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Thursday, January 21, 2010
Vodka-Red Bull concoction does Davydenko good


MELBOURNE, Australia -- Here are five things we learned on Day 4 at the Australian Open:

1. Ana still has the yips

Ana Ivanovic, the world No. 1 less than two years ago, is out at sea.

Ivanovic fell to Argentine Gisela Dulko 6-7 (6), 7-5, 6-4 in a matchup of fragile glamor girls Thursday, her serve, and ball toss, still very much a problem. In one of those nutty women's encounters, Dulko needed six match points to prevail, almost blowing a 5-1 lead in the third.

Ivanovic, who hasn't reached a Grand Slam quarterfinal since winning the French Open in 2008, hit 11 double faults.

"I think what happens when my ball toss gets away from me, it's when I rush a little bit," Ivanovic, dubbed "Aussie Ana" thanks to her relationship with Australian golfer Adam Scott, told reporters. "It just gets away from me because I hold the ball so tight instead of just relaxing."

So Dulko has knocked off another big name; she toppedMaria Sharapova at Wimbledon in June.

2. Roddick has competition

Andy Roddick now has competition when it comes to entertaining press conferences. Nikolay Davydenko is the challenger -- and a serious one at that.

Getting more attention, and thus more questions, after beating Roger and Rafa and winning the season-ending championships, Davydenko discussed vodka, fatherhood and … tennis.

The sixth seed had plenty of energy to chat, since he won his second-round match quickly in straight sets, defeating Ukrainian qualifier Illya Marchenko.

On whether he's a drinker, Davydenko said: "No, I don't drink really. I don't drink so much because I'm skinny. I mix only. Sometimes I drink clear vodka, sometimes mixed with Red Bull. Little bit to get power in night club or disco."

Davydenko said he'd like to have kids now, but wife Irina wants to wait. Irina, as it turns out, could fill in as coach if Davydenko's brother, Eduard, ever quits.

"She's traveled with me already six years," Davydenko said. "Because she [sits] with my brother, and my brother is always talking about what I did, right, left, everything, forehand. She can explain what I did wrong in the match. It's interesting, because I cannot see really what is the problem in the match, and she can explain."

Davydenko should cruise in the third round against gutsy Argentine Juan Monaco.

3. Marcos is inspired

Coming back from two sets down to win is always impressive. But doing it against Spanish warrior David Ferrer, and in the heat, is even more impressive.

Marcos Baghdatis, surging in the past six months, pulled it off, rallying for a 4-6, 3-6, 7-6 (4), 6-3, 6-1 victory at Hisense Arena.

Ferrer, if you can believe it, actually wilted in the heat, although Baghdatis, the popular 2006 finalist, suffered from cramps in the last game.

"The thing that helped me a lot was the reaction of Ferrer in the third set," Baghdatis told reporters. "He went a bit down, and I saw that. That helped me come up a bit, and then the crowd helped me for sure."

Baghdatis now meets Aussie hope Lleyton Hewitt in the third round. They played a five-set classic in Melbourne two years ago, with Hewitt clinching match point at 4:34 a.m. for the latest finish in Grand Slam history. Baghdatis downed Hewitt in Sydney last week.

4. Young is making progress

Donald Young, once considered the next big thing in tennis, or at least in U.S. tennis, hasn't developed as planned.

But the 20-year-old from Atlanta had a good Australian Open. He won three rounds of qualifying, then upset the pesky Christophe Rochus in the first round. Young put on another good display Thursday, testing Hewitt before falling 7-6 (7), 6-4, 6-1.

His current ranking of 195th should rise.

"It definitely could have been a lot worse," Young told a small gathering of reporters. "I could have lost in the first round of qualifying. I won a match in the main draw, pretty good for me. Just to win four matches in a row is great. I want to chase matches, not points, play matches and become match tough."

Young's good hands and clean hitting were on display throughout the first two sets. The lefty bounced back from a 4-1 deficit in the first and was up a break at 4-2 in the second.

5. Tommy is hot and bothered

Tommy Haas, still going strong and twice a semifinalist in Melbourne, lost his cool in a five-set win over Serbian Janko Tipsarevic.

Having already been warned by French umpire Pascal Maria, Haas was given a point penalty late in the fifth set. Highly strung, he was visibly rankled by raucous Serbian fans at Margaret Court Arena.