Whilst rain had been forecasted in Miami at the Sony Ericsson Open on Friday, what was unexpected was Novak Djokovic’s second round departure. Olivier Rochus ousted the world number two 6-2,6-7,6-4. Simultaneously on court 1, Caroline Wozniacki, the women’s number two, was on the verge of an early exit herself. However, Wozniacki survived against Tsvetana Pironkova 3-6,6-3,6-4.
Rochus broke in the opening game. After consolidating, Olivier placed a beautiful backhand down the line winner to set up triple break point. Rochus converted a second break when Djokovic’s backhand sailed long. After erasing a break point and extending his lead to 5-1, Rochus closed out the set his next time out.
In the second set, Rochus again obtained triple break point and with a backhand down the line winner took a 3-2 lead. But, Djokovic got back on even terms promptly breaking the next game. The set went to a tiebreaker where Rochus got ahead early on. Yet, Djokovic weathered the storm and stole the set.
The decisive set, after holding serve, Rochus was gifted a double fault by Djokovic and broke for 2-1. Then, by donating to his opponent a couple of errors, Rochus lost his edge. Soon though, Rochus worked his way to double break point and capitalized when Djokovic’s forehand traveled long. Later on, Rochus fought off a break point and stretched his advantage to 4-1. After failing to secure the insurance break, serving at 5-3, Rochus committed a string of errors allowing Djokovic to stay in the match. Still, with miscues by Djokovic, Rochus manufactured break point/match point. Olivier pocketed the match when another Novak forehand went astray.
After the match, MiamiTennisNews inquired:
Q. Were you having problems breathing on the court? Looked like the conditions were a little bit heavy out there.
DJOKOVIC: Yeah, it was a bit humid, but, you know, he was making me run a lot so points were really long. That was exhausting.
Q. You’ve been playing a lot of tennis. Are you thinking of maybe rescheduling for the clay season?
DJOKOVIC: I don’t know. I will have more time now I guess to rest and prepare well for clay.
On to the ladies, after dropping the first set to Pironkova, Wozniacki was behind in the second set. The world number two battled back and captured the break for 5-3. Subsequently, Wozniacki held to push the match to a third set.
In the ultimate set, Pironkova got a break early on and consolidated for 3-0. After finally getting on the board, Wozniacki earned triple break point and converted. Later at 3 all, Wozniacki took a go ahead break for 4-3. However, Pironkova fought back to 4 a piece. But, a resilient Wozniacki manufactured another break point and put herself in front 5-4 when Pironkova’s forehand up the line sailed long. Then, on her third match point, as a forehand from Pironkova landed wide, Wozniacki punched her ticket into the third round.
With the rain backlog, Kim Clijsters’ match originally scheduled on stadium court was bounced to an outer court. Regardless, for Clijsters, it turned out to be a practice session with a 6-1,6-1 thumping of Petra Kvitova. Like Clijsters, Vera Zvonareva put on a clinic against Melanie Oudin 6-1, 6-2. Maria Kirilenko crawled out of a 5-2 deficit in the third set against Melinda Czink to pilfer the match in the tiebreaker. After losing the first set, Lucie Safarova seized the second set tiebreaker then rolled over Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez 4-6.7-6,6-2. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, the 22nd seed, continues to impress; the youngster beat Tamira Paszek 7-6,4-6,6-3 for a third round berth. Before the rain came, Victoria Azarenka, the defending champion, had a 6-3,6-2 victory over Alexandra Dulgheru. Jelena Jankovic, Dominika Cibulkova, Elena Vesnina and Shahar Peer were straight sets winners. Samatha Stosur was pushed to a third set by Carla Suarez Navarro and made it through.
Elena Dementieva, the 5th seed, suffered her 11th defeat to Justine Henin 6-3,6-2. Alisa Kleybanova, the 24th seed, fell to Sara Errani 6-4,7-5 while Jie Zheng, seeded 20th, was upset by Virginie Razzano in straight sets. For Alize Cornet, it was another disappointing tournament with an early ousting, this time by Francesca Schiavone. Schiavone prevailed 6-3,6-2. After being on the road six weeks and some heartbreaking losses, Cornet’s 2010 record is now 6-9.
MiamiTennisNews wanted to know about Cornet’s state of mind:
Q. You look physically tired, are you also mentally tired?
CORNET: Maybe a little, it’s already many weeks that I’m away from home. I have not cut back in terms of training and I am someone who trains a lot usually. I rarely give myself time off, days of rest. I am becoming cognizant that I should take resting a little more seriously and from time to time award myself a day off. However, I think it’s difficult with long stretches of tournaments as such.
Djokovic was followed on stadium court by Rafael Nadal. In no time, Nadal dispatched Taylor Dent 6-4,6-3. Andy Roddick and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga had a no drama night with straight set wins over their opponents Igor Andreev and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez respectively. Ivan Ljubicic, the champion at Indian Wells last week, was forced to retire against Benjamin Becker after carrying the first set and the first game in the second due to a back injury. It was a tough day for the American males with Sam Querrey and James Blake going down after winning their first sets to Jeremy Chardy and Thomas Bellucci respectively. But, John Isner avoided the upset with a 7-6,2-6,7-6 victory over Michael Russell. David Nalbandian, Ivo Karlovic, Juan Carlos Ferrero, David Ferrer, Tommy Robredo, Nicolas Almagro and Phillip Kohlschreiber advanced.