Mixed doubles defeat for Ana

Mixed doubles defeat for Ana

David caused Goliath to stumble a little bit in the late afternoon sun but could not trip him up. Despite taking the opening set with a most polished performance, Ana and Novak Djokovic lost in three sets to doubles heavyweights Daniel Nestor and Elena Likhovtseva in the second round of the Australian Open mixed doubles event.

Between them, sixth seeds Nestor and Likhovtseva have played over 1500 competitive doubles matches. Ana and Novak have played just 16, but it was the young Serbians that showed the more accomplished form early on. Playing virtually error free tennis they immediately broke the Nestor serve and an ace by Ana in her opening service game ensured a surprise 3-0 lead.

With both Serbs hovering around the baseline as they waited to receive first serves, they maintained the ascendancy and clinched the opening set 6-3, helped by some superb reflex volleying by Ana.

Novak, who had faced just one break point on his serve in the first set, was broken in the second game of the second set as the illustrious Canadian-Russian duo began to stamp their authority on the match. The six feet, three inch tall Nestor started to dominate the net as Ana and Novak were almost inevitably unable to sustain their superb start to the match. The sixth seeds raced through the set 6-1.

The couple of dozen Serbian supporters in the crowd, on a blustery Court Two, began chanting in an effort to inspire Ana and Novak to greater things in the Super Tiebreak, the first-to-ten shootout used to decide doubles matches that are tied at one set apiece.

A lovely wrong-footing backhand pass by Djokovic raised their hopes as the Serbs took an early 2-0 advantage. However, too many sloppy mistakes at the wrong moments cost the teenagers and they went eventually down 3-6, 6-1, 10-5, despite a most credible performance.

By Gavin Versi