MELBOURNE, Australia – While you were sleeping, here’s what you missed on Day 5 of the Australian Open.
Li Na saves match point to advance: Facing an in-form Lucie Safarova on yet another scorching day at the Australian Open, the 2013 finalist escaped with a 1-6, 7-6 (2), 6-3 victory. The key moment came when Safarova narrowly missed hitting a backhand winner on match point at 6-5 in the second set. “The five centimeters saved my tournament,” said Li, who rallied from 3-5 in the second set. “If she hit it in, my whole team is on the way to the airport.” Instead, Li will stick around for a fourth-round match against another left-hander, No. 22 Ekaterina Makarova, a 6-4, 6-4 winner over Monica Niculescu.
Serena Williams sets tournament record: The world No. 1 played the worst of her three matches here but still beat Daniela Hantuchova 6-3, 6-3 to win her record 61st match at the Australian Open and extend her overall winning streak to 25. ESPN’s Darren Cahill reported that Williams warmed up for only one minute before her match, which was played in very hot weather. Then reports came that she skipped a postmatch television interview because of dizziness, and then news broke that Serena and sister Venus had withdrawn from doubles. Serena denied that she was dizzy after the match: “I had some pressing things I needed to take care of.”
Ana Ivanovic shows vintage form: The Serb overcame a freak rain delay to beat No. 17 Sam Stosur 6-7 (7), 6-4, 6-2. She did it with some clutch serving and a barrage of 32 forehand winners. It was great to see the 14th-seeded Ivanovic hitting her signature shot with such conviction. Her reward: a fourth-round match against Serena. Ivanovic hasn’t made an Australian Open quarterfinal since reaching the final in 2008.
Casey Dellacqua’s run continues: The 28-year-old Australian wild card defeated former semifinalist Zheng Jie 6-2, 6-4. Zheng took a long medical timeout late in the second set amid struggles with the heat, but Dellacqua’s power and consistency didn’t give her much of a chance anyway. The 120th-ranked Dellacqua will face No. 30 Eugenie Bouchard, who beat Lauren Davis 6-2, 6-2 to advance to the fourth round of a major for the first time.
Donald Young is last American hope: Sam Querrey couldn’t back up his great win over Ernests Gulbis, falling to No. 15 Fabio Fognini 7-5, 6-4, 6-4. Querrey’s loss leaves the 91st-ranked Young as the last American in the men’s draw. Young faces No. 16 Kei Nishikori in the third round Saturday.
More results: No. 17 Tommy Robredo knocked out No. 9 Richard Gasquet 2-6, 7-5, 6-4, 7-6 (8) to earn a fourth-round match against Stanislas Wawrinka. This will be Robredo’s third fourth-round appearance in his last four Slams. … No. 19 Kevin Anderson rallied past Edouard Roger-Vasselin 3-6, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (5), 7-5 in three hours and 54 minutes. … Florian Mayer dispatched No. 20 Jerzy Janowicz 7-5, 6-2, 6-2. … No. 1 Novak Djokovic, No. 3 David Ferrer and No. 7 Tomas Berdych were straight-set winners. … On the women’s side, 23-year-old American Alison Riske’s run ended with a 6-3, 6-4 loss to No. 9 Angelique Kerber. … No. 28 Flavia Pennetta dismissed Mona Barthel 6-1, 7-5 to reach the fourth round of her third consecutive major.
Photo of the day
Video of the day
On the fifth point of his match against Denis Istomin, Novak Djokovic did this:
Scoreboard of the day
Gael Monfils and Dustin Brown lost their doubles match, but they still had the best scoreboard in the history of tennis: BRO MON.
Quote of the day
“I love it. It makes my body feel good, too, the heat, the warm. Yeah, I really enjoyed it out there. Yeah, it would be nice if it would be a bit hotter for the next week. I’m sure everyone else will be over it.”
– Casey Dellacqua, who grew up in Western Australia, on the extreme Melbourne temperatures. She’s crazy.
Tweets of the day
#AusOpen has activated the ”Extreme Boring Match Policy”. Rest of Chardy-Ferrer played in camera. Result announced by press release.
— Richard Hinds (@rdhinds) January 17, 2014
Official: first time in recorded history (106 years) Melbourne has gone over 40 deg. Celsius 4 days in a row. #Crikey
— Brett Haber (@BrettHaber) January 17, 2014
It’s absolutely hilarious hearing these announcers on WatchESPN stream absolutely butcher Damir’s last name. #ESPNAO
— Amer Delic (@AmerDelic) January 17, 2014
“@tennis_roasted: on playing Feliciano Lopez, Murray :“He’s got a gr8 serve, gr8 volleys, & according to my Mum, he’s hotter than me.” True.
— judy murray (@judmoo) January 17, 2014
7 Slams, 7 Different Last US Man Left: #AusOpen 14:Young US13:Smyczek Wim13:Reynolds RG13:Isner Aus13:Querrey US12:Roddick Wim12:Fish
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 17, 2014
Walked into the “recovery room” and found half of Team France, and the one and only Lendl, leave it to Llodra to cannonball into the ice tub
— Bethanie MattekSands (@BMATTEK) January 17, 2014