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Beyond the Baseline

Daily Bagel: Murray hits back at ex-pro's performance-enhancing drugs claim

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0VRAca0MYw

The Daily Bagel is your dose of the interesting reporting, writing and quipping from around the Internet.

• Video: See? I told you the match between Novak Djokovic and Radek Stepanek would have some exo-worthy moments.

• Andy Murray hits back against ex-pro Christophe Rochus' claim that it's impossible to play back-to-back grueling five-set matches without performance-enhancing drugs.

“When guys play five or six hours in the slams, we have a day’s rest. I was told that after our semi-final here last year [which ran only 10 minutes short of five hours], Novak [Djokovic] didn’t practise on the day off, didn’t hit a ball, didn’t get out of bed till three o’clock.

“Providing you put the work in, it doesn’t mean it hurts any less when you have to play a couple of days after a five-hour match. But I would not say it is impossible.”

• Will the Melbourne crowd actually cheer against Roger Federer on Saturday when he takes on Bernard Tomic? Will Swanton of Fox Sports Australia isn't so sure.

Federer knows a full house in Melbourne on Saturday night will throw voracious support behind Tomic from the get-go. He also knows that if he gains the ascendancy, the mood will swing. We will sit there and remember how blessed we are to have him in our presence. We will nod our heads and clap politely and think yep, he really is the greatest.

• Great story: Nine months ago, Belgium's Kirsten Flipkins was diagnosed with blood clots in her legs. Now, with some help from her good friend Kim Clijsters, she's into the fourth round of the Australian Open.

• Steve Tignor looks at the teen prospects who made waves -- or are making waves -- this week in Melbourne.

The Changeover has a thorough rundown of Maria Sharapova's third-round rout of Venus Williams.

• Here's a last of some of Brad Gilbert's favorite nicknames. It's a must-read if this is your first time spending a Slam with the ESPN crew.

• Gussy Moran, who shocked spectators when she took to the courts at Wimbledon in 1949 wearing lacy underwear, has died at age 89. As Joel Drucker described her, she was the Anna Kournikova of her day.

• I liked this take from The New York Times on the error-strewn second-round match between Laura Robson and Petra Kvitova.

Robson struggled to find her rhythm, which is always difficult against a player with Kvitova’s bone-crushing power. But Robson subtly changed tactics. “It was at the start of the second set I knew that I just had to play with more consistency and with more percentage,” she said after the match. “That’s what I did.”

This shrewd adjustment allowed Robson to lengthen out Kvitova’s service game. The effect is not unlike a cagey hitter in baseball working the count, fouling off pitches close to the strike zone to make the pitcher work harder.

• Non-tennis: Bonnie Ford's piece on Lance Armstrong's doping admission is a must-read.

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