Tennis Freaks

“1821: Nadal, I’ve noticed, has a problem with his shorts, in that they keep on getting stuck up his jacksie and he has to pull them out before every point. Not sure why he doesn’t just get a size up, he’s probably loaded.”

Venus v Mirza as it happened

Australian Open, Melbourne

Women’s third-round result:

V Williams (US) v S Mirza (Ind)

7-6 (7-0) 6-4

By Sarah Holt

Second set:

Williams 6-4 Mirza
Williams is making this look easy now as she moves to 40-0 and match point. Mirza nets and that’s it, Williams is through.

“That is what Williams needed a test – but not overly stretched – and now Williams is set for a title tilt in the second week of the Open.”
BBC Sport’s Chris Bailey

Williams 5-4 Mirza
An ace from Mirza is challenged by Venus but it’s good and that sees the Indian hold on.

1230: News in from Melbourne. If this match finishes in two sets then Hewitt and Baghdatis will play tonight (if we are on Melbourne time).

Williams 5-3 Mirza
Mirza curls down the corners of her mouth as Williams sails to 40-0 and the American holds to move to within one game of the set. The crowd are getting anxious and there are increasing calls for Venus. Could they secretly be wanting to see a certain Mr Hewitt take on one Mir Baghdatis?

Williams 4-3 Mirza
Venus carves out a break point at 30-40 – but despite a challenge – the ball is out and Mirza recovers deuce. The American sends down a big forehand and Mirza nets to hand the eighth seed the break. Could Hewitt be getting closer?

“I think Venus deserves that break as she has been on and on at Mirza. If Mirza wants to get close to her potential then she has to get her serve in shape as the rest of her game is terrific.”
BBC Sport analyst Sam Smith

Williams 3-3 Mirza
Williams once again holds her serve very comfortably – and as yet no sign of a break through for either player.

1212: “The question is; “will Mirza change her game pattern or just look for defeat?”
Jarvishenriques on 606

Williams 2-3 Mirza
It is testament to Mirza’s fighting spirit that this match is as tight as it is; she is refusing to give ground to Venus. The tactics from the 31st seed seem to be to hit the ball as hard as she can and respond instinctively to Venus. So far so good in this second, as she holds.

Williams 2-2 Mirza
No trouble for Williams here as she holds.

1203: (so 1103 at night in Melbourne) Still no word, by the way, on whether Hewitt v Baghdatis will go ahead after this match. Good old Chris Bailey has gone a bit Ricky from the Kaiser Chiefs on the matter.

“If it wasn’t played tonight there would be a riot I think.”
BBC Sport’s Chris Bailey

Williams 1-2 Mirza
A lack of concentration is threatening to derail Mirza here as Venus moves to 30-0. The Indian just pops the ball long to hand Venus a break chance but she recovers for deuce. She moves to advantage and holds.

Williams 1-1 Mirza
Venus uses up one of her challenges and proves the line judge wrong as her serve is good. The American has dropped her tempo a little bit and slides to 40-30, but she holds.

Williams 0-1 Mirza
So Mirza knows she is in for a scramble now and she manages to hold in the second-set opener.

First set:

Williams 7-6 Mirza
The luck is going with Williams in the tie-break as she storms to a 5-0 lead. Williams looks unstoppable now as she leaps up for an easy smash at 6-0. The American skips a forehand down the line and it’s a perfect breaker for Venus who takes it 7-0 to wrap up the first set.

“It shows you what a great champion Venus is, as she didn’t get flustered, and she worked it out.”
BBC Sport analyst Sam Smith

Williams 6-6 Mirza
It really does look like Venus has moved up a gear here as she gets hold of two set points. Mirza scrambles to save deuce. A wild, looping shot from Williams takes the 31st seed to advantage but, put your fingers in your ears folks, Mirza lets out a piercing scream as she thwacks the ball into the net post. It seems to have done the trick though as she holds – and we head for a tie-break.

“I thought it was Sharapova screaming out there – and her screaming was up there with a pneumatic drill yesterday.”
BBC Sport’s Chris Bailey

Williams 6-5 Mirza
Venus finds her service rhythm and whacks down an ace to hold to love. The American walks off court with her jaw visibly steeled. Has the tide turned?

Williams 5-5 Mirza
Can Mirza hold her nerve on her serve, eh? Venus steals the first two points but Mirza recovers to 30-30. Venus earns her first break point as she sends a forehand inching down the line and the 31st seed goes long to hand Venus the break back. The former Mrs Williams Oracene, wearing Jackie O shades, watches on dispassionately from the stands.

1134: “I’ll go Venus in three tight sets.”
Il_Principe on 606

Williams 4-5 Mirza
There are plenty of fizzing strokes on court and Venus is beaded in sweat as she fights to stay in the set. The American eighth seed dumps the ball into the net to slide to deuce. Mirza uses one of her three challenges but the Hawk-Eye replay shows the ball bounced well into the tramlines and Venus moves to advantage. Mirza recovers deuce but Venus holds and the Indian must serve it out.

Williams 3-5 Mirza
Mirza is moving really well around the court, and that is probably where she is giving Venus most trouble. The Indian 31st seed scrambles to the net for 15-0 and sends Venus left and right before delivering a cross-court diagonal. Venus claws back two points but Mirza snuffs out the threat to move closer to the set.

Williams 3-4 Mirza
Williams cuts the lead by holding fairly comfortably on her service game.

1121: “Mirza could very well cause an upset here. Venus is prone to errors and Mirza has to capitalise on that.”
JT_BlueForever on 606

Williams 2-4 Mirza
Mirza is keeping up the momentum and consolidates the break, conceding just a single point.

Williams 2-3 Mirza
It really is flat out there at the Rod Laver Arena so how about a break of serve to get the crowd going? Mirza obliges with some more stunning groundstrokes, sealing the break with a lovely half-volley over the net.

“You could see Mirza doing this tonight. If she has a good serving day and can just peg Williams back, you could say she is better from the back of the court.”
BBC Sport’s Chris Bailey

Williams 2-2 Mirza
Venus stands astride the T on the baseline and whacks down a couple of big forehands to steal 0-30 on the Mirza serve. But the 31st seed digs out a few more of those precise forehands and holds to keep this set ticking along on serve.

Williams 2-1 Mirza
Sorry, after the excitement of Roger Federer’s win over Janko Tipsarevic this match is failing to spark similar fervour. Nonetheless, Venus holds.

Williams 1-1 Mirza
Mirza holds with a minimum amount of trouble. And to cheer up proceedings here’s some thoughts from Mikesiva on 606 .

“This will be an interesting test for Venus. If she can get past Mirza, a mouth-watering quarter-final with Ivanovic beckons.”

Williams 1-0 Mirza
Mirza is starting aggressively and her power shots pay off as she moves to deuce on the Venus serve. But the 31st seed over-cooks it a couple of times and Venus holds. The new crowd in for the evening session are a bit flat at the minute.

1058: We will keep you posted on whether the big match between Lleyton Hewitt and Marcos Baghdatis will go ahead after this match. If this match goes on beyond midnight Melbourne time then Hewitt-Baghdatis will be postponed. So let’s see how quickly we can get off the mark here.

1055: The signs aren’t good for Venus so far. The umpire calls “heads” at the coin toss and Venus says “what, tails?” Luckily, Mirza is more focused and elects to receive.

1050: Venus Williams was not at her best in her third-round win over Camille Pin and, unless she improves, Sania Mirza could have a chance here.

The Indian 31st seed has not got beyond the third round in Melbourne, while Williams has reached the final just once, in 2003.

Story from BBC SPORT

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