19 March 2011

Day 9 at the Aussie Open: 25 January

Day 9 on Rod Laver Arena opened with the adorable Li Na vs German Andrea Petkovic in quarterfinal one. I had watched Petko in her come from behind win against Anne Keothavang in round two, but only saw a few points from her 'upset' of Maria Sharapova in the fourth round. I say 'upset' because I think Maria's form has been pretty spotty in 2011 (see one Sharapova vs Arn, Auckland 2011).

So Petko has been a player to watch for awhile, but she gets heaps more attention due to her 'Petko dance' which she does after a win. I like Petko, but to be honest I'm not a huge fan of the dance - maybe for some wins, but not every time.

Back to the quarterfinal, I hadn't seen Li Na play since she beat Venus Williams in the Beijing Olympics and quite a lot has changed in her career since that match. She became the first Chinese woman to crack the top 10 and become a dangerous player, particularly on hard courts. Versus Petko she was sharp and won 6-2 6-4 to reach the semis for the second year in a row. Li Na had been winning a lot of fans due to her post-match interviews. She's just witty, honest and adorably funny.

I left RLA after a few points of Federer's match against Stan Wawrinka to see what was happening around the grounds. Some of the views:

David Ferrer

Shirt change!
I then headed to Margaret Court Arena as I was really keen to see Bethanie-Mattek Sands from the US. Bethanie has always been known for her crazy tennis outfits but in the past year or so her tennis has been improving heaps. She came into Melbourne Park having won the Hopman Cup with John Isner, and then made the final of the Hobart tourney so it was a bummer she lost in the first round in singles. In doubles, however, she and partner Meghan Shaughnessy have been playing very well together.

Bethanie is just such a character and I hope she can improve on her results this year. She and Megs lost the match to the #2 seeds, but I was really bummed that for one of the show court there were about 40 people in the stands. Disappointing.

A few more people came into watch the next doubles match on MCA with Victoria Azarenka and Maria Kirilenko. I didn't stay very long, as I knew my ears were not going to enjoy these two. I think Vika is a real riot (and wish she'd toughen up mentally as she should be winning more in singles)  but in my opinion she has the worst squeal/grunt than any woman on tour. And Kiri? For such a gorgeous, tiny girl she makes the deepest groan on her shots. But they both hit the crap out of a tennis ball.

The night match on RLA featured Nole vs Tomas Berdych. The highlight of the match was probably the Berdych Army. A group of Tomas' fans from Melbourne banded in 2007 and they attend all his matches. My fave moment was them singing the Barbra Streisand song by Duck Sauce, but instead of saying 'Barbra Streisand' they said 'Tomas Berdych.' Just hilarious.

Unfortunately for them, Nole 2011 is amazing. Tomas would hang in there for so many long rallies with Nole but Nole won nearly all of them. He fought hard in the second set but lost a close tiebreaker, and that I think Tomas gave up all belief he could win. Final score was Nole 6-1, 7-6, 6-1.

This pretty much sums up the match

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