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Updated: January 20, 2012 09:22 IST

Furious Nalbandian loses to Isner

AFP
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INCENSED: David Nalbandian, upset over refusal of a video challenge at a
critical stage in the deciding set, finally lost the encounter against John Isner.
AFP
INCENSED: David Nalbandian, upset over refusal of a video challenge at a critical stage in the deciding set, finally lost the encounter against John Isner.

A furious rant by David Nalbandian stirred up the Australian Open on Wednesday, as Rafael Nadal made a timely return to form and Roger Federer reached the third round without picking up his racquet.

Women's champion Kim Clijsters raced through in just 47 minutes to stay on track for a clash with China's Li Na, and top seed Caroline Wozniacki survived a second-set fight-back by former junior doubles partner Anna Tatishvili.

Nadal, who has grumbled about injuries and has appeared jaded in recent months, was smiling again after his 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 defeat of Tommy Haas, which put him into the third round without dropping a set.

The Spaniard, moving freely despite a heavily bandaged right knee, was broken in the first and third sets but always looked in control against the injury-hit German, who has reached the semifinals on three occasions.

Federer, seeking his first Grand Slam win in two years, received a boost when Germany's Andreas Beck withdrew from their match with a back problem, giving the Swiss free passage to the third round.

The rest will be welcome for Federer, 30, who was forced out of this month's Qatar Open with back spasms and will break Jimmy Connors's record of 233 Grand Slam wins if he reaches the final. He will next face Ivo Karlovic.

Video challenge

But the major talking point was an on-court bust-up involving the combative Nalbandian, who was incensed when a chair umpire refused to allow a critical video challenge near the end of his 4hr 41min marathon loss to John Isner.

Nalbandian said the official, Kader Nouni of France, was not capable of umpiring men's Grand Slam matches after making the contentious call late in the gripping five-setter, which ended 4-6, 6-3, 2-6, 7-6(5), 10-8.

Holding a break point at 8-8 in the deciding set, Nalbandian, a former top-10 player and the 2002 Wimbledon runner-up, asked for a Hawk-Eye video review when umpire Nouni overruled a fault call on Isner's serve.

But Nouni told him he was “too late” to request the challenge, according to Nalbandian, who argued for several minutes and called the match supervisor on court. Ukrainian hotshot Alexandr Dolgopolov also went through and Bernard Tomic delighted home fans by beating American Sam Querrey in four sets.

In the women's draw, Clijsters brushed past France's Stephanie Foretz Gacon 6-0, 6-1, while French Open winner Li dispatched Australian wildcard Olivia Rogowska 6-2, 6-2 to stay on track for a fourth-round meeting with the Belgian.

Clijsters was so dominant against Gacon that the Frenchwoman only won 24 points in the match, 13 of those coming from her opponent's unforced errors.

Schiavone ousted

But Italy's Francesca Schiavone followed US Open champion Samantha Stosur out of the tournament when she was shocked by 80th-ranked compatriot Romina Oprandi, who won 6-4, 6-3. “I think it was a really bad match for me,” Schiavone said. “I couldn't play like I was trying to play.”

World No. 1 Wozniacki came through in a second-set tiebreaker with Georgia's Tashvili, while Agnieszka Radwanska, Daniela Hantuchova and Jelena Jankovic were among the other seeds to progress.

Fish knocked out

Elsewhere in the men's draw, American eighth seed Mardy Fish was knocked out of the tournament by Colombia's Alejandro Falla, 7-6(4), 6-3, 7-6(6).

American seed Mardy Fish criticised his opponent Alejandro Falla's frequent stoppages to treat leg cramps after he was bounced out of the Australian Open on Wednesday.

The eighth seed was the highest-ranked player knocked out in the men's draw on the third day in Melbourne, falling 7-6(4), 6-3, 7-6(6) to the 71st-ranked Colombian.

But Fish was left fuming over Falla's regular calls for the trainer to treat leg cramps which he felt prevented him from gaining any momentum to turn around his second round match.

“I see that guy's called the trainer three, four times, however many times he was out there,” Fish said.

Indians move up

The new Indian doubles pair of Mahesh Bhupathi and Rohan Bopanna entered the second round at the Australian Open on Wednesday. Bopanna, who split from doubles partner Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi of Pakistan so he could pursue his Olympic dream, said he was happy with how the new pairing was working out after a win over Australia's Matthew Ebden and Chris Guccione.

Also, Leander Paes, partnering Czech Radek Stepanek defeated Aussie pair of Greg Jones and John-Patrick Smith 6-2, 6-2 in an hour and 13 minutes.

Keywords: Australian Open

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