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Page last updated at 11:07 GMT, Monday, 25 January 2010

Australian Open day eight as it happened

Roger Federer

Highlights of the Australian Open (UK users only).


To get involved text us your views & comments on 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide). (Not all contributions can be used)

By Caroline Cheese

1104: OK, I'm checking out for the day. Victoria Azarenka is up against Vera Zvonareva in the day's final match in Melbourne. You can follow that on the Red Button or Online. Piers Newbery is back in the hotseat at midnight GMT tonight for: Henin-Petrova, Jheng-Kirilenko, Roddick-Cilic. And then, of course, it's MURRAY v NADAL! Have I told you?

1059: What's that now? What is this Murray v Nadal match I speak of? Tomorrow's quarter-final between defending champ Nadal and world number four Murray takes place at 0800 GMT on Rod Laver Arena. It will be live on BBC Two and Online (UK only) and BBC 5 live Sports Extra. Chris Bevan will provide live text commentary right here. Wish I could just press fast forward to tomorrow right now.

1051: Jim Courier appears to have reined himself in a bit. Not too many leftfield questions there. Now, many thanks to David Law for alerting me to a Twitter-based rumour that Ricky Hatton may be among Andy Murray's support camp when the Scot faces defending champion Rafa Nadal at 0830 GMT. Muzza's a big boxing fan, not sure how big a tennis fan Hatton is though.

Federer on facing Nikolay Davydenko: "He played very well the last couple of times we played. We had a tough one here in 2005. He has definitely picked up his game, he used to have issues on serve, those are gone. I hope in a best of five match, I can get the better of him."

Roger Federer: "I already saw the draw and saw Lleyton floating around, it's not something I like seeing. I always knew it would be extremely hard. It was. I'm sweating bullets. He's a great competitor. It's always a pleasure playing him. He's playing really good again, I hope he can keep it up."

Federer 6-2 6-3 6-4 Hewitt
Hewitt runs around his backhand and plays a wonderful inside-out return onto the sideline, and Fed goes long with a backhand to make it 15-30. Not again, surely. Long rally... and Fed overcooks a backhand. Two break-back points. Is Hewitt drawing on memories of his recovery from two sets down to beat Fed in the 2003 Davis Cup semi? Fed swings a forehand onto the sideline to save one and a service winner saves the second. But Hewitt's sheer persistence earns him a third break point, saved with a first serve-forehand winner combo. A seventh ace of the match takes him to match point and Hewitt nets the return... A nervous finish but Federer through to the quarter-finals to face Nikolay Davydenko.

Federer *6-2 6-3 5-4 Hewitt
Don't make Roger Federer angry. You wouldn't like him when he's angry. Lovely volley from Hewitt, right onto the baseline - but it's still not good enough, Fed rifling a forehand pass down the line. He has a 0-30 lead, but then two unusual errors let Hewitt back in. A typical piece of Hewitt counter-punching, driving a backhand at Fed's toes, takes him to game point. Hewitt into the net though and now he's gone wide and it's break point. An anguished cry from the Aussie terrier. But there's nothing he can do about that: Fed gliding crosscourt and unleashing one of those miraculous crosscourt forehands past Hewitt at the net.

Federer 6-2 6-3 4-4* Hewitt
Maybe Fed fancies a challenge, maybe he wants to give the crowd a bit more value for money, but he switches off, and is beaten at the net to give Hewitt two break points, his first of the match. Long rally, ended by two enormous backhands down the line from Fed. But on the second, Hewitt finds a forehand return down the line and improbably, HE HAS BROKEN. And now the fist is clenched, the crowd roaring their appreciation.

Federer *6-2 6-3 4-3 Hewitt
Fed goes down the line with a... what adjective shall I go for? Glorious? Yes that'll do: a glorious backhand pass. Two break points and he only needs one this time. A beautifully constructed point: a floating forehand onto the baseline followed by a sliced backhand down one line and a ripped forehand down the other line.

Federer 6-2 6-3 3-3* Hewitt
The strains of "Soooper, super Lleyt..." have only just died out when Fed fires down an ace to take the game to 15.

Federer *6-2 6-3 2-3 Hewitt
You know Fed's playing well when you get bored of writing about his majestic winners. Strokes a backhand crosscourt, flings a dreamy forehand down the line, kisses the baseline with another outrageously good forehand. Bla bla bla. Two break points for Fed. Lucky netcords might be all Hewitt has left and two of them help him save the first, before a very welcome service winner. An ace now - and the crowd are screaming their appreciation. And Fed gifts his opponent the game when he puts a midcourt forehand into the net. Was that an error I just saw?

Federer 6-2 6-3 2-2* Hewitt
Good, deep approach from Hewitt, but Fed unleashes a backhand crosscourt and Hewitt almost trips over his own feet as he tries to get a racquet on it. Fed holds to 30 and Hewitt still hasn't got close to a break point.

Federer *6-2 6-3 1-2 Hewitt
Huge cheer again as Hewitt paints the sideline with a forehand which goes behind Fed - but now he's floated a sliced backhand over the baseline. Groans as HawkEye confirms the call. Hewitt saves a break point with an ace out wide. Fed slaps a return into the net. Rubbish! And now another! Maybe he's losing it...

Federer 6-2 6-3 1-1* Hewitt
The Aussie Fanatics find their voices again as Hewitt finishes off the point at the net, but Fed now nonchalantly half-volleys a backhand pass down the line. Hewitt looks disbelievingly at his support camp, who look disbelievingly back.

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From Louisa from London, via text: "There were moments during Murray's victory over Isner when you could really believe that he had everything he needed to beat anyone on his way to the title. Watching Federer today, however, you feel that should he get to the final he still needs to raise his game considerably to have a chance at victory. Fed just looks unstoppable today."

Federer *6-2 6-3 0-1 Hewitt
Hewitt is left stranded behind the baseline as Fed fakes to go long, but plonks a drop-shot just over the net. Poor return from Fed at 30-30 though, and Hewitt races forward to pass Fed at the net to clinch the game. Huge roar for that one. Still only a hold though.

Federer 6-2 6-3 0-0* Hewitt
Easy. Fed holds to love with a forehand winner onto the baseline, Hewitt again left flapping at air. That's 15 winners in the set, to Hewitt's three.

Federer *6-2 5-3 Hewitt
Trouble again for Hewitt at 30-30. He does well to come through, but if he's struggling on his own serve, it's hard to see him threatening Fed's.

Greg Rusedski on Twitter: "Fed Express is on a roll and looking back to his best!"

Federer 6-2 5-2* Hewitt
Hewitt misses an easy backhand, off a short ball, and angrily flings his racquet high into the night sky. That point would have given him 0-30 and then, like a dagger to his heart, Fed's backhand clatters the top of the net and dribbles over. Ace to finish the game.

Federer *6-2 4-2 Hewitt
It's a masterclass. Fed glides across the baseline and flicks a magnificent backhand crosscourt. Now, a perfect drop-shot and it's 0-30. What on earth? Fed's put a forehand into the trams - and then another. I'm shocked. Back to normality as he stretches for a serve out wide and sends a rocket return onto the sideline. Break point and he's into the net, but Hewitt's response is onto his toes and the volley goes into the net. Hewitt comes through - but he can't even be bothered to clench his fist.

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From Mike, Surrey, via text: "Now that Hewitt has lost a set Andy Murray is the only remaining player in the men's tournament not to drop a set... Just thought I'd throw that stat out there!"

Federer 6-2 4-1* Hewitt
Too good. Hewitt has nothing to hurt Fed anymore. Quite sad to see actually. The crowd, with nothing to cheer from their man, turn to wolf-whistling Fed as he changes his shirt.

Federer *6-2 3-1 Hewitt
Dogfight of a game. At 30-30, Hewitt finds a first serve to move to game point but then sticks an easy forehand into the net. And now he's gone long. Break point. It's an EPIC rally, both players slicing and varying the length to try to force the error - and it's Fed who blinks first, netting a forehand. Error from Hewitt and it's break point again, but Fed goes wide this time. Double-fault Hewitt - which he doesn't seem that convinced about but doesn't challenge. Sliced backhand return into the forehand corner from Fed, and then a topspin backhand into the same corner leaving Lleyt flapping at thin air. Break.

Federer 6-2 2-1* Hewitt
Into the net from Hewitt, which might prove a good tactic, but not this time. Fed just too good in all areas now. He took about three games to hit form, and Hewitt hasn't been in it since then.

Federer *6-2 1-1 Hewitt
Big first serve from Hewitt and he holds to love. That might make him feel a bit better.

Federer 6-2 1-0* Hewitt
Quick bit of research has reminded me that Huey, Dewey and indeed, Louie all used to wear hats, but they did have a tuft of hair sticking out the front, so I think I see what Zulf (see earlier text) is getting at. Huey, Dewey and Louie might have a better chance of winning this match. One could take the forehand, one the backhand, one the volleys. As it is, Fed is continuing his merry way to the quarters, holding to 15.

Federer *6-2 0-0 Hewitt
Fed battles back from 30-0 down and a double-fault from Hewitt gives him a set point. Hewitt brings out a big serve, and saves a second set point when he forces Fed to volley long. Now a third and surely he's got it this time. He's at the net, he's got a smash to put it away - BUT HE'S BELTED IT WIDE! Incredible. Hewitt wastes a game point, before Fed earns a fourth chance with an inside-out forehand winner and this time he closes it out, hammering a forehand cross-court to take it in 32 minutes. Meanwhile, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga has beaten Nicolas Almagro 6-3 6-4 4-6 6-7 (6-8) 9-7.

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From Zulf in Dubai, via text: "Is it just me or does Lleyton look like Donald Duck's nephews Huey, Dewey and Louie with his new look barnet?"

Federer 5-2* Hewitt
Fed, energised by that gift of a break in that last game, slams a serve down the middle to get to 40-0, before closing out with a delicate half-volley which Hewitt can only bunt over the baseline. I predict here and now that this will be over in straight sets. Anyone wanna argue? Still on serve in the fifth set over on Hisense, Tsonga leading Almagro 8-7.

Federer *4-2 Hewitt
Hewitt is furious with himself for putting a routine backhand long. He cannot afford those kind of mistakes. Now he's made another error and Federer suddenly has two break points. Forehand long on the first from the top seed. "Let's go Lleyton, let's go," comes the chant. It doesn't help. Fed's got the break.

Andy Murray
Andy Murray enjoys a relaxing ice bath (photo via Twitter)
Andy Murray on Twitter: "Sat in a bath full of ice bags and a bit of water."

Federer 3-2* Hewitt
Even the ultra-competitive Hewitt has to nod approvingly as Fed stretches up and plants a magnificent backhand smash at an impossible angle. Hold to love.

Federer *2-2 Hewitt
This is an impressive start from Hewitt, no question, but I find myself waiting for Fed to hit form. The Aussie serve-volleys to make it 30-0, and after a long baseline rally, Fed miscues a forehand. There's the first "come on" from Lil Lleyt and he takes the game to love when Fed nets a volley.

Federer 2-1* Hewitt
Dinky drop shot and it's 40-15 for Fed, but he puts a wild backhand over the baseline. Not quite on his game yet, the world number one. Forehand winner from Hewitt makes it deuce and the crowd are chanting... but Fed soon shuts them up with an ace out wide.

Federer *1-1 Hewitt
Fed steps into a short Hewitt second serve and rifles the return crosscourt, but a few errors off the ground allow Hewitt to get to game point, the Aussie finishing off with an ace. Over on Hisense Arena, Tsonga and Almagro are still at it. It's on serve in the fifth set, Tsonga leading 6-5. No tie-break, remember.

Federer 1-0* Hewitt
Fed opens up with an ace and loses only one point in a comfortable opening service game. Hewitt has some tape around his right knee. I don't think he had that in his last match. I could be wrong.
* denotes next to serve

0847: I'm not saying the world number one is the overwhelming favourite to win this match, I'm just saying that Federer has won 16 of 23 meetings with Hewitt, and the last 14 in a row. That's all. Federer to get us under way then.

0841: Federer seemed to get the bigger cheer there as they came on court. The players are at the net now for the completely unnecessary run-through of the rules from our umpire Pascal Maria. "Any questions?" No, there are none. Lleyton Hewitt won the toss and chose to... receive. The devil.

0836: That's passed the time nicely, thanks NiDav. Roger Federer and Lleyton Hewitt are in the tunnel ready for action. First a word with Todd Woodbridge. "It's always going to be tough against Rog," says Lleyton. "Gotta go out there, play my game and execute well." And Roger's verdict on the match is: "Tough, interesting... I think we like to play against each other just cos we've known each other for over 15 years. Looking forward to a good match and I hope we can live up to expectations. We'll see."

Davydenko on whether he has started to dream of winning the title: "Dream? No, no. No, I never dream. Maybe in the night, but not in the day."

Davydenko on the room being full for his press conference: "That's was surprising. Why you guys here? [Laughter] Just I don't know what has change. Why you come now and you asking me some private questions? I don't know. It's you. You need to ask yourself why you come here."

0832: Good news. The Nikolay Davydenko press conference transcript is available. I'm just seeking out today's gems...

0829: If you're just waking up, here's what you missed overnight: Venus won but not that impressively, Serena was ruthless, fourth seed Wozniacki went out to Li Na. Davydenko really tried to collapse against Verdasco before coming through in five sets, Djokovic won easily. Laura Robson won her first match in the juniors. Done.

World number four Caroline Wozniacki on Twitter: "Lost my match today against Li Na. She played well and I played well in periods but the lack of consistency cost me the match. Now back to working hard and come back stronger!"

0816: Tsonga saves one set point, but Almagro is not to be denied a second time. The Spaniard takes the breaker 8-6 and they're into a fifth set. Is it just me that finds watching matches on the Australian Open website's live scoring oddly exciting? Waiting anxiously for that little box to flash black... I apologise. Insanity appears to have afflicted me earlier than usual today.

0810: Tsonga and Almagro are into the tie-break. If Tsonga wins, a quarter-final against Novak Djokovic awaits. By the way, if you are watching the live streaming, you may be confused by the sight of Andy Murray and an absurdly tall man. That's a replay of Murray's fourth-round match against John Isner. Federer v Hewitt will follow. They're still tidying up Rod Laver Arena. Messy lot, those day eight ticket-holders.

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From Diehard Scot, Glasgow, via text: "Off for study leave tomorrow, I can see the Murray match being a 'slight' distraction!"

0803: Serena's annihilation of Slammin means Roger Federer and Lleyton Hewitt will be heading for Rod Laver Arena soon - but only after the daytime ticket holders have been booted out in favour their more glamorous night-time equivalents. That could take some time. They're still in day mode over on Hisense Arena, where Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Nicolas Almagro are still on serve in the fourth set, Tsonga serving to take it into a tie-break.

The match is over
0800: Hello. Some things to tell you: Serena Williams has beaten Slammin' Sam Stosur 6-4 6-2. Serena bludgeoned 30 winners to Slammin's eight. And if you manually refresh this page, you'll see some live video at the top of this page in the UK. And my ridiculous name worldwide.

By Piers Newbery

0748: Serena powers on and it's looking grim for Slammin' Sam Stosur at the moment as she trails by a set and 4-2. I simply cannot bear to watch and will hand over to BBC Sport's Caroline Cheese, but I hope to have recovered in time to do it all again from midnight tonight.

0740: Serena is over her early and very brief lapse of concentration and moves swiftly to 3-1 in front in the second set.

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0738: "Australia's only remaining lady versus defending champion and what does channel 7 in australia do ... Cuts to local news for an hour where the headline is parking fines. Incredible! I may not miss the weather in the uk but i do miss BBC sports."
Lee in sydney via text

It's good news for a Briton
0735: We can confirm that Andy Murray v Rafael Nadal will be the first night match on Tuesday, meaning it's 0830 GMT in the UK, and without having had official confirmation I'm prepared to risk my in no way considerable reputation on that being on the red button, website and 5 live sports extra.

0731: Serena gets the early break in the second set and then her mind wanders, or nerves take hold, and she suddenly finds herself 15-40 down. The champion saves both break points, and a third soon after with an ace, and she leads by a set and 2-0. Andy Murray scheduling news coming up....

0723: Yep, no problems for Serena as she serves out at 6-4 and she dropped just two points on serve in the set. And Almagro has broken Tsonga to take it into a fourth on Hisense Arena, rather unexpectedly.

0718: Serena is serving ominously well right now and leads 5-4. Almagro saves a break point to lead 5-4 in the third but he trails Tsonga by two sets to love. He has got a broken wrist thought. Apparently.

Latest scores
0712: Stosur plays an impressive love service game to stay in touch at 4-3 down against Serena. If you're just joining me, we've had overnight wins for Djokovic and Davydenko on the men's side and Venus and Li Na on the women's, with the Chinese player putting out fourth seed Caroline Wozniacki. And Laura Robson won her opening match in the girls' singles in just 36 minutes, which is verging on the rude.

0705: Serena hammers a big return on her first break point of the day to lead 3-2.

A celeb has been spotted
0700: Stosur saves a break point with a backhand winner down the line and takes the game with an ace for 2-1. Meanwhile, I'm told by my spy at Melbourne Park that Ladyhawke is about to "hit the stage" at the Grand Slam Oval. She follows someone called Johnny Wonderpants, who I'm sure was a Viz character.

Greg Rusedski on Twitter: "Davydenko won in 5. djok won easy and tsonga is on his way. Serena is about to start against stosur. First test for serena."

0652: Tsonga makes it two sets to love against Almagro on Hisense, while Stosur opens with an ace as she holds to 30 against Serena.

0648: Sixth seed Novak Djokvic on his easy path to the quarter-finals: "I'm aware the matches will get more difficult throughout this week, so I'm ready for it. Physically I've been putting in a lot of work and intensity into the practice and it's paying off right now, I feel great."

0641: Stosur gets a huge cheer as she walks onto Rod Laver Arena and there's plenty of support for Serena too. The American has won two of their three meetings but the Aussie was victorious last time out, and she held four match points in the previous encounter, so it could be a tight one.

0637: Next up on Rod Laver is defending champion Serena Williams against Aussie hope Sam Stosur. Following that one will be Roger Federer v Lleyton Hewitt from some time after 0800 GMT on the red button, website and 5 live sports extra.

0631: Now for the most buttock-clenchingly nerve-wracking moment of each day, when the winner approaches Jim Courier for a post-match interview. "Hold me!" says Davydenko, throwing his arms around the American. I can't watch....

The match is over
0628: Sixth seed Nikolay Davydenko beats ninth seed Fernando Verdasco 6-2 7-5 4-6 6-7 (5-7) 6-3. I'm not sure how he managed it, but it's fair to say Fernando helped him out a bit. Tsonga is a set and a break up on Almagro on Hisense.

0625: And Verdasco holds easily too - they're both at it now - so Davydenko's nerves will be truly tested as he serves for the match.

sallyakins on Twitter: "Apparently Almagro is playing with a broken left wrist."

0622: Davydenko holds serve surprisingly comfortably and Verdasco must serve to stay in the match at 5-2 down in the fifth.

0618: Davydenko gets a net cord at deuce that forces the mistake from Verdasco and it's break point.... and the Russian takes charge of the rally, drawing a backhand error from the Spaniard to move 4-2 clear. I wouldn't say this one's definitely over just yet though.

Gallacticos87 on Twitter: "This has to be the most enjoyable bad game of tennis I've ever watched. Pity they cant do a Wimbledon and tie-break forever..."

Someone is having a tantrum
0609: Yikes. Davydenko has about a month to decide what to do with a high, gentle, floated shot from Verdasco, but opts to volley it straight into the net and falls 0-30 behind. Credit to the Russian, he battles his way back to 30-30 and then sticks away a smash after Verdasco fails with a lob. The Spaniard slams his racquet into the ground for good measure - 3-2 to Davydenko.

0604: Tsonga is not hanging about and leads Almagro 5-2 - the winner to play Djokovic, so potentially a repeat of the 2008 final. All is relatively calm on Rod Laver at the moment with Verdasco and Davydenko at 2-2 in the fifth, although I expect a blizzard of double-faults at any moment.

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0556: "G'day piers. The price for being top office tennis buff and following the action through the night is a high one and by day 8 must be affecting my decision making but DavVerd is worth it. Keep the broken rackets coming."
Paul, Witney, via text

0553: Tsonga has an early break and leads Almagro 3-0 on Hisense, and Davydenko saves three break points at the start of the decider against Verdasco.

SAMurphy87 on Twitter: "I'd love to call this an epic but I'd be lying. How did Verdasco win that set with 21 unforced errors? 5 sets it is.."

0544: Davydenko can see the finish line at 5-4 in the tie-break but he swats a backhand into the net and then is caught off-guard by some Verdasco fancy footwork. Set point to the Spaniard and we all settle down for a double-fault - only for Verdasco to fire a beauty straight at the Russian's body. Were going to a fifth set.

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0538: "Trying to revise at 5 in the morning is never a good idea. Enjoying the tennis though. Come on nikdav!"
Ryan, Manchester, via text

It's good news for a Briton
0535: Davydenko comes through another edgy service game to force a tie-break in the fourth set. Britain's Tom Allen and Jack Carpenter finish off Koreans Jeong and Na 6-1 6-3 in the boys' doubles.

0530: Another strange, strange game sees Verdasco make three double-faults to face break point and then smack an ace down the 'T', before repeating the trick moments later to seal the game. Easy. He leads 6-5. Tsonga and Almagro are due out on Hisense soon.

0525: Davydenko is not exactly rock solid on his own service game and it's all gone a bit parks tennis for the moment, but we're 5-5 in the fourth.

The match is over
0521: Third seed Novak Djokovic beats Lukasz Kubot 6-1 6-2 7-5 to reach the last eight, but the real drama is on Rod Laver where Verdasco double-faults to give the break straight back! It's now 5-5 in the fourth set, Davydenko leading two sets to one.

0515: The Verdasco player's box is a pretty feisty place, all clenched fists and gritted teeth, and they go into overdrive when Davydenko fires a backhand long to put the Spaniard 5-3 up. He will serve to force a fifth set. And NoDjo has broken so will serve for the match against Kubot.

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0440: "Hey Piers. Am lying awake for the umpteenth night in a row worrying about funny noises/unnecessary quilt movement having seen Paranormal Activity a while ago... Your service is providing a welcome distraction. Any news on when Murray will be on? Oh Lord, what was that..."
A panicked Nicola in Durham via text

0505: A disappointed Caroline Wozniacki looks ahead to the rest of the year after a surprise loss to Li Na in the fourth round: "There's a long way to go. There's a long year ahead of me. Now I'm going to go and practice and work even harder and come back stronger hopefully."

0500: Verdasco tucks into an apple on the changeover after holding serve to lead 2-1 in the fourth against Davydenko.

It's good news for a Briton
0456: Djokovic and Kubot are trundling along on serve after seven games of the third set on Hisense Arena, while the sturdily named Tom Allen and Jack Carpeneter are doing Britain proud by taking the first set in their boys' doubles match against Koreans Jeong and Na.

0448: "Give me one, sir, please!" Verdasco screams at the sky after thumping another forehand into the net. It seems like rather a quaint phrase until he follows it up with something altogether more blunt. Bizarrely, Davydenko is the one who then loses his way, firing a double-fault to slip set point down and then ballooning a forehand way over the baseline. Verdasco pumps his fists and is back in the match. Davydenko sends his racquet off to be restrung - "18-17 kilos" he tells the ball boy. Interesting.

0442: Even the umpire sounds like she's sighing when she says "love-15" after Verdasco shanks a smash over the baseline. It's a terrible shot, although not as bad as the smash he mishit at the World Tour Finals which hit the umpire's chair. He hangs on and leads 5-4.

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0440: "5 hours sleep at uni as the masters takes it toll. Any advice Piers 2 get me through this dark spell? Gutted wozniacki has gone."
Ali from a rainy sheffield via text
Can I suggest eating four pieces of pitta bread with nothing on them? It concentrates the mind.

0437: Oh Fernando. He starts the game in swashbuckling style and five minutes later he's slumped in his chair like a man awaiting root canal. Davydenko gets the break back and trails 4-3 on serve in the third set.

0428: Djokovic wraps up the second set against Kubot and he's lost just three games so far - clearly boosted by the knowledge that he's my tip for the title. And possibly by the fact that Kubot is ranked 86 in the world.

0420: Look out, Fernando has woken up. Davydenko gives him a hand with a loose error and the Spaniard converts his second break point of the game to lead 3-1 in the third.

SAMurphy87 on Twitter: "Verdasco's game is ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous far too often here. It's maddening in it's inconsistency."

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0415: "Up feeding the baby and catching up on the tennis scores. Enjoying your updates piers. Come on nikdav."
From a very tired nicki via text

Someone is having a tantrum
0412: Davydenko leads captain grumpy 6-2 7-5 and the Russian is happy to just leave the Spaniard to implode. Even Davydenko looks faintly embarrassed by some of Verdasco's outbursts. I think it's worth a graphic, even though the racquet remains intact. Djokovic and Kubot are 2-2 in the second set.

0402: "Goodness me, these incessant errors are really beginning to cheese me off!" shouts Verdasco, or something similar. It was in Spanish. A wild forehand and a double-fault give Davydenko the break and the Russian will serve for a two-set lead.

0357: Journalist: "I met your mother in the elevator. She said you have sometimes problems to wake up in the morning."
Venus Williams:"Yeah, you know how moms are. Moms are moms."

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0356: "rojo naranja amarillo verde azul violeta - is that what you mean by colourful Spanish?"
From anon via text
Si, exactamente.

0353: The game appears to be up for Verdasco when he slips to 0-40 at 4-4 but, after a bout of world-class shrugging and impressive muttering, he reels off his best five points of the day to hold serve. Very odd. Djokovic takes the first set 6-1 against Kubot.

0345: Verdasco goes in for a bit of shoe repair at the changeover - maybe he should get some keys cut while he's at it. He leads 4-3. Still to come in these dark hours we have Serena Williams v Sam Stosur, and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga v Nicolas Almagro.

0339: Er, OK. It's all a bit quiet out there right now as the men take centre on the two main show courts. Davydenko and Verdasco are level at 3-3 in the second set, and we do get a burst of extremely colourful Spanish from Verdasco who appears to be having a rotten time. Djokovic has broken Kubot to lead 3-1.

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0335: "I've not long finished an 82 hour week. Am I going to bed? Oh no, I need some tennis action. So give it to me Piers baby!"
A very tired Chewie in Brighton via text

0325: That didn't last long. Davydenko plays a superb forehand down the line for 0-40 and Verdasco sticks a forehand into the net to drop serve to love. He leads 2-1 on serve.

0323: Verdasco finally has some thing to "Vamos!" with an early break in the second set and Davydenko wanders around the baseline in his baseball cap and baggy shorts looking like a disgruntled dad on holiday. We should be seeing Djokovic and Kubot on Hisense Arena soon.

0317: I've just noticed that John Isner and Sam Querrey are playing doubles together on Margaret Court Arena. If you laid them end-to-end they would reach to the moon.

0314: Davydenko makes hard work of that game and has to fend off a couple of break points before nabbing the first set 6-2, and Verdasco slopes back to the chair like a disconsolate teenager. And everyone's favourite French junior Mick Lescure is giving some Czech lad the runaround on Court 11.

The match is over
0305: Sixteenth seed Li Na of China beats fourth seed Caroline Wozniacki 6-4 6-3, the Dane requiring strapping on her leg during the second set. Li Na joins fellow Chinese Jie Zheng in the last eight. We need a new graphic.

0304: It's not looking too special from Verdasco so far, and he slices a backhand into the bottom of the net to fall a double-break down at 5-2 against Davydenko.

AFCBPETER on Twitter: "No pressure Piers but I expect you to deliver something special tonight otherwise me staying up is pointless."

0256: Verdasco looks to have taken a leaf out of Gonzo's book in the final set against Roddick, the Spaniard double-faulting twice to hand over the first break to Davydenko on Rod Laver. The Russian leads 3-2. And over on Hisense, Wozniacki is hanging in there, breaking back to trail by a set and 4-3 against Li Na.

It's good news for a Briton
The match is over
0251: Laura Robson yet again fails to dampen the hype by going and winning, when will she learn? The Brit beats Aussie Belinda Woolcock 6-0 6-1 to reach round two of the girls' singles.

0248: A quick response to some tweets/texts: Sarah in Staines - apologies; Rich in Leeds - commiserations; Brit in Sydney - great taste; Isaac - you may need help. And now back to our regular programming....

It's good news for a Briton
0242: Davydenko and Verdasco have a right old battle before the Russian levels at 1-1 and this one could last a while. And you have to feel sorry for Belinda Woolcock, taking on Laura Robson in the junior event is akin to trying to eat six pieces of pitta bread with no dip. Gruelling and ultimately thankless. The 16-year-old Briton leads 6-0 3-0.

0237: Laura Rosbon is not hanging about - she leads 5-0 against Belinda Woolcock. Verdasco holds serve in the opening game against Davydenko and the Spaniard is not a man to be underestimated in Melbourne, having disposed of Andy Murray and then, in a five-hour epic, taken Rafael Nadal to the limit last year.

0228: Li Na now leads Wozniacki by a set and 2-0 and we could be in for a shock there. And I've been dealt a massive blow with the realisation that I've brought several pieces of fairly rubbery pitta bread and forgotten the houmous. Quite dry.

0221: US Open finalist and fourth seed Wozniacki drops the first set 6-4 against Li Na on Hisense Arena.

0220: Laura Robson is up and running at 2-0 against Aussie Belinda Woolcock on Court 6 - the Brit is not seeded in the girls' event, I think because she no longer plays enough junior events as she makes the transition to the WTA Tour. I think. Verdasco is clad in green as he enters Rod Laver Arena, NiDav in black and white.

pottiella on Twitter: "Verdascos fhand, serve and military tennis isn't enough against the top guys, hence no titles; match is on how Davy performs."

0211: Venus Williams: "I had a little bit of a slow start and I was happy just to hang in there. This is what I practice 365 days of the year for, these moments, being able to come back and hopefully tell these stories when I'm old and grey." OK then. Next up on Rod Laver Arena - Verdasco v Davydenko.

It's bad news for a Briton
The match is over
0208: Sixth seed Venus Williams beats Francesca Schiavone 3-6 6-2 6-1 to reach the last eight. She plays Wozniacki or Li Na next, with those two at 4-4. And the dream is over for British junior Tom Allen, who goes down 6-2 5-7 6-1 to 11th seed Renzo Olivo of Argentina.

0203: Venus recovers from 0-30 to hold serve and at 4-1 has one foot in the quarter-finals. It's the other foot I'm worried about.

Nikolay Davydenko
Nikolay Davydenko goes through his pre-match routine
0202: "According to the ATP website NikDav spent yesterday stroking turtles at an aquarium. Not sure how that helped him prepare for facing Verdasco."
Katie in leeds via text
On the contrary, Katie, petting a reptile is standard pre-match preparation for any top player.

0157: Venus gets another break, despite a dodgy backhand into the net on her first break point, and the American leads 3-1 in the decider. So that must be that, no? Wozniacki leads Li Na 4-2 on Hisense.

0151: Briton Tom Allen has fallen a break down in the decider against Renzo Olivo at 2-0, and we're only a few minutes away from Laura Robson on Court 6. And like Cheryl Cole, Venus appears to have got her mojo back. She leads 2-1 in the third.

Kim Clijsters on Twitter: "Heading back home today had a lovely day on Safari yesterday at Weeribee Zoo and dinner at the beach. Cold weather + training here we come!"

0148: You rarely see much on-court emotion from Venus but even she cannot hide her displeasure as yet another forehand sails long. Still, she does enough to recover the break and it's 1-1. And to all Novak fans, he will be on against Kubot after the Wozniacki-Li match. NoDjo was my tip for the men's title at the start of the tournament. I'm about to give you a twitter update on the current status of my women's tip.

0143: This one is hard to call now. Schiavone unexpectedly breaks at the start of the final set and Venus looks to have lost her way again.

Text in your views on 81111
0141: "Piers, go crazy on the tennis and football coverage, or go to a french a-level class where my teacher will tell me that 'just because i'm french, doesn't mean tha- Oh no... You're right' again and again...?"
From Johnny in London via text
I found that an in-depth knowledge of the Marsaud family and their petit chien Toto was all that was required in French class.

0138: For all those of you without pictures, you can have a quick gander at the first take of a photo gallery and make your mind up about Venus's dress. Caroline Wozniacki and Li Na have just started on Hisense Arena.

0135: Despite one deft drop shot, Schiavone cannot halt the slide and she is broken again as Venus reels off her fourth successive game to level at one set all.

0131: "Despite NikDav's current form i'm tipping Verdasco to nick that one later. If that left arm of his is firing as it can do there's not much you can do about it. Big if mind."
From Ali in Staines via text

0131: "Harry from cheltenham i totally agree with Piers and besides fed will have finished with hewitt well before 11."
From from larry package via text

5 live's Steve Rudge on Twitter: "....on stilts; A sunblock parrot & a walking cash machine! All to the sound of Vega 91.5's all time rock legend 500 countdown. Currently they are at number 178 - the Long Run by the Eagles! Bit of a way to go. Wonder what will be number one?"

It's good news for a Briton
0130: Venus holds to love for the first time today and leads 5-2, so a decider looms. And Brit junior Tom Allen has bagged the second set against 11th seed Renzo Olivo! Hang on, there's more from Rudge....

0126: Schiavone nets on the second break point of the game and Venus leads 4-2 in the second set, without having done a great deal to earn it. Which probably bodes well if she can find anything approaching even average form.

5 live's Steve Rudge on Twitter: "Lots going on at Melbourne Park today. Things seen so far: Superhero Ballkids; Frenchman balancing on a massive ball; 2 tennis players..."

0120: The intensity is at last building on Rod Laver Arena after a fairly sedate opening hour or so, and Venus comes through a tough service game to lead 3-2 in the second set.

0115: In a bid to keep my sleep pattern vaguely regular I was up until 3am yesterday morning watching Murray v Isner - good, wasn't he? And after watching that on BBC One, I followed Roddick v Gonzalez on 5 live and Caroline Cheese's live text while pretending to do some exercise in the gym. A lot of stretching went on. You can't do too much stretching.

0114: For all those waiting to hear news on Laura Robson, she's second on Court 6 and the preceding boys' singles has just gone to one set all, so about half an hour I should think.

It's good news for a Briton
0109: Tom Allen is currently making a bit of a comeback against Argentine 11th seed Renzo Olivo on Court 10, recovering from a break down to lead 4-3 in the second set.

0106: Venus has a couple of chances to get the break back early in the second set before Schiavone helps her out by sending a backhand long, and it's 1-1

Text in your views on 81111
0101: "Hmm. Wondering whether to get up early tomorrow and watch Fedz v Hewitt or go to my 11 am lecture... Be my voice of guidance Piers!"
Harry, cheltenham, via text
Best days of you life, Harry, you should be up with the lark and haring into college keen to absorb as much information as possible. And it's probably Murray-Nadal 24hrs later

0101: "Jon from portsmouth... I'd love to take your money. The big fed will win in straight sets, if i had a house i'd bet it!"
From scott in portsmouth via text

0059: Venus returns after a 'comfort break' as the debate rages over her dress. I will say nothing but point you towards the photo gallery that will be up when I get round to it. It's almost overshadowing just how badly the five-time Wimbledon champion is playing - she is broken to love again at the start of the second set.

0055: "Naa I think feds will crush hewitt...£10?"
From Kerry via text

0052: Well, the biggest impression Venus has made in that first set is with her dress (thanks for the emails and tweets). Schiavone wraps up the first set 6-3 but the Italian hasn't had to do much so far, poor stuff from the American.

0049: Venus dumps an ugly backhand into the middle of the net and faces a break point - which she hands over with a howler of a double-fault. Both serves were over a foot long. Schiavone to serve for the set at 5-3.

0046: "I bet federer is going to lose to hewitt in 4 sets. Anyone care to take me up on that bet?"
From jon in portsmouth via text
I think you might get a few takers there....

It's bad news for a Briton
0044: Venus gets herself together to finally hold serve but Schiavone matches her to lead 4-3. Bad news for Britain's Tom Allen, who has dropped the first set against Argentine 11th seed Renzo Olivo on Court 10.

padawanbeck84 on Twitter: "How *dare* you be so dismissive of Powderfinger! They're brilliant!"

0035: Yep, Schiavone is broken to love and pegged back to 3-2. Sampras v Ivanisevic, this ain't. Which is no bad thing.

Text in your views on 81111
0032: "piers how did u get this job as it seems amazing and i need a job."
Mike in telford via text
The selection process is similar to that of the SAS, and like them I can't talk about it.

0031: Venus is suffering a bit of a meltdown at the moment, with her serve stuttering and her forehand way off. She soon finds herself 0-40 down again and is broken when Schiavone plays a winning backhand lob on the run. The Italian leads 3-1 with the break.

0028: If you have any thoughts on what has happened, is happening or is going to happen in Melbourne, it's best that you share them with me. You can pass on your thoughts through Twitter or via text on 81111 (UK) and +44 7786200666 (worldwide).

It's good news for a Briton
0026: There are plenty of British juniors in action today, with Tom Allen currently taking on Argentine 11th seed Renzo Olivo on Court 10. There are some fantastic names in the juniors, which I will in no way be mocking when I point them out to you. People in glass houses... Anyway, for starters we have Spain's Carlos Boluda-Purkiss - who cannot still be 'the new Nadal' at the age of 17, surely - against Barrett Franks of New Zealand. I'm also quite taken by France's Mick Lescure.

0025: Venus misses a couple of break points, one with an attempted forehand pass that lands outside the tramlines, and it's 2-1 to Schiavone but scrappy stuff so far.

0023: In fairness, over the last few days I've missed proper actor Geoffrey Rush and one of the cast members from Desperate Housewives, although it was one of the blokes. And "radio personality" Jono Coleman.

A celeb has been spotted
0018: Venus breaks straight away to 15, and is then broken to love. Strange start. Meanwhile, the dearth of quality celebs continues. In attendance today, a celebrity (in Australia) chef, a former swimmer, and the guitarist from rockers (only popular with Australians and surfers) Powderfinger. The champagne graphic is in danger of misleading the public.

Andy Roddick on Twitter: "love australia... where else can you watch nfl playoff games with breakfast???"

0013: Schiavone gets us under way on Laver, here's the lowdown on this match-up from the WTA: "Venus has won all five previous meetings. These are the two oldest players remaining in the draw, both are approx 29½ (Venus is older by 6 days). This is the only Grand Slam at which Schiavone has not reached the quarter-finals in her career." I know who my money's on.

0010: "Hi Piers, do you know when Murray v Nadal will take place please?"
From Paula, South Wales, via text
I don't know for sure but fingers are crossed here that it will be 0830 GMT on Tuesday - confirmation will come overnight.

0007: Venus and Schiavone are out on Rod Laver Arena, where the stadium announcer has informed us that it's 25C and warned everyone to wear a hat and "rehydrate regularly". They say that at Wimbledon too, before directing you to the Wimbledon shop.

It's good news for a Briton
The sun is out
0004: It's a beautiful day in Melbourne as the sun beats down on the Rod Laver Arena for the remaining matches that will complete the men's and women's quarter-final line-ups. First up tonight is Venus Williams against Francesca Schiavone on Rod Laver Arena, with doubles matches on the other two big show courts. To following during the (UK) night are Fernando Verdasco v Nioklay Davydenko, Serena Williams against Samantha Stosur, Novak Djokovic taking on Lukasz Kubot and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga playing Nicolas Alamgro. And British junior hope Laura Robson faces Aussie Belinda Woolcock in match two on Court 6.

0001: Great news, it's BBC Sport's Martin Gough and he's live texting on the NFL championship games. I've no idea if he has permission to do this or has just 'gone rogue' but he seems to be enjoying himself, so why not have a look? Or stick around for day eight of what is shaping up to be a classic Australian Open.

2359: Keep deadly still and don't look up but... there's someone else in the office. I am not alone.

2355: Evening. I've had a couple of days off but, to be honest, my heart wasn't in it. Thankfully that dark period of my life is over and we have the Williams sisters, Novak Djokovic, Nikolay Davydenko, Caroline Wozniacki, Laura Robson and plenty more to look forward to in the next few hours, with Roger Federer v Lleyton Hewitt the big match live on the red button, website and 5 live sports extra from 0800 GMT.

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see also
Awesome Federer into last eight
25 Jan 10 |  Tennis
Williams sisters win in Australia
25 Jan 10 |  Tennis
Robson wins junior singles opener
25 Jan 10 |  Tennis
Australian Open day eight photos
25 Jan 10 |  Tennis
Order of play
23 May 09 |  Tennis
Women's singles latest
23 May 08 |  Tennis
Men's doubles latest
02 Jun 08 |  Tennis
Men's singles draw
26 Aug 11 |  Tennis
Women's singles draw
28 Jan 10 |  Tennis
Tennis on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Tennis

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