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.”

Nalbandian v Ferrero as it happened

Australian Open, Melbourne

Men’s third-round result:

JC Ferrero (Spa) bt D Nalbandian (Arg)

6-1 6-2 6-3

By Piers Newbery

Third set:

Nalbandian 3-6 Ferrero
There we have it. Nalbandian smacks a smash into the tram lines on his way to 0-40 and Ferrero converts his second match point with a forehand winner. He looks rightly thrilled at taking a big scalp but, Nalbo…. que paso?

Enjoyed your company everyone, I will be taking a break from the next match to do….. stuff… before returning for Serena v Vaidisova at some ungodly hour.

Nalbandian 3-5 Ferrero
Daniela Hantuchova is through and I’ve enjoyed a surprisingly impressive lasagne, so it’s been a good few minutes for me. Unlike Nalbo, who finally does the decent thing and smashes his racket to the ground/plexicushion. Ferrero holds.

0154: “Gone a bit Nalbo. Newbs you legend!”
From Indy again, via text (Well, really, I say….)

Nalbandian 3-4 Ferrero
After a couple of pretty low-key sets when he hasn’t had to do anything spectacular, Ferrero steps up a gear with some fizzing forehands to earn two break points at 15-40. Nalbo ambles into the net, Ferrero lines up the backand pass and….. dumps it in the net. Nalbandian follows up with backhand and forehand winners and JCF sees a great chance go begging.

Nalbandian 2-4 Ferrero
The first sign of trouble for Ferrero when Nalbandian gets his first break point of the day, but he sticks a forehand long and looks like he’s going to burst into tears. Ferrero does not give him another chance and victory is within sight. As is my lasagne.

0142: “I think you’ll find 01.30 and 01.31 are part of the same message. piers,is staying up to these crazy hours every night addling your brains?”
From webber, oxford x, via text (Ha, clearly. I’ve gone a bit Nalbo)

Nalbandian 2-3 Ferrero
Sorry Joe (see below), I think that £20 might be gone for good. Ferrero gets a crucial break when Nalbandian sticks a couple in the net. What is up with the big man from Cordoba?

0133: “Nalbandian will turn this around, or at least he wants too. I have twenty quid riding on him.”
From Joe, birmingham, via text

Nalbandian 2-2 Ferrero
Nalbo looks as though he’d like to smash his racket but doesn’t have the energy. Ferrero holds to 15 and could be on his way to a pretty big upset here, bearing in mind the way Nalbo finished last season with a couple of wins over Federer.

Hello, the pubs are shut….

0132: “Kohlschreiber. I’ve had a few gins tonight and was just challenged to spell ‘the German lads’ name. A crowning achievment, that.”
From Will, in Glasgow, via text (Indeed, I’m sober and struggle with that one)

0131: “e night-merchants keeping you company? x”
From webber, oxford, via text (I’ve no idea either)

0130: “Piers mate, great coverage.when you’re on the graveyard shift,are you in a massive room of computers on your own,or are there pale gollum-esque bbc websit….”
From anon, who tails off presumably drunk, via text (On my own, big room, lots of computers, antiquated microwave)

Nalbandian 2-1 Ferrero
Nalbandian moves ahead again wtih a decent service game and looks like putting up a better challenge in this set.

Nalbandian 1-1 Ferrero
He may not be the force he once was but Ferrero remains a top-class player with a great forehand and very handy serve – getting out of this will not be easy for Nalbandian. Ferrero fires an ace for 30-15 and thinks he has another on the following point before Hawkeye says it was millimetres wide, prompting a smile from the Spaniard. He holds easily enough.

Nalbandian 1-0 Ferrero
Nalbo at last gets ahead on the scoreboard with a confident service game, although there is time for one outburst of presumably rather rude Spanish following an error. Nalbandian once said “Tim Henman is no gentleman” after one of the Argentine’s many on-court spats. Unbelievable, eh?

Second set:

0118: “I’ll text you Piers, just cos no one else seems to want to. Or are they just all really poor quality?”
From Indy, with a terminally bad sleep pattern, via text (Much appreciated)

Nalbandian 2-6 Ferrero
There we have it, a two-set lead for JCF after he holds serve from deuce – although he does net a high backhand volley at 40-30. Nalbo manages one decent forehand winner but he’s hardly looking like a man on a mission. A mission to go home, maybe.

Nalbandian 2-5 Ferrero
Nalbandian cracks an ace for a love hold but surely it’s too late in this set.

Nalbandian 1-5 Ferrero
Ferrero wallops a couple of forehands before Nalbandian finally gets going from the baseline and hauls it back to deuce. Ferrero takes the game with some assertive hitting, but signs of life from big Dave.

Elsewhere, Philip Kohlschreiber leads Jarkko Nieminen by a set and fifth seed David Ferrer is a set up against Vince ‘I ain’t afraid a ya’ Spadea. Daniela Hantuchova and Nadia Petrova are also on course for victories. And my lasagne must be done.

Nalbandian 1-4 Ferrero
Ouch. Nalbandian cannot do a thing right. He manages to find a net-cord with a simple mid-court forehand and the ball hops up and beyond the baseline. Ferrero then creams a backhand return and it’s 0-40, three break points. Nalbandian sticks a backhand wide and this could be over soon.

Nalbandian 1-3 Ferrero
A good leave takes Nalbandian to 0-30 up but he then nets a makeable backhand down the line. Ferrero makes him pay with a sweet cross-court forehand pass and some heavy serving.

Nalbandian 1-2 Ferrero
Well, he’s off the mark in this set at least. Nalbandian thumps only his second ace of the match to hold serve and stay in touch. To a personal matter, and having had two bowls of cereal in the last 24hrs I wisely purchased a microwaveable lasagne at London Bridge. Any dip in the awesome quality of this commentary over the next few minutes can be explained by the location of said microwave across the hall.

Nalbandian 0-2 Ferrero
….and if you give a class player like Ferrero this much freedom he’ll take advantage. Three aces in a row give the Spaniard an impressive hold of serve.

Nalbandian 0-1 Ferrero
Fair play to Ferrero, he’s doing enough, and one drive-volley at 30-15 is reminiscent of his glory days five years ago but still…. Nalbo dumps a backhand into the net and drops serve again – three unforced errors in that game alone.

First set:

Nalbandian 1-6 Ferrero
All very odd. Ferrero sweeps through his third straight love game, sealing the first set with an ace. Nalbandian is playing his first event of the year after suffering an injury earlier in the month. He’s a bit fragile at the best of times, big Dave, and he doesn’t look up for it at the moment.

Nalbandian 1-5 Ferrero
Oh dear, Nalbandian gives up another break of serve very tamely and this sets is as good as over.

Nalbandian 1-4 Ferrero
Ferrero, a former semi-finalist here, consolidates his break again and it’s straightforward stuff for the Spaniard at the moment as Nalbandian struggles to get going.

Nalbandian 1-3 Ferrero
So after enjoying an epic nightshift yesterday that finished at 11.30am, thanks to the drama of Federer v Tipsarevic, I stumbled home to enjoy a kip that was regularly interrupted by screams of “C’mon!” from Lleyton Hewitt and the soothing voices of John Lloyd and Sam Smith. It was quite surreal and a reminder never go to bed with the TV on.

Nalbandian smacks his first ace of the day on the way to holding serve to 15.

Nalbandian 0-3 Ferrero
Neither player has found anything like their range yet – maybe they were up late last night watching Hewitt v Baghdatis. We’ve had 15 unforced errors between the pair of them, with Nalbo’s 10th a wild forehand that gives Ferrero the game from deuce.

Nalbandian 0-2 Ferrero
A slightly stodgy start from Nalbo, who is not always the picture of positive thinking on court. He is taken to deuce and then gives up the break by sending the ball long. That won’t cheer him up.

The good news is that, unlike yesterday, the scoreboard is full as play gets under way around the grounds.

Nalbandian 0-1 Ferrero
So here we go, Ferrero opens the serving with a hold to 15 and the pair start the match with a 2-2 head-to-head record. For some reason the roof is over again on Rod Laver Arena, although it’s not actually raining outside. Some bleary eyes in Melbourne (and London) after yesterday’s play finished at 4.35am local time.

0008: Morning all, just made it after the mother of all sleeps following yesterday’s madness – one of the great tennis days. And we could be in for another long one here as these two have previous where that’s concerened.

Story from BBC SPORT


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