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Rediff.com  » Sports » Aus Open images: Clijsters, Nadal merciless

Aus Open images: Clijsters, Nadal merciless

Last updated on: January 18, 2011 17:42 IST

Clijsters hands sorry Safina a 'double bagel'

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Belgium's Kim Clijsters inflicted the dreaded 'double bagel' on Russian Dinara Safina with a 6-0, 6-0 first round blowout at the Australian Open on Tuesday.

It was an embarrassingly lop-sided match between two former world number ones, Safina fighting back the tears as she trudged to the net after a 44-minute humiliation.

Clijsters, a three-times Grand Slam champion and Melbourne finalist in 2004, took the first set with a ferocious backhand down the line after just 20 minutes.

The Australian crowd tried to get behind Safina but when the Russian dumped an easy forehand into the net to go 0-2 down in the second set it was effectively all over.

Clijsters put Safina out of her misery on her fourth match point with another vicious backhand which was too hot for her tortured opponent to handle.


Image: Kim Clijsters on her way to rout of Safina
Photographs: Reuters
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Merciless Nadal motors on as Daniel retires

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A rampaging Rafael Nadal roared through the first round of the Australian Open on Tuesday when Brazil's Marcos Daniel retired with the world number one on a tear at 6-0 5-0.

The swashbuckling Spaniard, bidding to become only the third man, and the first since 1969, to hold all four grand slam titles at once, surrendered just four points in a first-set 'bagel' lasting 19 minutes at Melbourne Park.

A shell-shocked Daniel immediately called for the trainer to tape up his left knee -- and get a much-needed breather -- and bravely hobbled on until throwing in the towel at 0-5 barely able to walk.

Nadal will join Don Budge (1938) and Rod Laver (1962 and 1969) as the only men to hold all four major crowns at the same time if he wins his second Australian Open.

Melbourne champion in 2009, Nadal mercilessly forced Daniel to scramble from side to side once it became clear his 32-year-old opponent was struggling with his lateral movement.

So embarrassingly lop-sided had the match become that one wag in the crowd broke the silence by shouting "Hang in there, Rafa!" to the amusement of a packed Rod Laver Arena.


Image: Rafael Nadal

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Beck ache helps Murray march on in Melbourne

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Andy Murray booked his place in the second round of the Australian Open on Tuesday when Slovakian Karol Beck retired hurt with the Briton leading 6-3, 6-1, 4-2.

Murray, runner-up last year in Melbourne, got to take an early shower after Beck called it quits because of a sore shoulder in a match that was definitely not one for the purists.

Beck, who served a two-year doping suspension from late 2005-07, played horribly before trudging off early, committing 43 unforced errors, many of them absolute howlers.

He spent much of the match growling at himself angrily while fifth seed Murray, who lost to Roger Federer in last year's final, rarely needed to rise above the ordinary.


Image: Andy Murray and Karol Beck shake hands after their match

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Beck committed 43 unforced errors

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Beck played horribly before trudging off court, committing 43 unforced errors, many of them absolute howlers.

He spent much of the match growling at himself angrily while Murray, who lost to Roger Federer in last year's final, rarely needed to rise above the ordinary.

Beck attempted to go out all guns blazing but it was too little, too late.

"He started throwing everything at me," said Murray, who next faces Ukrainian Illya Marchenko.

"He went for some huge shots. It was high-risk tennis and I had to weather the storm a little bit.

"He managed to make a few mistakes before he stopped," he added with considerable understatement.


Image: Beck receives medical treatment during his match against Murray

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Dark horse Zvonareva charges into second round

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Vera Zvonareva strolled into the second round of the Australian Open on Tuesday with a 6-2 6-1 trouncing of Austria's Sybille Bammer.

The French and US Open finalist barely broke sweat against her 70th-ranked opponent, who surrendered the match in 59 minutes in a hail of unforced errors on another unseasonably cool summer's day at Rod Laver Arena.

Russian Zvonareva is seeded second at Melbourne Park and is coming off her best season, but she is still regarded as almost a dark horse behind more fancied players Kim Clijsters and world number one Caroline Wozniacki.


Image: Vera Zvonareva slides for a return

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Makarova scalps Ivanovic

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Safina was not the only former world number one bundled out of the Australian Open on Tuesday. Serbia's Ana Ivanovic was beaten 3-6, 6-4, 10-8 by Russian Ekaterina Makarova.

Ivanovic blamed the effects of an abdominal strain, however, promising to break back into the top 10 soon from her current position of 20.

"Lots of positives came out of this match," she said. "I certainly still believe I can get back to top 10 and I believe I can do it in this year."


Image: Ekaterina Makarova celebrates after beating Ivanovic

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