First to play on Rod Laver Arena on Day 5 of the Australian Open on Friday morning was the German Angelique Kerber, the 5th seed. On her 25th birthday, she came out to do battle with the 17 year old American wildcard Madison Keys, who is ranked at 105. The first set was a stroll in the park for the German, as she ran up a 5-1 lead before the American got another game, but made no mistake in taking the nest game and the set at 6-2 in just 29 minutes. The second set was much trickier for Kerber, as Keys started to find her range and hit a total of thirty two wonderful winners to her opponent’s eleven. With Kerber serving in the 8th game, the rain came down and the roof was closed, but Keys held her nerve to led 5-4. Down 0-30, Kerber called on all her experience to tough out that game and the next to take the set 7-5 in 71 minutes. The fans showed their appreciation for a great match by singing Happpy Birthday to her.
There was an upset in the first match on Margaret Court Arena, when the 11th seed Marion Bartoli of France took on the Russian 19th seed Ekaterina Makarova. Makarova has good memories of Melbourne Park, as she took out Serena Williams in the fourth round last year. The tall Russian leftie quickly took the first three games of the first set but Bartoli levelled and then games went with serve to the breaker, which the Frenchwoman took 7-4 by saving three match points. Bartoli went to pieces in the second set, with numerous double faults, allowing Makarova to play her aggressive game, break Bartoli twice and take the set 6-3. The Russian continued confidently in the decider, taking a 5-0 lead but as they say, ‘it’s not over until the fat lady sings’. Bartoli dug deep and came back in her indomitable style to 4-5, but while serve to stay in the match she double faulted at 30-30 to give the Russian her 4th match point which she took to take the set 6-4. She will play Kerber in the fourth round.
Another German seed, number 18 Julia Goerges, took on 40th ranked Jie Zheng of China, on Show Court 3. In a battle of tough rallies, Zheng, who ousted Sam Stosur in the second round, found herself on the losing side of the German’s four aces and nineteen aggressive winners, allowing Goerges to take the set 6-3 after leading 5-1. Zheng bounced back in the second set to take it easily 6-1 after going up 4-0, to force a decider. The third set went with serve until the Chinese player broke to lead 3-2 and served for the match at 5-4, but the German broke to level and went on to take the set 7-5. She will meet Na Li in the fourth round.
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