Day five of the Australian Open

niall 23/01/2015

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Australian Open diary: Nadal refused entry to restroom, Twirl-gate stirs up debate

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Rafael Nadal was refused entry into a restroom because he forgot to walk around with his players' badge.

How often do you think Rafael Nadal can walk into a place and not get recognised? Not often, right? And probably never at the Australian Open.

But the Spaniard was denied entry into a restroom here close to the players’ restaurant because he forgot to walk around with his badge.

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– Australian Open round-up: Roger Federer suffers shock exit

The security lady told him he needs to have his accreditation pass and when the world No3 politely pointed out that he had just left the players’ restaurant, she said she was just doing her job.

She finally let him in when another security explained to her who he was.

See, players really are just like the rest of us!

Twirl-gate
Eugenie Bouchard celebrates after victory in her women's singles match against France's Caroline Garcia.

As Eugenie Bouchard pointed out in her press conference on Thursday an incident can often take a life of its own.

The Canadian No7 seed, as well as Serena Williams, were asked to twirl during their post-match on-court interviews by an Australian TV reporter and both players obliged. But the question was deemed sexist by some media as well as American legend Billie Jean King who said on her Twitter account:

Neither Williams nor Bouchard though labeled the question sexist although both said they weren’t particularly comfortable doing it on court.

“I twirl all the time in dance class. It’s called a Chaines Spin. I’ve been working on it. I have to really work on my spotting. My coach tells me to whip my head around. As a dancer, we do lots of turns,” Williams said when asked about the incident.

World No1 Serena Williams was also asked to twirl during her post-match on-court interview by an Australian TV reporter.

“A commentator asked me to twirl. I wouldn’t ask Rafa or Roger to twirl. Whether it’s sexist or not, I don’t know. I don’t know. I can’t answer that.

“I didn’t really want to twirl because I was just like, you know, I don’t need all the extra attention. But, yeah, it was fine. I don’t think and look that deep into it. Life is far too short to focus on that,” added the world No1.

Bouchard also chose to stay on the fence when asked whether she agreed it was sexist. She made an interesting proposal though.

“I stay out of this stuff. My friends are texting me saying I dance and twirl well and stuff as jokes,” said the 20-year-old.

“I think it was just kind of funny. I’m fine with being asked to twirl if they ask the guys to flex their muscles and stuff. Personally I’m not offended. It’s just funny how it’s taken a life of its own.”

Kevin Anderson blasts Channel 7 commentators
Kevin Anderson reacts after beating Richard Gasquet of France in their men's singles match.

Kevin Anderson has blasted Channel 7 commentators for saying they have never heard of American Tim Smyczek during the American’s five-set defeat to Rafael Nadal in the second round.

Smyczek, who earned the world’s respect for his great performance against Nadal and his incredible sportsmanship when he allowed the Spaniard to re-hit a first serve after a spectator yelled out during as he was serving, is ranked No112 in the world, and peaked at No73 in 2013.

In the last 16, Anderson awaits the winner of the third round clash between Nadal and Dudi Sela.  ​

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Australian Open round-up: Seppi shocks Federer

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A stunned Roger Federer was dumped from the Australian Open Friday in his worst showing since 2001 as Maria Sharapova, Andy Murray and Eugenie Bouchard battled to stay in the title hunt.

– Exclusive interview with Goran Ivanisevic

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In the tournament's biggest upset, the Swiss world number two had no answer to unseeded Italian Andreas Seppi, who he had conquered in their past 10 meetings.

"Just a bad day. I wish I could have played better but clearly it was tough losing the first two sets," Federer said after crashing out in the third round 6-4, 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 7-6 (7/5). "I had chances to get back into it but let it slip. It's a disappointing loss."

The defeat was the 17-time Grand Slam winner's earliest exit in Melbourne in 14 years and aside from his second round Wimbledon flop in 2013, was the Swiss legend's worst performance at a major in more than a decade.

"To beat Roger first time, especially in a Grand Slam, best-of-five, is a special moment for me," said the 46th ranked Seppi, who had only taken one set off him in their previous 10 matches.

In contrast, Sharapova blitzed her way past Zarina Diyaz of Kazakhstan 6-1, 6-1, erasing memories of the massive scare she was given in her second round clash when she had to save two match points.

"I started really focused, I knew I had a tough, long match previously, so I wanted to start off strong and finish strong," said the Russian second seed. "I think I did a good job of that."

Murray was also in form, easily beating Portugal's Joao Sousa. The Scot, who won 6-1, 6-1, 7-5, has yet to be seriously tested at Melbourne Park, with a first-match tiebreak the closest he has come to dropping a set.

He will next meet Bulgarian 10th seed Grigor Dimitrov, who struggled against 2006 Open runner-up Marcos Baghdatis with the fired-up Cypriot pushing him to five gruelling sets.

Over the moon: Seppi celebrates his victory.

Dimitrov, Sharapova's boyfriend, looked headed for defeat when Baghdatis won the third set before rallying to claim an exhausting 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory.

"I'm not going to hide my excitement of winning the match because it meant a lot to me," he said.

Rising star Bouchard also progressed, but made heavy work of downing France's Caroline Garcia, taking 56 minutes to get through the first set before moving up a gear to win 7-5, 6-0.

"I don't think it was the prettiest tennis out there today," admitted the seventh seeded Canadian, who has a big fan base in Australia.

Bouchard is seen as one of the new generation tipped to take the reins from the old guard of Serena Williams and Sharapova, with Dimitrov regarded as a contender in the men's game.

Third seed Simona Halep, a quarter-finalist last year, limped through against American world number 258 Bethanie Mattek-Sands 6-4, 7-5 and will next meet Belgium's Yanina Wickmayer.

Czech seventh seed Tomas Berdych was a more convincing winner, powering past Serb Viktor Troicki while women's 10th seed Ekaterina Makarova also went through.

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