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Australian Open 2009
Melbourne Park, 19 January-1 February




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

By Caroline Cheese

1121: Tomorrow we'll take in Dokic v Safina followed by Federer v Del Potro from 0830 GMT. Before that, Djokovic v Roddick and Bartoli v Zvonareva. I'm going to leave the final word to alcosaint on 606, bringing bit of perspective to this crazy world we call tennis:
"Disappointing for Murray. He didn't play nearly as well as he can, but if you look more closely, Verdasco deserves a lot of credit. His service stats would have been outstanding over a three-set match, let alone five. Murray's right - his opponent (ranked a 'lowly' 13!!) was simply better than him today. Murray is capable of winning a Grand Slam (or do the knockers think they know better than Bjorg, McEnroe, Nadal etc). Head up son... your time will come."

1117: That's the quarter-final line-up complete then. Seven of the top eight seeds go through. I'm sure I don't have to remind you of the one that got away. The last eight looks a little something like this:
Nadal v Simon
Verdasco v Tsonga
Roddick v Djokovic
Del Potro v Federer

1115: "It's a bit different this year because I have more experience and I play better and move better. Yes I think I'm playing better this year, perhaps more strong in my head."
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, speaking on court to Jim Courier

1112: Tsonga dances around in trademark fashion, pointing to the imaginary name on the back of his shirt. Nice ovation for James Blake as he leaves the court.

Blake 4-6 4-6 6-7 (3-7) Tsonga
Blake strokes a lovely backhand down the line to open the breaker but Tsonga comes right back with a big serve and then he is let off when Blake hammers a gimme forehand return into the net. The American sinks to his knees in despair. Blake goes wide with a backhand and then puts an awful drive volley over the baseline. Tsonga in control. Blake gets one of the mini-breaks back before they change ends, following up a deep return at the net, but then nets a routine return. Tsonga waits patiently for a short ball before forcing the mistake to earn four match points. Blakes saves the first... but then Tsonga hammers down his 12th ace of the match to seal victory.

Blake 4-6 4-6 6-6 Tsonga
No problems for Tsonga, who only needs to win this tie-break to book a meeting with Andy Mur... Fernando Verdasco.

Blake 4-6 4-6 6-5 Tsonga
This is warming up nicely now, Blake stretching to clip a superb backhand pass crosscourt. Brilliant recovery from the American after failing to serve out the set.

Blake 4-6 4-6 5-5 Tsonga
Tsonga back on tsong, holding easily. Pressure right back on Blake.

Blake 4-6 4-6 5-4 Tsonga
Tsonga tests Blake's patience by going to re-tie his shoelaces after the American takes a 30-15 lead. Naughty. JWT makes it 30-30 but Blake earns a set point. Tsonga saves it, then gets a break point with some unbelievable scurrying - popping a volley into the open court. Blake lets a second set point slip with a woeful forehand - and Tsonga responds with an easy pass. He then produces a ridiculous forehand which looks like it's going miles long, but dips dramatically to find the corner. Blake could have tried to hit it - but left it. Epic game.

Blake 4-6 4-6 5-3 Tsonga
Tsonga keeps the set alive by making Blake serve for it. Who's your money on?

Blake 4-6 4-6 5-2 Tsonga
From 0-30, Blake reels off four consecutive points to take the game. Tsonga is muttering to himself, trying to figure out how he's lost control of the set.

1043: "It is important to put into perspective British expectations on the one hand and the general ascent in the quality and depth of men's tennis in the world. It is probably fair to say in the near future Murray will be one of half a dozen favourites for every Grand Slam and while the British media are generally unbiased in their 'reporting' of matches it is fair to say they are quite simply not fully aware of the competitive tension in men's tennis. This text has cost me a lot of money btw!"
Anon via text on 81111
It was worth it though eh?

Blake 4-6 4-6 4-2 Tsonga
Break points for Blake again, and on the second he flops a lame forehand into the net. That's got to hurt - especially when Tsonga bangs down an ace out wide to get to game point. But Blake pushes a backhand return down the line to get back to deuce and then forces another break point. He gets a look at a second serve and takes control of the rally straight off, taking it with a clever wrong-footing forehand. Interesting...

Blake 4-6 4-6 3-2 Tsonga
And Blake responds in kind and they're back in their chairs quick as you like.

Blake 4-6 4-6 2-2 Tsonga
The fireworks have no affect on Tsonga's concentration and he rattles through his service game, no problems.

1030: Big, big crescendo. Ooh, I do love a firework. Blake and Tsonga resist the temptation to fire up the barby and crack open a couple of beers and they will continue with Tsonga to serve...

1027: These fireworks are going on a bit... While they do, Blake picks idly at his nails while Tsonga does some sprints and warm-up exercises. Blake looks none too pleased with this - but then he is two sets down against a player my colleague has just described as a "bit of a unit".

1025: "Fact is - Murray has played well in the past and could have played much better than he did today. However, today he lost to a better player and none of us can deny that Verdasco deserved to go through. Can we instead focus on the nine players still left in the field? Surely they deserve better."
Chip it like Vela on 606
Join the debate on 606

1023: "I'm a Murray fan, Caroline, but please don't make the usual journalistic mistake of over-hyping British sportsmen when they haven't delivered. A Grand Slam final, while good, is NOT a victory."
SJDR, from Fulham, via text on 81111
Did I say it was a victory?! I only meant that Murray had the experience of a Grand Slam final, which has to be a factor when you're considering who might win a major title.

Blake 4-6 4-6 2-1 Tsonga
Blake rattles into a 40-0 lead and is briefly pegged back to 40-30 before holding - prompting a spectacular fireworks display over Melbourne Park. Calm down, it wasn't that good... Heh, heh. It's for Australia Day, of course.

Blake 4-6 4-6 1-1 Tsonga
Blimey. That's a bit unexpected. Tsonga hits the tape with an attempted pass and that's break point for Blake - his first of the match. Back to form though as Tsonga somehow gets into position off a decent Blake return to fire a forehand down the line. He raises both arms in celebration as the crowd respond.

1012: "Where were the naysayers when Murray was going well? It's only now that people seem to 'have known all along'. He's had a great run, but was beaten by a better opponent on the day. It happens to all players and he can't be written off because of it."
Hugh, who isn't even British, Glasgow, via text on 81111

Blake 4-6 4-6 1-0 Tsonga
Worrying times for Blake again, but finally he holds serve in the opening game of a set. He has to save two break points though.

Chris Bailey
1006: "Murray obviously didn't want to walk into his press conference and say he was below-par, but he certainly wasn't at 100% and that had a part to play. However, I don't believe it had the ultimate say. His performance was just too undulating. But I still believe we'll be talking about him as a Grand Slam champion at some point during his career."
BBC 5 Live's Chris Bailey

Blake 4-6 4-6 Tsonga
Chance for Blake, as he gets to 15-30, but Tsonga's serve comes to the rescue in a big way. He takes a two-set lead with a forehand volley, prompting a guttural roar from the Frenchman. He's pleased, you could say.

Blake 4-6 4-5 Tsonga
Once again, Blake makes Tsonga serve for the set. The camera pans to a small but noisy group of French fans on Rod Laver Arena.

Blake 4-6 3-5 Tsonga
A huge ace takes Tsonga to 40-15 and though Blake gets back to 40-30, Tsonga threads a brilliant forehand down the line. While we're on the subject of Andy Murray - did we ever leave it? - is Fernando Verdasco the surprise package the Aussie Open always seems to provide? The next Tsonga/Baghdatis/Gonzalez/Schuettler? Let's hope for his sake he's not the next Schuettler...

0953: "I'm thinking that last year I had a tough loss. This year is obviously a tough loss as well and I came back stronger last year and I plan to go work on my game and hopefully get better."
Andy Murray

Blake 4-6 3-4 Tsonga
Tsonga overcooks a few returns and an ace from Blake seals the game. Only just over an hour gone.

Blake 4-6 2-4 Tsonga
Still nothing doing for Blake on the Tsonga serve.

Blake 4-6 2-3 Tsonga
Great stuff from Blake, who is pegged back at deuce but manages to dig out some first serves at just the right time.

0944: "Guess what, I'm not a Murray fan and think Fed and Nadal are better. No chance of this text being displayed then!"
Anon via text on 81111
Such a fan you didn't want to put your name to it?

Blake 4-6 1-3 Tsonga
Blake looks to step it up, chasing across the baseline and flipping a forehand down the line to stun the Frenchman. Blake is in control of the next point too, pinning Tsonga back behind the baseline with some terrific forehands. But Tsonga throws it right back at him, hammering a forehand into the corner and putting away the volley. This will be doing nothing for Blake's confidence.

Blake 4-6 1-2 Tsonga
And just like the first set, Blake gets right back on track on serve, holding to 15.

Blake 4-6 0-2 Tsonga
At 40-15, the pair go toe-to-toe from the baseline, Blake hitting the ball sweetly but Tsonga responding in kind. JW changes it up, rifling a backhand down the line to take the game. That's got to be a depressing point for Blake.

0934: "If I say that I'm sick and it affected me, I know it's going to be like, 'Well, he's making excuses for losing'. I don't feel that was the reason why I lost. I definitely did have my chances, and he played too well."
Andy Murray on being asked if his recent illness was behind his defeat

Blake 4-6 0-1 Tsonga
History repeating. Blake swings a forehand into the trams to give Tsonga three break points and the Frenchman takes the first - rather fortunately - with a mis-hit return. Poor start for Blake, who was broken in the opening game of the first set. By the way, plenty of people on the texts and 606 claiming Andy Murray was overhyped. He came into the tournament as the form player of the last six months, he had reached a Grand Slam final, he had beaten Nadal, Federer and Djokovic. He is the world number four. I think he deserved the hype.
Join the debate on 606

Blake 4-6 Tsonga
Massive serve down the middle - and when I say massive, I mean 217 km/h - takes Tsonga to 30-15. The Frenchman stops a rally to challenge a call - but he's wrong. Blake forces a volley error to save one set point and then saves a second when Tsonga blasts a forehand long. But Tsonga gets it right on the third, feathering a forehand volley into the space.

0919: "I don't think it was anything to do with physical, concentration or my game. He played too good for me - that's what happens. I'm not here to try and make excuses for why I lost."
Andy Murray after losing to Fernando Verdasco

Blake 4-5 Tsonga
HawkEye makes its first appearance of the match as Tsonga wants to check a Blake ace down the middle - but the call stands. Blake shrugs his shoulders as he is taken to deuce but he steels himself to win the next two points and force Tsonga to serve this out.

Blake 3-5 Tsonga
Crowd not really into this yet. Tsonga eases into a 40-0 lead before wafting a forehand volley over the baseline but he forces the error with a backhand down the line.

Blake 3-4 Tsonga
Blake has been brilliant on serve since that first game - or maybe Tsonga is concentrating on holding his own.

0910: "Gutted about Murray I really am. Guess that's what makes Fed/Nadal so good they can raise their games when they really need too. Sadly Andy couldn't today."
MrBroxiBear on 606
Join the debate on 606

Blake 2-4 Tsonga
Tsonga almost allows the ball to drop on his head as he runs back to collect a lob and then has to dolly back a forehand. Blake deservedly wins the point with a forehand pass, but Tsonga makes it 40-30 with a brutal off-backhand. The game ends with an extraordinary rally, Blake chasing back and forth to stay in it before Tsonga finally finishes it.

Blake 2-3 Tsonga
Blake really must be ruing that first game when he frittered away a 40-0 lead. Another easy hold here.

0901: "Absolutely gutted for Murray. Am not really bothered with the tournament any more. I'd like Nadal to win. But can't say am bothered."
Anon via text on 81111
That's cheered us all up then.

Blake 1-3 Tsonga
Tsonga is latching on to Blake forehands - the American's best shot - and returning them with interest. A huge serve down the 'T' takes him to game point and Blake generously nets a backhand.

Blake 1-2 Tsonga
No problems for Blake, but that's a game too late. He's chasing this already.

Blake 0-2 Tsonga
Nice defence (said in American accent) by Blake, flipping up a defensive lob which lands plumb on the baseline. He wins the point with a delicate volley and gets to deuce, but Tsonga hangs on. If these two games are anything to go by, we may be here some time.

Blake 0-1 Tsonga
Blake races into a 40-0 lead but two bread-and-butter forehands into the net and then a wild backhand allow Tsonga back to deuce before the Frenchman clips a lovely backhand pass crosscourt and breaks when Blake goes long. Strange opening game that.

0846: Off we go then, JB to serve.

0841: Is Rafael Nadal the title favourite yet? After earlier thrashing former finalist Fernando Gonzalez, the world number one has been further boosted by the Andy Murray-sized hole in his side of the draw. Nadal next faces dark horse Gilles Simon. Verdasco will meet Tsonga or Blake for a place in the semi-finals.

0839: "Murray was definitely out of form but Verdasco really took his chances after the fist set. He deserved the victory and I think on the day he just wanted to win more."
Anon via text on 81111

0835: Up next, battling it out for the right to play Andy Mur... Fernando Verdasco, will be Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and James Blake. The players are just making their way through the tunnels of Rod Laver Arena and will be out on court imminently.

0830: Did I miss anything?

By Chris Bevan

0824: That is about all from me actually. Thanks for your company and I'm really sorry about Murray's defeat. Now, let's enjoy the rest of the tournament, starting with Blake-Tsonga...

0821: And, as if to prove that life at Melbourne Park does go on, even sans Andy Murray, I have got the order of play for Tuesday's quarter-final matches right here.

Marion 'conqueror of Jelena Jankovic' and Vera Zvonareva are first on the Rod Laver Arena at 0130 GMT, followed by a mouth-watering match-up between Andy Roddick and defending champion Novak Djokovic

It gets even better, as Dinara Safina takes on Jelena Dokic next before the final match of the day that sees Roger Federer meet Juan Martin del Potro. Lots to enjoy there, no?

0814: Um, it might seem like the Australian Open has ended now Andy Murray is out but it hasn't. Honestly. For starters, we've got the final men's fourth-round match between James Blake and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga still to come this morning. Verdasco will play the winner of that match in the last eight by the way.

0810: So, what do you make of that folks. Below-par from Murray, or inspired by Verdasco - or a bit of both?

"I'm sure Andy will be devastated. He has had some hard knocks before and he will have to pick himself up again but a great win for Fernando Verdasco."
Times correspondent Neil Harman on 5 Live sports extra

0803: Oh dear. It seemed for so long that Murray had victory within his grasp but he has paid a heavy price for an inconsistent display and it is the 14th seed Fernando Verdasco who goes through to face Jo-Wilfried Tsonga or James Blake in the last eight. Gutted? I know I am.

Murray 6-2 1-6 6-1 3-6 4-6 Verdasco
That's it. Murray's Australian Open dream is over. Spain's FERNANDO VERDASCO comes back from two sets to one down to seal a thrilling victory.

Murray 6-2 1-6 6-1 3-6 4-5 Verdasco
Verdasco has an annoying habit of finding the lines with his winners, he really is inch-perfect at the moment. Murray, to his credit, keeps calm and takes the next two points to go to 30-15 - every one counts for him right now. A first ace of this set takes the Scot to 40-15 and his next delivery is big enough for him to hold. Still, Verdasco will serve for the match next - so it is now or never for Andy. Fingers crossed then...

Murray 6-2 1-6 6-1 3-6 3-5 Verdasco
If ever Murray needs any magic, it's now. It does help that Verdasco's serve is faltering at long last but at 15-30 he finds the line, just, with an audacious forehand winner. A Murray backhand swings out on the next point and, after another ace from the Spaniard, Verdasco needs one more game to reach the last eight.
"Stick a fork in Murray because he's done. Game, set and match Verdasco."
Toby, going back to bed, in London via text on 81111

It's bad news for a Briton in Melbourne
Murray 6-2 1-6 6-1 3-6 3-4 Verdasco
Gulp. At 15-30 Murray puts a forehand wide and loses his composure, screaming to the ballboy for the towel. That's two break-points to Verdasco and, when Murray sends a forehand long on the next point, the Spaniard has the crucial break in the deciding set.

Murray 6-2 1-6 6-1 3-6 3-3 Verdasco
Wow. An epic game this that, had Murray managed a break, might have settled the match. Verdasco needs an ace to save a break point at 30-all then - following a series of sparkling rallies - Murray conjures up a backhand on the fourth deuce that earns him a second break-point. Verdasco rises to the occasion to cling on, however, after another thrilling rally and finally holds out...I'm not sure where these two are getting their energy from at the moment but I could certainly do with finding out.

Murray 6-2 1-6 6-1 3-6 3-2 Verdasco
Um, depending on your point of view, there are problems with the line judges, Hawk-eye and/or the umpire at the Hisense Arena...but Murray has got enough on his plate without worrying about that little lot. Verdasco is still attacking the Murray serve but cannot quite find his mark at the moment - meaning this deciding set is still going with serve.

"What's up with Murray? I've not seen so many sliced forehands since he injured his wrist...poor!"
Jonny FedFan via text on 81111

Murray 6-2 1-6 6-1 3-6 2-2 Verdasco
Two aces from Verdasco and a precise forehand down the line take him to 40-0 before another sweet winner on the next point means he holds to love. Murray is not getting near his serve at the moment, and he needs to start soon.

Murray 6-2 1-6 6-1 3-6 2-1 Verdasco
Not the most convincing hold from Murray but the way he pumps his fist at the end of it shows that doesn't bother him too much. He needs some mistakes from Verdasco to help him on his way, however, and the drop-shots clearly are not working today. Please stop them now Andy. Please.

"Murray's best chance is if Verdasco gets a bit too impetuous and starts going for the big winners when they aren't there. The Spaniard keeps going for his shots but he is missing them too."
Times correspondent Neil Harman on 5 Live sports extra

Murray 6-2 1-6 6-1 3-6 1-1 Verdasco
A chance for Murray to pile the pressure on Verdasco at 30-all but he does not help his cause with another of those dreadful drop-shots that limps into the net. Verdasco shows his gratitude by thumping down a big serve to hold.

Murray 6-2 1-6 6-1 3-6 1-0 Verdasco
Not the most encouraging of starts to the deciding set for Murray, who needs a huge forehand to claw his way to 30-all but he is grateful to see Verdasco's next two backhands fly wide and he holds at the start of the fifth set. You don't need me to tell you how much Murray needed that.

"This is a big test for Murray because Verdasco has nothing to lose - Andy has just got to dig in now and play the way he can - he is the better player but he has just let things drift too often today."
Times correspondent Neil Harman on 5 Live sports extra

FOURTH SET

It's bad news for a Briton in Melbourne
Murray 6-2 1-6 6-1 3-6 Verdasco
Just for a change, Murray is not a happy chappy - he is now complaining to the umpire that the big screen at the Hisense Arena is showing action during points. The upshot of this is that he gets to see Verdasco celebrate winning the fourth set. Stuart in East Calder, you got your wish - we are into a decider.

Murray 6-2 1-6 6-1 3-5 Verdasco
If you forget about what has come before in this set (and in the second set of course), we have seen some vintage Murray today. A drop-shot and ace and a forehand winner plum on the line? That will do nicely here. Great stuff and he holds to love but, returning to reality, Verdasco will still serve for the fourth set next.

Murray 6-2 1-6 6-1 2-5 Verdasco
Fair play to him, despite his problems Murray is still gnawing away in this set and, thanks to some wild shots by Verdasco, he has a sniff of the break-back he needs at 30-40. That is as good as it gets for the Scot, however, as he can do nothing with the Spaniard's next two serves and then puts a backhand into the net. Now he has to serve to save the fourth set.

Murray 6-2 1-6 6-1 2-4 Verdasco
One step forward, two back for Murray here as he shows a touch of class to put away a forehand volley then immediately slices a backhand straight into the net. A wild forehand then hands Verdasco a 16th break-point but the Scot recovers and is, just about, able to hold. He still needs a break back quickly though to save this set but it could have been far worse.

Oh, Nadal is through by the way - sweeping past Fernando Gonzalez and into the last eight courtesy of a 6-3 6-2 6-4 win. He plays Gilles Simon next.

"All this talk of Murray, but it's looking to me that Rafa's the one to beat. I just can't see anyone taking a set off him at the moment - let alone three"
Sara via text on 81111

Murray 6-2 1-6 6-1 1-4 Verdasco
Right then. If I've learned anything from this game it is that Murray should forget drop-shots and stick to lobs from now on - he plays two absolute crackers to get to 30-all. But an angled backhand volley puts Verdasco at 40-30 and a big serve means he holds.

"The shifts in dominance in this match have been peculiar. Murray's explanation after the match, whatever the outcome, is going to be fascinating but he is struggling at the moment."
Times correspondent Neil Harman on 5 Live sports extra

Murray 6-2 1-6 6-1 1-3 Verdasco
Well, Murray holds - which is a good thing, especially considering he started this game with a another double-fault. And his last shot winner is a brilliant lob plum on to the baseline - which is also a good thing. But he also plays a dreadful drop-shot and, although he doesn't break again, Verdasco seems to be growing in confidence.

"Murray has been really poor this whole match. The only good news is that for sets one and three Verdasco has been even worse."
Toby via text on 81111

Murray 6-2 1-6 6-1 0-3 Verdasco
Has anybody seen Andy Murray? If so, could you tell him he's got a match at the Hisense Arena that he needs to finish off. He is two sets to one up but has picked up just one point in the first three games of the fourth set.

It's bad news for a Briton in Melbourne
Murray 6-2 1-6 6-1 0-2 Verdasco
Er, remember the second set? Andy is playing very much like he was then, putting a miserable forehand low into the net at 30-all then putting his next backhand into the middle of the tramline to gift Verdasco a break of serve.

"Come on Andy, take it to five. I'm at work and want to be entertained."
Stuart in East Calder via text on 81111

Murray 6-2 1-6 6-1 0-1 Verdasco
He may have just gone two sets to one down but there is no chance of Verdasco giving up the ghost just yet. He holds to love. Very easily.

Sorry, in all this excitement from the Murray match I haven't been bringing you up to date with how Rafael Nadal is getting on against Fernando Gonzalez. The world number one is actually leading 6-3 6-2 and by a break in the third set at 4-3. Not long to go in that one by the looks of things.

THIRD SET

Murray 6-2 1-6 6-1 Verdasco
Nice work. A solid hold from Murray which sees him wait for mistakes from Verdasco rather than trying to force the pace himself and that's the third set in the bag. d

Murray 6-2 1-6 5-1 Verdasco
Absolutely brilliant, breathtaking, stuff from Murray to break again after a forehand down the line brings a limp volley from Verdasco and two break-points. Then, after a series of floating sliced backhands down the line, the Scot ups the pace and slams a clean topspin winner into the opposite corner. He will serve for the third set next.

Murray 6-2 1-6 4-1 Verdasco
This is hard work for Murray in the heat and there are signs that Verdasco is feeling it too - a couple of times he goes for big winners when he should really have worked the point from a commanding position. Still, Andy won't mind - he holds, and still hasn't faced any break-points this set yet.

"Come on Andy, finish this in four! Don't want to be late leaving for work!"
Iain in Aberdeen via text on 81111

Murray 6-2 1-6 3-1 Verdasco
It almost gets even better for our boy too. Another double-fault - his fourth of the match - by Verdasco at 30-all gives Murray another break-point but a wicked outswinging serve rescues the Spaniard and two of those thumping forehands see him hold for his first game of the third set. Not this time.

It's good news for a Briton in Melbourne
Murray 6-2 1-6 3-0 Verdasco
Wow. It is amazing to think Murray had so much trouble on serve in the first two sets. He dances away with this one, whipping a couple of dazzling forehand winners over the net when Verdasco does get one of his deliveries back. That's an emphatic hold and Murray practically sprints back to his chair at the changeover too.

"Murray has got the spring back in his step at the moment. The intensity he was lacking in the second set seems to be back."
Jonathan Overend on 5 Live sports extra

It's good news for a Briton in Melbourne
Murray 6-2 1-6 2-0 Verdasco
Good news. Great news in fact. It appears Andy Murray is back in the building. A delicious drop-shot takes him to 30-all on the Verdasco serve and a delicate cross-court return gives him a break-point. That chance goes when a backhand drifts wide but another opening is not far away and, when a Verdasco forehand flies long, Murray has his break. The howl he lets out shows us what that means to him too.

Murray 6-2 1-6 1-0 Verdasco
Better by Murray. Much better. He holds to love and even puts away a couple of winners - I haven't seen that for a while. By the way, there is a shadow across half of the court on Hisense Arena which is making it very difficult for me to follow the ball, I'd imagine that Murray and Verdasco feel the same way too...

"There were far too many unforced errors by Andy in that second set - it was by far the worst of his Australian Open so far."
Jonathan Overend on 5 Live sports extra

SECOND SET

Murray 6-2 1-6 Verdasco
No stopping Verdasco right now. He holds to love and Murray has just dropped his first set of the tournament.

Murray 6-2 1-5 Verdasco
Here's a point that sums up Murray at the moment - he is in a the net to put away a short backhand by Verdasco for what should be an easy winner. Instead, the Spaniard gets to the corner and sends a looping lob back over Murray's head. Things get worse when the Scot puts a forehand into the net on the next point which means he is broken again. Verdasco to serve for the second set next.

"Andy seems to be exasperated that he cannot finish off points that normally would be meat and drink to him."
Times correspondent Neil Harman on 5 Live sports extra

It's good news for a Briton in Melbourne
Murray 6-2 1-4 Verdasco
That's better - a change of racquet does the trick for Murray and he breaks back to get off the mark in this second set at last. He still has work to do mind, but at least it gives Verdasco something to think about at the changeover other than his sausage-shaped towel packed full of ice. It's hot out there, in case you were wondering.

By the way, Rafael Nadal has taken the first set 6-3 against Fernando Gonzalez and is a break up in the second set.

It's bad news for a Briton in Melbourne
Murray 6-2 0-4 Verdasco
So, time for Murray to up his game if he wants to rescue this second set? It would be nice but it doesn't happen. In a game of eight deuces, Murray saves three break-points but cannot repeat the trick a fourth time after a sublime smash by the 14th seed takes him to advantage before he comes into the net to put away an angled crosscourt drive. An impressive way to end a marathon game.

"The main reason it's hard to get emotional watching Andy is that he makes it look too easy - it's not the British way."
Michael in west London, via text

Not at the moment Michael!

Murray 6-2 0-3 Verdasco
Verdasco comes back from 0-30 to 30-all and a chance for an immediate response from Murray seems to have gone. Not so, as the Scot opens up the court brilliantly before putting a sublime forehand winner plum in the corner for another break-point. But, this time, he cannot make the most of the opening as a poor return, followed by a couple more huge Verdasco forehands see him extend his second-set lead instead.

"You do sense Murray is going to have plenty of chances on Verdasco's serve as this match goes on."
Jonathan Overend on 5 Live sports extra

It's bad news for a Briton in Melbourne
Murray 6-2 0-2 Verdasco
Oh dear. Verdasco returns a couple of overheads with interest to go 0-30 up and a screaming backhand winner down the line gives him three break points. The Brit rescues the first one with a punched forehand serve-volley and the second with an ace. Another big serve takes us to deuce, or so it seems, but Verdasco challenges - correctly - and when Murray puts a forehand volley long he is broken for the first time in this match.

Murray 6-2 0-1 Verdasco
A double-fault by Verdasco is not the way he wants to start the second set and Murray rubs it in with a stunning backhand winner to move 15-30 ahead. The Spaniard responds well, however, and a couple more back-to-front forehands help him get off the mark.

"Murray has picked up where he left off against Jurgen Melzer in the last round. This is a very impressive performance so far."
Jonathan Overend on 5 Live sports extra

FIRST SET

It's good news for a Briton in Melbourne
Murray 6-2 Verdasco
Another Murray service game, another break-point saved...and Verdasco certainly isn't giving up. Some epic points in this game too, with the Spaniard being sent scurrying all over the court at deuce and Andy seems to be toying with him somewhat. He holds with a superb volley winner and the first set is in the bag.

It's good news for a Briton in Melbourne
Murray 5-2 Verdasco
Murray is having more problems on his own serve than Verdasco's at the moment and he has got the Spaniard on the run. He correctly challenges a big serve that would have been an ace, had it been in, and a couple of big forehands later the Scot has his second break of the set. Great stuff.

Murray 4-2 Verdasco
Blimey, did I warn you about Versdasco's forehand? It's quite handy you know. The Spaniard opens up and, for the second successive Murray service game, he has a break point. Yet again the Scot rides his luck as a huge inside out belter of a forehand by Verdasco hits the netcord and skips out. That takes Murray back to deuce and a couple of big serves see him through - but will he be so fortunate next time?

"How unlucky was Verdasco there, the ball clipped the top of the net and landed in the tram-lines on break-point - had the ball not hit the net it could have been a winner."
Times correspondent Neil Harman on 5 Live sports extra

News from Rod Laver Arena, where Fernando Gonzalez has just broken back against top seed Rafael Nadal. That one is now 3-2 to the Spanish world number one but the first set is going with serve.

Murray 3-2 Verdasco
Hmmm. The Verdasco serve seems to be back in it's groove at 40-0 when Murray suddenly signals his interst with a barnstorming backhand. A neat volley from the Scot takes him to 40-30 but a big serve from the Spaniard helps him serve this time.

"I love Murray's attitude when he is 40-0 down on somebody else's serve. Other people might concede the game but he sees it as a challenge and breaks so many times - not on this occasion though."
Times correspondent Neil Harman on 5 Live sports extra

Murray 3-1 Verdasco
Phew, a bit of a let-off for Murray who is at 30-40 and sends down a pedestrian second serve that Verdasco chooses to thump into the tramlines rather than gobble it up. A serve-volley winner and an ace later, Murray holds - but not without a struggle.

It's good news for a Briton in Melbourne
Murray 2-1 Verdasco
This is a cracking start for Murray and he has got a break to show for it too. He comes out on top after a bruising rally before a double-fault by the Spaniard gives him a sniff at 15-30 and another thumping backhand gives the Scot two break points. The first one comes and goes but, after a woeful drop-shot attempt by Verdasco, Murray is in at the net to finish off the point and take the early advantage.

Murray 1-1 Verdasco
Murray isn't slow to settle either, though, putting away a high drive volley to move 30-15 up and moving his opponent around the court with a series of precise groundstrokes that bring mistakes out of Verdasco. We are all square.

Murray 0-1 Verdasco
An early sighting of that big Verdasco forehand has Murray scampering around the court and, after picking up the first point of the match, it is a rather routine hold for the Spaniard which is sealed when Murray puts a drop-shot attempt in the net.

0449: Here we go. Verdasco to serve.

0447: "Completely unintentional but a combination of finishing work late, classic films such as Rocky, some sad retirements and I'm awake for Mr muscles' match, roll on 'Eye of the Tiger'!"
Dan in Norfolkvia text

To be fair, the way Azarenka v Serena Williams finished was a bit like the end of Rocky. Poor old Victoria was certainly staggering around as though she had taken a punch or two.

0443: We are into the warm-up now and both players are taking it very easy, not a surprise given the soaring temperatures. The winner of this one plays either James Blake or Jo-Wilfried Tsonga next by the way.

0439: And here they come...Murray and Verdasco are introduced to the crowd - and the Scot gets by far the most enthusiastic welcome. Most people there are probably just keen to see some tennis though, I know I am.

0437: Murray and Verdasco are on their way to the Hisense Arena. By the way, Rafa Nadal and Fernando Gonzalez are next up on Rod Laver Arena - I will keep you up to date with how that one goes too.

0433: "Make sure you drink plenty of water and have many a sarny. Me and the peers are with you for the long haul Chris."
From Lops via text

I have got to be honest with you, the heat is not quite as much a problem in Shepherd's Bush as it might be in Melbourne.

0428: Just in case you missed it, Azarenka was leading Serena Williams 6-3 2-4 when she called it quits. Serena had just had a medical time-out too. They are dropping like flies out there at the moment so you may be relieved to know that Piers and myself are fully fit and well.

0425: So we have lost Gael Monfils (wrist), Jie Zheng (wrist) and Victoria Azarenka (heat). It may not surprise you to learn there is not much tennis being played at Melbourne Park right now - but Murray will be on court in moments.

0422: VICTORIA AZARENKA RETIRES! The right decision I think - she suddenly began to wilt at the back of court and almost fainted before deciding to call it quits. The high temperatures got to her, quite suddenly.

0419: Extraordinary scenes from the Serena-Azarenka match where the teenager from Minsk is on the brink of collapse. The heat has hit her I think.

John Lloyd
0418: Plenty of people seem to think Murray is a certainty for the quarter-finals. Not John Lloyd though:

"It would not surprise me if Verdasco gets a set or even two. The buzz about the place is that this is a formality for Murray but I cannot see it being that easy.
John Lloyd on BBC2

0414: We are back under way on the Rod Laver Arena, although I am not sure how Serena managed to get her - heavily strapped - foot back in her trainer. It will be interesting to see how quickly she moves...

0411: Serena is still a break up in the second set but it is her turn to need treatment and she has taken a medical time-out to sort out her right ankle. With a very big bandage by the looks of things.

0406: Oh, I'm hearing that we are about 30 minutes away from the Murray match. But if you have stayed awake this long, then another half-an-hour won't matter, surely?


Andy Murray
0402: My timing is not usually this good but let's not worry about that now. Instead, I want you to enjoy TV and radio coverage of the upcoming Murray match now on BBC Two, Radio 5 Live sports extra as well as this website (of course).

0400: And just as Piers passes over the baton, Zheng throws in the towel. Andy Murray's match against Fernando Verdasco will begin in a matter of minutes.

By Piers Newbery

0357: Serena has broken Azarenka and leads 2-1 in the second set. The TV coverage is about to begin so stay tuned for that, as well as 5 Live sports extra. I am off to do very important technical things (that have been left for me in an idiot-proof email), my colleague Chris Bevan will take you up to and through the Murray match.

0353: "I am in bed without digital radio trying to find out when the Murray match looks like starting. Can not wait. Any guesses on the time?"
From anon via text

0352: "How were the chicken non fat mayo sandwiches Piers?? im stil trooping on, if zheng retires (not that i wish pain on anyone) does that mean we wil see murray sooner?!
From The Peers via text

- Zheng is playing on but already 4-1 down. Should she retire then, yes, Murray will be on swiftly afterwards, so it could be any time in the next hour or so I would think. And the sandwiches were..... disappointing.

0350: Azarenka misses two break-point chances but Serena is on the ropes and makes a horrendous error on a backhand with the court gaping. Azarenka then goes wide with a forehand on the third break point and Serena survives - the Belarusian may live to regret that. Kuznetsova has a break on Zheng at 4-1.

0345: "Zheng please play on. Don't you know i have work to do?"
From Alan via text on 81111

- She's back out there, for now

0343: Zheng needs lengthy treatment to her left wrist and has it taped. Meanwhile, Kuznetsova goes through some exercises in the shade at the back of the court, although presumably not to keep warm.

0338: Serena is in trouble as she lets a 40-15 lead slip to give up the first set 6-3 to Azarenka. Great stuff from the Belarusian but double-faulting at deuce and then thumping a routine shot three feet over the baseline was not what Serena needed. And there is more developing news on Hisense as Jie Zheng has treatment on her wrist - a la Monfils earlier.

Andy Murray
0334: "Cant wait till murray match i can watch it after royal rumble my day starts now! Lucky i woke up at 4pm also doing a computing project in the mix."
From a computer science student in leicester via text on 81111

0329: Azarenka gets the first break on Rod Laver Arena and Serena could be in for a tough afternoon. The Belarusian leads 4-3.

0325: "3am and it feels like I'm in Melbourne waiting for Murray due to the fact tomorrow is 'Australia Day' and all I can hear are sauced aussies next door."
From David J in London via text

0322: "I said to myself I'm going to be aggressive from the beginning, you can't wait for mistakes from her," says Elena Dementieva. "[Next opponent] Suarez Navarro had a very impressive win against Venus and it's going to be tough for me, she plays with a lot of spin and is very physically fit."

0317: We have one match between us and Murray v Verdasco, and Kuznetsova and Zheng are out on Hisense Arena. Serena is locked at 2-2 with Azarenka on Rod Laver and the Belarusian is putting up stern resistance early on.

0311: "I'm actually glad that the murray match hasn't started yet its about the only thing which is stopping me falling asleep before i get my thesis finished!"
Very bored pharmacy student in aberdeen via text on 81111

0310: "Sorry, some students have to be up in the morning, i'm giving in for the night. Make sure i wake up to a Murray victory, ok?"
From Jon, Manchester, via text

0309:Elena Dementieva beats Dominia Cibulkova 6-2 6-2 to reach the quarter-finals. The Russian has a customary wobble when serving for the match the first time at 5-0, and then thumps a forehand wide and hits a double fault on her first two match points. It's all unnecessarily edgy bearing in mind her lead but the fourth seed finally seals it with a backhand winner.

BBC Radio 5 Live
0301: "Simon and Monfils are great mates and they played like it," says 5 Live's Jonathan Overend. "It was a disappointing end and a disappointing match. They could do with watching the Williams sisters when they play - you need to leave the friendship behind when you take to the match court."

0259: "You can order a Murray Curry at my local Indian restaurant - it's very strong, and it'll run right through you... But the service is terrible. Yay!"
From Craig via text on 81111

0258: "Noticed that there are a lot of students who are texting in. I thank the lord that my deadlines were last week ... GO MURRAY!!! Mmmm chip butty."
From anon via text

0257: "(see 0234) Matt hardy just hit jeff with a chair, edge won, and i don't think the main match is very far in. Swagger and cena win too. Taker or hhh for the rumble."
From anon via text

The sun is out again in Melbourne
0250: "It's actually very pleasant," says 5 Live's Jonathan Overend of the temperature at Melbourne Park. "Low 30s and plenty of breeze. Then it's into the oven for the next three days - 40C on Tuesday, 40C on Wednesday, 40C on Thursday."

0247: Dementieva gets the double break to lead 3-0 in the second set, and Serena strolls onto Rod Laver Arena along with Azarenka.

0244: "When will the live feed come on? In time for nadal? I apologise for not being a murray supporter even though i live in glasgow.
From 'should be sleeping early french lecture' in glasgow via text on 81111

Andy Murray
-A reminder of our coverage plans. BBC Two will whirr into life from 0400 GMT no matter who is playing at that stage - likely to be Kuznetsova v Zheng - and will stay for the duration of Murray v Verdasco. That will be streamed on this website, and 5 Live sports extra will also be up and running then. And I will be shouting the score out of the window at Television Centre after every game for anyone walking down Wood Lane.

0238: Dementieva absolutely hammers a forehand down the line to break Cibulkova at the start of the second set.

0236: Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka are due out next on Rod Laver Arena, although there may be a bit of a delay as Simon-Monfils finished so abruptly. Serena is probably playing snooker with Venus in the players' lounge while Azarenka is down the bookies. Maybe.

0234: "How is the royal rumble going? (00.25)"
From neil via text on 81111

It's bad news for a Briton in Melbourne

0229: My apologies, I failed to notice Britain's James Chaudry going out 6-1 2-6 6-3 to 15th seed Cheng-Peng Hsieh.

0227: Dementieva seals the first set 6-2 against Cibulkova and looks in good form. But I said that yesterday after Safina won the first set and she couldn't hit a thing for the next hour. As she said quite brilliantly afterwards: "Somebody needs to smack me so hard in my head that something finally shakes and I put the cables together."

0223: "It's very hard because we are very close and I didn't want to win like this," says Gilles Simon. "That's tennis but for sure that's not the way I wanted to win."

0221: "Can we have the bbc supply a text alert service when Murray's game starts. Getting sleepy."
From Martin who should be writing essays in Glasgow via text on 81111

-Er, no. Dementieva is getting a shift on though so might not be too long.

0218: GAEL MONFILS RETIRES! Shame that but the 12th seed calls it quits at 0-30 in the opening game of the fourth set. So sixth seed Gilles Simon claims a 6-4 2-6 6-1 (ret) victory to reach his first Grand Slam quarter-final, which will be against Rafael Nadal or Fernando Gonzaelz.

0213: Simon takes the third set 6-1 to lead by two sets to one and Monfils looks to be struggling with his right wrist. The trainer is back out. Dementieva breaks Cibulkova and leads 3-2.

0210: "2 hours and 1000 words later (see 2358) and it seems the topic of conversation is still as intellectually high as ever!"
From Alan via text on 81111

0210: "I'll read this all night as I just got awoke to my flat mate throwing a tennis ball against my wall. And they finished their exams last week. Hang on..."
From anon via text

0208: "(See 0152) I've also finished my exams and am heading off on a 'study trip' to Hungary on tuesday. Which is where you'll be heading Piers with those mayo-free sandwiches. Sorry about that, worst pun ever, i just couldn't resist..."
From Jon, Manchester, via text

0204: Monfils is getting some attention from the trainer to his right forearm - he trails Simon 4-1 in the third set. Cibulkova has broken back against Dementieva and now leads 2-1.

Damir Dokic

0159:Jelena Dokic has responded to her estranged father Damir's suggestion that he might come to Australia for the first time in eight years if she makes the final. "I haven't had any contact - it's the first I heard about it. It's his decision. I've said always my whole story with him is finished. It would have to be an unbelievable miracle for him to change. I don't see that happening. We are really different and really disagree on pretty much everything."

0156: Dementieva - many people's tip for the title - breaks serve immediately against Cibulkova. There are not many better from the back of the court than the Russian, it's just the serve and the mind that are a concern.

It's bad news for a Briton in Melbourne

0154: Simon has a break and leads Monfils 2-0 in the third set. Cibulkova and Dementieva are under way. Hsieh has a break in nthe decider against British junior James Chaudry.

0152: "I finished my exams last week and have no work to do. I also just woke up my flatmate by throwing a tennis ball against the wall!"
From anon via text on 81111

0148: Monfils does well to save three break points at the start of the third set.And in response to the questions below, I have chicken with a "mayo-free dressing" in my sandwiches, and I could definitely see Federer being a top-class crooner of Euro ballads, Djokovic going for a bit of thrash metal, Murray maybe some EMO....

0145: "John McEnroe had a (deservedly) short-lived career as a rock musician. My question to you Piers is who will be next to cross the bridge from tennis to mu sic? I can't see Nadal singing the jailhouse rock any time soon."
From Jacob, Coventry, via text on 8111

0144: "You should of tasted my mum's cooking, then talk to me about disappointing."
From anon via text

0143: "What have you got on ur butties piers? i jst had 2 fried egg ones myself, gna keep me goin til the murray game!!"
The Peers, cold student in leeds, via text

0142: Monfils duly wraps up the second set 6-2, while Cibulkova and Dementieva make thier way onto the Hisense Arena.

0139: Monfils is surely playing for the cameras with one extravagant leap for a smash but it does the job and he is serving for the second set. Meanwhile, the announcer on the Hisense Arena tells the fans they can expect a performance from Aussie pop 'legends' Mental as Anything at some stage. Good Lord.

It's good news for a Briton in Melbourne

0135: There is an air of disappointment hanging over me as I went for the healthy option for tonight's sandwiches, meaning a taste let-down is very much on the cards at 2am. However, Brit junior James Chaudry has cheered me up by taking the second set 6-2 against Hsieh.

0132:Carla Suarez Navarro beats fellow Spaniard Anabel Medina Garrigues 6-3 6-2 and she will play the winner of the next match on Hisense Arena, between Dominika Cibulkova and Elena Demetieva. And as far as seeing Murray goes, that's one down and two to go.

0131: "Federer feeling the pressure? He doesnt have to write 4000 words on feminism in 8 hours so he can stay at university - thats pressure!"
From Student praying for miracle via text on 81111

0129: "Sat here reading ur updates...and its my birthday...im 19...probably no chance me playing in the oz open now..."
From tom (over the hill) via text

- Nonsense, I'm 35 and I still fully expect to win Wimbledon at some stage.

Laura Robson
Laura Robson got off to a winning start in Melbourne on Monday

0124: "Hope laura can live up to her pre snr hype in the way Murray appears to be doing. Tim seems but a distant memory."
From Vinnie G, Leamington, via text on 81111

0124: "Me and fed are so alike. We are both terrified of what will have transpired by the end of the week. Common Murray!"
From Cam, another exam laden uni student, via text

0123: "Quite right, rog and djoko are being baited by the journalists, this war of words thing with muzza is tosh."
From Jeremy via text

0121: Monfilsgets the double break to lead Simon 3-0 and appears to have woken up after a fairly tame start to that match.

0118: "Piers - this is my last chance of getting on your commentary as i'm on a mission to space in the morning, don't let me down.."
From Dan at nasa via text

- Because that's how astronauts describe their work, isn't it? "A mission to space." This country. Good luck though. And sorry 'sitting next to Dan'.

It's bad news for a Briton in Melbourne
0116: Hsieh has taken the first set 6-1 against Britain's James Chaudry in the boys' singles. Monfils grabs an early break in the second set after losing the first against Simon. And Suarez Navarro breaks to lead Medina Garrigues by a set and 3-2.

0112: "You must be fair to Roger. He's a 13 time grand slam winner and he's bombarded with questions about some guy who has never won even 1 all the time!"
From Rob via text on 81111

0111: "Piers- Could you give me a realistic prediction when one of my texts will appear on your commentary?"
From Neil via text

0110: Monfils breaks back but Simon then earns a set point at 5-4 - but he plays a forehand that is so bad it makes both me and my colleague Chris Bevan laugh out loud. It almost goes wide of the tram lines. However, Simon gets a second chance and this time nails a forehand into the corner to take the set.

0106: "Piers, im doing maths questions which i will never need in my life, thank heavens i have late night tennis action to keep me cheerful! And laura robson!!"
From Johnny (yet another uni student) via text on 81111

0105: "Its not like any of the students texting in will be able to find jobs when they graduate anyway so why worry about the future of the nation? Come on Murray!"
Dan, unemployed recent graduate, Chislehurst via text

Andy Murray

0100: "Could you give a realistic prediction on when murray will be on? My alarm wants to know. Fed and djoko wouldnt be making these comments if they were not scared!"
From anon via text on 81111

- Had a few texts on this one - bearing in mind the first match on Hisense is only through one set I would guess Murray won't be on before 5am UK time. However, that is a guess and I take no responsibility if he's on earlier. OK? Not me guv.

0056: Bad news Britain, Chaudry is 3-0 down against Hsieh on Court 19. Good news Spain, Suarez Navarro takes the first set 6-3 against Medina Garrigues. Interesting news France, Simon breaks to lead Monfils 5-3.

Kettle

0050: Another British junior, James Chaudry, is out on Court 19 now against 15th seed Cheng-Peng Hsieh. It's all too much, time for a hot beverage.

0047: "Piers be faithful we will all repay you for wonderful text commentary with great soliciting, healthcare and technology!"
From Josh via text

0045: "Well here is a change from students and the unemployable - I am sitting in Auckland Airport and it is not even the middle me the night! Go Laura!"
From Dave via text

0043: For any of you confused as to why we've been concentrating almost exclusively on a girls' first-round singles match rather than the show court action, you have a fair point. We're just excited. However, the French and Spanish have lots of pretty hand grown-up players - Monfils leads Simon 3-2 with a break on Rod Laver Arena, and Suarez Navarro leads Media Garrigues 4-2 on Hisense Arena.

0038: "Game set macho laura robson! As borat would say - Its nice! Still cant believe lertcheewakahn only played 1/2 hour compared to lauras 79 mins!"
From dez via text on 81111

0037: "Well played young robson. She's ground out a good match. Something her seniors weren't able to."
From Jon via text

Laura Robson

0035: If I had a top hat I'd throw it into the air! Having battled away in a series of desperately close games, Laura Robson wraps up a 7-5 6-3 win over American Christina McHale, the world number 374. Yet another impressive result notched up by the 15-year-old Briton.

0032: I am reeling from the sheer number of students texting in. It is both moving and slightly worrying. Still, Laura Robson is taking my mind off fears for the future of our nation as she breaks yet again and is serving for the match against McHale at 7-5 5-3.

It's bad news for a Briton in Melbourne
0028: McHale breaks back to trail by a set and 4-3 against Robson.

0025: Suarez Navarro gets an early break to lead Medina Garrigues 2-0, while Monfils and Simon are 1-1. Robson is serving at 4-2 in the second set.

0025: "Murray not playing till 4 is forcing me to buy and watch the Royal Rumble..."
From anon via text on 81111

0024: "As there seems to be a few students present, does anybody have any opinions on bureaucratic leadership pre murray?"
From anon via text on 81111

0023: "Is it only students and/or the unemployable reading?"
Jim (falling into both categories and writing about education policy history) via text

- I think it's fair to say, yes, Jim. This is the late-night web-based replacement for Cash In the Attic.

It's good news for a Briton in Melbourne

0020: I can't see it but it's pretty clear this is a really tough match for Laura Robson - she saves several break points to move into a 7-5 4-1 lead. The big boys and girls are under way on the show courts.

0017: "Much as federer is rattled, as anyone would be by a new threat, its djokovic that has surprised me the most. His petulant 'What's his ranking? What's my ranking?' demonstrates the threat the Murray is posing and how aware they are of it. Only Nadal seems unruffled, but then he's the perfect gentleman..."
From anon via text on 81111

0016: "Sour grapes roger, sour grapes! Thats what i think piers! Lol."
From anon via text

0016: "Federer ought to be careful about whether he can back up his comments, should murray win he'll look stupid."
From TA via text

0013: "I really believe Nadal has an amazing chance of winning the Oz Open this year.... And I think he believes it himself more than before. Winning Wimbledon has given him that extra spark on all surfaces. Vamos Rafa!"
From Sara via txt on 81111

0013: "Wikipedia informs me that George Orwell played tennis for West Ham, and John Wyndham was a world famous wicketkeeper for the New York Giants."
From anon via text on 81111

- Imagine playing tennis for West Ham - that would be literally the best thing in the world.

It's good news for a Briton in Melbourne

0011: Robson breaks again! She leads McHale by a set and 3-1. Suarez Navarro and Medina Garrigues ... pause to rest fingers.... are out on Hisense Arena, as are Monfils and Simon on Rod Laver.

0007: "Is laura actually REALLY good? (getting excited for the future here!) Re the essay- it's all about the dystopia."
From Hannah in london via text on 81111

- Not wanting to be involved in any sort of overhyping I'm tempted to play it down but having watched Robson at Wimbledon, you would have to say 'yes'.

0007: "I could not be doing something less productive just 9 hours away from my 3rd year uni finalist exam, oh well, come on robson, and soon time for more murr ay domination!"
From scotty in loughborough via text

0007: "Piers I can't do it. I love tennis too much to sleep. I'm going to have to watch at least every men's match. This is going to be a thoroughly nocturnal week."
From anon via text

It's good news for a Briton in Melbourne
0006: Robson breaks back and moves 2-1 up in the second set against McHale, having taken the first 7-5. Bit of a battle this one. On Rod Laver Arena we await the arrival of Gael Monfils and Gilles Simon.

0003: "I wonder how far done this essay will be done by 4am..."
From George, chained to the computer... via text on 81111

0003: "Psychology essay or tennis piers?"
From justin, procrastinating on bbc sport website, via text

0003: "First set to laura! YEAHHHHHH! Ah head rush... Too much excitement..."
From dez via text

It's bad news for a Briton in Melbourne
0001: The dastardly McHale goes an early break up on Robson in the second set. I'm sure she's very nice really.

0000: Having been asleep all day I missed most of the post-match reaction from yesterday's matches, so I've only just seen this from Federer: "I don't know how fit Murray is. I'll take him on any day in a five-setter. He's younger so he's probably not so experienced, you know." Does anyone else think he's starting to sound a bit rattled?

2358: "4 hours to kill, and the only thing i can think to do is finish an english essay on george orwell and john wyndham. Any opinions?"
From Alan via text on 81111

-Remind me, who did they play for?

It's good news for a Briton in Melbourne

2356: Robson completes the fightback with her second consecutive break, this time to love, and she takes the first set 7-5. Never in doubt.

2354: "Ooo 5 all here! Laura's breaking back! Come on laura!"
From Dez in canterbury, a friend of a friend of laura, via text on 81111

2353: "Ah, the moths of revision. Helpful creatures indeed."
From Dave, Gloucester, via text

It's good news for a Briton in Melbourne

2350: Robson breaks back for 5-5 against McHale. Someone reboot the hype machine.

2347: "Piers, please help! I don't want to miss the Murray or Monfils matches, but I have an exam at 11am. What do I do?"
From Oli in Portsmouth via text on 81111

- With the thorough and extensive revision you have been doing for many months now, lack of sleep will not be a problem

2346: "Piers, surely murray won't be on as early as 4? I hope he isn't anyway, some of us have normal day jobs, ahem."
From Cheese Fan, missing 606, via text

2345: "Piers, great advice on the sleep pattern for tonight...if only you'd make all my major decisions, life would be so much easier!"
From anon via text

-I can assure you that would not be a good move

Fernando Gonzalez
2344: "Evening piers. Nadal to win in 4, with gonzales winning 1 of 3 tie breaks. Been a wonderful first week, hoping for a great second week, with a murray fed 5 setter for the final. And if that happens, i dont care who wins!"
From Steve, enjoying the same west london rain, via text

2343: McHale moves 5-3 clear of Robson after saving a break point in a game of several deuces. Meanwhile, Elena Dementieva is having a quick practice session on a baking hot Rod Laver Arena, smacking groundstrokes like there's no tomorrow.

2338: "Going to be a tough match for laura, mchale is ranked in the 300s in seniors and nearly won a match in the main draw."
From Alex via text on 81111

It's bad news for a Briton in Melbourne
2336: Now hang on, this McHale chap has broken Robson again and now leads 4-3. This is not part of the plan. Having said that the American is a monstrous 16-and-a-half years old and ranked 374 in the world in seniors, whereas our Laura only turned 15 earlier this month. The whole thing is clearly unfair and should be called off immediately.

2326: Robson, who is seeded fifth in the girls' singles, moves 3-2 up on serve. Following Laura onto Court 19 will be the only Briton in the boys' singles, James Chaudry, who faces 15th seed Cheng-Peng Hsieh of Chinese Taipei.

2325: "To those moaning the lack of live video at night - we didnt have the live text last year, be grateful for what you've got! Piers, keep up the smashing job."
From Chicara via text on 81111

2325: "While you've been wittering about the weather Laura has gone two up. Concentrate man."
From Steve, London, via text on 81111

- A nice cross-section of opinion there.

It's bad news for a Briton in Melbourne

2322: Laura Robson breaks immediately against Christina McHale on Court 19 but just as we are popping the champagne corks and preparing to go into hype overdrive, the American breaks back.

2318: And while we wait for Murray we can enjoy three consecutive women's matches on Hisense Arena, with Carla Suarez-Navarro taking on Anabel Medina Garrigues, followed by Dominika Cibulkova against Elena Dementieva, and then Svetlana Kuznetsova against Jie Zheng. And not forgetting Serena Williams taking on Victoria Azarenka in the second match on Rod Laver Arena.

2316: The bad news is that we're over halfway through the tournament, the good news is there are another six days to go. And away from the Murraymania for a moment, I should point out that there are some fantastic matches lined up for day eight as the quarter-final line-ups are completed.

Gael Monfils and fellow Frenchman Gilles Simon will open proceedings on Rod Laver Arena at 0000 GMT with the winner to play Rafal Nadal or Fernando Gonzalez, who are third on that court in a potential blockbuster. They are followed by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga against James Blake in the late match from 0830 GMT, the winner taking on Murray or Verdasco.

The sun is out again in Melbourne

2311: And for any of you concerned that Melbourne might have suffered an unseasonal burst of showers, I can tell you that the sun is beating down on Rod Laver Arena as some unidentifiable players have a knock-up. They must get bored with it being that sunny every day, surely.

Andrew Castle

2306: So here's the plan for Andy Murray v Fernando Verdasco. You go to bed now (if you feel sleep is absolutely necessary) and return for 0400 GMT, at which point we will have TV and radio coverage on BBC Two, Radio 5 Live sports extra and this website... and we'll be wittering away here all night of course. Murray is on after three women's matches, the first of which starts at 0000 GMT, so the exact timing is hard to say but aim for 4am.

Andy Murray

2300: It's a bit of an earlier start tonight so we can keep an eye on British hopeful and Wimbledon girls' champion Laura Robson, who begins her Aussie junior campaign against American Christina McHale right about now. And of course later on we have Andy Murray up against Fernando Verdasco - full coverage details in a moment.

It's raining in Melbourne
2255: Don't worry, the rain graphic is for London. There really is no better time to cross London than on a wet Sunday night - it's like being in 28 Days Later but with just the one zombie. Presumably everyone has rushed home to settle down in front of text-based tennis commentary - so welcome.

see also
Aussie Open day eight photos
26 Jan 09 |  Tennis
Aussie Open day eight quotes
26 Jan 09 |  Tennis


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