Asian singles dream ends at Australian Open
Seventh seed Patty Schnyder ended Asia's involvement in the singles at the Australian Open with a straight sets victory over Japan's Aiko Nakamura.india Updated: Jan 21, 2006 13:38 IST
Seventh seed Patty Schnyder ended Asia's involvement in the singles at the Australian Open on Saturday with a straight sets victory over Japan's Aiko Nakamura.
The Swiss, at a career-high ranking, proved too hot for Nakamura to handle in testing temperatures at Melbourne Park. The Osaka native wilted to a 2-6, 3-6 loss in just 64 minutes with the roof closed on Vodafone Arena.
It was Schnyder's second victory over a Japanese hope after taking care of Shinobu Asagoe in the second round.
Schnyder, a left-hander who was a quarter-finalist here last year and went on to win two WTA titles, lined up a difficult last 16 clash with Russian 12th seed Anastasia Myskina.
While Asian hopes remain alive in the doubles their singles campaign is now over. No man lasted beyond the second round.
Nakamura, ranked 59, staged a mini fightback in the second set, fending off a match point when serving at 1-5 before holding serve and then breaking Schnyder in the next to bring it back to 3-5.
But the Swiss drew on her experience to break back, with Nakamura firing down her sixth double-fault to hand the match to Schnyder.
"The roof being closed should have helped me so I'm very disappointed," said Nakamura, who has never before reached a Grand Slam third round.
The retractable roof is closed when temperatures reach 35 Celsius.
"She was hitting balls very deep. I tried to go to the net, which is my game, but I just couldn't do that," added Nakamura.
She admitted she also suffered from the expectations heaped on her shoulders as Japan and Asia's last remaining representative.
"I felt the expectations and I tried to go for it but it just didn't happen."
She will now head to Tokyo and the Pan Pacific tournament.
Asia's men and women failed to live up to expectations at the first Grand Slam of the season, with the likes of Sania Mirza, Shinobu Asagoe, Peng Shuai and Ai Sugiyama all misfiring.
The men fared little better with Taiwan's Wang Yeu-tzuoo the last one to fall, in the second round.
But hopes remain alive in the doubles, with at least four pairs featuring regional players still fighting.
On Saturday, there was disappointment and joy in one match with Thailand's Tamarine Tanasugarn and Taiwan's Hsieh Su-wei knocked out in the second round by Japan's Asagoe and her partner Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia.
The extreme heat rule which postpones play on outside courts when the temperature reaches 35 C affected Asians playing other doubles matches.
China's Li Na and Peng Shuai were scheduled to take on Japan's Sugiyama and Daniela Hantuchova, the Slovakian who Friday knocked defending champion Serena Williams out of the singles draw.
Doubles specialist Leander Paes of India links with Nathalie Dechy of France later in the mixed doubles while his former doubles partner Mahesh Bhupathi is playing with Wesley Moodie of South Africa and is also scheduled to play.
First Published: Jan 21, 2006 11:59 IST