Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Australian Open Day 3: Sharapova, Nadal escape

No. 2 seed Maria Sharapova saved two match points in her
second-round victory over qualifier Alexandra Panova.
2014 photo by Paul Bauman
   Matches of the day -- Maria Sharapova showed her renowned mental toughness on Tuesday (PST in the United States). The No. 2 seed and 2008 Australian Open champion saved two match points in a 6-1, 4-6, 7-5 second-round victory over fellow Russian Alexandra Panova, a qualifier ranked No. 150, in Melbourne. Sharapova trailed by two service breaks at 4-1 in the third set.
   No. 3 seed Rafael Nadal, the 2009 Australian Open champion and last year's runner-up, overcame stomach cramps and dizziness to outlast qualifier Tim Smyczek of Tampa, Fla., 6-2, 3-6, 6-7 (2), 6-3, 7-5 in 4 hours, 12 minutes.
   Nadal missed almost three months after Wimbledon last year with a right wrist injury and had an appendectomy in November.
   Upset of the day -- Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus ousted No. 20 David Goffin of Belgium 6-1, 6-4, 4-6, 6-0. Baghdatis, who will turn 30 in June, was the runner-up to Roger Federer in the 2006 Australian Open and won last year's $100,000 Comerica Bank Challenger in Aptos.
   Notable -- Unseeded Serena and Venus Williams -- who have won 13 Grand Slam women's doubles titles, including four in Melbourne -- withdrew from their first-round match. No reason was given.
   American left-handers Austin Krajicek and Donald Young surprised third-ranked Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez of Spain 7-6 (6), 2-6, 7-5 in the first round. Granollers and Lopez were the runners-up in the French Open and U.S. Open last year.
   Men's seeded winners -- No. 2 Federer, No. 3 Nadal, No. 6 Andy Murray, No. 7 Tomas Berdych, No. 10 Grigor Dimitrov, No. 14 Kevin Anderson, No. 24 Richard Gasquet.
   Men's seeded losers -- No. 20 Goffin, No. 22 Philipp Kohlschreiber, No. 23 Ivo Karlovic, No. 26 Leonardo Mayer, No. 28 Lukas Rosol, No. 29 Jeremy Chardy, No. 32 Martin Klizan.
   Women's seeded winners -- No. 2 Sharapova, No. 3 Simona Halep, No. 7 Eugenie Bouchard, No. 10 Ekaterina Makarova, No. 14 Sara Errani, No. 21 Shuai Peng, No. 22 Karolina Pliskova.
   Women's seeded losers -- None.
   U.S. report -- Americans went 1-2 in singles, including Smyczek's loss, on Tuesday.
   Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who had hip surgery and missed six months last year, held off Kristina Mladenovic of France 7-6 (3), 7-6 (6). Mladenovic, a two-time Grand Slam mixed doubles champion, knocked off 2011 French Open champion Li Na in the first round at Roland Garros last year.
   Christina McHale, who vomited during her marathon victory in the first round, lost to 19-year-old Carina Witthoeft of Germany 6-3, 6-0.
   Northern California connection -- Top-seeded Bob and Mike Bryan, former Stanford stars (1997-98) seeking their seventh Australian Open title, defeated Aussies John Millman and Benjamin Mitchell 6-3, 7-5 in the first round.
   Americans Scott Lipsky, another ex-Stanford standout (2000-03), and Rajeev Ram lost to 10th-seeded Raven Klaasen of South Africa and Leander Paes, 41, of India 6-4, 7-6 (6). Klaasen and Paes, who has won 14 Grand Slam doubles titles (eight men's and six mixed), won Auckland last week.
   Fast fact -- Nick Kyrgios' 7-6 (4), 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 win over Karlovic featured 65 aces. Karlovic, a 6-foot-11 (2.11-meter) Croat, had 40 against the 19-year-old Australian, who stunned Nadal to reach the Wimbledon quarterfinals last year.
   Quote -- Nadal, on whether the victory over Smyczek was the toughest of his career: "In terms of feeling bad on the court, yes. Probably yes. I was close to not continue because I felt that I was very dizzy."

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