Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 20th 2015 Contents A55
Tuesday, January 20, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Nadal didn t give the
impression he was lacking
any confidence as he raced
through the first round of
the Australian Open with a
6-3, 6-2, 6-2 win yesterday
over Russian veteran
Coming back from a right
wrist injury and an appendix
operation that sidelined him
for most of last season after
Wimbledon, and coming off
a rare first-round loss in a
tune-up event in Doha, the
14-time major winner said
he had concerns about his
fitness for the opening Grand
Slam tournament of the year.
He didn t show it, hitting
37 winners, breaking Youzh-
ny twice in each set, holding
his own serve comfortably
and fending off the only
break-point chance he faced.
"Last year, second half of
the year had been tough
mentally and physically for
me," he said. "I played four
matches in the last seven
months---that s not enough
to be back with confidence."
The loss to Michael Berrer
in Doha on Jan. 5 was anoth-
er deflating result.
"When that happens after
a tough period of injuries you
arrive here with doubts," he
said. "This first match was
tough mentally for me---(I)
hope this match will give me
confidence to play well next
Nadal hasn t won the Aus-
tralian Open since 2009, but
has reached the final in his
last two trips to Melbourne
Park, losing to Novak
Djokovic in a 5-hour, 53-
minute epic in 2012 and to
Stan Wawrinka last year.
No 2-ranked Roger Feder-
er, who won the last of his
four Australian titles in 2010,
got a good workout in the
first night match on Rod
Laver Arena before beating
Lu Yen-hsun of Taiwan 6-
4, 6-2, 7-5.
Open finalist Andy Murray
began his quest for an elusive
Australian title with a 6-3,
6-4, 7-6 (3) win over Indian
qualifier Yuki Bhambri.
Sharapova followed up her
recent title in a warm-up
tournament with a 6-4, 6-
1 win over Petra Martic in
the last match of the day in
the women s draw which is
already missing eight seeded
"I had a great start in Bris-
bane winning the title for the
first time in my career---that
was great to have those
matches coming into such a
big match in Melbourne," she
No 3 Simona Halep and
No 7 Eugenie Bouchard also
advanced in straight sets,
moving into the second
round along with No 10 Eka-
terina Makarova, No 14 Sara
Errani, No 21 Peng Shuai and
No 22 Karolina Pliskova.
Halep opened play on the
main court with a 6-3, 6-2
win over Karin Knapp and
Bouchard, who reached the
semifinals or better at three
majors last year, beat Anna-
Lena Friedsam 6-2, 6-4.
No 5 Ana Ivanovic was the
highest-ranked of the first-
round losers, struggling with
her serve in a 1-6, 6-3, 6-
2 loss to Czech qualifier Lucie
Hradecka in the first big
upset of the tournament.
Coming off a loss to Shara-
pova in the Brisbane final,
Ivanovic had 10 double-faults
and said she struggled badly
with her serve.
No 9 Angelique Kerber, No
16 Lucie Safarova (16), No 17
Carla Suarez Navarro, No 23
No 27 Svetlana Kuznetsova,
No 28 Sabine Lisicki and No
32 Belinda Bencic also lost
on the opening day.
McHale was sick on court
and saved a match point as
she rallied to beat Stephanie
Foretz 6-4, 1-6, 12-10.
There was less damage
involving the top players on
the men s side, with No 11
Ernests Gulbis and No 15
retired with a groin injury
after five games---making
Gulbis wasted four match
points before losing to 18-
year-old Thanasi Kokkinakis
in five sets in a late match---
the Aussie teenager went
around the court high-fiving
fans to celebrate.
No 7-seeded Tomas
Berdych beat Alejandro Falla
6-3, 7-6 (1), 6-3, No 10
Grigor Dimitrov defeated
Dustin Brown 6-2, 6-3, 6-
2 and No 14 Kevin Anderson
had a 7-6 (5), 7-5, 5-7, 6-4
win over Diego Schwartz-
No 20 David Goffin, No
Kohlschreiber, No 24 Richard
Gasquet, No 29 Jeremy
Chardy and No 32 Martin
Klizan also went through.
MELBOURNE---Christina McHale has sur-
vived her fair share of endurance-testing
matches at the Grand Slams.
Few have been as dramatic, though, as her
first-round win at the Australian Open yes-
terday when she vomited on court at 4-all
in the third set and saved a match point
before outlasting France s Stephanie Foretz
6-4, 1-6, 12-10. The final set took nearly two
hours to complete.
Feeling much better after the match,
McHale said getting sick in front of a crowded
gallery wasn t the worst part of the day.
"I was more embarrassed that it took so
long to clean up," she said. "But I did feel
much better after I let it out."
The 22-year-old American is hoping for
a far quicker match in the second round
against Carina Witthoeft of Germany. She
has a knack for going the distance in the first
round at the majors---she has twice lost 9-
7 in the third set and won another two match-
es 10-8 and 8-6 in the decider.
"I feel like all my first rounds at the slams
are always really dramatic. I m just so happy
I was able to pull through this one."
Stefan Edberg turned 49 on Monday and
Roger Federer gave him the gift of tennis.
After Federer won his first-round match,
the center-court interviewer put him on the
spot and asked the Swiss star if he had bought
his coach a present for his 49th birthday on
Edberg, a six-time Grand Slam champion,
smiled in the stands where he sat beside
Federer s wife.
"The day s not over yet," Federer said with
a laugh after his evening match, which marked
a first step toward his goal of an 18th Grand
Slam title. "Shops are still open in Mel-
Then he fessed up.
Quick on his feet, Federer then realized he
had given Edberg something he liked.
"We had a warm-up together," Federer
said. "He loves that. He loves to play ten-
It was hard to say what was more fearless
about 18-year-old Thanasi Kokkinakis at the
Australian Open on Monday---his inspired
play against 11th-seeded Ernests Gulbis or
his hot pink and neon yellow outfit.
Kokkinakis, who had never played a match
going to five sets before, saved four match
points in the fourth set and six break points
in the deciding set before putting Gulbis
away 5-7, 6-0, 1-6, 7-6 (2), 8-6 in just over
The Australian teenager celebrated with a
breakdance-inspired move---a high-kicking
back roll---and then circling Court 3 to give
high-fives to the packed house.
The gritty, come-from-behind win was
reminiscent of some of fellow Aussie Lleyton
Hewitt s dramatic five-setters at Melbourne
Park over the years, but Kokkinakis isn t get-
ting ahead of himself.
"He s done it a few more times than once,"
As for his outfit, which conjured images
of Andre Agassi s flashier ensembles, Kokki-
nakis agrees it s out there. He said his clothing
sponsor picked it out especially for him.
"They were like, we only give this to a few.
If you re up for it, wear it," he said. "I wore
the stripes last year, but that was nothing
compared to what I wore this year. ... I was
like surely in this outfit I ve got to get the
After a long time away, Rafael Nadal is
back. And he s hard to miss.
Nadal outshone his first-round opponent
Mikhail Youzhny, literally and sartorially,
decked out in a pink fluorescent tennis shirt
and a neon yellow wristband to match his
Nadal told the on-court interviewer after
his first-round win that his time away from
the tour because of injuries and an appendix
surgery had battered his confidence. The
commentator responded by pointing to
Nadal s shorts and saying he suspected the
Spaniard didn t truly suffer from lack of con-
"I don t think many men could pull off
this pink reflector," the commentator told
Nadal, drawing stadium-wide laughter as he
pointed out the neon pink stripe down the
side of Nadal s white shorts.
Nadal joined the laughter, saying these
were his "party" shorts for the past couple
of months during his time off.
"I just like bright colors," Nadal added.
"Australia is a happy country, a sports country.
People here bring me positive energy, so it s
the right place to wear that."
Andy Murray is well-known for using
some nasty words to criticize himself during
matches, and he was at it again while briefly
trailing in his 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (3) victory yes-
terday over Indian qualifier Yuki Bhambri.
While down 4-1 in the third set, Murray
yelled angrily and threw his hands up in the
air, clearly unhappy with how he was playing.
After all was said and done, he forgave him-
"I think in some sense when you re playing
you tend to say things that you don t really
mean," Murray said. "That s just how the
brain works. I ve learned a lot about that
over the last couple years." (AP)
with emphatic win
AUSTRALIAN OPEN SCENE
Rafael Nadal of Spain makes a forehand return to Mikhail
Youzhny of Russia during their first round match at the
Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia,
yesterday. Nadal won 6-3, 6-2, 6-2. AP PHOTO
McHale's recovery, Federer's gift
Thanasi Kokkinakis of Australia celebrates
after beating Ernests Gulbis of Latvia
during their first round match at the
Australian Open tennis championship in
Melbourne, Australia, yesterday. Kokkinakis
won 5-7, 6-0, 1-6, 7-6 (2), 8-6. AP PHOTO
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