Australian Open Day Nine – Different fortunes for the Andy’s as Rafa’s injury makes unwelcome return.

Match Of The Day Marin Cillic bt Andy Roddick 7-6, 6-3, 2-6, 3-6, 6-3
It was a mightily impressive display from the 21 year old Croatian. After already defeating Bernard Tomic and the substantially more difficult Juan Martin Del Potro in two five set marathons, Marin Cillic did the same to Andy Roddick. The American had no answer and no rhythm in the early stages and a shoulder injury in the second set looked to have spelt the end for the big serving American old-skooler. But a surging comeback (now a welcome trademark of this much improved Roddick) forced the match in to a decider after two quick sets pummelled the Croat in to submission. To rise again after such a beating and turn the tables around once more was a superhuman task. Can the Croat overcome an Andy Murray high on confidence? Well there have been so many shocks this tournament I wouldn’t like to say but my instinct says Cillic is just that bit too green to take on the Scot.

Murray himself had a much easier ride to his first semi-finals in Australia. Rafael Nadal never really looked in control or up to speed in the match. The first three or four games saw the Spaniard play phenomenal stuff, but it wasn’t enough and Murray stayed strong to maintain his own rhythm and enforce a gameplan that was perfect in its execution and tactical nous. A tight second set culminated in a tiebreak which seemed to knock Nadal’s right knee into a relapse of last year’s problems – at 3-0 down in the third the warrior uncharacteristically called it a day.

Maria Kirilenko’s dream run at this years open came to a sudden halt against arguably the most accomplished of her opponents this fortnight. Zheng Jie is an extremely solid top 15 player, but not as illustrious or spectacular as Sharapova. Yet her consistent match play was enough here, with undoubtedly a degree of exhaustion creeping into the young Russian’s mental and physical psyche. In the other quarter final, Justine Henin played well enough to conquer an oddly floundering and erratic Nadia Petrova. A frustrating display from the Russian produced none of the rampant consistency shown against Clijsters and Kuznetsova, Henin just had to hang in there and play some percentage shots to win. That and some trademark winners, which always help and come as easy as you like for the Belgian star.

Seeds/noteworthy players to fall today
Rafael Nadal
Andy Roddick
Nadia Petrova
Maria Kirilenko

Picture courtesy of Australian Open Official site.


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