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Rediff.com  » Sports » 'Crazy' Kimiko, Serena, Murray march on at Melbourne Park

'Crazy' Kimiko, Serena, Murray march on at Melbourne Park

Last updated on: January 17, 2013 19:23 IST

'Crazy' Kimiko marches on at Melbourne Park

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Kimiko Date-Krumm's former rivals call her crazy but the 42-year-old Japanese, who reached the third round of the Australian Open on Thursday, is intent on playing on until her body gives up on her completely.

Date-Krumm made her Melbourne Park debut 23 years ago and became the oldest woman to win a match at the grand slam tournament with her first round victory over 12th seed Nadia Petrova on Tuesday.

She was not done yet, however, and defied Thursday's sweltering heat to drag her body through another 92 minutes of exertion on court six to emerge a 6-2, 7-5 winner over Shahar Peer of Israel.

"It was very, very tough today, tough match," the 100th-ranked Date-Krumm said.

"It was a big challenge for me because (during the second set) suddenly something big and strong hit my back and I felt so heavy in my body and I couldn't move.

"But I tried to push myself."


Image: Kimiko Date-Krumm of Japan
Photographs: Tim Wimborne/Reuters

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'Everybody says to me, you are crazy'

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A throwback to the days when technique rather than power dominated women's tennis, Date-Krumm pushed herself to victory and a meeting with Lucie Safarova or Bojana Jovanovski in the fourth round.

Asked how long she would continue to return to Melbourne, the 1994 semi-finalist joked that she would like to extend her run to 2018.

"But it's not easy, not easy," she said. "I need a new body. I practised on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, then on Tuesday I played singles first round and doubles first round.

"Today, it was the second round. And tomorrow maybe doubles again. So I need rest."

Rest and plenty of liquids are Date-Krumm's recipe for longevity in the game and she revealed that 10 hours of sleep had helped restore her energy levels for Thursday's contest.

The 12-year hiatus in her career from 1997 probably did not hurt, either.

Date-Krumm, now older than the mothers of many of her rivals, said she still caught up frequently with former rivals like Lindsay Davenport, Martinez, Mary Jo Fernandez and Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario.

"Everybody says to me, you are crazy," she said. "First word is always, you are crazy. But they support me a lot.

"When I see Steffi, of course, she says to me, you should stop now and make the baby."


Image: Kimiko Date-Krumm of Japan
Photographs: Tim Wimborne/Reuters

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Serena storms into third round

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Serena Williams suffered another mishap at the Australian Open on Thursday when she smacked herself in the mouth with her racquet during a dominating 6-2, 6-0 win over Garbine Muguruza in the second round.

Third-seeded Williams, who rolled her ankle in a 6-0, 6-0 thrashing of Edina Gallovits-Hall in the first round, dabbed her lip in pain after a forehand follow-through hit her in the mouth during the first set against the 112th-ranked Spaniard.

Williams quickly recovered and stormed through the second set in stifling heat at Rod Laver Arena, sealing the match with her 10th ace.

The American dabbed her lip in pain after a forehand follow-through hit her in the mouth during the first set against the lowly-ranked Spaniard, but was barely troubled thereafter and set up a meeting with Japan's Ayumi Morita with her 10th ace.

"I didn't feel anything today," the 31-year-old said of the ankle injury. "Obviously when you go out to play you're heavy on adrenaline and you're really pumped up.

"Usually I feel injuries after the match, but so far, so good. I felt much better than I ever dreamed of expecting to feel.

"I'm on the up and up. It can only get better from here."


Image: Serena Williams
Photographs: Lucas Dawson/Getty Images

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Azarenka continues dominant dance

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Victoria Azarenka again highlighted the gap between the top tier of women's tennis and the rest of the field by demolishing Eleni Daniilidou of Greece in the second round of the Australian Open on Thursday.

PHOTOS: Ruthless Djokovic, Sharapova lift Melbourne Park

A day after Maria Sharapova dished out a second successive 'double bagel' to an overmatched opponent at Melbourne Park, Azarenka was just as ruthless in dispatching Daniilidou 6-1, 6-0 in 55 minutes on Rod Laver Arena.

Azarenka, last year's champion, was only pushed in one game against the World No. 94 when Daniilidou held three break points in the fourth game of the second set.

The Belarusian will now meet either Jamie Hampton of the United States or Thailand's Luksika Kumkhum in the third round.

The victories for Williams and Azarenka continued the trend for lop-sided scores in matches involving the top four women, none of whom has dropped a set yet.

"I think I honestly can only speak for myself, but it seems like everybody is in great form, and it's going to be very interesting," said Azarenka.


Image: Victoria Azarenka
Photographs: Michael Dodge/Getty Images

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Cool Murray breezes through to third round

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Andy Murray kept his cool in a Melbourne scorcher to reach the third round with a businesslike 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 victory over Joao Sousa on Hisense Arena.

The British third seed looked intent on keeping his time in the heat and humidity to the absolute minimum, wrapping up victory in just 101 minutes when his Portuguese opponent went long with a return.

Two breaks in the first set, a couple in the second and one more in the third proved enough to set up a meeting with Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis, who earlier stunned German 25th seed Florian Mayer 6-2, 6-3, 6-1.

Murray, who is chasing a second successive grand slam title after his breakthrough triumph at the US Open, has reached the semi-finals at Melbourne Park for the last three years.

"It doesn't matter how much training you do, it always difficult when the sun comes out here," Murray said.

"You need to get in control of the points and dictate them because otherwise you will get very tired very quickly in these conditions."


Image: Andy Murray
Photographs: Toby Melville/Reuters

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Tomic survives scare to be last Australian standing

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Bernard Tomic blew seven match points in his second-round clash with Germany's Daniel Brands but sealed a hard-fought 6-7, 7-5, 7-6, 7-6 victory on the eighth to become the host nation's last player standing at the Australian Open.

On a scorching day at Melbourne Park, the bad boy of tennis Down Under had two chances to secure victory at Rod Laver Arena on 120th-ranked Brands' serve at 6-5 in the fourth set.

Brands saved them both, and another five in the decisive tiebreak, before Tomic closed it out 10-8 to set up a likely third-round match with Roger Federer, who will play Russia's 40th-ranked Nikolay Davydenko in the evening session.

"I would prefer to play Davydenko," Tomic said in a courtside interview, raising a laugh in the stadium where players and spectators alike baked in 40 degree Celsius heat.

"I definitely got my arse kicked (by Federer) both times," added 43rd-ranked Tomic, who was beaten by the Swiss maestro in the fourth round of last year's tournament and later in the year at Cincinnati.

Tomic sealed victory shortly before his countryman James Duckworth succumbed in a marathon five-setter to Slovenian Blaz Kavcic.

Duckworth's loss left the much-vaunted Tomic the sole hope for local fans, who on Wednesday mourned ninth seed Sam Stosur's second round exit from the women's draw.


Image: Bernard Tomic of Australia celebrates
Photographs: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

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Federer mauls Davydenko to face-off with Tomic

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After routing old sparring partner Nikolay Davydenko at the Australian Open on Thursday, Roger Federer shifted his focus to humbling one of the young guns in his third round clash against local favourite Bernard Tomic.

Local media hyped up the potential match-up with the release of the draw, and the 43rd-ranked Tomic, the bad boy of tennis Down Under and last Australian in the draw, fuelled the frenzy by declaring he could beat the 17-times grand slam champion.

Federer, who cruised past Davydenko 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 on a balmy night at Rod Laver Arena, beat Tomic in front of 15,000 of his compatriots on centre court in the fourth round last year.

The 31-year-old Federer was a paragon of Swiss neutrality as he looked ahead to the match, but was goaded into reminding the plucky 20-year-old of the gulf between the players.

"Look, I have so much more experience than him," Federer said, when asked to clarify comments about aiming to dominate Tomic physically.

"Last year I reached my thousandth match on tour. That's what I meant. I know how hard a five-setter can be. I know how intense a night session can be and all these things.

"Whatever that means, length of rally, length of match, intensity, I've been there. That could potentially help me, but it could also not help me.

Image: Roger Federer plays a forehand in his second round match against Nikolay Davydenko
Photographs: Julian Finney/Getty Images

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Tomic's unorthodox playing style and finesse is different from others

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"We'll see how it goes. But he's done a really nice job today, for instance, in the heat."

Tomic will need more than bluster to beat Federer, who required less than two hours to despatch former world number three Davydenko in their 20th tour clash.

Resplendent in a pair of pink and black two-toned sneakers, Federer captured a break early in each set, while his 40th-ranked opponent never had a look at his serve.

Tomic's unorthodox playing style and finesse offers a far different opposition to most baseline pounders on the tour, and it succeeded in poaching a set off Federer in their first meeting, at a Davis Cup match in 2011.

The callow confidence reminded Federer of his teenage years when he battled the likes of American Andre Agassi in the late 1990s.

"(Tomic) took a set off me there (at the Davis Cup). He wasn't too impressed (with me)," said Federer, bidding for a fifth title at Melbourne Park.

"There's certain characters and certain players that have an easier time to play against good players.

"I was one of those as well."

Image: Roger Federer plays a backhand in his second round match against Nikolay Davydenko on Thursday
Photographs: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

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