Just when the bookies price Novak Djokovic at $1.57 to win the Australian Open, the world’s dominant player found himself in a fight for survival when he went up against the 14th seed, Frenchman Gilles Simon. Djokovic was extended to five sets when the two played Sunday night.
This was the first time the might Serb has dropped a set in competition since November of last year. He committed 100 unforced errors. That is not a typo. He dropped the second set in a tiebreaker and had appeared to seize control of the match with a fairly routine 6 – 4 third set. Simon turned the table and returned the favour, taking the fourth set by the same score. The two men went at it for 4.5 hours, which was sure to delight the ticket-buying fans who got an extreme value.
On the women’s side, Serena Williams cruised to the quarterfinals by disposing of Russian Margarita Gasparyan in less than an hour, surrendering only three games. It is beginning to appear as though Williams is unstoppable and perhaps even capable of giving some of the men a run for their money. Her next match is against Maria Sharapova, the current world number five. Sharapova could conceivably beat Williams, since she last did so in 2004, but she has only beaten Serena twice in 20 attempts.