Australian Open: Dinner Parties and PlayStation Rule Down Under

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Australian Open: Dinner Parties and PlayStation Rule Down Under

Australian Open—Melbourne

Saturday's on-court action in Melbourne was nothing to write home about. Although the schedule included the "whose who" of men's tennis, the scorelines were simply a bust.

With three retirements taking place, and the top seeds moving on in a Kangaroo leap, let's take a closer look at what made Saturday in Melbourne a race to the locker room.

 

Federer and Co. Waste Little Time

Blazing through his third-round opponent Albert Montanes 6-3, 6-4, 6-4, Roger Federer seemed like he was late for a showing at the famed Opera House, or a lavish sushi dinner with his wife, Mirka.

Never losing his serve during the 78-minute romp, the 28-year-old told the Rod Laver crowd that he could have became Australian at an early age, but decided that remaining Swiss was a better move.

"I stayed Swiss and will remain Swiss and I'm happy I chose that way,'' he said. "Sorry guys.''

No need to rub it in, Roger.

Apparently Federer's father, Robert had the opportunity to gain Australian citizenship when the Swiss star was in his early teens.

Could you image Federer with an Australian accent? Would be kind of cool, mate.

Regardless of his heritage, Federer is through the first week of another Slam with relative ease. If not for his first-round fight with Igor Andreev, Federer's run in Melbourne has been pristine.

Joining Federer in a sprint to the final 16 was Serb Novak Djokovic, and recent funny man Nikolay Davydenko.

Djokovic blitzed past Denis Istomin 6-1, 6-1, 6-2, while Davydenko chopped down the principality Juan Monaco 6-0, 6-3, 6-4.

Djokovic never let his opponent gain a comfort level during the 97-minute affair. Encouraging his opponent to challenge line calls, and drink more water during the changeovers—a disheveled Istomin was left with little hope.

How thoughtful of you, Novak.

The highlight of Istomin's day took place during the early stages of the third set. Trailing 5-1, the Tashkent native posted a "peace sign" in the air when he won his second game.

Showing no signs of wear-and-tear throughout the first week, a rested and fit Djokovic suggested that he's ready for a good tournament.

"Well, I am excited," said Djokovic. Of course I look forward to it. It's a big challenge for all of us. Most of the top players are still in the draw."

"As I said, it's gonna be very exciting interesting for us and for the fans to see who's gonna go all the way through."

Rating Djokovic's current form, I'd say that his draw has been magnificent, and a true reflection of his current level has been hard to gauge.

He certainly can't complain about his next opponent, Lukasz Kubot, who received a walkover when Mikhail Youznhy withdrew with a right wrist injury.

Djokovic leads Kubot 1-0 in career meetings, defeating the Polish player during last year's Belgrade final.

In case you were wondering, Djokovic's family own the Serbian tournament.

The No. 3 seed could receive a stern test in quarterfinals from Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Reaching the second week in Melbourne for the third consecutive year, Tsonga won a moderately competitive affair against Tommy Haas 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 7-5.

Elsewhere, No. 6 seed Davydenko produced his third straight bagel score in as many matches against Monaco.

Dusting the clay court specialist in one hour and 49 minutes, Davydenko's machine-like groundstrokes were picture perfect.

Striking 22 winners and six aces, the in-form Russian increased his winning streak to 12.

Appearing in complete control of his fitness and emotions, Davydenko told the media that he's ready to challenge for the title.

"I fighting for every point, and that's what maybe it was 6-Love in the first set and 3-Love. Because like say I didn't make it any mistake, you know, like say nine games," said Davydenko.

Keeping with the recent balance of comedy and tennis, Davydenko made sure reporters knew that he was a faithful husband.

When asked: "If you had to marry another Russian tennis player, who would it be?"

Davydenko answered: "If I married another tennis player? Man or woman? (Laughter.). I have already wife. I have my beautiful wife. I don't want to have any."

In what seemed like a rehearsed response, Davydenko's wife, Irina answered: "I hear you."

Yes, tennis fans, she was present in the interview room.

Davydenko will next meet last year's semifinalist Fernando Verdasco, who defeated Stefan Koubek 6-1, ret.

Koubek withdrew after the first set citing a fever.

 

Broken But Not Beat

In light of Saturday's withdrawals in Melbourne which accounted for Baghdatis, Youznhy, and Koubek, Spain's Nicolas Almagro proved that just because a bone was broken, play should not be suspended.

Playing with a broken left wrist, Almagro defeated Columbia's Alejandro Falla 6-4, 6-3, 6-4.

Sustaining the injury earlier in the event, Alamgro has survived in the tournament because he holds a one-handed backhand.

Advancing to his best-ever finish in Australia, Almagro defeated Xavier Malisse and Benjamin Becker during the first two rounds (both in five sets).

Almagro will next face Tsonga in round four.

I guess the "lack of heart" label can finally be removed from Almagro.

 

Nothing Like A Little Gaming

First, Davydenko's level of play was compared to a PlayStation game by del Potro, and now Rafael Nadal has revealed his improved performance at the game console.

Blogging this week for the Herald Sun in Melbourne, Nadal told his fans that he finally defeated his nemesis and mentor Carlos Moya by teaming with Argentine Monaco.

"Moya is known for being the best, but Monaco and I are a magic team!'' Nadal said.

"I know it sounds bad saying this for many reasons... because tennis is why we are here and that is the priority, because it is not nice to promote your own victories, because Moya is older than me,'' Nadal wrote in Saturday's edition. "But it was such an important match, so much tension in it and everything, that I had to mention it!

It's okay, Rafa, you deserve a little glory for your great court coverage.

Sunday's order of play in Melbourne will feature:

Nadal vs. Ivo Karlovic, Andy Murray vs. John Isner, Del Potro vs. Marin Cilic, and Andy Roddick vs. Fernando Gonzalez.

 

Quotes courtesy of australianopen.com.

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