2011 Australian Open: 5 Key Storylines To Watch on Day 6
France's Alizé Cornet will have a tough task ahead of her when playing three-time US Open champion Kim Clijsters. Maybe more support from Andy Roddick might help.
Before the start of the tournament Laurent Orsini, who is Cornet's new coach, had Andy Roddick tell some encouraging word for his number one supporter.
At the start of the Nice native career, her first coach Pierre Bouteyre also asked Roddick an autograph for her student. Five years later this might be the reason why Cornet managed to beat the 26th seed Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez in the second round, her best result since the 2009 US Open, where she also reach the third round.
However, Cornet might have to need more than words to find inspiration in order to beat the World number 3. Nadal, Isner and Murray will also highlight Day 6 at the Australian Open.
No. 3 Kim Clijsters (BEL) V Alizé Cornet (FRA)
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Two years ago Alizé Cornet had two match points against Dinara Safina -When the Russian was at the top of her game- in the last 16 stage of the Australian Open. Cornet could not close the match and went on to think about those missed opportunities for months.
The Nice resident, who will celebrate her 21st birthday tomorrow, was very emotional after her second round win over Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez. Cornet saved 5 set points in the first set against the 26th seed and didn't let her frustration take over the course of that match. The former number one French knew at that time she could once again improve her ranking and will just have fun when playing third seed Kim Clijsters, whom she never met before.
Maybe few more words from Andy Roddick could help Cornet as the Belgian will be a big favorite to win the match. However, if Kim has moments in the match when she tends to lose focus and Alizé could take advantage of this moment, maybe the unexpected will happen.
No. 22 Flavia Pennetta (ITA) V No. 10 Shahar Peer (ISR)
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This match could be has the potential for being a great match.
Both players are true warriors. On their day they become very tough to pass due to their great defense.
While the Italian holds the top-line edge in the rivalry, the Jerusalem native has won their last two meetings, both on hard courts and both within the last 12 months. Indeed, since cracking the Top 10 in singles in 2009, Brindisi, Italy native has gone off the boil a bit.
On balance, Peer is expected to make a Top 10 breakthrough soon. Meanwhile, the former World number 10 beat Zvonareva in Sydney last week for her second career Top 2 win, and like Peer has dropped just seven games across the first two rounds. Whoever wins is bound to concede more than that on Saturday.
No. 1 Rafael Nadal (ESP) V (WC) Bernard Tomic (AUS)
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World number one Rafael Nadal is looking to stay in the hunt for his 4th consecutive Grand Slam title and achieve a non-calendar year Grand Slam.
The following numbers concerning the Majorcan are also stunning as he is currently on a 23-match Grand Slam winning streak – his longest-ever winning streak at the majors, which puts him in 6th place on the list of longest Grand Slam winning streaks in the Open Era, behind Rod Laver (29), Roger Federer (2 streaks of 27), Jimmy Connors (25) and Pete Sampras (25).
That's the bad news for Aussie teenager Bernard Tomic, who is bidding to become the lowest ranked player to defeat the world No. 1 at a Grand Slam event since 1992.
At that time, Russia's Andrei Olhovskiy defeated Jim Courier in the 3rd round at 1992 Wimbledon.
It's ironic to note also the last teenager to defeat a world No. 1 at a Grand Slam was Nadal when he defeated Roger Federer at 2005 Roland Garros aged 19 years.
Meanwhile the 19-year-old is the youngest man to reach the 3rd round here since today’s opponent made it through to the same stage in 2004 aged 17 years 243 days. Tomic is bidding to become the youngest man to advance to the round of 16 at a Grand Slam event since Andrei Medvedev reached the round of 16 at 1992 Roland Garros aged 17 years.
The best positive note for the Stuttgart, Germany native is that he will have the crowd of an evening match behind him. However it might not be enough to make the headline news. The Gold Coast resident will also have wish the top seed has a very bad day at the office.
No. 5 Andy Murray (GBR) V No. 32 Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP)
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The Scot is bidding to reach the round of 16 here for the 4th time, while playing his 6th successive Australian Open.
Most tennis fans remember last year's final when Federer defeated Murray in the final.
It's almost needless to claim that last year's Aussie Open runner-up will be highly favorite in this match.
Murray is undefeated in singles matches so far this year as he will enter his 3rd round match here on a 5- match winning-streak when he plays Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain.
Murray likes to play Spaniards because most of them are grinders and the Scot likes the challenge of being the best grinders of all. Of course he already realised that he would need to upset many clay court specialists in order to be ready to take on the best of all time, Rafael Nadal.
Meanwhile, Garcia-Lopez advanced to the 3rd round at a Grand Slam event for just the 3rd time in his career. This is the Spaniard's 25th consecutive Grand Slam event.
The 27-year-old is bidding to reach the round of 16 at a major for the first time. By reaching the the 3rd round here, he has equalled his previous best result at a Grand Slam, which he achieved at the 2008 Australian Open and 2008 Wimbledon.
Murray met Garcia-Lopez at the Queen's club tournament back in 2009, with the World number 5 prevailing 6-4 6-4.
No. 15 Marin Cilic (CRO) V No. 20 John Isner (USA)
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This match could be a corner stone match for the tall American as it will be the first time he plays the Croatian, who has the potential for being a future top 5 player member.
If Isner finds a way to upset Cilic, then his confidence will improve even more and he will firmly believe he could be a top 10 member and work even harder to reach this milestone.
The 22-year-old from Medjugorje is bidding to reach the round of 16 here for the 4th consecutive year.
This is the Croatian's 5th consecutive Australian Open.
We have to remember that last year he recorded his best Grand Slam performance to date by reaching the semifinals, where he lost to Andy Murray.
On that occasion, he became the first Croatian man to reach the Australian Open semifinals in the history of the event.
Meanwhile, the Wimbldon hero is bidding to reach the round of 16 here for the second straight year.
Like Cilic, Isner was upset by Murray at last year's event.
Of course the return of serve will be key in this match since both players are huge servers.