Australia’s joy at the progress of their young men was tempered by disappointment here last night as the country’s three most experienced players bowed out of the Australian Open.
A subdued evening session in Rod Laver Arena saw Lleyton Hewitt let slip a two-set lead against Germany’s Benjamin Becker before Sam Stosur lost in straight sets to Coco Vandeweghe after a lacklustre performance that was all too familiar to local supporters. Earlier in the day Casey Dellacqua was beaten by Madison Keys.
Hewitt, playing with great confidence and skill, took the first two sets in just over an hour before Becker turned the match around to win 2-6, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 and claim the first five-set victory of his career.
Hewitt, who was playing in his 19th consecutive Australian Open, was non-committal about his future afterwards, although he confirmed that his next appearance would be in the Davis Cup.
Victoria Azarenka, the champion here in 2012 and 2013, confirmed her position as the most dangerous unseeded player in the draw when she beat the No 8 seed, Caroline Wozniacki, 6-4, 6-2. Azarenka has slipped down the world rankings after missing much of last year through injury.
Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka, the world No 1 and defending champion respectively, won their second-round matches without dropping a set.
Andy Murray, meanwhile, took a break from preparations for his third-round match today against Joao Sousa to comment on Rafael Nadal’s victory over Tim Smyczek on Wednesday evening. The Spaniard suffered nausea, dizziness and stomach cramps, which reminded Murray of when he cramped at the US Open last summer.
Responding to what he considered to be criticism of himself, Murray wrote on Twitter: “When I cramped and won in the US Open last year I was a ‘drama queen, unfit, needs to see a shrink, faker’ weird...”
Twitter was also the place for much discussion of Eugenie Bouchard’s on-court interview after her match on Wednesday evening. Her male interviewer asked her to do a “twirl” to show off her colourful outfit. Having looked uncomfortable as she complied with the request, Bouchard said later: “I don’t know – an old guy asking you to twirl, it was funny.”
Was the interviewer’s request sexist? A number of contributors to social media thought so, pointing out that no interviewer would have asked Roger Federer or Nadal to do the same thing.
When Serena Williams was asked what she thought, she recalled an occasion when she had been asked to “twirl”. Although she had not been particularly keen to oblige, she added: “It was fine. Life is far too short to focus on that.”Reuse content