Saturday, January 23, 2016

Tragedy, health scare mar Day 6 of Australian Open

Canada's Milos Raonic, serving at Indian Wells last year,
dedicated his third-round victory in the Australian Open
to shooting victims in Saskatchewan. Photo by Paul Bauman
   Off-the-court issues overshadowed Day 6 of the Australian Open.
   During the day session on Friday (PST) in Melbourne, No. 13 seed Milos Raonic of Canada dedicated his 6-2, 6-3, 6-4 victory over No. 21 Viktor Troicki of Serbia in the third round to shooting victims in a remote community in Saskatchewan. Four people died, and at least two were injured.
   "Today, before I stepped out on court, it was a difficult day back home," the 25-year-old Raonic, from Thornhill, Ontario, in the Toronto area, told the crowd. "I want to take a moment and give thoughts to that community. Today's victory was for that community, and a quick recovery and all of Canada, and I'm sure the world is behind you."
   During the night session (early today PST), the third-round match between No. 15 Madison Keys of Boca Raton, Fla., and No. 20 Ana Ivanovic of Serbia was suspended for an hour after Ivanovic's coach, Nigel Sears, collapsed in the stands at Rod Laver Arena.
   Sears, the father-in-law of No. 2 seed Andy Murray, was removed on a stretcher and taken to a hospital. He reportedly was alert and sitting up.
   Murray was playing No. 32 Joao Sousa of Portugal at Margaret Court Arena at the time and apparently unaware of the emergency. His wife, Kim Sears, is back home in Great Britain awaiting the birth of their first child.
   Ivanovic, the 2008 Australian Open runner-up to Maria Sharapova, led 6-4, 1-0 when play was halted. But Keys, a semifinalist in last year's Australian Open at 19, rallied to win 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 after trailing 3-0 in the third set. Murray won 6-2, 3-6, 6-2, 6-2.
Ana Ivanovic's match against Madison Keys
was suspended for an hour after her coach,
Nigel Sears, collapsed in the stands. Keys
eventually won. 2014 photo by Paul Bauman
   Early on Day 6, two top-10 women's seeds lost. No. 3 Garbine Muguruza of Spain fell to Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-2, and No. 9 Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic exited against No. 21 Ekaterina Makarova of Russia 6-3, 6-2.
   Muguruza, the runner-up at Wimbledon last year, won the doubles title in the 2014 Bank of the West Classic at Stanford with countrywoman Carla Suarez Navarro.
   Pliskova was the singles runner-up to Angelique Kerber of Germany in last year's Bank of the West Classic.
   Kerber is the highest remaining seed in the bottom half of the Australian Open draw, but No. 14 seed Victoria Azarenka looms as the biggest threat to No. 1 Serena Williams in either half.
   Azarenka, the 2012 and 2013 Australian Open champion, appears to have regained her form after battling injuries for two years.
   In the second night match at Rod Laver Arena, No. 16 Bernard Tomic defeated fellow Australian John Millman, who won the 2015 Aptos and 2010 Sacramento Challengers, 6-4, 7-6 (4), 6-2.
   Millman became the first No. 1 seed in the 28-year history of the Aptos tournament, the longest-running Challenger in the United States, to win the title.
In Melbourne
(Northern California results only)
Men's doubles
Second round
   Dominic Inglot, Great Britain, and Robert Lindstedt (11), Sweden, def. Eric Butorac and Scott Lipsky (former Stanford All-American), United States, 7-6 (5), 6-7 (5), 6-4.
Women's doubles
Second round
   Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, Croatia, and Barbora Strycova, Czech Republic, def. Raquel Atawo (San Jose resident, former Cal All-American) and Abigail Spears (6), United States, 6-7 (4), 6-1, 6-2.
   Caroline Garcia and Kristina Mladenovic (3), France, def. Maria Sanchez (Modesto native), United States, and Stephanie Vogt, Switzerland, 6-2, 6-1.
Mixed doubles
First round
   Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Bob Bryan (former Stanford All-American) (2), United States, def. Jessica Moore and Marc Polmans, Australia, 6-2, 6-1.

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