Australian Open

Henin upset in Melbourne

2011-01-21 06:42
Justine Henin (AP)

Melbourne - Justin Henin tumbled out of the Australian Open on Friday as Novak Djokovic took the easy route and world number one Caroline Wozniacki shed her "boring" tag in front of stunned journalists.

Henin, struggling with an elbow injury, was never in front against Russia's Svetlana Kuznetsova and failed to reach a Grand Slam last 16 for the first time since Wimbledon 2006.

Kuznetsova held her nerve in a nail-biting tiebreak to seal it 6-4, 7-6 (10/8) and keep hopes alive of a third Grand Slam title.

"There was so much tension and nerves - I wanted to win so much," said the Russian.

Earlier Djokovic's quest to upset Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer's Grand Slam stranglehold received a helping hand when fellow Serb Viktor Troicki retired hurt after going a set down.

After Juan Martin del Potro's demise late on Thursday, third seed Djokovic is the only player left in Melbourne, other than Nadal and Federer, to have won a Grand Slam since 2006. He said he was not sorry to play a short match.

"I think I had enough tennis already in the last couple weeks. It's good that you don't spend that much time on the court, maybe save some energy," Djokovic said. "But I'm going to be ready for the next match."

Djokovic will play Spanish 14th seed Nicolas Almagro in the round of 16 as he bids to shed the unwanted "one-Slam wonder" tag.

He is regarded as the chief threat to defending champion Federer and world number one Nadal, who is gunning to unite all four Grand Slam titles for the first time since 1969.

Meanwhile, Wozniacki took sweet revenge on Slovakian pocket rocket Dominika Cibulkova, whose shock victory at last week's Sydney International raised new questions about the Dane's credibility as world number one.

Wozniacki was broken three times but cashed in on an even higher rate by Cibulkova, the top 100's shortest player at five foot three inches (1.61 metres), wrapping it up 6-4, 6-3 in 1hr 32min.

Afterwards, the 20-year-old Dane turned on journalists who accused her of giving boring press conferences.

"Yesterday (I was told) my press conferences were kind of boring, that I always gave the same answers," she said.

"I find it quite funny because I always get the same questions. I know what you're going to ask me already, so I'm just going to start with the answers."

Wozniacki then stunned media by rattling off a monologue answering the predictable questions she knew she would face.

"I felt great out there today on the court. I think I played a pretty good match. I am happy I got the revenge since I lost to her in Sydney last week. It was not an easy match. She went out there, she was really on fire," she dead-panned.

French Open champion Francesca Schiavone eased past Monica Niculescu 6-0, 7-6 (7/2) and Latvian Anastasija Sevastova beat Vesna Manasieva 6-1, 6-3 to set up a last-16 meeting with Wozniacki.

China's Li Na downed Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 6-2, 6-1 to reach the fourth round and revive memories of her run to last year's semi-finals.

Meanwhile Andy Roddick recovered from a set down to see off Dutchman Robin Haase 2-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-2, 6-2. Federer was playing Xavier Malisse while Japanese hope Kei Nishikori has a showdown with Spain's Fernando Verdasco.

Troicki joined a growing injury list after Marcos Daniel retired from his match with Nadal, Karol Beck was forced out while playing Andy Murray and a dizzy David Nalbandian gave up on his encounter with Richard Berankis.

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