MELBOURNE, Australia &
James Blake was only two points from joining Andy Roddick and Fernando Gonzalez as an upset third-round loser at the Australian Open.
Blake rallied from down two sets, then double break in the fourth before beating veteran Frenchman Sebastien Grosjean 4-6, 2-6, 6-0, 7-6 (5), 6-2 on Saturday afternoon.
The 12th-seeded Blake started to turn it around as Grosjean, who committed only 15 unforced errors in the first two sets, had 13 in the third.
Grosjean, making his 10th appearance at Melbourne Park, wasn't finished.
Counter-attacking against Blake's go-for-broke style, he broke twice in the fourth set to pull ahead 4-1 before Blake ran off four games in a row.
Grosjean saved a set point while serving at 4-5 and, in the tiebreaker, took a 4-1 and then 5-3 lead. But Blake took the last four points, three on clean winners. He hopped around the court, shouting "Yeah! Yeah!" when he leveled the match on a serve that Grosjean whacked long.
That seemed to take the steam out of Grosjean. Blake broke serve twice as he opened up a 5-1 lead in the deciding set. He held at love to finish off the match in — hours and 8 minutes.
Fernando Gonzalez, who lost the final here last year to Roger Federer, was on the wrong end of a 6-2, 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-1 result against Croatia's Marin Cilic, who had never gone past the first round in three previous majors.
The 6-foot-5 Cilic had 14 aces against one of the better service returners. Seventh-seeded Gonzalez also was just a little off the skills he displayed in beating Federer in the opening match at the Masters Cup in November, with only 19 winners against 31 unforced errors.
Sixth-ranked Roddick saved four match points before losing 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (9), 6-7 (3), 8-6 to 29th-ranked Philipp Kohlschreiber in a third-round match that started after 10 p.m. Friday and finished at 2:04 a.m. Saturday.
"I took his best stuff for five sets and I thought I was going to get him to break or to fold," said Roddick, who berated the umpire, cracked his racket and fired a personal best 42 aces. "I thought if I kept it on him long enough that that would happen."
In the most telling stat, Kohlschreiber broke Roddick's serve twice, and dropped his own only once.
"The whole match for me was perfect," Kohlschreiber said. "Just amazing, to start the year like this and beating such a good guy is the best thing that has happened to me in tennis."
Two of Russia's Top 10 women were ousted on Saturday.
No. 2 Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3, 6-4 went down to 18-year-old Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland and No. 6 Anna Chakvetadze lost 6-7 (6), 6-1, 6-2 to No. 27 Maria Kirilenko.
The losses left five of the original group of 15 Russians entered remaining in women's singles, including No. 5 Maria Sharapova.
The 29th-seeded Radwanska, who won junior titles at Wimbledon in 2005 and the French Open in 2006, broke Kuznetsova's serve at 4-4 in the second set.
Kuznetsova, the 2004 U.S. Open champion and last year's finalist in New York, hit a forehand into the net on match point, allowing Radwanska to advance to the fourth round.
Radwanska beat Sharapova last year in the U.S. Open.
"It was exactly the same match &
third round in the Grand Slam, playing No. 2 on center court," Radwanska said. "A Russian player, and in both matches I had nothing to lose."
Wimbledon champion Venus Williams faced No. 31 Sania Mirza of India later Saturday.
Federer, seeking a third consecutive Australian title, was due on center court against Serbia's Janko Tipsarevic. Lleyton Hewitt and Marcos Baghatis, losing finalists in 2005 and '06, meet in what could be another marathon at night.
Rain delayed matches on all outside courts Saturday, with play continuing at Rod Laver Arena and at Vodafone Arena, the other stadium at Melbourne Park with a retractable roof.
In another big third-round upset, 2006 Australian Open Amelie Mauresmo made 10 double-faults in 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 loss to No. 78-ranked Casey Dellacqua on Friday night.
Advancing Friday were defending champion Serena Williams, who will play No. 12 Nicole Vaidisova in a rematch of last year's semifinal, 2007 finalist Sharapova, No. 1-ranked Justine Henin and No. — Jelena Jankovic.
Henin is seeking a 32nd straight win when she faces qualifier Hsieh Su-wei in the fourth round.
No. 2 Rafael Nadal saved six set points in the first against Frenchman Gilles Simon before winning 7-5, 6-2, 6-3. The Spaniard faces another Frenchman, No. 23 Paul-Henri Mathieu, in the next round.
No. 4 Nikolay Davydenko beat Marc Gicquel and next plays fellow Russian Mikhail Youzhny, a 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 winner over Croatia's Ivo Karlovic.
A section of the draw that could have offered a fourth-round showdown between friends and U.S. Davis Cup teammates &
Roddick and Mardy Fish &
will now feature Kohlschreiber against No. 24 Jarkko Nieminen, who beat Fish in four sets.
Blake escapes third round in Australian Open; Gonzalez, Roddick out
MELBOURNE, Australia &