Nicolas Almagro vs Novak Djokovic
The Joker is looking very impressive! After the 2nd set the Joker has 22 winners, including 11 Aces, and about half the number of unforced errors (14 to 25). Looks completely comfortable. Is currently serving for the 3rd set and match at 5-0. Joker holds: 6-3, 6-4, 6-0. On to round #5.
Tomas Berdych vs Fernando Verdasco
Berdych takes the first set 6-4. Takes the 2nd set 6-2. Takes the 3rd set 6-2. Djokovic is gonna have his hands full; that’s gonna be a helluva quarterfinal! Berdych is playing unbelievably solid. Wow!
Tommy Robredo vs Roger Federer
Fed just held his 3rd straight love service game. As with so many of his matches, this one too has that feeling of inevitability to it.
Set #1, first point of the 6th game: How in the HELL did Federer pick up that volley? That’s just wrong. Federer is still warming up his forehand. It’s now the 8th game, and Fed still hasn’t lost a point – not a single point – on his serve. Fed is running Robredo all over the court; he’s dictating the point on virtually every exchange. Fed gets the first break in the 8th game. Is now serving for the first set at 5-3. Amazing! He didn’t lose a single point on his serve.
Weird. At some point during the 8th game of the 2nd set (that pivotal 8th game again), a Fed look-a-like imposter took the court in Fed’s absence, and proceeded to make error after unforced errors. Whoever he is, I hope the real Federer is able to return to this match, and soon. Robredo takes the 2nd set 6-3.
Fed still looks shakey, but manages to grab the 3rd set: 6-3. Gets the double-break in the 4th set, and takes it 6-2. He’s on his way to round #5 where he’ll play the winner of the Roddick/Wawrinka match.
Na Li vs Victoria Azarenka
I’m sure Azarenka is a nice person, and this may be overly judgmental of me, but I literally cannot stand listening to her play. The sound effects simply aren’t necessary, and it just irritates the hell out of me. So, it’s my pleasure to report that Li Na takes the first set 6-3!
Sweet! Li Na is through to the quarter-finals! Awesome! Li Na def Aza-screecha 6-3, 6-3
Caroline Wozniacki vs Anastasija Sevastova
1st set: Sevastova is just outplaying Wozniacki. She’s keeping Wozniacki back behind the baseline, and is steadily getting position inside the court. Navratilova keeps saying that Wozniacki can’t keep playing defense and expect to beat the top players, and Sevastova’s play is underscoring that point.
Nevermind. The wheels fell off the the Sevastova bus and Wozniacki takes the first set 6-3. Wozniacki continues to tighten her grip through the 2nd set, and eventually takes it 6-4. Still, she’s gonna have a tough time beating Clijsters playing the way she did today.
Svetlana Kuznetsova vs Francesca Schiavone
Schiavone takes the first set 6-4, Kuzie takes the 2nd set 6-1. Schiavone gets the early break in the 3rd, but Kuzie gets it right back. Should be an interesting set…
*** EDIT ***
So I couldn’t quit watching that 3rd set, and boy am I glad I stayed up for it! Hands down the best set of tennis at the open this year. Schiavone covers the court like a blanket! I hereby nominate her the scrappiest woman in pro tennis. Unbelievable! As I type this she’s just broken Kuzie and is serving for the match, 10-9 in the 3rd, 30-15. Kuzie crushes (another) forehand for a clean winner. 30-30. Kuzie gets another point and then at 30-40, they play (another) point of the match. It’s just incredible tennis. They’re both so tired; I can’t see how they’re running these balls down.
10-10 Kuzie is making some sloppy groundstrokes. She’s down 0-30. Make that 0-40. Kuzie comes up with (another) crushing fearhand; it’s 15-40. Wow! Just…wow! 30-40. Kuzie saves another break point. Oops, Kuzie makes (another) forehand error, and gives Schiavone the break. If Schiavone is able to pull this out, Kuzie is gonna be fairly perturbed about it; she’s has Schiavone down match point SIX times ~ Schiavone has saved them all with (1) great “D”, and (2) great serving.
Changeover: Both players have trainers out. Schiavone is getting a bear-hug, Kuzie’s getting a leg-massage. The 3rd set alone is 2+ hours now.
Schiavone is serving for the match. Again. Kuzie draws first blood; 0-15. Kuzie parks a short volley close to the net but Schiavone still has the wheels to track it down and put it away. 15-15. Kuzie angles another volley away, totally unplayable. 15-30. And again, Kuzie crushes a fearhand that just catches the line, and on the next point makes a clutch pass. 11-11 in the 3rd.
Kuzie gets the first point of the 23rd game of the 3rd set. 15-0. Total match-time = 4+ hours. The level of play is simply incredible. I can’t believe they’re both still moving so well this late into the match. It’s starting to take on a Isner/Mahut type of feeling; who’s gonna blink first? 40-30 Kuzie. And as if on cue, Schiavone comes up with the goods playing some more scrappy tennis. After (another) incredible battle, Kuzie gets the AD. And after (another) incredible battle, she holds serve. Will Schiavone hold or fold?
15-0 Schiavone. Kuzie makes her run a LONG way for a short ball, and Schiavone can’t play it. An error from Kuzie makes it 30-15, and another error makes it 40-15. Error from Schiavone makes it 40-30. Kuzie makes a great shot – probably a forced error – and Schiavone hits it out. Deuce. One-two punch on the serve and Schiavone is up the AD. And she holds! 12-12. They’re just a few minutes shy of the longest women’s match in Aussie-Open history.
Strong service game from Kuzie at 12-12, she holds at 40-0 (thanks in part to a fantastic passing shot on Schiavone’s net approach)
Schiavone is serving at 12-13. It just wouldn’t be the same to wake up tomorrow and read about this match or watch highlights. This is one of those, “you had to be there” moments. 15-0 Schiavone. 30-0. 30-15. 40-15 on a very tired backhand from Kuznetsova. Schiavone holds at 40-15; score is now 13-13. 26 games in the 3rd set alone.
Kuzie goes up 15-0, but the next point is (yet another) one for the highlight reel, and it goes to Schiavone. This is amazing. 15-15. 30-15. Kuzie crushes another fearhand. 40-15. Schiavone RIPS a backhand up the line for a winner. 40-30. Kuzie comes up with (another) clutch volley, takes the game. The pressure is back on Schiavone to hold serve.
Pressure? What pressure? Schiavone holds at love. It’s 14-14.
This is just insane…I can’t keep up with them. Every point is amazing. The shot-making, the hustle, the will, the focus…it’s just overwhelming. Schiavone plays some great “D” and then…for the first time in the match, Kuzie serves & volley’s. The pattern interrupt works, and she gets a game point. But…Schiavone puts two *incredible* points together, and now she has (another) break point. Unbelievable. Unforced error from Schiavone; deuce. Unforced error from Kuzie, AD Schiavone. Schiavone gets the break with (another) point that gets a standing “O” from the crowd.
[Meanwhile, Sharapova is down 2-6 the first set, and 0-2 in the 2nd.]
Schiavone serving at 15-14; 30-30. ANOTHER awesome point, and Schiavone has her first match point! Kuzie steps up her defense and draws even at deuce. Schiavone plays ANOTHER awesome point, and has her 2nd match point. Kuzie plays ANOTHER great point, and sends it back to deuce. I can’t take much more of this. Unforced error from Kuzie gives Schiavone her 3rd match point.
3rd time is the charm! Schiavone wins the match (again ~ she won it once before, but before the ball bounced twice, she ran into the net. No, I’m not making this up.)
Wow! This is a “must watch” match on the replay. You GOTTA check it out!
[Note to self: I think I’ve figured out the source of Schiavone’s power. The grunt/yell/thing that Schiavone does…it sounds like she’s saying, “Muad’Dib“, the secret word-of-power from “Dune”]