Thursday, January 21, 2010
Updated: January 22, 11:15 AM ET
Five Things: Safina not making anyone sick -- yet
MELBOURNE, Australia -- Here are five things we learned on Day 5 at the Australian Open:
1. Justine isn't engaged
Justine Henin had a tough time on court Friday, using all of her Grand Slam experience to defeat inspired Russian Alisa Kleybanova 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 in the third round.
It didn't stop Henin from lightening up when asked about a diamond ring she's sporting.
"Well, it's not coming from a lover, if that's the question," she began. "It's a gift from a friend, but nothing else. I was surprised the question didn't come earlier, actually."
Henin is divorced from Pierre-Yves Hardenne.
2. Del Potro would rather go unnoticed
Juan Martin del Potro is a simple guy, so he could do without the extra attention. Given his Grand Slam win in New York and bright future, he won't get his wish.
Del Potro said as much when retired Australian great Pat Rafter told him he will dominate the men's game in the future.
"He knows about this sport," said del Potro, a four-set winner over German Florian Mayer. "But I don't want extra [pressure]. I have too much [pressure]. So thank you to Patrick, but I have a long way to go to be the next No. 1 or to be better."
Del Potro faces a familiar foe in the fourth round, Croatian Marin Cilic. Cilic had del Potro on the ropes in the U.S. Open quarterfinals but couldn't finish the job.
3. Injuries are mounting
Henin, del Potro, Serena Williams and Yanina Wickmayer are all hurting. Andy Murray joined them Friday, although the 5-seed insisted it was nothing serious.
Murray injured his back early in a straight-sets victory over Frenchman Florent Serra.
"It just hurts," the Scot told reporters. "Sometimes it happens on these courts. They're just really sticky. It just gets a little stiff. But it was fine."
Murray's draw has been fine through three rounds. He meets American John Isner in the next, and Murray habitually excels against big servers.
4. Safina is a budding Gordon Ramsay
Dinara Safina's press conference lasted almost as long as her match.
Safina revealed she moved to a new apartment in her native Moscow, and one of her hobbies is cooking. The world No. 2 bought a cookbook on her day off Thursday, keen on doing more in the kitchen.
"I want to cook," Safina told reporters after downing Britain's Elena Baltacha in less than an hour. "I'm just starting. Until now, nobody got sick, so this is the positive."
Her signature dish?
"Actually, I can make not bad asparagus," she said. "And of course, green salad with olive oil."
Nothing too complex, then.
5. Bartoli wilted
Marion Bartoli, the unlikely 2007 Wimbledon finalist, didn't have much left in the tank in steamy conditions against China's Zheng Jie, falling 5-7, 6-3, 6-0.
Bartoli won four points in the final set, which lasted 22 minutes.