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Australian Open missives - Day 9

Novak Djokovic
by Alexandra Willis at Melbourne Park
Tuesday 22 January 2013

Highlights from the ninth day of Australian Open 2013 at Melbourne Park...

World No.1
Whatever happens in Melbourne over the next five days, Novak Djokovic will remain as the world No.1. The Serb ensured his continued stay in the top spot with a four-set victory over Tomas Berdych, 6-1, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 in two and a half hours on Tuesday night. Djokovic was not quite in the shirt-ripping form of his survival against Stanislas Wawrinka on Sunday night, but he did what he had to to reach his 11th consecutive Grand Slam semi-final.

The nearly-upset
Nicolas Almagro took a leaf out of the Stanislas Wawrinka journal of how to do everything to win a match, and then everything to go about losing it. The Spaniard was within touching distance of his first ever Grand Slam semi-final, an honour he served for not once, not twice, but three times. Only to stumble on every occasion. Almagro, the 10th seed, had been in the form of his life as he lead David Ferrer by two sets and a break. But his countryman, seeded fourth in Rafael Nadal’s absence, came battling back, breaking Almagro each time when he had to, and digging deep to complete a 4-6, 4-6, 7-5, 7-6(4), 6-2 victory. Ferrer could only shake his head at his victory.

The upset
Sara Errani & Roberta Vinci d. Serena and Venus Williams. This was not an upset on paper, the Italian top seeds prevailing over the American 12th seeds in a Fed Cup style scrimmage on Margaret Court Arena. But when it involves the Williams sisters being beaten, everything is an upset. Especially when Venus, then Serena, served for the match not once but twice. Instead, they surrendered the second set tie-break 1-7, and despite going 3-0 up in the third, again found their advantage snatched away from them, and the excited Italians completed one of the wins of their career. 3-6, 7-6(1), 7-5.

Big win
Li Na. The 2011 French Open champion reached her third Australian Open semi-final in four years with a gritty 7-5, 6-3 win over Agnieszka Radwanska, the fourth seed. Exchanging breaks like hot potatoes, it was far from a classic. But Li redeemed break after break to consistently stay ahead of Radwanska, and was rewarded for her efforts.She next plays Maria Sharapova for a place in the final, the Russian No.2 seed dropping just nine games in total en route to the semi-finals, a 6-2, 6-2 win over Ekaterina Makarova her latest production.

Patriotic pride
The Australians have something to celebrate. Wild cards Ash Barty and Casey Dellacqua kept home participation in Australian Open 2013 alive with their win over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Lucie Safarova to reach the semi-finals.

Other doubles
Marc Lopez and Marcel Granollers, the third seeds, stormed into the semis, as did Robin Haase and Igor Sijsling, who knocked out 11th seeds Fernando Verdasco and David Marrero in straight sets.

Junior watch
In the juniors, it’s down to third round time, boys’ top seeds Nikola Milojevic (1), Nick Kyrgios (3), and Gianluigi Quinzi (2) all still alive, while Katerina Siniakova (2), Antonia Lottner (4) and Ana Konjuh (3) are the top three seeds left in the girls’.

They said it

'I’m going running now'
Agnieszka Radwanska jokes to the press about her plans after losing to Li Na in three sets

Coming up on Wednesday

Rod Laver Arena
11am Victoria Azarenka [1] v Svetlana Kuznetsova
NB 12.30pm Sloane Stephens [29] v Serena Williams [3]
FB Jeremy Chardy v Andy Murray [3]7.30pm Jo-Wilfried Tsonga [7] v Roger Federer [2]

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For all the reports and results from Melbourne Park, visit the Official Australian Open website

 

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