Saturday, January 20, 2007

Day 6: Sweet 16... err, I mean 19... Dreams

First, it was the heat that played havoc with the players on Day 2. Then, on Day 6 it was rain that did the same with the schedule.

No doubles matches were even begun, and only eleven of the sixteen scheduled singles matches were put officially into the books. Thank the tennis gods for stadium roof technology. Unlike at some big events (pssst... U.S. Open, this means you -- what a disaster this day would have been in Flushing Meadows), the day wasn't a total loss. At it stands, thirteen of the Sweet 16 woman (and fourteen of the final sixteen men) have been determined, with a wide combination of 3rd and 4th Round matches slated to take place on Sunday.

Hmmm, that is, unless the weather (some weather... any weather this side of a freak hail storm -- this IS Melbourne, you know) says otherwise.

Seems to me that this is where everyone crosses their fingers... and as many toes as physically possible, as well, if you'd like.




Love-Love

...
in the limited amount of action on Saturday, the two players whose wins provided the highlights of the day were probably Vera Zvonareva and David Nalbandian. The Russian women's #22-seed upset #13 Ana Ivanovic handily, 6-1/6-2 to reach her first slam Round of 16 since 2004. Zvonareva will next face Maria Sharapova. Meanwhile, AnaIvo continues to search for that elusive grand slam breakthrough.

On the men's side, Nalbandian continues to prove he's most dangerous when he's "hopelessly" behind. Down 2-0 in sets to Janko Tipsarevic, Nalbandian survived one match point in the tenth game of the 3rd set, then three more (from 0-40 down on his own serve!) in the eleventh. He won the 3rd set tie-break, bageled Tipsarevic in the 4th and then saw him retire at 2-1 in the 5th. All in a day's work, I guess.
=============================
15-love...

**WOMEN'S ROUND OF 16 - by Nation**
4...Russia (Sharapova, Zvonareva, Kuznetsova, Dementieva)
2...Switzerland (Hingis, Schnyder)
2...Czech Republic (Vaidisova, Safarova)
1...Belgium (Clijsters
1...France (Mauresmo)
1...Israel (Peer)
1...Serbia (Jankovic)
1...USA (S.Williams)

*REMAINING 3rd ROUND MATCHES**
Chakvetadze (RUS) vs. Kostanic-Tosic (CRO)
Hantuchova (SVK) vs. Harkleroad (USA)
Safina (RUS) vs. Li (CHN)


**WOMEN'S ROUND OF 16 - by Ranking**
#2 Maria Sharapova
#3 Amelie Mauresmo
#4 Svetlana Kuznetsova
#5 Kim Clijsters
#7 Martina Hingis
#8 Elena Dementieva
#9 Patty Schnyder
#11 Jelena Jankovic
#12 Nicole Vaidisova
#17 Shahar Peer
#24 Vera Zvonareva
#70 Lucie Safarova
#81 Serena Williams

*STILL TO PLAY 3rd ROUND**
#10 Dinara Safina
#13 Anna Chakvetadze
#16 Na Li
#18 Daniela Hantuchova
#67 Jelena Kostanic-Tosic
#88 Ashley Harkleroad


**WOMEN'S ROUND OF 16 - by Age**
17...Nicole Vaidisova
19...Lucie Safarova
19...Maria Sharapova
19...Shahar Peer
21...Svetlana Kuznetsova
21...Jelena Jankovic
22...Vera Zvonareva
23...Kim Clijsters
25...Elena Dementieva
25...Serena Williams
26...Martina Hingis
27...Amelie Mauresmo
28...Patty Schnyder

*STILL TO PLAY 3rd ROUND**
19...Anna Chakvetadze
20...Dinara Safina
21...Ashley Harkleroad
23...Daniela Hantuchova
24...Na Li
25...Jelena Kostanic-Tosic


=============================
30-love...

**MEN'S ROUND OF 16 - by Nation**
3...USA (Blake, Roddick, Fish)
3...Spain (Nadal, Robredo, Ferrer)
1...Argentina (Nalbandian)
1...Chile (Gonzalez)
1...Croatia (Ancic)
1...France (Gasquet)
1...Great Britain (Murray)
1...Russia (Davydenko)
1...Serbia (Djokovic)
1...Switzerland (Federer)

*REMAINING 3rd ROUND MATCHES**
Tommy Haas (GER) vs. Florian Mayer (GER)
Tomas Berdych (CZE) vs. Dmitry Tursunov (RUS)


=============================
40-love...

**ROUND OF 16 PICKS**
[MEN]
#1 Federer d. #14 Djokovic in 4 sets
#7 Robredo d. #18 Gasquet in 4 sets
Fish d. #16 Ferrer in 4 sets
#6 Roddick d. #9 Ancic in 5 sets
(#8 Nalbandian vs. #12 Haas or Mayer)
(#3 Davydenko vs. #13 Berdych or #21 Tursunov)

#5 Blake d. #10 Gonzalez in 4 sets
#2 Nadal d. #15 Murray in 3 sets

[WOMEN]
#1 Sharapova d. #22 Zvonareva in 2 sets
(#8 Schnyder vs. #12 Chakvetadze/Kostanic-Tosic)
(#4 Clijsters vs. #15 Hantuchova/Harkleroad)
(#6 Hingis vs. #9 Safina/#19 Li)

S.Williams d. #11 Jankovic in 3 sets
#10 Vaidisova d. #7 Dementieva in 2 sets
#2 Mauresmo d. Safarova in 2 sets


=============================
PLAY SUSPENDED BY RAIN, "Still looking for that monutmental upset."... #4 Ivan Ljubicic and #5 Nadia Petrova going out in the early rounds to Mardy Fish and Serena Williams, while noteworthy, aren't exactly earth-shattering moments in grand slam history. Next up on the agenda, Novak Djokovic faces off against Roger Federer, and Shahar Peer clashes with Svetlana Kuznetsova on Day 6. An upset isn't likely to happen in the first, and one in the second wouldn't be a put-your-eyeballs-back-in-their-sockets moment, either. In the end, the Round of 16 match with the most potential for getting everyone's attention would be a "happening" if Andy Murray can find a way past Rafa Nadal. It'd set up a QF meeting with James Blake that might be billed by some as the matchup that could decide the finalist who'll come out of the bottom half of the draw. Of course, the same could be said if Nadal faces Blake. Oh, no... Federer vs. Blake? Cover your eyes! Another Roger vs. Rafa clash, which once again was under everyone's prediction radar when this tournament began, would be much better. And it might just happen, too.
=============================




All for Day 6.

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