Murray: 'I thought someone was giving birth' in Venus match

Andy Murray said on Twitter that he had "never heard so much noise in a tennis match" while Ross Hutchins, his Davis Cup colleague, said Venus Williams was "making noises that I didn't think were possible".

On a day when all the major women's second-round singles matches went to form here at the Australian Open, with Britain's Anne Keothavong and Elena Baltacha among those who lost to higher-ranked opponents, a talking point for many was the grunting and groaning that has become such an unappealing part of the modern game.

Maria Sharapova shrieked her way to a 7-6, 6-3 victory over Virginie Razzano – "It was my first time to play her and I didn't know she cried like this," her French opponent said afterwards – but an even noisier encounter was to follow as Williams won a dramatic match 6-7, 6-0, 6-4 against the Czech Republic's Sandra Zahlavova.

If Williams had reason to groan after damaging a groin muscle at the end of the first set tie-break, there was little excuse for Zahlavova's grunting. "Was a lot of noise out there," Murray tweeted later. "I turned it on and thought someone was giving birth."

Michael Warburton, an Australian "exercise scientist", told the Herald Sun newspaper that hearing Sharapova was equivalent to standing next to a police car with its sirens sounding or "using a chainsaw without earmuffs". He added: "People tend to criticise tennis players who vocalise, but research shows it is worth the effort for the strength, energy, performance and force it generates. Strength is increased by about 12 per cent with a grunt or scream."

Williams yelped in agony after reaching for a volley on the last point of the tie-break and hobbled off court to take a medical time-out before the second set. She returned with her right thigh strapped and went on to win with something to spare as Zahlavova failed to take advantage of her impaired mobility. Williams, who has never quit in her 257 Grand Slam singles matches, said afterwards that the injury was the most painful she had ever suffered.

At the end, the American asked courtside staff to help carry off her equipment bag and rackets, though she clung on to the trendy handbag that complemented what she described as her "Alice in Wonderland" outfit, a lattice top with a multicoloured satin skirt and skin-coloured underwear.

Williams' win meant that Keothavong went on court knowing the prize for victory over Andrea Petkovic, the world No 33, would be a third-round meeting with the five-times Wimbledon champion. The 27-year-old Briton took the first set and broke at the start of the second. However, a horrible mistake on break point in the next game, when Keothavong netted what should have been a routine put-away, helped to turn the course of the match.

The world No 118 fought back from 5-3 down, but from 5-5 lost eight games in succession as Petkovic took the match 2-6, 7-5, 6-0. The German is one of the game's rising talents and played much better in the deciding set, while her opponent faded fast. "I felt like I had to win that match in two sets," Keothavong said afterwards. "I've played Andrea before. When she's got a bit of momentum and confidence she's a tough player to pin down."

Baltacha will drop a few places from her position at No 55 in the rankings after her 6-1, 6-3 defeat to Justine Henin. Baltacha pushed Henin hard in the second set and never lost her composure. "I gave it everything," the British No 1 said afterwards. "I can't complain about my week. It's been wonderful."

Federer made to scrap in five-set win over Simon

After 68 minutes yesterday Roger Federer was coasting into the third round of the Australian Open, having comfortably won the first two sets against Gilles Simon. Two hours later the defending champion was fighting for his life until he emerged 6-2, 6-3, 4-6, 4-6, 6-3 victor.

Simon, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray are the only current players with a positive head-to-head tally against Federer, the Frenchman winning their two previous meetings. The former world No 6 was swept aside in the first two sets, but his speed around the court had Federer in trouble.

Novak Djokovic, the 2008 champion, had an initially tricky passage, beating Croatia's Ivan Dodig, the world No 81, 7-5, 6-7, 6-0, 6-2. Janko Tipsarevic had three match points against Fernando Verdasco, the No 9 seed, but lost 2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6, 6-0.

News
people
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Keys to success: Andrew and Julian Lloyd Webber
arts + entsMrs Bach had too many kids to write the great man's music, says Julian Lloyd Webber
Voices
Left: An illustration of the original Jim Crowe, played by TD Rice Right: A Couple dressed as Ray and Janay Rice
voices

By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
books

New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning

News
Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
news

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch at the premiere of The Imitation Game at the BFI London Film Festival
filmsKeira Knightley tried to miss The Imitation Game premiere to watch Bake Off
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes