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Gagliardi stuns fifth seed Martinez

Gagliardi celebrates an unexpected win

(Keystone)

Swiss tennis player Emmanuelle Gagliardi has pulled off the biggest upset of the Australian Open so far, knocking out fifth-seeded Spaniard Conchita Martinez in the tournament's second round.

The match, which lasted almost three and a half hours, maintained Gagliardi's best ever showing at a Grand Slam event. It was also the Genevan's first ever win over a player ranked in the world's top ten.

Speaking after the gruelling encounter, which had seen her receive on-court treatment for thigh and shoulder strains, Gagliardi was understandably delighted.

Asked about the all-out attacking style which she adopted in the final stages, Gagliardi said she had wanted to win at any cost. "Even if I had never been able to play again, I knew what I needed to do," she said.

The 24-year-old player will now have to get her strength back up in time for a third-round meeting with another Spaniard.

In comparison to Martinez, Marta Marrero seems a less daunting prospect. But the world number 72 is still ranked more than 20 places higher than Gagliardi, and has greater Grand Slam experience having reached last year's quarter-finals at Roland Garros.

Gagliardi wasn't the only Swiss player celebrating on Wednesday. Berne's Michel Kratochvil was also on a high following his four-sets win over Belarus's Max Mirnyi.

Speaking after his 6-3, 6-4, 6-7, 6-3 triumph, Kratochvil was in confident mood. "I was always in the match from start to finish," he insisted. "I never felt in any danger."

Kratochvil will need to be at his best once more if he's to have any chance against Australian number 12 seed, Pat Rafter, in the third round. The 21-year-old Swiss player said the prospect of playing the former US Open champion was "a dream come true."

In Wednesday's other matches Miroslava Vavrinec and Ivo Heuberger both saw their Australian adventure come to an end in the second round. Vavrinec was unable to mount much of a resistance against former world number one, Monica Seles with the American winning their encounter comfortably (6-2, 6-3).

Heuberger put up a valiant effort against Australia's Wayne Arthurs before losing his match 3-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 1-6.

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