Vasek Pospisil may look fresh in the picture here but he was actually pretty whacked after a grueling 6-7(3), 7-6(4), 6-3, 6-4 win over Paolo Lorenzi in brutal conditions in the Australian Open second round on Thursday.

Milos Raonic also reached round three with a much less complicated 6-4, 7-6(3), 6-3 victory over Donald Young.

After surviving his three-hour and 35-minute ordeal with the No. 64-ranked Lorenzi, Pospisil stayed on the court and signed autographs, threw towels to fans and must have posed for at least 25 selfies. That lasted well over 10 minutes as he accommodated fans, including the guys pictured here who went over a low fence and – despite a security guard saying they weren’t allowed on the court itself – remained there and happily surrounding Pospisil.

Asked later if he should have been hanging around for so long after a tough match instead of getting right to cooling down, hydrating, stretching etc., the popular Pospisil admitted, “I probably should be heading back to the locker room but it’s too hard to say no. The fans are there cheering for me for the whole four hours. I wouldn’t feel right if I just left after a minute when they’re working hard, almost as hard as me to (encourage) me.”


Lorenzi took the first set in a one-sided tiebreak as the heat and humidity appeared to take their toll on a lethargic, error-prone Pospisil. After he had some trouble with his upper legs as he walked out from a changeover trailing 4-3 in the second set, he turned back and headed to his chair and called for the trainer. Hugo Gravil of France came out and worked on his legs (above).

But Pospisil was still not right and getting increasingly frustrated. In the 11th game, courtside spectators could hear him say, “spasms in the back, pain in the hip, how can I possibly win?” It seemed harsh at the time, but he is known to get his emotions out as a way to pump himself up.

Fortunately, the sun began being sheltered by clouds and Pospisil was much the better for it. He took the second set tiebreak, blasting a forehand winner at 4-all to get the key mini-break.

“At the end of the second set, the cloud cover and the wind helped me a lot,” Pospisil said. “I was able to catch my breath. That changed things and helped me win that set.”

“It was more of a physical battle than a tennis battle.”

About his ailments, he joked, “I’m always hurt. Everybody has issues. I was having some hip pain, but that was only for a couple of games, and a recurring back but it’s not a big issue. (It’s) like a tight muscle that’s been grabbing on me for the last couple of weeks that kind of flared up a little bit and that wasn’t very good – but nothing tournament threatening or anything like that.”

Pospisil broke serve in the second game in the third set and quickly held a 3-0 lead, but still called for another visit from Gravil to have some serious massage work done on his back.

That set went to Pospisil and the fourth as well – near the end Lorenzi was dispirited and making a lot of unforced errors so Pospisil was just basically maintaining the rallies.

His problems were related to heavy humidity, above 75 per cent, and a thermometer that reached a high of 36 C on the day. “I was really surprised I was sweating a lot more than I expected, or than I was last year here,” Pospisil said. “I was sweating quite a bit which was more of an issue than the heat. I was getting pretty dehydrated which then affects your performance a lot, especially the legs. I was not moving as well as I’m used to but I found a way to win.”

He said he took 16 shirts on court and went through about 10 of them.


Pospisil seemed uncertain about whether he will play his second-round doubles match on Friday (forecast – partly cloudy and 27 degrees), which is third match on Court 8 starting at 11 a.m. with partner Julian Knowle of Austria. “I’m scheduled to play,” he said. “I’ll obviously see how I feel in the morning when I wake up – at the moment I’m scheduled to play. We’ll see.”

Near the finish of the match, despite all his troubles, Pospisil looked to have rediscovered his basic level. “I was hitting the ball well at the end,” he said. “Generally the more tired I get, the more relaxed I play and I time the ball well. So maybe that helped me as well at the end because I felt like I was hitting the ball well from both sides.”

Pospisil has now equaled his performance from last year when he won two rounds,defeating Aussies Sam Groth and Matthew Ebden (also a match when he had on-court treatments on his back before pulling out before his third round against Stan Wawrinka) and will next face a beatable opponent in 31-year-old Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain on Saturday. He has never played the No. 37-ranked Spaniard.

It was a real sideshow following as Pospisil was led back to the player area by a security person after his match. He was stopped by many people – asking for more selfies, telling him they had watched him in Perth (Hopman Cup) and even one guy who spoke to him about seeing him play when he was 15 years old.

But the best one was just before he finally disappeared inside to trek along a long walkway back to the locker room. A small young woman scurried up beside him and said, “can I have a hug?” Anyone who knows Vasek Pospisil knows what happened next.


Raonic’s victory over Young in Margaret Court Arena had none of the theatrics of Pospisil – Lorenzi. It was more about dismantling with clinical efficiency.

There were three distinct turning points in the match.

The first was when Raonic broke serve to lead 4-3 in the opening set helped by a few miscues by Young.

The second came in the second set tiebreak when Young, who had played a solid set, double-faulted to trail 3-1. That seemed to deflate him and Raonic took over from there to win convincingly 7-3.

The third came in the first two games of the final set. Young got to deuce on the Raonic serve for the first time in the match in the opening game but Raonic proceeded to blast two aces – the first at 226 km/hr (his fastest of the match) to hold serve.

Young thrust his head back in frustration and his disappointment seemed to carry over to the next game. He made three unforced errors, wrapped around a laser forehand down-the-line winner by Raonic, to lose his serve.

From then on it was basically show-time for a confident Raonic as he hit some highlight reel shots and was in total control.

Raonic’s stats were once again impressive – 44 winners to 29 unforced errors – and stellar serving numbers as he made 68 per cent of first serves, won 89 per cent of first serve points and 77 per cent of second serve points.

“I served well and got better and better as the match went on,” he said. “So I was happy with that. I was much more aggressive than I was in the first round. That was a step forward.”


Raonic beat Young 6-4, 5-7, 7-6(2) in Basel last fall and, while that score is competitive, it did come at his first event after being laid low with a virus for over a week.

“Compared to Basel, I feel I’m just sharper on different things,” he said, “on movement, on efficiency, serving better, being more focused. It’s the beginning of the year. I’ve put in a lot of good work. I’m just very by the book in the things I want to do. I’m just trying to follow that through.”

Raonic next plays veteran (33) Benjamin Becker, who rallied from two sets down to beat Lleyton Hewitt on Thursday night. Raonic has a 2-1 record against the No. 41-ranked German, with the only loss coming in Newport in 2012 – but that was at a time Raonic was distracted by changes in his management set-up and was not at his best.

“I’ve just got to really keep everything internal,” Raonic said about the Becker match-up, “and make sure I do things right. Then make the adjustments throughout the match as needed.”

If he can beat Becker, it could then be either Jerzy Janowicz or Feliciano Lopez before a possible showdown with top seed Novak Djokovic in the quarter-finals.



Daniel Nestor and partner Rohan Bopanna, seeded 7th, advanced to the second round of the Aussie Open doubles with a 7-6(2), 7-5 win over Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus and Australian Marinko Matosevic on Thursday.

The Cypriot/Aussie duo played pretty loose and Matosevic went over the line late in the second set when Baghdatis was called for a foot fault. He complained unnecessarily and excessively to the umpire and then showboated to the crowd, moaning about the injustice of it all. When Baghdatis subsequently hit an ace, he loudly yelled out “yeah.”

Baghdatis and Matosevic won that game but Nestor subsequently served out the match after he and Bopanna broke serve two games later.

“We didn’t necessarily play well,” Nestor said. “We were down a break twice. But we got through. If we play the way we did in Sydney (a title), we can beat anyone.”

Next for Nestor and Bopanna will be Nestor’s one-time partner Max Mirnyi and Feliciano Lopez.

The other Canadian in action on the day, Adil Shamasdin and his partner Malik Jaziri of Tunisia, were beaten 6-4, 6-4 by ninth-seeded Robert Lindstedt and Marcin Matkowski.




Genie Bouchard returns to Rod Laver Arena for the first time since she was beaten in the 2014 semifinals by Li Na when she takes on Caroline Garcia at about 1 p.m. (9 p.m. EDT Thursday in Canada) on Friday.

The 21-year-old Garcia, who beat Svetlana Kuznetsova in the first round and Stefanie Voegele in the second, is currently ranked No. 36.




Vive La France: This is a shot of bunch of young people from France having a picnic in a park at St. Kilda in Melbourne.