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Australian Open day six as it happened

LATEST ACTION (all times GMT)
606: DEBATE
To get involved text us your views & comments on 81111. (Not all contributions can be used)

By Sam Lyon

1305: Right then, as Ben Dirs has just commented from the other side of the desk, this is shaping up to be an absolute barn-stormer of a tournament isn't it? And we have another couple of cracking matches lined up for your viewing and listening pleasure tomorrow morning with Jelena Dokic against Alisa Kleybanova and Marcos Baghdatis versus Novak Djokovic live on the red button, Five Live sports extra and website (UK users only) from about 0830 GMT. Failing that, Piers Newbery and I will be chatting you through all the action live on our text commentary from about midnight. See you then!

"Andy Murray is going to have to play the kind of tennis he played in the second set against Melzer over the entire match and tournament if he wants to get past Nadal."
pottiella on 606
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1257: And Rafael Nadal follows Gonzo's lead almost immediately, yet another brutal forehand winner - his 53rd winner of the match - closing out a hold to 15 and a hugely impressive victory. He is in line to face Andy Murray in the semi finals should both players get there and, on current form, you'd have to fancy the Spaniard to edge what might just be a classic.
Nadal 6-4 6-2 6-2 Haas

"At the start of the last game, Gasquet had actually won two points more than Gonzo overall - and I assume they were dead even at the end of the match. It was that close..."
Chip it like Vela on 606
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1254: Fernando Gonzalez wins!! Richard Gasquet saves one match point against his serve with a stunning forehand, but a superb Gonzalez lob precedes a brutal winner down the line and the Chilean comes through one of the all-time classic matches in the Margaret Court Arena. Heartbreak from Gasquet - who had match point in the third set tie-break - but unbridled joy for "Gonzo", who will have to get in the ice bath and on the road to recovery fast because Nadal, almost definitely, is up next for him.
Gasquet 6-3 6-3 6-7 2-6 10-12 Gonzalez

1252: Stunning from Nadal, whose forehand resembles a Colt .45, firing a hail bullets at Haas that the German has no answer to. One such superb groundstroke seals the double break and he will serve for the match.
Nadal 6-4 6-2 5-2 Haas

1246: Yet another wasted break point from Gasquet - his fifth of the set - as Gonzalez holds to deuce with a couple of booming serves and he leads 11-10 in the decider. A reminder that whoever comes through that match will face - in all likelihood - Rafa Nadal in the next round. Just the opponent you want to see on the other side of the net when you've had a marathon match last time out huh?

"Isn't it fantastic too see two shotmakers going hammer and tongs at each other like this - if only these two had better mental strength to match their talent they would probably both be comfortable top 10 mainstays. Great match."
British_is_best on 606
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1243: Gasquet-Gonzalez breaks the four-hour mark as the former - who is holding a little easier than his Chilean opponent at the moment - serves out to love to make it 10-10 in the deciding set.

1238: The end is nigh, I fear, for Tommy. Nadal continues his brutal Haas-ault (sorry) as he whips a forehand winner down the line to snatch the early break in the third set. Gasquet and Gonzalez continue to battle away in the Margaret Court Arena in an utterly titanic contest. It's 9-9 in the deciding set and it's fair to say that encounter is a touch closer than the RLA match, which is about as close as 'aardvark' and 'zebra' in the dictionary. Sort of.
Nadal 6-4 6-2 2-1 Haas
Gasquet 6-3 6-3 6-7 2-6 9-9 Gonzalez

"To be fair re: 1223 - Wily's Acme anvil and rocket weren't very effective, were they? That was sort of the point of the cartoon."
fabuniquemembername on 606
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(Haha, was it the product or the user that was ineffective, though?)

1227: And that's the set for Nadal, with Haas not only battling the world's best player but also what must be his own increasingly vocal demons. Over in the Margaret Court Arena, Gasquet wastes another break point and the fifth set against Gonzalez stays on serve.
Nadal 6-4 6-2 Haas
Gasquet 6-3 6-3 6-7 2-6 7-8 Gonzalez

1223: Ber-limey, Haas is throwing the kitchen sink and more at Nadal, but the Spaniard is so brutally clinical that the German has no answer. Even some kind of Wily Cayote Acme rocket and anvil would be of no use against Nadal in this form as the world's number one kerplunks passing shots from behind the baseline into the corners over and over again before he eventually seals the double break.
Nadal 6-4 5-2 Haas

"Best voice in tennis? I'm going to have to go with the "Murray Monotone"."
Kathleen, Glasgow via text on 81111

1211: Sublime touch from Haas, slice drop-shotting Nadal from centre court to see out a fabulous 19-shot rally on his way to game point, but Rafa produces a couple of moments of sheer brilliance of his own from the back of the court and he breaks at the third time of asking. Over in the Margaret Court Arena, Gasquet wastes two break points against Gonzalez to keep it on serve in the deciding set.
Nadal 6-4 3-2 Haas
Gasquet 6-3 6-3 6-7 2-6 5-6 Gonzalez

1159: We've got more holds than a professional wrestling match at the moment, with the second and fifth sets of the Nadal-Haas and Gasquet-Gonzalez matches, respectively, on serve.
Nadal 6-4 1-2 Haas
Gasquet 6-3 6-3 6-7 2-6 4-4 Gonzalez

"I want the umpire of the Nadal-Haas match - Steve Ulrich - to be the speaking clock. His voice is superb."
andrewmg86 on 606
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(What? Surely not. He sounds like he's reading every point out from a sordid 'romance' novel. Although that does open an interesting discussion - best voice in tennis?)

1144: Clinical from Nadal, who closes out the set with ease thanks to 22 winners and just five unforced errors.
Nadal 6-4 Haas

1140: He might need a bit more of that ol' Tommy - Rafa looks to be closing the set out as he storms to break and set point with some brutal groundstrokes, but Haas digs deep, brings out a bludgeonous couple of serves, and he ensures Nadal will have to serve out.
Nadal 5-4 Haas

1131: Ouch - a crashing backhand return and a fabulous forehand winner help Rafael Nadal back from 15-40 down to break point... hearts-a-flutter moment for Tommy Haas. The German recovers admirably, though, and serve-volleys his way back to the hold.
Nadal 4-3 Haas

"Gasquet's foot problem is becoming increasingly obvious and is hampering his game now."
Jacques_Humbert on 606

"I don't think Gasquet has the guts to win this now, though I'm certain he has everything else. Hope I'm proved wrong!"
Levethian on 606
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1125: And it's a double break for Gonzalez as he powers his way past an increasingly fragile Gasquet to win the fourth set 6-2. The Frenchman has some soul-searching to do at the changeover.
Gasquet 6-3 6-3 6-7 2-6 Gonzalez

1124: And it's also break-o'clock in the match between Gasquet and Gonzalez, with the Chilean threatening to undo all Gasquet's good early work. Looks like it's heading for a fifth set, that one...
Gasquet 6-3 6-3 6-7 2-5 Gonzalez

1123: Nice while it lasted for Haas, but Nadal has quickly upped a gear and he breaks the German for the second game on the trot and then consolidates to steal a march on the first set.
Nadal 4-2 Haas

"Controversial use of a double 'h' in Hhmmm (see 1101). I'd have plucked for 'hmmm' personally."
lolthebraps on 606
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1111: And we're on serve in the MCA too, with Gonzalez having cut out the unforced errors that had plagued his earlier sets - the Chilean is starting to dominate a touch now.
Gasquet 6-3 6-3 6-7 2-3 Gonzalez

1109: Nadal has really yet to get going, missing out on the chance to go 40-0 when he allows Haas to volley a winner at the net when the pass looked easier. Still, the Spaniard forces the error to bring up two break points next up - only for Haas to produce more great work from the back of the court to save both. A brilliant 'get' brings up another break point, which is saved, but Nadal makes no mistake with his fourth of the game and we're back on serve.
Nadal 1-2 Haas

1101: Nadal, however, fails his first test as Haas breaks to 30, sealing the match with a swept forehand after working the rally brilliantly. Hhmm...
Nadal 0-2 Haas

1057: Tommy Haas comes through his first big test, twice taken to deuce by Nadal before bringing out the big serve to save the hold.
Nadal 0-1 Haas

"Gasquet should be a top five player, such is his natural brilliance. Typical gallic inconsistency though..."
Jacques_Humbert on 606
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1054: And Gonzalez DOES stay in the match in the MCA, snatching an enthralling breaker 12-10 to peg the match back to 2-1... I did say this match might be a bit of a classic...
Gasquet 6-3 6-3 6-7 Gonzalez

1051: Nadal and Haas about to get under way in the Rod Laver Arena... while in the Margaret Court Arena, Gasquet and Gonzalez are playing out the mother of all tie-breakers, the pair standing at 10-10 at the moment, with the Chilean battling to stay in the match.

1047: And here's "The Muscle" Murray on his next match, against Fernando Verdasco. "Fernando will be a tough match and I will need to use my head. He's very flashy and has a big forehand and cross-court backhand. But I'm confident and my record against lefties is very good."

"Haas will beat Nadal."
andrewmg86 on 606
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(Love it - bold, brash and brave. Good work andrewmg86)

1043: Andy "The Muscle" Murray (I'm going to keep using it until it catches on, so get used to it...) on his match against Melzer: "My concentration was very good. You saw he can hit some unbelievable shots but once I got on top of him I kept my focus really well, especially in the second and the beginning of the third set, and I returned much better than against Marcel Granollers. I played well and the support was awesome - I hope that continues next week."

1038: We're into a third-set tie-break in the Margaret Court Arena match between Richard Gasquet and Fernando Gonzalez. Gasquet, lest we forget, is two-sets-to-love up.

1033: And it's all over in the Rod Laver Arena as well, where fourth seed Elena Dementieva has beaten Australian Sam Stosur 7-6 (8-6) 6-4 to reach the fourth round here for the fifth time in her career. You know who's up next in the RLA don't you? Rafael Nadal v Tommy Haas... oh yes...

1030: Right then, that was pretty impressive actually wasn't it? Or am I getting caught up in Murraymania? Next up for Britain's finest is Spain's 'leftie' Fernando Verdasco - and I am reliably informed by my learned colleague that Murray has only ever lost to one left-hander - Rafael Nadal. Is that true? Remarkable if so...
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Chris Bailey
"The only thing you can fault - if you were being ultra picky - about tonight's performance is Murray's second serve but, on this display, you have to say the Scot is very much a contender."
Chris Bailey on BBC2

THIRD SET

Murray 7-5 6-0 6-3 Melzer
That's it! A late blip aside, that's pretty impressive from Andy Murray, who resists Melzer's late assault with some clever tennis of his own and the match is sealed with an ace. That's a very tricky opponent Murray has demolished in just an hour and 40 minutes and he goes into the second week of the first Grand Slam of the year in perfect condition, with little energy exposed. Is it all set up for him to go all the way?
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Murray 7-5 6-0 5-3 Melzer
Fair play to Melzer, who all of a sudden has hit his straps again, saving two match points by battering the tramlines and he eventually holds to deuce. It's fair to say the Austrian is putting a fair bit of power into each and every shot now...

Murray 7-5 6-0 5-2 Melzer
Well well well, Melzer goes for broke and he brings up the 'four bells' as he breaks back to 15 thanks to some brutal hitting. Murray looks utterly unmoved, but he will have to look at his second serve if he is to go all the way in Melbourne I reckon.

Murray 7-5 6-0 5-1 Melzer
That, as they say, is that I would say. Murray breaks to love, sealed with a Melzer double fault, and the Scot can start making dinner plans.

Murray 7-5 6-0 4-1 Melzer
Cracking game and Murray does well to hold in the end after facing two break points. The Scot saves the second with a tremendous backhand winner and he then defends brilliantly against some more Melzer aggression before seeing out the hold with an unreturnable serve. That game might prove the back-breaker for Melzer, who can only be playing for pride now.

"Murray now has what Federer and Sampras had. The air of invincibility that if things started to go against you, mentally you were broken. First time I've seen that, outside cycling, from a British athlete."
anubisrich on 606
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Murray 7-5 6-0 3-1 Melzer
Another staggering 'get' from Murray brings him two more break points, but Melzer shows admirable - if a little overdue - resolve in battling back to deuce. He brings up game point with a lovely forehand crosscourt winner, and seals it with an unreturnable serve. The comeback starts! Erm, maybe not...

Murray 7-5 6-0 3-0 Melzer
Ridiculous speed and touch from Murray and he is truly battering Melzer, now. That hold would have been more comfortable only if it had been wearing slippers.

"AM is now in full flow and this is why he is favourite - nobody would beat him like he is playing now... absolutely awesome. His opponent is Meltzing."
KelticPirate on 606
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Murray 7-5 6-0 2-0 Melzer
That's 10 games on the trot for Murray, the Briton lobbing Melzer brilliantly to set up break point, sealed when Muzza pass clips the line. A little update for you from the Rod Laver Arena where women's fourth seed Elena Dementieva takes the first set against home favourite Sam Stosur on the tie-break, while Fernando Gonzalez has given himself hope in the Margaret Court Arena by going a break up in the third set, the Chilean still trailing by two-sets-to-love.

John Lloyd
"To me it's mind-boggling that Melzer continues to charge in at absolutely everything. Plan A isn't working Juergen, change it. This is a Grand Slam...!"
John Lloyd on BBC2

Murray 7-5 6-0 1-0 Melzer
Another comfortable game for Murray and expectations that this was going to be a workout for the Scot are so far going unfounded.

SECOND SET

Murray 7-5 6-0 Melzer
Kaboom! This is exhibition stuff at times from Murray, the Scot lobbing sublimely on the run one moment and then crashing a bulldozer of a crosscourt forehand winner the next. He seals the break and the set with a touch volley at the net and Melzer's goose looks not only cooked, but eaten, digested and passed down the U-bend... Still, stranger things have happened, right?

Murray 7-5 5-0 Melzer
Oohs around the Arena as a bullet of a Murray serve is called a let, but it matters not as the Scot sees out the hold to love. Melzer, all of sudden, is showing all the threat of the Andrex puppy up against a Sith lord. One for all you Star Wars fans out there, that, ey thank yaow...

Murray 7-5 4-0 Melzer
He's definitely upped a gear, here, Murray and he makes it a double break with some more excellent groundstrokes, preying on Melzer's increasing vulnerability. That vulnerability is exposed when the Austrian crouches to his knees at the end of the game, a sight any opposing player loves to see... Elsewhere, Richard Gasquet goes two sets up in the Hisense Arena, Fernando Gonzalez again going down 6-3.

Chris Bailey
"Federer might have expected his face to adorn the front and back pages of the Australian press today following his win over Safin yesterday, but instead it was again Murray - under the headline in 'The Age' "YES HE CAN!". That will have irked Roger..."
Chris Bailey on 606

Murray 7-5 3-0 Melzer
Much more aggression from Murray, now, pushing and pulling Melzer around the court at will, though he has to apply the brakes when chasing down a Melzer drop shot for fear of losing control and making a courtside cameraman his new hat. He holds to 30 when Melzer misses another drop shot and he is really starting to tighten his grip on this match.

Murray 7-5 2-0 Melzer
Flashes of brilliance from Murray in that game, one highlighted clearly when his speed gets him to a Melzer pass that many other players wouldn't get near, which he then dispatches down the line with a forehand winner. He then brings up break point, upping the tempo just when he needs to, and a Melzer return into the net puts the Briton 2-0 up.

"Melzer is playing at his best and Andy clearly isn't... but that probably tells you a lot about the difference between the two when Andy is hanging in there and a set up..."
pottiella on 606
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Murray 7-5 1-0 Melzer
No sign of Melzer melting down after that first set defeat as a couple of forehand winners earn him three break points, but Murray refuses to panic and another couple of unforced errors from the Austrian soon see Scotland's finest serving for the hold. Melzer brings it back to deuce with a sublime backhand winner that grazes the line, but Muzza seals it at the second time of asking with an ace.

"It's a mark of how good you guys are that I have Murray on my telly, Murray on my radio if i go to make a drink, and yet still every 10 minutes I have to check in to see what is being said on the text commentary."
Chris, Stoke via text on 81111
(Note to everyone out there - flattery will get you everywhere)

FIRST SET

Chris Bailey
"Murray looks like he's come out here really trying to knife the ball, keep it low, and ask Melzer to really get behind and under the returns. For his part, Melzer is just going for shot after shot after shot..."
Chris Bailey on BBC2

Murray 7-5 Melzer
Brilliant work from Muzza - the man's more mobile than an infant gazelle - as he defends his baseline brilliantly before a delicate lob on the run sets him on his way to two break - and set - points. He needs only one of them as Melzer seems to hesitate on a forehand and punches it into the net. Melzer threw down 14 winners but 18 unforced errors in that set and that tells its own story - it's high-risk tennis from the Austrian and Murray is holding his own.

Murray 6-5 Melzer
Signs that Muzza is kicking into gear here as he powers down his fastest serve of the night on his way to a hold to love - sealed with two straight aces.

"Murray's been broken back early in his two games thus far...not worried at all about him strolling this match in straight sets. Melzer's the one busting a lung to win points on his own serve, once he drops this set it's OVAH."
sevendaughters on 606
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Murray 5-5 Melzer
Cracking work from Melzer, crashing a sublime overhead and then throwing in a drop volley at the net to level it up again.

Murray 5-4 Melzer
Good work from Murray, who is receiving some decent love from the Hisense Arena, as he closes out the hold to 15 with an ace after some good work on his forehand side. Meanwhile, over in the Margaret Court Arena, Frenchman Richard Gasquet takes the first set 6-3 against Fernando Gonzalez of Chile in what might just be a bit of a classic encounter. I'll keep you posted.

Murray 4-4 Melzer
Well I guess I can't be totally blamed if Muzza falls apart here - I mean, he was broken back before I took over commentary duties OK? Not that he covered himself in glory in that game, though Melzer is really taking the game to the Scot at the moment, sealing the hold to 15 aided by a fabulous volley at the net to rescue the point after Murray looked to have passed him. Anyway, how've you been?
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By Piers Newbery

Murray 4-3 Melzer
Melzer is absolutely all over the place - in a good way - and he smothers the net with a smash to get two break points at 15-40. Murray saves the first but nets a backhand on the second and we're level, which is probably what Melzer deserves so far.

Murray 4-2 Melzer
Murray challenges one fizzing Melzer forehand but Hawkeye says it clipped the line and the Briton is out of challenges for this set now. Melzer holds.

Murray 4-1 Melzer
Melzer continues to pile in to the net at every opportunity and has some success, but Murray edges through a closer game and is well and truly in charge of the set now.

0902: "Melzer looks like one of those pineapple cakes, i forget what they are called."
From anon via text on 81111

Murray 3-1 Melzer
Melzer, dressed in yellow and white with a baseball cap planted backwards on his head, is a ball of energy scampering all over the place. He can be a bit too hectic for his own good and a couple rushed forehands take him to 30-40 down. The Austrian saves the first break point of the day with an ace down the centre but Murray earns a second and converts with a fantastic cross-court backhand winner.

Murray 2-1 Melzer
Melzer looks keen to attack whenever possible and has Murray on the backfoot a bit, but that's where the Brit is at his best and he takes the game with a beautiful cross-court forehand past the in-rushing forehand.

Murray 1-1 Melzer
A cheeky Melzer backhand lob volley leaves Murray stranded but the Scot then misses with a makeable forehand pass. Murray challenges on game point but it drifted long and we're level.

Murray 1-0 Melzer
A couple of big serves see Murray get off to a confident start, holding to 15.


John Lloyd
0845: For those of you just joining us you may not realise that Greg Rusedski is considering a comeback - GB Davis Cup captain has already ruled him out of playing against Ukraine but adds: "If Greg gets the results then come September we can talk and have another look."

0842: The players are out on Hisense Arena, and Murray has his game face on. He looks up for this one - having come back from two sets down to beat Melzer at the US Open he knows the Austrian poses a threat.

Basil Brush

0837: "Tell Andrew he needn't worry. The programme scheduled at 10.00 is Basil's Swap Shop. If that isn't prime easily removable sport overrunning scheduling i don't know what is!"
From Dave via text on 81111

- Hey! Some of us want to watch that. Boom boom. I think I need to go to bed.

Andrew Castle
0834: "I think Murray's playing a great game off the court as well as on the court. He's speaking like a politician. I think the top three are the favourites because Andy hasn't done it before but it's building up nicely to be the top four in the semis."
Andrew Castle on BBC Two

The sun is out again in Melbourne
0826: The Hisense Arena is filling up nicely and the sun is still shining as the time approaches 7.30pm in Melbourne.

Andy Murray
0823: "The TV guide informs me that the Murray game is 8.30am-10am, what if the game is longer than that? I am recording it and don't want to miss the end :-(."
From Andrew via text on 81111

- I think you'll get all of Murray v Melzer, however long it takes
0815: "I have been working since 10 pm and am not due to finish until 2pm today. Murray is the only thing getting me through right now. It better be an exciting match!"
From Emma, very tired in London, via text on 81111

0810: "Morning all, I'm stuck in an old fashioned hotel with a wooden tv, no red button, no teletext and the good old fashioned 4 channels. Please tell me murray is live on bbc and not interactive?"
From Andy via text on 81111

- A wooden TV? Your luck is in, head for BBC Two at 0830 GMT.

0807: "With all this Andy Murray furore, I've forgotten to defrost my kippers. Looks like Andreev on toast. I like James Blake."
From anon via text

0800: On a quiet day at Melbourne Park a safe bet for a story is to ask the leading men who they think the favourite is. The newsmen reckon without the awesome defensive skills off Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, however. "I don't know. I'm seed number five, so I think this is my place maybe."

0748: Bad news for the hosts as wunderkind Bernard Tomic and fellow 16-year-old Aussie, Monika Wejnert, go down 6-3 6-2 to Canadians Daniel Nestor and Aleksandra Wozniak. There is officially no play going on now but we'll keep ticking over as Murray and Melzer will be out in under 45 minutes.

0740: Marcos Baghdatis is struggling to stay awake after finishing his match against Mardy Fish on Friday at 1.14am. "I cannot say it's not a problem. It's a bit of a pain (in the backside) for me because the last two years I'm here I'm finishing matches after midnight..."

0730: "I'm up. I'm hungover. And i can't wait to watch some tennis."
From James in Bath via text on 81111

- One hour to go until Murray v Melzer.

0728: "Piers, burned toast is carcinogenic. James Blake is winning. Important. Both."
From anon via text

0725: James Blake wraps up a 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-1 win over Igor Andreev to set up a last-16 clash with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Andy Murray

0722: It's all been a bit quiet on the 'who's the favourite?' front for a while so thank goodness for Fernando Verdasco. "Nadal, I think he is the strongest one in five sets, and Federer, because right now playing, he's the one who won more Grand Slams. I think that Murray is not the favourite over Nadal or Federer, but, of course, he's one of them."

0715: I have not been idle for the last 14 minutes, and neither has James Blake. He has fashioned a break of serve and is heading for victory at 3-1 up. I have fashioned a bowl of cereal and burnt some toast.

Breakfast cereal
0701: With Blake and Andreev in the early stages of the fourth set, where they are on serve, I'm off for a daring raid on the canteen.

0659: "Blake has been broken. Please, God, make it just a glitch. I don't want to sing Eurovision, naked."
From anon via text on 81111

0658: So, for anyone just arriving, overnight we've seen the French trio of Tsonga, Simon and Monfils go through, as well as Verdasco. Serena Williams and Kuznetsova are through in the women's draw, but 2006 champion Mauresmo lost to Azarenka. Murray, Nadal and Gasquet v Gonzalez to come from 0830 GMT.

0652: As a Bitish Nadal fan please could u tell me if the BBC or British Eurosport are going 2 cover Nadal v Haas?
From Jan, Wrexham, via text on 81111

- We will be covering Murray v Melzer on Hisense Arena from 0830 GMT on the Red Button, this website and 5 Live sports extra. Depending on the duration of that match coverage might then switch to Nadal v Haas, which is the second late match on Rod Laver Arena.

0647: Andreev, who has looked like slipping out fairly meekly, gets a surprise break and goes on to take the third set against Blake in the last remaining singles match under way at the moment.

0636: Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova, the 18th seed, sees off Virginie Razzano of France, 7-5 7-5.

0628: Amelie Mauresmo sounds encouragingly like she plans to play on despite her heavy defeat by Victoria Azarenka. "Even though it's now quite disappointing, I think my (best) level of play is coming back," says the 2006 champion. "It's slowly getting there."

0619: Blake now leads Andreev by two sets to love and remains on course for a last-16 clash with Tsonga, while Cibulkova will serve for the match against Razzano.

0609: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga completes a 6-4 6-2 1-6 6-1 win over Dudi Sela to bring an end to the day session on Rod Laver Arena. The only other singles matches still going are Blake against Andreev - with the American a set and a double break up - and Cibulkova leading Razzano by a set.

Dudi Sela
0605: Dudi Sela looks a bit like Simon Pegg.
Freddy from Ipswich via text on 81111

0556: "Re: Sela (see 0523) - Nicolas Cage/Coppola! More black coffee for you."
From anon via text on 81111

0552: "Ce n'est pas vrai!!" screams Tsonga in handily GCSE-level French as he wastes a break point, but the big man takes the next and has a 2-0 lead in the fourth set.

0544: Sela wins the third set 6-1 and Tsonga takes the opportunity for a comfort break. Blake grabs the opener 6-3 against Andreev.

0538: Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova edges a tight first set 7-5 against Virginie Razzano of.. you guessed it... France. Blake is doing the business at 5-3 up on Andreev, and Sela is about to cut the deficit to two sets to one down against Tsonga.

0531: Sela/Butt/Beale finally makes some headway with a break of serve for 3-1 in the third set against Tsonga, who leads by two sets to love.

0525: That's it, Fernando Verdasco beats Radek Stepanek 6-4 6-0 6-0 to set up a last-16 match against Jurgen Melzer or.... Andy Murray!

Dudi Sela

0523: Heads are being scratched here as we try to think who Dudi Sela reminds us of - I'm thinking Nicky Butt, my colleague Ollie Williams is going for Ian Beale. James Blake is off and running against Igor Andreev with an immediate break - been a lot of them today - and something is clearly up with Stepanek as he has now lost 12 games in a row to Verdasco, who will serve for the match.

0518: "I dont care what anyone says about andy having an easy draw, its hard luck to get tsonga - the fifth seed just behind the top 4 - in his quarter."
From anon via text on 81111

A celeb has been spotted at Melbourne Park
0510: Tennis funnyman Mansour Bahrami is among the celebs on Rod Laver Arena, probably wondering why neither player has yet asked a ball boy to play in his place, or stolen a bobby's helmet while standing on a line judge's chair. Tsonga takes a 6-4 6-2 lead over Sela, and Verdasco is 2-0 up in the third.

0506: "Is Josh L mad (see 0440 entry)? Or has tiredness got to him so much that all sports have become a blur."
From Chris, Eastbourne, via text on 81111

0505: "I'm watching Tsonga v Sela and at certain points you can hear 'Andy Murray!' being chanted in a loud Scottish accent."
Luke from Manchester via text

The sun is out again in Melbourne
0502: Over to sunny Rod Laver Arena where Tsonga is peering out from beneath a baseball cap as he leads Sela 6-4 4-2. And Verdacso has just taken the second set against Stepanek 6-0 to lead by two sets to love.

0452: A brilliant comeback from everybody's favourite Bondarenko (Alona) comes to a shuddering halt when she drops serve to love to give Svetlana Kuznetsova a 7-6 6-4 victory. Virginie Razzano and Dominika Cibulkova are under way on Margaret Court Arena.

0449: "Mash doesn't cut it. Try 18-year-old Glenlivet. Blake to beat the Russki, or I'm back to asking Gavin Hastings to save Scottish rugby."
From anon via text on 81111

- In response to Tim's earlier query about live scores I've been rooting around in the BBC Sport website cupboard under the stairs and think I've found just the thing. Hopefully, these will be of some service...

0445: "I hope its (s)mash potato (see 0421 entry) considering its tennis im up reading at this ungodly hour!"
Matt from skeggy via text on 81111

0440: "Piers do you like horses? Watching tennis reminds me of the trot of their hooves."
Josh L from Sheffield via text

0438: Tsonga takes the first set 6-4 against Sela, and Verdasco does the same against Stepanek.

0433: "I don't wish to criticise, merely help to improve. can we have 'live' or as close as need be scores at the top of the live text. otherwise we dont know who is playing or scores at a glance. other than that, great job."
From Tim via text on 81111

- Thanks, all input gratefully received. Live scores are, frankly, a nightmare and not seen as vital for our coverage. The Aussie Open website has an excellent live scores service, whereas we are very much the place for a general round-up of what's going on with, hopefully, a bit of colour.

0431: The order of play is in for Sunday and, not surprisingly, the night matches on Rod Laver Arena are Jelena Dokic v Alisa Kleybanova and Marcos Baghdatis v Novak Djokovic. Play will kick off at 0000 GMT with Jelena Jankovic v Marion Bartoli.

0424: Sixth seed Gilles Simon completes a quickfire 7-6 6-4 6-2 win over Mario Ancic.

0421: "I am eating mashed potato whilst following your commentary."
From John, Woolwich, via text on 81111

- A quite brilliant text John, thank you. I like mashed potato.

0418: Having had her feet taped, Bondarenko comes straight out and drops serve to leave Kuznetsova very much in charge. Simon is now a break up in the third and closing on victory, while Tsonga has regained his break advantage at 4-2 against Sela.

Someone is having a tantrum in Melbourne
0408: Poor Alona, she takes a swipe at the ground and then calls for the trainer as her afternoon gets tougher. Sela breaks back against Tsonga, and Verdasco does the same against Stepanek.

0404: "There was an interesting point just made on AO radio that everyone wrongly calls these grand slams when they are just majors, because a grand slam is actually winning all 4 majors. So federer has never won a grand slam!"
From anon via text on 81111

- Hmmm. True enough but the term 'Grand Slam' is now so widely used for the four individual tournaments that I'd say the point is.... moot.

0354: More French action and another Grand Slam contender - Jo-Wilfried Tsonga breaks serve immediately against Dudi Sela on Rod Laver Arena, and Simon is now two sets up on Ancic.

0350: There is some huge hitting on the Hisense Arena as Alona Bondarenko and Kuznetsova slug it out in a tie-break. Bondarenko has the edge early on but cannot convert any of three set points and Kuznetsova makes her pay.

0345: Serena Williams describes the moment a streaker interrupted her doubles match with Venus on Friday. "First, I saw him jump over and then I noticed he didn't have underwear on. I thought, 'OK, I must be seeing things.'"

Andy Murray
0338: Radek Stepanek and Fernando Verdasco are under way on Court Two, with the Czech getting an immediate break. The winner of this will play either Jurgen Melzer or... Andy Murray!

The sun is out again in Melbourne

0330: Alona Bondarenko, gawd bless 'er, comes through a tough game to take a 6-5 lead and Kuznetsova is under a bit of pressure on Court Two. It's not getting any cooler either - another shoe-melter.

0325: Amelie Mauresmo manages one fine backhand on the run and gets to break point, but Victoria Azarenka saves it with a brilliant forehand pass and goes on to seal a 6-4 6-2 victory.

0317: Mauresmo is fighting hard and looks pumped up but Azarenka - seeded seven places higher at 13 - is on the verge at 6-4 5-2. Simon is now a set and a break up on Ancic, and Alona Bondarenko has coming storming back to lead Kuznetsova 4-3.

0310: "Tell henry to pipe down (see 0241 entry)...its the brooding look, which is very 'in'! Simon and ancic are hardly 'safins' but i do adore them...safin made me cry yesterday."
From anon (but could possibly be Caroline Cheese) via text on 81111

Prince William
- As a man who has yet to shave in 2009 and was only last night compared to Kris Kristofferson, David Blunkett, Prince William, George Michael, Action Man (with beard) etc, I can only echo those sentiments.

0308: I've got bad news for all those of you who had money on an all-Bondarenko women's final - the dream is over. Jie Zheng beats Katerina Bondarenko 6-2 6-2, and Kuznetsova is 3-1 up on Alona.

0304: "Ah, pardon!" exclaims Mauresmo after an attempted topspin backhand flies off the frame and turns into the perfect lob. Azarenka looks unimpressed despite still leading by a set and a break.

0257: Simon takes the first set against Ancic in a tie-break (7-3), and Azarenka is a set and a break up on Mauresmo.

0251: We nowhave a full compliment of Bondarenkos as Alona is out on Hisense Arena against Svetlana Kuznetsova, although Katerina may not be around for much longer as she's getting thrashed 6-2 3-0 by Jie Zheng.

0242: Azarenka takes the first 6-4 against Mauresmo, and Zheng wraps up the opener 6-2 against Katernia Bondarenko.

0241: "Are ancic and simon competing to see who can look most like a werewolf? I'd say simon is just winning. Its spooky."
From Henry in valencia via text on 81111

0238: "Please give us more updates on Eduardo Schwank. I can't get enough of that loose cannon who doesn't play by the rules but is irresistible to women..."
From anon via text

- No details as yet but if I know Calleri & Schwank they'll be shooting from the hip somewhere and asking questions later having handed their badges in and gone deep cover, before a late-night game of 'mixed doubles'...

0233: Azarenka is about to serve for the set against Mauresmo, while Ancic has recovered the early break against Cilic and it's 5-5.

Someone is having a tantrum in Melbourne

0227: Blimey. Almagro is having the most almighty whinge about a line call and after moaning to umpire Norm Christ for an eternity he gets the supervisor out and they have a lengthy conversation that gets the Spaniard absolutely nowhere. He does at least apologise to Monfils, who then wraps up a 6-4 6-4 7-5 win with a break. That'll teach him.

0222: "Piers, do you not consider Muzza's game this morning to be fantastic?"
From Hayden via text on 81111

- I absolutely do but I'm trying not to harp on about it being on the Red Button, this website, 5 Live etc. I'm also coming to terms with the fact that I will sleep through both that and Hartlepool v West Ham. Everything I do, I do it for you.....

Someone is having a tantrum in Melbourne
0216: He's a bit highly strung is Nicolas Almagro. If he's not mugging to the crowd after some bizarre shot he's screaming at the umpire or castigating himself for something or other. He earns a break point at 5-5 but gets a net cord and looks ready to burst into tears. The Spaniard then goes for a huge forehand that's wide and considers a challenge, but Monfils talks him out of it. Odd.

0213: It's a bumper day for Bondarenko fans (and I speak as someone with a high regard for Alona) as both sisters are in singles action today. Katerina has just started against Jie Zheng, and Alona will be taking on Svetlana Kuznetsova when Monfils and Almagro are done. Monfils was two points from victory just now but Almagro served his way out of immediate danger.

Novak Djokovic

0206: "Piers, not to put you on the spot or anything but do you reckon (in your professionally personal opinion) an upset is likely in the nole/baggy match?"
From Aliah via text on 81111

- I do actually. I didn't see Djokovic v Delic as I was asleep but it was obviously a close-run thing and he hasn't looked that sharp so far this year, and Baghdatis looked good against Fish. It should be a great match, and pretty noisy with the Greek Cypriot and Serb fans.

0158: It's pretty quiet around the show courts at the moment, with Gilles Simon under way and grabbing an early break against Mario Ancic on Margaret Court Arena, and Monfils two sets up on Almagro on Hisense Arena. Amelie Maresmo has just kicked off against Belarussian Victoria Azarenka on Rod Laver. And I'm still hungry despite eating my sandwich.

0150: I've just been casting my eye over the men's draw and there are fantastic matches everywhere you look over today and tomorrow - Nadal v Haas, Gasquet v Gonzalez, Del Potro v Cilic, Baghdatis v Djokovic (!!). Truly, we are blessed. As for the women's, I reckon Safina v Cornet could be a good one tomorrow as the Russian seems to be hitting top form but the French player (obviously) is not exactly short on self-belief.

Sandwich

0141: Woah there,I went way too early with Carla Suarez Navarro, who only now has beaten Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez 6-1 6-4. My apologies to you and to the Martinez Sanchez family. I am now about to go way too early with my sandwich, bearing in mind the canteen doesn't open for another four and a half hours.

0139:Serena Williams beats Peng Shuai 6-1 6-4.

0132: All that talk about the French but Spain's women are starting to make a real impact - Anabel Medina Garrigues beats Flavia Pennetta 6-4 6-1 and could go on to face compatriot Carla Suarez Navarro, who leads Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez 6-1 5-4. And it's all smiles on Hisense Arena as Monfils takes the second set against Alamgro with the help of a running cross-court forehand that the Spaniard inexplicably leaves. At least he can see the funny side - I would have smashed something.

0124: What do you think Calleri & Schwank are doing right now? No doubt fighting crime somewhere while singularly failing to play by the rules having been given 24 hours to solve the case. Meanwhile, back on Hisense Arena, Monfils plays a fabulous cross-court backhand and celebrates with an extravagant fist pump. He leads by a set and 4-3 with a break.

0118: Well, all credit to Peng who is pushing Serena in the second set, having been blown away in the first. The American has - in the words of my colleague Ollie Williams - just played a slog-sweep into Row Z, but she still gets the break back to make it 3-3.

0113: "Excusez-moi? Aren't you forgetting Gilles Simon?!"
From anon via text on 81111

0109: ....and Gilles Simon against Mario Ancic. I don't think Rusedski would have much luck trying to get back into the French Davis Cup team even if he hailed from that side of the channel.

0105: Monfils may look a bit narked but he's already a break up in the second set and looking to get this one done and dusted quickly. French fans have Amelie Mauresmo to look forward too soon, followed by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and then a potential cracker between Richard Gasquet and Fernando Gonzalez. Quelle chance.

0059: "Is it just me or does monfils look a bit annoyed with something? Enjoying the match so far."
From Tatti begum via text on 81111

0058: "Thanks for the response Piers and even bothering to chase it up, much appreciated. Not overly impressed by the response but that's by the bye.. Cheers Big P!"
James from Burscough via text on 81111

0055: Look out, Peng has broken Serena at the start of the second set. The unstoppable Suarez Navarro will simply not be stopped - she's a set and a break up on.... her compatriot.

Kettle

0050: A heavily-sweating Serena is currently obliterating Peng and takes the first set 6-1, and Monfils is close to taking the opener at 5-3 against Almagro. They may be enjoying the antipodean summer sunshine but can they have a cup of tea on the changeover? One up to me, I believe.

0041: Fortunately, I am extremely cheap so you can enjoy me all night. Monfils has the first break on Hisene Arena against Almagro, and Suarez Navarro has wrapped up the first 6-1 against her MJMS in 27 minutes. Serena has the double break against Peng.

0036: "Hey Piers - I texted you several days ago regarding the reason behind BBC television not covering the Aus Open day session. At the time you said you would look into it, any news?"
From anon via text on 81111

-Unbelievably, anon, I did chase it up and here is the official line:

"We are concentrating our efforts and resources on the Australian Open at the times, and with the matches, where we believe there will be most interest.

"So all Andy Murray's matches will be live on either BBC One or BBC Two, as well as 5 Live or 5 Live Sports Extra, and also streamed live on the BBC website. We are then also dedicating our resource on the night time session in Melbourne, as this coincides with the morning in the UK, where we feel there will be by far the most chance of a substantial number of viewers and listeners being able to access the coverage.

"Going through the night on the red button would incur considerable expense to bring the pictures from Australia, in return for a very small audience - and we do always need to make sure that we spend our money sensibly, to achieve the maximum return."

0032: Serena is an early break up on Peng, Suarez Navarro is racing away at 4-1 against Maria Jose Mar...... yeah. And great news for live text commentators, fellow Spaniard-with-a-long-name, Anabel Medina Garrigues, is a break up on Italian Flavia Pennetta.

Andy Murray

0028: Don't forget, Andy Murray will be on BBC Two, the Red Button, this website and 5 Live sports extra from 0830 GMT. If we invent any other media in the next eight hours it will be on that too. I may be coming down with Andymonium, over the last two days I have had an aggressive sports massage (painful), been to the gym (tedious), and eaten sushi (overdid it). Unlike Andy, I have also paid a large gas bill and cleaned my oven.

0024: It would be remiss of me not to inform you that Venus-slayer Carla Suarez Navarro is back in action on Court Two against fellow-Spaniard-with-a-long-name, Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez. I awoke bleary eyed amid my bizarre sleep pattern to catch the end of Suarez v Venus the other day - what a backhand. Best tennis of the week so far, I thought.

0022: Piers, great to have you back. In the words of Brucie...you're my favourite!
From Lindsay feeling merry ahead of 8.30am!

- I feel embarrassed posting that message (but obviously not too embarrassed to put it up).

0018: After much messing around with technical stuff I can inform you that play is under way and Nicolas Alamgro - conqueror of Andy Murray at last year's French Open - has taken the first game against Gael Monfils on Hisense Arena, and Peng Shuai is one up on Serena Williams on Rod Laver Arena.

0012: "I always knew greg had a grand slam left in him. Murray ought to look out at Wimbledon this summer. Greg's coming to get you!"
From Michael, London, via text on 81111

The sun is out again in Melbourne
0005: While you digest that piece of news, the sun continues to shine in Melbourne and the crowds are gathering on Rod Laver Arena for Serena Williams against Peng Shuai.

0000: Greg Rusedski is considering a comeback! You read that right, and you can read more about it if you click the link.

2355: Good evening everyone, we're just eight hours and 35 minutes away from the latest stage in Andy Murray's Aussie Open campaign, but there's more than enough to keep us interested until then. Among those in action early on are Serena Williams, Gael Monfils, Amelie Mauresmo, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.... the French are annoyingly good, aren't they?

And if you are thinking of abandoning me, hold on five minutes as I have some fairly seismic tennis news heading your way....



see also
Aussie Open day six photos
24 Jan 09 |  Tennis
Aussie Open day six quotes
24 Jan 09 |  Tennis


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