Andrew now actually has THE FLU and cannot control either his nose or his aching legs but dammit, he can watch tennis and learn things. Here’s what he learned between sneezes:
1. Tim Smyczek is on track for sainthood
Rafael Nadal was not a well man during his second round match with now universally adored American Tim Smyczek. It was a match that most would have expected to be one sided, but Nadal, who reported dizziness and feeling like he might vomit, was not able to play anywhere near his best. Smyczek very much rose to the occasion, for the second and third sets at least, and looked like he might knock the Spaniard out of the contest.
Nadal held firm, however, while the American faltered under pressure. What was most impressive was that at 6-5 in the final set, with Nadal serving two points away from victory at 30-0, Smyczek asked the umpire to allow Nadal another shot at his first serve after a fan shouted out mid-service motion, distracting the world no. 3.
Nadal would go on to win the point, the game, and the match.
2. Five sets good, ten sets bad
Kokkinakis found himself in yet another five set battle on day three, eventually running out of steam against compatriot Sam Groth. His win over Gulbis in the first round was flashy and fun, but the young Australian will have to learn to win his matches faster if he wants to progress deeper into slams. Nobody is immune from fatigue.
Groth will look to take out another Australian in the third round, Bernard Tomic, but this time it will be he recovering from an epic battle.
3. The insect world does not care if you are Roger Federer
Roger Federer suffered a bee sting to his hand during his four set 3-6 6-3 6-2 6-2* win over Simone Bolelli.
One can only imagine the bee was a particularly aggressive Nadal or Djokovic fan, enraged by a remark she’d seen on tennis twitter that attributed GOAT-status to the Swiss, and further goaded by an aggressively pro-Federer ant who had spent the morning trolling her.
Stay classy, insect fandoms.
4. Simona Halep will not accept delays to her sleep schedule
After the court-hogging antics of Nadal and Smyczek, Halep came onto court very late in the evening to face home player Jarmila Gajdosova. Some wondered if tiredness would play a part in the encounter, giving the Australian more of a chance of stealing the match away from the world no. 3, but this was not to be the case.
Simona Halep laughs in the face of tiredness. She raced through the match 6-2 6-2, and progresses through an increasingly open quarter of the draw. In round 3, she will face American FASHION ICON Bethanie Mattek-Sands.
5. Andy Murray looks great
I’m not just talking about his new Under Armour wardrobe. Murray is running fast, he is attacking the net, he is playing positive and proactive tennis, and he looks freed from all the tension of 2014. Watch him closely this year, I think he has a third slam victory coming up, and I still think it could be in Melbourne.
6. Maria Sharapova is…Maria Sharapova
It’s the same old story, right?
“Sharapova grits out close match to take the win,” I’ll say. Everyone will nod, we’ll all go home content that the world is still turning. Seriously you guys, we can discuss all day the Sharapova grit, but we do we really DISCUSS this? Because when you look at Maria’s game…look, there are weaknesses. She’s not the fastest player, she can get pretty dodgy on the serve, she can make a lot of errors but MAN does she stick around. Even facing match points against her, as she did today against Panova, she sticks around.
It’s not just grit, it’s bloody mindedness. She KNOWS she can hit errors and she’s not the best runner but boy is she still going to hit the skin off the ball just for the sheer bloody minded bravery of trying like hell to win a match. That’s why she wins matches. That’s Maria Sharapova. Today she won 6-1 4-6 7-5.
Also, this is Maria Sharapova:
Asked who the best dressed at this #AusOpen is, Maria Sharapova picks herself.
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 21, 2015
She’s wrong, by the way. Serena Williams is the best dressed. This outfit is stunning:
Tune in tomorrow for a full summary of day 4, and to find out if Andrew’s nose has stopped being gross yet.
*Editors note: an earlier version of this article incorrectly identified Federer’s winning score as 6-3 3-6 6-2 6-2.