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.”

Archive for australian open

Djokovic v Tsonga as it happened

Australian Open, Melbourne

Men’s final result:


4-6 6-4 6-3 7-6 (7-2)


By Piers Newbery

1211: Good old NoDjo. He thanks everyone and then says to the crowd, “I know you wanted him to win more than me.” That raises a laugh and seems a good way to go out. Thanks for your attention over the last couple of weeks, come back for the French Open armed with some new tennis nicknames.

1201: “Well done Djokovic, step aside Nadal and Federer there is a new force in tennis.”
From cantonabeachsoccer on 606

1158: “Djokovic has proved himself on all surfaces and he’s already reached another Grand Slam final at the US Open. He’s got the shots and he’s a super, super athlete with all the power as well.”
Pat Cash on 5 Live Sports Extra

1157: “Enjoyed that last set – it was amazing and Tsonga u r a winner 2 ! Congrats Novak!”
From Elizabeth May Pink via text

Fourth set:

Djokovic 7-6 (7-2) Tsonga
There we have it – a first Grand Slam title for 20-year-old Djokovic. He gets a mini-break on the second point and all but makes sure when Tsonga double-faults to go 5-1 down. Djokovic gets two serves for the title and takes both points to cap a superb performance, before falling to the floor in the traditional manner. There are hugs and tears all around in the Djokovic box, and quite right too.

Djokovic 6-6 Tsonga
Tsonga misses a backhand for 15-15 but responds with a magnificent forehand into the corner and a big service winner. The Frenchman then chooses a bad time for his first double fault of the evening but hangs on and it’s a tie-break. My, what tension.

1143: “You forgot NadRa!! (See 1128 entry) How could you!!”
From Lauren, leeds, via text (Er, yeah)

Djokovic 6-5 Tsonga
Djokovic is pulled wide and makes a forehand error for 30-30, and he then sticks a regulation backhand into the net. It’s break point but Djokovic gets away with it after a poor drop shot as Tsonga fails to put away a mid-court ball and NoDjo takes the volley. He serves out for a huge hold.

1138: “Yannick Noah is indeed the last French player to win a set in a Grand Slam final (1041 entry) when he won the French Open in 1983. Both Henri Leconte and Cédric Pioline (twice) reached finals, but they were defeated in straight sets.”
From meef01 on 606

Djokovic 5-5 Tsonga
Tsonga plays a superb off-forehand winner when stumbling backwards at 15-15 and moments later he has the game. Good stuff, JoTso.

Djokovic 5-4 Tsonga
Another excellent hold from Djokovic, who throws in a fine volley off his toes, and Tsonga must hold to keep the match alive.

1131: “It’s 20 years since a five-set final here, hard to believe. Me against Wilander.”
Pat Cash on 5 Live Sports Extra (He lost, kids. Sorry Pat)

Djokovic 4-4 Tsonga
Great work from Tsonga who is under huge pressure at 30-30 but holds his nerve, taking the game with a big serve.

1128: “New names for players. NoDjo, JoTso, RFed. Anymore??”
From Vicky via text (Loads – Nalbo, Muzza, NiDav, A-Rod, Gonzo, Baggy, Boggy, Ljubo. I have too much time on my hands)

Djokovic 4-3 Tsonga
Well, NoDjo answers any questions about his fitness with a superb game rounded off with a beautiful drop volley on the stretch.

1125: “I see what you did there – whether or not it goes to a fifth set you’ve made correct prediction (see 1-0 entry). You wily thing.”
From anon via text (Rumbled. And don’t call me Wily)

Djokovic 3-3 Tsonga
Wallop. Tsonga holds serve to love and now we’ll see how Djokjovic is doing after his lengthy treatment session.

1122: “I guess it’s loss of a bit of condition. I’m not a big fan of players being able to do this. I don’t think he’s in any physical danger at all and I think he’s gaining an unfair advantage just when the momentum seemed to be going a little bit with Tsonga.”
From BBC Sport’s Andrew Castle

1117: “Its a bit like watching Ali vs Screech from saved by the bell.. ”
From anon via text

Djokovic 3-2 Tsonga
Djokovic really isn’t moving too well now, in fact both men look petty shattered. A net cord goes against Tsonga as he falls to 40-15 behind before battling back for deuce. NoDjo holds on with a big second serve and asks fro the trainer at the changeover.

1113: “Regarding the text from Nathan of Cardiff at 1054, he’s referring to the Magpie rhyme. You know, the one that goes, “1 for sorrow, 2 for joy, 3 for a girl … ” and all that. Although, Tsonga would just be wishing for 1 beak to come back into this game.”
From silverplumes on 606

Djokovic 2-2 Tsonga
Look out – the big man from Le Mans appears to be back and now it’s Djokovic who is hobbling around after possibly tweaking a hamstring. Or getting cramp. Maybe he’s broken a nail, I don’t know. Anyway, Tsonga holds to love.

Djokovic 2-1 Tsonga
Tsonga has a glimpse of a chance at 40-30 down but blazes a forehand into the tram lines and Djokovic moves ahead again.

1104: “Magpies? Noah? Is the only way to get on this page to talk utter nonsense?!”
From Joe, london, via text (Yep)

1103: “I saw many lone magpies this morning and saluted them all!! Come on djokovic!! I wish nadal was in the final.”
From anon via text

Djokovic 1-1 Tsonga
There are more signs of tiredness from Tsonga but he hangs on.

Djokovic 1-0 Tsonga
NoDjo absolutely creams a forehand for a winner at 40-0 and he looks in great form now. I’ve just remembered I predicted Djokovic in four sets. I’ve never got a prediction right in my life, so prepare for a fifth set.

Third set:

Djokovic 6-3 Tsonga
A very tired looking mid-court forehand into the net suggests Tsonga is there for the taking at 0-30. He puts up a desperate lob that is eventually called out and fails with a challenge. Tsonga saves the first two set points, firing a cross-court pass on the second, and Djokovic nets a backhand on the third to the delight of most of the crowd.

Djokovic is unconcerned and smacks yet another backhand down the line. Set point number four – but his attempted lob is poor and Tsonga smashes it away. A fifth chance arrives and this time Tsonga saves it with as service winner. Never fear, set point number six – cue a Tsonga drop volley. Finally, Djokovic takes the set when forcing a Tsonga error on the volley. Phew.

1054: “I just saw 2 magpies out my window. In the song 2s for joy. Come on tsonga.”
From Nathan, cardiff, via text (I’ve no idea either)

Djokovic 5-3 Tsonga
A brilliant backhand down the line seals a solid hold for Djokovic and he looks very much on course for the set now.

Djokovic 4-3 Tsonga
A sweeping forehand gives Tsonga the game to 30 and keeps him in touch on this set.

1041: “Djokovic on a roll now, hope Tsonga cn respond. He’s th 1st Fr finalist 2 win a set since Noah!”
From French fan via text

Djokovic 4-2 Tsonga
Aaah, that’s better. Djokovic is in a bit of trouble at 15-30 but then sticks a backhand return into the net. Moments later, Tsonga complains for the second time today about how long Djokovic takes to serve but Carlos Ramos is not impressed and the Serb goes on to hold.

1037: “Why all this fuss about both players names starting with a silent letter? (See 1029 entry) They dont. We brits are just bad at languages.”
From anon via text

Djokovic 3-2 Tsonga
Tsonga holds to 15, very good. I need a comfort break.

Djokovic 3-1 Tsonga
Djokovic holds to 15. The massed ranks of Djokovics in the stands continue to applaud on thier feet. They’re all wearing matching tracksuits, making them easy to pick out. Lovely.

1029: “Hey Piers, is this the first final ever in which: Both players’ surnames’ first letter is silent (D in Djokovic and T in Tsonga) And in which both players’ surnames’ first vowel is an o? Cheers.”
From Torres’ right peg on 606 (Brilliant questions both. Dunno.)

Djokovic 2-1 Tsonga
The trademark Djokovic backhand down the line comes out and he has two break points at 15-40. The first disappears with a forehand that goes long and Tsonga hits an ace on the second. A third break point comes along and after a lengthy rally, Tsonga sends a forehand wide.

1023: “Goodness knows what odds Tsonga was at the start of the tournament amid all the Murray hype! 100-1?”
From Ken, Aberdeen, via text

Djokovic 1-1 Tsonga
I hate apostrophes. Anyway, Djokovic holds just as impressively and both men look sharp in this vital set.

Djokovic 0-1 Tsonga
A good solid start to the third set from Tsonga on serve, no problem. In the middle of this madness I’m emailed by a friend wanting me to help him with his son’s English homework. This country.

Second set:

1017: “Tsonga has to get his serve working again but, to be honest, he’s just been a bit loose. It’s a critical time now and he wants some big serves and to tighten up that forehand.”
Pat Cash on 5 Live Sports Extra

Djokovic 6-4 Tsonga
Tight, shmite. Djokovic hits two aces on his way to a mightily imrpessive love hold and we’re all square.

Djokovic 5-4 Tsonga
A few signs of irritation come from Tsonga as he continues to struggle a bit, but he holds serve to force Djokovic to serve out, and the Serb has been know to get tight. Haven’t we all?

1009: “Tsonga is playin as if hes no 3 in the world and ndjo playin as if its his 1st ever final. Needs this set 2 hav any chance.”
From J in crawley via text

Djokovic 5-3 Tsonga
Suddenly it’s Tsonga who has lost his mojo, whatever that is. The errors start to flow from his previously awesome forehand and Djokovic consolidates the break of serve.

Djokovic 4-3 Tsonga
He’s back! After being on the wrong ending of a pummelling for most of the evening, Djokovic fires a backhand return past Tsonga to get to 15-40 and two break points. At last we have some fire from the Serb and he takes his chance when Tsonga misses a forehand.

Djokovic 3-3 Tsonga
Djokovic gets a much-needed love service game.

0958: “Beautiful style and sense of purpose from Tsonga! He is inventive and incredibly calm considering he is playing his first ever final of an ATP tournament (let alone a GS).”
From UncleAdrian on 606

Djokovic 2-3 Tsonga
Djokovic chases down a drop shot to get to deuce but Tsonga comes up with the deadly one-two combination of serve-forehand and comes through, giving it some “Allez!” Djokovic, meanwhile, wanders off court for the changeover shaking his head.

0954: Our man in the Rod Laver Arena press room tells me that the French reporters went bananas as Tsonga took the first set, screaming “Allez”, “Magnifique” etc etc. Then one of them turned around to our man and said: “This could have been you, but your guy lost on day one to our guy”. Nice.

Djokovic 2-2 Tsonga
It’s not often that Djokovic is the more low-key of the players on court but it’s not just Tsonga’s play that is giving him the edge, it’s his sheer charisma that seems to have stunned NoDjo. The third seed does well to come back from 0-30 but he’s finding this tougher and tougher.

0948: “Tsonga was born in Le Mans so is bound to win if it becomes a trial of endurance. Also he has a brother named Enzo.”
From Marc, Liverpool, via text

Djokovic 1-2 Tsonga
Tsonga holds with more big serving and one very sharp backhand volley.

Djokovic 1-1 Tsonga
A ddogy forehand sees Djokovic slip to 15-30 and he does well to get himself out of trouble, but he’s looking very flat at the moment.

Djokovic 0-1 Tsonga
Tsonga holds confidently and Djokovic looks in shock(ovic). Sorry about that.

First set:

0938: “After seeing Tsonga last year, i said ‘that boy will be top ten in no time’. Where would a win here put him in the rankings? Is this his best surface do we know?”
from anon via text (It’s like the Spanish inquisition – apparently a win would put Tsonga ninth in the world, up from 38, and I’m guessing it’s his favourite surface now)

0937: “Those last two points were two of the best you will ever see. Just an excellent set of tennis, and to finish like this – it’s a joke, ridiculous.”
BBC Sport’s John Lloyd

Djokovic 4-6 Tsonga
Tsonga really takes charge with a fierce backhand on his way to 0-30 ahead and is unlucky when an apparent forehand winner jumps off the net-cord and goes out. Djokovic gets back to 30-30 but Tsonga comes up with a stunning forehand winner off a smash, and then works the crowd with some wild celebrations. Good stuff. It’s set point, and he makes it with an amazing lob on the run. Tsonga’s dad then gets in on the fist-pumping act and the place goes wild.

Djokovic 4-5 Tsonga
The Tsonga serve is up and running now – three aces in a row give him a comfortable hold and he certainly has the edge right now.

Djokovic 4-4 Tsonga
Another close Djokovic service game is in the balance at 40-30 when Tsonga complains to the umpire about the time it takes for the Serb to serve, after his endless ball bouncing. That should spice things up a bit. Tsonga misses a makeable forehand at deuce and Djokovic wallops an ace to hold.

Djokovic 3-4 Tsonga
Blimey, we’ve been going 35 minutes and played seven games. Wish I’d made a packed lunch now. Anyway, Tsonga is in a bit of trouble at 15-30 but chooses a good time to smack down his first two aces of the match and holds from deuce.

0917: “French Fan: Bonjour. If Tsonga wins this 1, I’ll play tennis agn – which I haven’t in 4 yrs. Allez”
From Jo 🙂 via text

Djokovic 3-3 Tsonga
More laughter all round over a line call, which involves an overrule, a Hawkeye challenge and apparently a joke from umpire Carlos Ramos that I couldn’t hear. The crowd are in stitches. Are we sure Mansour Bahrami isn’t there somewhere? When everyone pulls themselves together, Djokovic holds.

0913: “Five games of highly entertaining tennis given the occasion. Tsonga was up early and practising on Rod Laver Arena at 9am, while Djokovic was here only a few hours ago.”
BBC Sport’s Chris Bailey

Djokovic 2-3 Tsonga
The first rally is another belter – a bit like watching one of those ‘hilarious’ exhibitions with Mansour Bahrami but performed by two brilliant athletes under the age of 60. Tsonga leaps for a smash a la Sampras and Djokvic does well to reach it and send up a lob, but Tsonga leaps even higher and sticks it away. Another tight game goes to deuce but the Frenchman holds on, his parents clapping away furiously in the stands.

0910: “I’m backing Tsonga for this one. I feel though that Djoko’s experience may do something. But didn’t Rafa have that experience as well…?”
From Maxxfoot on 606

Djokovic 2-2 Tsonga
Djokovic still looks a little edgy, making the first double fault of the match when 30-0 clear, and Tsonga puts the pressure on with a fabulous drop volley. Djokovic then nets a forehand and it’s break point again, but this time the Serb comes up with an ace down the middle. He then digs out a seemingly miraculous cross-court backhand pass but the umpire overrules, and Hawkeye backs him up. Break point number two and in an epic point, NoDjo repeats the backhand from the previous rally and this time makes it. Incredible stuff. A woeful drop shot follows soon after but Djokovic comes through.

0857: “Pressure affects players in different ways – my feet always used to turn to lead, I felt like I couldn’t move, so I’d just charge into the net to try and do something.”
Pat Cash on 5 Live Sports Extra

Djokovic 1-2 Tsonga
Apparently Cedric Pioline has flown in especially to see his young countryman in action. Oh, the glamour. Tsonga withstands the pressure of being under the former Wimbledon finalists’s gaze by holding to 15 in a much more impressive game.

Djokovic 1-1 Tsonga
Tsonga makes the first Hawkeye challenge of the day on a Djokovic serve and gets it right – the ball was well wide – but NoDjo wins the replayed point anyway. This time it’s the Serb who looks tight, though, when he spoons a forehand way wide from 30-30 and then nets a backhand. Tsonga gets the break back and Djokovic looks less than pleased.

Djokovic 1-0 Tsonga
Tsonga looks like he’s carrying on where he left off against Nadal when a big forehand and winning serve get him to 30-15, but he then sends a couple of regulation forehands long. Nerves, surely. It’s an early break point for Djokovic and he takes it with a sweeping forehand into the corner.

0845: “We’ve seen the potential of Tsonga in the last few years but to me it’s as if he’s matured as a player during these two weeks. Quite remarkable.”
BBC Sport’s John Lloyd

0842: “Experience counts and you have to favour Novak initially but you have to see how it starts in the first set. If Jo-Wilfried can handle it, then it’s going to be on.”
Jim Courier on 5 Live Sports Extra

0840: “Djokovic is very popular. He’s a good kid, plays great tennis and is fun in front of the camera, but the bottom line is he’s done his talking with his racket.”
Pat Cash on 5 Live Sports Extra

0838: They step out on Rod laver Arena to a huge cheer, Tsonga already jumping around in excitement. There look to be large French and Serbian contingents in the crowd so there should be a good atmosphere.

0836: The two players are stopped on their way onto court for a brief word with Todd Woodbridge. “It’s very exciting and I’ll do my best,” says Tsonga. And Djokovic adds: “It’s going to be very difficult but I’m playing against someone who doesn’t have anything to lose.” So there you go.

0833: “Tsonga has taken it all in his stride. He has just emerged from the pack to become the first of the young Frenchmen to reach a Grand Slam final. There’s no doubt he’s great for the game, a superstar in the making.”
BBC Sport’s Andrew Castle

0828: Those who were with me yesterday will remember the choir of angelic little Aussies singing thier national anthem while bizarrely dressed as chefs. Well look out, the Australian yoof are back, and a cracking rendition it is too.

0825: Apparently that wasn’t The Veronicas, they were on earlier and are a couple of vivacious twin girls. That was Evermore. Wish I’d got here a bit earlier. Anyway, you still have time to follow the match on BBC TWO, 5 Live Sports Extra, or via the streaming on this website. You really can’t beat text-based coverage of tennis though.

0820: We’re being treated to music on the Rod Laver Arena from a band that our woman in the stadium, Caroline Cheese, informs me are called The Veronicas. I wouldn’t bother making a note of the name.

0815: Morning everyone, welcome to a sun-drenched Melbourne for the men’s final between Novak Djokovic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Via Shepherd’s Bush.

It’s not the final anyone would have predicted but given the pair’s thumping of top seeds Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the semis, it certainly features two worthy contenders.

The pair have never played each other before but world number three Djokovic starts as favourite on paper, having won seven career titles and reached last year’s US Open final.

Game isn’t played on paper though, is it? It’s played on good old-fashioned Plexicushion, something which is clearly to Tsonga’s liking.

He may be unseeded and playing in his first senior final of any kind but he has seen off Andy Murray, Richard Gasquet, Mikhail Youzhny and demolished Nadal in the past fortnight.

So who’s going to win? I’m going for Djokovic in four, but exactly a year ago I tipped Fernando Gonzalez to beat Federer in the final. Idiot.

Story from BBC SPORT


Sharapova v Ivanovic as it happened

Australian Open, Melbourne

Women’s final result:


7-5 6-3

By Piers Newbery

Second set:

0435: That’s your lot, join me tomorrow at 0830 GMT for coverage of the men’s final between Novak Djokovic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. I’m off for a cuppa.

0430: We are treated to shots of fans watching in Sydney and a very cold looking Shanghai before Sharapova takes to the podium and lifts the trophy.

“This is just incredible,” she says. “If someone had told me in the middle of last year I’d be standing here with the big one, I’d have said ‘forget it.’ Last year was pretty difficult for me and my coach, who lost his mother, and I really want to dedicate this to her.”

0428: An emotional Ivanovic thanks everyone she can think of when receiving the runners-up prize before the tears get to her. Don’t worry, she’s laughing and crying at the same time. Poor love.

0417: “Sharapova came out here and got the job done and throughout the tournament played excellently. She got rid of Davenport, Henin, Jankoivc and Ivanovic. Ana didn’t play particularly well and I just think she needs a little more time.”
BBC Sport’s Sam Smith

0417: “Sharapova has deserved this – she didn’t drop a set throughout and it’s thoroughly merited.”
Times correspondent Neil Harman on 5 Live

Sharapova 6-3 Ivanovic
Ivanovic makes a terrible start with a tame double fault and a poor forehand into the net. Sharapova is bouncing around, desperate for the next point, and the Russian crunches a fabulous forehand winner for 0-40 and three championship points. She goes long on the first and wide with a forehand slice on the second, but Ivanovic puts a forehand wide on the third and it’s game over. Sharapova falls to her knees and looks tearful as she gets up and salutes the crowd.

Sharapova 5-3 Ivanovic
Sharapova looks to be sprinting to the finish line now and is getting stronger and stronger from the baseline. Ivanovic hits one great backhand return but she’s already 40-0 down and it’s not enough. An enormous crash disturbs Sharapova at one point, possibly from a loudspeaker. Sounds like someone has knocked over the tea urn in the 5 Live commentary box. Wouldn’t surprise me.

Sharapova 4-3 Ivanovic
After a bit of a lull the match comes alive again when Sharapova fires a superb forehand winner down the line for 0-30. Ivanovic then comes up with a great second serve before Sharapova goes long with a return for 30-30. And then….. yikes! An Ivanovic double fault and a forehand error and Sharapova breaks. That could be it.

Sharapova 3-3 Ivanovic
Ivanovic attempts to attacks a Sharapova second serve on the first point, only to see the ball come fizzing back past her for a winner. Sharapova then crunches away a mid-court forehand and sees out the game easily enough. Scrappy stuff at the moment but Sharapova has the edge.

Sharapova 2-3 Ivanovic
That’s a great service game from Ivanovic, round off with an ace.

Sharapova 2-2 Ivanovic
Sharapova is looking very strong again and, despite one spectacular whipped forehand winner from Ivanvovic, it’s a straightforward hold.

Sharapova 1-2 Ivanovic
That’s more like it from Ivanvovic, who comes up with a couple of winners as she holds easily. Sharapova puts an iced towel around her shoulders at the changeover while Ivanovic puts on a sort of ice jacket. Cool.

Sharapova 1-1 Ivanovic
In contrast to the previous 10-minute service game from Ivanovic – who will be world number two after this tournament whatever the result – Sharapova holds to love.

0343: “Sharapova to win this one. She has much more experience at this level and her returns of serve are that much more threatening.”
From Alex via text

Sharapova 0-1 Ivanovic
Just as her forehand looks on the point of collapse, Ivanovic gets a couple of tasty short balls and despatches them with ease for 40-30. The yips return, though, and another forehand error takes things to deuce. Sharapova dominates the next point with some arrowing backhands but Ivanovic saves the break point with a big serve. On the second deuce Sharapova comes up with a magnificent backhand return on the stretch. Another break point and the rally of the match – Sharapova has a short forehand but Ivanvovic reaches it and throws up a lob that lands on the baseline and she hangs on. Big game.

First set:

0333: “Thoroughly deserved for Sharapova. She had a tricky moment but came through like champions do.”
Times correspondent Neil Harman on 5 Live

Sharapova 7-5 Ivanovic
Well, it wasn’t exactly straightforward but Sharapova finally takes the set. Ivanovic tries something different and heads to the net but without success and Sharapova holds to love. Yuri looks chuffed.

Sharapova 6-5 Ivanovic
Now it is Ivanovic who couldn’t hit a barn door…. More errors from the Serb see Sharapova get two break points and a wayward Ivanovic backhand gives the Russian the game.

Sharapova 5-5 Ivanovic
Ivanovic is screaming and pumping her fist after she smacks a belting forehand and a wrong-footing backhand to get within sight of the set, but a poor drop shot and missed backhands and forehands let Sharapova off the hook.

0320: “Sharapova lost a bit of service rhythm and you can see Ivanovic has been building up the intensity. It will be interesting to see if Sharapova can get her service rhythm going again.”
BBC Sport’s Sam Smith

Sharapova 4-5 Ivanovic
Ivanovic takes control with a hold to 15 after some woeful returning from Sharapova, who has gone completely off the boil.

Sharapova 4-4 Ivanovic
“Come on!” screams Sharapova as she whacks away a forehand volley to level at 30-30, but a double fault follows to give Ivanovic a break-back point. A lengthy rally ensues and it is Ivanovic who falters, shrieking as she falls backwards on a backhand. The sinister looking Yuri Sharapov urges on his daughter from the stands. Sharapova duly double faults twice to give up the break, after a few cold stares at her opponent who is dancing around when receiving.

Sharapova 4-3 Ivanovic
The first Hawkeye moment of the day. Ivanovic smacks a backhand down the line, it’s called out, the umpire overrules, Sharapova challenges – and it was out after all. Oh, the shame for the umpire. Ivanovic does well to come through from 30-30.

Sharapova 4-2 Ivanovic
This is great stuff from Sharapova. She opens with a winnning drive volley – does anyone hit that shot better? – and then throws in a backhand down the line on her way to a third straight love service game.

Sharapova 3-2 Ivanovic
A wild forehand from Ivanovic at 15-15 gives Sharapova another glimpse of a break, and the Serbian then double-faults to slip to 15-40. Sharapova absolutely pounds away from the baseline and Ivanovic eventually cracks.

Sharapova 2-2 Ivanovic
After a slightly low-key start, Sharapova unloads on a couple of thumping winners – one off the backhand and one forehand. Another love game. It’s not getting any cooler out there and the spectators are fanning themselves for dear life. Shepherd’s Bush remains bracing.

Sharapova 1-2 Ivanovic
There are danger signals for Ivanovic when she plays a wayward drop shot and slips 0-30 behind but Sharapova makes a couple of unforced errors, and Ivanovic then fires her first spectacular winner of the day. An excellent second serve gives her the game and the Serbian celebrates a great hold.

Sharapova 1-1 Ivanovic
Sharapova mvoes to the net on the second point and Ivanovic nets with an attempted pass. She follows it up with a beautiful forehand winner down the line and holds to love.

Sharapova 0-1 Ivanovic
A confident start sees Ivanovic race to 40-0 with the help of a first ace and she takes the game to 15. That should settle any nerves.

0241 GMT: “It’s the hottest day of the championships so far and the referee does have the option to bring the roof over if necessary.”
BBC Sport’s Chris Bailey

0237 GMT: “Sharapova is in her ivory dress – is it ivory? I’m not sure. And Ana is in her pale blue outfit.”
5 live’s tennis and fashion correspondent Jonathan Overend

0235 GMT: “Come on maria! I an so nervous right now though.”
From anon via text

0233 GMT: “It’s very, very hot out there.”
5 live’s Jonathan Overend

0232 GMT: The players have to go through the teeth-grinding pre-match interview on their way onto court. Ivanovic expects “a good match”. Sharapova either wasn’t up for it or we missed her.

0230 GMT: Just to remind everyone, you can follow this match on BBC One, Radio 5 Live, via live streaming on this website, or just stick with me. Choices, choices….

0225 GMT: And to deal with the elephant in the room that is the ‘glamour’ brought to the occasion by these two ladies, I think The Sun said it best yesterday when they described this potentially classic encounter as: “Battle of the babes – it’s Ana v Shazza!”

0222 GMT: Aussie hero Pat Rafter arrives on court as part of the pre-match build-up and is described by the announcer as a man who “embodies the national character”. A bronze bust of the man himself is then unveiled – slightly creepy but well deserved. “My ego is slightly inflated now so I’ll go home and let my brothers beat it out of me,” says Pat. Good man.

0220 GMT: We should be in for a cracker as the two best players over the past fortnight have made it through to the final. They have a 2-2 head-to-head record, with Sharapova having won their last meeting in Madrid in November and Ivanovic having won their French Open semi-final last June.

0215 GMT: Good morning everyone, welcome to the women’s final. And happy Australia Day. To celebrate we are being treated to a choir of shiny young Australians singing the national anthem on Rod Laver Arena. They appear to be dressed as chefs, which may not be ideal as it looks pretty hot out there already, if a little windy.

Story from BBC SPORT

Federer v Djokovic as it happened

Australian Open, Melbourne

Men’s semi-final latest:


5-7 3-6 6-7

By Jonathan Stevenson

1115: “That was a staggering performance from the number three seed. Federer had an off day, but my word he didn’t give him anything.”
BBC Sport pundit John Lloyd THIRD SET

Federer 5-7 3-6 6-7 Djokovic
Fed gets the mini-break with a pounding forehand and after the rally of the match the Swiss produces a truly memorable backhand right into the corner. He promptly loses the break with a mis-hit forehand and then blazes one miles beyond the baseline – 3-3. They swap enormous serves before Fed goes 5-4 up and screams “come on”. Two huge Serbian serves hand Djoko a match point and Fed nets. Djoko slumps to the floor – he cannot believe what has just happened. Ladies and gentlemen, you’ve just witnessed history in the making.

Federer 5-7 3-6 6-6 Djokovic
Fed cranks up the pressure with a brilliant reaction volley at the net and the crowd are off their seats. Djoko then goes long – set point Fed, but the Serb produces a monster serve to save it. A blinding cross-court forehand earns Fed another one, but Djoko again holds his nerve. Another massive ace and we’re into a tiebreaker.

1057: “This is great – I’m watching online at work, my boss caught me during the first set and told me to get back to work, but he is now sitting next to me eyes glued to the screen.”
Anonymous, via text

Federer 5-7 3-6 6-5 Djokovic
A woman in the crowd holds aloft a Swiss flag – but she looks like she is about the burst into tears. Fed nails a quality volley but nets next point, to leave him precariously positioned at 30-30. A fine forehand earns him game point, and Djoko cannot return the next one. Good hold from the champ.

Federer 5-7 3-6 5-5 Djokovic
Djoko holds his nerve big time with an ace and a pounding forehand and after Fed pulls one back, he simply takes more time and launches two more unreturnable serves.

Federer 5-7 3-6 5-4 Djokovic
Quality use of the court from Fed and after a double fault, he hits the line with a forehand – he could not afford to miss that. Djoko goes long and then drop-shots into the net after a phenomenal defensive backhand flick from Fed to stay in the point.

Federer 5-7 3-6 4-4 Djokovic
Fed is sensing a chance on Djoko’s serve, but the young Serb is managing to keep him at bay and his first serve is just about holding firm. A double lets Fed in, but an unreturnable swiftly shuts the door in the champ’s face.

1045: “Don’t write Fed off yet. It will be a comeback of biblical proportions if he makes it. Think Matt Di Angelo on Strictly Come Dancing.”
Zoran76 on 606

Federer 5-7 3-6 4-3 Djokovic
A magnificent backhand smash takes a bouncing Federer to 30-0 – he is trying to get himself going now. Djoko pulls it back with two power points, but then launches one long and Fed holds. Federer 5-7 3-6 3-3 Djokovic
Fed puts some pressure on but Djoko defends brilliantly and the Serb races 40-0 up. But Fed’s defence is tested to the full and Djoko opts for a drop-shot at 40-30 – bad idea. He manages to hold with some sturdy defence, but Fed is still not middling much out there.

1035: “Looks like another Fed has cut its rate this week.”
Sebwinder on 606

Federer 5-7 3-6 3-2 Djokovic
A whipped forehand puts Fed 30-0 up and he leaves a long one, before wrapping up his easiest service game for a while with an ace. Can he now put pressure on the Serb’s serve? Federer 5-7 3-6 2-2 Djokovic
When Djoko increases the pace, Fed cannot stay with him. He holds to love and the Swiss needs to find a few extra gears here if we are even going to have a fourth set.

1030: “Novak must win this third set, or Fed will steamroller it. Djoko must go for the juggular or Fed will come back to bite him.”
David, France, via text

1029: “I dont think I’ve ever seen Federer play so bad. It’s like he can’t be bothered to play and is just letting everything go.”
TopGunnerChrissy on 606

Federer 5-7 3-6 2-1 Djokovic
It’s good point, bad point for Fed. A lovely winner followed by an unforced error. Djoko climbs all over a second serve to go 15-40 up – Fed easily saves the first break point and then Djoko goes long to go to deuce. Fed then leaves a shot that flies into the corner of the court but Djoko misses one chance down the line with a backhand and then goes long. Fed holds, but my word is he hanging on now. Federer 5-7 3-6 1-1 Djokovic
Djoko slams wide after a thumping rally and then goes long, before another poor forehand goes wide and hands Fed three break points. The Serb produces one huge serve before Fed blazes off target with a backhand and then an ace saves the last. Djoko increases the tempo in a Federer-like manner and holds with an ace. Gutsy.

Federer 5-7 3-6 1-0 Djokovic
Fed looks a bit more lively, but Djoko finds his range with a glorious forehand right into the corner. The Swiss manages to hold, but it’s not comfortable by any means. He needs a break to boost his flagging spirits – and he needs one sharpish.

1012: “Notwithstanding who we want to win, the one thing the latter stages of this tournament have not had is a close, good match. Tennis lovers must want Federer to pull himself together here and make a game of it. If he does this could become a classic.”
King of the Biscuits on 606

SECOND SET Federer 5-7 3-6 Djokovic
Bang. Fed dominates a rally and then thwacks a brutal forehand cross court, but he misses a golden chance to go 0-30 up and then Djoko nails one, before the Serb goes long – 30-30, tense times. A massive unreturnable serve gives him set point, but Fed destroys a forehand to take it to deuce. Djoko then gets a time violation but he produces two big, big serves to go 2-0 up. Is this one all over bar the shouting?

Federer 5-7 3-5 Djokovic
Where has the real Roger Federer been hiding? A brilliant serve-and-volley, a couple of big first serves and a fine forehand down the line help him hold and there’s a bit of pressure on Djoko now to serve for the set.

1003: “Cant believe anyone is doubting Fed the legend to win in 5!”
Big G, via text

Federer 5-7 2-5 Djokovic
I can barely believe what I’m seeing. Just as it looks as though Fed’s gone, he produces a gorgeous forehand to go 15-30 up. Djoko nets under fierce pressure and then has a shot called long – but he questions the call and the ball was good. We go to deuce and Djoko flies wide before a sumptuous Fed floater down the line gets him a break back.

0956: “Is the Fed Express about to go off the rails? Let’s hope so.”
bon-nadal on 606

Federer 5-7 1-5 Djokovic
Djoko blazes another clean winner past a shell-shocked Fed and Mirka looks less-than-pleased in the crowd. Her man goes way long once again and Djoko secures another break with a thumping forehand Fed doesn’t even look twice at. Totally rampant now, the Serb. Federer 5-7 1-4 Djokovic
Every time Fed has a sniff, he blows it with an unforced error. Djoko is not in the mood to give him too many chances and he serves big to extend his advantage. Djokovic has won eight out of the last nine games now, remarkable.

Federer 5-7 1-3 Djokovic
Fed nets twice to go 0-30, but Djoko tries a cute volley and nets. Fed lashes a wild forehand off court to go break point down, which he saves with a magnificently-worked point ending with a top-drawer smash. But Djoko powers his way to another break point and then takes the game with a remarkable pick up and backhand down the line. Sensational stuff from the young man.

0943: Thanks to everyone for answering the question at 0935 correctly, it was of course the Australian Open final in 2005, when Marat Safin beat Leyton Hewitt.

0941: “Fed’s losing but he’s the architect of his own downfall right now. The amount of shots he’s netting or hitting long is just silly.”
Blue_Phoenix on 606

Federer 5-7 1-2 Djokovic
Fed is just not hitting now with any of his big shots. Djoko is being aggressive in his movement and he races 40-0 up. But the Serb tries a through-the-legs showboat shot and Fed takes it to 40-30, before an ace gives Djoko a get-out-of-jail card. Federer 5-7 1-1 Djokovic
Djoko is making Fed do all the running, but the champion produces some quality defensive tennis to secure his first game in what seems like an age. He celebrates by doing some limbering up.

0935: “When was the last time a Grand Slam final was contested without either Nadal or Federer playing in it?”
On Tsonga, via text


Federer 5-7 0-1 Djokovic
Djoko is sending Fed’s sprawling forehands back with interest and the Swiss has gone totally off the boil. Five games on the spin and the world number one needs to sort himself out.


Federer 5-7 Djokovic
Djoko is timing it nice now and only misses a big backhand by a fraction that would have taken him to 15-30. But he stays strong and Fed goes long to give Djoko a set point, which Federer smashes way past the baseline. Four games in a row for the Serb, are we on for an upset here?

0927: “Who do you fancy in the women’s final then? A tough call for the guys that one.”
WUSCHLI on 606

I think it’s best for everyone if we focus on the guys for now. I just don’t know how to answer that question in a BBC-friendly way.

Federer 5-6 Djokovic
Djoko gets excited – he double faults, before Fed hits a frankly ridiculous backhand down the line that you’d have to super slow-mo to even see. But Djoko out-rallies his more illustrious opponent once again and now the pressure is on Federer to stay in the set.

Federer 5-5 Djokovic
Fed misses two standard forehands, but a quality first serve produces the Swiss’s first “come on” of the day. Remarkably, Djoko out-manoeuvres the world number one and Fed hits two more unforced errors to hand the Serb his break back.

0919: “I’ve sat in the far corner of my office so no one can see my screen, watching the tennis on BBC of course. Novak in five!”
Luka, London, via text

Federer 5-4 Djokovic
Stunning – Federer produces an impossible backhand at an angle that didn’t even exist a minute ago. Djoko is left motionless, speechless and pointless. But the 20-year-old gathers his thoughts and fights back well, with some big serves and a crunching cross-court backhand winner to stay in the set.

Federer 5-3 Djokovic
Federer has upped his game in a big way as we get to the business end of the set and moves to 30-0, but two cracking winners from Djokovic get him right back in the mixer. A return into the net infuriates the Serb but Fed double faults to take us to deuce. An ace and a Djoko later and Fed has held.

0910: “Are any of them wearing squeaky shoes?”
Jer, via text

There’s a fair bit of squeak out there for sure, but let’s hope no-one goes on about it this time.

Federer 4-3 Djokovic
Federer hits a backhand right out the middle of the sweet spot down the line before Djoko goes wide on a forehand, 0-30. Two big Serbian serves levels it, but he blazes another one miles wide and then the Swiss grabs a crucial break after a nervy rally with both guys clipping the top of the net.

Federer 3-3 Djokovic
Fed mis-times a forehand way long before he ends a top-drawer rally with a dominating smash. The Swiss is a funny mix of stunning timing and careless mistakes at the moment, but he sees the game out in relatively comfortable fashion nevertheless.

0902: “We’re off! I have a feeling Djoko is adopting a tactic of putting the Fed man under pressure by charging to the net. Well, let’s see how it works out.”
Maxxfoot on 606

Federer 2-3 Djokovic
What an easy service game that was for Djoko, put under no pressure at all by Federer and holding to love. Federer 2-2 Djokovic
Federer slashes a forehand well wide and then nets a routine backhand and a routine forehand to provide Djokovic with an opening at 15-40. But the Serb goes long and then cannot return a down-the-line first serve and it’s back to deuce. An angry Djoko goes long again twice and one potential break is averted.

Federer 1-2 Djokovic
A very impressive hold that from the young Serb, not unnerved by his first double fault of the day. Federer nets a return and then goes long at 40-30. Djokovic’s first serve appears to be working well.

0852: “Just as well there’s tennis on this morning otherwise I’d have to do some work. Federer to win in four.”
Euan, Edinburgh, via text

Federer 1-1 Djokovic
With minimum fuss Federer holds, not much wrong there from the three-time Australian Open champion. Djokovic nets and we’re level.

Federer 0-1 Djokovic
Federer lays down a marker with a cross-court forehand right into the corner and my word is that thumping backhand in full flow already as he out-powers the Serb. But Djokovic keeps his cool with a couple of good volleys and an ace and holds.

0845: “Time”. Djokovic to serve first. Here we go.

0844: “Guess they’re slugging it out for the runners-up cheque. Never thought I’d say that about Federer!”
Andy, Berkhamsted, via text

0842: “Beating James Blake was good, it was an entertaining match. I hope to back it up with another good one today,” said Federer. I reckon we’re not far off starting, then, as the players go through their warm-up.

0840: “It has been an amazing two weeks for me, I’ve been playing at a very high level, hopefully I can continue that tonight,” said Djokovic as he prepared to walk out on court.

0834: As always, I’d love for you to get involved in today’s proceedings – it really is the more the merrier. Text your views on 81111 , or get involved on 606 . I especially want you guys who have never got in touch before. Go on, do something new today…

0831: Roger Federer is about to step on court for his 15th Grand Slam semi-final in a row, a sensational record. He says recent talk about him losing his grip on the world number one slot does not bother him. “I’ve heard it before and don’t read it anymore because it’s the same thing over and over again,” said the 26-year-old. 0827: “Things have gone well so far,” said Federer. “So far things have gone well,” said Djokovic. Let’s hope there’s nothing to separate them on the court as well as off it.

0824: So now it’s the turn of defending champion and three-time winner of this tournament, Roger Federer, and the number three seed, Novak Djokovic. The Swiss master has a 5-1 record over his young Serb apprentice – but will that count for anything today?

0822: In case you’ve been frozen in carbonite for the last day, you will of course be aware that Jo-Wilfried Tsonga wiped the floor with second seed Rafael Nadal on Thursday to book his place in the Australian Open final.

0820 GMT: Morning. Hope you slept well. This one should be a real crackerjack, two boys slugging it out for the right to face the Muhammad Ali of tennis. Huge.

Story from BBC SPORT

Tsonga v Nadal as it happened

Australian Open, Melbourne

Men’s semi-final result:

J-W TSONGA (Fra) bt R NADAL (Spa)

6-2 6-3 6-2

By Phil Harlow


1050: “What a man, what a player! Maybe Andy Murray will lose to the eventual champion?”
Ben in Oxford via text

“This man is going to be a megastar now. Nadal has never been beaten like this – not this easily, not in a Grand Slam and not when he has been playing so well.”
BBC Sport commentator John Lloyd

Tsonga 6-2 Nadal
The two players emerge from their seats and Tsonga gets an absolute hero’s reception from the crowd.

A Nadal mistake and an accurate overhead volley put Tsonga 30-0 up. Nadal, ever the fighter, fires a beautiful passing shot and pumps his fist like a super-charged Tim Henman.

But on the next point Nadal plays an air shot as the sheer ferocity of Tsonga’s volley takes him by surprise.

And, fittingly, the Frenchman seals it with yet another ace. The crowd is on its feet and Tsonga applauds them back.

Tsonga 5-2 Nadal
A fantastic forehand winner leaves Nadal rooted to the spot as Tsonga goes 40-15 up with some glorious tennis.

Next point sees Nadal go long with a backhand and Tsonga, now two breaks up, is just one game away from the final.

1040: “It’s not really so surprising. Nadal has had no serious challenges up until now and his record on hard courts is poor. All credit to JWT though.”
Jo, Bristol via text

Tsonga 4-2 Nadal
Nadal is looking all at sea in Melbourne. A net cord sees the ball bounce enticingly in the middle of the court but the world number two’s attempted drop shot hits the net about a foot off the floor.

Another mistake on the next shot from Nadal and it’s another easy hold for Tsonga.

Tsonga 3-2 Nadal
Not a great game from Tsonga as Nadal holds without too much trouble. But the big man knows that the telling blow has already been struck and that holding his serve from here on in will be enough to take him into the final.

1034: “We realised Tsonga was good, but we didn’t know he was this good.”
BBC Sport commentator Sam Smith

Tsonga 3-1 Nadal
Tsonga is going from strength to strength on the big stage as he holds to love.

A couple of rash – even angry – shots from Nadal give the impression that he is starting to realise that the game is up – and he’s not happy about it.

Tsonga 2-1 Nadal
That game was just a nightmare from start to finish for Nadal as he handed Tsonga the break in the third.

It was largely self-inflicted from Nadal as he misses the target from the net with 90% of the court to aim at. Another mistake at 40-15 down and that’s that. The set and the match are Tsonga’s for the taking.

1026: “Tsonga’s stinging like a bee now! Can he finish it off?”
Helen via text

Tennis purists – that’s a reference to Tsonga doppelganger Muhammad Ali, by the way.

Tsonga 1-1 Nadal
Nadal is playing like a man possessed as he goes 40-15 up on Tsonga’s serve with some good old-fashioned hard work, but Tsonga battles back to deuce, albeit with some good luck.

The umpire overrules on a Tsonga serve and the Frenchman is furious, shouting “you are wrong” at the official. To be fair, the overrule was wrong.

Tsonga responds with a great ace and then takes the next point to seal the game. Top stuff under pressure from Tsonga.

1019: “This is fantastic for tennis. For a couple of years it has been ‘same old, same old’ and finally we could have someone fresh and exciting breaking through.”
craigtenniscoach on 606

Tsonga 0-1 Nadal
After another trip to the bathroom for Tsonga, Nadal comes out fired up and takes the first game of the set confidently.

Nadal will need to come from two sets down for the fourth time in his career if he is to make Sunday’s final.

1014: “Let’s reinstall some faith in Nadal, our champion who will make Tsonga fall!”
Ryan B via text


Tsonga 6-3 Nadal
Simply brilliant stuff from Tsonga as he holds to love to seal the second set. The crowd go billy bananas and Tsonga is rather pleased about things as well.

Tsonga 5-3 Nadal
Nadal is psyching himself up like he’s about to take Tsonga, a Muhammad Ali look-a-like, lest we forget – on in the boxing ring, hitting himself in the chest after winning a point.

But Tsonga wins his way to a break point courtesy of a drop shot volley over his shoulder that was so beautiful it should be on the front cover of Vogue. He makes no mistake as he smashes an overhead volley into the ground and over Nadal’s racquet.

Brilliant stuff, and the fans in Rod Laver Arena can sense they’re watching something special here.

Tsonga 4-3 Nadal
Tsonga never lets Nadal get into the game as he wins it comfortably. Before the game started, he just had a quick word with the umpire about Nadal’s fidgeting in-between points when returning. A good sign that he will not be intimidated by the star facing him across the net.

Tsonga 3-3 Nadal
The crowd inside the Rod Laver Arena is really warming to Tsonga’s exuberance before an unforced error at 30-30 takes the wind out of his sails a little.

He soon gets the good people of Melbourne going again as a delightful drop shot gives him the initiative to take the game to deuce. But Nadal is not in the mood to give up on this and he does the necessary to hold again.

Tsonga 3-2 Nadal
Tsonga is making this look – well not easy, but comfortable. Nobody would be able to tell which player was appearing in his first Grand Slam semi-final. this is only his fifth major, don’t forget.

Tsonga 2-2 Nadal
Nadal holds comfortably for the first time in a little while. Is he finally playing himself into this match after such a slow start?

0948: “Tsonga is a joy to watch… let’s hope he can beat Djokovic in the final!”
Estesark on 606

0946: “How long will it be before the crowd adopt a Black Lace-inspired ‘Do do do… come on and do the Tsonga’? Sorry, I’ll get my coat…”
Elvis via text

Tsonga 2-1 Nadal
A simply breathtaking shot from Tsonga as he plays a half-volley drop-shot from Nadal’s return that catches the Spaniard off guard.

A couple of mistakes from the big man takes it to deuce – the first time in the match that Nadal has had him under any kind of serious pressure – but an ace and a long forehand from Nadal see him hold.

Tsonga 1-1 Nadal
Tsonga – the son of a Congolese international handball player, in case you were wondering – gets a slice of luck as Nadal trips over his own feet chasing an invitingly bouncing ball at 30-30.

Nadal challenges a call at break-point down and gets it right by approximately 0.000002 millimetres to take it to deuce. He has to save another two break points, but eventually holds on to his serve.

Tsonga 1-0 Nadal
Tsonga went for a comfort break at the end of the last set, but it is business as usual as he holds to love to start the second set with a bang.

Nadal is just not putting his opponent’s serve under any kind of pressure at the moment, but surely his experience will help him to find a way to change the dynamics of this match.


0924: “This is simply brilliant stuff that Tsonga’s showing.”
Gintonic4all on 606

Tsonga 6-2 Nadal
A very sloppy overhead from Nadal sets the tone for the game as Tsonga races 40-0 up to give himself three set points.

At the first time of asking, he smashes yet another forehand winner past Nadal to break to love and seal a massively impressive opening set. That’s the first set Nadal has dropped all tournament.

0919: “This just shows what a great chance Andy Murray would have had if he’d beaten Tsonga.”
James, Southampton via text

Don’t let’s spoil the fun, James….

Tsonga 5-2 Nadal
Some of Tsonga’s forehands are frightening to behold, hit with astonishing power and athleticism. Nadal, fighting for everything as ever, gets to 30-30 but the Frenchman wins two comfortable points to move within sight of the first set.

Tsonga 4-2 Nadal
Nadal gets the benefit of an over-rule from the umpire on an ace and goes onto hold serve for the second time. He still doesn’t look entirely comfortable out there though.

Tsonga 4-1 Nadal
Another ace from Tsonga and two perfect serve and volley points put him into a 40-0 lead. He seals it with a third ace of the match for a love service game. Have some of that.

Tsonga 3-1 Nadal
The Tsonga forehand is quite some weapon, but Nadal’s backhand is not too shabby either. Tsonga is looking to target the serve, but Nadal ups his game a little to get on the scoreboard.

Tsonga 3-0 Nadal
Tsonga’s serve is causing Nadal problems already with the world number two struggling to get the ball back into play.

An unreachable ace finishes the game off and it’s a dream start for the unseeded player. Blimey.

Tsonga 2-0 Nadal
Nadal starts off with a double fault and then a beautiful volley from Tsonga puts the Frenchman 30-0 up. Nadal – whose ability to get the ball back over the net beggars belief at times – fights back to 30-30 before another Tsonga volley gives him the first break point of the match.

A fabulous reaction volley from almost point-blank range at the net sees him take it. What a start from the Frenchman.

Tsonga 1-0 Nadal
An inauspicious start for Tsonga as he goes 30-0 down on his serve, but some powerful hitting to the furthest reaches of the court moves Nadal around and sees him take four points in a row to seal the game.

0848: We’re pretty much there. Last drinks are drunk and sweat is towelled off as Tsonga prepares to start the match.

0844: The roof is half closed in Melbourne, by the way, to save time in the event of rain. Not sure if that will have any impact whatsoever, to be honest with you.

0842: Nadal does his traditional zig-zagging sprint back to the baseline and the pair start to knock a few balls about as the tension builds.

0840; A bit of psychological warfare from Nadal? The Spaniard keeps Tsonga waiting for nearly two minutes as he quaffs a drink on the sidelines before jogging out for the coin toss.

Tsonga wins the toss and opts to serve first.

0838: After a Spinal Tap-esque wander around the backstage corridors, Tsonga and Nadal emerge to massive cheers from the Melbourne crowd.

0835: Both players are buttonholed by an Australian journo on their (incredibly long) walk to the Rod Laver Arena.

Breaking news: both players expect “a very tough match”.

0833: Almost every seat at the is taken as the fans wait for the players to emerge, and the TV cameramen – as is their usual way – focus on several attractive young ladies in the crowd. I take no notice, of course.

0830: This match sees the world number two taking on Tsonga, a man ranked 36 places below him in the ATP list. But will that show out on court given Tsonga’s tremendous form in getting to the last four?

0825: What a game we have in prospect here. Jo-Wilfried was magnifique in his quarter-final demolition of Mikhail Youzhny, while Nadal overwhelmed Jarkko Nieminen with muscular brutality.

Which man will be left standing at the end of this one?

Story from BBC SPORT

Federer v Blake as it happened

Australian Open, Melbourne

Men’s quarter-final result:


7-5 7-6 6-4

By Tom Fordyce

Federer 6-4 Blake
He doesn’t, and Blake’s brave battle is over. Federer’s into his 15th successive Grand Slam semi, which has got to be a new record. Sharp-shooter Novak Djokovic awaits.

Federer 5-4 Blake
Blake is making a glorious last stand, blazing away from the hip and blowing that game away in a hail of forehand bullets. Surely flinty-eyed Sheriff Fed won’t miss with his next six shots – surely…

Federer 5-3 Blake
Hold on a second – someone’s turned the music back on. Roger duffs an eyes-shut volley into the net and Blake has broken back. Is there life in this bash yet?

Federer 5-2 Blake
Blake holds with shoulder-shrugging resignation. Is that the door-bell?

Federer 5-1 Blake
Ring for a mini-cab and get your coat from the upstairs bedroom – the party’s nearly over.

Federer 4-1 Blake
There’s the double break, and Blake is a beaten man. He’s like a boxer who’s thrown enough haymakers to decimate an army, only to look up to see his opponent dancing happily round the ring without so much as a bloody nose.

Federer 3-1 Blake
The Fed serve has been solid as granite in this match. So in control of this match is Rog that he actually serve-volleys from the baseline. The Swiss flags are being waved with a confident fervour.

Federer 2-1 Blake
Every service game for Blake is now a battle to survive. He wobbles at 30-30 and deuce but hangs on by his fingertips. He’s wearing the blank-eyed expression of a man who’s seen too much.

Federer 2-0 Blake
It’s reinforced too as Fed holds with expressionless competence. How does Blake drag himself back into this?

Federer 1-0 Blake
Sloppy from Blake. His brain is still doing cartwheels after the robbery of the tie-break and Roj is at him like a jackal on a wounded gazelle. That’s the break gone.


Federer 7-6 Blake
Fantastic play from Roger – Blake plays two points about as perfectly as he could ever hope for and yet still loses them to slices of pearly Federer brilliance. The wafted running lob-pass which seals the second is the sort of thing that could make a hard man weep. Blake can do nothing about a crunching serve wide to his backhand at 6-4 and Fed is two sets up. What can Blake do? He can’t play much better, but whatever cards he lays, Roj trumps them.

Federer 6-6 Blake
No stumbling this time from Blake – we’re in Tie-Break Town for a second-set shoot-out.

Federer 6-5 Blake
What a chance for Blake. Roj buries a volley in the tram-lines and then goes wide the other way to slip to 0-30. Blake sees the next serve all the way and launches into a monster of a forehand – only for it to fly just out. He then duffs a backhand off a short bed-wetter of a second serve, and Roj has escaped.

Federer 5-5 Blake
Nerves clanging like a fire alarm out there. A sensational backhand pass from Fed gives him set point, only for Blake to batter down two successive aces to save the day. Key stage of the match, this.

Federer 5-4 Blake
Oohs and aahs as Blake goes to 0-30 with two blistering returns of serve. A point later he has a chance to go 15-40 but guides a forehand just out. “JAAAMES!” he yells in anguish. When Roj correctly challenges a forehand called long, the break chance has slithered away.

Federer 4-4 Blake
“WAKE UP!” screams Blake at the line-judge, slightly unfairly, after cracking a forehand wide. It leaves him teetering at 15-40, but that booming forehand rides to his rescue and squeezes him past a lip-licking Federer.

Federer 4-3 Blake
Same again from Roj – a hold to 15 in just over a minute. Another woman stands up in the crowd to raise a banner. It reads: “Just married, but I still love you Roger.” Bet her husband’s delighted with that.

Federer 3-3 Blake
Tough hold for Blake – he pulls off one fine reaching overhead to put away a cheeky Roger lob and move away from a nervy 30-30.

Federer 3-2 Blake
As you were – Rog express-trains through his serve, not giving Blake a look-in. He glides back to his chair and peels the plastic off a pristine racquet.

Federer 2-2 Blake
Good stuff from the vested Blake, running round onto his forehand at evey opportunity. Roger prowls impassively.

Federer 2-1 Blake
It’s like the first set all over again – Blake bounces back like a kangaroo on a trampoline, sizzling a big forehand down the line to set up a break-back point and sealing the deal when Roj whips an over-ambitious cross-courter into the tram-lines.

Federer 2-0 Blake
Roj has suddenly stuck his foot on the pedal. Spotting a Blake wobble, he goes on the attack again and is at 0-40 before his opponent has worked out what’s going on. Blake then balloons a forehand a racquet-length beyond the baseline to concede his second break on the bounce.

Federer 1-0 Blake
Easy does it for The Man In Black. The cameras focus briefly on a man in the crowd doing the two-horn thing with his fingers while sticking his tongue out like a Maori warrior.


Federer 7-5 Blake
Fed climbs all over Blake’s serve, wrestling the break and set off him with a delight of a cross-court volley. Blake crumbles under the onslaught and spanks a forehand way long at 30-40. Boff – that’s what champions do to you, non?

Federer 6-5 Blake
Roj holds in the time it takes to write this sentence. If I had typed it one-handed.

Federer 5-5 Blake
Blake’s first service game to love. He correctly challenges a line-biter of a first serve at 30-0, much to Roger’s obvious disapproval. Not a fan of Hawk-Eye, the Fed. An over-excited lady in the crowd dressed all in red waves a banner reading “Hop Schwiiz” and screams with delight when she spots herself on the giant screens.

Federer 5-4 Blake
Blake’s finding his range here, taking the ball as early as he can and attacking the Roj second serve like a growling Doberman. At 30-30 he lashes a forehand into the corner, only for it to drop fractionally out – and Fed hangs on with a certain quiet anxiety. Glugs of barley water for both players at the change-over.

Federer 4-4 Blake
New balls for the Blake serve, and that extra pace gives him his easiest hold of the match so far. He wipes his hands on his complimentary Aussie Open towel and tosses it back to the eager ballboy.

Federer 4-3 Blake
Fed leans back onto his dreamy thumper of a serve and lets it batter him through the game. The sweaty chap in the Swiss-flag poncho mops his brow and applauds a touch wearily.

Federer 3-3 Blake
The sun drops behind the roof of the Rod Laver Arena as Blake plays the point of the match so far, sprinting back to catch a Roj lob and playing it back through his own legs before forcing a Fed error. The crowd roars and Blake fist-pumps.

Federer 3-2 Blake
Double-quick again from Fed, holding to love with the aid of a dubious line-call on his final ace. Still, there are a couple of patches of rust on the champ’s armour – if Blake can get his sword swinging, he’ll have a chance here.

Federer 2-2 Blake
A ding-donger of a hold – three deuces – before Blake clings on. When the forehand’s ripping, he can match Roj – but he seems to have the concentration of a 13-year-old boy, and is following ripper with stinker.

Federer 2-1 Blake
Hello – Blake unleashes his bad dog of a forehand, and Roger can’t cope with it. Two rapid ones rip across his toes, he balloons another response wide and Blake has his break back. He scuttles back to his chair with determination scrawled all over his features.

Federer 2-0 Blake
Sloppy from Blake – two double faults and a wayward forehand gift Fed the earliest of breaks. Blake’s sporting his trademark white towelling headband, a white sleeveless vest and grey baggy shorts. And his head is freshly shaved.

Federer 1-0 Blake
Federer opens out with two dismissive aces and canters through the game with unflustered grace. Roger’s dressed entirely in black tonight, except for a sky-blue bandana keeping the floppiness of his fringe at bay.

0835: Lovely warm evening in Melbourne, and the fans at the Rod Laver Arena are garrulous with anticipation. There’s a chap wearing a poncho made entirely from small plastic Swiss flags. He’s worked up a nasty sweat already.

0825: Lovely little match-up this morning – the reigning champ vs the Player Most Fancied By My Female Colleagues. Jump on board for a rollercoaster ride.

In case you needed a nudge, you can also watch the action live on BBC Interactive or listen to commentary on 5 Live Sports Extra.

Story from BBC SPORT

Venus-Ivanovic as it happened

Australian Open, Melbourne

Women’s quarter-finals result:


6-7 (3-7) 4-6

By Chris Bevan

0400: Wow, I hope you enjoyed that as much as I did – another great match that could have gone either way. It was Ana Ivanovic who came through though, despite Venus William’s best efforts, and she will play Daniela Hantuchova in the semi-finals.

The other women’s last-four match sees Maria Sharapova play Jelena Jankovic, which shouldn’t be a bad one to watch either.

Venus 6-7 (3-7) 4-6 Ivanovic
It’s all over, but not without one helluva fight from Venus. Ana is up against it at 15-40 but two big serves get her out of a hole and she completes a thrilling victory when a Venus forehand flies a mile wide.

A shout of delight from Ana – and yet more fist-pumping, obviously – signal that she is into the semi-finals.

Venus 6-7 (3-7) 4-5 Ivanovic
Ana loves to celebrate a winner with a quick pump of the fist, possibly even more so than Lleyton Hewitt. She has good reason to here though, moving to break-point with a scintilating forehand down the line before Venus sends another volley into the net. Ana positively dances back to her seat and she will serve for the match, next.

Venus 6-7 (3-7) 4-4 Ivanovic
Another tight game for Ana but she responds well to the pressure and her first ace of the match comes at precisely the right time.

Venus 6-7 (3-7) 4-3 Ivanovic
Williams may be back to square-one in this second set but she is sticking with her aggressive approach. Ana is matching her shot for shot though, and puts away one super volley before snatching the next point with an outrageous passing shot. Venus is facing another break but keeps battling, gasping for breath, and holds. She needed that.

“Ivanovic is bit of an enigma – capable of sheer brilliance but also total madness!”
Justin, in Bury on text 81111

Venus 6-7 (3-7) 3-3 Ivanovic
A change of racquet for Venus – has her mini-revival bitten the dust? A thumping forehand winner into the corner suggests otherwise but Ana is chasing everything down and gives us a couple of fist pumps as she holds to move level.

“I totally agree with Ali! Cant revise with all this sport going on! Ivanovic for the title!”
Charles at Aberdeen Uni on text 81111

“If Ana can win tonight, will it be the four most attractive semi-finalists ever in a Slam? As if 24 hr live updates weren’t distracting enough!”
Anon on text 81111

Not sure about that, but what does everyone else think!?

Venus 6-7 (3-7) 3-2 Ivanovic
The Venus serve wobbles for the first time in this set, mainly thanks to some stinging cross-court forehands from Ana. A Venus backhand flies well long and this second set is back on serve.

“Good luck with revision Ali but I must disagree! This is Ana’s for the taking. She is powerful, mentally strong and, might I add, beautiful. Ahem.”
Chris, in Hampstead on text 81111

Venus 6-7 (3-7) 3-1 Ivanovic
A bit of a dip in form, this, for Ana – especially after the first set. She seems up for the battle though and a beautiful backhand down the line gets her back on track in this game and off the mark in this set.

“Venus is really firing at the moment. She has cranked up the pressure and is being a lot more aggressive, coming into the net and finishing off the point with some good volleying.”
BBC Sport’s Chris Bailey in Melbourne

Venus 6-7 (3-7) 3-0 Ivanovic
Ana’s turn to show she is up for the fight but Venus is in the zone at the moment, especially at the net, where she can seemingly do no wrong. She has got a bit of daylight in this second set now and Ana has a lot to think about as she sips her water at the changeover.

Venus 6-7 (3-7) 2-0 Ivanovic
More superb stuff by Venus, who seems to have upped her game after a poor tie-break. Some ferocious forehands give her two break points and she puts away a backhand volley this time to take the game in style.

“Why are these updates on 24/7?! African Nations Cup during the day, Aussie Open at night! Not handy when you’re trying to revise 🙂 Anyway, Jelena Jankovic all the way. Sharapova and then Venus in the final will both succumb!”
Ali, struggling Strathclyde uni student! on text 81111

Venus 6-7 (3-7) 1-0 Ivanovic
How will Venus respond to dropping that first set. Very well, actually. She powers down a couple of booming serves to hold with ease.

Venus 6-6 (3-7) Ivanovic
A cracking Ana forehand puts her 4-2 up and, despite upping the volume again, Venus is soon chasing this one, putting a woeful backhand volley into the bottom of the net. Ana serves for the set at 6-2 but has to wait for another mistake on the volley from Williams to wrap it up and take what has been a fascinating first set. More of the same please!

Venus 6-6 Ivanovic
Ana goes for broke again on the Venus serve but the American holds to love and we are going to have a tie-break to decide this first set.

“This is great competitve tennis. They are both taking their opportunities on the second serve and this match could go either way.”
BBC Sport’s Chris Bailey in Melbourne

Venus 5-6 Ivanovic
Another tense one. Ana is under some pressure at 30-30 but her serve does not let her down and the Serb holds when Venus puts a smash into the net.

Some belated fashion news – Venus is wearing a microscopic skirt to round off a nice blue, white and black stripey blouse, while Ana has elected for a little blue number. They both look very hot out there – it is a lot warmer in Melbourne than it is here in Shepherd’s Bush, I think.

Venus 5-5 Ivanovic
Venus is into her groove now. A superbly athletic smash gets her going and she is into the net again to put away a volley and level this one again.

0245: Some good news from Court 19. Britain’s Daniel Evans is into the fourth round of the boy’s singles after a 6-3 6-2 victory over Tyy D Trombetta of the United States. A good win for the boy from Brum.

Venus 4-5 Ivanovic
It’s Ana’s turn to see if she can hold…and she does so without any problems. A classy volley gets her off to a good start and despite a dodgy double-fault she is now on the brink of taking the first set. No pressure on that Venus serve then.

“Go Bevan! Any info on the two contenders’ dresses tonight? Let’s hope there’s no injury keeping Venus from performing at her best…”
Chris, Hampstead. Again. The Uri Geller of tennis and all that on text 81111

In case you missed it, Chris spotted Serena Williams had a blister last night, even before she took her sock off. If either player is carrying an injury tonight, he will be the first to know, trust me…

Venus 4-4 Ivanovic
Venus has upped the volume to try to change her luck on serve and it works, just. A couple of double-faults knock her back to 30-40 but she digs in to hold for the first time. Well done!

“A great battle developing out here with two players at the top of their game and battling hard.”
BBC Sport’s Jonathan Overend in Melbourne

Venus 3-4 Ivanovic
These two are not holding back today. Some blistering returns by Venus this time, and she is able to come in to finish things off at the net. Ana’s backhand is not quite firing yet and another unforced error on that side gives Williams the break – can someone please hold their serve!?

Venus 2-4 Ivanovic
Blimey, Venus cannot buy a point on her serve at the moment – she has only won two in this match so far. Ana is going for break with pretty much every shot and it is paying off – a crunching backhand return flies down the line and yes, you guessed it, we have another break.

0222: As some of you may know, I’ve been a curse on the hopes of anyone British playing at Melbourne Park this year. Can Daniel Evans change all that? Let’s hope so…He is the third seed in the boy’s singles and up against Ty D Trombetta of the United States and has just won the first set 6-3. Fingers crossed…

Venus 2-3 Ivanovic
The Ana backhand is not quite such a formidable weapon as that spectacular forehand and Venus has already worked that out. Ana’s finding serving a lot more difficult than returning and we have yet another break. This one is very much in the balance…

Venus 1-3 Ivanovic
Phew, can Ana keep this up? Three forehands of real class give her another break. Now, can she hold her serve this time?

“Williams/Ivanovic is a men’s QF according to the BBC Sport website!”
Anon on text 81111

Glad you’re awake – you’ve passed my little test…

Venus 1-2 Ivanovic
Ana is still smashing the ball all over the place, but in this game the difference is they all fly out. A double-fault compounds her misery and that’s a break back for Venus.

“They have had a break each but, of the two, Ana has looked much more impressive. It was a stunning drop-shot by her to undercut it and set up her break – a shot of real magic. If we are going to see some more of that, then we are in for a real treat here.”
BBC Sport’s Jonathan Overend in Melbourne

Venus 0-2 Ivanovic
Venus has got a heavily strapped right thigh but she is still moving as well as ever and is keen as mustard to come into the net. A couple of crashing returns by Ana announce her intentions though, and a delicate drop shot sets her up for a crucial early break. Wow!

Venus 0-1 Ivanovic
Neither of these players have dropped a set in the tournament so far…so both in form then. Venus has won all four of their previous meetings but that doesn’t bother Ana here and she holds without too much trouble.

0203 : Here we go. Ivanovic to serve first.

By the way, don’t forget to play your part too. The night will go a lot quicker if YOU get involved, so text me now on 81111 with the word TENNIS before your comment.

0159: There’s a place in the semi-finals up for grabs and the winner will play Daniela Hantuchova, who has just beaten Agnieszka Radwanska in her quarter-final on the Rod Laver Arena. A bit one-sided, that one…

0152: Morning folks, sleep is sooooo over-rated isn’t it? Plenty to keep you awake tonight too, starting with former World number one Venus Williams against fourth seed Ana Ivanovic. It could be a cracker…let’s hope so.

Story from BBC SPORT

Tsonga v Youzhny as it happened

Australian Open, Melbourne

Men’s quarter-final result:


7-5 6-0 7-6


By Tom Fordyce

Tsonga 7-6 Youzhny
He’s done it! Youz looked like he was going to claw a set back, but Tsonga stayed strong to stick away two wonderful volleys. At match point Youzhny dinks a backhand long, and as the out call comes in, Tsonga collapses to the deck with joy. Fantastic performance, and the Aussie crowd are going looperoo.

Tsonga 6-6 Youzhny
Heartening battling from the downbeat Russian, who could have capitulated at 30-30 but instead produced his best point of the match. A yell and bellow take him into the tie-break.

Tsonga 6-5 Youzhny
Brilliant from the prowling Frenchman. Youz has a chance at 15-15 but two deep, sizzling forehands open up smash-volley chances at the net. Youz staring down the barrell again.

Tsonga 5-5 Youzhny
Hats off to Micky. Tsonga has him at deuce with teeth bared, but he rips a forehand cross-court and forces a rare error with another vice-like point. A Russian roar of “Come on!” echoes around the Rod Laver Arena.

Tsonga 5-4 Youzhny
Lordy – that didn’t take long – J-W swats Youz aside in mere easy-breathing moments. Just one game away from his first Grand Slam semi now, and Youz is wobbling on the precipice.

Tsonga 4-4 Youzhny
Youz holds in the face of another Songers onslaught, but the seams are leaking and rivets popping out all over the place.

Tsonga 4-3 Youzhny
The Songers serve comes under pressure for the very first time as a Youz volley at full stretch works a deuce. Another deuce follows as Song slips before normal service is resumed with a cold-hearted efficiency.

Tsonga 3-3 Youzhny
Mock celebrations from Youz as a lucky net-cord allows him to stagger across the line after four strength-sapping deuces. Songers had a big fat bite at a break point there but thrashed his backhand onto the tape.

Tsonga 3-2 Youzhny
What a volley from J-W – Youz smashes the ball at his chest, but he throws his racquet out and somehow controls the ball into the corner as Youz looks on in dejected astonishment. Back at his chair, it’s banana o’clock.

Tsonga 2-2 Youzhny
Let’s look on the bright side – at least he’s holding his own serve now. Although that’s about it.

Tsonga 2-1 Youzhny
The respite is brief – Tsonga rattles through his own service game in utterly unflustered fashion. What can Youz do about this, short of hurdling the net and launching into his rival with a flurry of blows?

Tsonga 1-1 Youzhny
After nine games of pain, Youz finally gets back on the board. He throws his head back and howls at the Melbourne night sky.

Tsonga 1-0 Youzhny
Youz is moving like a man in a bad dream. He’s yet to work a single break point or even deuce on the Tsonga serve, and is now mumbling under his breath in slightly deranged fashion.


Tsonga 6-0 Youzhny
No luck at all for Mick – a Tsonga backhand clips the tape and drops just over the net to set up yet another break point, before a loopy forehand dips late to bite the edge of the line and seal the set. Youzhny’s eyes have glazed over, and he staggers off to t he lockers for a mind-sharpening courtesy break.

Tsonga 5-0 Youzhny
A dismissive fifth ace from J-W, and he’s on the brink of a two-set lead here. The crowd are warming to his mix of power and cunning – particularly four boisterous Frenchmen waving a tricolour with foamy-lipped frenzy.

Tsonga 4-0 Youzhny
Shocker for Micky. He blasts a forehand long to give away his third service game in a row, and stands there in misery as Coach Sobkin grimaces like a man with an elephant on his toe.

Tsonga 3-0 Youzhny
The emergency unwrapping makes no difference. Tsonga is away like a runaway express, and Youzhny can’t get close to the brakes.

Tsonga 2-0 Youzhny
Joyous tennis from the 22-year-old Frenchman – a wonderful running top-spin lob over the scrambling Mick to smash-and-grab his fourth game on the bounce. Mick signals to the umpire that he needs assistance, and he hobbles to his chair before grabbing some scissors and slicing off the thick layers of tape he had bound around his ankles. As the umpire gives him the hurry-up, the mummy returns.

Tsonga 1-0 Youzhny
J-W’s doing to Youz exactly what he did to Andy Murray in the first round – dictating the points with a muscular meanness. Can he keep these levels up?


Tsonga 7-5 Youzhny
Brilliant steal from Tsonga, barrelling a brutal backhand across Youzhny’s chest to snatch the break and set in the blink of an eye. He celebrates with a Montyesque leap and jogs back to his chair with a satisfied frown.

Tsonga 6-5 Youzhny
J-W’s loving every second of this. His forehand is an absolute thumper, and he’s not giving Mick a glimmer of a chance. On the Ali lookalikey tip, the most obvious difference between the two is the nose. Rather than the noble mashed beak of Muhammad, J-W’s got a delicate little ski-jump.

Tsonga 5-5 Youzhny
The first sniff of a chance for Songers, working a 0-30 advantage before Youz creams a forehand down the line and drifts in a backhand for 30-30. Songers sets up a break point with his meaty forehand, Youz saves it with deep serve wide to the backhand and stays in the set when Songers goes longers with a mis-hit forehand from beyond the baseline.

Tsonga 5-4 Youzhny
J-W’s landing 80% of his first serves; Micky 90%. That’s why the break point has been as absent as a British female player from Wimbledon’s second week.

Tsonga 4-4 Youzhny
Micky goes to love, too, and we could have a ripper on our hands here. J-W broods on the baseline as the first shouts of, “Allez Tsong-gah!” go up from the stands.

Tsonga 4-3 Youzhny
Another love service game from the Frenchman. Youzhny, if you haven’t seen him before, looks a little like a more butch version of Michael Owen. Apparently he was a ball-boy at the Russia v USA Davis Cup final in Moscow in 1995. He even had his photo taken with Pete Sampras.

Tsonga 3-3 Youzhny
J-W buries a backhand cross-court to worry Mick, but the Russian stands tall on his serve to bring us level. Applause from his courtside coach, Boris Sobkin, who’s been working with him since he was ten years old.

Tsonga 3-2 Youzhny
Raking forehand from J-W to smooth over a potential hitch at 15-30, with booming serves to polish things off. His choice of refresco at the change-over is a pale orange liquid, and he sips with a face straight off the poker table.

Tsonga 2-2 Youzhny
Steady again from Mick, who’s sporting the classic tennis sock – a white mid-calf number with elasticated top.

Tsonga 2-1 Youzhny
Songers has dropped just one point on his serve so far. Apparently his nickname as a junior was Muhammad Ali, owing to his slight likeness to the Greatest Sportsman Ever (TM).

Tsonga 1-1 Youzhny
Micky does the same with minimum fuss. As you were, gentlemen.

Tsonga 1-0 Youzhny
Tsonga starts confidently, cruising his way through his first service game without breaking a bead.

1035: After the briefest of breathers, we’re almost off again. Will the chaps be able to hit the ball as hard as Sharapova? The Russian thrashed Justine Henin – must have given her compatriot Mikhail Youzhny a big lift as he seeks to reach the semi-finals.

By the way, you can also watch the action live on BBC Interactive or listen to commentary on 5 Live Sports Extra.

Story from BBC SPORT