Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Updated: January 21, 9:28 AM ET
Roddick remains at odds with chair umpires
MELBOURNE, Australia -- Here are five things we learned on Day 3 at the Australian Open:
1. Roddick and the umps aren't getting along
Andy Roddick tripped over the foot of a line judge in a first-round win and wasn't too pleased the official didn't try to get out of the way.
Roddick tangled with a ref again Wednesday, coming to verbal blows with Irish chair umpire Fergus Murphy during a 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 second-round victory against up-and-coming Brazilian Thomaz Bellucci.
On the first of his two match points in the 10th game of the final set, Bellucci hit a forehand crosscourt, close to the line. There was no call, and Roddick challenged but was proved wrong. Murphy ruled that Roddick couldn't have touched the ball and awarded the point to Bellucci outright.
A riled Roddick jawed at Murphy, and the conversation continued once the match ended.
"I'm standing there with my racket back, don't you think I was gonna f---ing hit it?" Roddick asked.
Roddick admitted in his postmatch press conference, sort of, that Murphy got it right.
"I was more wrong than I thought I was out on court," he said. "That being said, it was very close. To take away a match point at that juncture of the match, it's a big call."
Roddick made headlines at the Australian Open two years ago, snapping at umpire Emmanuel Joseph in a five-set loss to German Philipp Kohlschreiber.
2. Kimmy junior is a star
Ever since Kim Clijsters' daughter, Jada, enthralled the crowd after mom won the U.S. Open in September, she's been a star. Jada gleefully roamed around the court at Arthur Ashe stadium, oblivious of the venue and occasion.
Clijsters said Jada, 2 next month, handled the long journey from Belgium to Australia in late December just swell.
"She was actually really good," Clijsters told reporters Wednesday. "That's the one thing I was a little bit worried about, a little bit scared about, when I was packing everything. My hand luggage was crazy. I had a whole bag with toys and everything just to try to keep her entertained. We kept telling her, 'We're going to see the kangaroos.'
"There wasn't a whole lot of sleep for me. But it was fine. I was just happy she wasn't keeping the cabin awake."
Clijsters continues to be a crowd favorite in Australia. Dubbed "Aussie Kim" when dating Lleyton Hewitt, Clijsters gained even more fans by giving all her prize money -- $37,000 -- to a local hospital after winning the Brisbane International.
3. Rafa didn't mess around
First rounds can be tricky for top players at majors.
World No. 1 Roger Federer was pushed to four sets here by Igor Andreev, U.S. Open winner Juan Martin del Potro conceded a set to Michael Russell, and defending champion Rafael Nadal trailed Aussie Peter Luczak 5-3 in the first before recovering.
Nadal fared much better Wednesday, dismantling 75th-ranked Lukas Lacko 6-2, 6-2, 6-2 in 1 hour, 53 minutes. Sub-two-hour wins at Grand Slams are rare for the Spaniard.
"I played more relaxed," Nadal told reporters. "Second round is always easier to play. You are more [adapted] to the conditions and everything. Always the debut is more difficult, no? I think I improved a little bit."
Nadal was later asked what it was like to be "famous," a day after Russian dark horse Nikolay Davydenko said he'd rather avoid the spotlight. His reply made perfect sense.
"I think you are or you are not," Nadal said. "You want or you don't want, that's not an answer, no? I like my life. I feel very lucky to be where I am. I work in my hobby, not everybody can say the same. I feel very lucky."
4. Kuzy is upping the ante
Who's the third seed in the women's draw? If you answered Svetlana Kuznetsova, well done.
The personable Russian, certainly not the third favorite this year, says she's tweaking her game in an effort to compete with the serious contenders.
"I want to do more things," Kuznetsova told reporters after crushing tricky countrywoman Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2, 6-2. "I want to come to the net because I think I can play different games and come outside, play outside, inside, come to the net. I want to be an all-zones player. I think I have potential to do that."
Kuznetsova is on a collision course with Clijsters, one of those favorites, in the fourth round.
5. Safina is a work in progress
Dinara Safina didn't have much time to prepare in the offseason, thanks to a bad back. So no one should expect miracles in Melbourne from the former world No. 1.
In the second round, Safina had to work hard to defeat temperamental Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, who had completed an Aussie Open-record 4½-hour win a day earlier.
Safina saved all nine break points she faced to advance 6-3, 6-4, helped by a first-serve percentage in the 70s.
"In some moments I played not bad, but it's good that I won the match, and still there's so much room to improve," Safina told reporters. "That's such a good thing, you know deep inside you have so much more to bring out. In the next match I can do a little bit more."
Safina has another winnable match in the third round, against Brit Elena Baltacha.