flairsome power" - rather than big muscles. She was certainly generating a lot of power when she reached the semi-finals of last year's Australian Open!

But Daniela has not been the same force since she was sidelined for ten weeks with a stress-fracture in her right heel from April to June 2008. She lost a lot of fitness then, so her first priority is to get that back - then she can concentrate on getting her game back on track.

The statistics imply that Daniela got tired in the third set: obviously the score, and also Cornet's raised winner-count and ace-count.


4.1 Statistics
--------------

The match lasted 2h02m (first set 34m, second set 43m, third set 45m - presumably there was a long break after the second set).

Daniela had a negative W:UE ratio of 30:40 (her winner-count decreased from set to set), Cornet a positive 29:22 (including 12:6 for the third set).

Daniela got 61% of her first serves in, winning 65% of the points when she did so, and 42% on second serve. Her second-serve winning-percentage dipped from 64% in the first set to 33% for the second and 27% for the third, while her first-serve winning-percentage dipped from 68% for the second set to 53% for the third.

The corresponding percentages for Cornet were 52%, 76% and 43%, so it's disappointing that Daniela let her get away with so many second serves.

Cornet had the fastest serve - 109mph to Daniela's 105mph - but Daniela's serves were faster on average: first serve 101-100 mph, second serve 80-77 mph.

Daniela served 2 aces and 3 double faults, Cornet 6 aces (4 in the third set) and 5 double faults.

There was a big difference in their BP-conversion rates: Cornet broke 6 times from 7 BPs, while Daniela broke just 4 times from 9 BPs (squandering BPs has long been an unfortunate habit of Daniela's). The first two sets were each won by two breaks to one, the third set by three breaks to one.

Daniela won just 11 of 21 points at the net (52%) - including 3 of 9 in the third set - which is disappointing for an all-court player such as herself. Cornet was more selective and successful with her net-approaches, winning 8 of 11 (73%).

In points, Cornet won 87-79 (first set 24-30, second set 33-29, third set 30-20).


4.2 Article
-----------

Second Serve: Cornet Redux (Abigail Lorge, TENNIS.com)
>>>
Alizé Cornet and Daniela Hantuchová's third-round showdown in Hisense Arena was one of the few quality women's matches of the day. The Frenchwoman (No.15) was seeded slightly higher than the Slovak (No.19), but Hantuchová is a former top-ten player who was a semi-finalist here last year. Adding to the intrigue was the fact that Hantuchová, 25, had ousted the French teenager from this tournament each of the past two years.

Determined not to lose for a third straight time, Cornet prevailed 4-6 6-4 6-2 on Friday in a convincing effort that put her into the round of 16 at a Major for the first time in her career. She struggled with nerves in the first set – "this match was just so important to me, and that's why I was more nervous than usual," she said afterwards, a bag of ice on her sore right shoulder – but then decided to get more aggressive, and raised her level significantly.

Cornet did show some nerves in both the second and third sets as well. She served for the second set at 5-2, but started rushing and was broken (eventually evening the match at one-set all when she held at 5-4). At that point, the momentum was clearly in Cornet's favour.

"I knew that if I won the second set, I was really ready physically to beat her in the third set, so I was pretty confident," the elated Frenchwoman said afterwards. Indeed, she ran up a 4-0 lead on Hantuchová to start the deciding set, and the outcome was all but decided. It wasn't one of the worst choke-jobs in Hantuchová's career – Cornet played legitimately well – but it did little to refute her reputation for folding easily.

Cornet will face Dinara Safina, who's been looking tougher and tougher as the week has progressed, in the round of 16. Safina beat Cornet in Sydney a few weeks ago in their only meeting, but Cornet said she think she can give the Russian No.3 a tough test: "I think she knows she needs to be a bit scared of me, because she knows I'm going to fight to the end."

I expect Safina to win, but I hope the plucky Cornet plays well and makes it interesting.

One other note: During the Hantuchová v Cornet match, I sat next to Michel Dechy: the father of unseeded French player Natalie Dechy, who lost to Ai Sugiyama in the second round here. Like an MLB scout charting the performance of a pitching prospect, Mr. Dechy was taking detailed notes on each point: he had a sophisticated system for indicating how each point was won (forehand return, bad but lucky volley, etc.). Dechy has been travelling with his daughter for the past year and coached her when she was younger, and said his grids help her prepare for future matches. I was impressed by his meticulousness.
<<<

^I would be fascinated to see Michel Dechy's detailed notes, as I make such notes myself when I get to watch important matches!

Out Down Under
http://www.dhantuchova.com/news.html?id=333
>>>
Daniela was unable to pull out the third set on Friday at the Australian Open, falling to the fifteenth seed Alizé Cornet 6-4 4-6 2-6.

It was an action-packed match on Hisense Arena, but Daniela couldn't fend off the Frenchwoman, who took the break early in the third.

Daniela did a good job of mixing up her shots and moving Cornet around the court, but Cornet's determination was relentless.

It was a disappointing loss for Daniela, who was looking to match or surpass her semi-final showing Down Under in 2008.
<<<

-----------------------------------------
5. Third-round review: Šafářová v Bartoli
-----------------------------------------

- Lucie Šafářová [EF] lt. MARION BARTOLI [16,DF,S], 6-3 2-6 1-6

The match was third on Margaret Court arena, so it would have taken place in the Australian Open late afternoon, while I was sleeping in England.

Lucie led 6-3 *2-0, then lost 12 of the last 13 games. :-(


5.1 Statistics
--------------

Lucie dominated the match with winners and unforced errors, compiling a mildly negative W:UE ratio of 32:36 (16:8 for the first set, and 16:28 for the second and third combined). Marion's W:UE ratio was 16:17 (5:9 + 9:6 + 2:2).

Lucie got 63% of her first serves in, winning 57% of the points when she did so, and 28% on second serve - those are disappointing winning-percentages, and her second-serve winning-percentage in particular dipped alarmingly from set to set: from 45% to 20% to 13%.

The corresponding percentages for Marion were 59%, 67% and 44%. After winning a disastrous 10% of points on second serve in the first set, it was in the 60s in the next two, while her percentages of first serves in and points won troughed at (44%, 55%) for the second set, and peaked at (80%, 83%) for the third.

While Lucie pipped Marion to the fastest serve (107-106 mph), Marion's serves were considerably faster than Lucie's on average: first serve 101-95 mph, second serve 83-80 mph.

Lucie served 10 double faults and just one ace, while Marion served two of each.

Lucie broke 4 times from 5 BPs, but gave Marion too many BPs on her own serve: Marion converted 7 of 13. Lucie won the first set by three breaks to one, but lost the second by three breaks to one, and the third by three breaks to none. Lucie only had one BP after the first set: the one she converted in the second.

Lucie won 9 of 17 points at the net (53%), Marion 6 of 9 (67%). After winning 6 of 8 points at the net in the first set, Lucie won just 2 of 7 in the second set, and just 1 of 2 in the third.

In points, Marion won 80-64 (first set 24-34, second set 32-21, third set 24-9).


5.2 Articles
------------

Bartoli advances to meet Jankovic
By Bronwen Largier (www.australianopen.com)
>>>
Marion Bartoli is set to make her first fourth-round appearance at the Australian Open after overpowering Lucie Šafářová in three sets on Friday.

The Frenchwoman won the match 3-6 6-2 6-1 in an hour and 42 minutes.

Šafářová started the match well, breaking Bartoli's serve in the first game, and displaying a powerful crosscourt backhand and good ball-placement.

Bartoli got a break at 3-2, but Šafářová returned the favour in the next game to lead 4-3. Šafářová broke a third time as Bartoli served to stay in the set.

Šafářová's good form looked to continue when she broke Bartoli a fourth time early in the second set, but her game began to fall apart as her number of unforced errors sky-rocketed and her winners dried up.

Šafářová's unfortunate habit of double-faulting at crucial points in the match, combined with the Frenchwoman's consistency, gave Bartoli the opportunity to take control. After dropping her first service-game in the second set, Bartoli won the next eight games straight to take the second set and shoot a 2-0 lead in the third.

The Czech rediscovered the form that won her the first set, winning her serve at 2-0 in the third without dropping a point, but her resurgence was brief.

Bartoli ran away with the rest of the set, taking her sixth and seventh breaks off Šafářová to close out the final set in just 27 minutes.

Bartoli will play Jelena Jankovic in the round of 16, after the Serbian top seed defeated Ai Sugiyama of Japan 6-4 6-4 on Friday afternoon.

Quick facts:

* Šafářová served 10 costly double faults to Bartoli's two.

* The Czech had 36 unforced errors, while Bartoli recorded just 17.

* Šafářová had double the number of winners: 32-16.

* Bartoli converted seven of her 13 break-point chances (54%), while Šafářová was 4 for 5 (80%).
<<<

Lucie out in singles (Janine, www.lucie-safarova.com)
>>>
Lucie lost her singles-match today against Marion Bartoli: 6-3 2-6 1-6. Lucka started really good until 6-3 2-0, but then she started to do a few more unforced errors, and Marion got stronger.

Comments:
* Sean: "I saw the match. Lucie played incredible to go up 6-3 *2-0, and then Lucie couldn't get a ball in the court."
<<<

-------------------------------------------
6. Third-round TV-report: Dokić v Wozniacki (Friday 23rd January 2009)
-------------------------------------------

+ Jelena Dokić [WC,EF] d. CAROLINE WOZNIACKI [11], 3-6 6-1 6-2

Wow - Jelena has reached her first Major fourth round since Wimbledon 2002, and her first Australian Open fourth round EVER!!! She has now reached the fourth round or better at all four Majors at various points in her career.

Last time Jelena played in the main draw of a Major: Australian Open 2006
Last time Jelena reached the second round of a Major: US Open 2003
Last time Jelena reached the third round of a Major: Wimbledon 2003
Last time Jelena reached the fourth round of a Major: Wimbledon 2002
Last time Jelena reached a Major quarter-final: French Open 2002
Last time Jelena reached a Major semi-final: Wimbledon 2000

Last time Jelena reached the fourth round of the Australian Open: never
Last time Jelena reached the third round of the Australian Open: 1999
Last time Jelena reached the second round of the Australian Open: 1999

It was an amazing match, and Jelena's win makes me the happiest I've been about a tennis-result since Maria Sharapova won the Australian Open 2008. Five minutes after Jelena won, I had goosebumps all over my body. An hour after Jelena won, I was feeling so hyper I had to stop working on my Australian Open reports and play Cheese, Louise! <http://www.darnkitty.com/cheese/>

In the first set, Wozniacki was just too solid: all the unforced errors came from Jelena. Wozniacki is not often spectacular, but she's very frustrating to play against.

But after that, Jelena suddenly found the kind of magic that thrashed Martina Hingis 6-2 6-0 at Wimbledon 1999: tremendous power, accuracy and depth, and beautiful footwork with lots of little steps whenever she positioned herself to smash one of the many lobs she forced from Wozniacki. Wozniacki may be a Major champion in the making, but there was nothing she could do about this brilliant onslaught.

It's a tragedy that Jelena has never won a Major, as she surely would have done if her father had desisted from his beastly behaviour before the major row Jelena had with her parents at Filderstadt in October 2002, which tore Jelena apart from her family.

But on this kind of form, with Jelena still only 25, and the current power-vacuum at the top of women's tennis following the retirements of Monica Seles and Justine Henin last year, the ageing of the Williams-sisters, the six-month absence of Maria Sharapova that is continuing as she recovers from shoulder-surgery in October 2008, and the slump of Ana Ivanović - I've just mentioned all the players who have won a Major since the US Open 2006 - a maiden Major title for Jelena (and I'm not talking about world #1 Janković) might not be out of the question just yet!

I'll post my full TV-report at a later date.

-------------------------------------------------------
7. Third-round scoreboard-report: Ivanović v Kleybanova
-------------------------------------------------------

- ANA IVANOVIĆ [5,DF] lt. ALISA KLEYBANOVA [29], 5-7 7-6 (7/5) 2-6

This match was on the evening-session of the Hisense Arena, and I followed live scores casually while I was watching Jelena Dokić v Caroline Wozniacki on BBC Red Button - after the commentators mentioned that Ana was 5-7 0-3* down, with the winners of the two matches to play each other in the fourth round.

In the first set, Ana blew a *5-3 lead, losing 7 games in a row to trail 5-7 0-3*.

Ana broke back twice for 5-7 *3-3, but was broken again for 3-4*, and five minutes after Jelena won, Kleybanova was serving for the match at *5-4. But Ana broke back for 5-5*, they both held serve to force a tiebreak, and Ana recovered from *1/3 to win the tiebreak and raise the prospect of a mouthwatering Jelena v Ana fourth-round showdown.

But sadly, Ana offered little resistance in the third set except when she fought back from *0-3 to *2-3; Kleybanova broke then held, and Ana found herself at *2-5 (0/40). Ana saved the first match-point, but Kleybanova converted the second.


Ana was gracious in defeat: "Unfortunately for me, on important points, she played really well. I gave my 100%, but today she was better. She came up with some unbelievable shots and unbelievable angles. I think she played the match of her career. I just have to learn from this.

"Obviously it's very disappointing, and I'm very, very sad, because I really felt I could do well here. Sometimes losses make you more motivated to work harder, and that's definitely my aim."

--------------------------------
8. Third-round draw: Bottom half (to be played on Saturday)
--------------------------------

* María José Martínez Sánchez v Carla Suárez Navarro
* FLAVIA PENNETTA [12,DF] v ANABEL MEDINA GARRIGUES [21] (forza Flavia!)
* DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [18] v Virginie Razzano (poďme Domi!)
* ELENA DEMENTIEVA [4] v Samantha Stosur (davai Elena!)

* ALYONA BONDARENKO [31] v SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA [8] (davai Alyona!)
* ZHENG,JIE [22] v Kateryna Bondarenko (jia you Jie!)
* VICTORIA AZARENKA [13] v AMÉLIE MAURESMO [20] (davai Victoria!)
* Peng,Shuai [S] v SERENA WILLIAMS [2] (jia you Shuai!)

------------------------------
9. Fourth-round draw: Top half (to be played on Sunday)
------------------------------

* MARION BARTOLI [16,DF,S] v JELENA JANKOVIĆ [1] (allez Marion!)
* VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF] v NADIA PETROVA [10] (DAVAI VERA!!)
* ALIZÉ CORNET [15] v DINARA SAFINA [3] (allez Alizé!)
* Jelena Dokić [WC,EF] v ALISA KLEYBANOVA [29] (GO JELENA!!)

-------------------
10. Andrew's wishes (updated after Friday)
-------------------
10.1 Fourth-round wishes
------------------------

+ MARION BARTOLI [16,DF,S] d. JELENA JANKOVIĆ [1]
+ VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF] d. NADIA PETROVA [10]
+ ALIZÉ CORNET [15] d. DINARA SAFINA [3]
+ Jelena Dokić [WC,EF] d. ALISA KLEYBANOVA [29]

+ FLAVIA PENNETTA [12,DF] d. María José Martínez Sánchez
+ DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [18] d. ELENA DEMENTIEVA [4]
+ ALYONA BONDARENKO [31] d. ZHENG,JIE [22] (my Reason says Jie, but my Passion says Alyona)
+ Peng,Shuai [S] d. VICTORIA AZARENKA [13]


10.2 Quarter-final wishes
-------------------------

+ VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF] d. MARION BARTOLI [16,DF,S]
+ Jelena Dokić [WC,EF] d. ALIZÉ CORNET [15]
+ FLAVIA PENNETTA [12,DF] d. DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [18]
+ Peng,Shuai [S] d. ALYONA BONDARENKO [31] (my Passion says Alyona, but my Reason says Shuai)


10.3 Semi-final wishes
----------------------

+ Jelena Dokić [WC,EF] d. VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF]
+ FLAVIA PENNETTA [12,DF] d. Peng,Shuai [S]


10.4 Final-wish
---------------

+ Jelena Dokić [WC,EF] d. FLAVIA PENNETTA [12,DF]

---------------------------------
11. Women's Doubles: Second round
---------------------------------

Friday-result:

+ (MARIA KIRILENKO/FLAVIA PENNETTA)[7,DF] d. Mervana Jugić-Salkić/Anne Keothavong, 6-1 6-2

To be played on Saturday:

* (VERA ZVONARËVA [EF]/VICTORIA AZARENKA)[13] v Alizé Cornet/Camille Pin

* (DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [EF]/AI SUGIYAMA)[9] v Vera Dushevina/Olga Savchuk

* Lucie Šafářová [EF]/Galina Voskoboeva v Gisela Dulko [DF]/Roberta Vinci

Full draw:
http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/scores/draws/wd/

---------------------------------------------
12. Order of play for Saturday / UK TV-update
---------------------------------------------

The BBC will be showing Murray v Melzer live on both BBC 2 and the Red Button from 08:30 GMT, and then switching to Rod Laver Arena "to pick up whatever remains of Nadal v Haas" instead of giving UK-residents an option to watch Stosur v Dementieva! :fiery:

So there's a slight chance that Stosur v Dementieva could be televised by the BBC if Murray v Melzer turns out to be three quick sets or a retirement.

Reminder: There will be a highlights-package on BBC 1 from 13:00 to 14:30 GMT.

Full order of play:
http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/scores/schedule/

--
Dr. Andrew Broad

andrewbroad
Jan 25th, 2009, 12:41 AM
===============
AUSTRALIAN OPEN (Melbourne, Australia; outdoor hard (Plexicushion); Major)
=============== http://www.australianopen.com/
Contents
--------

1. Photos
2. Third-round results
3. Fourth-round draw
4. Fourth-round previews
5. Andrew's wishes
6. Nicole Vaidišová splits with coach
7. Women's Doubles: Second round
8. Mixed Doubles: Jelena Dokić withdraws
9. Girls' Singles: First-round draw
10. Order of play for Sunday

---------
1. Photos
---------

Jelena Dokić (three off-court and six third-round photos added):
http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/players/related/wta040344.html

Jelena Dokić photos by Michael Babić:
http://www.ana-kokic.net/ostalo/dokic/gallery/photo_melbourne09.php

Vera Zvonarëva:
http://www.zvonareva.ru/media/photo/en

Various players including Vera Zvonarëva, Jelena Dokić, Alicia Molik, Caroline Wozniacki, Ana Ivanović, Marion Bartoli and Alizé Cornet:
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/2/photogallery/

Various players including Alyona Bondarenko, Peng,Shuai, Victoria Azarenka:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/7848570.stm

Search-list for Saturday:
pennetta
cibulkova
bondarenko
peng
zheng
dementieva

----------------------
2. Third-round results (Saturday 24th January 2009)
----------------------

What rocked:
+ DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [18] d. Virginie Razzano, 7-5 7-5
+ ELENA DEMENTIEVA [4] d. Samantha Stosur, 7-6 (8/6) 6-4
+ ZHENG,JIE [22] d. Kateryna Bondarenko, 6-2 6-2
+ VICTORIA AZARENKA [13] d. AMÉLIE MAURESMO [20], 6-4 6-2

Dementieva recovered from 2-5 in the first set, and the BBC came close to televising that match, but it finished just seconds before Murray v Melzer finished! :fiery:

What sucked:
- FLAVIA PENNETTA [12,DF] lt. ANABEL MEDINA GARRIGUES [21], 4-6 1-6
- ALYONA BONDARENKO [31] lt. SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA [8], 6-7 (7/9) 4-6
- Peng,Shuai [s] lt. SERENA WILLIAMS [2], 1-6 4-6
- María José Martínez Sánchez lt. Carla Suárez Navarro, 1-6 4-6

--------------------
3. Fourth-round draw
--------------------

* MARION BARTOLI [16,DF,S] v JELENA JANKOVIĆ [1] (allez Marion!)
* VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF] v NADIA PETROVA [10] (DAVAI VERA!!)
* ALIZÉ CORNET [15] v DINARA SAFINA [3] (allez Alizé!)
* Jelena Dokić [WC,EF] v ALISA KLEYBANOVA [29] (GO JELENA!!)

* ANABEL MEDINA GARRIGUES [21] v Carla Suárez Navarro (¡vamos Anabel!)
* DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [18] v ELENA DEMENTIEVA [4] (my loyalty is to Domi)
* ZHENG,JIE [22] v SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA [8] (jia you Jie!)
* VICTORIA AZARENKA [13] v SERENA WILLIAMS [2] (davai Victoria!)

------------------------
4. Fourth-round previews
------------------------
4.1 Zvonarëva v Petrova
-----------------------

A month ago, Nadia Petrova [10] was hospitalised with viral meningitis. It didn't seem likely that she would even play the Australian Open - much less reach the quarter-finals (as she would if she were to beat Vera).

Petrova came back at Sydney, but lost 6-2 6-4 to world #16 Alizé Cornet in the first round. But she has reached the fourth round here with the following results:
1r + Yaroslava Shvedova, 6-3 7-6 (7/3)
2r + Sania Mirza [DF], 6-3 6-2
3r + Galina Voskoboeva, 6-1 *0-0 retired (back-pain)

Now 26, the tall, muscular Petrova was somewhat of a late developer: she didn't win her first WTA singles-title until Linz 2005, but by Paris 2007 she was winning her seventh. She has also reached two French Open semi-finals in her career, and five other Major quarter-finals. But Petrova always seems to have been held back by mental weakness - especially against certain players (including members of my Eternal Fanship: Maria Sharapova and Anna Chakvetadze).

Petrova had a slump in 2007 and early 2008, but bounced back by reaching the Eastbourne-final last June, followed by a Wimbledon quarter-final, and titles at Cincinnati and Québec City, and a win over #3 Ana Ivanović at the Tokyo Pan Pacific Open. She reached the Stuttgart-final with a 6-4 6-1 win over #11 Patty Schnyder in the second round, and played (and lost) one rubber at the Sony Ericsson Championships as an alternate. Her win/loss record for 2008 was 47:24.

Vera has a terrible 1:5 record against Petrova - not including a 0-6 0-6 drubbing when Vera was 8 and Petrova was 10, which Vera once said was her most memorable experience!

Vera's lone win over Petrova was 6-3 7-6 in the semi-finals of Philadelphia 2004 (one of the best tournaments of Vera's career so far, as she had thrashed Jennifer Capriati 6-0 6-1 in a do-or-die quarter-final to qualify for the season-ending championships).

Vera's losses to Petrova include 1-6 6-4 3-6 in the quarter-finals of the French Open 2003 (Vera's only Major quarter-final to date, but hopefully only for a few hours more!), and their latest meeting: 4-6 5-7 at Los Angeles 2008 (in the middle of Vera's mid-season slump). Vera has taken just the one set off Petrova in the five losses.

It's hard to be optimistic for a member of my Eternal Fanship going up against someone with such a terrible head to head, but with Vera coming off such a great 2008, showing fine form so far at the Australian Open 2009, and Petrova coming through to the fourth round courtesy of an easy draw after her preparations were hit by the meningitis, there's good reason to believe that things will be different this time. Logically, Vera should win this, but she has to put that 1:5 head to head out of her mind!


4.1.1 Articles
--------------

Australian Open: Day 7 Preview
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=2919
>>>
Hisense Arena
(7) Vera Zvonarëva (RUS) vs. (10) Nadia Petrova (RUS) - Petrova leads 5:1

Two years the elder at 26, Petrova owns this Russian rivalry, but today could be Zvonarëva's chance to improve her side of the ledger. Back in the top ten and playing better than ever, Zvonarëva was a revelation at the Sony Ericsson Championships last November, and if she plays anything like she did that week, then Petrova will have her work cut out.

After beating dangerous Magdaléna Rybáriková in the first round 7-6(2) 6-0, Zvonarëva dished out a double bagel to Edina Gallovits, then showed her class against in-form Sara Errani with a straight-sets win.

Gunning for a second quarter-final here, Petrova's path was made a little easier when Galina Voskoboeva retired after the first set of their match, so her form is harder to assess, but she seems to be fighting fit after her recent bout of viral meningitis. As ever, her serve will play a crucial role in the outcome of this battle of the Muscovites.
<<<

2009 Australian Open - Nick's Picks - Women's Singles Fourth Round
Nick Bollettieri (nickstennispicks.com)
>>>
Nadia Petrova (RUS) vs. Vera Zvonarëva (RUS): Anytime two Russian women play each other, the match is going to be fierce. It's like a civil war!! These girls are going to want to win this match very badly, and this is going to be entertaining. Petrova is 5:1 against Zvonarëva, which includes one win over her in 2008.
<<<

2009 Australian Open: Day Seven Preview (Aaress Lawless, www.onthebaseline.com (http://www.onthebaseline.com))
>>>
Nadia Petrova (RUS)[10] v. Vera Zvonarëva (RUS)[7]

Nadia Petrova's 2009 tennis-season got off to a rough start as the Russian landed in the hospital battling a case of meningitis. At the time, her participation in the Australian Open was questionable, but now, a month later, Petrova is in the round of sixteen for only the fourth time in her career.

Although Zvonarëva is currently ranked higher than Petrova, Nadia has owned their rivalry. The Russians have faced each other six times, but the one and only Zvonarëva-victory occurred five years ago. A lot can happen in five years for a player, and in Zvonarëva's case, she has recovered her confidence, rebuilt her game, and is legitimately a contender in the second week of a Major tournament.

Pick: Vera Zvonarëva in three sets.
<<<

4.2 Dokić v Kleybanova
----------------------

Well, I certainly didn't foresee a fourth round between Jelena and 19-year-old Alisa Kleybanova [29] when I analysed the draw last weekend! I'm sure Jelena didn't foresee it either when she recently became friends and hitting-partners with Kleybanova!

Not surprisingly, the two have never met, with Kleybanova being so young when Jelena was playing regularly on the WTA Tour from 1999 to 2004.

Kleybanova: "I've heard of her a lot. When I was a little kid, I heard of her a lot, because she was one the top players in the world years before."

Kleybanova is a tall, well-built girl who hits the ball very hard (on serve and groundstrokes), and has an uncanny knack of hitting line after line after line - it's very difficult to beat her when she's doing that!

Kleybanova has this quirky habit of jerking her head away when she's about to serve, and has copied Maria Sharapova's song-grunt but uses it selectively: grunting like Maria at some times, but not grunting at all at others (in contrast to Jelena's quiet, consistent "shoo").

Kleybanova enjoyed her breakthrough-season last year, compiling a 48:20 win/loss record as she rose from #150 to #33, and made the transition from a name I remembered from juniors to a regular on the WTA Tour.

At last year's Australian Open, Kleybanova won four matches to qualify and reach the second round, where she lost to Anna Chakvetadze. She won five matches to qualify and reach the quarter-finals of Antwerp, beating #18 Ágnes Szávay 6-2 6-3 en route, but losing to #1 Justine Henin. She won four matches to qualify and reach the third round of Miami - including a shocking 6-4 6-0 win over #15 Nicole Vaidišová.

Kleybanova won 6-0 6-0 against Olga Govortsova at Berlin, and I first saw her play at Eastbourne, where she won five matches to qualify and reach the quarter-finals, losing 6-3 6-3 to Marion Bartoli, who was on great form at that tournament, although Kleybanova certainly showed signs that she could be dangerous.

These signs were confirmed when she upset #12 Daniela Hantuchová 6-3 4-6 6-1 in the second round of Wimbledon, although Daniela was playing her first tournament after a ten-week lay-off with a right-heel injury. I saw the third set on BBCi: Daniela looked weak, but that's when I saw Kleybanova hitting line after line. She went on to reach the fourth round, losing to defending and eventual champion Venus Williams.

Several modest results on the WTA Tour later, Kleybanova won ITF Podolsk in October, and ITF Minsk in November (with first-round losses at two ITF tournaments in between).

And Kleybanova carried this up-and-down form into 2009: at Brisbane, she thrashed #26 Kaia Kanepi 6-1 6-4, but lost 4-6 6-4 6-2 to #54 in the second round. At Sydney, she thrashed #30 Maria Kirilenko 6-2 6-2, but lost 7-6 6-1 to #16 Alizé Cornet in the second round.

Kleybanova has reached the fourth round with the following results:
1r + Sofia Arvidsson, 7-5 7-5
2r + Stéphanie Cohen-Aloro, 6-1 3-6 6-2
3r + ANA IVANOVIĆ [5,DF], 7-5 6-7 (5/7) 6-2

Nick Bollettieri says Jelena is not ready to face Kleybanova's pounding groundstrokes, but she certainly is: "I'm not struggling with their games, and they're not blowing me off the court," she said after her third round.

The outcome will be determined by whether Jelena can rediscover the magical shotmaking that saw off Martina Hingis 6-2 6-0 at Wimbledon 1999, as she did against Wozniacki after the first set, or whether she makes too many unforced errors instead.

Of course it will also be determined by how Kleybanova reacts to her big upset over Ivanović, and whether she will be in line-painting mode on Sunday, but I feel that Jelena's destiny is far more in her own hands than Kleybanova's.

Nick Bollettieri also mentioned a weakness that Jelena might want to exploit: "The one thing [Kleybanova] needs to work on is her passing-shots when her opponent approaches the net."


4.2.1 Articles
--------------

Australian Open: Day 7 Preview
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=2919
>>>
Rod Laver Arena
(29) Alisa Kleybanova (RUS) vs. (WC) Jelena Dokić (AUS) - First meeting

Already this week, Dokić has beaten two top-twenty players, sending local headline-writers and commentators into the stratosphere with excitement, so the former world No.4 shouldn't have too much trouble with a comparative unknown ranked No.31, right?

Of course it doesn't work that way - something Dokić will know only too well. Her third-round dismantling of Danish phenom Caroline Wozniacki was indeed an impressive follow-up to her defeat of Anna Chakvetadze, but Kleybanova has also been due a breakthrough, and she achieved it in the finest of styles against Ana Ivanovic on Friday night.

The 19-year-old Russian - who has now reached the last 16 at two of the five Majors she has contested - is an accurate, powerful baseliner with a huge serve; Dokić will need to keep her own delivery in check to keep pace. Keeping the Aussie fans in check will be a whole other challenge if the 25-year-old becomes only the fourth wild card to reach a Major quarter-final.
<<<

2009 Australian Open - Nick's Picks - Women's Singles Fourth Round
Nick Bollettieri (nickstennispicks.com)
>>>
Alisa Kleybanova (RUS) vs. Jelena Dokić (AUS)

Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy alumnus Alisa Kleybanova reached the fourth round with a stunning win over Ana Ivanovic. This is only the second time in her brief career that she has been to the fourth round of a Major, and now she is one win away from the quarters.

Dokić has been the surprise of the Aussie Open, with three great wins (two over seeded players). The crowd support for her has been unbelievable. It's incredible to think that in her first Major appearance since 2006, she has reached the fourth round.

The Match-Up:

This is the first career-meeting between the 19-year-old Kleybanova and the 25-year old Dokić.

Kleybanova comes after you from the get go, and she never relents. She is a big girl, but covers the court well. Dokić will have to be ready to face the pounding groundies of Kleybanova throughout the entire match, and I am not sure if she is ready for that after being out for so long. It is absolutely wonderful to see Dokić back out on the court playing well, because she is an asset to the women's game. As much as I like watching Dokić play, I have to give the edge in this match to Kleybanova because of her recent experience and powerful game.

Nick's Pick: Kleybanova in 3 sets.
<<<

2009 Australian Open: Day Seven Preview (Aaress Lawless, www.onthebaseline.com (http://www.onthebaseline.com))
>>>
Jelena Dokić (AUS) v. Alisa Kleybanova (RUS)[29]

It's fitting that two of the women who upset title-favourites in the third round should now face each other across the net. Although Dokić has been absent from the Tour for some time, she knows Kleybanova, and spent some time hitting with her during the warm-up events preceding Melbourne.

Sunday's match will be Kleybanova's first outing on Rod Laver Arena, but for Dokić, the stadium is quickly becoming her home away from home. She feeds off the energy of the crowd during her matches, as her now-beloved fans have helped will her to three inspiring wins. It's a pity that after all Dokić and Kleybanova accomplished to reach the fourth round, it has to end here for one of these inspiring women.

Pick: Jelena Dokić in three sets.
<<<

------------------
5. Andrew's wishes (updated after Saturday)
------------------
5.1 Quarter-final wishes
------------------------

+ VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF] d. MARION BARTOLI [16,DF,S]
+ Jelena Dokić [WC,EF] d. ALIZÉ CORNET [15]
+ DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [18] d. ANABEL MEDINA GARRIGUES [21]
+ VICTORIA AZARENKA [13] d. ZHENG,JIE [22] (my Passion says Jie, but my Reason says Victoria)


5.2 Semi-final wishes
---------------------

+ Jelena Dokić [WC,EF] d. VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF]
+ DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [18] d. VICTORIA AZARENKA [13]


5.3 Final-wish
---------------

+ Jelena Dokić [WC,EF] d. DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [18]

-------------------------------------
6. Nicole Vaidišová splits with coach
-------------------------------------

Oz Report Card: Week 1 (Tom Perrotta, TENNIS.com)
>>>
Nicole Vaidišová: How much lower will this incredible talent sink? After she lost to Séverine Brémond in the first round 6-2 6-1, Vaidišová skipped her press-conference and was fined $2,000. She also split with her coach of nine months: David Felgate.
<<<

--------------------------------
7. Women's Doubles: Second round
--------------------------------

My selections only - the full draw is at:
http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/scores/draws/wd/


7.1 Second-round results (Saturday 24th January 2009)
------------------------

+ (VERA ZVONARËVA [EF]/VICTORIA AZARENKA)[13] d. Alizé Cornet/Camille Pin, 6-3 6-0

+ (DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [EF]/AI SUGIYAMA)[9] d. Vera Dushevina/Olga Savchuk, 6-4 6-1

+ Lucie Šafářová [EF]/Galina Voskoboeva d. Gisela Dulko [DF]/Roberta Vinci, 6-2 6-4


7.2 Third-round draw
--------------------

* (VERA ZVONARËVA [EF]/VICTORIA AZARENKA)[13] v (CARA BLACK/LIEZEL HUBER)[1]

* (DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [EF]/AI SUGIYAMA)[9] v Elena Vesnina/Ágnes Szávay

* Lucie Šafářová [EF]/Galina Voskoboeva v Anna-Lena Grönefeld/Patty Schnyder

* (MARIA KIRILENKO/FLAVIA PENNETTA)[7,DF] v (CASEY DELL'ACQUA/FRANCESCA SCHIAVONE)[12]

----------------------------------------
8. Mixed Doubles: Jelena Dokić withdraws
----------------------------------------

It appears that Jelena Dokić and Paul Hanley pulled out of the Mixed Doubles - presumably so that Jelena could concentrate on her singles-campaign - as Patty Schnyder/Wesley Moodie played Alisa Kleybanova/Bruno Soares in the first round instead.

-----------------------------------
9. Girls' Singles: First-round draw
-----------------------------------

My selections only - the full draw is at:
http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/scores/draws/gs/

* NOPPAWAN LERTCHEEWAKARN [1,S] v Fernanda Faria (al-na Noppawan!)

* Anna Orlik v Karina Pimkina (davai Anna!)

* ELENA BOGDAN [4] v Maryna Zanevska (hai Elena!)

* Monika Wejnert v Polina Rodionova (go Monika!)

* LAURA ROBSON [5] v Christina McHale (go Laura!)

* KSENIA PERVAK [3] v Richel Hogenkamp (davai Ksenia!)

* KRISTINA MLADENOVIĆ [7] v Andrea Konjuh (allez Kristina!)

I miss Romana Tabaková, Nadia Lalami and Valeria Solovieva.

Nadia will turn 19 on 28th April, so she can never play in the Girls' Singles at a Major again. Currently #713 in the WTA rankings, she has a long way to go before I'll get another chance to see her play.

----------------------------
10. Order of play for Sunday
----------------------------

Rod Laver Arena: Day-session (start 11:00 AEDT = 00:00 GMT)
WS 4r: MARION BARTOLI [16,DF,S] v JELENA JANKOVIĆ [1]
WS 4r: ALIZÉ CORNET [15] v DINARA SAFINA [3]
MS 4r: TOMÁŠ BERDYCH [3] v ROGER FEDERER [2]
|
Rod Laver Arena: Evening-session (start 19:30 AEDT = 08:30 GMT)
WS 4r: Jelena Dokić [EF] v ALISA KLEYBANOVA [29]
MS 4r: Marcos Baghdatis v NOVAK ÐOKOVIĆ [3]

Another chance to see Jelena Dokić play on BBC Red Button! :D Surely the BBC won't buy her out for Federer as it did on Wednesday! :fiery:

Hisense Arena (start 11:00 AEDT = 00:00 GMT)
MS 4r: JUAN MARTÍN DEL POTRO [8] v MARIN ČILIĆ [19]
WS 4r: VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF] v NADIA PETROVA [10]
MS 4r: ANDY RODDICK [7] v TOMMY ROBREDO [21]

Full order of play:
http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/scores/schedule/

--
Dr. Andrew Broad

andrewbroad
Jan 26th, 2009, 03:26 AM
===============
AUSTRALIAN OPEN (Melbourne, Australia; outdoor hard (Plexicushion); Major)
=============== http://www.australianopen.com/
Contents
--------

1. Photos
2. Fourth-round results
3. Fourth-round review: Zvonarëva v Petrova
4. Fourth-round TV-report: Dokić v Kleybanova
5. Articles on Day 7
6. Fourth-round draw: Bottom half
7. Quarter-final draw: Top half
8. Andrew's wishes
9. Women's Doubles: Third round
10. Girls' Singles: First-round draw
11. Order of play for Monday / UK TV-update

---------
1. Photos
---------

Jelena Dokić (12 fourth-round photos added):
http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/players/related/wta040344.html

Vera Zvonarëva (2 fourth-round photos added to each site):
http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/players/related/wta260142.html
http://www.zvonareva.ru/media/photo/en

Third round - Saturday's players added, including Dominika Cibulková, Elena Dementieva, Zheng,Jie and Victoria Azarenka:
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/2/photogallery/

Various players from Sunday, including Jelena Dokić, Marion Bartoli, Alizé Cornet and Jelena Janković:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/7849577.stm
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/tennis/4336352/Australian-Open-Day-seven.html

Search-list for Sunday:
dokic
zvonareva
bartoli
cornet

I saved the second-most photos of Jelena Dokić that I've ever saved of a player from the same match! (The most photos I've ever saved of a player from the same match were of Maria Sharapova in the Australian Open 2008 final.)

-----------------------
2. Fourth-round results (Sunday 25th January 2009)
-----------------------

What rocked:
+ Jelena Dokić [WC,EF] d. ALISA KLEYBANOVA [29], 7-5 5-7 8-6
+ VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF] d. NADIA PETROVA [10], 7-5 6-4
+ MARION BARTOLI [16,DF,S] d. JELENA JANKOVIĆ [1], 6-1 6-4

These results provide a timely reminder of who /the/ Jelena of women's tennis is.

I saw Marion's match-point on a BBC Sports News round-up (on Freeview-channel 302): she forced a short ball from Janković, and hit a beautiful, early, two-handed off-forehand winner.

What sucked:
- ALIZÉ CORNET [15] lt. DINARA SAFINA [3], 2-6 6-2 5-7

Alizé led *5-2 in the third set, had two match-points at *5-4 (40/15), but Safina did a 'Safina' to reel off every game left in the match! :-(

Alizé: "This was really a tough, tough loss. I'm going to think about it for a long time."

-------------------------------------------
3. Fourth-round review: Zvonarëva v Petrova
-------------------------------------------

+ VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF] d. NADIA PETROVA [10], 7-5 6-4

Pretty much what I predicted in my match-preview: Vera's form and Petrova's hampered preparation carrying greater weight than the 5:1 head-to-head that Petrova had over Vera.

The match was second on Hisense Arena, so it would have been played in the Australian mid-afternoon, while I was sleeping in England.

The BBC commentators mentioned Vera during coverage of Dokić v Kleybanova on the Red Button:
Chris Bailey: "Vera Zvonarëva has impressed me by not breaking down and crying this week."
Sam Smith: "She's been working with a different coach for 18 months, which has made a big difference. She could take advantage of Janković's exit to reach the final, but anything could happen now."

^My understanding is that Vera has been coached by Samuel Sumyk since early 2006. Sam Smith's "18 months" takes us back to mid-2007, when Vera added a physiotherapist called Jean-Pierre Bruyère to her team.


3.1 Live comments from Eurosport
--------------------------------

Source of comments: http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/tennis/livematch/271497.html


First set
---------
ZVONARË _*@* *___*@* 7
PETROVA *___* *@*___ 5

Petrova serving 0-0: Petrova wins a marathon opening service-game where she had to save SIX break-points. To be fair, she played superbly well on the break-points - great serving - Zvonarëva never had a clear chance to break, but why could Petrova not play like that on the other points?

Vera serving 0-1: Much easier for Zvonarëva - she opens with a hold to 15.

Petrova serving 1-1: No such luck for Petrova in her second service-game. She went 0/40 down, and while she managed to save the first point, she is finally broken. Zvonarëva showing a lot more power in these opening stages.

Vera serving 2-1: Zvonarëva wraps up another hold to 30 with an ace. Petrova is finding it hard to cope when the rallies develop, because of the power that Zvonarëva has in her shots.

Petrova serving 1-3: History repeats itself again - Petrova finds herself 0/40 down just like in the first game before producing three great serves to level. The pair then play NINE deuces, and Petrova has to save another three break-points but she does it! Zvonarëva still a break up, but just one - she has had 15 break-points already today.

Vera serving 3-2: Petrova forced back on to serve very quickly as Zvonarëva holds to 15. The younger Russian is dominating - it is hard to see how she hasn't even taken A SET against Petrova in their last four meetings.

Petrova serving 2-4: Petrova goes 0/15 down, and you say to yourself, "here we go again," but she gets back to 15/15, and then produces three unreturnable serves in a row.

Vera serving 4-3: Very good returning from Petrova helps her to earn two break-points. Zvonarëva, of course, is 1/15 with break-points, but Petrova only needed one as Zvonarëva went long with a poor shot at the middle of the court. Wasn't called out though, and Petrova needed to challenge to get justice.

Petrova serving 4-4: Really good hold from Petrova as she again comes back from 0/30 down - why must she make it so hard for herself, though? The highlight of the game was at 30/30, when Petrova showed amazingly soft hands at the net to guide a little drop-volley over.

Vera serving 4-5: Zvonarëva ends Petrova's run of three games in a row with an accomplished hold to love.

Petrova serving 5-5: Petrova gives up yet another break-point, but this time there is no respite, as she double-faults. Petrova now has an amazing 28 unforced errors. Zvonarëva has 16 herself, which shows that this not exactly high-quality stuff.

Vera serving 6-5: Great forehand from Zvonarëva into the corner wraps up a hold to 30, and clinches her first set against Petrova for five years. Messy set from Petrova (30 unforced errors is the final tally), and she rushes out of the court to gather her thoughts.


Second set
----------
ZVONARË @* * * * * 6
PETROVA __* * * *_ 4

Petrova serving 0-0: Zvonarëva has taken control of things now, as she opens up the second set with a break.

Vera serving 1-0: And she follows it with a hold to 15, capped off with a great forehand into the corner - Petrova already looking a bit like a beaten woman.

Petrova serving 0-2: Much better game from Petrova - more aggressive, purposeful and proactive - again she had to go to deuce before winning it, but she looked more like her old self there.

Vera serving 2-1: Zvonarëva with a hold to love again, as she continues to boss on her own serve; she is hitting some sweet winners now, too.

Petrova serving 1-3: Petrova matches Zvonarëva with a hold to love as servers enjoy a spell on top. Zvonarëva has the key break-advantage though.

Vera serving 3-2: Two double faults from Zvonarëva mean she has to survive a deuce, but no worse as she moves to within two games of victory.

Petrova serving 2-4: Quick hold to 15 by Petrova keeps the pressure on.

Vera serving 4-3: Big serve from Zvonarëva sees her move one game away, with a hold to 30. She was 40/0 in front, but Petrova started hitting back, so it was timely shot.

Petrova serving 3-5: Petrova has to win a long rally to save the first match-point of the match - Zvonarëva eventually firing into the net - however, now the younger Russian has a chance to serve for the match.

Vera serving 5-4: ZVONARËVA WINS!! She shows signs of nerves early in the game as she goes 0/30 down, but then races into a 40/30 advantage. On the match-point, one of her shots is called out; she challenges: the replay shows it was in. They replay the point, and she takes it with an overhead shot at the net. Only her second-ever win over Petrova in six attempts, and she is now in the quarter-finals for the first time, and faces Marion Bartoli next.
<<<

3.2 Statistics
--------------

The match lasted 1h41m (first set 57m, second set 44m).

Vera had a negative W:UE ratio of 23:31, but Petrova's was much worse at 22:49. This suggests that in a typical point from this match, Petrova went for broke, while Vera defended well until Petrova made an error. Petrova's W:UE ratio was 15:30 for the first set, but a more subdued 7:19 for the second.

The first thing I think of, when I think of Petrova's game, is that she is a big server, and she certainly served faster than Vera: fastest 113-106 mph, average first serve 108-101 mph, average second serve 88-84 mph. But Petrova's higher speeds did not translate into higher success-rates!

Vera got 59% of her first serves in, and won 71% of the points on both first and second serves! But from the first set to the second, Vera's first-serves-in percentage dipped from 70% to 48%, while her first-serve winning-percentage rose from 67% to 79%, which suggests that she went for bigger serves.

The corresponding percentages for Petrova were 60%, 64% and 44%, and she upped her first-serve winning-percentage from 58% in the first set to 75% for the second.

Vera served 2 aces and 4 double faults, Petrova 5 aces and 5 double faults.

Although 7-5 6-4 is a close score, there was a massive gulf between them in terms of how many break-points they each had. Vera broke three times from 18 BPs (2 of 16 in the first set, 1 of 2 in the second), and while that is a very disappointing conversion-rate in and of itself, Petrova only had (and converted) one BP all match! (it was in the second set).

Petrova was the better net-player, winning 12 of 15 points there (80%), while Vera won 8 of 12 (67%).

In points, Vera won 85-71 (first set 51-43, second set 34-28).


3.3 Articles
------------

Zvonarëva wins all-Russian encounter
By Vanessa Skendaris (www.australianopen.com (http://www.australianopen.com))
>>>
Women's world No.7 Vera Zvonarëva has progressed into her first Australian Open quarter-final after defeating fellow Russian and 10th seed Nadia Petrova 7-5 6-4 on Sunday.

In a marathon opening game that lasted 10 minutes, Zvonarëva looked damaging despite having the chance to break Petrova six times.

Zvonarëva - a French Open quarter-finalist in 2003 - had another opportunity to break Petrova's serve in the third game, seizing it for a 3-1 lead after Petrova double-faulted.

At 2-4 down, Petrova found some rhythm and won the next three games to snatch a 5-4 lead. Holding serve at 5-5, Zvonarëva broke Petrova again for a chance to serve out the set, which she did en route to clinching it 7-5 in a lengthy 57 minutes.

Petrova - a former Australian Open quarter-finalist in 2006 - battled all the way with her compatriot, but it was her unforced errors that let her down; she made 30 in the first set, and added a further 19 in the second.

Zvonarëva continued her good form heading in the second set, regularly hitting deep winners from the baseline, and proving too strong for Petrova. She eventually closed out the set and match with a forehand smash.

Zvonarëva will now meet Marion Bartoli of France, who upset world No.1 Jelena Janković 6-1 6-4 earlier in the day. Zvonarëva has won six of her seven career matches with the 16th seed, emerging victorious on the last three encounters.

Quick facts:

* Petrova had 49 unforced errors.

* Zvonarëva had 23 winners to Petrova's 22.

* Zvonarëva converted just three of her 18 break-point chances, while Petrova capitalised on her only break-point opportunity.

* Petrova won 12 of 15 points when she came to the net, while Zvonarëva was successful on eight of her 12 net-approaches.
<<<

Zvonarëva through to Aussie quarter-finals (Reuters)
(Reporting by Julian Linden, editing by Alastair Himmer)
>>>
Vera Zvonarëva beat fellow Russian Nadia Petrova 7-5 6-4 on Sunday to reach the quarter-finals of the Australian Open for the first time.

Zvonarëva won the first set when Petrova dropped her serve in the 11th game on a double fault, and then broke her immediately at the start of the second.

Zvonarëva - seeded seventh at Melbourne Park this year - had not made a Major quarter-final since the 2003 French Open.

Her next opponent is Marion Bartoli of France, who earlier upset world number-one Jelena Janković 6-1 6-4.
<<<

---------------------------------------------
4. Fourth-round TV-report: Dokić v Kleybanova
---------------------------------------------

+ Jelena Dokić [WC,EF] d. ALISA KLEYBANOVA [29], 7-5 5-7 8-6

"Jelena, we love you so much, because you are courageous!"

Chris Dittmar greeted Jelena with these words at her on-court interview after the match, and it was indeed an incredibly gutsy performance from Jelena. She looked exhausted by the end of the second set, but somehow found the will to compete in the third.

Jelena was lucky to be able to complete the match, because at 6-5* in the third, she went over on her left ankle (luckily not the foot that was already injured) when stretching for a return. On the slow-motion replay, it looked almost as nasty as the horrific ankle-injury that sidelined Tatiana Golovin for months after Miami 2006, but it didn't seem to affect Jelena during the rallies, although she was walking gingerly between points, and had her left ankle and calf checked by the trainer at the next changeover. As BBC commentator Chris Bailey said, she "must have incredibly flexible ankles and ligaments!"

The first set was a relief for Jelena to win, because it was a strangely tentative performance - in contrast to the brilliant free hitting of the last two sets against Caroline Wozniacki. At times, Jelena looked in control with great depth and precision, but less power than I'm used to seeing from her, while Kleybanova was hitting very hard but often erratic groundstrokes.

But at other times, there was a hint of panic in Jelena's play, as though she was putting more pressure on herself to beat Kleybanova than she had done to beat Wozniacki. Her game-plan seemed to be that a solid, sensible performance would beat an erratic Kleybanova, but then panicked when that wasn't working out.

Both girls tightened up at the sharp end of the first set, Jelena getting away with three double faults at *5-5, and two Kleybanova unforced errors contributing to Jelena breaking to win the first set 7-5.

Jelena was broken at the start of the second set, and had to live with that until she broke back to *4-4. But she was broken for 4-5*, and starting to look very tired. She saved three set-points in a four-deuce marathon, broke back for *5-5, but was broken again for 5-6*, looked very sad at that changeover, and was just pushing the ball back as Kleybanova held to 15 to win the second set 7-5.

At this stage, I thought Jelena had blown her chances, because she looked so tired going into the third set. Her footwork - so beautiful against Wozniacki - had deteriorated towards the end of the second set; she was not getting into such a good position to hit the ball.

Kleybanova broke for *2-1 in the third, and consolidated for 3-1* after a five-deuce marathon with three break-points for Jelena. But Jelena got her act together as she held, broke, and held for 4-3*.

Jelena looked tired but happy when she held for *5-4, then very disappointed when she failed to break for the match. Games continued to go with serve, with the aforementioned ankle-incident at 6-5*, and the trainer on court for Jelena at 7-6*.

But perhaps Jelena's injury was a distraction for Kleybanova, as Jelena broke to love in the next game, sealing her victory with a down-the-line backhand return-winner that Andre Agassi would have been proud of.

Jelena's voice was crackling with emotion in her on-court interview, but she kept her composure as she said that she was exhausted but stayed positive, that she had to "scratch" her goals for the Australian Open (to win her first-round match) and for the 2009 season (to return to the top 50), and joked that the menagerie of toy-animals attached to her bag were actually coaching her at 6-6 in the third!

Jelena is through to her first Major quarter-final since the French Open 2002, and she'll be back in the top 100 when the rankings are updated on Monday 2nd February - high enough to play the other three Majors - so getting to the quarter-finals is certainly a result I would have signed for at the beginning of the tournament!

A year ago, Jelena didn't even have a WTA Tour ranking after taking most of 2007 off to battle depression and get herself back in the right head-space for her comeback. It's so great to have her back playing at this level despite everything she's been through in the last few years!

I'll post my full TV-report at a later date.

--------------------
5. Articles on Day 7
--------------------

Marion's Melbourne Blog
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=2896
>>>
[Friday 23rd January 2009]

It was difficult, but my match with Lucie Šafářová ended up being really great. She was playing really, really well at the beginning, and was even up 6-3 2-0, but I was able to come back and win. I'm so happy about it.

It was also really exciting to have so much support in the crowd - not just the French fans, but also Australians. When Lucie was hitting lines, they were cheering for me, and it helped me to keep fighting. I started playing better after the first few games of the second set, and when I got that set in my pocket, it got even better.

It's my first time in the fourth round in Australia, which is so exciting for me - I've never played so well here! Next match I have Jelena Janković: the No.1 player in the world, so that'll be a real challenge, obviously!

Right now, I'm so tired. I feel like I need to rest a lot before my next match. I'm going to take tomorrow completely off. <snip>

Marion

[Sunday 25th January 2009]

As you may have heard, I beat Jelena Janković today. I just came from an hour and a half of press, and I still have another interview to go: with a French newspaper. So by the end of it all, it'll be two hours of press, which is a record for me! It's about 3pm now, and I haven't had anything to eat since I had breakfast at 6am! But I'm hanging tough >:)

I've already said I never played this well in Australia, but it just gets better and better. The other day, when I was down 6-3 2-0, I didn't know if I would still be here today. Lucie was hitting the lines and giving me no chance at all - she was too good. But I began to focus even harder and fought as hard as I could, and I was able to raise my game and win. I think I continued that today. It felt like everything I did was going in and I hit lots of winners too. I'm even prouder because it was the first time I ever played on Rod Laver Arena - I'm so happy to have put on this kind of performance for the Australian fans. I'm so, so happy.

After the match, Jelena's coach came and congratulated me, saying I played really well and made it hard for Jelena to do anything. It was a really nice gesture! I haven't spoken to Jelena since the match, mainly because both of us have been doing so many interviews! But we'll talk soon I'm sure.

<snip>

Tonight and tomorrow I'll rest again, because the matches are only going to get tougher and tougher. I'm playing Zvonarëva or Petrova, who are both so tough. Vera is more consistent - it feels like she only makes one unforced error per match. Nadia's shots are probably harder, but she can make more errors. But it doesn't matter who I play; I'll have to put in a really good performance.

<snip>

Marion
<<<

World No.1 Janković Falls To Bartoli; Safina Survives
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=2921
>>>
For just the third time in the Open Era, the top seed at the Australian Open fell before the quarter-finals, as Jelena Janković was bundled out in the fourth round by No.16 seed Marion Bartoli.

It wasn't so much Janković's playing that caused the 6-1 6-4 defeat - after all, she had more winners than unforced errors in the match, even in the lopsided first set. Bartoli was in the zone, firing 34 winners to just 20 errors, and completely dictating play from beginning to end. Things got a bit tighter in the second set as Janković pulled even at 4-4, holding several points to go ahead 5-4; but the Frenchwoman muscled herself back into the lead with her two-fisted returns, breaking for 5-4, then gloriously serving it out with a series of huge serves, and a forehand down the line winner to finish it off.

"I think I just played just a great match," Bartoli said. "I hung in there when it was time to hang in there. I went for my shots when I needed to go for my shots. I returned well. I was not overwhelmed by the situation, and it felt like everything went in today. It was a great match. I'm so happy with how everything went."

Bartoli's run at the 2009 Australian Open is reminiscent of her run to the final of 2007 Wimbledon, not only because it is an unlikely run on paper - she was the No.18 seed at the All-England Club that year - but because she took out the world No.1 there too, stunning Justine Henin in the semi-finals. Coincidentally, she beat a No.3-ranked Janković in the fourth round there, albeit it was a far closer match.

In her third round here, Bartoli was down and out against Lucie Šafárová, rallying from 3-6 0-2 down to win 3-6 6-2 6-1. The player that showed up against Janković was definitely the player who won 12 of the last 13 games against Šafárová.

"I was confident today because I played really well in my last match," Bartoli said. "I knew I could beat Jelena on a good day - it was just a matter of executing it, playing the right shots at the right times and not making too many mistakes."

Janković, who was trying to claim her first Major singles-title, is the third Australian Open top seed in the Open Era to fall before the quarters, after Virginia Ruzici (who fell in the first round in 1979) and Steffi Graf (who fell in the fourth round in 1997). It was the Serb's fourth loss in seven meetings against Bartoli.

"All the credit to her - it was her day," a gracious Janković said. "It's obviously disappointing. Nobody likes to lose. I had a lot of opportunities in the second set to come back, but just didn't do what I was supposed to. I had some chances in the first set even, but let my opponent get on top of me and play her game. She played really well and went for her shots. She even played first and second serves the same. She hit whatever she could. She knew what she had to do."

Bartoli will next face No.7 seed Vera Zvonarëva, who edged No.10 seed Nadia Petrova, 7-5 6-4. Zvonarëva had been 1:5 against Petrova going in, including losing their last four meetings in straight sets. Zvonarëva will have a different outlook going in this time, having a 6:1 head-to-head edge against Bartoli.

"The last time I played her, I lost 6-0 6-1, so I hope to do better this time!" Bartoli told the Rod Laver Arena crowd during an on-court interview after her win.

Safina keeps emotions in check, buckles down to beat Cornet

In a flurry of wild errors, No.3 seed Dinara Safina found herself down 2-5 in the third set to No.15 seed Alizé Cornet on Rod Laver Arena right after the Bartoli v Janković match. She even faced two match-points: on one, Cornet barely missed a forehand winner down the line; on the other, Safina ended a lengthy point with an overhead into the open court. In the end, it was the Russian who came away the winner, outdoing the talented French youngster 6-2 2-6 7-5.

"Maybe she was just not ready to win this match, because she had it all in her hands," Safina said. "It's the first time I'm actually in the quarters here, so I'm pleased about that. But other than that, I'm disappointed with the way I played. What I did on the court today was really sad. But nobody's playing great yet. We all need matches to find our best form. I need to improve for my next match."

"I really believed I could win," Cornet said. "Each time I play against her, it's better and better for me. Next time, I hope I can beat her. I can't get closer than this one. It was a tough loss, and I'll be thinking about it for a long time."

Safina's quarter-final opponent will be either No.29 seed Alisa Kleybanova or wild card Jelena Dokić, who played the night-match on Sunday.
<<<

Top-seeded Janković beaten in 4th round (AP)
>>>
Top-seeded Jelena Janković is out of the Australian Open, beaten in straight sets by 2007 Wimbledon runner-up Marion Bartoli of France.

Bartoli beat the Serbian star 6-1 6-4 in the opening match on Sunday at Rod Laver Arena. Janković lost last year's US Open final to Serena Williams, and has never won a Major title.

In the second set, Bartoli went ahead 5-4 on a service-break, then held to win the match with a forehand winner.

The 24-year-old Bartoli lost to Venus Williams at Wimbledon two years ago, and has never advanced past the second round in seven previous trips to Melbourne Park.

"I tried to not think about it for the whole match," Bartoli said of a possible upset of the No.1-ranked player.

"This is my first time playing in Rod Laver Arena. I think I just played amazingly today, and I'm so glad to put on a good performance."
<<<

Janković bundled out of Open by Bartoli (Reuters)
By Greg Stutchbury (editing by Alastair Himmer)
>>>
Top seed Jelena Janković was knocked out of the Australian Open by an inspired Marion Bartoli in the fourth round on Sunday.

The Frenchwoman capitalised on the Serbian's shaky serve, blasting winners at every opportunity before ending the world number-one's misery 6-1 6-4 in just 82 minutes.

The unconventional Bartoli, who, despite being right-handed, plays two-handed off both sides, had not advanced beyond the Australian Open second round in seven previous attempts.

The 16th seed set up a quarter-final against Russian Vera Zvonarëva.

"I was really confident, because I played really well my last match against [Lucie] Šafářová," the 24-year-old Bartoli told reporters.

"I knew I could beat Jelena on a good day, it was just a matter of executing, you know: play the right shot at the right time, and don't make too many mistakes.

"But I was not overwhelmed by the situation, and I just went for my shots, and everything went in today. It was just a great match."

DELICATE DROP

Bartoli, hitting winners from both sides off the baseline, won the first five games of the match, clinching the first set with a delicate drop-push that left Janković wafting at thin air.

The Serb won just 13 points on her own serve in the first set, but losing the set seemed to wake Janković up, although both players struggled with their serve in the second: each breaking the other twice in the first eight games.

Bartoli hung tough, however, securing her fifth break of the match, and booking her place in the quarter-finals after rifling a crosscourt backhand winner past a deflated Janković.

"It's obviously disappointing. Nobody likes to lose," said Janković. "Today was a tough day for me. I let my opponent completely come on top of me and play her game.

"I had a slow start. I gave her a lot of confidence throughout the match, and then in the second set, I also had a lot of opportunities to come back and try to get in the game somehow.

"She was the better one, and all the credit. She went for all her shots and hit whatever she could. She knew that she had to do that in order to win, and it was her day."
<<<

Janković blames loss on lack of preparation (Reuters)
By Greg Stutchbury (Editing by Alastair Himmer)
>>>
World number-one Jelena Janković lamented her lack of preparation as a factor in her Australian Open fourth-round loss to Marion Bartoli on Sunday.

The 6-1 6-4 defeat cemented the worst performance by a women's top seed at the year's first Major since Germany's Steffi Graf lost at the same stage to South Africa's Amanda Coetzer in 1997.

"I haven't played for a while. For two months, I didn't compete. I was supposed to play an exhibition in Hong Kong," the 23-year-old Janković told reporters.

"Unfortunately, me and my mother, we got sick, so it was very hard when I couldn't play some matches over there, which I wanted: just to feel the atmosphere, get the rhythm on the court.

"I'm this kind of a player who needs a little bit of time to get used to it, to get the routine playing matches and get the confidence.

"Then I feel that I can do whatever I want on the court. At the moment, I'm still not there."

Janković added: "I'm still finding my range, to get that confidence when I'm playing. Today, I just couldn't find it."

An aggressive Bartoli capitalised on the Serbian's inconsistent serve, blasting winners at every opportunity.

"My opponent was really on fire today, and she was hitting everything and really went for her shots," said Janković. "Most of those were going in. It was tough.

"I couldn't do my own thing. I just couldn't do what I needed to do. My shots were not where I wanted to be."

Janković, who has yet to win a Major, will lose the world's top ranking at the end of the tournament if Serena Williams or Elena Dementieva make the final.

"I really enjoy being the number-one, and I proved that at the end of last year when I won three tournaments in a row," she said.

"You know, it doesn't matter, because it's just the beginning of the year, and there are many more tournaments to play.

"So maybe it will change - the number-one ranking - but it's not important what you do now; it's the whole year ahead of us.

"[There are] a lot of tournaments, a lot of battles out there. You know, the best one will finish it. I think, at least for me, the most important thing is how you finish - not how you begin."
<<<

Revitalised Bartoli delighted with victory over Janković (Reuters)
By Greg Stutchbury (editing by John O'Brien)
>>>
Marion Bartoli vanquished the memories of last year's debilitating illness with a comprehensive demolition of world number-one Jelena Janković in the Australian Open on Sunday.

The 24-year-old Frenchwoman blasted winners from the baseline, and chased down everything the Serbian top seed threw at her to advance to the quarter-finals with the 6-1 6-4 victory.

"I was struggling with my health for the first six months of the year. I was just not able to practise as I should to be ready to play some tennis at the pro level," Bartoli told reporters.

"Some days, I was staying three days in a row inside my room at home, or even in the hotel-room when I was on the Tour.

"There is no way - even if I'm tough mentally - to win some matches like that.

"I think I had a great run to finish inside the top 20, which [in] half of the season was quite an achievement."

The victory for Bartoli - who had not advanced beyond the Australian Open second round in seven previous attempts - came two weeks after she made the final at the Brisbane International, and she said an off-season training-programme was paying dividends.

"At the end of last year, I was playing well, but having this little problem to win some tough matches in a row, and be able to go day in and day out and be strong physically," the 16th seed said.

"I was fit, but not strong enough. I really put in hard work during the off-season, and today it showed."

Bartoli had won her last three matches against Janković to amass a 3:3 career record against the Serb, and the surprise Wimbledon 2007 finalist said she had nothing to fear.

"When I step on the court, no matter who is my opponent on the other side of the net, I really feel I have some chances to win.

"I was not overwhelmed by the situation, and I just went for my shots and everything went in."

Bartoli who modelled her two-handed shotmaking off both sides after Monica Seles, said the victory against Janković meant little other than advancing to the quarter-final against Russia's Vera Zvonarëva.

"[It] doesn't mean I'm going to win the tournament.

"It's not working like that. There are some really tough players left into the draw, and I just hope to be able to achieve the same kind of matches in the quarter-final, and maybe I will go all the way."
<<<

Relieved Federer through, Janković falls at Open (Reuters)
By Ossian Shine (editing by Alan Baldwin)
>>>
A roar of relief marked Roger Federer's comeback from two sets down at the Australian Open on Sunday, while women's world number-one Jelena Janković was mute and ineffectual in a fourth-round defeat.

The whole of Melbourne Park shook with an explosion of home-town roars, however, when Yugoslav-born Australian wild card Jelena Dokić buried years of personal pain to reach the quarter-finals of the first Major of the year.

The 25-year-old, whose split from domineering father Damir and subsequent struggle with severe depression and injuries was played out in front of the world's media, wiped tears from her eyes after her 7-5 5-7 8-6 win over Russian Alisa Kleybanova.

"I'm just really fighting," Dokić said. "I'm really determined and fighting. That's sometimes what keeps it going."

<snip Federer v Berdych>

There were no good signs for Janković, who was blown off court by French typhoon Marion Bartoli: 6-1 6-4.

"When I'm on the top of my game, it's very hard to beat me, because you really have to kind of spill blood if you want to win the match," Janković mused afterwards.

"But at the moment, I'm not there yet. I still need to get better, to improve, be much, much tougher out there. Nobody likes to lose. Today was a tough day for me."

Janković's tough day was a jubilant one for Bartoli.

"I knew I could beat Jelena on a good day - it was just a matter of executing," she told reporters.

Bartoli next plays Vera Zvonarëva, after the seventh seed beat her 10th-seeded fellow Russian Nadia Petrova 7-5 6-4.

Bartoli's Gallic good fortune almost continued on centre court when France's Alizé Cornet was poised for victory over third seeded Russian Dinara Safina, but Cornet melted in the sun.

She twice failed to serve out the match, and squandered two match-points in the 10th game as Safina turned up the heat to snatch victory.

"SMACK ME"

Safina, whose brother Marat Safin saved a match-point in the semi-finals against Roger Federer before winning the Australian Open Men's Singles title in 2005, will play Dokić in the quarter-finals on Tuesday.

"Maybe she was just not ready to win this match, because she had it all in the hands," Safina said when asked if it had been her experience which had seen her safely through.

"I'm just a little bit disappointed about this match, you know. Playing against this girl and allowing myself to do these kind of mistakes.

"The game is there. I just don't know what's going on through my mind. Somebody smack me so hard in my head that something shakes finally and I put the cables together!"
<<<

Bartoli bounces top-seeded Janković in straight sets (PA SportsTicker)
>>>
Top seed and world No.1 Jelena Janković was knocked out of the Australian Open after Marion Bartoli won their fourth-round encounter in straight sets: 6-1 6-4 on Sunday.

Janković's exit paves the way for the three players ranked immediately below her to take the coveted top spot.

If one of Serena Williams, Dinara Safina or Elena Dementieva wins the tournament, she will take the top spot. But with Safina having fewer ranking-points to defend, she has a chance to claim the top ranking even if she only reaches the semi-finals. Williams and Dementieva must reach the final in order to stand a chance of becoming world number-one.

But Janković is unconcerned.

"It doesn't matter, because it's just the beginning of the year and there are many more tournaments to play," the Serb said.

"Maybe it will change, but it's not important what you do now; there's the whole year ahead of us - a lot of tournaments, a lot of battles, so the best one will finish top. For me, the most important thing is how you finish - not how you begin."

Janković certainly didn't begin her match in the Rod Laver Arena well, going 0-5 down before she survived two set-points to finally get on the board.

It was a temporary reprieve, however, as Bartoli, the 16th seed, closed out the set in just 31 minutes.

The world No.1 improved in the second set, holding her serve in the first game, but she was broken again when she double-faulted in the third.

Bartoli broke her again in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead, and although Janković broke back, she could not hold her own serve.

Bartoli then had the chance to serve for the match, which she did.

"Nobody likes to lose; today was a tough day for me," admitted Janković. "I had a slow start, and I let my opponent completely get on top of me and play her game.

"But she was the better one, and all credit to her. She played really well, went for all her shots."

Bartoli has now beaten Janković in their last three encounters for a 4-3 lead in head-to-head meetings.

"I was really confident, because I played really well in my last match against [Lucie] Šafářová," Bartoli said. "I knew I could beat Jelena on a good day - it was just a matter of executing it: play the right shot at the right time, and not make too many mistakes.

"But I was not overwhelmed by the situation, and I just went for my shots, and everything went in today. It was just a great match."

Jelena Dokić dug deep and overcame a twisted ankle to upset 29th seed Alisa Kleybanova 7-5 5-7 8-6 in just over three hours.

Dokić has been the story of the tournament so far after battling back from depression to reclaim her place in the hearts of her adopted nation.

Her every point was cheered, and she implored to the crowd to get behind her when she began to tire against the hard-hitting Russian.

Dokić had the crowd on the edge of their seats when, with the Russian serving at 5-6 (15/0), she slipped and twisted her left ankle.

But she held her serve to take a 7-6 lead before clinching victory with a fearsome backhand down the line.

"To come after a three-year layoff and to be in the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam [sic] straightaway really gives you a lot [of] confidence," she said after reaching the last eight of a Major for the first time since the 2002 French Open.

Dokić has been taken to three sets in all of her matches so far, and admitted after such a long time away from competition that it was beginning to take its toll.

"I really struggled physically tonight," Dokić said. "I was really on my last reserves. She really had me in that third set. To come out and pull it out was great."

Safina survived two match-points on her way to a 6-2 2-6 7-5 win against Alizé Cornet and a place in the quarter-finals at Melbourne for the first time.

The third seed was 2-5 down in the final set, and defended two match-points before closing out the win against Cornet - the 15th seed from France - whom she beat in straight sets in the quarter-finals of the Open warm-up tournament in Sydney.

Seventh seed Vera Zvonarëva will play Bartoli in the quarter-finals after defeating fellow Russian Nadia Petrova 7-5 6-4.

Zvonarëva squandered six break-point opportunities in the first game, which lasted 10 minutes, but got the advantage in the third, and held to take a 3-1 lead.

But at 2-4 down, Petrova won the next three games before Zvonarëva held her serve and broke her opponent again to take the set 7-5.

Zvonarëva continued her good form in the second set, regularly hitting deep winners from the baseline, and capitalising on the mounting unforced errors by Petrova. She eventually closed out the match with a forehand smash.
<<<

Top seed Janković crashes out of Australian Open (AFP)
>>>
World number-one Jelena Janković has crashed out of the Australian Open with a humiliating 6-1 6-4 loss to French 16th seed Marion Bartoli for the biggest upset of the tournament so far. [I consider Carla Suárez Navarro's victory over Venus Williams to be a much bigger upset.]

The top seed made a dismal start in her fourth-round match against the fired-up Frenchwomen, finally calling on her renowned fighting qualities too late into the match.

The loss extends Janković's Major drought, and marked Bartoli's best performance at a Major since she reached the Wimbledon-final in 2007.

"I knew Jelena would fight. The last set was really hard for me, but I tried to hang tough and play my game," Bartoli said.

"I played my shots and served so well. I'm just so happy."

Bartoli broke Janković in the second game, then prevented the Serb breaking back twice in the next to race to a 3-0 lead.

The statistics in the first 10 minutes demonstrated Bartoli's dominance: she hit seven winners while Janković could not manage one, and committed a single unforced error to the Serb's four.

Janković looked lethargic as she tried to play her way into the match, constantly casting frustrated glances towards coach Ricardo Sánchez in the player's box.

In contrast, Bartoli was bouncing on her toes between points, and chased down everything Janković sent her way, returning the world number-one's groundstrokes with interest.

The Frenchwomen treated Janković's serve with distain, going up another break in the fourth.

Only some desperate scrambling prevented Bartoli from completing a humiliating clean sweep of the first set, with Janković finally getting on the board after 27 minutes.

It was a temporary reprieve, and Bartoli outfoxed her opponent with a delicately-hit dropshot four minutes later to take the first set.

The Serb's fightback did not begin until the fourth game of the second set, when she broke Bartoli's serve for the first time in the match.

Her opponent cancelled out the advantage in the next, with the pair again exchanging breaks in the seven and eighth games.

Bartoli maintained the pressure, and the ninth game went to deuce six times as she pressed for a decisive break to complete the rout.

She achieved it when Janković netted a backhand return, earning the chance to serve out the match.

The Frenchwoman double-faulted on her first match-point, but sealed the win with a crosscourt volley, raising her arms in victory.
<<<

Janković crashes out as tournament blown wide open (AFP)
>>>
The Australian Open was blown wide open when top seed Jelena Janković crashed out, joining Ana Ivanović and Venus Williams as high-profile early-round casualties.

They were nearly joined by Russian third seed Dinara Safina, who survived two match-points to claw back and beat France's Alizé Cornet 6-2 2-6 7-5.

Janković was crushed by French 16th seed Marion Bartoli 6-1 6-4, giving more ammunition to critics who believe she doesn't deserve the world number-one ranking having never won a Major.

With Ivanović and Williams already gone, the first Major of the season has become one of the most open ever, with Bartoli into a quarter-final against either Russia's Nadia Petrova or Vera Zvonarëva.

"It's obviously disappointing. Nobody likes to lose," said Janković, who looked lethargic as she tried to play her way into the match.

"It was a tough day for me. You know, I had a slow start. I let my opponent completely come on top of me and play her game."

She is now likely to lose her top ranking, but insisted it was not important.

"It doesn't matter, because it's just the beginning of the year, and there is [sic] many more tournaments to play," she said.

"So, you know, maybe it will change - the number-one ranking - but it's not important what you do now - it's the whole year ahead of us."

Bartoli was ecstatic at the upset, but said she always felt she could win.

"I was really confident, because I played really well in my last match against Lucie Šafářová," said the Frenchwoman, who made the Wimbledon-final in 2007, where she was beaten by Venus Williams.

"I knew I could beat Jelena on a good day. It was just a matter of executing it, you know: playing the right shot at the right time, and not making too many mistakes.

"I'm just pleased about everything."

Safina appeared certain to follow Janković out when Cornet was serving for the match at 5-4 (40/15), but she somehow clung on and hauled herself out of trouble.

"I feel so lucky that I have the chance to play in the quarter-finals," said Safina, sister to Marat Safin.

"This is the first time I have won when two match-points were against me. There are no easy matches here; there are no easy Opens."

Despite almost tumbling out of the tournament, Safina felt she was stronger now than ever before.

"Every year, I am getting stronger and stronger, but I hope my next match is going to be a bit more relaxed, because I think my team nearly had a heart-attack today," she said.

She next faces either local comeback-queen Jelena Dokić or Russian 29th seed Alisa Kleybanova, who play later on Sunday.
<<<

Superb Bartoli dumps out Janković (BBC Sport)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/7849574.stm
>>>
Top seed Jelena Janković crashed out of the Australian Open after a stunning performance from French 16th seed Marion Bartoli, who won 6-1 6-4.

Bartoli took the first five games of the match to leave the Serbian reeling.

Janković looked dismally out of sorts despite a brief resurgence in the second set, and Bartoli reached the quarter-finals with surprising ease.

Third seed Dinara Safina saved two match-points on her way to beating France's Alizé Cornet 6-2 2-6 7-5.

Safina now plays unseeded Australian Jelena Dokić, who delighted the home fans with a gritty 7-5 5-7 8-6 win over Russian 29th seed Alisa Kleybanova.

Riding a wave of public support and sympathy for her troubled past, the Yugoslav-born 24-year-old reached her first Major quarter-final since the 2002 French Open.

The match swung wildly as both players struggled with their serve and nerves, before Dokić sealed victory when she broke Kleybanova's serve with a return-winner in the 14th game of the deciding set.

Bartoli showed incredible movement and determination to destroy Janković's chances of a second appearance in the Australian Open's last eight.

The French 24-year-old has never previously made it past the second round of the tournament, but she feasted on Janković's uncertain second serve in a one-sided encounter on the Rod Laver Arena.

Bartoli broke five times as the Serbian, 23, battled both her own inconsistency and the glare of the Melbourne-sun.

Janković's second set was a vast improvement on the first, but her game continued to exhibit unforgivable unforced errors.

When Bartoli eventually broke again in a testing ninth game of the second set, the last vestiges of Janković's resistance crumbled.

"I tried not to think about Jelena being the world number-one for the whole match," said Bartoli.

"I think I just played amazingly today, and I'm so happy to put on a good performance.

"I knew Jelena would fight, and the last set was really tough for me, but I tried to play my game, and I served so well in the last game."

Janković, meanwhile, said she had become "lost in the match" and allowed Bartoli to dominate.

"I let her hit all the shots that she wanted to. I let her play her game," said Janković.

"I didn't do what I was supposed to do, and I couldn't get my rhythm out there.

"She hit whatever she could. Her goal was just to get the first strike and go for it, because she knew [that] if I got in the point, she'd be in trouble."

French 15th seed Cornet surrendered a double break in the final set and two match-points as volatile Safina somehow recovered to take the win.

The Russian appeared certain to follow Janković, Venus Williams and Ana Ivanović out of the tournament when Cornet was serving for the match at 5-4 (40/15), but she somehow dug herself out of trouble.

Three games later, Safina was raising her arms in triumph as Cornet slumped in a chair in tears.

"I feel so lucky that I have the chance to play in the quarter-finals," said Safina.

"I think in the next round, I need to relax for me and my team - I think they nearly had heart-attacks watching me.

"The problem is that I'm doubting myself because I'm not playing the game I used to play," she added.

"Somebody needs to smack me so hard in my head that something finally shakes and I put the cables together!"

In an all-Russian duel, seventh seed Vera Zvonarëva set up a quarter-final against Bartoli with a 7-5 6-4 victory over 10th seed Nadia Petrova.

Zvonarëva won the first set when Petrova dropped her serve in the 11th game on a double-fault, then broke her immediately at the start of the second.
<<<

Top seed Jelena Janković knocked out of Australian Open by Marion Bartoli
By Mark Hodgkinson in Melbourne (The Daily Telegraph - UK)
>>>
Top seed and world No 1 Jelena Janković has been knocked out of the Australian Open after Marion Bartoli won their fourth-round encounter in straight sets: 6-1 6-4.

There are few players on the women's circuit who are as quirky or as kooky as Bartoli: the Frenchwoman whose groundstrokes and service-action are never going to earn her any style-points at Melbourne Park. But Bartoli's unconventional tennis can be wonderfully effective, and her defeat of Janković was a result that demonstrated that players don't have to be slaves to the coaching-manual orthodoxy.

Many of the competitors in the women's game seem to have come off an Eastern-Bloc-and-Nick-Bollettieri production-line: all with the same, honed groundstrokes. Bartoli is refreshingly different, playing with a style that you are unlikely to find in a coaching-textbook near you: her serve is jerky and just plain weird, and her arms look cramped when she hits her double-handed forehands and backhands.

This wasn't even the first time that Mademoiselle Bizarre had embarrassed a world No.1 at a Major tournament, as she beat Justine Henin of Belgium in the semi-finals of the 2007 Wimbledon Championships, going on to finish as the runner-up that summer to Venus Williams. Here she was again, taking centre-stage at Melbourne Park.

"I'm just happy to be on the Rod Laver Arena, because I usually play so badly at the Australian Open that I'm on Court 21," Bartoli said after a 6-1 6-4 victory that took her into the quarter-finals of the Australian Open for the first time.

Janković had wanted to show at Melbourne Park that she deserved to have the top ranking by winning her first Major title, and she had prepared during the close-season by scrambling over rocks on endurance-runs in the Mexican mountains. She believed that, after the altitude-training and a new sense of purpose off the court, she was in the best shape of her tennis-life.

However, she had to withdraw from a semi-serious exhibition-tournament in Hong Kong because of illness, and so came into Melbourne Park without any form to go on. Janković has always tended to take a while to find her range and her rhythm at the start of the year, so she was vulnerable to defeat against Bartoli, especially when the Frenchwoman decided to go for her shots.

It was the earliest defeat for a women's top seed at Melbourne Park since Steffi Graf lost in the fourth round of the 1997 tournament to South Africa's Amanda Coetzer.

Dinara Safina, the women's third seed from Russia, had to come back from 2-5 down in the third set for her 6-2 2-6 7-5 win over France's Alizé Cornet. Marat Safin's little sister was extremely unhappy with how she had performed. "The game is there; I just don't know what is going on through my mind," Safina said.

"Somebody should smack me so hard in my head that something shakes finally and I put the cables together! My coach told me that if I continue playing like this, he may as well go home. I keep telling myself to hit the ball, but my arm just doesn't want to, because my mind is just stupid." Like her brother, Safina doesn't take herself too seriously.

Meanwhile, Jelena Dokić's fairytale-comeback to the Australian Open continued to gain momentum when she beat Russian Alisa Kleybanova 7-5 5-7 8-6.

The Yugoslav-born Australian - riding a wave of public support and national sympathy after her troubled past - turned back the clock to reach her first Major quarter-final since the 2002 French Open.

The match swung wildly back and forth as both players struggled with their serve and nerves before Dokić sealed a famous victory, triggering wild celebrations on the Melbourne Park centre court.

"This is unbelievable to be in the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam [sic]," Dokić said. "I was going to have the week off, but I guess those plans are scratched now."
<<<

Bartoli Blasts Janković Out Of Oz (Tennis Week)
>>>
Jelena Janković buried her face in her hands as if seeking shelter from the break-point barrage she faced, but her palms proved to be only a temporary reprieve.

The top-seeded Serbian arrived in Melbourne seeking her first Major title, but an ambitious two-handed terror named Marion Bartoli blasted Janković right out of Rod Laver Arena with today's 6-1 6-4 Australian Open fourth-round victory.

"It was my first time in Rod Laver Arena, and I just played amazingly," Bartoli said. "I'm so happy to put on a good performance."

The 24-year-old Bartoli had not surpassed the second round in seven previous appearances at the Melbourne Major; now she is one win removed from the final four. Bartoli will play either seventh-seeded Vera Zvonarëva or 10th-seeded Nadia Petrova in the quarter-finals.

Cracking crosscourt shots off her compact swings, Bartoli's sharp timing and ability to take the ball early were evident in the first set as she whipped 15 winners compared to five for Janković to roll to a 5-0 lead and eventually seize the opening set in 31 minutes.

The 16th-seeded Frenchwoman kept creeping inside the baseline to rip returns on the rise with such depth and accuracy, Janković was sometimes just completing her service-motion only to see the reply speed by.

Janković, who had trouble reading the shots off Bartoli's racquet, faced a series of break-points in the ninth game of the second set.

Stepping into the court to attack Janković's second serve, Bartoli broke for a 5-4 lead when a Janković backhand caught the top of the tape.

The former Wimbledon-finalist smacked a service-winner down the middle to earn triple match-point. She double-faulted going for an ace on a second serve on her first break-point before firing a forehand winner down the line to seal the victory.

It was Bartoli's third straight win over Janković, and it marked the second time Bartoli has beaten Janković in the fourth round of a Major: she scored a 3-6 7-5 6-3 victory en route to the 2007 Wimbledon-final.
<<<

Jelena Janković bundled out of Australian Open by Marion Bartoli (Fox Sports / AAP)
>>>
Top seed Jelena Janković has been knocked out in the fourth round of the Australian Open in straight sets by Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli.

World No.1 Janković - a losing semi-finalist at Melbourne Park last year, who is still chasing her first Major title - was beaten 6-1 6-4 in one hour and 22 minutes by the No.16 seed.

Bartoli's career-highlight to date was reaching the final of Wimbledon in 2007, before eventually going down to Venus Williams.

She dominated the first set of the encounter on Rod Laver Arena, and held her nerve in the second.

The crucial moment came in the ninth game of the second set, which Bartoli eventually won on her fourth break-point.

She then served out the match for one of the biggest wins of her career.

Bartoli hit an an impressive tally of 34 winners in the two-set match, compared to just 17 from Janković.

"It's obviously disappointing. Nobody likes to lose," said Janković, who looked lethargic as she tried to play her way into the match.

"It was a tough day for me. You know, I had a slow start. I let my opponent completely come on top of me and play her game."

She is now likely to lose her top ranking, but insisted it was not important.

"It doesn't matter, because it's just the beginning of the year, and there is many more tournaments to play," she said.

"So, you know, maybe it will change - the No.1 ranking - but it's not important what you do now - it's the whole year ahead of us."

With Ana Ivanović and Venus Williams already gone, the first Major of the season has become one of the most open ever, with Bartoli into a quarter-final against Russia's Vera Zvonarëva.

Seventh seed Zvonarëva advanced to quarter-finals after winning an all-Russian clash with 10th seed Nadia Petrova: 7-5 6-4.
<<<

Janković's lofty ranking fails to compute (Leo Schlink, Fox Sports)
>>>
The WTA Tour's computer never lies.

Jelena Janković is No.1 in the world for a reason - but it's patently clear that it's not because the haughty Serb is the best player on the planet.

Her deflating 6-1 6-4 Australian Open defeat was the 22nd Major that Janković has contested and failed to win. The closest she has come to sealing acclaim as a genuine topliner was during a tight US Open final in September.

Janković won a swag of matches - 65 - last season, but none were in a Major final.

By the end of this tournament, Janković's grip on the No.1 ranking will be seriously weakened - or completely loosened - depending on other results.

For all her theatrics, Janković is a fine player.

But she does not deserve to be at No.1, even though the computer-machinations make perfectly good arithmetic sense. Everybody - possibly even Janković - knows that if Serena and Venus Williams or Maria Sharapova had been able to dodge injury last season, Janković would not have risen to No.1.

As it was, the right-hander closed the year in superb fashion, winning three late-season tournaments. Voilà: Janković fulfils a career dream.

"I think - at least for me - the most important thing is how you finish - not how you begin," Janković said.

Fair enough. Amélie Mauresmo took 32 Major tournaments before she broke through.

She was 26 when she triumphed at Melbourne Park in 2006.

Janković is 24 next month.

There is still plenty of time, but questions are mounting over her mental toughness - or lack thereof.

Janković has a 31:32 record against fellow top-ten players. That's not nearly good enough.

World No.2 Serena Williams has a 39:20 record against the same group.

Janković described the Bartoli-surrender as "a bad day of tennis, bad day at the tennis."

"I want to be the No.1," she said.

"I don't want to be No.2 so that I don't have any pressure."

Even in defeat, Janković talked herself up.

"When I'm on the top of my game, it's very hard to beat me, because you really have to kind of spill blood if you want to win the match," she said.

Time to reboot the computer; time for a reality-check.
<<<

Thumped (Tom Perrotta, TENNIS.com)
>>>
I remember this Jelena Janković. The one who whines on court when the ball doesn't bounce her way. The one who uses instant-replay challenges as if they were as abundant as oxygen. The one who stubbornly refuses to think.

It's been a while since /this/ Janković showed up at a Major tournament, however. Through all of last year, there was a sense that Janković was on the upswing - an upswing confirmed by her fine performance at the US Open, where she pushed Serena Williams to her limit in the final. When Janković later took over the No.1 ranking, she showed no satisfaction with her accomplishment. Instead, she trained harder than ever over the off-season with the intention of arriving in Melbourne as the favourite to win her first Major title.

The wait continues. Janković's plans were derailed on Sunday by one of the WTA Tour's most dangerous and unpredictable players: Marion Bartoli of France. This wasn't quite like Bartoli's performance at Wimbledon 2007, when she ran roughshod over Justine Henin on her way to the final. It's safe to say, though, that Bartoli is on her game in Melbourne this year. She has lost weight (and suppressed her obsession for chocolate), and recovered from a virus that left her tired and unable to train for about three months in the early part of 2008. One of the worst moments came at the Indian Wells tournament, where she felt she could not move from her bed. She didn't win three matches in a row until late July.

"Some days, I was staying three days in a row inside my room at home, or even in the hotel-room when I was on the Tour," Bartoli said. "I couldn't practise at all for three days in a row."

Before most fans had filed into Rod Laver Arena on Sunday, Bartoli held a 5-0 lead. She polished off the match 6-1 6-4 in an hour and 22 minutes. Match-ups matter in tennis: Just ask Tommy Robredo, who dropped his 10th straight match to Andy Roddick yesterday. Robredo doesn't return serve well; Roddick serves harder than anyone. Bartoli and Janković are equally at odds. I wouldn't expect Bartoli to outrank Janković anytime soon, but I wouldn't be surprised if she wins the next time they meet, too. The Frenchwoman, who hits with two hands on her forehand and backhand, doesn't think much of topspin, and clobbers her service-returns (like the Williams-sisters, she takes three or four steps inside the baseline). Janković, on the other hand, can't serve. In this match, she won a mere 47% of the points on her serve - including only 29% on her second serve.

Janković had not looked terribly strong leading up to the match. She suffered a setback when she took ill in Hong Kong earlier this year, and didn't play enough matches before this tournament began. Still, she rightfully gave herself an "F" for her tactical performance on Sunday. It's not wise to trade hard groundstrokes with a hot Bartoli. When Janković used more spin (and less pace) and hit more severe angles, Bartoli was forced to move up and back (she doesn't excel at it) as well as side to side (her lateral movement is underrated). Janković neglected this strategy all too often.

"When I'm on the top of my game, you know, it's very hard to beat me, because you really have to kind of spill blood if you want to win the match," Janković said. "But at the moment, I'm not there yet. I still need to get better, to improve, be much, much tougher out there."

Though Janković said she wouldn't forget this loss for "months," she couldn't bottle up her bubbly side.

"Was it you there in the match, or was it somebody else talking to me during the match?" she asked a reporter. "When I was getting a towel, there was a man just like you. To be honest, it's for real. Maybe it's your clone or something."

At last, the real Jelena Janković arrives in Melbourne. Too bad she sent her clone onto court.
<<<

---------------------------------
6. Fourth-round draw: Bottom half (to be played on Monday)
---------------------------------

* ANABEL MEDINA GARRIGUES [21] v Carla Suárez Navarro (¡vamos Anabel!)
* DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [18] v ELENA DEMENTIEVA [4] (my loyalty is to Domi)
* ZHENG,JIE [22] v SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA [8] (jia you Jie!)
* VICTORIA AZARENKA [13] v SERENA WILLIAMS [2] (davai Victoria!)

-------------------------------
7. Quarter-final draw: Top half (to be played on Tuesday)
-------------------------------

* VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF] v MARION BARTOLI [16,DF,S] (my loyalty is to VERA)
* Jelena Dokić [WC,EF] v DINARA SAFINA [3] (GO JELENA!!)

------------------
8. Andrew's wishes (updated after Sunday)
------------------
8.1 Quarter-final wishes
------------------------

+ VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF] d. MARION BARTOLI [16,DF,S]
+ Jelena Dokić [WC,EF] d. DINARA SAFINA [3]
+ DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [18] d. ANABEL MEDINA GARRIGUES [21]
+ VICTORIA AZARENKA [13] d. ZHENG,JIE [22] (my Passion says Jie, but my Reason says Victoria)


8.2 Semi-final wishes
---------------------

+ Jelena Dokić [WC,EF] d. VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF]
+ DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [18] d. VICTORIA AZARENKA [13]


8.3 Final-wish
---------------

+ Jelena Dokić [WC,EF] d. DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [18]

-------------------------------
9. Women's Doubles: Third round
-------------------------------

Selesian duo Hsieh,Su-Wei and Peng,Shuai scored a humungous upset in the third round on Sunday, so I hereby add them to the list of doubles-teams I'm tracking. Here are their results so far:

(HSIEH,SU-WEI/PENG,SHUAI)[16]:
1r + Maret Ani/Renata Voračová, 6-1 2-6 6-4
2r + Lucie Hradecka [s]/Andrea Hlavačková, 6-4 6-7 (1/7) 6-3
3r + (ANABEL MEDINA GARRIGUES/VIRGINIA RUANO PASCUAL)[2], 6-0 6-1
qf v (SERENA WILLIAMS/VENUS WILLIAMS)[10]

------------------------------------
10. Girls' Singles: First-round draw
------------------------------------

My selections only - the full draw is at:
http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/scores/draws/gs/


10.1 First-round results (Sunday 25th January 2009)
------------------------

+ Anna Orlik d. Karina Pimkina, 6-4 6-2
+ KSENIA PERVAK [3] d. Richel Hogenkamp, 6-4 6-4
+ KRISTINA MLADENOVIĆ [7] d. Andrea Konjuh, 6-3 6-1

To be played on Monday:
* NOPPAWAN LERTCHEEWAKARN [1,S] v Fernanda Faria (al-na Noppawan!)
* ELENA BOGDAN [4] v Maryna Zanevska (hai Elena!)
* Monika Wejnert v Polina Rodionova (go Monika!)
* LAURA ROBSON [5] v Christina McHale (go Laura!)


10.2 Second-round draw
----------------------

* Anna Orlik v AKI YAMASOTO [10] (davai Anna!)

* KSENIA PERVAK [3] v Eugenie Bouchard (davai Ksenia!)

* KRISTINA MLADENOVIĆ [7] v Mia Vriens (allez Kristina!)

-------------------------------------------
11. Order of play for Monday / UK TV-update
-------------------------------------------

No women's match on the Rod Laver Arena evening-session tomorrow, therefore no women's tennis on the BBC Red Button from 08:30 GMT! :fiery: Sometimes I just want to lock the order-of-play committee and BBC sport-editors in the same room and bang their heads together! ;)

Just as well, as the BBC will probably show a repeat of Murray v Verdasco on the Red Button from 08:30 GMT anyway. :fiery: That match will be live on BBC 2 from 04:00 GMT, although the actual start-time depends on the three women's matches that precede it on the Hisense Arena.

So I guess there could be live women's tennis on BBC 2 if Murray v Verdasco starts later than 04:00 GMT.

Full order of play:
http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/scores/schedule/

--
Dr. Andrew Broad

andrewbroad
Jan 26th, 2009, 10:53 PM
===============
AUSTRALIAN OPEN (Melbourne, Australia; outdoor hard (Plexicushion); Major)
=============== http://www.australianopen.com/
Contents
--------

1. Photos / Videos
2. Fourth-round results
3. Quarter-final draw
4. Quarter-final previews
5. Andrew's wishes
6. Women's Doubles: Third round
7. Girls' Singles: First round
8. Order of play for Tuesday

------------------
1. Photos / Videos
------------------
1.1 Photos
----------

Sunday's fourth-round players added, including Jelena Dokić, Marion Bartoli, Alizé Cornet and Jelena Janković:
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/2/photogallery/

Off-court photos including Jelena Dokić, Lucie Šafářová, Caroline Wozniacki, Alizé Cornet, Zheng,Jie, Victoria Azarenka, and Nadia Petrova on the beach looking surprisingly attractive:
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/2/photogallery/?Event=melbourne_week1

Various players including Elena Dementieva, Victoria Azarenka, Laura Robson, and bare-midriffed female fans:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/7850393.stm
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/tennis/4343771/Australian-Open-day-eight.html

Search-list for Monday:
cibulkova
azarenka
zheng
dementieva


1.2 Videos
----------

http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/2/multimedia/default_video.asp
- Night 6 Highlights: Dementieva v Stosur
- Day 7 Highlights: Bartoli v Janković, Cornet v Safina, Zvonarëva v Petrova
- Night 7 Highlights: Dokić v Kleybanova
- Day 8 Highlights: Azarenka v Williams, Suárez Navarro v Medina Garrigues, Cibulková v Dementieva, Zheng v Kuznetsova

-----------------------
2. Fourth-round results (Monday 26th January 2009)
-----------------------

A bad day for women's tennis:
- DOMINIKA CIBULKOVÁ [18] lt. ELENA DEMENTIEVA [4], 2-6 2-6
- VICTORIA AZARENKA [13] lt. SERENA WILLIAMS [2], 6-3 *2-4 (30/30) retired (dizziness and gastrointestinal illness)
- ZHENG,JIE [22] lt. SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA [8], *1-4 retired (left-wrist sprain)
- ANABEL MEDINA GARRIGUES [21] lt. Carla Suárez Navarro, 3-6 2-6

Domi led *2-1 in the first set, then lost 10 games in a row. A 6:21 W:UE ratio just doesn't cut it at this level.

Azarenka won the first set against Williams before her illness kicked in. She took a medical time-out at 2-3* in the second, was advised to retire, but continued until she was on the verge of falling over, then retired in tears and had to be helped off court by two trainers.

Azarenka: "I started feeling really sick in the morning: I woke up at 6 a.m. and I was throwing up all morning. I just felt so weak. They think it was a virus or something. There was not much I could do about it.

"Once I got to the court, I went to see the doctor; I felt a little bit better. Throughout the first set, a little bit of the second, then I just had no more energy to go. I was trying to keep going as much as possible, but there was nothing you can do. It was disappointing for me that I played that well and I couldn't handle a little bit more... but, whatever happens, happens. I just have to accept that."

Williams: "Honestly, I got worried [about Azarenka's condition]. I was like, 'Oh, my goodness,' because she started walking really slow. The last thing she would want to do - to me - would be to fall. It was just weird. I was actually really worried. I just want to go inside and make sure she's okay. I feel so bad. She was playing so well."

Zheng sustained her wrist-injury when she slipped over just three games into the match, and retired two games later.

Zheng: "I want to try to play, but I can't use the left hand - cannot play the backhand."

Kuznetsova: "I felt sorry for [Zheng], because she was in great shape. She was playing good."

Domi and Azarenka remain the only players in the current top 32 that I have yet to see play, along with Ágnes Szávay (I'll see Domi when I get round to watching the Amelia Island 2008 final, and Szávay when I get round to watching the Paris 2008 final, but when I tried to watch Azarenka in person at Eastbourne 2008, she retired one game after I got into the stadium).

---------------------
3. Quarter-final draw
---------------------

* VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF] v MARION BARTOLI [16,DF,S] (my loyalty is to VERA)
* Jelena Dokić [WC,EF] v DINARA SAFINA [3] (GO JELENA!!)
* ELENA DEMENTIEVA [4] v Carla Suárez Navarro (davai Elena!)
* SERENA WILLIAMS [2] v SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA [8]

-------------------------
4. Quarter-final previews
-------------------------
4.1 Zvonarëva v Bartoli
-----------------------

Marion Bartoli [16] may be coming off a brilliant thrashing of Majorless world #1 Jelena Janković, but Vera leads Marion 6:1 head to head:
+ 2003 Strasbourg qf: Vera 6-1 6-2
+ 2003 Linz 2r: Vera 6-2 6-3
+ 2004 Los Angeles 3r: Vera 6-2 6-3
- 2006 Auckland final: Marion 6-2 6-2
+ 2008 Charleston 3r: Vera 6-4 4-6 6-1
+ 2008 Stuttgart 2r: Vera 6-2 6-0
+ 2008 Linz sf: Vera 6-0 6-1

So Vera should be very confident going into this match, but of course it's not that simple, as Vera is playing in only her second Major quarter-final (the first was the French Open 2003), with a great chance to reach her first Major semi-final, so the pressure of expectation is on her.

Also, the Australian Open 2009 seems to be developing a reputation for overturning lopsided head to heads: Vera overturned a 1:5 head to head to beat Petrova, and Fernando Verdasco overturned a 0:5 head to head to beat Andy Murray.

Marion is a Selesian player (two hands both sides like Monica Seles) who takes the ball early and also has a very unorthodox serve (with a cocked wrist, and the way she puts her legs together and stands on tiptoes). She's an experimental player who is always adding and removing quirky features to and from her game, such as the energy-jumps she was doing before each serve in the summer of 2007. Her game has also been called chess-like (she is coached by her father, who is a keen chess-player).

Marion has looked overweight since 2006, but she's come into 2009 looking much leaner, fitter and more mobile.

Marion reached the Wimbledon 2007 final with a sensational upset of top seed Justine Henin in the semis. But she has struggled to scale such heights again, and had a deep slump in 2008, when she struggled with an energy-sapping virus that made it hard for her even to get out of bed.

Marion went 29:26 in 2008, with numerous first- and second-round losses. She had a four-match losing-streak from Rome to Birmingham, but looked revitalised as she stormed to the semi-finals of Eastbourne for the loss of 9 games in two matches - only to fall 6-4 6-1 to #69 Bethanie Mattek in the third round of Wimbledon, where she was defending her final.

Marion reached the final of Stanford and semi-finals of Montréal - both runs including victories over #8/#9 Anna Chakvetadze. She reached the fourth round of the US Open with a 6-1 7-6(3) over #24-ranked former champion Lindsay Davenport (most probably Davenport's last-ever match in a Major). After the US Open, she reverted to slump-mode, although she did battle through to the semi-finals of Linz before Vera thrashed her 6-0 6-1.

Marion began 2009 with a run to the Brisbane-final, albeit with a retirement from Amélie Mauresmo in the semis, and a 6-3 6-1 loss to #16 Victoria Azarenka in the final. Marion retired in the first round of Sydney, but has reached the quarter-finals of the Australian Open with the following results:
1r + Melanie South, 6-2 6-4
2r + Tsvetana Pironkova [DF], 7-5 6-2
3r + Lucie Šafářová [EF], 3-6 6-2 6-1
4r + JELENA JANKOVIĆ [1], 6-1 6-4

Lucie led Marion 6-3 2-0, but Lucie's brilliant game then disintegrated into unforced errors, and Marion won 12 of the last 13 games.

Then Marion was on fire against Janković, although it has to be said that the world #1 has been struggling with illness and adapting to a new, muscular body this month. From the highlights I've seen, Janković really allowed Marion to play well by allowing her [Marion] to force her [Janković] to hit short lobs that Marion hammered away for winners.

Marion will not have it so easy against Vera, because Vera's mobility and defence are much stronger than Janković's at the moment, given that Janković has lost her previously excellent movement in the muscular transformation of her body.

From what I've read about Vera's fourth-round win over Petrova - and the one point I've seen from that match - Vera is hitting the ball very sweetly, and even overpowered the powerful Petrova, against whom she had been 1:5 head to head!

I think Marion will find an on-form Vera a very different proposition from an off-form Janković!


4.1.1 Articles
--------------

2009 Australian Open - Nick's Picks - Women's Singles Quarter-finals
Nick Bollettieri (nickstennispicks.com)
>>>
Marion Bartoli (FRA) vs. Vera Zvonarëva (RUS)

Bartoli played near flawless tennis in the fourth round to eliminate top-seed Jelena Janković 6-1 6-4. The Frenchwoman has gone on runs like this before (see Wimbledon 2007), and when she does, she is quite difficult to beat. This is the first time she has been to the quarters of a Major since she reached the final of Wimbledon 2007, and previous to this year, she had never been past the second round Down Under.

Zvonarëva won the all-Russian match-up in the fourth round, eliminating Nadia Petrova 7-5 6-4. She only faced one break-point the entire match, while constantly putting the pressure on Petrova. Zvonarëva hasn't been to the quarters of a Major since the French Open in 2003.

The Match-Up:

Zvonarëva is 6:1 against Bartoli, and beat her three times in 2008. Bartoli was able to take the ball very early, and also capitalise on Janković's weak serve. I don't think that Zvonarëva will let Bartoli push her around like she did to Janković. Zvonarëva pounds the ball from both sides, and has a better serve that Janković, which will really help her against Bartoli. Not many people talk about Zvonarëva, but she is a very solid player and has a great deal of confidence right now. I look for this to be a close match, but I like Zvonarëva's chances.

Nick's Pick: Zvonarëva in 3 sets.
<<<

2009 Australian Open Quarter-finals Preview
Tania Tchea (www.onthebaseline.com (http://www.onthebaseline.com))
>>>
Marion Bartoli (FRA)[16] vs. Vera Zvonarëva (RUS)[7]

Marion outplayed Jelena Janković in their fourth-round match, winning 81% of points on her first serve, and aggressively attacking the Serb's second serve. This was an emphatic win as she conceded only five games.

Zvonarëva has progressed along nicely in her section of the draw, and will be looking to capitalise on her first time in the quarter-finals. The Bronze-medallist from the Beijing Olympics will look to rally with Bartoli from the baseline; however the Frenchwoman will be too strong for the Russian.

Marion Bartoli in 2 sets.
<<<

4.2 Dokić v Safina
------------------

I'd just like to freeze for a long time the moment that Jelena staggered into her first Major quarter-final since the French Open 2002 with an injured left ankle, and her tank near empty after four emotional three-set rollercoasters.

For Jelena's next opponent is the nightmarish Dinara Safina [3]: the Rosa Klebb of tennis, who loves to bully her opponents with intimidating, in-your-face body-language, and specialises in fighting back from the brink of defeat, as she did yet again in her fourth-round match against Alizé Cornet, who led *5-2 and *5-4 (40/15) in the third set!

Safina had a very impressive 2008: she won Berlin with wins over world #1 Justine Henin, #6 Serena Williams and #9 Elena Dementieva; she reached the French Open final with wins over new #1 Maria Sharapova and #8 Elena Dementieva - both after trailing a set and 2-5, and saving match-points - and #4 Svetlana Kuznetsova before losing to #2 Ana Ivanović. She also won titles at Montréal, Los Angeles and Tokyo, as well as the Olympic Silver Medal. Her win/loss record for 2008 was a staggering 55:20.

Safina started 2009 by reaching the Hopman Cup final with her brother Marat Safin - only to be thwarted by Slovak duo Dominika Cibulková and Dominik Hrbatý! Safina then reached the final of Sydney despite being unhappy with her form; she lost 6-3 2-6 6-1 to Dementieva in that final.

Safina has reached the quarter-finals here with the following results:
1r + Alla Kudryavtseva, 6-3 6-4
2r + Ekaterina Makarova, 6-7 (3/7) 6-3 6-0
3r + KAIA KANEPI [25], 6-2 6-2
4r + ALIZÉ CORNET [15], 6-2 2-6 7-5

Safina certainly hasn't been on her best form at the Australian Open 2009, but many people believe that she is now the favourite for the title after the early exits of Jelena Janković and Venus Williams, and the poor form of Serena Williams. I am not one of them. Objectively, I believe the champion will come from the bottom half of the draw, and will be Dementieva.

I must admit it will be very tough for Jelena, with her injured ankle and her empty tank. I can only hope that a day of rest will be enough to put up a good performance against Safina, and that Jelena's left ankle won't flare up after that nasty-looking slip!

BBC commentator Sam Smith said she would be amazed if Jelena could give Safina a competitive match, because it would take an incredible recovery: physically, mentally and emotionally. That's my worst fear; I just hope Jelena can rediscover the magic of the last two sets against Caroline Wozniacki in the third round, and then she might actually have a chance against Safina.

Jelena has played Safina once before: in the second round of Shanghai 2003, when Jelena was already in a deep slump, her confidence very low, and Safina was a 17-year-old ranked #66, and had already won two minor WTA singles-titles. Safina won 6-1 6-4.

Jelena: "I'm playing a girl that is two, three in the world, could be No.1 after this tournament, and is probably the favourite to win it at the moment. There will be no pressure on me. But I would like to see how I do against her."

Finally, Jelena's pariah father Damir has announced that if Jelena reaches the final, he will go to Melbourne (from Serbia) to watch her. That would be his right - and who could blame him for wanting to watch Jelena? - but I hope he keeps a low profile, because if he goes anywhere near Jelena, he'll probably end up seeing not so much the AO as an AVO! ;-)


4.2.1 Articles
--------------

2009 Australian Open - Nick's Picks - Women's Singles Quarter-finals
Nick Bollettieri (nickstennispicks.com)
>>>
Dinara Safina (RUS) vs. Jelena Dokić (AUS)

Safina came back from the brink of defeat two times against Alizé Cornet, fending off double match-point and eventually winning 6-2 2-6 7-5. In the third set, she was down 2-5* and 4-5* (15/40), but she didn't let Cornet win another game. This is the kind of thing that the best players in the world are capable of, but I am sure she doesn't want to go through that again!

Dokić needed over three hours to defeat Alisa Kleybanova 7-5 5-7 8-6 in front of her home-crowd. This has been an incredible run for Dokić, who came into the tournament ranked #187 (and was in the 600s two years ago), and win or lose against Safina, she is going to be back in the top 100.

The Match-Up:

Safina beat Dokić in their only match, but that was way back in 2003, so it doesn't have much bearing on this battle.

What Dokić has done in this tournament is incredible. She has come back a couple of times now, and has really used the crowd to inspire her play. Safina has also had a couple of extremely close calls, and needed some valiant efforts to advance. I just don't know how much gas is left in Dokić's tank. She has had to expend so much energy on winning her previous matches, and not having played much recently, I have to give the edge to Safina.

Nick's Pick: Safina in 3 sets.

P.S. If the crowd can get Safina a little frustrated, that could have a major impact on this match!
<<<

2009 Australian Open Quarter-finals Preview
Tania Tchea (www.onthebaseline.com (http://www.onthebaseline.com))
>>>
Dinara Safina (RUS)[3] vs. Jelena Dokić (AUS)

For Australian wild card Jelena Dokić, this has been a dream run to date. With all the drama in her life over the past few years, she has reignited her passion for tennis. This is Dokić's best Major result since the French Open 2002.

After a hard-fought match against Ivanović's conqueror Alisa Kleybanova in the previous round, Dokić finds Safina waiting for her in the next round. Dinara saved two match-points against Alizé Cornet, and will look to decrease her unforced-error count.

This may very well be her breakthrough Major, and despite Jelena being an excellent striker of the ball, the number-three seed should win. There will be plenty of fist-pumping in this battle – from the court and in the stands.

Dinara Safina in 2 sets.
<<<

------------------
5. Andrew's wishes (updated after Monday)
------------------
5.1 Semi-final wishes
---------------------

+ Jelena Dokić [WC,EF] d. VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF]
+ ELENA DEMENTIEVA [4] d. SERENA WILLIAMS [2]


5.2 Final-wish
---------------

+ Jelena Dokić [WC,EF] d. ELENA DEMENTIEVA [4]

-------------------------------
6. Women's Doubles: Third round
-------------------------------
6.1 Third-round results (Monday 26th January 2009)
-----------------------

+ (DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [EF]/AI SUGIYAMA)[9] d. Elena Vesnina/Ágnes Szávay, 6-1 6-2

- Lucie Šafářová [EF]/Galina Voskoboeva lt. Anna-Lena Grönefeld/Patty Schnyder, 6-4 7-6 (7/5) 3-6

- (VERA ZVONARËVA [EF]/VICTORIA AZARENKA)[13] lt. (CARA BLACK/LIEZEL HUBER)[1], walkover (Azarenka: dizziness and gastrointestinal illness)

- (MARIA KIRILENKO/FLAVIA PENNETTA)[7,DF] lt. (CASEY DELL'ACQUA/FRANCESCA SCHIAVONE)[12], walkover (Pennetta: right-foot bursitis)


6.2 Full quarter-final draw
---------------------------

* (DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [EF]/AI SUGIYAMA)[9] v (CARA BLACK/LIEZEL HUBER)[1]

* Nathalie Dechy/Mara Santangelo v (NURIA LLAGOSTERA VIVES/MARÍA JOSÉ MARTÍNEZ SÁNCHEZ)[11]

* (CASEY DELL'ACQUA/FRANCESCA SCHIAVONE)[12] v Anna-Lena Grönefeld/Patty Schnyder

* (HSIEH,SU-WEI/PENG,SHUAI)[16] v (SERENA WILLIAMS/VENUS WILLIAMS)[10]

------------------------------
7. Girls' Singles: First round
------------------------------

My selections only - the full draw is at:
http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/scores/draws/gs/


7.1 First-round results (Monday 26th January 2009)
-----------------------

What rocked:
+ NOPPAWAN LERTCHEEWAKARN [1,S] d. Fernanda Faria, 6-0 6-0
+ ELENA BOGDAN [4] d. Maryna Zanevska, 6-2 6-1
+ LAURA ROBSON [5] d. Christina McHale, 7-5 6-3

Robson - whose participation had been in doubt due to a stomach-muscle injury - had to recover from 3-5 in the first set, so it was a gutsy effort against a tough opponent: McHale was the USTA's wild card into the main draw of the Women's Singles.

What sucked:
- Monika Wejnert lt. Polina Rodionova, 5-7 2-6


7.2 Second-round draw
---------------------

* NOPPAWAN LERTCHEEWAKARN [1,S] v Quirine Lemoine (al-na Noppawan!)

* Anna Orlik v AKI YAMASOTO [10] (davai Anna!)

* ELENA BOGDAN [4] v Isabella Holland (hai Elena!)

* LAURA ROBSON [5] v Kanyapat Narattana (go Laura!)

* KSENIA PERVAK [3] v Eugenie Bouchard (davai Ksenia!)

* KRISTINA MLADENOVIĆ [7] v Mia Vriens (allez Kristina!)

----------------------------
8. Order of play for Tuesday
----------------------------

Rod Laver Arena: Day-session (start 11:00 AEDT = 00:00 GMT)
WD qf: (CASEY DELL'ACQUA/FRANCESCA SCHIAVONE)[12] v Anna-Lena Grönefeld/Patty Schnyder
|
(not before 12:30 AEDT = 01:30 GMT)
WS qf: VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF] v MARION BARTOLI [16,DF,S]
|
(not before 15:00 AEDT = 04:00 GMT)
MS qf: ANDY RODDICK [7] v NOVAK ÐOKOVIĆ [3]
|
Rod Laver Arena: Evening-session (start 19:30 AEDT = 08:30 GMT)
WS qf: Jelena Dokić [WC,EF] v DINARA SAFINA [3]
MS qf: JUAN MARTÍN DEL POTRO [8] v ROGER FEDERER [2]

The BBC has confirmed that it will be showing Jelena v Safina on the Red Button from 08:30 GMT! :D

Full order of play:
http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/scores/schedule/

--
Dr. Andrew Broad

andrewbroad
Jan 28th, 2009, 03:57 AM
===============
AUSTRALIAN OPEN (Melbourne, Australia; outdoor hard (Plexicushion); Major)
=============== http://www.australianopen.com/
Contents
--------

1. Photos / Videos
2. Quarter-final results
3. Quarter-final review: Zvonarëva v Bartoli
4. Quarter-final TV-report: Dokić v Safina
5. Articles about both of Tuesday's quarter-finals
6. Quarter-final draw: Bottom half
7. Semi-final draw: Top half
8. Andrew's wishes
9. Women's Doubles: Quarter-finals
10. Girls' Singles: Second round
11. Girls' Doubles

------------------
1. Photos / Videos
------------------
1.1 Photos
----------

Vera Zvonarëva (2 quarter-final photos added):
http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/players/overview/wta260142.html

Jelena Dokić (7 quarter-final photos added):
http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/players/related/wta040344.html

Jelena Dokić gallery (lots of old photos as well as AO 2009):
http://www.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/gallery/0,22056,5037117-5001023,00.html

Lucie Šafářová:
http://www.lucie-safarova.com/gallery/thumbnails.php?album=91

Recently updated since 21st January - loads of photos including Jelena Dokić, Vera Zvonarëva, Daniela Hantuchová, Ana Ivanović, Gisela Dulko, Marion Bartoli, Caroline Wozniacki, Alizé Cornet, Sabine Lisicki, Peng,Shuai, Elena Dementieva, Victoria Azarenka, Alisa Kleybanova and Carla Suárez Navarro:
http://www.tennis.com/photogallery/photogallery.aspx

Monday's fourth-round players added, including Dominika Cibulková, Elena Dementieva, Zheng,Jie, Victoria Azarenka, Anabel Medina Garrigues and Carla Suárez Navarro:
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/2/photogallery/?Event=melbourne_r4

Tuesday's players, including Jelena Dokić, Vera Zvonarëva, Daniela Hantuchová and Marion Bartoli:
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/2/photogallery/?Event=melbourne_qf_finals

Marion Bartoli and Elena Dementieva off court:
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/2/photogallery/?Event=melbourne_week2

Tuesday's players including Jelena Dokić, Vera Zvonarëva, Daniela Hantuchová, Marion Bartoli and Laura Robson:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/7852626.stm
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/tennis/4356734/Australian-Open-Day-nine.html

Search-list for Tuesday:
zvonareva
dokic
hantuchova
bartoli


1.2 Videos
----------

http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/2/multimedia/default_video.asp
- Day 9 Highlights: Zvonarëva v Bartoli
- Night 9 Highlights: Dokić v Safina

------------------------
2. Quarter-final results (Tuesday 27th January 2009)
------------------------

Nice winner, nice loser:
+ VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF] d. MARION BARTOLI [16,DF,S], 6-3 6-0

Beauty and the beast:
- Jelena Dokić [WC,EF] lt. DINARA SAFINA [3], 4-6 6-4 4-6

--------------------------------------------
3. Quarter-final review: Zvonarëva v Bartoli (Tuesday 27th January 2009)
--------------------------------------------

+ VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF] d. MARION BARTOLI [16,DF,S], 6-3 6-0

Another stunning performance by Vera to extend her ownership of Marion to 7:1. Marion led 3-1*, but then lost every single game left in the match as she wilted in the extreme heat.

Marion described Vera as follows: "She's almost like a ball-machine: she just puts it back at you all the time with interest."

The match was second on Rod Laver Arena (following a doubles-match), so it would have been played in the Australian mid-afternoon, while I was sleeping in England.

Vera and Marion both agreed that Vera could go all the way here. Well, I think Vera would have been licking her lips if she saw how badly Dinara Safina played against an exhausted Jelena Dokić: Vera has a golden opportunity to reach the final, but she'd certainly have a tough opponent in the final (most probably Elena Dementieva, though we all know what Serena Williams is capable of doing at the Australian Open in odd-numbered years).


3.1 Statistics
--------------

The match lasted 1h09m (first set 38m, second set 31m).

Vera had a W:UE ratio of 17:17, while Marion's was a disastrous 9:26. They were actually very similar in the first set (Vera 7:15, Marion 6:15), but in the second set, Vera's was 10:2 to Marion's 3:10.

Vera got only 52% of her first serves in (dipping from 59% in the first set to 40% in the second), winning 74% of the points when she did so, and a healthy 57% on second serve (her winning-percentages improved from (65%, 50%) for the first set to (100%, 67%) for the second).

Marion got 63% of her first serves in, but her winning-percentages were very poor: 50% on her first serve, 25% on second serve. All three percentages were very similar when comparing the two sets.

Vera had the bigger first serve: fastest 107-106 mph, average 100-95 mph. Marion's second serve was slightly faster than Vera's on average: 85-83 mph.

They each served one ace; Vera served 3 double faults to Marion's 4 (all 7 of their double faults came in the first set).

Vera broke 6 times from 13 BPs (3 from 7 in the first set, 3 from 6 in the second), while Marion had just 4 BPs (all in the first set): converting two of them.

Vera won 10 of 12 points at the net (83%) - including a perfect 7 of 7 in the second set - while Marion won just 3 of 10 (30%).

In points, Vera won 61-37 (first set 33-25, second set 28-12).


3.2 Vera's quarter-final press-conference
-----------------------------------------

Source: www.australianopen.com (http://www.australianopen.com)

Q. You were down 3-1, and then you reeled off 11 consecutive games. What happened?

VERA ZVONARËVA: I don't know what happened. But I really thought Marion was playing really well in the beginning and I made a few unforced errors, so that's why I think I was down 3-1.

Then I was able to cut down on my unforced errors, and I was able to keep a good level of play throughout the whole match. I think it made the difference.

Q. Yet to drop a set. Is this the best you've played in a tournament?

VERA ZVONARËVA: I don't know. I'm not really thinking about the scores or sets, or any statistics. I'm just trying to concentrate on every match, and trying my best in every match. And I think I've been doing pretty good so far.

Q. Your semi-final opponent plays tonight. You played today in the heat. Is that unfair?

VERA ZVONARËVA: I don't think there is something unfair. It's a schedule. I think I played good my match, and hopefully they will have a good match tonight.

Q. Will you be watching tonight?

VERA ZVONARËVA: I think a little bit. I might watch, come here and watch a little bit.

Q. How do you think Jelena [Dokić] will go against Dinara [Safina]?

VERA ZVONARËVA: I don't know. I think it's going to be very tough and a very interesting match [good answer!]. All players are very tough in the quarter-finals, so you never know what's gonna happen out there.

I hope they will have a good match. I'm really looking to my semi-final.

Q. Seems to be a very open tournament. Have you thought about the possibility of winning it?

VERA ZVONARËVA: You know, if I'm coming for the tournament, I'm pretty confident in myself. If I'm in the tournament, I'm here to try to win it.

But I'm really concentrating on every match. For me, it doesn't really matter what's happening around any other matches. I just try to concentrate on myself as much as possible, try to improve match to match, because I know I need it.

That's why I'm just looking forward for the next one, not thinking about anything else.

Q. Marion's take on today was that you just played amazing tennis; it was all down to you. Is that how you saw it, or were you surprised you didn't get a better fight?

VERA ZVONARËVA: No, I think I played very good tennis. I think Marion been playing very good as well, but I was able to play [a] very clean match today. I think that's what made the difference.

Like I said: in the beginning, I made a few unforced errors, and I was down because Marion wasn't giving me any opportunities. And as soon as I was able to play a very, very clean match - and it's happening not that often - and I'm very satisfied about it today.

Q. How tough is it to keep playing at that level? Is it difficult to retain your concentration in that situation?

VERA ZVONARËVA: I think it always looks much easier from the side. It was very tough and very close. I think every point, we both were fighting as hard as we can. It's just [that] today, it happened [that] I was able to be a little bit better than her.

But we'll see what's gonna happen in the next match.


3.3 Articles
------------

Zvonarëva storms into semi-finals [CEEFAX 490->492]
>>>
Seventh seed Vera Zvonarëva made short work of France's Marion Bartoli to reach the Australian Open semi-finals.

The Russian took time to settle against the 16th seed, and was broken twice as she trailed 1-3 in the first set.

But Bartoli's game then completely fell apart, and Zvonarëva's agility around the court saw her reel off 11 games in a row to claim an amazing victory.

Third seed Dinara Safina takes on home-hope Jelena Dokić later on Tuesday, with the winner meeting Zvonarëva.
<<<

Russian Zvonarëva breezes into semi [Teletext 495->497]
>>>
Zvonarëva into first semi [Teletext 497]

Vera Zvonarëva produced a superb performance as she saw off Marion Bartoli at Melbourne Park to reach her first Major semi-final.

Bartoli started well and led the Russian 3-1 in the opening set, but the seventh seed then won the next 11 straight games for a 6-3 6-0 victory.

The 24-year-old will meet either third seed Dinara Safina or Australian Jelena Dokić for a place in the final.
<<<>>>
Russian: I had to improve [Teletext 497]

Vera Zvonarëva admitted she had needed to transform her display in the first set of her quarter-final triumph over Marion Bartoli at Melbourne Park.

The Russian seventh seed was down 1-3 in the opening set, but won 11 straight games as she recorded a 6-3 6-0 win.

She said: "I thought Marion was playing really well in the beginning. Then I was able to cut down on my unforced errors, and it made the difference."
<<<>>>
Bartoli hails Russian [Teletext 497]

Marion Bartoli has backed Vera Zvonarëva's title-credentials after losing to the Russian in Melbourne.

French 16th seed Bartoli, who had beaten world No.1 Jelena Janković in the last round, fell to a 6-3 6-0 defeat in their quarter-final clash.

She said: "If she keeps playing like this, she can definitely win this tournament. She's almost like a ball-machine. She played unbelievably well."
<<<

Zvonarëva first to final four
By Tom Kelly (www.australianopen.com (http://www.australianopen.com))
>>>
World No.7 Vera Zvonarëva has powered through to the semi-finals of the Australian Open 2009, reeling off the last 11 games of the match to dispatch Marion Bartoli 6-3 6-0 in their quarter-final on Tuesday.

Seemingly unable to handle both the heat on court and the heat of Zvonarëva's groundstrokes, 16th seed Bartoli looked a different player to the one who beat world No.1 Jelena Janković in the fourth round.

Three breaks of serve started the match: the Frenchwoman playing safer from the back of the court, and initially making fewer errors.

However, at 3-1 up and looking to have set up a decisive lead, Bartoli's game began to crack as Zvonarëva tightened her own.

The 24-year-old Russian – a first-round loser here last year [she retired with an ankle-injury] – levelled scores at 3-3, powering through the next three to wrap up the set with a clean winner.

Bartoli's serve was broken again in the first game of the second, and her resolve seemingly followed soon after.

As the set progressed, the Frenchwoman wilted in the heat, errors flowing off her racquet with alarming regularity.

On the other side of the net, Zvonarëva could sense her impending maiden Major semi-final; she moved her opponent around the court, committing just two unforced errors for the set.

The Muscovite now awaits the winner of Jelena Dokić and Dinara Safina tonight, and should be confident that she can make her maiden Major final after winning her last three matches against the World No.3 and her only encounter with the Australian.

Quick facts:

* Zvonarëva served at just 49%, but won 74% of points when her first serve was successful.

* The Russian had 17 winners and 17 unforced errors; Bartoli had just nine winners and made 26 unforced errors.

* Zvonarëva converted six of her 13 break-point opportunities, while Bartoli capitalised on two of her four break-point chances.

* The second set, where Bartoli won just 12 points, lasted 30 minutes.
<<<

Business as usual for red-hot Russian
By Tom Kelly (www.australianopen.com (http://www.australianopen.com))
>>>
Trying conditions, as Marion Bartoli learned today, are often as challenging to overcome as the player on the other side of the net.

After surrendering meekly in her quarter-final against Vera Zvonarëva on Tuesday, the No.16 seed was keen to make a point in her post-match press-conference.

"It was quite, quite hot. I have to say it was definitely some tough condition... I don't think it's really fair to have one quarter-final played at 1:00 - right in the middle of the heat - and one playing at 7:30. But I guess that's the way it is."

The conditions, with temperatures rising to 35°C in Melbourne on Tuesday, were less of a problem for Zvonarëva.

"I don't think there is something unfair," the Russian said. "It's a schedule. I think I played good my match, and hopefully they [Dinara Safina and Jelena Dokić] will have a good match tonight.

"I think it's going to be [a] very tough and a very interesting match. All players are very tough in the quarter-finals, so you never know what's gonna happen out there."

Business as usual – that's the line being toed by the world No.7.

Despite a 2008 in which she re-established herself in the top 10 – winning two titles and making the final of the season-ending WTA Tour Championships – Zvonarëva still slips under the radar.

And that's the way she likes it.

"I'm not really thinking about the scores or sets, or any statistics. I'm just trying to concentrate on every match, and trying my best in every match," she said.

"For me, it doesn't really matter what's happening around any other matches. I just try to concentrate on myself as much as possible; try to improve match to match, because I know I need it.

"That's why I'm just looking forward for the next one - not thinking about anything else.

"If I'm in the tournament, I'm here to try to win it."

Indeed, Zvonarëva has a golden opportunity to make her first Major final, even if she is unwilling to think that far ahead.

Importantly, the Muscovite's run to the Tour Championships final – where she lost but took a set off champion Venus Williams – included three wins over top-five opponents [four over top-seven opponents].

It's no surprise, then, that she has achieved her best Major showing in her very next tournament played for ranking-points.

After starting slowly against Bartoli, Zvonarëva's all-court game kicked into gear: the No.7 seed reeling off the last 11 games of the match.

"I was able to play [a] very clean match today. I think that's what made the difference... in the beginning, I made a few unforced errors and I was down, because Marion wasn't giving me any opportunities.

"It was very tough and very close. I think every point, we both were fighting as hard as we can.

"It's just [that] today, it happened [that] I was able to be a little bit better than her."
<<<

Zvonarëva Cruises, Makes First Major Semi-final
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=2928
>>>
History definitely repeated itself on Tuesday, as Vera Zvonarëva continued to dominate her head-to-head with Marion Bartoli with a runaway 6-3 6-0 win in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open. Zvonarëva now advances to her first Major singles semi-final.

Their respective round-of-16 matches made it seem like No.16 seed Bartoli was perhaps in stronger form, as she hit nearly twice as many winners as unforced errors to upset top seed and world No.1 Jelena Jankovic in straight sets: 6-1 6-4. Meanwhile, the No.7-seeded Zvonarëva was struggling past No.10 seed Nadia Petrova, although she did edge her compatriot in two sets: 7-5 6-4.

Zvonarëva had won six of her seven career-encounters against Bartoli, however, and in Melbourne, she improved that to seven of eight with the aforementioned 69-minute rout, losing her serve twice early in the first set, but winning 11 straight games from 1-3 down to steamroll past her bewildered French opponent.

"I don't know what happened - I thought Marion was playing really well in the beginning, but I was able to cut down on my unforced errors and keep a good level of play throughout the rest of the match," Zvonarëva said. "I was able to play a very, very clean match today. That's what made the difference."

"She just played unbelievably well; she barely missed a ball after that," Bartoli said of the 11-game streak. "I was hitting as hard as I could, but she was always coming back with some better shots. Even when she was scrambling, she was putting the ball just 10 centimetres from the baseline. She was reading my game like a book. She was just too good - just better than me today."

For a player who has spent as much time ranked inside the world's top ten as Zvonarëva, it may come as somewhat of a shock that this was only her second Major singles quarter-final, having reached the final eight at the French Open once - nearly five years ago in 2003. But her form over the last year has hinted at a major breakthrough for the 24-year-old Muscovite, as she worked her way from outside the top twenty all the way to No.7 by year's end, winning two WTA Tour titles and reaching another six finals, including at the season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships. Nobody else reached eight finals in 2008.

Bartoli can only take positives away from Melbourne. She battled past tough opponents in her early rounds - including rallying from 3-6 0-2 down against former Australian Open quarter-finalist Lucie Šafářová in the third round - and notched her second win over a world No.1 against Jankovic - her first also coming at a Major, having beaten Justine Henin in the semi-finals of Wimbledon two years ago. She had never passed the second round previously here, either.

The second semi-final was scheduled for the evening-session, pitting No.3 seed Dinara Safina against wildcard Jelena Dokić.
<<<

Zvonarëva crushes Bartoli to reach semi-finals (Reuters)
By Julian Linden (editing by John O'Brien and Pritha Sarkar)
>>>
Vera Zvonarëva reached the semi-finals of a Major for the first time in her career after she won 11 games in a row to demolish Marion Bartoli 6-3 6-0 at the Australian Open on Tuesday.

Frenchwoman Bartoli made a bright enough start to open up a 3-1 lead in the first set, but she was unable to cope with the Russian's power when she suddenly raised her game.

Seventh seed Zvonarëva went on to register an easy victory in just 68 minutes with a performance that even she was unable to explain.

"I don't know what happened," Zvonarëva said.

"Marion was playing really well in the beginning and I made a few unforced errors, so that's why I think I was down 3-1.

"Then I was able to cut down on my unforced errors, and I was able to keep a good level of play throughout the whole match."

Zvonarëva is one of four Russians still in contention for the title, and will meet her compatriot Dinara Safina in the last four [this was a pretty arrogant assumption at the time this article was published!], ensuring there will be at least one Russian in the women's final for the third year running at Melbourne Park [Maria Sharapova was runner-up in 2007 and won in 2008].

Despite being a consistent top-ten player, Zvonarëva has a modest record at the Majors, and the only time previous time she had made it past the fourth round was at the French Open 2003, when she made the quarter-finals.

MAJOR CONTENDER

However, the 24-year-old has been in career-best form in Melbourne this year, winning all of her matches in straight sets, to emerge as a contender for the first Major of the year.

"I'm pretty confident in myself. If I'm in the tournament, I'm here to try to win it," she said.

"I think I played very good tennis. I think Marion's been playing very good as well, but I was able to play a very clean match today. That's what made the difference."

Bartoli - a Wimbledon-finalist two years ago - had also been in great touch this past week, beating world number-one Jelena Janković in the fourth round.

The 16th seed is recognised as one of the hardest hitters in women's tennis, but admitted she had no answer to Zvonarëva's power.

"I don't think I put in a bad performance," Bartoli said. "She was just coming [up] every time with a better shot to my shot.

"Sometimes you have to accept [that] someone is just better than you.

"She just played unbelievably well. It seemed like she was reading my game like a book.

"If she keeps playing like this, she can definitely win this tournament."

Like Novak Đoković in the men's tournament, Bartoli also mentioned struggling in the Melbourne-heat.

"I have to say it was definitely some tough conditions," she said.

"It was really hot. I don't think it's really fair to have one quarter-final played at 1:00 - right in the middle of the heat - and one playing at 7:30pm. But I guess that's the way it is."

Zvonarëva is one of four Russian women still in contention for the title, and will face either countrywoman Dinara Safina or Australia's Jelena Dokić in Thursday's semi-finals.
<<<

I can win it, says ice-cool Zvonarëva after Bartoli-blowout (AFP)
>>>
On Tuesday, Russian seventh seed Vera Zvonarëva coolly declared herself ready to win the Australian Open after crushing France's Marion Bartoli in searing conditions to reach the semi-finals.

The 23-year-old blew 16th seed Bartoli off court in a one-sided 6-3 6-0 drubbing, rattling off 11 straight games after going down 1-3 in the first set, as her opponent Bartoli wilted in the hot conditions.

The Russian maintained her ominous form at this year's tournament to reach her first Major semi-final in 25 attempts in emphatic fashion.

Far from being overawed at advancing so far, Zvonarëva immediately turned up the heat on her rivals by declaring herself ready to join the élite group of Major winners.

"If I'm coming for the tournament, I'm pretty confident in myself," she said. "If I'm in the tournament, I'm here to try to win it."

Bartoli agreed that Zvonarëva could go all the way here, where she is yet to drop a set, and has held her opponents to 6-0 in four of the ten sets she has contested.

"She's almost like a ball-machine: she just puts it back at you all the time with interest," the Frenchwoman said.

"There is not any weakness into her game [that] I can find. She's serving well, moving well, hitting the ball well. Of course she can win this tournament."

The ease with which Zvonarëva handled the heat - which left Bartoli bent double and sucking for breath - may also count in her favour as the tournament advances, with heatwave-conditions forecast at Melbourne Park this week.

"I like it when it's warm, so it's perfect for me," she said.

The heat meant Bartoli - a Wimbledon-finalist in 2007 - could not repeat the aggressive game-plan with which she thrashed world number-one Jelena Janković in the fourth round.

Her all-out attack worked early as she scored two breaks [to one] to go up 3-1 in the first set, but proved too draining over the course of the match.

Bartoli initially succeeded in keeping the points short, taking advantage of a Zvonarëva double fault and a rash of unforced errors from the Russian to go up a break in the first game.

Zvonarëva broke back in the next, but Bartoli left her stranded with a lob to regain the advantage.

By this time, Bartoli was covering her head with a towel between games to provide some relief from the heat, and Zvonarëva began moving her around the court.

The 23-year-old Frenchwoman surrendered the advantage three games later, committing two double faults and allowing Zvonarëva to level the set at 3-3.

The Russian, who took a 6:1 winning-record against Bartoli into the match, never looked back, and her penetrating groundstrokes finally began to find their mark.

She gained the upper hand with another break to go up 5-3, sending down her first ace of the match in the next as she went on to serve out the set after 38 minutes.

The conditions took their toll on Bartoli in the second set, and Zvonarëva moved her around the court, breaking her three times as she raced to a 6-0 win in just 30 minutes.
<<<

Zvonarëva dominant in QF win against Bartoli (TENNIS.com)
>>>
The 24-year-old Russian's best performance in six previous trips to Melbourne was the fourth round — she'd gone out in the first round at the Australian Open three times, including last year. She also reached the quarter-finals at the 2003 French Open.

Seventh-seeded Zvonarëva rallied from an opening service-break to dominate Bartoli in the remainder of the match.

"I'm very excited about it," said Zvonarëva, who cut her unforced errors from 15 in the first set to two in the second. "I think it was a great day for me."

She's had four 6-0 sets out of the 10 in her five straight-sets wins.

"I'm not really thinking about the scores or sets or any statistics," she said. "I'm just trying to concentrate on every match and trying my best. And I think I've been doing pretty good so far."

Bartoli, seeded 16th, had ousted top-ranked Jelena Janković in the fourth round.

"I think she played just unbelievably well," Bartoli said of the last 11 games. "She barely missed one ball after that. I was hitting as hard as I could. She was always coming back with some better shots."
<<<

Vera Sweeps Into Semis (Tennis Week)
>>>
Marion Bartoli crashed the Australian Open quarter-final party with a bold and bruising baseline-attack to bounce World No.1 Jelena Janković out of the draw.

But the sound and fury Bartoli brought to the court in the fourth round was strangely absent today as Vera Zvonarëva served as a tennis mute-button in silencing the former Wimbledon-finalist with the ease of a woman pressing all the right buttons.

Down an early break, Zvonarëva won 11 straight games to blow Bartoli away 6-3 6-0 and storm into her first career Major semi-final in her 25th career Major-tournament appearance.

The seventh-ranked Russian is playing with the confidence of a woman who fully believes she can reach the final and take the title, and why not? Zvonarëva is the only player who has yet to drop a set in the women's draw, and delivered her fourth shutout-set in five matches.

"If I'm coming for the tournament, I'm pretty confident in myself. If I'm in the tournament, I'm here to try to win it," Zvonarëva said. "But I'm really concentrating on every match. For me, it doesn't really matter what's happening around any other matches. I just try to concentrate on myself as much as possible, try to improve match to match because I know I need it. That's why I'm just looking forward for the next one - not thinking about anything else."

She has made a believer of Bartoli, who pronounced the Moscow-native capable of taking home the title.

"I think if she keeps playing like this, she can definitely win this tournament," Bartoli said. "She's really consistent out of the baseline. As I said, she's almost like a ball-machine. She just puts it back at you all the time, you know, with interest. There is not any weakness into her game [that] I can find. She's serving well, moving well, hitting the ball well. Of course she can win this tournament."

The mere sight of Zvonarëva across the net seems to vaporise Bartoli's resistence. Zvonarëva had lost just three sets to the Frenchwoman in winning six of their seven career-clashes. Though Bartoli won three of the first four games, she found herself being pushed behind the baseline by the depth of Zvonarëva's drives.

Competing with more intensity, Zvonarëva consistently caught the corners with crisp crosscourt shots that began to elude the restricted reach of Bartoli, who plays with two hands off both forehand and backhand.

Zvonarëva cracked an ace to reach set-point, and collected the 38-minute first set on a Bartoli backhand error.

The match was essentially over at that point as Bartoli - who spent some time between points leaning on her racquet as if it was a crutch keeping her upright - increasingly withered as on-court temperatures soared higher and hotter.

"I think she's just the better player. That's it," a blunt Bartoli said. "At a point, you have to admit when someone just plays better than you. I think she plays better than me on today. I don't know about the whole year, but today she just played better. I don't think I put a bad performance, but I think she was serving better in second serve than Jelena [Janković] was doing two days ago. I didn't have the same look at the same ball. I couldn't attack it the same way. She was moving faster. She was just coming every time with a better shot to my shot. You have to accept sometimes [that] someone is just better than you."

Zvonarëva broke to open the second set, and held at 15 to consolidate. Bending her knees to get down to a flat drive from Bartoli, Zvonarëva turned her hips into an inside-out forehand winner to collect her fourth consecutive service-break.

Running to her right, Zvonarëva curled a running forehand crosscourt winner to break for 5-0. A backhand winner down the line concluded a clinical and brutally efficient effort from Zvonarëva, who closed with a clenched fist and quick wave to all four corners of the court.

It's a career-milestone for the sensitive Moscow-native, but it was mild celebration. That may be because Zvonarëva is well aware that she's got more work to do and, more importantly, she knows she's capable of finishing off the job.

Zvonarëva will play the winner of tonight's quarter-final between third-ranked Dinara Safina and the resurgent Jelena Dokić. Zvonarëva has swept Safina three times in a row — all three wins were on hard courts last season — and is 1:0 against the 187th-ranked Dokić in a match played more than five years ago.
<<<

------------------------------------------
4. Quarter-final TV-report: Dokić v Safina (Tuesday 27th January 2009)
------------------------------------------

- Jelena Dokić [WC,EF] lt. DINARA SAFINA [3], 4-6 6-4 4-6

It went much better than I feared after Jelena had staggered into the last eight with an injured left ankle (of which there was no sign in this match, although her right Achilles' tendon was still bandaged) and an empty tank.

I must admit that Safina's form was awful - especially in the second set - and she won only because Jelena was exhausted after four emotional three-set victories. That said, they both played much better in the third set, as Jelena seemed to find extra energy with the end in sight - it's amazing that she could look so exhausted in the first two sets but not in the third!

On the evening of an extremely hot day, Safina was sweating buckets, while Jelena glistened sexily.


Jelena went *0-2 down at the start, which I think was more about not being warmed up (she didn't practise on Monday) than exhaustion. But she settled nicely to hold serve twice, then broke back for *3-3! She saved two break-points before holding for 4-3*.

Safina was getting tight and sloppy by this stage, allowing Jelena to control the play from the centre of the baseline, rather than spreading her to test her energy and footwork.

Jelena lost the last three games of the first set with sloppy tennis as her energy dipped and Safina began to use the width of the court better to exploit that. By the end of the set, Jelena looked exhausted, mishitting shot after shot (especially on her backhand).


In the second set, however, Jelena came through a tough opening service-game, then made Safina pay for an awful service-game, to break for *2-0. A game of six deuces followed, in which Jelena saved four break-points before holding for 3-0*. She still looked exhausted, but Safina was playing so terribly that Vera Zvonarëva must have been licking her lips!

Safina held to love, then broke back for 3-2*. Jelena looked exhausted even when she broke for *4-2, but then played a brilliant game to recover from 15/30 and hold for 5-2*!

Safina held to love, then broke back for *4-5 - playing much better in those two games - but handed the second set to Jelena with a chain-reaction of double faults: four in that game, including a quadruple fault for the last two points.


Jelena put up an honourable performance in her fifth third set of the tournament, after it started badly for her with a break in the first game and a wasted break-point in a game of four deuces as Safina held for 2-0*.

Jelena played a nice game to hold for 1-2*, and hit a brilliant forehand winner down the line as she held for 2-3*. Another break-point went begging: Jelena looked very disappointed as Safina held for 4-2*, but held for 3-4* with an ace that she had to challenge to show that it was in.

Jelena hit a flairsome crosscourt backhand winner to break back for *4-4, prompting me to entertain - for the first time /realistically/ - thoughts of a mouthwatering Jelena v Vera semi-final on the Rod Laver Arena evening-session = televised on BBC on Thursday!

Sadly it was not to be, as Jelena was broken for 4-5* after three deuces - blasting a wild forehand very long, and looking close to tears at the changeover.

Jelena had two break-points to save the match as Safina served for it at *5-4 (15/40), but Safina saved them like a champion: one with a pinpoint forehand down the line, the other with an ace. Then Safina had match-point, and after three failed attempts to get the ball into play (caught toss + let + fault), Jelena netted a forehand to end her Melbourne-fairytale.


For an hour or two after the match, I felt as disappointed as I do whenever Maria Sharapova loses at Wimbledon. If Jelena had lost 6-4 6-4, I just would have been delighted with her tournament-performance, but what really hurts is that I could sense victory - and the irresistable prize of a BBC-televised Jelena v Vera semi-final - at *4-4 in the third, when Jelena had the momentum after fighting back from *2-4.

But the bottom line is that Jelena is finally back for real, after so many false dawns of a comeback in the last four years. It's amazing how she has gone from being a brilliant 19-year-old to a brilliant 25-year-old with nothing in between!

If Jelena steers clear of serious injury, I don't see why she shouldn't play at this level - and hopefully even higher - for another four years or so, because she hits her groundstrokes so sweetly (with flairsome power and pinpoint precision), has beautiful footwork, is very strong mentally now that she's back in the right head-space, and is a more mature competitor than before: able to play safely as well as brilliantly.

I'll post my full TV-report at a later date.

--------------------------------------------------
5. Articles about both of Tuesday's quarter-finals
--------------------------------------------------

Safina, Zvonarëva advance to semis at Australian Open (PA SportsTicker)
>>>
Jelena Dokić's dream run at the Australian Open ended on Tuesday.

The Australian Dokić endured a 6-4 4-6 6-4 setback against third-seeded Russian Dinara Safina during their quarter-final match at Rod Laver Arena.

Dokić - a wild-card entry who was ranked 187th in the world and on the comeback-trail after battling depression and family-issues - gave it her all in front of a patriotic crowd.

But, after so little tennis at this level, and carrying an ankle-injury suffered late in her fourth-round win against Alisa Kleybanova, she eventually was ousted by Safina.

"I have really fought well this week," Dokić said. "I have no regrets. I just would like to keep it going... It's been a great start to 2009. I couldn't have asked for anything more."

The 22-year-old Safina next will face Vera Zvonarëva in the semi-finals after her seventh-seeded compatriot cruised to a 6-3 6-0 victory over France's Marion Bartoli - the 16th seed - earlier on Tuesday.

Safina admitted that the partisan crowd was a factor.

"It was not easy to play, you know, having the whole crowd against you," said Safina, who reached her first Major final at the French Open last spring. "Because when you have the whole crowd behind you whenever you do a great shot, they pump you, and then it makes you go for more and more.

"When you make a great shot and basically only my box is clapping for me, that's tough."

Dokić's march to the quarter-finals has been the story of the tournament, and her determination, attitude, and apologies for past behaviour - which was largely influenced by her estranged father Damir - have won back the hearts of her adopted nation.

In a gripping match, Dokić lost a tight first set 6-4, but bounced back immediately in the second to break the big-hitting Russian and take a 3-0 lead.

Safina, who recorded 11 double faults in the match, held serve to love and broke back, only to lose her next service-game en route to a 2-5 deficit.

Although she broke again in the ninth game, it was not enough, and a double fault handed Dokić - who hit a number of sublime winners down the line - the second set.

It was more of the same in the third, as Dokić failed to hold serve in the opening game, but took the Russian to four deuces in the next before Safina finally closed it out for a 2-0 lead.

Both players' error-counts continued to mount, but the games went with serve until the eighth, when a backhand winner by Dokić evened the set at 4-4.

It was short-lived, though, as another lengthy game, in which Dokić saved three break-points, finally went Safina's way, and she wrapped up the match when Dokić found the net.

"I played well with a girl who's number three in the world today," Dokić said. "I can still really take positives out of today, even though some of the points and the shots that I played at some stages of the match were maybe not right."

Zvonarëva trailed 1-3 in the first set of her match against Bartoli, but rallied to win 11 straight games, needing just over an hour to forge the victory in straight sets.

The result was all the more impressive after Bartoli had completely outplayed top-seeded Jelena Janković in the fourth round.

Bartoli started well and broke serve in the third game of the first set, but Zvonarëva battled back, evening the match at 3-3 after coming out on top of a fine rally.

The 24-year-old then won the next three games to claim the first set in 38 minutes before maintaining her momentum in the second set to breeze to victory.
<<<

Dokić-dream ends (Reuters)
By Ossian Shine (editing by Pritha Sarkar)
>>>
"Aussie Jelena" Dokić was given every chance to again thrill home-fans, having been scheduled on the cool night-session, but her dream-run ended 6-4 4-6 6-4 at the hands of Dinara Safina.

BIG BROTHER

Dokić's emotionally-charged run at Melbourne Park had captured the imagination of her adopted homeland, but her luck finally ran out against the in-form Safina.

The third-seeded Russian advanced to her third Major semi-final in eight months, and stayed on course to emulate big brother Marat Safin by winning the Australian Open.

"I'm so sorry for beating [an] Australian tonight," Safina told the crowd during a courtside interview. "I hope you will be behind me next time."

Dokić, who is ranked 187th in the world and beat three seeded players just to get to the quarter-finals, remained upbeat.

"Of course I'm disappointed," she said. "But there are more positives than negatives. It's been a great start to 2009; I couldn't have asked for anything more."

Safina next meets fellow Russian and seventh seed Vera Zvonarëva after she eased into the women's semi-finals with victory over Marion Bartoli.

The Frenchwoman also wilted during the 6-3 6-0 thrashing.

"I have to say it was definitely some tough conditions," she told reporters. It was really hot."
<<<

Exhausted Đoković out as Safina ends Dokić dream-run (AFP)
>>>
An exhausted Novak Đoković surrendered his Australian Open title on Tuesday when he withdrew from the quarter-finals, while Dinara Safina ended the dream-run of Australia's Jelena Dokić.

Safina overcame dogged resistence from Dokić to win 6-4 4-6 6-4 and end her comeback-tournament after years of depression following the antics of her infamous father Damir.

She will now meet seventh seeded compatriot Vera Zvonarëva for a place in the final, after the Russian coolly disposed of France's Marion Bartoli 6-3 6-0.

"I'm sorry I had to defeat your Australian," Safina told the highly patriotic crowd afterwards. "I hope that you will be behind me next time."

Dokić was philosophical about the defeat.

"I played three sets with the number-three player in the world, so everything is positive," said the former world number-four.

"I've had a great tournament. It's a little bit disappointing: I had some chances. But sometimes things go your way, and sometimes they don't."

Bartoli felt the effects of the searing heat in her match against Zvonarëva, often bending double and sucking for breath.

She started strongly, but rapidly wilted in a one-sided drubbing to a player who is now in her first Major semi-final in 25 attempts.

Zvonarëva declared herself ready to win the tournament.

"If I'm coming for the tournament, I'm pretty confident in myself," she said. "If I'm in the tournament, I'm here to try to win it."

Bartoli agreed that Zvonarëva could go all the way here, where she is yet to drop a set.

"She's almost like a ball-machine: she just puts it back at you all the time with interest," the Frenchwoman said.
<<<

Zvonarëva cruises into tennis semis as Safina toughs it out (AFP)
>>>
Russian Vera Zvonarëva coolly took apart France's Marion Bartoli on Tuesday to reach the Australian Open semi-finals, while compatriot Dinara Safina almost imploded before overcoming wildcard Jelena Dokić.

Zvonarëva - seeded seventh - showed no sign of discomfort in searing conditions at Melbourne Park, blowing 16th seed Bartoli off court in a one-sided 6-3 6-0 drubbing.

The 24-year-old maintained her ominous form at this year's tournament, rattling off 11 straight games after going down 1-3 in the first set, to reach her first Major semi-final in 25 attempts in emphatic fashion.

Far from being overawed at advancing so far, Zvonarëva immediately turned up the heat on her rivals by declaring herself ready to join the élite group of Major winners.

"If I'm coming for the tournament, I'm pretty confident in myself," she said. "If I'm in the tournament, I'm here to try to win it."

Bartoli agreed that Zvonarëva could go all the way here, where she is yet to drop a set, and has held her opponents to 6-0 in four of the 10 sets she has contested.

"She's almost like a ball-machine: she just puts it back at you all the time with interest," the Frenchwoman said.

The ease with which Zvonarëva handled the heat - which left Bartoli bent double and sucking for breath - may also count in her favour as the tournament advances, with heatwave-conditions forecast at Melbourne Park this week.

"I like it when it's warm, so it's perfect for me," she said.

Conditions had cooled on centre court for Safina's evening-match, but the third seed found herself in a heated battle for a spot in the final four, and had to call on the mental toughness she has developed over the past year.

Safina dug deep against the tenacious Dokić, grafting out a win despite an error-ridden display before a fiercely parochial crowd cheering on their local heroine.

The 23-year-old eventually ended the Australian's dream run 6-4 4-6 6-4 in two hours and 17 minutes.

She said that even 12 months ago, the pressure from the crowd would have been too much, but she could now call on reserves of mental strength as she chases a maiden Major title.

"I think [a year ago], I would not win, but now I hang in there," she said.

"I pushed myself and I tried my best today. Before, I would just not be able to even handle the whole crowd against me."

She admitted she was sometimes her own worst enemy after squandering numerous chances to close down the match in the second set, committing eight double faults, and converting only two of her 13 break-point opportunities.

"Most of the time, it's me against myself playing," Safina said.

"I play against me, my shadow, myself, everything against me. If one day I play only against my opponent, this will be the perfect day."

Safina said she would need to improve against Zvonarëva in Thursday's semi-final.

"She's playing very good. I'll have to take the time off her and take the balls much earlier," Safina said. "I'll definitely have to be much more aggressive than today."
<<<

Safina beats Dokić to reach semis (BBC Sport)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/7852624.stm
>>>
Third seed Dinara Safina overcame home-favourite and wildcard Jelena Dokić in three sets to reach the Australian Open semi-finals in Melbourne.

The quarter-final was in the balance after the pair split the first two sets and were level at 4-4 in the third.

But the Russian got the crucial break, and served out for a 6-4 4-6 6-4 win after two hours and 19 minutes.

She will now play her compatriot Vera Zvonarëva after the seventh seed eased past France's Marion Bartoli 6-3 6-0.

"I'm sorry I had to defeat your Australian," Safina told the 15,000 fans on Rod Laver Arena after her victory. "I hope that you will be behind me next time."

Dokić - a former world number-four making her return to top-level tennis after a two-year absence through injury and illness - was pleased with the way her return to Major tennis had gone.

She beat three seeded players to reach the last eight, and put up a determined battle throughout the quarter-final, despite suffering from a sprained ankle suffered in her previous match.

"I played three sets with the number-three player in the world, so everything is positive," she said.

"I've had a great tournament. It's a little bit disappointing. I had some chances, but sometimes things go your way, and sometimes they don't.

"I have really fought well this week. I have no regrets. I just would like to keep it going."

Dokić lost a tight first, but, with the 22-year-old Russian struggling with her serve, fought back to take the second.

Safina - whose brother Marat Safin won the men's title in 2005 - took a 2-0 lead in the decider, but a combination of her own errors and Dokić's sublime winners saw the Australian pull the scoreline back to 4-4.

However, Safina broke Dokić's serve with her fourth break-point, and then managed to hold her own service-game to clinch victory after two hours and 19 minutes.

The 24-year-old Zvonarëva took time to settle against the 16th seed, and was broken twice as she trailed 1-3 in the first set.

But Bartoli's game then completely fell apart in the fierce heat, and Zvonarëva reeled off 11 games in a row to claim a one-sided victory and reach her first Major semi-final.

"I really thought Marion was playing really well in the beginning and I made a few unforced errors, so that's why I think I was down 3-1," said Zvonarëva.

"Then I was able to cut down on my unforced errors, and I was able to keep a good level of play throughout the whole match. I think it made the difference."

Zvonarëva has been in impressive form so far at Melbourne Park, reaching the last four without dropping a set.

And, although she started poorly against Bartoli in a scrappy opening that saw four breaks of serve in the opening six games, she quickly found her form.

In contrast, Bartoli - who knocked out top seed Jelena Janković in the fourth round - folded. The French star looked sluggish around the court, and her usually powerful groundstrokes lacked penetration and accuracy.

She offered little resistance as Zvonarëva broke three more times in the second set on her way to a comfortable victory that took a little over an hour.

"I think she played just unbelievably well," said Bartoli. "I was really feeling the heat after the end of the first set, so I really needed to cool down a little bit before to go on in the second.

"But I didn't find I was really putting a bad performance. She was just better - that's it."
<<<

Jelena Dokić bows out of Australian Open as Dinara Safina reaches semi-finals (The Daily Telegraph - UK)
>>>
Dinara Safina has ended local hope Jelena Dokić's surprising run in the Australian Open, claiming a 6-4 4-6 6-4 quarter-final victory.

At 4-4 in the final set, the third-seeded Russian broke Dokić's serve and then held, ignoring the partisan cheers of 15,000 fans at Rod Laver Arena.

The win sees Safina advance to a semi-final against fellow Russian Vera Zvonarëva, who beat Marion Bartoli.

Dokić, who won a wild-card tournament to get into the main draw, and is on a comeback after nearly two years of inactivity due to injuries and personal problems, beat seeded players in three of her four previous rounds.

Seventh seed Zvonarëva produced a superb performance as the Russian saw off Bartoli of France in straight sets to secure her place in the semis.

Zvonarëva had trailed 1-3 in the first set, but then won the next 11 straight games for a 6-3 6-0 victory that took just over one hour at Rod Laver Arena.

The result was all the more impressive after 16th seed Bartoli had completely outplayed top seed Jelena Janković in the fourth round.

Bartoli started well and broke serve in the third game of the first set, but Zvonarëva battled back to level at 3-3 after coming out on top of a fine rally.

The 24-year-old then won the next three games to claim the first set in 38 minutes, before maintaining her momentum in the second set to breeze to victory.

"I'm very excited about it," Zvonarëva said. "I think it was a great day for me.

"I'm not really thinking about the scores or sets, or any statistics. I'm just trying to concentrate on every match, and trying my best. And I think I've been doing pretty good so far."

Asked about Zvonarëva winning 11 straight games, Bartoli said: "I think she played just unbelievably well.

"She barely missed one ball. I was hitting as hard as I could. She was always coming back with some better shots."
<<<

Safina, Zvonarëva Reach Aussie Semis (The Sports Network)
>>>
Top-ten Russians Dinara Safina and Vera Zvonarëva were a pair of quarter-final winners on Tuesday at the Australian Open 2009: the first Major event of the year.

The third-seeded Safina held off resurgent Aussie wild card Jelena Dokić 6-4 4-6 6-4, while a seventh-seeded Zvonarëva zipped past 16th-seeded Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli 6-3 6-0. The Wimbledon 2007 runner-up Bartoli stunned world No.1 Jelena Janković in the fourth round this past weekend.

The 22-year-old Safina - last year's French Open and Olympic runner-up - will appear in her third career Major semi-final, while the 24-year-old Zvonarëva will play in her first.

The 187th-ranked Dokić's Cinderella-run here captured the imagination of her adopted homeland, but her luck finally ran out against the powerful Safina.

Dokić beat three seeded players in her first four matches of the fortnight.

"Of course I'm disappointed," Dokić said. "But there are more positives than negatives. It's been a great start to 2009; I couldn't have asked for anything more."

Safina and Dokić split the first two sets on Day 9, and were tied at 4-4 in the third when Safina picked up a key break of serve, and then served out the tight match.

"I'm so sorry for beating an Australian tonight," Safina said to the crowd during a courtside interview at Rod Laver Arena. "I hope you will be behind me next time."

A nervous Dokić piled up 18 unforced errors on her way to dropping the first set against Safina in 36 minutes. But the heavy crowd-favorite jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second set, which she won by breaking the Russian's serve in the 10th game.

Safina is now 2:0 lifetime against Dokić, with the other victory coming six years ago in Shanghai.

The 25-year-old Dokić was appearing in her first Major quarter-final since the 2002 French Open, and playing in her first Major event since exiting the first round of the 2006 Aussie Open. She was making only her second Major appearance since 2004.

Dokić became the first woman in Aussie Open history to play in five straight three-set matches.

In the Zvonarëva v Bartoli affair, Zvonarëva fell behind 1-3 in the first set, but promptly won the next 11 games to easily finish the match against her overwhelmed French counterpart.

"I really thought Marion was playing really well in the beginning, and I made a few unforced errors, so that's why I think I was down 3-1," said Zvonarëva. "Then I was able to cut down on my unforced errors, and I was able to keep a good level of play throughout the whole match. I think it made the difference."

Bartoli committed 26 unforced errors and won just 5 of 20 points on her second serve in the searing heat at Melbourne Park. Temperatures climbed above 125°F on the court.

The Olympic Bronze-medallist Zvonarëva displayed a solid forehand, and went up 5-3 in the first set when Bartoli was wide on a return. The Russian served out the set, and then cruised in the second, ending the match with a backhand winner.

The second set, where Bartoli won just 12 points, lasted 30 minutes.

"Even when she was scrambling, she was putting the ball just ten centimeters from the baseline," said Bartoli. "It seems like she's reading my game like in the book. It was just too good. She was just better than me - that's it."
<<<

----------------------------------
6. Quarter-final draw: Bottom half (to be played on Wednesday)
----------------------------------

* ELENA DEMENTIEVA [4] v Carla Suárez Navarro (davai Elena!)
* SERENA WILLIAMS [2] v SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA [8]

----------------------------
7. Semi-final draw: Top half (both semis to be played on Thursday)
----------------------------

* VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF] v DINARA SAFINA [3] (DAVAI VERA!!)

------------------
8. Andrew's wishes (updated after Tuesday)
------------------
8.1 Semi-final wishes
---------------------

+ VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF] d. DINARA SAFINA [3]
+ ELENA DEMENTIEVA [4] d. SERENA WILLIAMS [2]


8.2 Final-wish
---------------

+ VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF] d. ELENA DEMENTIEVA [4]

----------------------------------
9. Women's Doubles: Quarter-finals
----------------------------------
9.1 Quarter-final results (Tuesday 27th January 2009)
-------------------------

+ (DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [EF]/AI SUGIYAMA)[9] d. (CARA BLACK/LIEZEL HUBER)[1], 6-7 (0/7) 6-3 7-6 (12/10)

+ Nathalie Dechy/Mara Santangelo d. (NURIA LLAGOSTERA VIVES/MARÍA JOSÉ MARTÍNEZ SÁNCHEZ)[11], 3-6 7-6 (9/7) 7-6 (8/6)

+ (CASEY DELL'ACQUA/FRANCESCA SCHIAVONE)[12] d. Anna-Lena Grönefeld/Patty Schnyder, 0-6 7-5 6-1

- (HSIEH,SU-WEI/PENG,SHUAI)[16] lt. (SERENA WILLIAMS/VENUS WILLIAMS)[10], 2-6 6-4 3-6


9.2 Hantuchová/Sugiyama v Black/Huber mini-report
-------------------------------------------------

I followed live scores casually before going to bed at the end of the first set. Hantuyama led *3-0, were broken back once but held for 4-2*, were broken back again, had to serve to stay in the set at *4-5, but served for it at *6-5 before finally losing out on a tiebreak.

I thought Black/Huber - the dominant doubles-team in 2008 - would cruise through the second set, but Hantuyama won it 6-3, and recovered from *2-5 down in the third to win on a final-set tiebreak in which they saved seven match-points including 2/6!


9.2.1 Articles
--------------

Daniela and Ai Defeat Cara and Liezel in Thriller
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=2930
>>>
Three seeded teams are through to the doubles semi-finals of the 2009 Australian Open, but none of them began the tournament among the top eight favourites - at least not on paper. So Daniela Hantuchová and Ai Sugiyama are to play Nathalie Dechy and Mara Santangelo for a place in the final, while Venus and Serena Williams take on Casey Dell'Acqua and Francesca Schiavone.

Most striking was the three-hour defeat of top seeds Cara Black and Liezel Huber by the reunited No.9 seeds Daniela Hantuchová and Ai Sugiyama: 6-7(0) 6-3 7-6(10). Black and Huber - who also won early in Brisbane and Sydney - won the first-set tiebreak without dropping a point, and although the underdogs regrouped to level in the second set, the co-world No.1s seemed ready to seize the contest as they surged to 5-2 lead in the decider.

But the popular 'Hantuyama' unit clicked into gear, as the tall Slovak set up volleying-opportunities for the Japanese veteran. With Black becoming vulnerable on serve and at the net, the tenth seeds forced a tiebreak. However, Black and Huber stole back the momentum to hold four match-points at 6/2, but they lost them all, plus another three, as Hantuchová and Sugiyama went on to win the final tiebreak [12/10].

<snip other quarter-finals>

They may carry lowly seedings at the first Major of the year, but all four semi-finalists boast strong doubles-pedigrees. Sugiyama owns 37 Tour doubles-titles: three of them with Hantuchová, who has eight; their best Major result together was finishing runner-up at Roland Garros in 2006.

<snip other semi-finalists>
<<<

Hantuchová and Sugiyama upset Black and Huber in major thriller
(Diane Elayne Dees, womenwhoserve.blogspot.com)
>>>
Top seeds Cara Black and Liezel Huber have been upset in the Australian Open quarter-finals by Daniela Hantuchová and Ai Sugiyama: 6-7 6-3 7-6.

The three-hour ordeal was an absolute thriller, with Black and Huber finally dominating the first set with a 7/0 tiebreak-score, Hantuchová and Sugiyama getting themselves together in the second, and back-to-back thrills occurring in the third.

Of course, that third set didn't look too thrilling for a while, although there were some very entertaining rallies. Hantuchová and Sugiyama were down 2-5, and it just looked like a matter of moments before Black and Huber won the match.

But suddenly, Hantuchová and Sugiyama began to play completely in sync with one another, with Hantuchová setting up superb volleys for Sugiyama. About this time, Black became somewhat vulnerable, too, which gave her opponents some room to hit shots between her and Huber.

Hantuchová and Sugiyama brought the match to a tiebreak, but then went down 2/6 in that. Again, the match appeared to be over, and again, Hantuchová and Sugiyama refused to go out. They won the tiebreak 12/10, and saved a total of seven match-points.

The crowd-response was tremendous throughout, as the reunited team of Hantuchová and Sugiyama played one the best matches of their careers.
<<<

9.3 Semi-final draw
-------------------

* (DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [EF]/AI SUGIYAMA)[9] v Nathalie Dechy/Mara Santangelo

* (CASEY DELL'ACQUA/FRANCESCA SCHIAVONE)[12] v (SERENA WILLIAMS/VENUS WILLIAMS)[10]

--------------------------------
10. Girls' Singles: Second round
--------------------------------
10.1 Second-round results (Tuesday 27th January 2009)
-------------------------

+ Anna Orlik d. AKI YAMASOTO [10], 6-0 6-3
+ ELENA BOGDAN [4] d. Isabella Holland, 6-1 5-7 6-1
+ NOPPAWAN LERTCHEEWAKARN [1,S] d. Quirine Lemoine, 6-3 6-2
+ LAURA ROBSON [5] d. Kanyapat Narattana, 6-3 7-6 (7/0)
+ KSENIA PERVAK [3] d. Eugenie Bouchard, 6-2 6-3
+ KRISTINA MLADENOVIĆ [7] d. Mia Vriens, 6-2 6-1

I followed some of their scores casually for the first couple of hours' play before I went to bed.

Elena Bogdan led 6-1 *5-4, then it would appear she had a bit of a wobble, as she lost the second set. This does not surprise me having watched her at Eastbourne 2008, where she was very emotional and prone to tears!

Laura Robson looked in trouble at 6-3 1-5*, but she fought back to win the set, just as she had in the first set of her first-round match. Apparently she doesn't like playing in the extreme heat of Melbourne, even though she was born there.

Full second-round results:
http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/scores/cmatch/14gs.html


10.2 Full third-round draw
--------------------------

* NOPPAWAN LERTCHEEWAKARN [1,S] v Olivia Rogowska (al-na Noppawan!)
* Anna Orlik v LAUREN EMBREE [8] (davai Anna!)
* ELENA BOGDAN [4] v YANA BUCHINA [13] (hai Elena!)
* LAURA ROBSON [5] v Silvia Njirić (go Laura!)

* Miyabi Inoue v HEATHER WATSON [9]
* KSENIA PERVAK [3] v BEATRICE GUMULYA [15] (davai Ksenia!)
* KRISTINA MLADENOVIĆ [7] v Victoria Kamenskaya
* KSENIA KIRILLOVA [14] v ANA BOGDAN [2]

------------------
11. Girls' Doubles
------------------
11.1 Nice teams in quarter-finals
---------------------------------

(ANNA ORLIK/LAURA ROBSON)[5]:
1r + Fatima Al Nabhani/Zuzana Luknárová, 6-4 6-3
2r + Ester Goldfeld/Hannah James, 6-1 6-0

(ELENA BOGDAN/KRISTINA MLADENOVIĆ)[1]:
1r + Juan,Ting-Fei/Natchanok Saenyaukhot, 6-1 6-1
2r + Martina Borecká/Martina Kubičíková, 6-4 2-6 [10/6]


11.2 Quarter-final draw
-----------------------

* (ELENA BOGDAN/KRISTINA MLADENOVIĆ)[1] v Isabella Holland/Sally Peers

* (KSENIA PERVAK/KSENIA KIRILLOVA)[4] v (CHRISTINA MCHALE/AJLA TOMLJANOVIĆ)[6]

* Victoria Kamenskaya/Karina Pimkina v Alexandra Krunić/Sandra Zaniewska

* (ANNA ORLIK/LAURA ROBSON)[5] v (NOPPAWAN LERTCHEEWAKARN [s]/BEATRICE GUMULYA)[2]

--
Dr. Andrew Broad

andrewbroad
Jan 29th, 2009, 12:19 AM
===============
AUSTRALIAN OPEN (Melbourne, Australia; outdoor hard (Plexicushion); Major)
=============== http://www.australianopen.com/
Contents
--------

1. Photos / Videos
2. Quarter-final results
3. Semi-final draw
4. Semi-final previews
5. Who will be #1 next Monday?
6. Mixed Doubles: Quarter-finals
7. Girls' Singles: Third round
8. Order of play for Thursday

------------------
1. Photos / Videos
------------------
1.1 Photos
----------

Wednesday's players including Elena Dementieva and Carla Suárez Navarro:
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/2/photogallery/
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/7855063.stm

Wednesday's players including Elena Dementieva, Carla Suárez Navarro, Yana Buchina and Laura Robson:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/tennis/australianopen/4372955/Australian-Open-Day-10.html

Jelena Dokić and Anna Chakvetadze:
http://www.tennisgrandstand.com/archives/2763

Marta Domachowska's new website:
http://mdomachowska.com/ (warning: noisy)

Search-list for Wednesday:
dementieva


1.2 Videos
----------

http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/2/multimedia/default_video.asp
- Day 10 Highlights: Dementieva v Suárez Navarro, Williams v Kuznetsova

------------------------
2. Quarter-final results (Wednesday 28th January 2009)
------------------------

Nice winner:
+ ELENA DEMENTIEVA [4] d. Carla Suárez Navarro, 6-2 6-2

Bestie gegen Bestie:
+ SERENA WILLIAMS [2] d. SVETLANA KUZNETSOVA [8], 5-7 7-5 6-1

Dementieva v Suárez Navarro was played in the midday heat, while it got so hot during Williams v Kuznetsova that the roof had to be closed after the first set, which favoured Williams and angered Kuznetsova, who led 7-5 5-3*.

Serena Williams: "It was really an out-of-body experience. I felt I was watching someone play in a blue dress, and it wasn't me. I kept trying to tell myself, 'It's not hot,' but it got hotter."

The current Extreme-Heat Policy is based only on the current conditions of temperature and humidity. It would be better if they started with the roof closed if it's going to be above 25°C (my idea of too hot for tennis, having never experienced temperatures above 32°C in England).

It may be best for Australia to keep the AO in January because they go back to school or work in February, but it would be better for the rest of the world to move the AO to March, when the quality of the tennis wouldn't be compromised by players wilting in the heat.

------------------
3. Semi-final draw
------------------

* VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF] v DINARA SAFINA [3] (DAVAI VERA!!)
* ELENA DEMENTIEVA [4] v SERENA WILLIAMS [2] (davai Elena!)

The same three Russians who swept the Beijing 2008 Olympic medals are in the semi-finals here, but this time it will be Vera who wins 'Gold', Dementieva who wins 'Silver', and Safina who wins 'Bronze' (by losing to the eventual champion in the semi-finals, as per wooden-spoon theory).

----------------------
4. Semi-final previews
----------------------
4.1 Zvonarëva v Safina
----------------------

Vera's next opponent is the nightmarish Dinara Safina [3]: the Rosa Klebb of tennis, who loves to bully her opponents with intimidating, in-your-face body-language, and specialises in fighting back from the brink of defeat, as she did yet again in her fourth-round match against Alizé Cornet, who led *5-2 and *5-4 (40/15) in the third set!

Safina had a very impressive 2008: she won Berlin with wins over world #1 Justine Henin, #6 Serena Williams and #9 Elena Dementieva; she reached the French Open final with wins over new #1 Maria Sharapova and #8 Elena Dementieva - both after trailing a set and 2-5, and saving match-points - and #4 Svetlana Kuznetsova before losing to #2 Ana Ivanović. She also won titles at Montréal, Los Angeles and Tokyo, as well as the Olympic Silver Medal. Her win/loss record for 2008 was a staggering 55:20.

Safina started 2009 by reaching the Hopman Cup final with her brother Marat Safin - only to be thwarted by Slovak duo Dominika Cibulková and Dominik Hrbatý! Safina then reached the final of Sydney despite being unhappy with her form; she lost 6-3 2-6 6-1 to Dementieva in that final.

Safina has reached the semi-finals here with the following results:
1r + Alla Kudryavtseva, 6-3 6-4
2r + Ekaterina Makarova, 6-7 (3/7) 6-3 6-0
3r + KAIA KANEPI [25], 6-2 6-2
4r + ALIZÉ CORNET [15], 6-2 2-6 7-5
qf + Jelena Dokić [WC,EF], 6-4 4-6 6-4

Safina certainly hasn't been on her best form at the Australian Open 2009, but many people believe that she is now the favourite for the title after the early exits of Jelena Janković and Venus Williams, and the poor form of Serena Williams. I am not one of them - especially not after watching her quarter-final!

I give Vera a big edge in her first Major semi-final, because Safina was on awful form in her quarter-final, making 36 unforced errors and 11 double faults, and just not feeling the ball well. She only won because Jelena was exhausted after four emotional three-set victories. That said, both girls did play much better in the third set.

Vera, on the other hand, is hitting the ball so sweetly, and her defence is so strong. She could go all the way here, and would certainly beat Safina on quarter-final form.

Another factor is that Vera has won her matches much more easily than Safina - especially the last two rounds. This works in her favour both form-wise and energy-wise. They'll be playing in the day-session, in the most extreme heat-wave Melbourne has had for 100 years!

Vera may have struggled in hot conditions back in 2005, when she was battling an energy-sapping virus for months, but she has handled the heat much better than her opponents here so far, and actually said that she likes playing in it! I'm not sure how Safina feels about extreme heat, but she was sweating like a pig in her quarter-final - and that was in the evening-session!

The head to head is an interesting one, because Vera trails 4:5, but won their last three meetings: all in 2008, which was the best year of Safina's career so far - although two of those meetings were before Berlin, which was the turning-point for Safina after a bad start to the year.
- 2002 WTA Sopot sf: Safina 6-3 6-2
+ 2004 WTA Rome 2r: Vera 1-6 6-4 6-2
- 2006 WTA Charleston 2r: Safina 7-5 7-5
- 2006 FRENCH OPEN 1r: Safina 6-3 7-5
- 2007 WTA Charleston sf: Safina 6-3 0-1 retired (left-wrist injury)
- 2007 WTA Moscow qf: Safina 6-2 3-6 6-3
+ 2008 WTA Doha 2r: Vera 7-5 6-3
+ 2008 WTA Miami qf: Vera 7-5 6-4
+ 2008 WTA Moscow sf: Vera 6-2 7-6(5)

My only doubt about whether Vera will beat Safina is a psychological one. Although Vera's confidence is sky-high at the moment, she can get very down on herself when things start to go wrong, and Safina has a reputation for coming back from the dead.

Also, Safina does have the edge in big-match experience: this is her third Major semi-final (after reaching the final of the French Open 2008 and semis of the US Open 2008), while it's only Vera's first Major semi-final, and only her second time (and first time since the French Open 2003) past the fourth round of a Major.

The bottom line is that Vera certainly has the form to beat Safina if she stays confident and can keep Safina's head under water until she's over the finishing-line, but there could be serious doubts if it gets to a tight situation - even if Vera has a commanding lead and things start to go wrong...

There was a good omen for Vera in the BBC's coverage of Nadal v Simon today. Commentator Sam Smith picked Vera to reach the final, and said Vera "might win" - with an emphasis on those two words that was very encouraging and exciting! :-)


4.1.1 Articles
--------------

Australian Open: SF Preview
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=2935
>>>
Rod Laver Arena
(3) Dinara Safina (RUS) vs. (7) Vera Zvonarëva (RUS) - Safina leads 5:4

The past 12 months have certainly been momentous for both Safina and Zvonarëva, who were first-round losers at Melbourne Park in 2008, but have revitalised their respective careers and risen to new heights since then. Late last year, Safina rose as high as No.2 in the rankings on the back of four tournament-wins, and may yet take the ultimate step in the next few days; two minor titles helped lift 24-year-old Zvonarëva back into the top ten after three years away, and whatever happens in her first-ever Major semi on Thursday, she can expect to reach a career-high ranking of No.5 next week.

But, while Safina built on her biggest tournament-win at Berlin to establish a formidable record across the rest of the season, it is worth noting three of her losses were at the hands of Zvonarëva, who also has learnt to channel her on-court emotions better, and had her own epiphany at the Sony Ericsson Championships, scoring three top-five [four top-seven] wins in a row.

And it is Zvonarëva who has cut the easier path through the tournament. Yet to lose a set, she has been rather more sanguine in her assessment of her performances too - but then what's not to love when you've handed out four bagels in three different matches?

Vera says: "If I'm in the tournament, I'm here to try to win it. But I'm really concentrating on every match, and trying not to look too far ahead. For me, it doesn't really matter what's happening around any other matches. I just try to concentrate on myself as much as possible, try to improve match to match, because I know I need it."

By contrast, Safina has been hugely self-critical, to the point that she has risked undermining the buzz surrounding her at-times brilliant campaign. Perhaps it's a subconscious ploy to relieve the pressure. Maybe it will work.

Dinara says: "Most of the time, it's me playing against myself, my shadow, everything against me. If one day I play only against my opponent, this will be the perfect day. Next round I play Vera, and I'll have to take the ball much earlier and take time away from her. Definitely I will have to be much more aggressive than today against Jelena [Dokić]."
<<<

2009 Australian Open - Nick's Picks - Women's Singles Semi-finals
Nick Bollettieri <nickstennispicks.com>
>>>
Dinara Safina (RUS) vs. Vera Zvonarëva (RUS)

Safina ended the amazing run of Jelena Dokić, beating the Australian 6-4 4-6 6-4 in the quarter-finals. Safina has had three of her five matches go the distance, but in each one, she has found a way to win. She is looking to get to her second career Major final, following last year's at Roland Garros.

Zvonarëva advanced to her first career Major semi-final with a beating of Marion Bartoli: 6-3 6-0. She is the only woman left in the draw who has yet to drop a set, and it seems like no one is really talking about her as a potential champion here.

The Match-Up:

Safina is 5:4 against Zvonarëva in her career, but Zvonarëva won all three times they played in 2008.

I'm surprised that no one has advised Safina to lower her service-toss, because she is really struggling with that, especially under pressure. If she lowered it, the ball wouldn't be able to move as much, and her serve would be more consistent.

Safina also needs to get some support from the crowd in this match; she has had to work extremely hard this tournament to win, and some fan-love would be a big plus for her.

Zvonarëva has the game to win this match. She has extremely solid groundstrokes, makes very few mistakes, and moves very well.

If this match is a two-setter, I give the edge to Zvonarëva, but if it goes three, Safina has a knack for coming up big in tight spots.

Nick's Pick: Zvonarëva in 2, or Safina in 3.
<<<

The Fantastic Four
Posted by Aaress Lawless (www.onthebaseline.com (http://www.onthebaseline.com))
>>>
Vera Zvonarëva (RUS) [7] vs. Dinara Safina (RUS) [3]

Vera started her previous match off slowly, and was broken in her first service-game. This was, however, the only blemish as she steamrolled Bartoli to win the last eleven games, and ultimately booked herself a semi-final place.

This is Vera's first semi-final appearance at a Major, and based on current form, she is more than capable of progressing through to the night-final on Saturday. Zvonarëva appeared unfazed by the horrendous heat, and looked somewhat refreshed (as one commentator put it).

Jelena Dokić's fairytale run came to an end at the hands of the tournament's third seed. The pair's second meeting had Safina down as the favourite on paper, but Dokić as the favoured player in the hearts of the Australians. Playing with a strapped ankle as a result of Sunday night's stumble, it was a topsy turvy and scrappy affair on Rod Laver Arena. Safina served poorly (11 double faults and won only 38% of second serves) and her huge backswing caused many of the balls to fly pass the baseline. There were signs of nerves from her grunting; however, once the sound-effects stopped (albeit only for a few games), she started striking the ball more cleanly.

Safina is lucky to have beaten Dokić, and will need to raise the level of her game to even have a chance against Zvonarëva. Although many of us would like to see the number-three seed win her breakthrough Major in Australia, too many errors are coming off Safina's racquet, and Vera will punish her as a result.

Vera Zvonarëva in 3 sets.
<<<

Zvonarëva keeps her cool for final run at title
Peter Hanlon (The Age, Thursday 29th January 2009)
>>>
She might have the lowest profile of the women's semi-finalists, but Russian seventh-seed Vera Zvonarëva has an ace up her sleeve that could prove crucial, even if today's matches are shielded from Melbourne's oppressive heat.

Zvonarëva has won each of her five matches in straight sets — taking four of her ten sets to love — and spent considerably less time on court than the other three contenders.

Crucially, compatriot Dinara Safina - her opponent today - has laboured for almost three hours more.

Zvonarëva's passage to the last four has been shielded from the heat, and a cruise relative to Safina's, who has had to survive three-set thrillers in her last two outings.

In total, Safina has been on court for 9h11m, while Zvonarëva has been out there just 6h18m.

Elena Dementieva and Serena Williams have spent just under eight hours on court, and, although the Russian's win over Carla Suárez Navarro yesterday took only 93 minutes, it was played entirely under the sun.

Seventy-five of the 123 minutes it took Williams to overcome Svetlana Kuznetsova were played in air-conditioned comfort.

Zvonarëva is the odd woman out of the last four in another way: she's the only one who cannot be ranked No.1 at the end of the tournament.

"Everyone is thinking about the possibility of reaching No.1: that's an extra motivation for all of us," Dementieva said.

Williams, meanwhile, has a more singular focus. "It's definitely more about winning to me."
<<<

4.2 Dementieva v Williams
-------------------------

Dementieva is on a 15-match winning-streak - having won Auckland and Sydney before coming here.

Serena Williams leads their head to head 4:3, but all of Williams's wins came in 2003 and 2004, while Dementieva has won their last 3 meetings: 5-7 6-1 6-1 in the Moscow 2007 final, 3-6 6-4 6-3 in the quarter-finals of the Beijing 2008 Olympics, and a 6-3 6-1 thrashing at Sydney two weeks ago!

So Dementieva is certainly the form-favourite, especially as Williams has struggled through her last two matches: catching a lucky break as Victoria Azarenka won the first set but had to retire ill, and surviving Svetlana Kuznetsova serving for the match at 7-5 *5-4.

It could be a fascinating psychological contest, though, as Dementieva has a history of choking, while Serena Williams is one of the most fearsome competitors in women's tennis - and one of the most downright fearsome players when she's on form!

Williams has won the Australian Open in every odd-numbered year since 2003, including an unbelievable victory in 2007, when she turned up looking badly out of shape, somehow struggled through to the final, but then thrashed Maria Sharapova 6-1 6-2 with an amazing display of power.

But I'm going to go with current form and pick Dementieva to win in 2 sets.

------------------------------
5. Who will be #1 next Monday?
------------------------------

Who Will Be No.1 Now?
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=2934
>>>
Jelena Janković's run at No.1 will come to an end - at least for now - when the next WTA Tour Singles Rankings are published next Monday: 2nd February 2009.

Following the results at the Australian Open up to the end of the quarter-finals, it is projected that Janković will fall to No.3 and Zvonarëva - no matter how she does - will reach a new career-high of No.5. But who will fill in the rest of the world's top five at No.1, No.2 and No.4?

Basically, whoever goes further from the other three semi-finalists - Dinara Safina, Serena Williams and Elena Dementieva - will be No.1. If one of them wins the title, she's No.1; if two of them fall in the semi-finals and the other one loses to Zvonarëva in the final, that runner-up is No.1. For Williams, it would be a return to the top spot, having spent 61 non-consecutive weeks of her career there; Safina and Dementieva are both aiming to become the 19th player in Tour-history - and second Russian, after Maria Sharapova - to become the world's No.1 player.

Williams v Safina final:
Champion will be No.1 and runner-up will be No.2; Dementieva will be No.4.

Williams v Zvonarëva final:
Williams will be No.1; Safina will be No.2 and Dementieva will be No.4.

Dementieva v Safina final:
Champion will be No.1 and runner-up will be No.2; Williams will be No.4.

Dementieva v Zvonarëva final:
Dementieva will be No.1; Safina will be No.2 and Williams will be No.4.

Rounding out the top ten will be Venus Williams at No.6, Svetlana Kuznetsova at No.7, Ana Ivanović No.8, Agnieszka Radwańska No.9, and Nadia Petrova No.10.

Looking a little lower down the projections, Zheng,Jie is expected to rise to No.20, making her just the second Chinese player ever to crack the top twenty (after Li,Na); Carla Suárez Navarro is expected to rise to No.30 (her top-thirty début); and Jelena Dokić is expected to surge into the top 100 (approximately No.91).
<<<

--------------------------------
6. Mixed Doubles: Quarter-finals
--------------------------------
6.1 Quarter-final results (Wednesday 28th January 2009)
-------------------------

+ Sania Mirza [DF]/Mahesh Bhupathi d. Aleksandra Wozniak/Daniel Nestor, 3-6 6-4 [10/5]

+ (ANABEL MEDINA GARRIGUES/TOMMY ROBREDO)[7] d. Patty Schnyder/Wesley Moodie, 5-7 6-4 [12/10]

+ Iveta Benešová/LukᚠDlouhý d. Alizé Cornet/Marcelo Melo, walkover (Cornet: right shoulder)

- Dominika Cibulková/Jürgen Melzer lt. Nathalie Dechy/Andy Ram, 5-7 1-6

Melzer is Domi's boyfriend!


6.2 Semi-final draw
-------------------

* (ANABEL MEDINA GARRIGUES/TOMMY ROBREDO)[7] v Nathalie Dechy/Andy Ram

* Sania Mirza [DF]/Mahesh Bhupathi v Iveta Benešová/LukᚠDlouhý

------------------------------
7. Girls' Singles: Third round
------------------------------
7.1 Third-round results (Wednesday 28th January 2009)
-----------------------

Nice winners:
+ Anna Orlik d. LAUREN EMBREE [8], 6-2 6-4
+ ELENA BOGDAN [4] d. YANA BUCHINA [13], 4-3* retired
+ NOPPAWAN LERTCHEEWAKARN [1,S] d. Olivia Rogowska, 6-3 6-1
+ LAURA ROBSON [5] d. Silvia Njirić, 6-4 6-2
+ KSENIA PERVAK [3] d. BEATRICE GUMULYA [15], 6-2 6-1
+ KRISTINA MLADENOVIĆ [7] d. Victoria Kamenskaya, 4-6 6-1 6-2

I followed live scores casually for a few of these matches.

Orlik led 6-2 *2-0, but her upset-victory seemed in danger as she trailed 2-3*. She won three games in a row to serve for the match at *5-3, but was broken to love. With Embree serving to stay in the match at *4-5, Orlik pegged her back from 15/0 and 30/15 as she broke for victory.

Elena Bogdan recovered from 2-3*, winning the next two games before Buchina retired - apparently because she couldn't take the heat.

All other results:
+ HEATHER WATSON [9] d. Miyabi Inoue, 7-6 (7/1) 4-6 6-4
+ ANA BOGDAN [2] d. KSENIA KIRILLOVA [14], 6-3 4-1 retired


7.2 Quarter-final draw
----------------------

* Anna Orlik v NOPPAWAN LERTCHEEWAKARN [1,S] (my Reason says Noppawan, but my Passion says Anna)
* ELENA BOGDAN [4] v LAURA ROBSON [5] (my loyalty is to Elena)
* KSENIA PERVAK [3] v HEATHER WATSON [9]
* KRISTINA MLADENOVIĆ [7] v ANA BOGDAN [2] (allez Kristina!)

The top half of the draw is just like being back at the Eastbourne 2008 International Junior Event! Elena and Laura played each other there too: I had a brief look at that match, and Elena's face was red with tears as she lost 6-4 7-5.

-----------------------------
8. Order of play for Thursday
-----------------------------

Rod Laver Arena: Day-session (start 11:00 AEDT = 00:00 GMT)
MD sf: Łukasz Kubot/Oliver Marach v (MAHESH BHUPATHI/MARK KNOWLES)[3]
|
(not before 13:30 AEDT = 02:30 GMT)
WS sf: ELENA DEMENTIEVA [4] v SERENA WILLIAMS [2]
WS sf: VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF] v DINARA SAFINA [3]
|
Rod Laver Arena: Evening-session (start 19:30 AEDT = 08:30 GMT)
MS sf: ANDY RODDICK [7] v ROGER FEDERER [2]
Exhibition-Singles 1r: Pat Cash v Mats Wilander

For the third year in a row, it doesn't look like the BBC has any plans to show the women's semi-finals! :fiery:

I'm disappointed that the order-of-play committee didn't put at least one women's semi-final in the evening-session, now that the women's final on Saturday will be in the evening from 2009 onwards (making less valid the excuse of giving the two finalists a similar amount of rest).

Sometimes I just want to lock the BBC sports-editors and the AO order-of-play committee in a room and bang their heads together! :banghead:

I feel sure that had Jelena Dokić reached the semi-finals (as she was within two games of doing at *4-4 in the third), they would have put Vera v Jelena in the evening-session, and that would have been the most mouthwatering Major semi-final of all time! :sad:

Full order of play:
http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/scores/schedule/

--
Dr. Andrew Broad

andrewbroad
Jan 30th, 2009, 02:47 AM
===============
AUSTRALIAN OPEN (Melbourne, Australia; outdoor hard (Plexicushion); Major)
=============== http://www.australianopen.com/
Contents
--------

1. Photos / Videos
2. Semi-final results
3. Semi-final review: Zvonarëva v Safina
4. My complaint to the BBC
5. Women's Doubles: Semi-finals
6. Girls' Singles: Quarter-finals
7. Girls' Doubles: Quarter-finals
8. Order of play for Friday

------------------
1. Photos / Videos
------------------
1.1 Photos
----------

Vera Zvonarëva (5 semi-final photos added):
http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/players/related/wta260142.html

Daniela Hantuchová (one Women's Doubles semi-final photo added):
http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/players/related/wta080394.html

Thursday's players including Vera Zvonarëva, Elena Dementieva and Laura Robson:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/7857400.stm
http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/gallery/2009/jan/29/australianopen-tennis

Search-list for Thursday:
zvonareva
hantuchova
dementieva


1.2 Videos
----------

http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/2/multimedia/default_video.asp
- Day 11 Highlights: Dementieva v Williams, Zvonarëva v Safina

---------------------
2. Semi-final results (Thursday 29th January 2009)
---------------------

Bitter herbs:
- VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF] lt. DINARA SAFINA [3], 3-6 6-7 (4/7)
- ELENA DEMENTIEVA [4] lt. SERENA WILLIAMS [2], 3-6 4-6

Not the results I hoped for, or even expected after Vera and Elena's great form in the previous rounds, while Safina and Williams had struggled through to the semis so unconvincingly.

Dementieva led 3-0* in the second set.

Dementieva: "I think Serena played really well today. I was maybe not aggressive enough, and maybe I was playing not deep enough, which allowed her to be very aggressive and dictate the game. She was moving better today, and her first-serve percentage was quite high. So it was really difficult on her service-game to put any pressure on."

----------------------------------------
3. Semi-final review: Zvonarëva v Safina (Thursday 29th January 2009)
----------------------------------------

- VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF] lt. DINARA SAFINA [3], 3-6 6-7 (4/7)

Vera's loss means that she misses out on BBC-televisation this tournament. The BBC has only showed one Vera-match in the last two years: her second-round loss at Wimbledon 2008! :fiery:

So the only thing I got out of this semi-final was 46 very nice photos of Vera: many more and much prettier photos than from her previous matches this year.

I did see the last point on BBC Sports News Update: Vera at 3-6 6-6 (*4/6) hit a serve down the middle, stretching Safina to hit a very short backhand return down the middle; Vera went to the net behind a crosscourt forehand deep into the corner, but Safina - about ten feet behind the tramlines - came up with a stunning short-angled crosscourt forehand pass-winner onto the sideline, which Vera challenged in vain.

The match was the second of the women's semi-finals in the Rod Laver Arena day-session: the first started at 13:30 AEDT, so Vera v Safina would have been played in the Australian late afternoon, while I was sleeping in England.

The roof was closed in accordance with the Extreme-Heat Policy, and that was a disadvantage to Vera in that she wasn't used to the cooler conditions, whereas Safina had played her quarter-final in the evening-session. Vera may be a very adaptable player, but she admitted she didn't have time to adapt, and claimed that the Plexicushion played faster with the roof closed.

There was an interesting point in the Federer v Roddick semi-final, which /was/ televised on BBC Red Button. Roddick left a ball that was called wide, but Federer made a successful Hawk-Eye challenge, and the umpire awarded him the point without a replay. Roddick was furious - "I was standing right there! You ought to be sacked, dude!" - but it went down as a clear winner because the call came too late to interfere with Roddick's decision to leave it. According to commentator John Lloyd, the same thing happened to Vera, who told the umpire she could have got to a ball that she was actually "ten miles away" from.

But now that I've seen that point in the video in Section 1.2, I side with Vera. She was facing break-point at 3-6 *3-2 and running down Safina's crosscourt forehand that landed on the sideline; Vera just clipped the ball with the outside edge of her racket, but not only was it NOT a clean winner, the call came a second before she clipped it, which might have caused her to slow down! So they definitely should have replayed the point, and that's the umpire who should be sacked! :fiery:

So I'm disappointed with the loss, as I certainly felt that Vera should have beaten Safina on quarter-final form, but it seems that Safina really stepped up and was more aggressive (than in her previous matches this year, and than Vera).
Of course I'm pleased that Vera reached her first Major semi-final (in singles - she's already won two Majors in Mixed Doubles and one in Women's Doubles), and it seems that she was in fantastic form in her previous rounds (not that the BBC deigned to show them). I look forward to watching her fourth round, quarter-final and semi-final at the end of the year (I plan to order them from Tennis Videos International <http://www.users.bigpond.com/tennisvideos1/> once the 2009 tennis-season is over, since I've got plenty to be getting on with in the meantime).

Virginia Wade: "I think Zvonarëva has been playing so well in the last six months. She was always such a talented player, but she would implode, and basically everybody thought she was washed up. She had some injuries too, but she has come back clear-headed, and she is a wonderful striker of the ball."


3.1 Statistics
--------------

The match lasted 1h46m (first set 39m, second set 1h07m).

In points, Safina won 83-72 (first set 34-26, second set 49-46).

Vera let Safina get away with a W:UE ratio of 28:42, while Vera's was 13:19. That leaves 36 points in which Safina forced Vera into error, and only 17 points in which Vera forced Safina into error. These statistics imply that Vera was not aggressive enough.

The first set saw fairly even W:UE ratios of 15:15 for Safina and 6:7 for Vera, while the second set was very error-strewn: Safina 13:27, Vera 7:12.

Safina won 7 of 8 points at the net, while Vera won only 3 of 6 (including 0 of 1 in the first set).

Vera got 62% of her first serves in, but her winning-percentages were quite meagre: first serve 60%, second serve 31%. It seems that she went for bigger first serves in the second set, as her first-serves-in percentage dipped from 67% to 59% while her first-serve winning-percentage rose from 50% to 67%, so it was a good trade-off for her.

The corresponding statistics for Safina were 66%, 43% and 51%, which implies that perhaps Vera was using the pace of Safina's first serve against her.

Safina served slightly faster than Vera in all three categories: fastest 108-106 mph, average first serve 101-99 mph, average second serve 87-85 mph. For me, Vera's first serve was a little bit slow.

Vera served 2 aces and 4 double faults, Safina 4 aces and 5 double faults.

Safina broke 5 times from 11 BPs (converting 3 of 7 in the first set, 2 of 4 in the second), while Vera was very wasteful, converting only 3 of 9 BPs (1 of 3 in the first set, 2 of 6 in the second).

In a nutshell: Vera was not aggressive enough in the first set, and too erratic in the second.


3.2 Vera's semi-final press-conference
--------------------------------------

Q. Looked like a very tight match. What was the difference between your game and Dinara's?

VERA ZVONARËVA: I think Dinara was more consistent today than I was. I think she did serve better than I did, so it made the difference.

Q. There were a lot of break-points and breaks. Was it difficult out there?

VERA ZVONARËVA: Yeah, I think it was very difficult. I think the conditions were totally different from previous matches. I think I'm a player who needs lots of time to get used to the conditions.

I really felt it was a little bit faster. I felt like, well, we were playing indoors, so it was different. I couldn't really find my rhythm.

I felt like I was - the level of my game was a little bit back, like in the beginning of the tournament.

Q. Your first Grand Slam semi-final. Looking forward, what do you take out of today's match and the tournament generally?

VERA ZVONARËVA: There is always something to take out of my matches, and especially such an experience as the semi-final of a Grand Slam [sic]. I'm sure there are lots of things to take out. It's just too close from the match right now. I'm still a little bit in the match.

For sure I will take some... there are probably some bad things about my match today, but there are probably some good things from this tournament. I'm looking forward for the next one.

Q. Do you prefer the indoor conditions to the outdoor conditions?

VERA ZVONARËVA: I think I'm an all-surface, all-court player. I really can play anywhere. I'm a player - like I said - who needs time to adjust to the new conditions.

I would prefer to play a match or two - I could never play my best tennis in the first match of the tournament. It's impossible, probably like lots of other players. So I felt like I was a little bit off the rhythm today, and it was a little bit different for me.

But, well, the same conditions for both of us. Well, that's it.

Q. Did you have a chance to practise indoors before your match today?

VERA ZVONARËVA: I jumped on the Rod Laver [Arena] for like ten minutes. I got the chance ten minutes today a little bit. Otherwise no chance.

I had to warm up a little bit in the bubble in the indoor courts. It's obviously a very big difference.

Q. Looking back on this tournament, are you satisfied with your performance?

VERA ZVONARËVA: Well, if you look at it overall, it's my first Grand Slam semi-final. I should be satisfied. Like I said, there are so many things I wish I could have done in this match. I really felt that the level of tennis that I was able to show - even in the previous match - was much, much better. So I'm a little bit disappointed about that.

But, well, I'm looking forward to the next tournament.

Q. When you were talking about different things you could have done, do you think, for example, maybe sliced shots because she doesn't like that very much?

VERA ZVONARËVA: You know, I think I knew what I had to do, but I think we were playing quite fast and aggressive tennis today. It was very difficult to execute those shots. The moments I really felt like I was making the wrong decisions, I would realise it during the shot, but it is already too late to change it.

I really felt there were moments and there were some points where I had chances and I didn't make the right shots.

So today compared to maybe my previous match, where I was making the right decisions in the right time.

Q. What about your game do you think could improve and see you in more Grand Slam semi-finals or perhaps moving on to finals in the future?

VERA ZVONARËVA: I hope. But I'm going to work, because I think everyone is working very hard and everyone is improving. That's what I have to do. I think there are lots of things that I can improve.

But I'm pretty confident. I believe in myself. Every time I'm coming for the tournament, I'm coming to win it. Obviously doesn't happen all the time. I just need to keep up the good work.

Q. No Fed Cup for you next week?

VERA ZVONARËVA: I don't think so, no.


3.3 Articles
------------

SERENA WILL MEET SAFINA IN FINAL [CEEFAX 490->491]
>>>
Serena will meet Safina in final [CEEFAX 491]

Serena Williams and Dinara Safina will fight for the world number-one ranking in the final of the Australian Open after wins in Melbourne on Thursday.

Second seed Williams beat fourth seed Elena Dementieva 6-3 6-4 in their semi-final as the Russian's serve fell to pieces after a promising start.

Dementieva double-faulted twice to hand Williams a crucial second-set break.

Third seed Safina scrapped past fellow Russian Vera Zvonarëva - seeded seventh - 6-3 7-6 (7/4) to reach the final.
<<<

Strong Safina powers past Zvonarëva [Teletext 495->497]
>>>
Safina sees off Zvonarëva [Teletext 497]

Dinara Safina proved too strong for Vera Zvonarëva as she secured her place in her second Major final, where she will meet Serena Williams.

The third seed dominated with her powerful forehand, and won three games in a row to take the first set 6-3.

Zvonarëva forced her way into the match, but failed to serve out for the second set, and Safina pounced to clinch the tiebreak 7/4 with a fierce forehand.
<<<>>>
Safina approach pays off [Teletext 498]
>>>
Third seed Dinara Safina believes her more aggressive approach proved the difference in her semi-final victory over Vera Zvonarëva in Melbourne.

The Russian reached her second Major final after beating her fellow Russian 6-3 7-6 (7/4).

She said: "I was more aggressive. I think I was going a little bit more for my shots than she was going for, and I was really taking all my chances."
<<<>>>
Zvonarëva rues display [Teletext 498]

Vera Zvonarëva blamed her inconsistency for her semi-final defeat against Dinara Safina at Melbourne Park.

It was the first time Zvonarëva had reached the last four of a Major, but she was beaten 6-3 7-6 (7/4) by fellow Russian Safina.

The seventh seed said: "I think Dinara was more consistent than I was. I think she served better than I did, so it made the difference."
<<<

Safina into Australian Open final (AP)
>>>
Dinara Safina has advanced to the Australian Open final, beating fellow Russian Vera Zvonarëva.

Safina beat Zvonarëva 6-3 7-6(4) on Thursday in a match played indoors because of 111°F temperatures outside.

She will play Serena Williams in Saturday night's final, when Williams will attempt to win her tenth Major singles-title.

Safina, who lost to Ana Ivanović in last year's French Open final, had never made it past the third round at the Australian Open.
<<<

Safina joins Serena in final
By Matthew Trollope (www.australianopen.com (http://www.australianopen.com))
>>>
Russian Dinara Safina progressed to her first Australian Open final on Thursday afternoon, defeating compatriot Vera Zvonarëva 6-3 7-6(4) to set up a meeting with Serena Williams in the women's final.

The world No.3 had too much power and intensity for her opponent, doing enough throughout an error-prone performance to clinch the straight-sets win under a closed roof at Rod Laver Arena.

The indoor conditions affected Zvonarëva, who said it was difficult to acclimatise after two weeks of outdoor play.

"I'm a player who needs a lot of time to get used to the conditions," she said. "I really felt it was a little bit faster... it was different. I couldn't really find my rhythm."

Neither player had previously gone this deep into the tournament at Melbourne Park. While Safina has progressed to this stage at other Majors – a French Open finalist and US Open semi-finalist in 2008 – Zvonarëva had never before reached the last four at a Major [in singles].

Zvonarëva gave credit to her opponent's superior performance.

"I think Dinara was more consistent today than I was. I think she served better than I did, so it made the difference," she said.

Safina said her level of play was improving. "I think I was more aggressive today than previous matches," she said.

"I think I was going a little bit more for my shots than she was going [for], and I was just really taking all my chances that I had today."

Zvonarëva's inexperience showed early on, playing up the middle of the court, and allowing Safina to dictate baseline-rallies with her greater power and depth. The third seed broke immediately, and took a 2-0 lead.

Zvonarëva settled from that point and levelled at 2-2, executing consistent tennis to stave off three break-points and hold serve in the fifth game.

The Russians were evenly matched throughout most of the set until Safina broke to love in the seventh game. The momentum then swung sharply her way, and she went on to take the opening set.

The match was clearly being decided by Safina's racquet: her combined total of 30 winners and unforced errors in the first set dwarfed Zvonarëva's tally of 13.

However, Safina described her performance during the set as "perfect".

Just as she seemed to be moving toward a routine victory, Safina's game unravelled somewhat. Her rock-solid backhand became error-prone, and she began spraying balls outside the lines to keep Zvonarëva in the match.

Despite this lapse, she never fell behind until the fifth game, when Zvonarëva secured the first break of the set to lead 3-2. The next game was a torrid one, with the seventh-seeded Zvonarëva creating many opportunities to consolidate the break - only for Safina to raise the standard of her game and prevent her opponent moving ahead.

Safina broke back for 3-3, but not before some controversy: on her third break-point, she hit a shot on the line that was called out, which she correctly challenged. The umpire awarded her the point, while Zvonarëva complained that she had a play on the ball, and that the "out" call had distracted her. The call stood, and Zvonarëva swatted a ball away in disgust, drawing hoots from the crowd.

It did not seem to affect the lower-ranked Russian, though, with games continuing on serve until 5-5.

Play became sloppy from that point: Zvonarëva broke Safina to lead 6-5 after Safina limply dumped a forehand into the net, but was broken back to love in the 12th game.

Safina's errors were threatening to hurt her – she finished with 27 in the second set alone – but she held firm in the tiebreak, going up six points to four, and converting her first match-point with a forehand winner.

Safina said beating an in-form player such as Zvonarëva filled her with satisfaction.

"I think I beat [a] player who has been playing some very solid tennis for the end of the season, and since the beginning of the year. I mean, she [won] all the matches easy [sic] here to get to the semi-final, and I beat her pretty solid[ly] today. I think it was a great match today," she said.

Zvonarëva said she rued her missed opportunities in the match, but could take many positives from her performance at Melbourne Park during the past fortnight.

"If you look at it overall, it's my first Grand Slam semi-final. I should be satisfied... I really felt that the level of tennis that I was able to show even in the previous match [against Marion Bartoli] was much, much better. So I'm a little bit disappointed about that," she said.

"But, well, I'm looking forward to the next tournament."

Safina has the opportunity to take over the No.1 ranking should she defeat Williams in Saturday night's final. Despite losing her last two matches on hardcourt to the American, she said she was not thinking about those results.

"Now it's different. It's beginning of the season. It's another tournament. [I'm] just looking forward for my next challenge," she said.

Quick facts:

* Safina progressed despite making 42 unforced errors: 27 in the final set alone, to Zvonarëva's 19 for the entire match.

* Safina hit 28 winners to Zvonarëva's 13.

* Zvonarëva converted on three of her nine break-point chances, while Safina capitalised on five of her 11 break-point opportunities.

* Safina won seven of eight points when she approached the net.
<<<

Williams, Safina Edge Tough Semi-final Foes in Melbourne
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=2936
>>>
Four hard-hitting, hungry semi-finalists, and two hard-fought, nail-biting semi-finals. Serena Williams and Dinara Safina fended off in-form opponents on Thursday afternoon to claim their spots in the final of the 2009 Australian Open, pitting a nine-time Major champion against someone who is poised to win her first.

<snip Williams v Dementieva>

Safina beats Zvonarëva in all-Russian semi, eyes first Major title

Williams is one win away from her fourth career title at the Australian Open, after winning in the last three odd years - 2003, 2005, 2007. She beat Venus Williams, Lindsay Davenport and Maria Sharapova in those finals; now she'll face Safina, who won an all-Russian affair with Vera Zvonarëva in the second semi: 6-3 7-6(4).

Third seed Safina was somewhat erratic, but almost always dictating play against her seventh-seeded countrywoman, hitting over twice as many winners (28-13) but also over twice as many errors (42-19) during the match. Zvonarëva did serve for the second set leading 6-5, but was broken easily, and Safina capped the win with a routine 7/4 tiebreak, ending it with a scorching forehand pass.

"I was more aggressive today than previous matches," said Safina, who had been heavily critical of herself after matches earlier in the tournament. "I think the first set was perfect. In the second set, I had some chances where I could have been a little more aggressive, but I played a very good game down 6-5 on her serve, and then played a solid tiebreak. I'm very pleased with how I played today."

Zvonarëva was playing in her first Major semi-final; her best Major showing prior to this past fortnight was a quarter-final run at Roland Garros in 2003. She is projected to rise to a new career-high of No.5 in next week's rankings.

"It was my first Grand Slam semi-final, so I should be satisfied," Zvonarëva said. "There are so many things I wish I could have done in this match, though. I felt the level of tennis I was able to show in my previous matches was much, much better. But right now, I'm looking forward to the next tournament."
<<<

Dinara Safina seals Aussie Open final berth against Serena Williams (Fox Sports / AAP)
>>>
American Serena Williams will clash with Russian Dinara Safina in Saturday night's Australian Open women's final.

Safina beat fellow-Russian Vera Zvonarëva 6-3 7-6 to book her place in the showdown.

Safina, who defeated Australia's Jelena Dokić in a memorable quarter-final, began strongly against Zvonarëva, breaking serve in the opening game, and taking the first set with two further service-breaks.

The pair traded breaks in the second set until they levelled at 6-6.

Safina ran up two match-points, and took the semi with a sizzling crosscourt passing-shot that survived a challenge from Zvonarëva.

The third-seeded 22-year-old Safina's best previous Major performance was last year when she finished runner-up to Ana Ivanović in the French Open.

She has given herself the chance of emulating older brother Marat in winning the Australian Open.

"I remember watching my brother on TV winning this tournament, and if I still watched it today, I would have tears in my eyes," she said.

"It's great that I can follow in his footsteps. He was my idol - he still is my idol - and the fact that I'm doing as well as him is amazing."

If Safina wins, she will also take over from Jelena Janković as the world No.1, as will Williams if she wins.
<<<

Safina sets up Serena showdown in Melbourne (Reuters)
By Julian Linden (editing by John O'Brien)
>>>
Dinara Safina overpowered her fellow Russian Vera Zvonarëva 6-3 7-6 on Thursday to join American Serena Williams in the final of the Australian Open.

The combination of Safina's heavier shot-making and aggression proved too much for Zvonarëva, as the third seed closed out victory in one hour and 46 minutes under a clsoed roof at the Rod Laver centre court.

Safina won four games in a row to take the opening set after trailing 2-3, then broke Zvonarëva's brittle serve to force the tiebreak after the seventh seed blew her chance to force a deciding third set.

The 22-year-old Safina reached the French Open final last year, but is now on the verge of a first Major title after rebounding from a shaky start to the tournament to produce her best performance when it mattered most.

The winner of Saturday's final will receive the added bonus of taking over the world number-one ranking from Serbia's Jelena Janković, who was knocked out in the fourth round at Melbourne Park this year.

"Since I was growing up, it has been my dream one day to be number-one," Safina said in a courtside interview.

"To play against Serena and to fight for the number-one is just going to be unbelievable."

Safina is also trying to complete a unique family-double in Australia by emulating her older brother Marat Safin, who won the Men's Singles title in 2005.

"I watched my brother on TV winning this tournament, and even when I watch it now, I have tears in my eyes," Safina said.

"It is great that I can follow his footsteps, because he was my idol and he is still my idol."

NO LAPSES

Safina had struggled throughout the tournament, even surviving two match-points against French teenager Alizé Cornet in the fourth round, but was at her best against Zvonarëva.

She still committed 42 unforced errors, however, but there was no repeat of the lapses in concentration that plagued her in the early rounds.

"Dinara was more consistent today than I was. She served better than I did, and that made the difference," Zvonarëva said.

"If you look at it overall, it's my first Grand Slam semi-final. I should be satisfied.

"There are so many things I wish I could have done in this match.

"I really felt that the level of tennis that I was able to show even in the previous match was much, much better. So I'm a little bit disappointed about that, but I'm looking forward to the next tournament."

Zvonarëva, who had won all her previous matches in straight sets, made a nervous start to her maiden Major semi-final, double-faulting on the second point of the match to concede her opening service-game to love.

The 24-year-old Muscovite steadied herself to comfortably hold her next service-game, then started attacking Safina's serve, which was starting to show signs of vulnerability.

Zvonarëva broke back to level at 2-2, then held again to lead 3-2 before Safina seized control, cutting down on her errors and putting the pressure back on her opponent.

Safina - who has shed seven kilogrammes in the last year, and showed off her new figure in a canary-yellow shirt and black skirt - reeled off the next four games to wrap up the opening set in 39 minutes off a Zvonarëva backhand error.

Zvonarëva - dressed in a more conservative all-white dress - broke Safina's serve in the fifth game of the second set, but failed to capitalise on her advantage.

She dropped her next service-game, and her frustrations started to boil over when she disputed a line-call with American chair-umpire Lynn Welch, then slapped the ball away in anger.

Zvonarëva had the chance to force a third set when she broke in the 11th game, but failed to hold, and lost the tiebreak and the match on a crosscourt forehand winner from Safina.
<<<

Serena to face Safina for Aussie Open title, No.1 ranking
Martin Parry (AFP)
>>>
Serena Williams will gun for her tenth Major title and the world number-one ranking against Dinara Safina in the Australian Open final after they both came through tough clashes on Thursday.

Third-seeded Safina lost her only Major final at last year's French Open, but looks capable of making the breakthrough after battling past fellow Russian and seventh seed Vera Zvonarëva 6-3 7-6 (7/4).

An incredibly focused Safina was too steady for Zvonarëva as she powered to the straight-sets win, giving herself the chance to emulate older brother Marat by winning the Australian Open.

"I remember watching my brother on TV winning this tournament, and if I still watched it today, I would have tears in my eyes," she said.

"It's great that I can follow in his footsteps. He was my idol - he still is my idol - and the fact that I'm doing as well as him is amazing."

The chance to claim the number-one ranking is another major motivator for the 22-year-old from Moscow.

"Since I was growing up, my dream was to be the number-one in the world," Safina added.

"To play Serena in the final for the number-one is unbelievable."

Safina, whose form has fluctuated throughout the tournament, was all business as she took to the court against Zvonarëva, taking advantage of a nervous start from her fellow Russian, and never looking back.

She took advantage of a nervous start from her fellow Russian and broke Zvonarëva's serve to love in the opening game.

But Zvonarëva soon settled and began to look the more dangerous, breaking Safina in the fourth to get games back on serve.

Zvonarëva was landing more first serves than Safina, but they were far less effective.

The world number-seven had two chances to break Safina in the sixth game, but couldn't convert either, and was made to pay in the next game as Safina broke her to love.

Safina then held to make it 5-3, and took the set when she came from 40/0 down on her opponent's serve to break her again and claim the opener in 39 minutes.

Zvonarëva recovered her composure at the start of the second, and again started to look the more threatening of the two.

She had two more chances to break Safina's first service-game and failed, but was able to break in the next game.

However, Safina responded and broke back immediately, winning the game after a wide forehand was called out.

Safina asked for a Hawk-Eye challenge, which went her way, and the umpire awarded her the game - much to the anger of Zvonarëva, who claimed she would have had a play on the ball if the linesperson hadn't called it out.

The umpire disagreed, and a furious Zvonarëva came out and attacked Safina's serve, bringing up two more break-points, but Safina served her way out of trouble and went ahead 4-3 on serve.

Both players held their next two, but at 5-5, Zvonarëva attacked with some penetrating groundstrokes to break Safina and serve for the set.

But she served a nervous game, and dropped her serve to send the set into a tiebreak.

Both players served well at the start of the tiebreak, and it reached 4/4 before Safina got a mini-break on an unforced error from Zvonarëva.

She brought up match-point, and then reached the final with a beautiful forehand crosscourt shot that left Zvonarëva stranded.
<<<

Closed roof ruins Zvonarëva's day (Reuters)
By Ossian Shine (Editing by Pritha Sarkar)
>>>
The Melbourne-heatwave ruined Vera Zvonarëva's hopes of reaching a first Major final, the Russian said, but it was not the temperature that affected her.

Instead, the fact that Australian Open organisers shut the centre-court roof to keep out the blistering heat had thrown her.

"I think it was very difficult. I think the conditions were totally different from previous matches," Zvonarëva said after her 6-3 7-6 loss to fellow Russian Dinara Safina.

"I think I'm a player who needs lots of time to get used to the conditions. I really felt it was a little bit faster.

"I felt like, well, we were playing indoors, so it was different. I couldn't really find my rhythm."

The Russian baseliner said she had not had a chance to acclimatise to the new conditions.

"I jumped on the Rod Laver [Arena] for like ten minutes. I got the chance [for] ten minutes today a little bit. Otherwise no chance [to practise]," she said.

"I think I'm an all-surface, all-court player. I really can play anywhere, [but] I'm a player who needs time to adjust to the new conditions.

"I would prefer to play a match or two... I could never play my best tennis in the first match of the tournament. It's impossible - probably like lots of other players.

"So I felt like I was a little bit off the rhythm today, and it was a little bit different for me.

"But, well, the same conditions for both of us. Well, that's it."
<<<

Safina sets up Serena-final (Pippa Davis, Eurosport)
>>>
Third seed Dinara Safina eased into her first Australian Open final with a 6-3 7-6 win over fellow Russian Vera Zvonarëva.

Safina - who also reached the final of the French Open last year - will now face three-times winner Serena Williams in Saturday's final after the American beat Elena Dementieva 6-3 6-4 in the other semi.

Safina opened the match strongly by breaking in the very first game, firing off some of her trademark heavy groundstrokes before racing up the court to slam a short ball away across court for the winner.

Safina quickly held serve to cement the break, but suffered a recurrence of her serving-woes - which caused her such trouble in her three-set quarter-final against Jelena Dokić - to gift Zvonarëva a break back just two games later.

Against serve, though, the younger of the two Russians was almost unplayable, forcing Zvonarëva to recover from 0/40 down in the fifth game before breaking for a second time in the seventh game by whipping a backhand winner across court.

Safina held again to cement the break before Zvonarëva pushed a crosscourt backhand wide to hand the world number-three not only a fourth consecutive game, but also the first set.

The early stages of the second set went with serve, and this time it was Zvonarëva who drew first blood, breaking in the fifth game when Safina's usually devastating groundstrokes went astray.

But the world number-seven failed to take advantage of the break, conceding her serve in the very next game when Safina produced a blistering crosscourt forehand winner that landed smack on the line.

A couple of service-holds apiece left the second set poised at 5-5, and again it was Zvonarëva who seized the initiative, breaking in the 11th game with a series of groundstroke-winners.

However, once more Safina hit back immediately, breaking to love to force the second-set tiebreak.

Just like the second set, the early stages of the tiebreak went with serve, leaving the scores locked at 3/3 at the change of ends, before Safina made her superior ranking tell to take four of the final five points.

Zvonarëva dumped a forehand down the centre of the court into the net to gift the world number-three her first match-points.

Safina only needed the one, however, and fittingly came up with a crosscourt forehand passing-shot winner that landed right on the line to seal the match.

Zvonarëva challenged, but it only delayed the inevitable: Hawk-Eye quickly confirmed the call that sent Safina through to her second Major final.
<<<

Serena will meet Safina in final (BBC Sport)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/7857431.stm
>>>
Serena Williams and Dinara Safina will fight for the world number-one ranking in the final of the Australian Open after wins in Melbourne on Thursday.

Third seed Safina scrapped past fellow Russian Vera Zvonarëva - seeded seventh - 6-3 7-6 (7-4) to reach the final.

Safina, who will play Williams for the number-one world ranking, said the opportunity was her "dream".

"To fight for the number-one spot in the world is unbelievable," she said.

"Vera had won so many matches [sic] 6-0, whereas I've been struggling, playing three sets.

"But now was the time to play, and I was ready for anything."

With the temperature hitting 44°C on Melbourne's hottest January-day since 1939, organisers had little option but to close the roof on Rod Laver Arena.

Safina went into her semi-final having won five of her nine meetings with Zvonarëva.

But Zvonarëva - two years Safina's elder at 24 - had won the three most recent clashes between the two: all on hard courts similar to Rod Laver Arena.

Safina surged into an early lead in an untidy first set, swatting away a nervy Zvonarëva-serve to break before holding serve with promising movement and pace.

However, Zvonarëva replied with a far better service-game, then broke back with a strong forehand down the line.

Both women continued to offer up break-points on their own serve, and Safina's backhand, which had been looking vulnerable, came good at just the right moment to restore her break-advantage in the seventh game.

This time the 22-year-old held serve, reaching up to her full height to produce a devastating first serve that Zvonarëva - though the more mobile of the pair - could not combat.

And Safina was building valuable momentum as she fought back from 40/0 down to break Zvonarëva for a third time and claim the first set.

The second set went with serve until the fifth game, but, as the match entered its second hour, Safina went long to hand her opponent the break.

However, she broke back in controversial circumstances when an impressive winner was clearly ruled in by Hawk-Eye, Zvonarëva dubbing the umpire's refusal to replay the point "ridiculous" before slamming a ball across court in disgust.

Zvonarëva briefly appeared to find a new gear as a result of her anger, treating the previously-dangerous Safina-serve temporarily with contempt.

She broke Safina once again to serve for the second set, but in a match where neither player ever settled on serve, Safina immediately broke back to send the set to a tiebreak.

Sheer tension prevented any real rallies developing in a surprisingly rapid tiebreak, but Safina picked off two Zvonarëva-serves to win, reaching the final with the benefit of another Hawk-Eye call.

"I remember watching my brother on TV winning this tournament, and if I still watched it today, I would have tears in my eyes," said Safina.

"It's great that I can follow in his footsteps. He was my idol - he still is my idol - and the fact that I'm doing as well as him is amazing."
<<<

The Evans Report: Monster's March
Richard Evans (Tennis Week)
>>>
In the all-Russian semi-final, Dinara Safina - who gets a little emotional when you mention the chance she has now of emulating her brother Marat in winning the Australian title - came through against Vera Zvonarëva.

The lower-ranked Russian had beaten Safina in their previous three meetings, but on this occasion, Safina really went for it, and never allowed herself to drop a gear as she had done midway through her fourth round against Alizé Cornet, and in her quarter-final against Jelena Dokić.

"I think I was more aggressive today than I was in previous matches," Safina said. "I think I was going a little bit more for my shots, and not allowing myself to be passive. I was just taking all my chances today."
<<<

3.3.1 Belated prematch articles
-------------------------------

Fearless Forecasts - Day 11
By Alan Trengove (www.australianopen.com (http://www.australianopen.com), Thursday 29th January 2009)
>>>
Safina [3] v Zvonarëva [7]

Nobody has taken much notice of Zvonarëva – our fault, not hers. Now entrenched in the top ten, she's yet to drop a set, and has won four sets 6-0. In the semi-finals, she faces fellow-Muscovite Safina: a player she's beaten in straight sets in their most recent three matches - all played last year. The overall head-to-head record stands at 5:4 in Safina's favour.

The 22-year-old Safina - a finalist last year at the French Open and a semi-finalist at Flushing Meadows - has spent a bit of time dodging bullets, especially from Cornet and Dokić. However, she makes an art-form of surviving, and still hopes to capture her first Major title, and with it, the No.1 ranking.

Zvonarëva - two years older - is under no such pressure. Up to now, she's been something of an underachiever - her best Major effort being a quarter-final finish at Roland Garros. She's twice reached the fourth round at Melbourne Park.

Zvonarëva came to Australia buoyed by her runner-up place at the season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha. She plays a hard-hitting baseline-game, looks at least as fit as Safina, and doesn't have as unpredictable a serve as her sometimes erratic compatriot. Both can be very emotional in big matches – and why not when you're Russian and play with such heart and soul?

Zvonarëva in three.
<<<

Oz: Final-Four Preview (Steve Tignor, TENNIS.com, Wednesday 28th January 2009)
>>>
Dinara Safina vs. Vera Zvonarëva

Safina leads their career head-to-head 5:4, but Zvonarëva has won their last three meetings: all of which took place last year, on hard courts, and ended in straight sets.

Along with Williams, Safina has been playing the escape-artist at this year's Open, coming back from match-point down against Alizé Cornet, and winning 6-4 in the third set over Jelena Dokić.

She's been erratic but stubborn, while Zvonarëva has looked better with every match. In fact, she's looked the best of any woman in the tournament, hauling off on blatant full-swing winners from both sides. It's always a mistake to think that someone's fabulous form one day will continue the next, but after her run at the 2008 year-end championships, Vera seems to be for real this time.

Winner: Zvonarëva.
<<<

Q&A with Vera Zvonarëva
By Tom Kelly (www.australianopen.com (http://www.australianopen.com), Thursday 29th January)
>>>
Q: How does it feel to be in the semi-finals of a Grand Slam? [sic]

Vera Zvonarëva (VZ): I'm very excited about it – I think I played a pretty good match [in the quarter-finals]. I'm really looking forward to my first semi-final. I have a great feeling about it. I was working hard, and I know how hard it is just to be in a Grand Slam [sic], but to be in a semi-final of a Grand Slam is great.

Q: Are you confident you can go one step further?

VZ: I'm not really thinking about it that far. I'm just trying to concentrate on myself – trying to improve my game for the next match, because for sure I will need it. I think I have improved a lot even compared to one week ago when I played my first round. It's a big difference right now, but I still need to improve a lot for my next one.

Q: You defeated three of the top five players in the world at the Tour Championships last year. How important was that week for you?

VZ: I think it was very exciting and a great week for me. It's been the first time I've beaten so many top-ten players in a row. But it was last year – it was 2008 – and now we're in 2009 and I'm just looking forward, but I'm very confident in myself. I always believe in myself; every time I come into a tournament, I come in to win it because I know I can do it. It obviously doesn't happen all the time, but I think it's just great to be in the semi-finals of a Grand Slam [sic]. It's great to have that experience that I was able to get in the Championships and just throughout the whole year.

Q: What, for you, is a good indication that you're playing well? When you step out onto the court, is there a particular shot or something that clicks that means you know it's going to be your day?

VZ: I'm always hoping I'm gonna execute all my shots that day. I think I have an all-around-the-court game. I never know what's going to work the best for me, but I will try to find something during the match based on my opponent, and based on what's tactically right.

You never know until you go on court and play your match. Some days you feel much better, and some days you don't feel as good. But you never know what's going to happen on the court until you go out there and you do it.

Q: What do you like about playing doubles on the tour?

VZ: Doubles are fun – I enjoy playing doubles. I think it's great for the game, because lots of people – lots of amateurs – they prefer to play doubles. Singles are physical. But it's also very tough when you play lots of singles-matches to keep up with the doubles. It's very difficult, but I like it.

Q: What's the strangest thing that's happened to you on court?

VZ: I have no idea! I forget who is serving and who is returning all the time, so that's not strange anymore. Nobody has run naked on the court in my matches...

Q: When people interview you, what's the one question you get asked most often?

VZ: Lots of questions about the Championships last year – I get it all the time since I played it.

Q: Do you think you're recognised more as a player since the Championships?

VZ: I'm not really thinking about the recognition or media-attention. I'm really just trying to work hard and improve myself, because I really want to do my best on the court, and I know that I'm capable of playing great tennis. So that's what I'm trying to do every time – really concentrating on it, and not really paying attention to anything else.

Q: This is the seventh year you've come to Melbourne for the Australian Open. What do you like about the city?

VZ: I think it's a city that's alive. Sometimes it's dead; with Melbourne, the city is alive, but you can still feel relaxed. Some big cities, you feel like there's too much energy. But Melbourne is very nice, because you can do whatever you want but still feel relaxed. You can do some shopping, good restaurants, some parks around – anything you want.

Q: Do you spend much time with the other girls on Tour?

VZ: Not so much. We all have our own schedules. Even if it looks like we play here all of us in Melbourne, and all stay in the hotels close-by, each of us have our own schedule. It's very difficult to spend more time with each other. I need to practise; somebody else needs to rest. I need to watch my opponent; somebody else is practising. So mostly you spend time with your team – your coach, and if you have a physical trainer, a hitting-partner – anyone else who travels with you.

Q: Do you ever get lonely?

VZ: I don't think so, because we're always busy. When you have something to do – we have to concentrate on our practice or our matches – you just don't have time to feel lonely. But for sure I miss home, I miss my friends; but I don't really have that much time to miss them that much.

Q: What's on your iPod at the moment?

VZ: Rock. I have Nickelback (it's one of my favourites right now), Linkin Park, and some Russian music that I listen to. I also like Kanye West. It's on my little shuffle all the time!

Q: You've said that one of your favourite foods is strawberries. What do you like about them?

VZ: Actually, raspberries; I like them more now – I don't know why. But I like strawberries with cream, like what they have at Wimbledon. Other than that, I like chocolate as well. I don't eat it much, but I like it as well!
<<<

--------------------------
4. My complaint to the BBC
--------------------------

Target: http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints/complaints_stage1.shtml

I am writing to complain about the BBC's omission to televise the women's singles semi-finals of the Australian Open tennis on Thursday 29th January 2009, and also in 2007 and 2008.

I understand that these matches were in the day-session, while the BBC has only promised to cover the Rod Laver Arena evening-sessions of the Australian Open, but it's simply not acceptable to miss the semi-finals of a Major.

While I greatly appreciate the daily coverage of the Australian Open on BBC Red Button, I am dismayed by how male-dominated this coverage has been throughout the tournament. The BBC has showed a men's match (or two) every day, but has missed several women's evening-session matches to show repeats of Andy Murray's matches. Moreover, on Wednesday 21st January, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic's second-round matches from the day-session were shown instead of the mouthwatering evening-session clash between Jelena Dokic and Anna Chakvetadze.

To make an exception for Federer and Djokovic's second-round matches, but not for the women's semi-finals, is just plain sexist. If the women are earning equal prize-money at the Majors, then they deserve equal TV-coverage.

You might argue that the majority of viewers want to watch the men (I challenge that call), but you must not underestimate the BBC's power to brainwash people into biased preferences. Therefore, the BBC needs to take a more responsible attitude towards promoting gender-equality in tennis, and also not allow coverage of international stars to suffer unreasonably in favour of British players (e.g. by showing repeats of Murray's Australian Open matches at 08:30 GMT instead of waiting until the live tennis you promised has finished).

I am particularly disappointed that the BBC has only televised one match of Vera Zvonareva in the last two years: her second-round loss at Wimbledon 2008. Vera is one of the most talented and attractive stars of the WTA Tour, and she will be #5 in the world after her run to the Australian Open semi-finals... so it's long overdue to put the "vera" back in "coverage"!

Why couldn't the BBC show the women's semi-finals recorded after live coverage of Thursday's evening-session, as was the case in 2006?

-------------------------------
5. Women's Doubles: Semi-finals
-------------------------------
5.1 Semi-final results (Thursday 29th January 2009)
----------------------

+ (DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [EF]/AI SUGIYAMA)[9] d. Nathalie Dechy/Mara Santangelo, 6-4 6-3

+ (SERENA WILLIAMS/VENUS WILLIAMS)[10] d. (CASEY DELL'ACQUA/FRANCESCA SCHIAVONE)[12], 6-0 6-2


5.2 Hantuchová/Sugiyama v Dechy/Santangelo mini-report
------------------------------------------------------

I checked the scoreboard once before I went to bed: Hantuyama led 6-4 2-0*.


5.2.1 Articles
--------------

Williams-Sisters to Play 'Hantuyama' For Australian Doubles-Title
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=2938
>>>
They might only be the No.9 and No.10 doubles seeds at the 2009 Australian Open, but a formidable foursome will contest the title at Melbourne Park on Friday, as Daniela Hantuchová and Ai Sugiyama take on Venus and Serena Williams. Due to extreme temperatures, their respective semi-final matches had to be moved 'indoors' on the Hisense Arena but, auguring well for the final, both teams still showed blistering form.

Ninth seeds Hantuchová and Sugiyama - quarter-final conquerors of top seeds Cara Black and Liezel Huber - were first to book their place in the championship-match with a comfortable 6-4 6-3 win over French/Italian duo Nathalie Dechy and Mara Santangelo.

The foundation for the win was laid early in each set with the break of Dechy's serve, which 'Hantuyama' built upon with seemingly effortless verve, the tall Slovak providing countless savvy set-ups for the dynamic Japanese veteran to execute at the net.

Indeed, when Hantuchová struck a backhand pass down the line to give her team a 3-0 lead in the second, it seemed they would record an even easier win. But Dechy and Santangelo mustered forces to break Sugiyama twice in the remainder of the set; on the downside, they were on the wrong end of most of the quick-fire exchanges at the net; more damagingly, Dechy relinquished another two service-games, handing Hantuchová three match-points on a double fault.

Supreme communication also kept the Williams-sisters on their winning ways as they dispatched Casey Dell'Acqua and Francesca Schiavone, who were surprise finalists at Roland Garros last year, but have played only sporadically since. Although Serena seemed remarkably fresh after her semi-final defeat of Elena Dementieva, the American No.10 seeds clearly didn't want to waste an ounce of energy on court, overpowering their opponents to keep the rallies short for a 6-0 6-2 win.

Playing together again after a couple of years' break, Hantuchová and Sugiyama will be gunning for their fourth title together, but first since Rome in 2006 - the year they achieved their best Major result as a unit, finishing runners-up to Lisa Raymond and Samantha Stosur at Roland Garros.

Now 33, Sugiyama was actually ranked No.1 in doubles in 2000: the year she won the US Open with Julie Halard-Decugis (she also won the French Open and Wimbledon with Kim Clijsters in 2003).

For her part, Hantuchová has been as high as No.5 in doubles, and belongs to an élite group that owns a Career Grand Slam in Mixed Doubles. But although the 25-year-old also reached the final of the Australian Open with Aranxta Sánchez-Vicario in 2002, she is yet to capture a Women's Doubles Major.

Venus and Serena might not play doubles very often, but when they do, it is almost invariably with spectacular results. Together they have collected seven Majors, including the Australian Open in 2001 and 2003, and most recently Wimbledon, as well as two Olympic Gold Medals. To reach the final this week, they've disposed of No.5 seeds Samantha Stosur and Rennae Stubbs, and No.16 seeds Hsieh,Su-Wei and Peng,Shuai.
<<<

Women's doubles finalists decided
By Katy Ghassemi (www.australianopen.com (http://www.australianopen.com))
>>>
The Women's Doubles semi-finals of the Australian Open 2009 were played on Thursday, with Daniela Hantuchová and Ai Sugiyama first to book their place in Friday's final.

An in-form Hantuchová and Sugiyama - who've won three doubles-titles together - were in control throughout the match, winning comfortably against the French/Italian pair of Nathalie Dechy and Mara Santangelo: 6-4 6-3.

Sugiyama's quick hands at the net helped the No.9 seeds secure a break in the first game of the match. It was a sign of things to come, with both Hantuchová and Sugiyama showing their dominance at the net. Dechy and Santangelo's miscommunication also helped Hantuchová and Sugiyama, with the French/Italian pair chasing down the same ball on more than one occasion, with predictable results.

Having lost her serve early in the set, Hantuchová made up for it by serving an ace to secure the first set for herself and Sugiyama.

The second set was a similar affair, with the No.9 seeds gaining a 5-1 lead before Dechy and Santangelo made a late comeback to win two games. They'd left their run too late, however, and Hantuchová and Sugiyama clinched the match by winning the final game to love.
<<<

5.3 Final-draw
--------------

* (DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [EF]/AI SUGIYAMA)[9] v (SERENA WILLIAMS/VENUS WILLIAMS)[10]

---------------------------------
6. Girls' Singles: Quarter-finals
---------------------------------
6.1 Quarter-final results (Thursday 29th January 2009)
-------------------------

Nice winners, nice losers, but not nice results:
+ NOPPAWAN LERTCHEEWAKARN [1,S] d. Anna Orlik, 6-1 6-0
+ LAURA ROBSON [5] d. ELENA BOGDAN [4], 6-3 2-5* (0/30*) retired (ankle-injury)

Nice winner:
+ KSENIA PERVAK [3] d. HEATHER WATSON [9], 6-3 7-5

Beautiful loser:
- KRISTINA MLADENOVIĆ [7] lt. ANA BOGDAN [2], 4-6 2-6

Today I read that Elena Bogdan and Ana Bogdan are sisters, but that can't be true, because their dates of birth are only 8 months apart, and their parents' names are different.


6.2 Robson v E.Bogdan mini-report
---------------------------------

+ LAURA ROBSON [5] d. ELENA BOGDAN [4], 6-3 2-5* (0/30*) retired

This started at 10:00 AEDT, which is only 23:00 GMT in England, so I followed live scores casually. The first set went with serve until Robson broke for *4-3 - despite wasting four break-points after Bogdan trailed *3-3 (0/40). Robson recovered from *4-3 (30/40) to hold and then break for the set.

In the second set, it seemed that Robson was wilting in the heat as Bogdan raced to a 5-1* lead, but the scoreboard was stuck on Ad Robson for about ten minutes before she held. Bogdan led *5-2 (30/0), but then shockingly retired!

I soon learned that Bogdan had turned her ankle and couldn't put any weight on it, so I feel very sorry for her. It must have been agonising for her to be forced to retire from a Major quarter-final when she was just two good serves away from winning the second set and getting the match suspended under the Extreme-Heat Policy!

My understanding is that Bogdan was forced to retire against her wishes. I can't help thinking that the doctor's intervention was a little premature. Surely Bogdan at *5-2 (30/0) could have stood on one leg and tried to close out the set with a couple of service-winners, even if she would have had to leave any returns from Robson? At least wait until 5-3* to retire.


6.2.1 Articles
--------------

Robson reaches girls' semi-finals (BBC Sport)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/7850391.stm
>>>
British teenager Laura Robson reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open girls' singles when Romanian Elena Bogdan retired from their match.

The 15-year-old fifth seed, who has yet to drop a set in the tournament, was leading 6-3 2-5 when Bogdan pulled out.

The quarter-final was halted for a medical time-out after Bogdan injured her ankle while leading 5-1 in the second set.

The Romanian returned to the court after 10 minutes, but managed just one more game before she was forced to retire.

And Robson, who was born in Melbourne, said it was the right decision to take.

"After the second set, we were due to be suspended anyway [because the Extreme-Heat Policy had been invoked], so I'm sure she would have loved to have that break," said the Wimbledon junior-champion.

"But to me, it seemed like she couldn't even walk or serve or do anything, so it would have been tough for her to play.

"It was really unlucky that it happened to her. She was really sad, so I felt really bad for her."

BBC Radio 5 Live's tennis-correspondent Jonathan Overend added: "Bogdan limped back to her chair but wanted to continue, as she knew if the match went to one set all, the Extreme-Heat Policy would be enforced, and the players would be brought off.

"She played four more points - winning two of them - before the doctor walked onto the court and basically forced her to retire.

"Bogdan was in tears, and her coach was shaking his head, but she was in no position to play, and for her own good, it was the right decision. The doctor has the power to take such a decision if it's in the player's best interests."

Londoner Robson will now face top seed Noppawan Lertcheewakarn, whom she beat in the 2008 Wimbledon girls' final.

Thailand's Lertcheewakarn looked in impressive form in her quarter-final, defeating Belarusian Anna Orlik 6-1 6-0.

"She had an easy win against my doubles-partner, so that's not the best confidence-boost," joked Robson.

"I maybe won't have as much advantage with my serve as I did the last time [at Wimbledon] - because it skids on grass - but it will be a good match."
<<<

Britain's Laura Robson into semi-finals as Heather Watson bows out in Melbourne
By Mark Hodgkinson in Melbourne (The Daily Telegraph - UK)
>>>
In the burning heat of Melbourne Park, Laura Robson moved into the last four of the junior Australian Open after her opponent rolled her ankle and was later instructed to retire from the quarter-final by the tournament-doctor.

Robson strolled off with a place in the semi-finals, but Elena Bogdan - a Romanian girl who had wanted to continue after the injury - left Court 19 in a wheelchair, all puffy-eyed and holding her mobile phone, looking as though she was about to text or call home with the bad news from Down Under.

Robson - Britain's 15-year-old junior Wimbledon-champion - had taken the opening set 6-3, but she was trailing 1-5 in the second when the Eastern European lost her footing on the baseline and collapsed into a heap, clutching her ankle.

Bogdan took a lengthy medical time-out and had the ankle taped, but it took her a while to hobble from her chair to the baseline, and it was clear that she was in no fit state to play.

The Melbourne-born Londoner held serve to take the score to 2-5, and Bogdan then went 30/0 up before the tournament-officials intervened and told her that she could not continue.

Robson's semi-final opponent is Thailand's Noppawan Lertcheewakarn: the world junior No.1.

But Robson has happy memories of playing the Thai, as she was the girl she beat in the final of last summer's Wimbledon-juniors.

The girls' final is scheduled to be played on the main stage at Melbourne Park: the Rod Laver Arena.

Just a few metres away from Robson and Bogdan, on Court 21, Britain's Heather Watson was beaten in straight sets by Ksenia Pervak of Russia - perhaps still feeling the after-effects of having been out in the heat for so long for her previous match.
<<<

Robson reaches semi-final after opponent retires
Steve Bierley in Melbourne (guardian.co.uk)
>>>
Laura Robson reached today's semi-finals of the Australian Open juniors when her quarter-final opponent - Elena Bogdan of Romania: last year's runner-up in the French Open - was forced to retire with an ankle-injury after falling.

Robson, the junior Wimbledon-champion, had won the opening set 6-3, but was trailing 2-5* (0/30) in the second when Bogdan fell. She tried to continue, hoping to win the second set and get what might have been a six-hour break with the Extreme-Heat Policy coming into effect and matches being stopped on the outside courts. However, the doctor advised her to retire.

"We were both very tired. It was unfortunate that she had the injury. I think the referee forced her to stop because she wanted to play on, though I don't think she couldn't even walk," said Robson. "After the second set, play was due to be suspended anyway. But to me, it seemed that she couldn't even walk or serve or do anything."

It was another brutally hot day. "I was definitely struggling in that second set. I could barely breathe. I was cramping, and it was unfortunate for her, because if it had gone to a third set, I think she would have had a really good chance of winning. It was much hotter that the previous days, and it felt more humid as well. My coach said after I came off court that at 10:45 it was over 40 degrees. It's not nice to play in. It also felt like there was a really hot wind blowing into my face as well, so it hurt my eyes."

Robson next plays Thailand's Noppawan Lertcheewakarn - the top seed - for a place in the final, having beaten her in the final at Wimbledon. The Thai won her quarter-final 6-1 6-0. Ksenia Pervak of Russia - the No.3 seed - beat Britain's other quarter-finalist: Heather Watson.
<<<

6.3 Pervak v Watson mini-report
-------------------------------

+ KSENIA PERVAK [3] d. HEATHER WATSON [9], 6-3 7-5

I followed live scores casually for this, since it was on at the same time as Robson v Bogdan. Pervak won the first set on the strength of an early break, and broke again in the last game.

Watson broke for 2-0* in the second, but Pervak broke back for *3-3, and again to serve for the match at *5-3. Pervak had two match-points at 40/15, but faltered and was pegged back to *5-5. But she held for 6-5*, then broke after deuce for the match.

Ian Watson (Heather's father): "I find in tournaments the world over that particularly the juniors are very well protected. It's surprising that in Australia, Heather's been playing long matches in 40°C plus on some occasions."

I know two English computer-scientists called Ian Watson. Presumably Heather's father isn't one of them.


6.4 Semi-final draw
-------------------

* NOPPAWAN LERTCHEEWAKARN [1,S] v LAURA ROBSON [5] (my Reason says Noppawan but my Passion says Laura)
* KSENIA PERVAK [3] v ANA BOGDAN [2] (davai Ksenia!)

The upper semi-final is a repeat of the Wimbledon 2008 Girls' Singles final, but this time Noppawan has the edge, as she has blazed through the first four rounds for the loss of just 10 games, while Robson has struggled in the heat, which Noppawan would be much more used to, coming from Thailand.

Robson: "She had an easy win against my doubles-partner [Anna Orlik], so that's not the best confidence-boost! I maybe won't have as much advantage with my serve as I did the last time [at Wimbledon], because it skids on grass, but it will be a good match."

If Robson were to reach the final, I wouldn't put it past the BBC to show that final recorded at 08:30 GMT on Saturday instead of the Women's Singles final, given how chauvinistic the BBC's coverage has been so far! Frankly, I'd rather watch Robson v Pervak (or Ana Bogdan) than Safina v Williams, although I would have been furious if Vera Zvonarëva had reached the final and the BBC had done that!

---------------------------------
7. Girls' Doubles: Quarter-finals
---------------------------------
7.1 Quarter-final results (Thursday 29th January 2009)
-------------------------

- (ELENA BOGDAN/KRISTINA MLADENOVIĆ)[1] lt. Isabella Holland/Sally Peers, walkover (Bogdan: ankle-injury)

- (KSENIA PERVAK/KSENIA KIRILLOVA)[4] lt. (CHRISTINA MCHALE/AJLA TOMLJANOVIĆ)[6], 4-6 4-6

+ Alexandra Krunić/Sandra Zaniewska d. Victoria Kamenskaya/Karina Pimkina, 6-4 6-7 (6/8) [10/8]

- (ANNA ORLIK/LAURA ROBSON)[5] lt. (NOPPAWAN LERTCHEEWAKARN [s]/BEATRICE GUMULYA)[2], walkover

I'm not sure whether it was Robson who withdrew to save herself for the Girls' Singles semi-finals against Noppawan, or Orlik after her thrashing by Noppawan in the Girls' Singles quarter-finals.


7.2 Semi-final draw
-------------------

* Isabella Holland/Sally Peers v (CHRISTINA MCHALE/AJLA TOMLJANOVIĆ)[6]

* (NOPPAWAN LERTCHEEWAKARN [s]/BEATRICE GUMULYA)[2] v Alexandra Krunić/Sandra Zaniewska

---------------------------
8. Order of play for Friday
---------------------------

Rod Laver Arena (start 15:00 AEDT = 04:00 GMT)
WD f: (DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [EF]/AI SUGIYAMA)[9] v (SERENA WILLIAMS/VENUS WILLIAMS)[10]
XD sf: Iveta Benešová/Lukáš Dlouhý v Sania Mirza [DF]/Mahesh Bhupathi
|
(not before 19:30 AEDT = 08:30 GMT)
MS sf: RAFAEL NADAL [1] v FERNANDO VERDASCO [14]

Full order of play:
http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/scores/schedule/

--
Dr. Andrew Broad

andrewbroad
Jan 31st, 2009, 12:40 AM
===============
AUSTRALIAN OPEN (Melbourne, Australia; outdoor hard (Plexicushion); Major)
=============== http://www.australianopen.com/
Contents
--------

1. Photos / Videos
2. Women's Doubles: Final
3. Dokić v Safina: the most-watched women's match in Australia ever!
4. Women's Singles: Final-preview
5. Mixed Doubles: Semi-finals
6. Girls' Singles: Semi-finals
7. Girls' Doubles: Quarter-finals
8. Order of play for Saturday / UK TV-alert

------------------
1. Photos / Videos
------------------
1.1 Photos
----------

Daniela Hantuchová in the Women's Doubles final:
http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/players/overview/wta080394.html

Semi-final photos added, including Vera Zvonarëva, Daniela Hantuchová and Elena Dementieva:
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/2/photogallery/

Friday photos, including Daniela Hantuchová and Laura Robson:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/7859843.stm

Search-list for Friday:
hantuchova
mirza


1.2 Videos
----------

http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/2/multimedia/default_video.asp
- Day 12 Highlights: Hantuchová/Sugiyama v Williams/Williams

-------------------------
2. Women's Doubles: Final (Friday 30th January 2009)
-------------------------

- (DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [EF]/AI SUGIYAMA)[9] lt. (SERENA WILLIAMS/VENUS WILLIAMS)[10], 3-6 3-6

Well, they did very well to get to the final, with that amazing comeback-win against Cara Black and Liezel Huber in the quarter-finals!

It was Daniela's second Australian Open Women's Doubles final, but she has yet to win a Major in Women's Doubles despite having won a Career Grand Slam in Mixed Doubles.

For the Williams-sisters, it was their eighth Women's Doubles Major title together.

The match was first on Rod Laver Arena at 15:00 AEDT, which is 04:00 GMT in England, so I hope you'll forgive me for not staying up to follow live scores. ;-)


2.1 Statistics
--------------

The match lasted 1h16m, with each set lasting 38 minutes.

The statistics don't mention any aces or winners, just 20 unforced errors and 3 double faults for the Williams-sisters (the double faults all coming in the second set), and 19 unforced errors and 0 double faults for Hantuyama. Each team made 8 UEs in the first set; in the second set, the Williams-sisters made 12 UEs while Hantuyama made 11 UEs.

The Williams-sisters got 54% of their first serves in, winning 71% of the points when they did so, and only 42% on second serve. It seems they went for even bigger first serves in the second set, as their first-serves-in percentage dipped from 64% to 42%, while their first-serve winning-percentage climbed from 67% to 80%, but their second-serve winning percentage declined from 60% to 29%.

Hantuyama got 80% of their first serves in, but won only 46% of the points when they did so, and 33% on second serve. From the first set to the second, they raised their first-serves-in percentage from 73% to 86%, but their first-serve winning-percentage dipped from 50% to 42%, while their second-serve winning-percentage crashed from 42% to 0%.

The Williams-sisters had huge first serves compared to Hantuyama: fastest 121-103 mph, average first serve 107-95 mph. At least Hantuyama's average second serve was faster than the Williams-sisters': 82-79 mph.

Hantuyama had almost as many break-points as the Williams-sisters, but only broke 3 times from 7 BPs, while the Williams-sisters broke 6 times from 8 BPs. The Williams-sisters won the first set by two breaks to one, and the second set - which had more BPs for both teams - by four breaks to two.

In points, the Williams-sisters won 64-48 (first set 33-25, second set 31-23).


2.2 Articles
------------

Venus & Serena win doubles-title [CEEFAX 490->493]
>>>
Venus and Serena Williams won their eighth Major doubles-title with victory at the Australian Open.

The sisters brushed aside Daniela Hantuchová of Slovakia and Japan's Ai Sugiyama 6-3 6-3 to claim the trophy for the third time in Melbourne.

"I'd like to thank Serena for being the best partner," said 28-year-old Venus. "I wouldn't want to play with anyone else. She's amazing."

Serena, 27, targets her tenth Major singles-title on Saturday.
<<<

Williams-sisters earn doubles-title [Teletext 495->498]
>>>
Title for Williams-girls [Teletext 498]

Serena and Venus Williams won their eighth Major Women's Doubles title with a 6-3 6-3 victory over Daniela Hantuchová and Ai Sugiyama.

The 76-minute triumph in the searing heat at Melbourne was the sisters' third title in Australia, and makes them the third-most successful partnership in the Open Era.

Younger sister Serena also faces Dinara Safina in Saturday's singles-final.
<<<

Triple treat: Williams-sisters take doubles-crown
By Helen Gilbert (www.australianopen.com)
>>>
Venus and Serena Williams have stormed past Daniela Hantuchová and Ai Sugiyama to lift the Australian Open Women's doubles-crown for the third time in their career.

The American sisters produced a devastating display to dispose of the ninth-seeded pair 6-3 6-3 to earn their eighth Major doubles-title together, and said the victory was as sweet as their other seven.

"They're all so wonderful." Venus said after the match. "I think we complement each other on the court because we're both extremely positive. We know, when the other one moves, what the other one needs to do to compensate for that or to add to it. I think that we're so good at putting the ball away - I think it helps us so much."

At first, the Slovak/Japanese duo appeared to have the upper hand in the encounter, played beneath the Rod Laver Arena roof as the mercury reached 43°C outside.

The good friends and partners, making their second Major-final appearance as a team since Roland Garros in 2006, looked relaxed and jovial as they strolled on court and subsequently eased into the match, breaking Venus in the opening game.

The fast-paced tone was set immediately as Serena and Hantuchová became drawn in fierce forehand-rallies. But Serena and Venus were undeterred, whispering tactics to each other beneath closed fingertips in trademark fashion. The mood of the match soon changed when the American sisters produced several pieces of astonishing net-play.

Venus - clad in a sunshine-yellow dress - was particularly impressive at 4-3 when she dashed across the net like a flash of lightning to hit a perfect forehand volley into an open court and earn a break-point. A Hantuchová backhand-miss gave the sisters a double break, and spectacular serving by Venus saw the 10th seeds claim the first set.

Speaking of Venus after the match, Serena said: "She's covering the whole net. At one point today, I literally stood back and she took care of everything, so yeah, I just wouldn't want to face them [Venus's shots] too much. They are ferocious."

Come the second set, each player had trouble holding their serve. At 1-1, Sugiyama's was the first to go. Serena, Hantuchová and Venus followed suit, and then Sugiyama got broken again.

It was the younger Williams that became the first to hold, and that proved to be the deciding factor. Punishing tennis on Hantuchová's serve then followed as the sisters asserted their authority at the net to claim their eighth Major doubles-title.

While the sisters produced flawless tennis today, they admitted their doubles-game needed a bit of help in the early days.

"I think when we first started playing, we thought we knew each other so well we didn't have to talk between points. Someone told us - maybe Zina [Garrison] - that we needed to talk between points," Venus smiled.

"We never told each other where we were going to serve or anything," Serena adds.

"We just figured we're so close that we don't need to do that. I think that's pretty clueless," Venus laughed.

However, there is no question about their doubles-game now. The victory means that the sisters are now tied for the third-most successful partnership in the Open Era in terms of Major doubles-titles. The most successful was Martina Navrátilová and Pam Shriver, who scooped 21 Major titles, followed by Gigi Fernández and Natasha Zvereva (14), and Virginia Ruano Pascual and Paola Suárez (8).
<<<

Williams-Sisters Win Third Australian Open
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=2941
>>>
For the second year in a row, a sister-act has won the Australian Open Women's Doubles title, with Venus and Serena Williams producing another powerful display to defeat Daniela Hantuchová and Ai Sugiyama in Friday's final: 6-3 6-3. The win represents the sisters' eighth Major title overall and their third triumph at Melbourne Park; this year's No.10 seeds also lifted the trophy in 2001 and 2003.

Cool, calm and collected under the closed roof of the Rod Laver Arena, ninth-seeded Hantuchová and Sugiyama made the better start, their tactic of both standing back on Venus's serve drawing errors from the incoming volleyer. But after Hantuchová produced some fine angles to consolidate her team's early break at 2-0, the Williamses stepped things up a gear, breaking Sugiyama with clever crossover play to level at 2-2.

The Japanese veteran's serve was again put under pressure by heavy returning at 3-4, and the 33-year-old was broken to give the Americans a chance to serve for the set. That done, they again broke Sugiyama for 2-1 in the second, but it would prove to be the first of five consecutive service-breaks, which kept proceedings level until 3-3, but also saw Sugiyama lose her serve yet again for 3-4. Two games later, Hantuchová was left to keep her team in the match, but by this time, the hard-fought contest had acquired an air of inevitability, and the sisters gave away just one point in the final game.

"We played a great team today: they were very tough," said Venus, adding with a chuckle, "I'd like to thank for Serena for being the best partner - I wouldn't play with anyone else."

Speaking for her team, Hantuchová congratulated the champions and thanked her own partner, Sugiyama, with whom she was also runner-up at Roland Garros in 2006. "It's a big honour for me to play with someone like you," the 25-year-old Slovak said. "You're not only a fantastic player, but one of my best friends."

Indeed, with their complementary styles and communication-skills, Hantuchová and Sugiyama - who were a regular fixture on the Tour from 2005 until early 2007 - reunited seamlessly during this month's Australian swing. Notably, they beat world No.1s Cara Black and Liezel Huber twice: in the quarters at Brisbane, and again in a three-hour epic at the same stage in Melbourne, saving seven match-points in the process.

If last year's Australian Open title-run by Alyona and Kateryna Bondarenko was a surprise, this year's event produced even more shocks, for none of the top eight seeds reached the quarters. The Williams-sisters opened their section of the draw by defeating fifth-seeded Samantha Stosur and Rennae Stubbs in the third round. Ominously, they say they plan to start playing together more often, too: "If we keep playing, I think we can keep winning more titles," said Venus. "We're going to do our best to play the other Slams [sic] this year."

After today's final, Sugiyama is projected to rise to No.3 in the doubles-rankings, while Hantuchová and both Williams-sisters are expected to enter the top twenty.
<<<

Williams-sisters win Aussie Women's Doubles title
Neil Frankland: AP Sports Writer
>>>
Serena and Venus Williams won their eighth Major Women's Doubles title on Friday, beating Daniela Hantuchová of Slovakia and Japan's Ai Sugiyama 6-3 6-3 in the Australian Open final.

The Williams-sisters, seeded 10th, were untroubled as they served out the first set in just 38 minutes under a closed roof on centre court.

The temperature topped 113°F in the late afternoon, and the roof on Rod Laver Arena was closed when the tournament's Extreme-Heat Policy was put in effect.

The second set proved more difficult as the pairs exchanged breaks six times in nine games before the Williams' powerful returns and superior movement around the court proved the deciding factor.

"We played a great team today. They were very tough," Venus said. "At the end there, I think we just maybe wanted it a little more."

Serena Williams, who returns to centre court on Saturday for the singles-final, dominated at the net as they broke Sugiyama's serve to take a 4-3 lead, then sealed the championship by breaking Hantuchová.

"I think we complement each other on the court, because we're both extremely positive," Venus said. "We know, when the other one moves, what the other one needs to do to compensate for that or to add to it."

The sisters, who won the Doubles Gold Medal at last year's Beijing Olympics, held up their rackets to celebrate the win before hugging each other on court.

"I'd like to thank Serena for being the best partner," Venus Williams, 28, said. "I wouldn't want to play with anyone else. She's amazing."

The Williams-sisters now have three Australian Open doubles-titles, having previously won here in 2001 and 2003. Serena won the singles-title in 2003, 2005 and 2007.

They have won doubles-titles at all four Majors - a milestone that Sugiyama was hoping to achieve by winning here with Hantuchová.

Serena, 27, who has a chance to win her tenth singles Major title when she takes on Dinara Safina on Saturday, looked relaxed during and after the match.

The sisters laughed and chatted between sets, and made an unhurried exit from Rod Laver Arena after the trophy-presentations.

"I don't have to work too hard out there. Just hit some big serves," Serena said. "Venus hits some big serves; we put the ball away.

"For me, it's great practice, great fun. If I'm really fit, then I like to go for the win in both events."
<<<

Williams-sisters hungry for more after Open doubles-win (AFP)
>>>
Serena and Venus Williams won their eighth Major doubles-title when they beat Ai Sugiyama and Daniela Hantuchová at the Australian Open on Friday, and said they were hungry for more.

The sisters claimed their third Australian Open doubles-trophy after overpowering their opponents 6-3 6-3 in just 75 minutes.

The Williams, who also won here in 2001 and 2003, kept intact their record of never having lost a doubles-final at a Major.

They are now tied with Virginia Ruano Pascual and Paola Suárez as the third-most successful Major women's team in the Open Era, behind Martina Navrátilova/Pam Shriver with 21 Major titles, and Gigi Fernández/Natasha Zvereva (14).

"I think we complement each other on the court, because we're both extremely positive," Venus said.

"We know when the other one moves, what the other one needs to do to compensate for that or to add to it."

Serena, who plays Dinara Safina for the singles-title on Saturday, added that there was no reason why they couldn't add to their tally, and said they would try to play together at the year's other three Majors.

"If we keep playing, I think we can just keep getting titles," she said.

"We haven't played so much in the last seven years or eight years.

"If we would have played during that time, we probably would have gotten even more."

The sisters were too powerful in every department for Japan's Sugiyama and Slovakia's Hantuchová, who were on the back foot from the moment Sugiyama lost her second service-game.

The Japanese player was under enormous pressure throughout the match, and failed to hold her serve at all in the second set.

The two teams traded early service-breaks in the first set - from Venus and Hantuchová - and then games went on serve until 4-3, when Sugiyama was broken for the first time.

Venus served out the next game to wrap up the first set and put the sisters firmly in control.

There was a run of five consecutive service-breaks at the start of the second set, but the Williams-sisters always looked more dangerous.

At 3-4 down, Sugiyama was broken again, and this time Serena served out the set to love to claim the title.

"We played a great team today," Venus said.

"They were very tough. At the end there, I think we just maybe wanted it a little more."
<<<

Williams-sisters win third Australian Open doubles-title (Reuters)
By Greg Stutchbury (editing by Nick Mulvenney)
>>>
Serena Williams achieved the first part of a 2009 Australian Open Major double when she teamed up with older sister Venus to win their third Women's Doubles title at Melbourne Park on Friday.

Serena is to play the singles-final against Russia's Dinara Safina on Rod Laver Arena on Saturday.

The 10th seeds, who also won the title at Melbourne Park in 2001 and 2003, beat Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchová and Ai Sugiyama of Japan 6-3 6-3 to claim their eighth Major doubles-title.

They are now tied for third on the all-time list for Major doubles-titles - behind the pairings of Martina Navrátilová and Pam Shriver (21), and Gigi Fernández and Natasha Zvereva (14).

Virginia Ruano Pascual and Paola Suárez also won eight titles, but Venus said she and her sibling would have won more if they had played more doubles.

"We haven't played so much in the last seven years or eight years," Venus told reporters.

"If we would have played during that time, we probably would have gotten even more.

"Obviously, we have to play well [on Friday]. We played a great team today. They were very tough."

With the air-temperature over 40°C for the third successive day, organisers again closed the roof on Rod Laver Arena, and the American duo hardly looked flustered, winning the first set in 38 minutes.

They continuously attacked the serve of the Slovak and Japanese, breaking on six of the eight opportunities they had, though they did not have it all their own way with their own service, being broken three times.

However, their superior groundstroke-power and court-coverage proved to be the difference, and they hugged each other when Sugiyama's backhand volley dropped into the net.

"Sometimes we stay at the baseline because we have such great groundstrokes," said Serena. "We lose sight that we need to come in. Once we come in, I think it's even more dangerous.

"I have a great partner. I don't have to work too hard out there. Just hit some big serves.

"Venus hits some big serves. We put the ball away."
<<<

Williams-sisters win Australian Open doubles-title (AP)
By Paul Alexander: Associated Press Writer
>>>
Serena Williams was happy to have sister Venus on her side of the net on Friday so that she didn't have to try to fend off those wicked volleys.

Their doubles title — their third at the Australian Open and eighth Major title as a combination — came at the expense of Daniela Hantuchová of Slovakia and Japan's Ai Sugiyama, who lost 6-3 6-3 and had to dodge a number of stinging shots at the net, particularly from Venus.

"I just wouldn't want to face them too much. They are ferocious," Serena said of her sister's shots. The sisters have faced each other in seven Major singles-finals.

"She's covering the whole net. At one point today, I literally stood back and she took care of everything."

It was a good tuneup for Serena's singles-final on Saturday, when she will face Russia's Dinara Safina.

With the temperature topping 113°F in the late afternoon, the roof on Rod Laver Arena was closed when the tournament's Extreme-Heat Policy was again put in effect. It was opened later for the men's match.

Some top players avoid doubles, worrying that the extra time on court might hamper their singles-prospects. While they took a long time off from doubles as both dealt with injuries — resulting in them being seeded only 10th at Melbourne Park — the Williams-sisters have gotten back together recently, winning Wimbledon and the Olympic Gold Medal at Beijing last year.

"I have a great partner," Serena said. "I don't have to work too hard out there. Just hit some big serves. Venus hits some big serves. We put the ball away. Most of all, I love to play doubles. For me it's great practice, great fun. If I'm really fit, then I like to go for the win in both events."

Fun indeed. They dropped only one set in six matches, playing better as the tournament went along. They were chatting and laughing on Friday as if they were playing with some friends.

"I think we complement each other on the court, because we're both extremely positive," Venus said. "We never, ever in our lives have said nasty things to each other. We just don't operate that way."

There's also a different mood for them than in singles.

"I think that when you play good points in doubles, you tend to smile a little more, enjoy that point with someone else," Venus said. "It's definitely a different kind of feeling, ‘cause in singles you're so focused, you don't even smile, you just move to that next point without any kind of elation."

The sisters held up their rackets to celebrate the win before hugging each other on court.

"I'd like to thank Serena for being the best partner," Venus said. "I wouldn't want to play with anyone else. She's amazing."

They have won doubles-titles at all four Majors: a milestone that Sugiyama had been hoping to achieve by winning here with Hantuchová.
<<<

Williams-sisters win doubles-title at Australian Open (PA SportsTicker)
>>>
Serena and Venus Williams claimed the doubles-title at the Australian Open on Friday, forging a 6-3 6-3 victory over Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchová and Ai Sugiyama of Japan.

It was the 14th career doubles-title for the 10th-seeded Williams-sisters, and eighth in a Major.

"I have a great partner," Serena said. "I don't have to work too hard out there. Just hit some big serves. Venus hits some big serves. We put the ball away. Most of all, I love to play doubles. For me it's great practice, great fun."

The triumph was also the Williams' third title in Melbourne after winning here in 2001 and 2003.

The sisters are tied with Virginia Ruano Pascual and Paola Suárez for the third-most Major doubles-titles in the Open Era, sitting behind only Martina Navrátilová and Pam Shriver (21), and Gigi Fernández and Natasha Zvereva (14).

The American duo needed only 75 minutes to finish Hantuchová and Sugiyama, who were seeded ninth, forging eight break-points and winning six.

The Williamses won 71% of their first-serve points (20 of 28), overcoming three double faults and 20 unforced errors - one more than their opponents - en route to the victory.

Serena will try to sweep the women's titles at Melbourne Park on Saturday when she faces third-seeded Russian Dinara Safina in the singles-final.
<<<

Sisterly Sweep (Alberto Amalfi, TENNIS.com)
>>>
The Williams-sisters delivered another dose of finality to the Major field.

Venus and Serena pounded ninth-seeded Daniela Hantuchová and Ai Sugiyama 6-3 6-3 today to capture their third career Australian Open doubles-crown.

Moving as if connected by a cord, the sisters swarmed the net in shrinking the open court-space their veteran opponents had to work with when they weren't blasting rifle-returns from the baseline.

"They're all so wonderful," Venus said of their Major titles. "I think we complement each other on the court, because we're both extremely positive. We know, when the other one moves, what the other one needs to do to compensate for that or to add to it. I think that we're so good at putting the ball away; I think it helps us so much."

It was the Williams-sisters' eighth career Major doubles-title together. They now hold both the Wimbledon and Australian Open crowns. The sisters, who were seeded 10th but are widely regarded as the most dominant doubles-team in women's tennis, also partnered to win Wimbledon and capture their second consecutive Gold Medal in doubles in Beijing last year.

Though they generally do not play much doubles these days, their eight career doubles Majors place Venus and Serena tied for third among the most successful Major doubles-duos in the Open Era. Hall-of-Famers Martina Navrátilová and Pam Shriver - who are both working as analysts covering the Australian Open - won 21 Majors. Gigi Fernández and Natasha Zvereva combined to capture 14 Major titles, followed by Virginia Ruano Pascual and partner Paola Suárez, and the Williams-sisters.

Serena summed up their success simply — picking the right partner has been key.

"I have a great partner. I don't have to work too hard out there," Serena said. "Just hit some big serves. Venus hits some big serves. We put the ball away. Most of all, I love to play doubles. For me it's great practice, great fun. If I'm really fit, then I like to go for the win in both events."

Serena, who faces Dinara Safina in Saturday night's singles-final, will try to sweep Australian Open singles- and doubles-titles for the first time since 2003, when she edged Venus 7-6(4) 3-6 6-4 in singles, and partnered Venus to beat Ruano Pascual and Suárez 4-6 6-4 6-3. Venus swept singles- and doubles-championships at Wimbledon in July.

Playing doubles has helped Serena - who did not produce her best form during the first week of play - find her serve and refine her return-game in singles. In the early rounds of doubles-play, Serena was ripping her crosscourt forehand with more precision in doubles, and that shot proved to be effective in her victory over Elena Dementieva in the singles semi-final.

Though the sisters would likely have already reached double digits in Major doubles-victories had they played more consistently together, they could claim the single-season Grand Slam if they play all four Majors.

"We're going to do our best [to play the other Majors this season]," Venus said. "If we keep playing, I think we can just keep getting titles. We haven't played so much in the last seven years or eight years. If we would have played during that time, we probably would have gotten even more."
<<<

--------------------------------------------------------------------
3. Dokić v Safina: the most-watched women's match in Australia ever!
--------------------------------------------------------------------

Safina v Dokić Most-Watched Women's Match Ever
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=2943
>>>
The excitement surrounding the Australian Open and Jelena Dokić's comeback reached a fever-pitch Down Under on Tuesday, as the intense three-set match between home-heroine Jelena Dokić and Russian No.3 seed Dinara Safina became the country's most-watched women's match at the Australian Open since the ratings-system began in 2001.

The match peaked at 3.243 million viewers across Australia's five major metropolitan markets, and was the country's most-viewed quarter-final and the sixth-most watched match - between men or women - since 2001. Roughly half of all television-viewers in Australia were watching coverage of the Australian Open.

Dokić, who sees 2009 as her final chance for a major comeback, won her first Major match since 2003 in her first-round match against Tamira Paszek of Austria. She went on to surpass world No.17 Anna Chakvetadze in the second round, and then defeated 11th seed seed Caroline Wozniacki in the third round, making 2009 the first time she has reached the fourth round of the Australian Open.

Though Dokić's meteoric rise through the Australian Open was ended in the match, her attitude remains upbeat towards the upcoming year. "I think it was a good match. I played three sets with the No.3 player in the world. Everything is positive. I've had a great tournament," she said at the post-match press-conference. "Sometimes things go your way, and sometimes they don't. I have to take all the positives and negatives out of today, and really learn for the rest of the year about what I will do differently in a match like that."

Safina had only wonderful things to say about her opponent and the match. "She was No.4 in the world, or even higher," she recalled. "She's a great player. Just a matter of time and she continues working like this, working hard, and, you know, you can see that she's a great player."

Tennis Australia CEO Steve Wood praised the players and the coverage of the event: "The Australian Open 2009 and the comeback of Jelena Dokić truly have captured the hearts and minds of the nation, with viewers continuing to tune in to follow the event and Jelena's progress," he said. "We are delighted that the viewing public is supporting its own world-class sporting-event."
<<<

---------------------------------
4. Women's Singles: Final-preview
---------------------------------

* SERENA WILLIAMS [2] v DINARA SAFINA [3]

I must admit that this is a unattractive Major final between two muscular specimens who are the two worst bullies on the WTA Tour (e.g. Safina v Maria Sharapova in 4r French Open 2006, Williams v Daniela Hantuchová in 4r Wimbledon 2007).

For me, a Serena Williams victory would be the lesser of two evils, even though I don't want her to pass Monica Seles's career-total of winning nine Majors (not that it would make Serena greater than Monica, because Monica was stabbed at a time when she had won seven of her last eight Majors, yet still came back to win her ninth Major title). I would rather see that than Safina become a Major champion.

Williams is certainly the favourite, as she has far more experience and talent than Safina, whom she leads 5:1 head to head. The exception: Safina beat Williams 2-6 6-1 7-6 (7/5) at Berlin 2008 - clay being Safina's best surface and Williams's worst. Since then, Williams has beaten Safina 6-3 6-2 in the semi-finals of the US Open, and 6-4 6-1 at the Sony Ericsson Championships.

What I hope to get out of this match is a feeling of Schadenfreude. I just want to see Safina get humiliated worse than Maria Sharapova (my favourite active player) was by Williams in the 2007 final, I believe that could happen if Williams is playing well, and that's what would make the match fun for me to watch.

If Williams were to win 6-1 6-1 in 58 minutes, that would make me the winner of Nick Bollettieri's competition to guess the result of the final (using match-duration as a tiebreaker). <http://nickstennispicks.com/>

There's a lot riding on this match, because as well as winning a Major (which is of primary importance), whoever wins will rise to #1 in the WTA rankings on Monday, and whoever loses will be #2.


4.1 Article
-----------

String Theory (Tom Perrotta, TENNIS.com)
>>>
If Safina can control her nerves - and yes, that "if" is large enough that one could see it resting on Safina's shoulders from outer space - we have the makings of a strong final, especially if Williams loses control of her backhand for long stretches, as she did in the second set [of her semi-final].

Williams and Safina are two of the most striking athletes in the field: Williams with her powerful legs and large biceps, Safina with her long limbs and broad shoulders. As we've seen so often at this tournament and in history, though, the muscle between a player's ears matters the most. Williams has the best competitive mind in the business, so strong that I doubt Safina - even a Safina who plays free and easy - can overcome it.
<<<

-----------------------------
5. Mixed Doubles: Semi-finals
-----------------------------
5.1 Semi-final results
----------------------

(Thursday 29th January 2009)
+ Nathalie Dechy/Andy Ram d. (ANABEL MEDINA GARRIGUES/TOMMY ROBREDO)[7], 7-6 (9/7) 6-4

(Friday 30th January 2009)
+ Sania Mirza [DF]/Mahesh Bhupathi d. Iveta Benešová/LukᚠDlouhý, 6-4 6-1


5.2 Final-draw
--------------

* Sania Mirza [DF]/Mahesh Bhupathi v Nathalie Dechy/Andy Ram

------------------------------
6. Girls' Singles: Semi-finals
------------------------------
6.1 Semi-final results (Friday 30th January 2009)
----------------------

Nice winner, nice loser:
+ LAURA ROBSON [5] d. NOPPAWAN LERTCHEEWAKARN [1,S], 6-4 6-3

Nice winner:
+ KSENIA PERVAK [3] d. ANA BOGDAN [2], 6-1 6-3


6.2 Robson v Lertcheewakarn mini-report
---------------------------------------

Robson v Lertcheewakarn - a rematch of the Wimbledon 2008 Girls' Singles final - was scheduled to start at 15:00 AEDT on Margaret Court Arena (which doesn't have a roof), but was postponed until 17:00 due to the Extreme-Heat Policy as temperatures peaked at 44°C. That favoured Robson, who has been struggling with the heat, while Noppawan should be used to it because Thailand is very hot.

Robson: "I felt really out of energy throughout the match, so it was good to get through it. The last few days, I've been getting more and more tired."

Noppawan led *3-0 and 4-2* in the first set.


6.2.1 Articles
--------------

Robson reaches junior-final (Eurosport)
>>>
British fifth seed Laura Robson reached the final of the junior Australian Open, dismissing top seed Noppawan Lertcheewakarn of Thailand 6-4 6-3.

The Wimbledon junior champion will now face 17-year-old third seed Ksenia Pervak of Russia in Saturday's final.

Robson, who also beat Lertcheewakarn in the Wimbledon-final last July, dropped her serve early to go 2-4 down before taking four games in a row to wrap up the first set after 44 minutes.

The 15-year-old then broke in the second and fourth games of the second set to race out to a 4-0 lead, before suffering a small wobble when serving for the match at 5-2.

Lertcheewakarn managed to get one of the breaks back, but could not sustain her comeback, and Robson booked her place in the final after one hour and 17 minutes.

Robson, who was born in Melbourne, has never faced fellow left-hander Pervak before, although the Russian has a much higher WTA ranking than the Brit: currently sitting at #154 to Robson's #514.
<<<

Robson reaches Aussie Open final (BBC Sport)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/7850391.stm
>>>
Britain's Laura Robson remains on track for her second junior Major title after beating Noppawan Lertcheewakarn to reach the Australian Open final.

The 15-year-old came through a tight first set against the top seed before wrapping up a 6-4 6-3 win.

The match - a repeat of the 2008 Wimbledon-final, which Robson also won - was delayed by two hours to allow the temperature to drop from a peak of 44°C.

Robson will meet Russian third seed Ksenia Pervak in Saturday's final.

It will take place on Rod Laver Arena, and Radio 5 Live will have live coverage from 02:00 GMT.

Should she win that match, Robson would become the junior world number-one.

"I probably won't get another week like this for a while in terms of weather," said Robson.

"It's been hard dealing with it, but I got through it, so that's good. I'm just going to prepare as well as I can [for the final]. I went in the ice-bath again tonight.

"There's not really much I can do if I'm completely out of energy, but I'll just try to prepare as best as I can."

And of the coverage back in the UK, the Londoner said: "I don't know how many people are interested, really.

"But, well, from how many people watched the Wimbledon-final, there might be a couple [of] people willing to stay up.

"Then I have a feeling that the Rod Laver Arena won't be completely jam-packed like Court One was."

Pervak ended the hopes of Guernsey's Heather Watson in Thursday's quarter-finals before beating Ana Bogdan in the other semi-final.

For the third day in a row, temperatures in Melbourne peaked at 44°C, and organisers took the decision to suspend matches on the outside courts.

When play eventually began at 5pm local time, Robson made a sluggish start, going 0-3 down before rallying to take the first set.

She carried that momentum into the second, racing to a 4-0 lead.

Lertcheewakarn twice broke Robson's serve to hold up her opponent, but Robson served out the win at the second attempt.

"I didn't start so well," said Robson. "I felt really out of energy throughout the whole match, really, so it was good to get through it.

"I think throughout the last couple of days, I've just been getting more and more tired.

"Then today, I was just waiting around for so long. So I think that was the problem really."

Pervak - Robson's opponent in the final - is two years older than the Briton, and attempted to qualify for the women's draw of the Australian Open.

The Russian lost to 38-year-old Kimiko Date Krumm in the first round.
<<<

Laura Robson books Australian Open junior-final spot
Mark Hodgkinson in Melbourne (The Daily Telegraph - UK)
>>>
Most of the matches that Laura Robson has played during her life have been on courts with wire-fences on the sides, not seats, but the 15-year-old Londoner was today due to have featured on the main stage at the Australian Open: the Rod Laver Arena.

There are plenty of seats in the stadium: 15,000 of them. Robson and Russia's Ksenia Pervak were scheduled to have had the lunchtime gig in the stadium for what was Robson's second appearance in a girls' Major final at what is only her second junior Major.

Whatever the result in the final, Robson is likely to afterwards go shopping in the boutiques of Melbourne's Chapel Street, and she has already demonstrated that the junior-title she won at last summer's Wimbledon was no fluke.

What has made it all the more impressive is that she has done it in an Australian heatwave. This week has seen the warmest weather in Melbourne for more than 100 years, and that has been quite a challenge for a girl who, although she was born in Melbourne, lives just an overhit forehand or two from the gates of the All-England Club in south-west London: a part of the world that is not exactly known for its sunny weather and high temperatures. Robson has been eating jelly-snakes and energy-gels as part of her nutritional plan to beat the heat.

Fuelled by those, Robson beat the top seed and the world junior No.1. When Robson and Thailand's Noppawan Lertcheewakarn met in the final of last summer's junior tournament at Wimbledon, she required three sets for her victory.

But on this occasion, there was no need for a decider as she beat her Asian opponent 6-4 6-3, so continuing her chances of becoming the first Briton to win the Girls' Singles title in Australia for a quarter of a century - since Annabel Croft in 1984.

Playing in the final hasn't been the only excitement for Robson at Melbourne Park, as she turned 15 this month and received a birthday-card from Marat Safin: her teenage crush. When Robson went to the champions' dinner for Wimbledon, she joked that she had wanted to have the Russian as a guest at her table.

Robson's previous matches at the junior Australian Open had been on the outside courts, but on Friday, she was on the Margaret Court Arena - the third-largest setting at Melbourne Park - and her contest with the Thai attracted a decent three-figure crowd.

The girls were meant to have started their semi-final at 3pm, but the extreme heat pushed that back. When they eventually got on court a couple of hours later, Robson had a slow start, but soon she was striking the ball with impressive power and poise, and she won the opening set and took command of the second.

Most of the crowd were supporting the British junior, and although those spectators looked a little concerned after Robson failed to serve out the match at 5-1, the Briton completed her win two games later when the Thai pushed a groundstroke wide.
<<<

6.3 Final-draw
--------------

* KSENIA PERVAK [3] v LAURA ROBSON [5]

Ksenia is prettier, but I know Laura better, so all I can say is: may the better win!

------------------------------
7. Girls' Doubles: Semi-finals
------------------------------
7.1 Semi-final results (Friday 30th January 2009)
----------------------

+ (CHRISTINA MCHALE/AJLA TOMLJANOVIĆ)[6] d. Isabella Holland/Sally Peers, 6-4 4-6 [10/8]

- (NOPPAWAN LERTCHEEWAKARN [S]/BEATRICE GUMULYA)[2] lt. Alexandra Krunić/Sandra Zaniewska, 6-2 7-6 (7/2)


7.2 Final-draw
--------------

* (CHRISTINA MCHALE/AJLA TOMLJANOVIĆ)[6] v Alexandra Krunić/Sandra Zaniewska

I don't know half of them half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of them half as well as they deserve!

-------------------------------------------
8. Order of play for Saturday / UK TV-alert
-------------------------------------------

Rod Laver Arena (start 13:00 AEDT = 02:00 GMT)
GS f: LAURA ROBSON [5] v KSENIA PERVAK [3]
BS f: YUKI BHAMBRI [1] v Alexandros-Ferdinandos Georgoudas
|
(not before 19:30 AEDT = 08:30 GMT)
WS f: SERENA WILLIAMS [2] v DINARA SAFINA [3]
MD f: (MAHESH BHUPATHI/MARK KNOWLES)[3] v (BOB BRYAN/MIKE BRYAN)[2]

UK TV-alert: there will be highlights of the Women's Singles final on BBC 1 (not BBC 2 as previously advertised) from 13:00 to 14:00 GMT, as well as live coverage on the Red Button from 08:30 GMT.

Unfortunately the BBC has not announced any plans to show the Girls' Singles final, despite the British interest and the fact that it is on Rod Laver Arena. :(

Full order of play:
http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/scores/schedule/

--
Dr. Andrew Broad

andrewbroad
Feb 1st, 2009, 12:16 AM
===============
AUSTRALIAN OPEN (Melbourne, Australia; outdoor hard (Plexicushion); Major)
=============== http://www.australianopen.com/
Contents
--------

1. Photos / Videos
2. Women's Singles: Final
3. Girls' Singles: Final
4. Girls' Doubles: Final
5. Order of play for Sunday

------------------
1. Photos / Videos
------------------
1.1 Photos
----------

Final-photos added, including Daniela Hantuchová:
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/2/photogallery/

Saturday's players, including Ksenia Pervak and Laura Robson:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/7862363.stm

Search-list for Saturday:
pervak


1.2 Videos
----------

Laura Robson's BBC interview:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/7862572.stm

-------------------------
2. Women's Singles: Final (Saturday 31st January 2009)
-------------------------

Ich habe Schadenfreude:
+ SERENA WILLIAMS [2] d. DINARA SAFINA [3], 6-0 6-3

Well, I got just what I asked for in my match-preview, and also won Nick Bollettieri's competition to predict the result and match-duration! <nickstennispicks.com> I predicted Williams would win 6-1 6-1 in 58 minutes, and she won 6-0 6-3 in 59 minutes!

Teardrops come again
I can almost feel your pain
Never ever thought the day would come
When I would be the lucky one
To see you hurt, to see you cry
Gives my soul a natural high
Think of all the times you walked on me
Your teardrops came to set me free
[The 411, "Teardrops"]

Going into the match, BBC commentator Sam Smith said Williams was the "100% favourite - if you can have such a thing. I think it would take an absolutely dreadful performance from Williams - and a terrific one from Safina - to actually pull off what would be a massive upset."

Prematch interviews in the corridor to Rod Laver Arena:

Dinara Safina: "Yeah, I'm looking forward. This is gonna be my third final this year, and hopefully this is gonna be the lucky one."

Serena Williams: "Yeah, so I'm just gonna enjoy myself today."

Safina called heads, but it was tails. Williams elected to serve.

Sam Smith: "Safina is not as fast as Williams, so the first strike is going to be crucial."


First set
---------
WILLIA *@*@*@ 6
SAFINA ______ 0

The match started at 19:47 AEDT.

Williams serving 0-0: Serve out wide + crosscourt backhand winner. 15/0. First serve out wide: Safina netted a backhand return. 30/0. Williams on the third stroke netted a nervous forehand. 30/15. Safina on the fourth stroke netted a nervous backhand. 40/15. Williams backhand just long. 40/30. Williams hit a deep backhand down the line - just inside the baseline - and Safina dumped a forehand halfway up the net.

Only Maria Sharapova and Venus Williams have ever beaten Williams in a Major final.

Safina serving 0-1: A deep forehand return down the line induced a still-nervous Safina to hit a backhand long. 0/15. Ace down the middle (looked long to me, but Williams didn't challenge). 15/15. Safina wasted a challenge on a long first serve, and hit a nervous second serve into the net for the first double fault. 15/30. Safina got comfortable in a crosscourt-forehand drill, hitting a crosscourt forehand winner. 30/30. Safina's depth forced a short half-volley from Williams, which Safina dispatched with a crosscourt forehand winner. 40/30. Double fault (second serve long). 40/40. Safina forced a short ball and hit a crosscourt backhand winner back behind Williams. Ad Safina. Williams came to the net behind a penetrating crosscourt forehand, and hit a forehand volley-winner into the wide-open court. Deuce #2. Williams blasted a huge crosscourt forehand return-winner. Ad Williams (BP). Safina hit a nervous second serve into the net for her third double fault in only her first service-game!

Safina looks very nervous, and ominous signs in the last few points that Williams is starting to find top form.

Williams serving 2-0: Ace down the middle. 15/0. First serve down the middle + off-forehand winner on the sideline. 30/0. Williams hit a pinpoint forehand winner down the line: just inside the sideline. 40/0. Deep second serve: backhand return long.

Williams has never lost a match at the Australian Open when she's won the first set, and is also very good at fighting back from the brink of defeat (e.g. Maria Sharapova in SF 2005, Nadia Petrova in 3r 2007, Svetlana Kuznetsova in QF 2009).

Safina serving 0-3: Williams off-backhand drive-volley winner. 0/15. Williams went to the net and hit a deep crosscourt forehand drive-volley winner just inside the baseline. 0/30. Safina's crosscourt forehand made Williams run and net a forehand. 15/30. Williams pounced on a short, high-bouncing netcord with a forehand winner down the line. 15/40. Williams forced a short, high-bouncing ball, and dispatched it with a forehand smash-winner.

My 6-1 6-1 prediction is looking in danger of not being one-sided enough! There's nothing that Safina does better than Williams, according to Sam Smith.

Williams serving 4-0: Williams hit a very acute crosscourt forehand, and hit an off-forehand winner into the wide-open court. 15/0. Safina netted a forehand return. 30/0. Williams spread Safina with another great angle, and Safina netted a backhand three strokes later. 40/0. Williams backhand winner down the line - picking off winners like cherries at the moment!

Just 18 minutes into the match and we're 5/12 through...

Safina serving 0-5: Safina opened up the court nicely with a short-angled crosscourt forehand to the sideline, but blew it by hitting a forehand long. She deserves to lost 6-0 6-0. 0/15. Safina netted a backhand - stretched wide by a crosscourt backhand return. 0/30. Safina went to the net behind a deep sliced backhand, forcing Williams to net a forehand. 15/30. Safina on the third stroke hit a crosscourt backhand wide. 15/40 (SP #1). Safina's forehand on the third stroke clipped the netcord and fell back on her side. Williams won the first set 6-0 at 20:09 AEDT (22 minutes).

A near-perfect set from Williams, and the point at 0-5 (0/30) illustrates what Safina has to do if she's going to have any chance to get into this match at all: go to the net behind deep sliced backhands, because she's never going to outslug Williams from the baseline.


Second set
----------
WILLIA _@*@* * * 6
SAFINA @____* *_ 3

Williams serving 0-0: First serve out wide: forehand return long. 15/0. Crosscourt backhand return induced Williams to net a backhand, which comes as a rude shock on current form! 15/15. Williams netted a forehand. 15/30. Service-winner out wide: on the sideline. 30/30. Williams sprayed a loose backhand down the line just wide. 30/40 (BP). Safina struck with a crosscourt backhand return-winner.

A real lapse of concentration from Williams there, which is not surprising after cruising through the first set so easily. But you've always got to be careful against Safina, who is renowned for coming back from the dead...

Credit to Safina for hanging in mentally, which Chris Bailey said would not have been the case 12 months ago.

Safina serving 1-0: Williams off-forehand winner. 0/15. Williams's crosscourt backhand forced a floater, but she put a crosscourt forehand volley just wide, and grimaced. 15/15. Safina netted a backhand. 15/30. Safina backhand long off a "smart" short crosscourt backhand from Williams - Safina moves well laterally, but not forwards or diagonally. 15/40 (BP #1). Ace out wide. 30/40 (BP #2). Safina backhand long.

Sam Smith came up with a theory as to why Safina keeps losing these Major finals: her parents' dream was for both her and her brother Marat Safin to win Majors, and now that Marat has kept up his end of the bargain by winning two Majors, Dinara feels a lot of pressure to win a Major, and tries too hard.

My theory is much simpler: Ana Ivanović and Serena Williams are far more talented than Safina, as is her brother.

Williams serving 1-1: Williams's deep crosscourt forehand forced Safina to chop a defensive forehand wide. 15/0. Crosscourt backhand return wide. 30/0. Williams crosscourt forehand forced Safina to hit another forehand wide - "exposing Safina's lack of mobility" [Chris Bailey]. 40/0. Serve out wide + crosscourt forehand winner back behind Safina.

Safina serving 1-2: Safina's ball-toss is very high, and she hit her second serve very long for her fourth double fault. 0/15. Safina hit a forehand very long, and bounced her racket off the court - her first sign of anger in this match. 0/30. Williams crosscourt backhand wide. 15/30. Williams hit a down-the-line backhand just long. 30/30. Safina played a good spreading rally, and although she lost the initiative midway through, a netcord from Williams sat up nicely for her to hit a crosscourt backhand winner. 40/30. Safina on the third stroke dumped a horrendous crosscourt backhand into the net, and shouted "ah!" 40/40. Ace #3: out wide: right in the corner, just inside the sideline. Ad Safina. She, on the third stroke, hit a backhand long. Deuce #2. First serve out wide: Williams blasted a crosscourt forehand return-winner onto the sideline. Safina wasted a challenge - her first of the set. Ad Williams (BP). Double fault (second serve long).

Sam Smith: "This time last year, Safina didn't even look like a top-ten player. Now she looks top three - well, not tonight, but when she's playing mortals, she looks top three. But Serena is Nadal-like: she wants every point."

Williams serving 3-1: Ace down the middle. 15/0. Serve out wide: Safina backhand return wide. She threw her racket gently. 30/0. Williams hit a deep forehand just inside the baseline, inducing Safina to net a forehand. 40/0. First serve out wide: forehand return long.

Chris Bailey: "It doesn't look like she'll be flying back economy tonight [the Williams-sisters had said that they would fly back to Florida economy-class if they lost]. The last time a [completed] Australian Open final was this one-sided was in 1994 (6-0 6-2), and Williams could well beat that."

Safina serving 1-4: Second serve down the middle: backhand return long. 15/0. Safina opened up the court and hit an off-forehand winner just inside the sideline. 30/0. Safina backhand winner down the line. 40/0. Williams hit a cheeky crosscourt backhand return-winner off a serve out wide. 40/15. Williams mishit a wild backhand return halfway up the net and wide as well.

Sam Smith: "This is what we hoped we'd see from Safina tonight. Just bring her game and lay it out here."

Williams serving 4-2: Ace down the middle. Safina wasted a challenge - the ball was plumb on the centre-line - and has one challenge remaining. 15/0. Safina dumped a forehand halfway up the net, and screamed some Russian words. 30/0. Safina took out her anger on an off-forehand winner just inside the sideline. 30/15. Williams hit a backhand winner down the line - "about as clean as it gets" [Sam Smith]. 40/15. Williams pounced on a short, weak ball with a crosscourt forehand winner - easy power.

Sam Smith: "Justine Henin could have lived with this performance from Serena Williams, and Elena Dementieva certainly lived with her in the semi-final, but if you don't serve well, and are not super-quick..."

Seven minutes to go before my predicted match-duration of 58 minutes...

Safina serving 2-5: Safina on the third stroke hit a crosscourt backhand just long. 0/15. Safina hit a crosscourt forehand winner into the corner. 15/15. Williams's crosscourt forehand died away on Safina, forcing her to earth a forehand near-airshot. She threw her racket against the court, this time more violently. 15/30. Safina, driven wide, hit an acute-angled crosscourt backhand winner that clipped the outside edge of the sideline (probably wide, but Williams wasn't ruthless enough to challenge it). 30/30. Safina off-forehand winner right onto the junction of sideline and baseline! 40/30. Williams hit a crunching off-forehand return-winner. 40/40. Williams blasted a wild crosscourt forehand return into the net. Ad Safina. Williams blasted a down-the-line backhand return just wide.

Safina has now exceeded my 6-1 6-1 prediction, with one minute to go before my predicted duration of 58 minutes.

Williams serving 5-3: Safina on the fourth stroke hit a forehand long. 15/0. Ace #4: down the middle, on the centre-line, curling away from Safina. 30/0. Williams spread Safina with a wide-angled serve + forehand down the line, forcing Safina to earth a backhand. 40/0 (CP #1). Safina went for an unbelievably ambitious short-angled crosscourt backhand winner onto the sideline, but it was just wide. Williams won 6-0 6-3 at 20:45 (second set 36m, match 58m).

Chris Bailey: "The word for Williams tonight: ruthless."
Sam Smith: "It was a Serena-statement, wasn't it? Safina was exposed against an utterly dominant player."

Now that Williams has gone past Monica Seles's total of nine Major titles, the next number for her to aim for is the 12 won by Billie Jean King (then the 18 shared by Chris Evert and Martina Navrátilová, the 19 of Helen Wills Moody, the 22 of She Who Must Not Be Named, and then Margaret Court's all-time record of 24 Major singles-titles).

Monica Seles is the greatest tennis-player of all time, because she had won seven of her last eight Majors when she was stabbed, then came back and won her ninth Major title. Overcoming that vile act of terrorism eclipses any number of Major titles won by Serena Williams or any of the women I referred to in the above paragraph.

Now the moment I've been looking forward to seeing: Safina sitting in her chair with tears in her eyes, crushed by the humiliating defeat. It was a bit strange to see her chatting and smiling with Williams just a minute after that!

Safina laughed as Sandy Roberts welcomed her to receive the runner's-up plate.

Safina's speech: "Good evening everybody. Not much to say - I didn't even spend one hour on the court. Congratulations Serena: she played too good today; I was just a ballboy on the court today. Thanks to my team, my coach, my fitness-coach, my manager, and of course all of the fans. Sorry today I made you a little disappointing [sic], but thank you for coming and supporting me. I'd like to thank the ballboys, the linesmen - thanks to everyone. Also the main sponsor Kia, Garnier and GE Money - thank you for everything that you're doing for us. Not much to say - hopefully to see you all next year, and good evening."

A good speech by Safina - given that public speaking was probably the last thing she felt like doing just after such a devastating loss. It was a lot better than her French Open 2008 runner's-up speech, when she embarrassed everyone by criticising the behaviour of Ana Ivanović's team in the stands ("I want to say 'well done' to her team. Sometimes they're a little bit annoying, with 'ajde' and all this. Okay?").

Williams's speech: "Thank you guys so much. I'd like to thank God Jehovah for allowing us to be here and providing us with a great day. My mom - the first week was tough, but we got through it! <crowd-laughter> My dad, who's watching right now - thank you for working with me. Dinara, who's got such a great future - she's hitting so hard, I just had to go for broke today - that's all I could do. Thank you for putting on such a great show for women's tennis. <Safina grimaced> Venus for hitting with me this morning. The sponsors Kia and GE Money, and everything that's written out there... Garnier - I love the sugar-scrubs and my skin is like a baby! <crowd-laughter> I'm so excited... oh - thank you guys: the crowd! My goodness! I knew there was a reason I was still talking! And of course the volunteers, physios and everybody. Now here comes the music - do-ooo - okay, thank you!"

Interesting that she didn't mention her murdered half-sister Yetunde there. She broke down in her 2007 champion's speech when dedicating her victory to Yetunde.

This year, the players' speeches were rather more abrupt than usual.


2.1 Articles
------------

Serena Wins 10th Major Title, Returns to No.1 Ranking
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=2945
>>>
With the winner taking home a Major title and the No.1 ranking, there was a lot at stake in the final of the Australian Open on Saturday night. And although Dinara Safina had shown her talents and fighting spirit throughout the fortnight, it was Serena Williams who rose to the occasion, putting on a glorious display of power-tennis for a crushing 6-0 6-3 win and her 10th Major singles-title.

Williams, the second seed at the year's first Major, came out on absolute fire against the third-seeded Safina, needing little more than 20 minutes to notch a bagel set. Serves, returns, forehands, backhands - a dozen winners but only two unforced errors flew off the Williams racquet. It was more of the same in the second set; Safina was able to get three games on the board, but Williams was always in control, serving it out at love, a missed Safina dropshot closing out the lopsided win.

"I'm going to Disneyworld!" Williams joked afterwards. "I think I got in the zone in the last two games of my doubles-match yesterday, and I didn't stop after that. I'm so excited about this victory. I just want to stay consistent and fit and keep going like this. I've always said, when I'm at my best, I'm really tough to beat."

"I don't have much to say - I felt like a ballboy on the court today," a gracious Safina told the packed Rod Laver Arena crowd during the trophy-presentation. "Congratulations to Serena. She played so well. To all the fans who supported me: I'm sorry I couldn't give you a better match. But I will be back next year."

Milestones keep coming for 27-year-old legend Williams

Williams has won all four of her titles at the Australian Open in the last four odd years - 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2009. She is now tied with Monica Seles, Margaret Court, Evonne Goolagong and She Who Must Not Be Named for most Australian Open titles in the Open Era; she is also the fifth woman in the Open Era to win 10 or more Major singles-titles - after Court, Martina Navrátilová, Chris Evert and She Who Must Not Be Named.

By virtue of winning the title, Williams will also return to No.1 in the world when the new WTA Tour Singles Rankings are published. It will be her 62nd non-consecutive week at the top of the rankings, having spent her first 57 during the 2002 and 2003 seasons, then four more straight after winning her ninth Major singles-title last summer at the US Open.

The milestones don't stop there for Williams. Before even playing in the final, she was guaranteed to become the highest-earning female athlete of all time: with her wins in the semi-finals of singles and doubles, she had enough prize-money coming in to surpass both Lindsay Davenport (to become the career prize-money leader for women's tennis) and the LPGA's Annika Sorenstam (to become the career prize-money leader for any female athlete - in any sport).

As part of the blockbuster Williams-sisters partnership with Venus, Serena also captured the doubles-title: their eighth Major doubles-title together; they downed Daniela Hantuchová and Ai Sugiyama in an entertaining two-setter in the final on Friday, stopping Sugiyama from becoming the fourth active player to earn the Career Women's Doubles Grand Slam. The other three players to have achieved the feat are Lisa Raymond and, well, the Williams-sisters.

Safina, Dokić enjoy breakthrough-fortnights too

Despite the loss, Safina won over the crowds and earned the respect of so many during her fortnight in Melbourne. Perhaps her most entertaining show came in her fourth-round match, where she rallied back from 2-5 down in the third set - saving two match-points down 4-5, as well - to beat rising star Alizé Cornet; she also went the distance against tournament-darling Jelena Dokić, ending the run of the Australian sentimental favourite in three tough sets: 6-4 4-6 6-4. She then beat countrywoman and first-time Major singles semi-finalist Vera Zvonarëva.

"I wasn't nervous today - not even close to what I was like before the French Open final," said Safina, whose first Major final came at Roland Garros last year. "I was feeling good today. I slept well and everything was fine. But once you step on the court, it's a different situation. She had been in this situation many more times than I had. She's a champion. She just proved it."

Dokić's run was surely one of the biggest stories of the tournament. Having been predominantly off the Tour for the last four years - either out of the game completely due to personal issues, or trying to work her way back in the minor leagues - the former world No.4 earned a spot in the main draw thanks to an Australian wild-card play-off during the off-season, edged Tamira Paszek in the first round, and barely looked back. She knocked off two top-twenty players - Anna Chakvetadze and Caroline Wozniacki - then beat another seed - Alisa Kleybanova - to reach her first Australian Open quarter-final. She lost the aforementioned duel to Safina, but she won everyone's respect all over again, and is surely poised to make another run towards the upper echelon of the women's game.
<<<

Wade: Final was embarrassing (Pippa Davis / Eurosport)
>>>
Eurosport-analyst Virginia Wade has labelled Dinara Safina's 6-0 6-3 loss to new world number-one Serena Williams in the Australian Open final as embarrassing.

Williams needed just 58 minutes to cruise past world number-three Safina before lifting the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup for the fourth time, after victories in 2003, 2005 and 2007.

Former world number-two Wade, who won the Australian Open in 1972, and also lifted the Wimbledon and US Open trophies during her career, believes that the gaping holes in the women's game are upsetting.

"It's embarrassing," Wade said. "It's upsetting that the women's game is so scratchy at the moment.

"What I find in the women's game - and I watch all these big names throughout the year and at the major tournaments - is that there are all these players who can hit the ball fantastically well when they are playing well.

"But I don't see them doing anything to help them relax when they get into a state. Tennis is all about the preparation, about being ready when the proverbial hits the fan. Tennis is about being ready, and when it gets tough, it's all about the head and not just about the game.

"Safina has got so much potential, but when there's so much stress on her game and she's feeling embarrassed, and someone on the other side of the net is playing as easily as Williams was, she's got no game at all.

"We know she has got a powerful serve, but [look at] how many double faults she came up with. She's not very secure; she knows she can break down. Her forehand is a great shot, but she didn't even give herself a chance to get to it.

"It's very hard to pull it together, but I think she needs to add to her defensive game so she can stay in the points better."
<<<

Serena Williams wins Australian Open final to claim 10th Major title
By Mark Hodgkinson in Melbourne (The Daily Telegraph - UK)
>>>
Death and taxes, Benjamin Franklin once said, are the only certainties in life, but the 2009 Australian Open has surely confirmed that we can add a few things to that list.

The fortnight at Melbourne Park will see an outbreak of tennis-hooliganism, a defeat for Andy Murray will prompt at least one radio-station to have an inquest and a phone-in within the hour, and Serena Williams will win the title in an odd-numbered year, as Saturday's victory followed triumphs for the Californian in 2003, 2005 and 2007.

Take the women's final on Saturday night in Melbourne: a final devoid of any uncertainty. This was the first evening women's final in Australia, but the night when Williams returned to the top of the rankings, and also joined the double-digit club for Major titles, was so one-sided that it was a non-event.

Safina's significant contribution to the match consisted of one air-shot and three games; she didn't even bounce her racket in annoyance on the court with anything like her usual style or gusto.

Williams won 6-0 6-3 in just under an hour, the final had all the drama and excitement of the pre-match warm-up, and the night will largely be remembered for these fabulously disingenuous comments from the champion's on-court speech: "Dinara was hitting the ball so hard that I had to go for broke, that was all I could do to stay in there. Dinara, thank you so much for putting on such a great show for women's tennis."

So what would "a bad show for women's tennis" look like? Safina, in her post-match remarks to the crowd, at least gave a more accurate summing-up of the night than Williams did, by saying graciously:

"Serena just played too good - I was just like a ballboy on the court today." And this was on the evening when Safina walked on court with the chance to earn both the trophy and the world No.1 ranking.

Williams really was "too good" for Safina, "too good" for any chance of this being a decent evening's entertainment. As early as the second game, Safina's errors were greeted by a sympathetic, patronising "aah" - if the crowd could have reached out and patted her on the top of the head, they would have done.

Safina had been hoping to mark out her and Safin - the 2000 US Open champion and the 2005 Australian Open winner - as the first sister and brother to score Major singles-titles. But the Safin-family are never going to come close to achieving anything like the success that the Williams-sisters have had in tennis.

This was the third Major tournament in succession that had seen a Williams finish as the champion, after Venus won the Wimbledon-title and Serena took the US Open prize. Their father, Richard, always said that the younger of his two tennis-playing daughters was going to have the most success, and he was right, as Serena leads Venus by 10 trophies to seven.

The Williams-sisters are truly back, now that Serena is the world No.1. The 27-year-old has long argued that she was still the best female tennis-player in the world, and now the ranking-computer has been won over.

It wasn't for nothing that she raised a finger in the air last night. "I'm No.1," she was saying to everyone, and no one would have argued with her after the way she crushed Safina.

Expect more from Serena in Melbourne in two years' time. The rest of the women's game might as well give Australia a miss in 2011.
<<<

------------------------
3. Girls' Singles: Final (Saturday 31st January 2009)
------------------------

Nice winner, nice loser:
+ KSENIA PERVAK [3] d. LAURA ROBSON [5], 6-3 6-1

I must confess I felt disappointed for Robson before I felt happy for Pervak when I first saw this result. Pervak is a pretty, blonde, well-built 17-year-old Russian, but I don't know much about her apart from the few photos I've managed to dig out of the Internet (most of them from this match).

Robson has grown on me since she won Wimbledon last summer. I was annoyed when the delightful Romana Tabaková lost to this precocious 14-year-old British girl, but Robson has been all over the UK newspapers in the months since Wimbledon, and while I tried to resist liking her at first, they brainwashed me into liking her with a series of cute photos. Just to make myself clear: I do NOT find her sexually attractive (at least not yet!), but she does have a lovely smile and is charming in interviews, and I am very interested in her progress.

The BBC didn't televise the match, but showed the match-point: Pervak hit a mild serve out wide, and Robson mishit a wild crosscourt forehand return - more like a lob than a proper drive - very long. She then went to the net to shake hands with the pretty, blonde Pervak, who looked very fetching in a white visor, an open-shouldered white shirt, and a pink skirt. It looked like it was recorded on an amateur video, so perhaps that's why the BBC didn't show the whole match.

I think Robson did very well to reach the final, because last month it looked like her team were not going to let her play the Australian Open due to a stomach-muscle injury, and she has also struggled in the heat here. She had to play six days in a row, and was getting tireder and tireder, so I guess the final was one match too many.

Here's what the BBC commentators had to say:

Chris Bailey: "Not a bad thing to me that she actually lost today. It just keeps the lid a little bit more on the hype surrounding Robson, which is no bad thing at just 15. She'll get there - just needs to be given time."

Sam Smith: "She played someone in Pervak who's about three years older, who's ranked #154 on the /women's/ tour. I think the word you use about Pervak in comparison to Robson is 'seasoned'. She played okay, but she was outplayed today; she took it on the chin; she had a great tournament; wonderful talent."

Ksenia Pervak: "I think she's much younger than me - like three years or something. I think she's okay. But I was better today, so what can I say?"

The BBC televised an interview with Robson, which you can also watch online (Section 1.2). She seemed sad after her loss, but charming nevertheless. She doesn't seem to be sure of her schedule for this year, which will entail a mixture of junior- and professional tennis.

She thinks Wimbledon might not give her a wild card into the Women's Singles main draw, even though they've given main-draw wild cards to the other Girls' Singles champions in recent years. So she plans to either impress the wild-card committee or play in the qualifying (for which she has already been offered a wild card) if necessary.


3.1 Articles
------------

Pervak downs Robson in Girls' Singles decider
By Helen Gilbert (www.australianopen.com)
>>>
Ksenia Pervak has scooped the Australian Open Girls' Singles title for the first time in her career with a no-nonsense 6-3 6-1 win over Laura Robson on Saturday.

The Russian No.3 seed spent much of last season successfully playing satellite ITF tour events, and now holds a women's world ranking of #154. The experience certainly stood her in good stead for today's encounter with the young Brit.

Pervak dominated the game from the outset, driving balls deep into the angles of the court, while showing no sign of the leg-problems that troubled her earlier in the week.

In contrast, Robson - who attracted column-inches galore after winning the 2008 Wimbledon Girls' Singles title - appeared flat. While rallies were plentiful, the No.5 seed rarely appeared in control of them.

The Melbourne-born player, who left Australia when she was just 18 months old, admitted earlier in the week that she had been growing more tired, and this week's searing heat in Melbourne had not helped.

Today's contest was completed in much cooler conditions at Rod Laver Arena, but it did little to re-energise Robson, who had her serve regularly broken, tallied seven double faults, and succumbed to the power and accuracy of her Russian opponent in 74 minutes.

Despite the loss, a perky Robson turned up to the press-conference in a jumper borrowed from Spanish star Fernando Verdasco. Speaking about how she acquired the oversized garment, Robson said: "I just spent an obscene amount of time in the anti-doping room. It's air-conditioned in there, and I didn't have a jumper. I went in the café and asked him if he had a jumper, and he gave me this one."

Referring to the match, the Brit said she was disappointed to lose, but felt she played as well as she could. "I've played some senior matches as well. Maybe experience wasn't the key factor, but definitely her consistency was."

Pervak shunned junior-tournaments last year, choosing to compete on the adult-tour instead. So what prompted her to play in the junior-event this year? "It takes a long way to come here from Russia, so that's why," she said.

Pervak admitted she was anxious stepping onto Rod Laver Arena for the first time: "I was a little bit nervous in the morning. But I'm really glad that I keep it [playing] well, and I really enjoyed it. I played really good today. Like everything was down the lines and I moved well. That was the key."

Looking to the future, the Russian added she hoped to play the junior-event at the French Open. "I really like Paris and the tournament there. So hopefully I will play there."
<<<

Pervak's victory underscores Russian strength (Reuters)
By Greg Stutchbury (Editing by Peter Rutherford)
>>>
Ksenia Pervak showed that Russia's conveyer-belt of female tennis-talent is still in full flow by winning the Australian Open Girls' Singles title on Saturday.

Hot on the heels of three Russian women making the semi-finals at Melbourne Park, the 17-year-old Pervak beat Britain's Laura Robson 6-3 6-1, breaking her fellow left-hander's serve six times to race to victory in 78 minutes on Rod Laver Arena.

Third-seeded Pervak, who is ranked inside the top 200 and plays mostly senior tournaments on the ITF Women's Circuit, said she had been simply too good for the Briton.

"I played really good today," Pervak told reporters. "Everything was down the lines, and I moved well. That was the key.

"I think she's much younger than me: like three years or something. I think she's okay, but I was better today."

Pervak, who sometimes practises with top-twenty player Anna Chakvetadze, said there was no secret as to why Russian women were now so successful on the WTA Tour.

"Tennis is very popular in Russia," she said. "I think like everybody plays tennis, so that's why we have a lot of good players in like top 10 and top 100."

Robson, who won junior Wimbledon last year as a 14-year-old, admitted she had been outplayed.

"I think she won because she played more consistent[ly] than me," said Robson, who arrived at the media-conference wearing Fernando Verdasco's sweatshirt after she had borrowed it from the Spaniard to keep warm while waiting to undergo a doping-test.

"So it's definitely disappointing to lose, but I thought I played as well as I could have."
<<<

Pervak downs Robson in final (Pippa Davis / Eurosport)
>>>
Britain's Laura Robson failed in her bid to win a second Major title, falling 6-3 6-1 to Russian third seed Ksenia Pervak in the final of the junior Australian Open.

The 15-year-old junior Wimbledon champion appeared flat as she was outplayed by an opponent two-and-a-half years older than her, and succumbed to defeat after 74 minutes.

Pervak, who has a WTA ranking of #154, dominated the match from the outset, breaking fifth-seeded Robson's serve at regular intervals, hitting all corners of the court with angled groundstrokes.

In contrast, Robson, who later appeared at her post-match press-conference wearing Men's Singles semi-finalist Fernando Verdasco's jumper, rarely looked in control of her groundstrokes, and seemed to be suffering from a week of playing in the searing heat despite the cooler conditions for the final.

"I think she won because she played more consistent than me," said the Melbourne-born Robson. "I've played some senior matches as well.

"Maybe experience wasn't the key factor, but definitely her consistency was. So it's definitely disappointing to lose, but I thought I played as well as I could have."
<<<

Robson loses Aussie Open final (BBC Sport)
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/7861317.stm
>>>
Britain's Laura Robson missed out on a second junior Major title by losing to Russian Ksenia Pervak in the girls' final at the Australian Open.

Third seed Pervak, 17, broke the 15-year-old Wimbledon junior-champion six times on the way to a 6-3 6-1 victory.

Robson fought back from 0-3 down to trail 3-4 but then served two double faults in the ninth game to gift her opponent the opening set.

Pervak then romped through the second set to win in 74 minutes.

"I felt she was generally more consistent than me, and that was a key factor in why she won today, but it's disappointing to lose," Robson told BBC Sport.

Pervak, who turns 18 in May, is almost three years older than Robson, who celebrated her 15th birthday ten days ago. The Russian is also #154 in the senior world-rankings: 360 places above the Briton.

Saturday's final was played on the main Rod Laver Arena, which was Robson's second experience of a Major show-court after she played the Wimbledon-final on Court One last July.

"Rod Laver was amazing. There wasn't as many people as Wimbledon had, but it's still a huge stadium," said Robson.

"And dealing with the conditions has been really, really difficult, so I'm just happy to get through it.

"I had my little bag of jelly-snakes, and kept snacking on them to give myself energy."

As for the future, Robson expects to play more senior events this year, having made her WTA début last autumn.

"I know I'm definitely going to keep playing the main junior-events but involve more seniors into my schedule, but at the moment I'm not sure what my schedule is," she said.

Having already been offered a wild card into this year's Wimbledon qualifying-tournament, Robson is hopeful she may get the chance to play in the main draw.

"That would definitely be nice, but that's up to the All England Club to see if they want to upgrade the qualies wildcard," she said.
<<<

Britain's Laura Robson suffers Australian Open juniors girls' defeat
By Kevin Garside in Melbourne (The Daily Telegraph - UK)
>>>
Life isn't fair. That was one of many lessons absorbed by Laura Robson in her Melbourne finishing-school.

Faced with an opponent who did not contest a junior-event last year, Robson was beaten by the system as much as by Ksenia Pervak in the Australian Open girls' final.

The Russian - two years and five months Robson's senior - has a WTA Tour ranking of #154. Her priority in Australia was the senior draw, but since she had made the long journey from Moscow, she doubled up in the junior-event for which, at 17, she qualified.

The deficit in years and experience proved too big a barrier for the 15-year-old Briton, who fell away in the second set to lose 6-3 6-1.

"I have played some senior matches, too, so maybe experience wasn't the key factor, but her consistency was," Robson said.

Pervak begged to differ. "Experience helped me today. I had more confidence than she had. She is much younger than me. I was much better than her today. I hit the lines and moved well."

Pervak bossed the big points, the key moments. When Robson threatened to bring the hammer down, Pervak sought a diversion and reached for the towel, which, desired or not, had the affect of disrupting her opponent's rhythm.

Pervak schemed with menaces. Robson gave in to baseline-tantrums. Her anger was not directed at Pervak, but herself. The result was a contest of uneven balance and poor rhythm.

Disappointment lasted as long as it took Robson to acquire a top from Spanish pin-up and hero of the hour Fernando Verdasco. The man who pushed Rafael Nadal in a five-set epic gallantly stepped in to protect her against the worst of the air-conditioning in the drug-testing chamber after her match.

"I spent an obscene amount of time in the anti-doping room," Robson said. "I didn't have a jumper. I went in the café and asked him if he had a jumper, and he gave me this one."

Verdasco later took it back. Not such a gentleman after all.

Robson began the match by losing her opening two service-games to present momentum to Pervak. A break to 15 in the fourth game gave her an injection of confidence. Briefly she rallied, firing off a couple of venomous forehands.

The shot is clearly a favourite: a thing of beauty as the ball races off the strings with the velocity of a bullet. Pervak didn't bother to move. In such moments, Robson demonstrated the greater range, the higher peaks.

What she lacked was her opponent's nous. Had Robson taken either of the two break-points engineered in the eighth game, parity would have been hers, and with it a chance to apply pressure, expose weak points. She didn't. Pervak ran away with the set and subsequently the match.

Defeat cannot mask the progress Robson has made since she won at Wimbledon in July. This was only her second junior Major event, and again she made the final. Six matches in as many days in suffocating heat stiffened the challenge. She met it, beating the top seed along the way.

"It was disappointing to lose, but I played as well as I could have. It was really good to overcome the weather we had this week, so I feel it was a really good achievement."

She also pledged a quieter response to adversity down the line. "I need to let go when I don't do so well. In three of my matches this week, I didn't get the early break in the second set, and it started to affect me more. I need to deal with that."
<<<

------------------------
4. Girls' Doubles: Final (Saturday 31st January 2009)
------------------------

+ (CHRISTINA MCHALE/AJLA TOMLJANOVIĆ)[6] d. Alexandra Krunić/Sandra Zaniewska, 6-1 2-6 [10/4]

---------------------------
5. Order of play for Sunday
---------------------------

Rod Laver Arena (start 16:00 AEDT = 05:00 GMT)
XD f: Sania Mirza [DF]/Mahesh Bhupathi v Nathalie Dechy/Andy Ram
|
(not before 19:30 AEDT = 08:30 GMT)
MS f: RAFAEL NADAL [1] v ROGER FEDERER [2]

UK TV-alert: the Men's Singles final will be live on BBC 2.

--
Dr. Andrew Broad

andrewbroad
Feb 1st, 2009, 10:54 PM
===============
AUSTRALIAN OPEN (Melbourne, Australia; outdoor hard (Plexicushion); Major)
=============== http://www.australianopen.com/
Contents
--------

1. Photos / Videos
2. Mixed Doubles: Final
3. Men's Singles: Final
4. More reports to come!

------------------
1. Photos / Videos
------------------
1.1 Photos
----------

Vera Zvonarëva (sf):
http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=zvonareva
http://www.aapimage.com.au/search.aspx?Search=zvonareva

Jelena Dokić (qf):
http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=dokic
http://www.aapimage.com.au/search.aspx?Search=dokic

Daniela Hantuchová (3r + WD f):
http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=hantuchova
http://www.aapimage.com.au/search.aspx?Search=hantuchova

Lucie Šafářová (3r):
http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=safarova
http://www.lucie-safarova.com/gallery/

Anna Chakvetadze (2r):
http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=chakvetadze
http://www.aapimage.com.au/search.aspx?Search=chakvetadze

Sania Mirza (XD champion):
http://news.search.yahoo.com/search/news/?c=news_photos&p=mirza
http://www.aapimage.com.au/search.aspx?Search=mirza
http://www.australianopen.com/en_AU/players/related/wta310112.html

Sunday's photos including Sania Mirza:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/7863477.stm

Search Getty Images for:
zvonareva
dokic
hantuchova
safarova
chakvetadze
vaidisova
mirza

Search http://www.fotosports.com/ for:
zvonareva
dokic
hantuchova
safarova


1.2 Videos
----------

http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/2/multimedia/default_video.asp
- Day 13 Highlights: Williams v Safina

-----------------------
2. Mixed Doubles: Final (Sunday 1st February 2009)
-----------------------

+ Sania Mirza [DF]/Mahesh Bhupathi d. Nathalie Dechy/Andy Ram, 6-3 6-1

Not much to say, really, except that it's very pleasant to see the sexy Sania - who also has groundstrokes of flairsome power - win her first Major title! It's pleasant in two ways: first the fact, and then the photos.


2.1 Articles
------------

Indian duo take Mixed Doubles crown
By Tom Kelly (www.australianopen.com)
>>>
Sania Mirza and Mahesh Bhupathi have claimed the Australian Open 2009 Mixed Doubles crown in emphatic fashion, downing Nathalie Dechy and Andy Ram 6-3 6-1 at Rod Laver Arena on Sunday.

The Indian duo avenged their loss in last year's final, dismantling the French/Israeli pairing in just 54 minutes, and tallying 28 winners against just 10 unforced errors for the match.

Bhupathi was also able to end the tournament on a positive note, after going down along with Mark Knowles in three sets to the Bryan brothers in Saturday's Men's Doubles final.

The Indians looked sharp early, barricading the net and preventing the majority of Dechy and Ram's groundstrokes from finding space.

After breaking in the first game and racing to a 2-0 lead, Mirza and Bhupathi faltered momentarily: surrendering the next three games.

However, some clever work from the back of the court saw them regain the momentum: breaking to love in the next game, and setting up a 5-3 lead.

Serving to stay in the set, Dechy and Ram faltered: a Bhupathi forehand winner down the line sealing the set 6-3 for the Indians.

The second stanza was to prove even more decisive.

Holding serve to love in the first game, the Indians continued to confound Dechy and Ram – firing winners from the back of the court, and blocking soundly at the net.

Mirza saved a break-point on her serve with an incredibly-angled off-forehand winner, eventually holding for a 2-1 lead.

From there, the Indian combination didn't look back. They reeled off the next four games in emphatic style, breaking Dechy's serve for a 3-1 lead, and the previously-solid Ram serve for 5-1.

Their victory gives Bhupathi a seventh Major Mixed Doubles title, and is the first for the Mirza/Bhupathi pairing.

Quick facts:

* Mirza and Bhupathi won a total of 53 points to their opponents' 33.

* Both pairs committed just 10 unforced errors for the match.

* Mirza and Bhupathi led the winner-count with 28 to Dechy and Ram's 14.

* Dechy and Ram won only 12 of 42 points when receiving.
<<<

Mirza, Bhupathi win Mixed Doubles at Australian Open (PA SportsTicker)
>>>
Sania Mirza and Mahesh Bhupathi captured the Australian Open mixed-doubles championship on Sunday with a 6-3 6-1 victory over Frenchwoman Nathalie Dechy and Israel's Andy Ram.

The wild-card tandem from India needed just 55 minutes to claim the title: their first as a mixed-doubles team.

The 22-year-old Mirza is the first Indian woman to win a Major title.

Bhupathi, meanwhile, has now won 11 Majors in doubles-play, including seven in mixed competition.

The 34-year-old was in line to claim another trophy on Saturday with partner Mark Knowles, but the duo lost the men's doubles final to Americans Bob and Mike Bryan.
<<<

Indian pair Mirza and Bhupathi win mixed doubles (Reuters)
By Julian Linden (editing by Peter Rutherford)
>>>
Sania Mirza became the first Indian woman to win a senior Major title when she teamed up with compatriot Mahesh Bhupathi to win the Australian Open mixed doubles on Sunday. The two Indian wild cards rebounded from their loss in last year's Australian Open final to beat Nathalie Dechy of France and Israel's Andy Ram 6-3 6-1 at Melbourne Park.

"It's always a dream to win a Grand Slam [sic]. That's what we all play for," Mirza said. "It's just great. It makes it more special because it's with someone that I know for so long and so well."

Mirza, 22, had already achieved a series of firsts for Indian women tennis-players, including the highest ranking of #18.

She became the first Indian female to capture any Major title when she partnered Russia's Alisa Kleybanova to win the 2003 Wimbledon junior doubles, then in 2005, she became the first Indian woman to win a WTA event when she won at Hyderabad.

She is enormously popular in India, but has been dogged by controversy.

She almost quit the sport last year after being accused of showing disrespect to the Indian flag and facing mounting criticism from religious groups for playing in normal tennis-attire.

"I think millions and millions of people watched this match today. Any time Sania plays at home, there's a lot of people watching," said Bhupathi, who captured his 11th Major title.

"I know for a fact [that] the whole country's excited now. It's her first Slam [sic]. She's been in the news for the last four years."

The 34-year-old Bhupathi has now won four doubles-titles, including three with compatriot Leander Paes, and seven mixed-doubles titles, all with different partners.

Bhupathi and his Bahamas partner Mark Knowles were beaten by Mike and Bob Bryan in the men's doubles final on Saturday.

Sunday's win was India's second title at this year's Australian Open after 16-year-old Yuki Bhambri won the junior boys final on Saturday.

"It's been a great two weeks," Mirza said. "Let's hope a lot more people play and tennis grows. It's been growing. It might take it to another level."
<<<

Bhupathi, Mirza Win Mixed Doubles in Melbourne
http://www.sonyericssonwtatour.com/1/newsroom/stories/?ContentID=2948
>>>
Last year, they came in second, but this year, India's Mahesh Bhupathi and Sania Mirza took home the mixed-doubles title at the Australian Open, crushing Israeli/French team Andy Ram and Nathalie Dechy in Sunday's final: 6-3 6-1.

Bhupathi and Mirza, who were wild cards into the mixed event, upset sixth seeds Kveta Peschke and Pavel Vízner in their opening round, then beat four unseeded teams in a row - including Dechy and Ram in the final - to take the title. They were runners-up to Nenad Zimonjić and Sun Tiantian in 2008.

"It's always a dream to win a Grand Slam [sic] - that's what we all play for," Mirza said. "It's even more special because it's with someone I've known for so long and know so well. It's a dream come true. We came very close last year, but we did one better this time. And we definitely hope to continue on like this."

After an injury-marred 2008 - missing three months in the spring and all post-Olympic events because of a right-wrist injury - Mirza couldn't have asked for a better start to 2009 - this being her first Major title of any kind.

"The wrist has held up - that's the biggest positive," Mirza commented. "I've been playing men's players for the last two weeks, and it has held up."

Bhupathi now has 11 Major titles to his name: four in men's doubles (three with Leander Paes and one with Max Mirnyi) and seven in mixed. The six other WTA Tour stars he has won with are Rika Hiraki, Ai Sugiyama, Elena Likhovtseva, Mary Pierce, Daniela Hantuchová and Martina Hingis.

"I know for a fact [that] the whole country is excited now," said Bhupathi, who is also Mirza's manager and mentor. "It's her first Slam [sic]. She's been in the news for the last four years. A lot of players in the past have won a Slam in either doubles or mixed, then gone on to do better things, like Lleyton Hewitt. Even Venus and Serena, they won their first Slams in mixed. Then they moved up in singles."

Ram and Dechy had upset two seeded pairings en route to the final, namely No.4 seeds Jamie Murray and Liezel Huber, and No.7-seeded Tommy Robredo and Anabel Medina Garrigues. Ram and Dechy had won a Major mixed doubles title before: at the 2007 French Open.

It was a strong weekend for Indian tennis, as one of their juniors - Yuki Bhambri - took home the boys' singles title.

"Let's hope this has a big impact back in India," Mirza said. "I don't remember the last time we had so much success. It has been a great two weeks. Let's hope a lot more people start playing, and tennis grows. It has been growing. It might take it to another level."
<<<

Huge boost for tennis in cricket-obsessed India (AFP)
>>>
Mahesh Bhupathi and Sania Mirza say their historic Australian Open mixed doubles success on Sunday will give the sport a huge boost back home in cricket-obsessed India.

Bhupathi and Mirza became the first Indian pair to win a Major mixed doubles title when they crushed Andy Ram of Israel and Frenchwoman Nathalie Dechy 6-3 6-1.

It rounded off a successful tournament for India after 16-year-old Yuki Bhambri won the boys' junior-championship on Saturday, while Bhupathi also made the final of the men's doubles alongside Mark Knowles of the Bahamas.

"You know, it's great - I don't remember the last time when we had so many - I mean, he [Bhupathi] played the finals, we won today, Yuki won. It's been a great two weeks," Mirza said.

"Let's hope a lot more people play, and tennis grows. It's been growing - it might take it to another level."

Bhupathi said the fact that Mirza - India's most popular sportswoman - had won added to the impact.

"I know for a fact the whole country's excited now," Bhupathi said.

"It's her first Slam [sic] - she's been in the news for the last four years."

While Mirza was celebrating her first success at this level, Bhupathi's victory was his 11th Major title.

"It's been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster for me this weekend," he said.

"I want to thank all the Indians - we are very lucky that there are so many millions supporting us: not just here, but back at home."

The unseeded Bhupathi and Mirza, who were granted a wild card to the Open, were in great touch all tournament from the moment they beat sixth seeded Czech pair Pavel Vízner and Kveta Peschke in the first round.

They started well against Ram and Dechy, breaking Dechy early in the first set.

Ram and Dechy broke back, but the Indians attacked Dechy's serve later in the set, and broke again to take the first set in 28 minutes.

It took two minutes less to wrap up the second set - and with it the match - as they outplayed their opponents with some perfect doubles.

"We wanted to stay out there and make it longer, but they were just too good for us," Ram admitted.

Bhupathi said there may be more Indian success to come later this year.

"Well, you know, for us, it's always four Slams [sic] where we have the opportunity to play mixed," he said.

"Ideally I'd like to continue playing with her, now that we're doing so well."

However, he did hint they may play together before the French Open.

"We might consider an exhibition. I don't know - maybe once the economy turns around across the world, we'll look at it," he said.

"Obviously I think millions and millions of people watched this match today. Any time Sania plays at home, there's a lot of people watching."
<<<

-----------------------
3. Men's Singles: Final (Sunday 1st February 2009)
-----------------------

+ RAFAEL NADAL [1] d. ROGER FEDERER [2], 7-5 3-6 7-6 (7/3) 3-6 6-2

I watched this match casually on BBC 2, and it resumed the most intriguing rivalry in men's tennis, so although I specialise in women's tennis, I can't resist doing a little report for this match.

My loyalty was to Nadal, as the Wimbledon 2008 final had crystallised my preference for him over Federer, who has since come out with some pretty arrogant comments after losing the #1 ranking that he had held from February 2004 to August 2008.

But I expected Federer to win, because he won his semi-final in 2h07m with 69 hours to recover for the final, while Nadal won his semi-final in 5h14m (his five-set win over Fernando Verdasco was the longest singles-match in Australian Open history) with only 42 hours to recover.

The first three sets were very somnolent for me, as I was mentally exhausted after a fortnight of inadequate sleep from excessive following of the Australian Open. But a few energy-drinks eventually fixed that.

In the fourth set, Nadal recovered from 0-2, and had break-points that would have given him a commanding 2:1 *3-2 lead. But instead, Federer held for 3-2*, and went on to win the fourth set 6-3*.

Nadal scored the first break of the fifth set after Federer at *1-2 (30/15) served a double fault, followed by a crosscourt backhand wide, and then dumped a backhand into the net. Federer looked like the tired one at this point! He continued hitting groundstrokes wide to give Nadal 4-1*.

At *2-5 (0/15), Federer served a wild double fault that clipped the netcord and landed closer to the side-fence than the sideline! Another error gave Nadal two championship-points at 15/40. Second serve... backhand return just long. 30/40 (CP #2). Second serve... a longish baseline-rally with inadequate depth from Nadal ended with him slicing a backhand wide. 40/40. Federer hit a down-the-line backhand dangerously close to the sideline, which was called out by a spectator, and that distracted Federer as Nadal found the other sideline with a crosscourt forehand winner. Ad Nadal (CP #3). A baseline-rally ended with a Federer backhand landing just long.

The win gives Nadal his first Australian Open title in his first hard-court Major final. Now he is just a US Open title short of a Career Grand Slam, while Federer is just a French Open title short of that, and remains one Major title short of Pete Sampras's record of 14 Majors.

Federer was so devastated by his failure that when he stepped up to make his runner's-up speech, he just said, "Maybe I'll try again later. God, this is killing me," and burst into tears. Surely even Vera Zvonarëva or Anna Chakvetadze could have done better than that! ;-) He did at least give it another go three minutes later.

John Lloyd said he had never seen Federer this "shattered" after a loss - that he probably thought he had a record-equalling 14th Major in the bag after Nadal's semi-final marathon.

IMO, Federer could claim to be the greatest /men's/ tennis-player of all time if he won 14 Majors and one was a French Open (because Sampras never won the French Open either), or if he won 15 Majors - although who knows how many more Majors and even Grand Slams Rod Laver would have won if the Open Era had begun five years earlier!

Laver won one Grand Slam in 1962 before turning pro, and a second Grand Slam in 1969 after the Majors became Open to professionals in 1968; Laver finished with a total of 11 Major titles: the 8 from those two Grand Slams, plus the Australian Open 1960, and Wimbledon 1961 and 1968.

------------------------
4. More reports to come!
------------------------

This completes Phase 1 of my Australian Open 2009 reports - the daily reports while the tournament was running.

Phase 2 is to finish the full BBC TV-reports for my Eternal Fanship over the coming weekends:
* 1r: Anna Chakvetadze v Anne Keothavong (ETA 8th February 2009)
* 1r: Daniela Hantuchová v Casey Dell'Acqua (ETA 15th February 2009)
* 3r: Jelena Dokić v Caroline Wozniacki (ETA 22nd February 2009)
* 4r: Jelena Dokić v Alisa Kleybanova (ETA 1st March 2009)
* qf: Jelena Dokić v Dinara Safina (ETA 15th March 2009)

Phase 3 is to order other matches involving my Eternal Fanship from Tennis Videos International <http://www.users.bigpond.com/tennisvideos1/> when the 2009 tennis-season is over, and to write up full TV-reports over the Christmas-holidays:
* 1r: Jelena Dokić v Tamira Paszek (ETA 25th December 2009)
* 2r: Jelena Dokić v Anna Chakvetadze (ETA 27th December 2009)
* 3r: Lucie Šafářová v Marion Bartoli (ETA 29th December 2009)
* 4r: Vera Zvonarëva v Nadia Petrova (ETA 31st December 2009)
* qf: Vera Zvonarëva v Marion Bartoli (ETA 3rd January 2010)
* sf: Vera Zvonarëva v Dinara Safina (ETA 10th January 2010)

The above dates are pessimistic estimates, and are subject to change in either direction. I am bound by my vows of Eternal Fanship to complete Phase 2, but Phase 3 is an optional extra, as I have not actually vowed to order any matches from Tennis Videos international, nor vowed to write them up if I do.

I did consider ordering the Phase 3 matches immediately after the Australian Open, but due to the large number of matches versus the limited time I'll have to write them up, and me having a significant backlog coming out of the Australian Open, that plan is scratched... probably (my Passion says "order them now", but my Reason says "wait until the off-season").

--
Dr. Andrew Broad

andrewbroad
Feb 8th, 2009, 04:34 PM
===============
AUSTRALIAN OPEN (Melbourne, Australia; outdoor hard (Plexicushion); Major)
=============== http://www.australianopen.com/
First round (Monday 19th January 2009)
-----------

+ ANNA CHAKVETADZE [17,EF] d. Anne Keothavong, 6-1 6-7 (4/7) 6-1

I saw the third set on BBC Red Button, and have just uploaded my full TV-report to my website:
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/chakv/australian_open2009.html

--
Dr. Andrew Broad

andrewbroad
Feb 22nd, 2009, 09:23 PM
===============
AUSTRALIAN OPEN (Melbourne, Australia; outdoor hard (Plexicushion); Major)
=============== http://www.australianopen.com/
First round (Monday 19th January 2009)
-----------

+ DANIELA HANTUCHOVÁ [19,EF] d. Casey Dell'Acqua, 7-6 (13/11) 6-4

I saw this match on the BBC Red Button (from 4-5* in the first set), and have just uploaded my full TV-report - including a point-by-point description - to my website:
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/hantu/australian_open2009.html

(All my other Australian Open 2009 reports for Daniela are there, but only the full first-round TV-report is actually new.)

--
Dr. Andrew Broad

andrewbroad
Mar 1st, 2009, 08:36 PM
===============
AUSTRALIAN OPEN (Melbourne, Australia; outdoor hard (Plexicushion); Major)
=============== http://www.australianopen.com/
Third round (Friday 23rd January 2009)
-----------

+ Jelena Dokić [WC,EF] d. CAROLINE WOZNIACKI [11], 3-6 6-1 6-2

I saw this match on the BBC Red Button, and have just uploaded my full TV-report - including a point-by-point description, and transcriptions of the on-court interviews, and of selected commentary - to my website:
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/dokic/australian_open2009.html

--
Dr. Andrew Broad

andrewbroad
Mar 8th, 2009, 06:54 PM
===============
AUSTRALIAN OPEN (Melbourne, Australia; outdoor hard (Plexicushion); Major)
=============== http://www.australianopen.com/
Fourth round (Sunday 25th January 2009)
------------

+ Jelena Dokić [WC,EF] d. ALISA KLEYBANOVA [29], 7-5 5-7 8-6

I saw this match on the BBC Red Button, and have just uploaded my full TV-report - including a point-by-point description, and transcriptions of the on-court interviews, and of selected commentary - to my website:
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/dokic/australian_open2009.html

Sam Smith: "Jelena Dokić feeds on winners: if you get one, you get another one."

--
Dr. Andrew Broad

andrewbroad
Mar 21st, 2009, 01:31 AM
===============
AUSTRALIAN OPEN (Melbourne, Australia; outdoor hard (Plexicushion); Major)
=============== http://www.australianopen.com/
Contents
--------

1. Quarter-final
2. More reports to come!
3. Article: Dokić to take a break

----------------
1. Quarter-final (Tuesday 27th January 2009)
----------------

- Jelena Dokić [WC,EF] lt. DINARA SAFINA [3], 4-6 6-4 4-6

I saw this match on the BBC Red Button, and have just uploaded my full TV-report - including a point-by-point description, and transcriptions of selected commentary - to my website:
http://geocities.com/andrewbroad/tennis/dokic/australian_open2009.html

------------------------
2. More reports to come!
------------------------

This completes Phase 2 of my Australian Open 2009 reports - the full BBC TV-reports for my Eternal Fanship.

Phase 3 is to order other matches involving my Eternal Fanship from Tennis Videos International (http://www.users.bigpond.com/tennisvideos1/) when the 2009 tennis-season is over, and to write up full TV-reports over the Christmas-holidays. This includes two of Jelena's matches:

* 1r: Jelena Dokić v Tamira Paszek (ETA 25th December 2009)
* 2r: Jelena Dokić v Anna Chakvetadze (ETA 27th December 2009)

The above dates are pessimistic estimates, and are subject to change in either direction. I was bound by my vows of Eternal Fanship to complete Phase 2, but Phase 3 is an optional extra, as I have not actually vowed to order any matches from Tennis Videos International, nor vowed to write them up if I do.

I did consider ordering the Phase 3 matches immediately after the Australian Open, but due to the large number of matches versus the limited time I'll have to write them up, and me having a significant backlog coming out of the Australian Open, that plan is scratched... probably (my Passion says "order them now", but my Reason says "wait until the off-season").

---------------------------------
3. Article: Dokić to take a break
---------------------------------

Dokić to take a break (Bob Larson, Tennis Australia, Monday 16th March 2009)
>>>
Jelena Dokić wants nothing more than the chance to recharge her physical and mental batteries after mis-handling her schedule following January's surprise Australian Open quarter-final.

The Australian lost in her first match at the Indian Wells Masters, and admitted that she is yearning for some precious down-time.

The No.80 was playing only her second WTA match since the Open, and said she may have got her scheduling wrong.

"I haven't been home [to Monte Carlo] since September," said the 25-year-old. "I'm exhausted, and don't know what to do on the court right now.

"I've had no rest for six months, and I'm tired mentally."

Dokić made a fairytale return in Melbourne - after qualifying into the Open by winning a play-off in December.

She was then picked for the winning Optus Australian Fed Cup team the week afterwards, and then had to make her way to Memphis to play qualifying.

"I've played only one event for my ranking since Melbourne," she complained. "I got the scheduling really wrong, and now I'm paying for it."
<<<

Jelena, feel free to skip Miami if you need to, but please peak for the French Open and especially Wimbledon!

--
Dr. Andrew Broad

andrewbroad
Dec 28th, 2009, 10:36 PM
===============
AUSTRALIAN OPEN (Melbourne, Australia; outdoor hard (Plexicushion); Major)
===============

Welcome to Phase 3 of my Australian Open 2009 reports: the full TV-reports I'm writing up from the DVDs I acquired from Tennis Videos International at the end of the season.

-----------
First round (Monday 19th January 2009)
-----------

+ Jelena Dokić [WC,EF] d. Tamira Paszek, 6-2 3-6 6-4

I acquired 7 Sport's coverage of the match from Tennis Videos International in December 2009. This coverage starts at 6-2 1-0* (Deuce #2).

In the second set, Jelena served with great precision, hitting six aces (including one on her second serve, which she was generally hitting pretty much the same as her first serve). But she couldn't put pressure on Paszek's serve, and got increasingly anxious and irritated as she got closer to scoring her first main-draw win at a Major since the US Open 2003. She made a number of unforced errors, and errors where she tried to blast her way out of defensive positions when she should have concentrated on just getting the ball back. She was broken for 3-4*, and again for 3-6. Paszek hit some nice groundstrokes, but Jelena did more to lose the set than Paszek did to win it.

In the third set, Jelena raced to a *4-1 lead with much more sturdy play. She then lost a marathon game of five deuces in which she had a point for 5-1* before Paszek converted her seventh break-point: 4-2*. Jelena gifted Paszek an easy hold to love, and her body-language was negative again – despite still being a break up at *4-3. She was taken to Deuce on her serve, but held for 5-3* with a backhand dropshot-winner and a crosscourt forehand winner. She gifted Paszek another hold to love – making it *5-4 – then served out the match to 30 – sealed with a short-angled crosscourt forehand winner onto the sideline! :D

My full TV-report – which includes a point-by-point description, and selective transcription of the commentary – is available on my new website (along with my third-round, fourth-round and quarter-final reports for Jelena, which I wrote up in March):

http://abroad.sqweebs.com/tennis/dokic/australian_open2009.html

I will write up Jelena's second-round match against Anna Chakvetadze later this week, and post it on Thursday or Friday.

The other Australian Open 2009 matches I'll be writing up are:
* 3r: Lucie Šafářová v Marion Bartoli (ETA 3rd January 2010)
* 4r: Vera Zvonarëva v Nadia Petrova (ETA 10th January 2010)
* qf: Vera Zvonarëva v Marion Bartoli (ETA 7th February 2010)
* sf: Vera Zvonarëva v Dinara Safina (ETA 14th February 2010)

The above are pessimistic estimates. I would certainly like to finish my AO 2009 reports before the AO 2010, and perhaps I shall, but I'm too far behind to ensure it.

--
Dr. Andrew Broad

andrewbroad
Jan 1st, 2010, 05:12 PM
===============
AUSTRALIAN OPEN (Melbourne, Australia; outdoor hard (Plexicushion); Major)
===============
Second round (Wednesday 21st January 2009)
------------

Very nice winner, very nice loser:
+ Jelena Dokić [WC,EF] d. ANNA CHAKVETADZE [17,EF], 6-4 6-7 (4/7) 6-3

It's the match the BBC didn't deign to televise, but I acquired 7 Sport's coverage from Tennis Videos International in December 2009.

It was a well-contested and very emotional match: Anna looked close to tears at 4-6 *1-4, but it was Jelena who cried at the end, as she sat on her chair after shaking hands.

It was an excellent performance by Jelena – the kind I might have expected if she had had five years of good development in 2004–2008 instead of a terrible slump. She overpowered Anna with her serve and groundstrokes – in fact, I don't think I've ever seen Jelena serve as well as she did in this match! Her first and second serves were consistently deep, often out wide, and she achieved amazing precision, hitting the service-line or putting her serves right in the corner time and again! Jelena maintained a consistently high level of play throughout the match, and didn't have any of the alarmingly erratic phases that have plagued her in the past.

Anna's performance, by contrast, was so up and down. At times, she looked like a world-beater, with her flairsome groundstrokes, spreading rallies, hellacious angles, wonderful anticipation and superior movement giving Anna-fans much to savour. Although she was overpowered, she did hit 28 winners to Jelena's 27! But her performance was marred by some terrible mishits, short second serves, and 16 double faults.

In the first set, the first six games were serve-dominated, and it was Anna who broke first for *4-3, as Jelena made the mistake of giving her acute angles to return with interest! But Jelena broke straight back to love with the help of an off-forehand winner and two double faults. The last two games of the first set featured plenty of winners from both girls, but Jelena won them both to take the set 6-4.

In the second set, Jelena took a *4-1 lead as she overpowered Anna with her serve and groundstrokes, and showed much more intensity than Anna, who looked close to tears at 4-6 *1-4. Jelena served for the match at *5-3 and led 30/15, but a choky backhand switched the momentum to Anna, who fought back to 5-5 as both girls looked extremely nervous. Anna at 5-5* (0/40*) won an amazing rally that culminated with her hitting a volley past Jelena with them both at the net, but Jelena held for 6-5*. Jelena also led 3/2* in the tiebreak, but Anna found form to take it 7/4.

I expected Jelena to wilt in the third set after missing those chances, and because I don't think she's as fit as she used to be. But she's done a lot of hard work in the last year, and Anna was the one who got tired, although Jelena had problems with her right leg. Jelena broke at the start of the third set (after Anna had led 40/15), had her right Achilles' tendon looked at at *2-1, saved a break-point in a game of six deuces to hold for 3-1*, and missed a break-point as Anna held for 2-3*. Jelena got her right calf massaged, took a 5-3* lead, and pegged Anna back from 30/0 to get three nonconsecutive match-points: Anna saved the first two, but finished the match with a quadruple fault.

My full TV-report – which includes a point-by-point description, and transcriptions of the players' interviews and selected commentary – is now available on my new website:

http://abroad.sqweebs.com/tennis/dokic/australian_open2009.html

--
Dr. Andrew Broad

andrewbroad
Jan 3rd, 2010, 05:04 AM
===============
AUSTRALIAN OPEN (Melbourne, Australia; outdoor hard (Plexicushion); Major)
===============
Third round (Friday 23rd January 2009)
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- Lucie Šafářová [EF] lt. MARION BARTOLI [16,DF,S], 6-3 2-6 1-6

I acquired Fox Sports' coverage of the match from Tennis Videos International in December 2009. This coverage starts at 5-3* (15/0*).

Lucie led 6-3 *2-0, but her brilliant game then disintegrated into unforced errors, and Marion won 12 of the last 13 games. :(

I had a lot of fun watching the match in spite of Lucie's disintegration. It was full of high-quality rallies from both players, as well as the "oh, Lucie!" moments! ;)

Lucie was overpowering Marion from the baseline, forcing Marion into the role of counterpuncher. The turnaround came when Marion's counterpunching improved, frustrating Lucie into making errors when she couldn't win the points earlier, and going for the lines when it wasn't necessary. Marion also became wise to the fact that Lucie was serving out wide in the ad-court every time she faced a break-point.

After Marion broke for *3-2 in the second set, Lucie's groundstrokes started losing their penetration: where once they had skidded through low, they now sat up nicely for Marion to have her way with them. A lot of this had to do with Marion's deep groundstrokes forcing Lucie to take the ball early. As a result, Marion became the aggressor. Lucie also became increasingly erratic, making unforced errors even when she was firmly in charge of some points.

In the third set, it was Marion's groundstrokes that were skidding through low, forcing Lucie into numerous errors. It was easy to see why Marion went on to beat top seed Jelena Janković in the next round. At least the one game that Lucie won (at *0-2) was a brilliant hold to love with four winners!

My full TV-report – which includes a point-by-point description, and transcriptions of Marion's on-court interview and selected commentary – is now available on my new website:

http://abroad.sqweebs.com/tennis/safar/australian_open2009.html

--
Dr. Andrew Broad

NKT
Jan 7th, 2010, 11:30 AM
Thanks for sharing for this buddy

andrewbroad
Jan 11th, 2010, 10:23 AM
===============
AUSTRALIAN OPEN (Melbourne, Australia; outdoor hard (Plexicushion); Major)
===============
Fourth round (Sunday 25th January 2009)
------------

+ VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF] d. NADIA PETROVA [10], 7-5 6-4

I acquired French Eurosport's coverage of the match from Tennis Videos International in December 2009. This coverage starts at 4-4* (30/30).

Petrova held for 5-4*, and then Vera played a brilliant service-game – starting with a crosscourt forehand winner onto the baseline, followed by a down-the-line backhand winner right on the intersection of sideline and baseline – to hold to love for 5-5*.

Vera took the first point against Petrova's serve with great spreading rally finished with a crosscourt backhand winner, and showed wonderful ball-control and precision as she broke to 30 for *6-5. She served out the first set to 15, to take it 7-5.

At the start of the second set, Vera broke to 15 with the help of two return-winners (off-backhand + crosscourt forehand), and held to 15 with a crosscourt forehand winner for 2-0*. By this time, Petrova didn't want to run for the ball at all.

Some big hitting helped Petrova to hold serve after one deuce, then Vera held to love with another brilliant service-game: an off-forehand punch-volley winner, and a short-angled crosscourt backhand winner to make it 3-1*.

Petrova held to 15, and Vera was taken from 40/15 to Deuce before she held for 4-2*. Petrova held to 15 again; Vera hit an ace down the middle en route to 40/0, which became 40/30 before she held for 5-3*.

Vera ran down a netcord and hit an off-backhand winner, and had her first match-point at 5-3* (40/30*). She also saved a game-point with a lovely off-backhand punch-volley winner before Petrova, after the second deuce, forced Vera to serve for the match at *5-4.

Vera trailed 0/30, but recovered with a pinpoint crosscourt backhand winner just inside the sideline, and had her second match-point at *5-4 (40/30). An erroneous line-call against Vera prevented her from closing it out on the first take: her Hawk-Eye challenge showed that her backhand caught the back edge of the baseline by 10%, but the umpire didn't realise that the call didn't interfere with Petrova's error, so they had to replay the point: Vera forced a lob, hit a forehand smash-winner, and looked absolutely delighted.

My full TV-report – which includes a point-by-point description – is now available on my new website:

http://abroad.sqweebs.com/tennis/zvona/australian_open2009.html

--------------
Future reports
--------------

I have also acquired Vera's quarter-final and semi-final from Tennis Videos International, but unfortunately it is unlikely that I shall have time to write up another AO 2009 match this side of the AO 2010.

I now expect to write up Vera's AO 2009 quarter-final by 7th February, and her semi-final by 14th February. These dates are pessimistic estimates, which could change in either direction.

I wish Vera a speedy recovery (today she retired from WTA Sydney with her right-ankle injury), and trust that she isn't risking long-term damage by trying to play so soon after her surgery of 11th November 2009.

--
Dr. Andrew Broad

andrewbroad
Feb 8th, 2010, 01:35 AM
===============
AUSTRALIAN OPEN (Melbourne, Australia; outdoor hard (Plexicushion); Major)
===============
Quarter-final (Tuesday 27th January 2009)
-------------

+ VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF] d. MARION BARTOLI [16,DF,S], 6-3 6-0

Another stunning performance by Vera to extend her ownership of Marion to 7:1. Marion led 3-1*, but then lost every single game left in the match as she wilted in the extreme heat.

I acquired 7 Sport's coverage of the match from Tennis Videos International in December 2009.

Vera made a nervous start, dropping her first two service-games en route to that *1-3 deficit. She then held to love, and broke back to *3-3 after a game of two deuces. She broke for *5-3 with the help of two backhand winners, then an ace set up set-point at 40/30, which she converted when Marion missed a second-serve return: 6-3.

Vera jumped out to a 2-0* lead in the second set, then got the better of a game of four deuces in which Marion had two game-points and Vera three break-points: *3-0. By this time, Marion was looking really tired and slow. Vera won each of the last three games to 15; in fact she won five of the last six points with clean winners, including a stunning crosscourt forehand winner to break for *5-0, a delectable forehand drop-volley winner, and she sealed her victory with an off-backhand winner onto the baseline! :worship:

Vera was really calm at the end, and I love the spirit with which Marion accepted defeat. Vera was delightfully demure in her on-court interview, even getting a little bit embarrassed when Chris Dittmar complimented her on how fit she looked! :hearts:

My full TV-report – which includes a point-by-point description, transcriptions of selected commentary and Vera's on-court interview – is now available on my new website:

http://abroad.sqweebs.com/tennis/zvona/australian_open2009.html

I expect to write up Vera's AO 2009 semi-final by 14th February, and her AO 2010 fourth round by 28th February. These dates are pessimistic estimates, which could change in either direction.

--
Dr. Andrew Broad

andrewbroad
Feb 16th, 2010, 04:39 PM
===============
AUSTRALIAN OPEN (Melbourne, Australia; outdoor hard (Plexicushion); Major)
===============
Semi-final (Thursday 29th January 2009)
----------

- VERA ZVONARËVA [7,EF] lt. DINARA SAFINA [3], 3-6 6-7 (4/7)

I acquired 7 Sport's coverage of the match from Tennis Videos International in December 2009. I apologise for the lateness of my report; Vera's successful defence of the Pattaya City title is a pretty good excuse for the last few days! :)

Now that I have actually watched the match, I'm less disappointed about Vera's loss than I was before. I realise now that Vera was beaten by a great performance by Safina, rather than simply blowing a golden opportunity to have reached her first Major singles-final.

For this version of Safina was in a completely different class to the one who had edged past an exhausted Jelena Dokić 6-4 4-6 6-4 in the quarter-finals despite haemorrhaging unforced errors and double faults, or the one who would surrender meekly 6-0 6-3 to Serena Williams in the final (those two matches were televised by the BBC, which doesn't show the women's semi-finals, because they're not played in the evening-session :fiery:).

Safina hit her groundstrokes consistently hard and deep, with very few errors that were truly unforced. While I was disappointed that Vera didn't play more aggressively, her defensive play /was/ strong enough to get a respectable scoreline, and she did induce Safina to make numerous errors when she achieved good depth on her own groundstrokes.

But Vera's attempts to push Safina into the tramlines with acute angles backfired terribly, as the long-limbed Safina kept returning those angles with interest. Not even Vera's excellent lateral-retrieval skills could cope with the mixture of power, depth and angles from Safina. Next time Vera plays Safina, she should hit deep balls down the middle to cut out the angles.

The roof was closed in accordance with the Extreme-Heat Policy, and that was a disadvantage to Vera in that she wasn't used to the cooler conditions, whereas Safina had played her quarter-final in the evening-session. Vera may be a very adaptable player, but she admitted that she didn't have time to adjust to the new conditions, and claimed that the Plexicushion played faster with the roof closed.

Vera got off to a *0-2 start, but broke back for *2-2 with a good spreading rally that culminated in a down-the-line forehand winner onto the baseline. She recovered from 0/40 to hold for 3-2* with an ace down the middle and a gorgeous backhand dropshot-winner.

Vera wasted two break-points as Safina held for 3-3*. Safina broke to love for *4-3. Two wonderful backhand winners weren't enough for Vera to break back; she found herself down *3-5. Vera led 40/0, but Safina played five good points in a row to take the first set 6-3.

In the second set, Vera wasted two break-points at 1-1* (40/15*), despite receiving second serves on both. She held for 2-2* with a forehand smash-winner. Vera broke for *3-2 with the help of a dead netcord winner.

A long game at *3-2 ended with Safina breaking back for *3-3 with a crosscourt forehand winner onto the sideline that was called wide but overturned by Safina's Hawk-Eye challenge. Vera was angry that the umpire awarded the point to Safina instead of ordering them to replay it, claiming that she had a play on the ball because the call came a second before the ball cleared her outstretched racket by a few millimetres (as far as I can tell from scrutinising the video replay with a fine pause-button).

Apart from that incident, Vera was very calm and composed throughout the match – in fact, the commentators said that she didn't show /enough/ emotion.

Vera had two break-points at 3-3* – reaching the second with a pinpoint crosscourt forehand return-winner – but Safina escaped with good serving to hold for 4-3*. Vera came through a tough service-game to hold for 4-4*, with an off-backhand winner on the penultimate point.

Safina held for 5-4*, and Vera played a great service-game with an off-forehand winner and an ace down the middle to level at 5-5*. A couple of unforced errors by Safina gave Vera a break for *6-5, but Vera got tentative serving for the second set, and was broken to love for 6-6.

In the tiebreak, Vera recovered from 1/3* to *3/3; a further exchange of mini-breaks made it 4/4*; Vera at *4/5 took the initiative but netted a cheap forehand; facing match-point at *4/6, she went to the net, and Safina reached the final with a stunning crosscourt forehand pass-winner onto the sideline.

My full TV-report – which includes a point-by-point description, transcriptions of selected commentary and Safina's on-court interview – is now available on my new website:

http://abroad.sqweebs.com/tennis/zvona/australian_open2009.html

I expect to write up Vera's Australian Open 2010 (http://www.tennisforum.com/showthread.php?t=399696) fourth-round match by 28th February. This date is a pessimistic estimate, which could change in either direction.

--
Dr. Andrew Broad