Yawn! another late night for Marcos

MELBOURNE: Marcos Baghdatis is getting tired of burning the midnight oil at the Australian Open.

The 2006 runner-up finished his third-round match at 1:14 a.m. on Saturday against American Mardy Fish.

But that was an early finish compared with his record from last year, when he lost to Lleyton Hewitt in a five-set match that didn’t begin until after 11:30 p.m. and finished at 4:34 a.m.

Baghdatis, who beat Fish, said he wanted to play some earlier matches, maybe even in his fourth-rounder when he takes on defending champion Novak Djokovic.

“I cannot say it’s not a problem,” Baghdatis said. “It’s a bit of a pain ... for me because the last two years I’m here I’m finishing matches after midnight ...”

Baghdatis said it would be impossible for him to catch up on his sleep before taking on Djokovic on Sunday.

“I will wake up normal because my eyes will be open at seven or eight o’clock like always with all the adrenaline and all the pressure,” Baghdatis said. “So I don’t think I’ll get a lot of sleep.

Open question

Serena Williams figures she did the television equivalent of a double fault when she appeared on the American game show Millionaire Password.

“Oh, my, it didn’t go so well,” Williams said after her third-round win over Peng Shuai of China. “I couldn’t give the right clues.”

Williams was one of the guests on the CBS prime-time game show with host Regis Philbin which aired in the United States on Jan. 4, just before she left to prepare for the Australian Open.

In the game, one player and one celebrity team up in an attempt to win $1 million. There are four rounds, with five words per round and a maximum of 30 seconds to guess the words.

On the show which featured Williams, one of the contestants went home with $25,000, which is the least anyone can win on a night.

Arguing Almagro

Nicolas Almagro was already in deep trouble in his match on Saturday against Gael Monfils of France, and a chair umpire’s decision not to allow him to challenge a call didn’t help.

The 23-year-old Spanish player was down 6-5 in the third set and serving to stay in the match when he asked for a call to be reviewed — after the point had ended.

American chair umpire Norm Chryst correctly ruled that Almagro should have stopped play to ask for the review, and not wait until the point ended.

A clearly aggravated Almagro argued the call, loudly and demonstrably, and held up the match when he insisted on getting a couple of other technical opinions.

In the end, he lost the next three points and the match to the 12th-seeded Monfils 6-4, 6-3, 7-5.

“He said I waited too long to ask,” 17th-seeded Almagro said of his dispute with Chryst. “I didn’t think I had. I asked for someone else (a Grand Prix supervisor) to confirm that decision, and I spoke to my coach (Antonio Gonzalez).”

— AP

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