AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2013
Chardy Edges Del Potro; Murray Calmly Carries On
by ATP Staff|
Jeremy Chardy caused the biggest upset of the Australian Open so far as he ousted sixth-seeded Argentine Juan Martin del Potro in Saturday’s third round. The Frenchman squandered a two-set lead, but converted the only service break in the fifth set to topple del Potro 6-3, 6-3, 6-7(3), 3-6, 6-3 in just over four hours.
"It's maybe the best [win] of my career," said Chardy. "I beat [Andy] Murray last year in Cincinnati. But here it's something more because it's the Australian Open, third round, I play a top player. It's a big win for me. I'm just so happy, I enjoyed it."
The No. 36-ranked Chardy advanced to the fourth round in Melbourne for the first time as he fired 20 aces and struck 78 winners, to just 36 from 2009 US Open champion del Potro. The 25-year-old Pau native equalled his best Grand Slam showing, having also reached the Last 16 at Roland Garros five years ago (l. to Almagro).
"It's not a good result after coming back from two sets down," lamented del Potro. "But Jeremy played really well in the fifth set. He deserved to win the match. He broke my serve. He was so calm to close the match in the end. The tournament for me is over now. I have to work hard because the season just started. I believe in my game, myself. I will work very, very hard for the future."
Chardy goes onto face Italian No. 21 seed Andreas Seppi, who also needed five sets to knock out 12th-seeded Croatian Marin Cilic 6-7(2), 6-3, 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 in three hours and 38 minutes. The 28-year-old Seppi reached the fourth round of a major for the first time at last year’s Roland Garros, pushing Novak Djokovic to five sets in defeat.
"It's the first that I've passed the second round in Australia, so to be in the second week is very important to me," said Seppi. "One of my goals this year was to do better in the slams, so it's a good start.
"[Chardy's] been playing well in the last half of last year; he had some very good results," continued Seppi. "If he has beaten del Potro, for sure he's playing well. He's always a dangerous player because his serve is very big and he goes for his shots from the baseline. It's going to be a difficult match."
Third seed and two-time runner-up Andy Murray admitted he was not pleased with his timing on the ball, but avoided any such upset as he defeated Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis 6-3, 6-4, 7-5. The Scot failed to serve out the match at the first time of asking at 5-4 in the third set, but broke Berankis again before prevailing in two hours and 12 minutes.
"Every player wants to hit the ball well every day if they can. But the reality is it isn't always going to happen," said Murray. "I'm aware I'll need to improve. But you also don't necessarily want to be playing your best tennis the first round of a Grand Slam or of any tournament. You want to try and improve as the matches go on.
"I'm sitting here happy that I'm through to the fourth round having not played my best tennis today. Hopefully I'll improve for the next one."
The 25-year-old Murray is yet to drop a set in his 2013 Australian Open campaign and goes onto face No. 14 seed Gilles Simon. The Dunblane native reached the final at Melbourne Park in 2010 (l. to Federer) and 2011 (l. to Djokovic) and is bidding to win his second major championship.
Simon came through a gruelling all-French contest with Gael Monfils, prevailing 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 1-6, 8-6 in four hour and 43 minutes. With both players struggling physically, Simon served for the match in the 10th game, but failed to close it out. He broke again in the 13th game before claiming victory with a service hold to love.