Rattled Roddick bundled out after late-night marathon
Saturday 19 January 2008
Philipp Kohlschreiber and Casey Dellacqua were big names only in the literal sense before they walked into Rod Laver Arena for the final two sessions of the fifth day at the Australian Open here yesterday. By the time Kohlschreiber celebrated victory shortly after two o'clock in the morning, both were the toast of Melbourne Park.
Kohlschreiber, a 24-year-old German, registered the biggest upset so far when he beat Andy Roddick, the No 6 seed, 6-4, 3-6, 7-6, 6-7, 8-6 after nearly four hours. In the previous match Dellacqua, the last home player left in the women's singles, had beaten Amélie Mauresmo, the 2006 champion, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4.
Even a career-best 42 aces, as well as 79 winners, were not enough to save Roddick as Kohlschreiber, the world No 27, struck 104 winners en route to the biggest win of his career. "That was just amazing, the best thing that's happened to me in tennis," he said.
Roddick dropped just six points in five service games in the first set, but by the end he was remonstrating bitterly with Emmanuel Joseph, the umpire, particularly after a disputed point at 5-5 in the fourth set. The American saved four match points at 4-5 in the fifth set, but Kohlschreiber played a bold game when Roddick served at 6-7 and secured victory with a forehand cross-court into the corner. "I don't know that I've ever seen him play like that before," the American said. "I took his best stuff for five sets and I thought I was going to get him to break or to fold. But he played like a great, great player."
The American remained philosophical in defeat, "That's sports, man," he said. "If you want to be chilled out all day, then get a job serving Margaritas at the beach or something. When you decide to be a pro athlete you're going to have ups, you're going to have downs, you're going to have extreme highs and extreme lows. That's just the nature of the beast."
Mauresmo has enjoyed more lows than highs since claiming the Wimbledon title 18 months ago. The Frenchwoman double-faulted 10 times against Dellacqua, who had won just one Grand Slam match before the tournament.
It was a good day for linguists. Greek speakers pored over a video of Marcos Baghdatis joining in anti-Turkish chants at a barbecue, while those fluent in Serbo-Croat were asked to shed light on exactly what Snezana Jankovic might have told her daughter, Jelena, during her match against Virginie Razzano.
Baghdatis had probably hoped to wake up to headlines celebrating his five-set victory over Marat Safin the night before but instead found himself at the centre of controversy over a video clip posted on the YouTube website. It showed the Greek Cypriot at a Melbourne friend's home joining in a chant of "Turks out", in reference to the continued partition of Cyprus following Turkey's invasion of the island 34 years ago.
Representatives of the local Turkish Cypriot community here were angered by the world No 16's behaviour and called for his removal from the tournament, but Baghdatis was in no mood to apologise. "In that video from 2007 I was supporting the interest of my country, Cyprus, while protesting against a situation that is not recognised by the United Nations," he said in a statement. "Now I would like to concentrate on the tournament and ask everyone to respect that."
Jankovic would also prefer to focus on her tennis, but that is proving difficult for the world No 3. The 22-year-old Serb is having trouble concentrating on her own game – the latest lapse cost her the second set against Razzano before she recovered to win 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 – and also had to deal with complaints about her mother's behaviour. After Snezana Jankovic had shouted encouragement to her daughter the umpire gave her offspring a code violation for coaching from the sidelines, which is not allowed.
"My Mum was just supporting me," Jankovic protested. "She just said 'Come on!' in Serbian. I don't know what else she said afterwards. My coach was sitting right there next to her. He's the one that's supposed to coach me and he wasn't saying anything. The umpire doesn't understand what my Mum told me in Serbian. She wasn't telling me: 'Hit to her forehand, go to the net, or anything like that. She was just telling me supportive things."
Serena Williams, the defending champion, moved up a gear with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Victoria Azarenka, of Belarus. Justine Henin, the world No 1, took her winning run to 31 consecutive matches, but was made to work hard by Italy's Francesca Schiavone before emerging a 7-5, 6-4 winner.
Maria Sharapova crushed fellow Russian Elena Vesnina, 6-3, 6-0, and now faces another in Elena Dementieva, who dropped only two games in beating Shahar Peer.
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