Down Under Daily: Sharapova upset, big-hitting Karlovic advances

Chris Chase
January 18, 2010

Down Under Daily is Busted Racquet's look at the previous day's action at the Australian Open.

Biggest upset: Maria Kirilenko d. No. 14 Maria Sharapova -- 7-6 (4), 3-6, 6-4 -- This Slam was supposed to be Sharapova's big comeback. It lasted three hours 22 minutes. The Russian superstar, who has won three Grand Slam titles in her career, fell in a three-set marathon to fellow Russian Maria Kirilenko (who herself was once set to become the next big Russian Maria). It's the first time Sharapova has made a first round exit in a Slam since the 2003 French.

Best match: Ivo Karlovic d. Radek Stapnek 2-6, 7-6, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 -- We could have easily put the Kirilenko-Sharapova match here, but we'll instead show some love to one of Busted Racquet's favorites: the big hitting, ace-smacking, six-foot-10 Karlovic. Faced with a tough draw in Stepanek (who had advanced to at least the third round of the last seven Slams), Karlovic hit 34 aces en route to a surprising upset win. The Croat had lost in the first round of 14 of his last 21 Slams.

Unruly fans: Police ejected 11 people from the tournament on Monday, many of whom were Croats supporting Karlovic during his match. It is alleged that a group of 60 were lighting flares and being disruptive during the match. Before the game there was a skirmish between the group and a photographer.

Tuesday preview (play begins Monday night in United States): The late match in Rod Laver Arena features No. 1 seed Roger Federer and Russian Igor Andreev. It's a tough first round match-up for the men's favorite. Two years ago in the fourth round of the U.S. Open, Andreev took Federer to the distance, scrapping in a three hour 33 minute five-setters.