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  1. #1
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    Australian Open 2019 Thread

    Andy Murray ready for return, Roger Federer & Caroline Wozniacki defend titles

    Former world number one Andy Murray will aim to reignite his career after an injury-hit 2018 when he returns to the Australian Open next week.

    The 31-year-old Briton missed last year's tournament - where he is a five-time runner-up - after hip surgery.

    Murray is ranked 230th in the world after playing just six tournaments in 2018, but used his protected ranking to enter the first Grand Slam of the year.

    Kyle Edmund - Murray's replacement as British number one and ranked 14th in the world - is looking to match his maiden run to last year's semi-finals in Melbourne, but his preparations have been disrupted by a knee injury that forced him to withdraw from this week's Sydney International.

    Britain's leading female player Johanna Konta - a semi-finalist in 2016 - is hoping to start the new season positively after a disappointing 2018 but she, like Edmund, is seeking to shake off an injury, having pulled out of the Sydney event with a neck issue.

    Compatriots Heather Watson, Katie Boulter and Cameron Norrie have also qualified for the main singles draws, while Dan Evans, Katie Swan and Harriet Dart are among seven Britons trying to join them by coming through qualifying, which starts on Tuesday.

    Although Murray is able to use a protected ranking to enter, he will not be seeded - meaning he could face any of the world's top players when the draw is made on Thursday.

    Defending champion Roger Federer and world number one Novak Djokovic are both aiming to become the first man to win seven Australian Open titles, while Caroline Wozniacki defends the women's trophy after her maiden Grand Slam win last year.

    There have been eight different female Grand Slam singles champions in the past two seasons, illustrating how unpredictable the women's game is.

    One name is leading the Australian Open odds, however: Serena Williams.

    The 37-year-old American, who says she almost died giving birth to daughter Olympia in September 2017, returned to action last year and reached back-to-back finals at Wimbledon and the US Open.

    Now she is the favourite to win what would be a 24th Grand Slam singles title - which would equal Margaret Court's all-time record, aptly at the Australian's home tournament.

    This is the first Grand Slam since Williams lost to Naomi Osaka in the final of the US Open in September - a match that was overshadowed by the American's outbursts that included calling the umpire a "liar" and "thief".

    Will Nadal be fit enough to play?

    Spanish great Rafael Nadal hopes to be fit enough to play, despite pulling out of the Brisbane International last week with a thigh strain.

    The world number two, who won the 2009 Australian Open title, said he had wanted to play at the warm-up event but was advised not to by doctors after an MRI scan.

    He did, however, play an exhibition event on Tuesday - a Fast4 format - and said afterwards he did not "feel pain".

    "Of course it would be better if I had the chance to play a full tournament but the big importance is I am feeling good with the ball," the 32-year-old added.

    "The only thing is that I didn't play matches since a long time ago."

    The key men's contenders

    Novak Djokovic: The 31-year-old Serb is the man to beat after rediscovering his best form over the past year. Outside the world's top 20 in early June, he recaptured his form to stunning effect - losing just once in 32 matches on his way to capturing the Wimbledon and US Open titles.

    A third successive Slam - giving him a seventh Australian Open title - would put him alone, ahead of Australian great Roy Emerson and long-time rival Roger Federer, in terms of most men's singles titles in Melbourne.

    Roger Federer: The Swiss maestro may be 37, but he is the reigning champion in Melbourne.

    Like Djokovic, he has won six Australian Open titles, and the 20-time Grand Slam champion is one victory away from his 100th career singles title.

    Alexander Zverev: Will this be the year when the old guard is finally toppled? It is a question which continues to be asked and the answer has, so far, continued to be 'no'.

    Germany's Zverev, 21, proved he is the candidate most likely to lead the challenge with his victory over Novak Djokovic at the ATP Finals in London in November. Now the fourth seed must show he can challenge over the five-set format.

    Simona Halep: The 27-year-old Romanian will be the number one seed for the fifth Grand Slam in a row, aiming to go one better than last year when she lost to Caroline Wozniacki in the final.

    Having finally claimed her first Grand Slam title at the French Open in June, Halep is unburdened by the pressure of never having won a major and says being the woman to beat gives her added focus.

    Caroline Wozniacki: Like Halep, the Dane shook off the unwanted tag of being a world number one who had never won a Slam with her Melbourne victory last year.

    The 28-year-old will be seeded third in her first major since revealing she has been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.

    Angelique Kerber: A two-time winner in Melbourne, the Wimbledon champion is another leading contender.

    The 30-year-old German finished the 2018 season strongly and, with the experience of winning the biggest prizes, is among the favourites.

    Naomi Osaka: The 21-year-old Japanese player became a global star with her victory at the US Open - despite her achievement being somewhat overshadowed by Williams' row with umpire Carlos Ramos.

    Now the fourth seed is expected to continue challenging for the biggest prizes.

    Top eight women's seeds are Simona Halep, Angelique Kerber, Caroline Wozniacki, Naomi Osaka, Sloane Stephens, Elina Svitolina, Karolina Pliskova and Petra Kvitova
    Who is not there?

    World number five Juan Martin del Potro is the biggest name missing as he recovers from a fractured kneecap.

    The 30-year-old Argentine, who lost to Novak Djokovic in September's US Open final, sustained the injury in a heavy fall at the Shanghai Masters in October.

    What about the doubles?

    There are three Britons seeded in the men's doubles, including Jamie Murray, who won the title here in 2016 alongside Brazilian partner Bruno Soares.

    The pair are the third seeds and will be seeking a third Grand Slam title together. Britain's Dom Inglot partners Croatia's Franko Skugor, while Joe Salisbury plays alongside American Rajeev Ram.

    What's new?

    Final-set tie-breaks

    Tie-breaks will be played in the final set at the Australian Open for the first time.

    If the match reaches 6-6 in the final set, the winner will be the first player to reach 10 points.

    Ivo Karlovic and Horacio Zeballos
    The rule change means marathon matches like this one between Ivo Karlovic and Horacio Zeballos in 2017 will not happen again in Melbourne
    Heat breaks

    Men's singles players will be permitted 10-minute breaks after the third set if temperatures reach hazardous levels in Melbourne. The rule is already in place for female players to have a heat break between the second and third sets.

    Organisers have unveiled a "more extensive" Extreme Heat Policy after temperatures in the shade approached 40C during last year's tournament.

    Gael Monfils
    France's Gael Monfils struggled in stifling conditions as the temperature approached 40C in his match against Novak Djokovic last year
    Schedule of play

    Monday, 14 January: Round one (day session 00:00 GMT/11:00 local time, night session 08:00 GMT/19:00 local time)

    Tuesday, 15 January: Round one (day session 00:00 GMT/11:00 local time, night session 08:00 GMT/19:00 local time)

    Wednesday, 16 January: Round two (day session 00:00 GMT/11:00 local time, night session 08:00 GMT/19:00 local time)

    Thursday, 17 January: Round two (day session 00:00 GMT/11:00 local time, night session 08:00 GMT/19:00 local time)

    Friday, 18 January: Round three (day session 00:00 GMT/11:00 local time, night session 08:00 GMT/19:00 local time)

    Saturday, 19 January: Round three (day session 00:00 GMT/11:00 local time, night session 08:00 GMT/19:00 local time)

    Sunday, 20 January: Round four (day session 00:00 GMT/11:00 local time, night session 08:00 GMT/19:00 local time)

    Monday, 21 January: Round four (day session 00:00 GMT/11:00 local time, night session 08:00 GMT/19:00 local time)

    Tuesday, 22 January: Quarter-finals (day session 00:00 GMT/11:00 local time, night session 08:00 GMT/19:00 local time)

    Wednesday, 23 January: Quarter-finals (day session 00:00 GMT/11:00 local time, night session 08:30 GMT/19:30 local time)

    Thursday, 24 January: Women's semi-finals (day session 03:00 GMT/14:00 local time); Men's semi-final (night session 08:30 GMT/19:30 local time)

    Friday, 25 January: Men's semi-final (night session 08:30 GMT/19:30 local time)

    Saturday, 26 January: Women's final (night session 08:30 GMT/19:30 local time)

    Sunday, 27 January: Men's final (night session 08:30 GMT/19:30 local time)

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/tennis/46737614
    Last edited by gazza619; 8th January 2019 at 15:17.


    This signature is a result of a certain takneeki kharabi.

  2. #2
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    World number one Simona Halep's first match in more than three months ended in defeat by Australia's Ashleigh Barty at the Sydney International.

    The Romanian, who cut short her 2018 season with a back injury, was beaten 6-4 6-4 by the world number 15 in the second round after a first-round bye.

    French Open champion Halep, 27, who was runner-up at last year's Australian Open, has started 2019 without a coach.

    The first Grand Slam of the year starts in Melbourne on Monday.

    Barty fired 26 winners on her way to her first victory over a world number one. She will face Belgian 10th seed Elise Mertens in the next round.

    Despite the defeat, Halep was pleased that she had played "a good level of tennis" and was not troubled by her back.

    "No pain at all, that is a great sign," she said. "The tennis is good, I just have to believe in myself more."

    Former US Open champion and fourth seed Sloane Stephens followed Halep out of the tournament after a 3-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-0 defeat by Kazakh world number 44 Yulia Putintseva.

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/tennis/46806823


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  3. #3
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    Andy Murray wins just two games against Novak Djokovic in Australian Open practice

    Britain's Andy Murray won just two games in a practice match against world number one Novak Djokovic as part of his Australian Open preparations.

    The Scot, whose movement was laboured, held serve only once and was trailing 6-1 4-1 when they called it a day.

    Three-time Grand Slam champion Murray, who missed most of last season after hip surgery, has tumbled down the rankings to 230th.

    Murray has lost four times to Serbia's Djokovic in Australian Open finals.

    The practice set and a half - curtailed because another practice match was booked to follow them - was watched by around 2,000 people on the Margaret Court Arena show court at Melbourne Park.

    Murray, who has played only 12 matches since returning from surgery last year, then told a fan he would get them tickets to his first-round match against Roberto Bautista Agut after they contacted the 31-year-old on Instagram.

    The fan posted a picture with the caption: "Still in absolute shock that I finally got to see the man behind my love for tennis in action today... It was Muzza that showed me just how entertaining tennis really could be."

    Murray responded: "I'm sorry I couldn't be more entertaining today. Thanks for the support. If you'd like to come along and watch my match on Monday or Tuesday I'll sort you a ticket."

    Murray has used his protected ranking to enter the first Grand Slam of the year but will not be seeded and so could face a top-ranked player early on.

    His first tournament since September ended last week with a second-round defeat by Russian world number 16 Daniil Medvedev at the Brisbane International.

    The Australian Open starts on Monday and runs until 27 January.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/tennis/46809771

  4. #4
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    Australian Open 2019: Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal through, John Isner out

    Defending champion Roger Federer is into the Australian Open second round after beating Uzbek Denis Istomin.

    The Swiss, who has won the tournament six times, came through 6-3 6-4 6-4 and will play Britain's Dan Evans next.

    Meanwhile, 17-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal beat James Duckworth 6-4 6-3 7-5 to reach the second round.

    John Isner became the first top-10 player to fall on the opening day as he was stunned in four sets by world number 97 Reilly Opelka.

    American Isner, seeded ninth in Melbourne, was beaten 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (8-6) 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-5) by compatriot Opelka in just over three hours.

    The victory was Opelka's first in the main draw of a Grand Slam.

    Opelka - who at 6ft 11ins is the joint-tallest player on the ATP Tour - is the first American to beat 6ft 10ins Isner at a Slam.

    South African fifth seed Kevin Anderson also progressed by beating France's Adrian Mannarino 6-3 5-7 6-2 6-1.

    The 32-year-old, who has reached the fourth round at Melbourne Park on three occasions, served 14 aces but made 38 unforced errors as he won his opening match in two hours and 53 minutes.

    The Wimbledon runner-up faces American Frances Tiafoe in the next round.

    I'll give it my best shot - Federer

    Federer, who is taking part in his 20th Australian Open, won in just under two hours.

    The 37-year-old did not face a break point against Istomin, 32, as he started his campaign for a third straight title in Melbourne.

    "I'm very happy with the match," said Federer. "I brought good energy and I played some good shots. I was solid overall because Denis made it tough.

    "It's disbelief to be quite honest that I'm the double defending champion at my age.

    "I hope I can do it again this year. I have to go in with a mindset that it's maybe possible - but it's probably going to be somebody else.

    "I'm going to try everything that I possibly can. I'm going to leave it all on the court and then we'll see what happens. I'll give it my best shot."

    Nadal's new serve 'worked well'

    Spanish second seed Nadal, 32, saw off Australian Duckworth in two hours and 16 minutes on Rod Laver Arena, despite a stubborn finish from Duckworth.

    "He was playing super aggressive, every shot," said Nadal.

    Nadal, who cut short his 2018 season with an abdominal muscle injury and to have ankle surgery, appeared to be back to full fitness against wildcard Duckworth.

    The world number two showed no sign of being bothered by a thigh strain that had forced him to pull out of the Brisbane International earlier this month.

    He was delivering a remodelled serve, which worked well even if he was broken to love when serving for the match at 5-3 in the third.

    "When I get broken [it] was not because of the serve," he said.

    "When you play against a player that wants to hit all the shots, of course you can have breaks against, because you are sometimes in his hands,

    "But anyway, my serve worked well. I don't know my percentage, but [there were] a lot of good positions after the first serve. I felt solid with the second."

    He won 74% of first-serve points and delivered six aces.

    Nadal will play Australian Matthew Ebden in the second round.

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/tennis/46859241

  5. #5
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    Serena Williams makes stunning Australian Open return to beat Tatjiana Maria in Melbourne

    Serena Willams's long-awaited return to the Australian Open may have lacked the drama of her most recent appearance at a major but she produced a powerful enough display to suggest an eighth singles title at Melbourne Park is not out of the question.

    Williams was absent from the Open 12 months ago, following the birth of her daughter Olympia in late 2017, and the 16th seed picked up from where she left off with a comprehensive 6-0, 6-2 win over Germany's Tatjiana Maria on Rod Laver Arena.

    "It's kind of weird walking back on by myself this time, but it feels good," Williams said after beating Maria.

    "I have so many good memories of the last time I was here. Honestly, it was the best win (2017) of my career. It's exciting to get back."

    There has been much water under the bridge as far as Williams's career is concerned since she lifted the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup as Australian Open champion two years ago when eight weeks pregnant.

    Following a lengthy lay-off, she returned to the WTA Tour last year and reached the Wimbledon final but her 2018 season was punctuated by her meltdown in the US Open final when she lost to Japan's Naomi Osaka.

    Williams was penalised a game after abusing chair umpire Carlos Ramos and later fined $24,000 for three code violations during the 6-2, 6-4 defeat to Osaka, which also included receiving coaching from her mentor Patrick Mouratoglou, and breaking a racquet.

    It was more a sedate affair on Rod Laver Arena this afternoon amid hot conditions, with Williams racing through the opening set in just 19 minutes, having conceded only five points while serving a series of games to love.

    The brutality of Williams' groundstrokes was on display, as illustrated when she cranked a clean forehand winner to break Maria's serve in the second game of the match, while her play at the net was sublime.

    The second set largely went to script, however Maria got on the scoreboard much to the delight of the crowd when she nervously held serve in the fourth game to trail 3-1.

    Williams, who first won the Australian Open as a 21-year-old in 2003, responded in emphatic fashion by winning the next game to love and although Maria held serve for a second time it was not enough to halt the American, who gained a fifth break to clinch victory.

    It took Williams just 49 minutes to move through to the second round, as she chases a 24th major singles crown, which would see her equal the record held by Australia's Margaret Court.

    Williams was not the only women's seed to impress on day two, with her countrywoman and 17th seed Madison Keys defeating Australian teenager Destanee Aiava 6-2, 6-2.

    Another Australian, Ajla Tomljanovic pushed Johanna Konta to the brink in the first-round encounter before the Briton prevailed 7-6 (7-4), 2-6, 7-6 (10-7)

    Seventh seed Karolina Pliskova beat fellow Czech Karolina Muchova 6-3, 6-2 and the 12th-seeded Elise Mertens of Belgium won 6-2, 7-5 over Slovakian Anna Karolina Schmiedlova.

    The eighth seed in the men's draw, Japan's Kei Nishikori, survived a significant scare in his match with Polish qualifier Kamil Majchrzak, as both players battled the plus-30 degrees heat on Margaret Court Arena.

    Majchrzak led two sets to love but was forced to retire after Nishikori dragged the contest into a fifth set, winning 3-6, 6-7 (6-8), 6-0, 6-2, 3-0.

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-01-...-open/10716574

  6. #6
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    Serena Williams stormed into the Australian Open second round as she began her bid for a 24th Grand Slam title with a win over Tatjana Maria.

    The 37-year-old American, whose 23rd major title came in Melbourne when she was pregnant two years ago, won 6-0 6-2 in 49 minutes on Rod Laver Arena.

    Williams holds the most Open era singles titles, but is looking to equal Margaret Court's all-time record of 24.

    Sister Venus dug deep to beat Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-7 (3-7) 7-6 (7-3) 6-2.

    The Romanian 26th seed served for the match at 5-3 in the second set but Venus broke to love.

    The 38-year-old American, ranked 36th, went on to take the set before dominating the third.

    The seven-time Grand Slam champion said: "It was pretty hairy there. I hope that this tough match will prepare me for the rest of the tournament."

    Williams, who has reached the final at Melbourne Park twice, most recently in 2017 when she lost to Serena, will meet Alize Cornet of France next.

    Serena, the 16th seed, took the first set in 18 minutes against Germany's Maria and fired 22 winners during her opening match.

    It was her first Grand Slam match since her rant against umpire Carlos Ramos at last year's US Open final.

    Asked if she had discussed coaching signals with Patrick Mouratoglou after the warning from Ramos that sparked the furore in New York, Williams said: "I literally have no comment."

    The seven-time Australian Open winner, who will face Canada's Eugenie Bouchard next, wore compression stockings and said she was "definitely still concerned" about the dangers of deep vein thrombosis.

    "I have had some issues and they're not done," said Williams, who experienced potentially life-threatening blood clots after giving birth to daughter Alexis Olympia.

    "It's just something I have to do for pretty much probably the rest of my career, we'll see. But I'm always at the doctor.

    "With DVTs, it's very scary. I know a lot of people - they're very common - have them. Especially for me, it's incredibly frightening.

    "I lay on the side of precaution as opposed to not."

    Bouchard, a Wimbledon finalist in 2014 and former world number five, said she was excited to play Williams, who she described as the "greatest ever".

    "Her ranking is top-20 right now, but to me she's always basically number one," the 24-year-old said.

    "I don't want to talk about it too much and put her on too much of a pedestal because I have to play her in two days, but I love her."
    https://www.bbc.com/sport/tennis/46872542


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  7. #7
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    Novak Djokovic starts Australian Open with straight-set win

    Top seed Novak Djokovic started his bid for a record seventh men's Australian Open title with a straight-set win over American qualifier Mitchell Krueger.

    The 31-year-old Serb, chasing a 15th Grand Slam title and third in a row, won 6-3 6-2 6-2 on Rod Laver Arena.

    Krueger broke Djokovic in the third game but the world number one dominated from there to seal victory in two hours and three minutes.

    He will face French wildcard Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the second round.

    Djokovic's victory over the 230th-ranked Krueger was in stark contrast to the way he lost a year ago to South Korea's Chung Hyeon in the last 16.

    He struggled with an elbow injury which would later require surgery and endured a string of poor results before hitting top form again to win Wimbledon and the US Open and regain the world number one ranking.

    "It feels great to be healthy and back on this court again," said Djokovic, who was appearing in his 300th Grand Slam match.

    "Twelve months ago it was quite a different sensation on the court with the elbow injury. Twelve months forward, obviously things are quite different."

    Tsonga was on the losing side in the 2008 Australian Open final as Djokovic won his first of 14 Grand Slams.

    Former world number four Tsonga missed seven months of 2018 after knee surgery and needed a wildcard to get into the tournament after his ranking dropped outside the top 200.

    But the 33-year-old will be a dangerous opponent, having reached the semi-finals in his comeback tournament in Brisbane and beaten Martin Klizan of Slovakia in straight sets in the first round in Melbourne.

    "It's funny, 11 years after our first Grand Slam final here - it feels like a lot has happened for both of us," Djokovic added.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/tennis/46875335

  8. #8
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    Stephens into third round at Melbourne Park

    S Stephens d. T Babos 6-3, 6-1; A Pavlyuchenkova d. K Bertens 3-6, 6-3, 6-3

    American fifth seed Sloane Stephens has ended the Australian Open campaign of her former junior doubles partner Timea Babos.

    Stephens triumphed 6-3, 6-1 although the second-round victory was more hard-fought than suggested by the scoreline.

    Hungarian Babos was down break point on 23 occasions, but Stephens was only able to convert five of them in a match that lasted one hour and 35 minutes.

    "We won three junior grand slam doubles together, so I know she's a very good player and I had to be patient," said Stephens, the 2017 US Open champion.

    "Her serve is ridiculously good."

    A former semi-finalist in Melbourne, Stephens' third-round opponent will be Croatian No.31 seed Petra Martic, who ousted Czech Marketa Vondrousova 6-4, 7-5.

    In other early action on Wednesday, Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova upset No.9 seed Kiki Bertens from the Netherlands 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.

    Belarusian Aliaksandra Sasnovich also ousted a seed, beating No.20 Anett Kontaveit from Estonia 6-3, 6-3.

    https://www.smh.com.au/sport/tennis/...ource=rss_feed

  9. #9
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    Day 3 preview: Make way for the youth movement

    As Roger Federer, Caroline Wozniacki, Rafael Nadal, Maria Sharapova and four other former Grand Slam champions take to the court for second-round matches at AO 2019 on Wednesday, the star power couldn’t be stronger. Between them all, those accomplished superstars have amassed more than 50 major singles titles.

    But each of those seasoned competitors understands that past success offers no guarantees of future victories – particularly given the talented young stars targeting important career firsts of their own.

    Many eyes will be on Stefanos Tsitsipas and Alex de Minaur – champion and runner-up respectively at the ATP Next Gen Finals last November – as they each build on their remarkable rise.

    Tsitsipas showcased a maturity beyond his 20 years as he outclassed Matteo Berrettini, recovering from a first-set deficit to become the first Greek man to win a main draw Australian Open match. “I'm happy I stayed calm, stayed aggressive,” said Tsitsipas. “(I) didn't think too much of what the score is … making him feel the pressure.”

    The world No.15 will aim to do the same in a first career meeting with Serbia’s Viktor Troicki, a world No.200-ranked qualifier who at age 32, is playing his 11th Australian Open.

    Coming so soon after lifting his first ATP trophy in Sydney on Saturday, De Minaur’s first-round progression was arguably even more impressive. A straight-sets winner over Pedro Sousa, the 19-year-old Australian now faces Swiss qualifier Henri Laaksonen.

    “This is my second time in the second round. I think I'm a completely different player from a couple years ago,” said De Minaur, who exited at the same stage in 2017 to Sam Querrey. “(I’m) really looking forward to going out there, coming back, just having fun. I think that's the main thing.”

    It’s an approach that the similarly-touted Frances Tiafoe will target as he faces fifth seed Kevin Anderson. While he’s yet to win against Anderson in three matches to date, the American is one of only four players aged 20 or under in the ATP’s top 50 (with Denis Shapovalov, De Minaur and Tsitsipas) and quickly adding to his growing record.

    So, too, are some fast-rising young women. The 20-year-old Aryna Sabalenka, who is verging on a top 10 debut, will aim to continue her rapid progress against world No.97 Katie Boulter in the pair’s first match on tour.

    Ash Barty is also working up to more impressive career firsts. Following a second consecutive runner-up finish in Sydney, the 22-year-old Australian took less than an hour to outclass Luksika Kumkhum in her AO2019 opener, adding confidence for her second-round assignment with world No.65 Wang Yafan.

    Accomplished champions will work hard to protect their turf. Federer aims to continue a winning record against Daniel Evans, after his win over the Brit at Wimbledon in 2016. Nadal also takes a winning record into a second match against Australian Matt Ebden, who he defeated at Queen’s in 2011.

    Marin Cilic, the third male Grand Slam champion competing on Day 3, faces 81st-ranked American Mackenzie McDonald for the first time.

    Major-winning women will equally welcome the winning records they take into the second round. Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova has a 3-0 lead over Irina-Camelia Begu, while Sloane Stephens defeated Timea Babos in their only other match on tour.

    Wozniacki faces Johanna Larsson in their maiden tour match-up, Angelique Kerber meets first-time opponent and fellow left-hander Beatriz Haddad Maia, while Sharapova will become acquainted with Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson for the first time.

    It’s a fascinating mix of established superstars and fast-rising contenders – and a powerful reminder that for every player who’s claimed a Grand Slam, there’s another who has that same silverware in sight.

    https://ausopen.com/articles/feature...youth-movement

  10. #10
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    Men's doubles action round of 64

    Pakistans Aisam Ul Haq and Mexicos Santiago Gonzalez lost to John Peers of Australia and Henri Kontinen of Finland

    Losing first set 6-3 and second set 4-1 ( retired)

  11. #11
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    Australian Open: Roger Federer battles through against Dan Evans

    Britain's Dan Evans succumbed in three sets after pushing defending champion Roger Federer hard in an entertaining Australian Open second-round match.

    Evans, ranked 189th in the world, lost 7-6 (7-5) 7-6 (7-3) 6-3 against the 20-time Grand Slam champion.

    But he never looked out of his depth, impressing the Rod Laver Arena with his shot-making.

    Federer will play Taylor Fritz in the third round after the American dispatched France's Gael Monfils.

    "I couldn't pull away early in the match - it helps when you can sneak in a quick break," said third seed Federer, who at 37 is aiming to become the first man to win seven Australian Open titles.

    "He played very well. It was hard to pull away, to his credit. I thought I played well."

    British number four Evans, ranked inside the top 50 before a drugs ban, is aiming to climb back up the rankings as he continues his comeback.

    And the 28-year-old showed he still has all the tools to cause problems against the world's best.

    Federer was particularly impressed with Evans who, like the Swiss great, has a game heavily reliant on a sliced backhand.

    "It felt like playing in a mirror a little bit. That was the mindset I had - how would I play myself potentially," the Swiss said.

    Evans had never taken more than five games in a set off Federer in their two previous meetings, bettering that on Rod Laver as he took Federer into a first-set tie-break.

    The Briton had been relatively untroubled on serve until the 12th game, swatting away Federer's first break point of the match with a serve and volley and going on to hold to take the set into the decider.

    Evans refused to be passive and took on Federer as he raced into a 5-3 lead with a wonderful cross-court forehand winner, leaving him with the set on his racquet.

    But, despite landing two first serves having managed only a 56% first-serve percentage previously, he was undone by Federer's brilliance.

    Federer, knowing he was fighting for survival, upped the tempo and forced Evans to miss two difficult volleys.

    Evans entertains as Federer's class shines through

    Federer built on that momentum by breaking Evans in the very first game of the second set, although the Briton missed a chance of his own in the fourth before the pair continued to trade games.

    But Federer earned another opportunity on Evans' serve in the ninth game - this time for the set.

    Evans drilled two forehand winners to save two set points, but few in the crowd expected anything other than Federer to serve it out next game.

    So there was genuine shock on Melbourne's show court when Federer double faulted to give Evans two break points, before Evans put away a backhand winner to level for 5-5.

    Two games later we were in another tie-break - Federer taking control early on for a 3-0 lead and, after a brief Evans rally, sealing a two-set lead with an ace.

    The third set was far more straightforward for the six-time champion, who turned it in his favour with some magic in the fourth game.

    At 40-0 down, he casually knocked a pick-up past Evans and that was the catalyst for him to fight back and break his opponent.

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/tennis/46887436

  12. #12
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    Australian Open: Rafael Nadal beats Matthew Ebden to reach third round

    Second seed Rafael Nadal reached the third round of the Australian Open with a straightforward victory over Australia's Matthew Ebden.

    The Spaniard, a 17-time Grand Slam champion, overcame his 47th-ranked opponent 6-3 6-2 6-2 in Melbourne.

    Nadal is aiming to become the first man in the Open era to win each of the four Grand Slam titles at least twice.

    The 32-year-old will play Alex de Minaur after his battling 6-4 6-2 6-7 (9-7) 4-6 6-3 win over Henri Laaksonen.

    Ebden had an early chance to take the lead, creating three break points on the Nadal serve in the first set.

    However he was unable to convert them, with a missed backhand volley allowing Nadal back into the game before the Spaniard held for 4-3.

    Nadal - who won the Melbourne title in 2009 - then broke in the next game as Ebden double faulted and served out the first set in 35 minutes.

    His remodelled, quicker serve worked well, with Nadal hitting six aces and winning 81% of first-serve points.

    The only slight sign of nerves came when Nadal served for the match, with Ebden saving match point before creating another break opportunity.

    However, Nadal produced a fine body serve to wrong-foot his opponent and hit a clean forehand winner to secure the match.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/tennis/46891277

  13. #13
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    Australian Open 2019: Kei Nishikori survives Ivo Karlovic fightback to progress

    Eighth seed Kei Nishikori survived a fightback from Ivo Karlovic to win a final-set tie-break and reach the third round of the Australian Open.

    The Japanese player took a two-set lead, before 39-year-old Karlovic, who served 59 aces, recovered to force a decider on Margaret Court Arena.

    Nishikori held his nerve to edge out the Croat 6-3 7-6 (8-6) 5-7 5-7 7-6 (10-7) in three hours 48 minutes.

    He faces German Philipp Kohlschreiber or Portugal's Joao Sousa next.

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/tennis/46901232


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  14. #14
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    Whose got the easier path to the semis out of Nadal djoko and fed?
    I will only start watching from quarters on


    If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you always got #improve

  15. #15
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    MELBOURNE: Roger Federer ground out a tough three-set win to make the Australian Open third round for an incredible 20th straight year Wednesday, with long-time rival Rafael Nadal also safely through in his drive towards an 18th Grand Slam title.

    Women´s defending champion Caroline Wozniacki also progressed to set up a mouth-watering clash next with in-form former world number one Maria Sharapova.

    But it was curtains for South African Kevin Anderson, who slumped out to young American Frances Tiafoe and became the highest seed, at five, to be sent packing so far.

    On an overcast day at Melbourne Park, second seed Angelique Kerber, the 2016 winner, and former US Open champion Sloane Stephens joined the big guns in round three, but the women´s side also saw a top 10 player crash.

    Ninth seed Kiki Bertens, who raced through the rankings last year after winning three titles, was whipped in three sets by Russia´s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

    Federer might be 37 but he´s not showing his age, with British qualifier Dan Evans the latest to fall under his spell as he works towards a third successive Australian crown and 21st major victory.

    He defeated Evans at Wimbledon last year with the loss of just eight games, but it was a much harder assignment this time, winning 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (7/3), 6-3 on Rod Laver Arena.

    "I think if I could have pulled away earlier in the match it might have been easier," said the third seed. "I think he played very well, it was hard to pull away to his credit."

    The Swiss star´s Australian achievements so far put him on a par with other six-time winners Novak Djokovic and Roy Emerson -- although the Australian great´s victories all came before the Open era.

    He next plays American Taylor Fritz.

    If he goes on to win the tournament, he will become the first man ever to claim seven or more titles at two Grand Slams, having already won eight Wimbledons.

    Nadal had an easier route to round three, outclassing local hope Matthew Ebden 6-3, 6-2, 6-2.

    The Spaniard is bidding for his own slice of history by becoming the first man in the Open era, and only the third in history along with Emerson and Rod Laver, to win each Grand Slam on two or more occasions.

    "I played a solid match, I was happy with the way I served. I did a few things very well," said Nadal, who next plays Australian Alex de Minaur. "It is an honour to play here. Was a great atmosphere."

    Anderson, beaten by Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final last year, was sent home by Tiafoe 4-6, 6-4, 6-4, 7-5.

    The fifth seed struggled with an elbow injury early in the clash and couldn´t cope with the 20-year-old´s power and finesse.

    Collision course
    Sixth seed Marin Cilic, who lost in the final to Federer last year, had no such dramas, grinding past American Mackenzie McDonald in four sets and next plays Spanish 26th seed Fernando Verdasco.

    Dane Wozniacki, who is battling rheumatoid arthritis, steamrolled Sweden´s Johanna Larsson 6-1, 6-3 as she bids to become the first woman to defend the title since Victoria Azarenka in 2013.

    Rafael Nadal is bidding for his own slice of history by becoming the first man in the Open era, and only the third in history, to win each Grand Slam on two or more occasions

    It set up a tough clash with five-time Grand Slam champion Sharapova, who blitzed past Sweden´s Rebecca Peterson 6-2, 6-1. The Russian is in scintillating form and has dropped just three games in her opening two matches.

    "I´m really happy with the way I performed," said Sharapova, adding that she was looking forward to the Wozniacki showdown.

    "It´s a tough third round but I have set up the challenge and I´m ready to go out there and take it."

    Meanwhile, three-time Grand Slam champion Kerber dominated Brazilian qualifier Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-2, 6-3 to stay on a collision course with Stephens in the quarter-finals.

    Stephens, who endured a horror run at Melbourne Park since reaching the semi-final in 2013, exiting in the first round in 2015, 2016 and 2018, swatted aside former doubles partner Timea Babos 6-3, 6-1.

    https://www.geo.tv/latest/225360-fed...iacki-showdown


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  16. #16
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    https://www.tsn.ca/muguruza-tops-kon...open-1.1243032

    Garbine Muguruza finally won what is believed to be the latest-starting match in Australian Open history, edging Johanna Konta 6-4, 6-7 (3), 7-5 in an after-midnight marathon that began at 12:30 a.m. and concluded at 3:12 a.m. on Friday.


    "Not ideal. Not ideal for anyone. I don't think it's ideal for anyone to do any physical activity when it's bedtime," Konta said with a chuckle. "Both of us were in the same boat, so both of us had to deal with the same challenge."

    A few hundred spectators dotted the stands at Margaret Court Arena, which has a seating capacity of 7,500.

    One woman took up three seats to herself for a bit of a snooze.

    "I seriously can't believe there's people watching us at 3:15," two-time major champion Muguruza said in an on-court interview, then joked: "Like, who cares?"

    The second-round match was delayed because the day session ran longer than expected — Venus Williams needed three sets to win her match there — and the first contest of the night session was a men's match that lasted five sets. Konta said there was discussion of moving her match to Court 3, but that the seagulls that dot the tournament grounds had left their, um, mark there.

    According to an Australian Open spokeswoman, Muruguzu and Konta were given the option of having Court 3 cleaned; it should have taken 15 minutes. But the players heard there was rain in the forecast, so decided to stay put, because Margaret Court Arena has a roof and Court 3 does not.

    The tournament said the previous latest start on record in Melbourne was 11:59 p.m. for a women's match between Elise Mertens and Daria Gavrilova a year ago.

    The record for latest finish? That's 4:34 a.m., for a 2008 men's match between Lleyton Hewitt and Marcos Baghdatis.

    "It was actually a very good match," Konta said about her low-attendance loss. "It's unfortunate more people couldn't enjoy it during the day."

    Muguruza, a former No. 1-ranked player who is seeded 18th, managed to convert the only two service breaks of the match, including in the last game.

    Asked afterward what she planned to do, Muguruza had a simple plan: breakfast.

    The biggest beneficiary of the timing of it all might very well wind up being Timea Bacsinszky, the Swiss player who will face Spain's Muguruza on Saturday for a spot in the fourth round.

    Bacsinszky's victory on Thursday ended more than 10 1/2 hours earlier than Muguruza's win did.

    "I will recover as much as I can, because it was a tough match," said Muguruza, who won the French Open in 2016 and Wimbledon in 2017, but has never been past the quarterfinals at the Australian Open. "Tomorrow is a day off, but I have to be (focused). The tournament is not over."


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  17. #17
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    MELBOURNE, Australia -- Roger Federer has played in Rod Laver Arena a hundred times and has six Australian Open crowns in his collection of 20 Grand Slam titles.

    The 37-year-old tennis statesman has developed a loyal following over 20 consecutive visits for the season-opening major.

    Amanda Anisimova, 17, continued her surprising run in Melbourne with a 6-3, 6-2 upset of No. 11 Aryna Sabalenka on Friday. Local favorite Ashleigh Barty also advanced to the fourth round.

    After falling short in two Grand Slam finals last year, Serena Williams is back to her old self and has her eyes set on breaking Margaret Court's record of 24 Grand Slam titles, according to her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou.

    After beating 21-year-old American Taylor Fritz 6-2, 7-5, 6-2 on Friday on the center court at Melbourne Park, and reaching the round of 16 at a Grand Slam tournament for the 63rd time, he raised his racket to the crowd. It was not unlike what a batter scoring a century would do to acknowledge 100 at the nearby Melbourne Cricket Ground.

    He'll next play 20-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas, who draws a big, vocal crowd to Melbourne Park.

    "I think I wanted to get out of the blocks quickly. I knew of the threat of Taylor," said Federer, who has won 97 of his 110 matches overall at Melbourne Park. "I think I had extra focus today."

    Tsitsipas had a 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7), 6-4 win over Nikoloz Basilashvili earlier on Margaret Court Arena to become the first Greek man to reach the fourth round at multiple majors. He reached the same round at Wimbledon last year.

    Big sections of Greeks sang and waved the blue and white flag and scarves in the crowd. Melbourne has the highest concentration of Greek people of any city outside of Greece, and is getting a lot of attention.

    "I'm delighted," he said. "I feel so comfortable. I feel like playing at home.

    "It's exciting to have such an atmosphere. I never get to play with so many Greek people supporting me ... and, and, and, Australians!"

    In the only other completed men's match by early afternoon, 2010 Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych beat No. 18-seeded Diego Schwartzman 5-7, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4. Berdych, who has reached the quarterfinals or better in seven of his previous eight trips to Melbourne Park, will meet either 2009 champion Rafael Nadal or local favorite Alex de Minaur in the next round.

    http://www.espn.com/tennis/story/_/i...ustralian-open


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  18. #18
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    Defending champion Caroline Wozniacki was knocked out of the Australian Open as five-time Grand Slam winner Maria Sharapova provided a reminder of her ability with a three-set win.

    Russia's Sharapova, seeded 30th, hit 37 winners in a 6-4 4-6 6-3 victory to reach the fourth round.

    Wozniacki, 28, led 4-1 in the first set, only to see Sharapova battle back.

    The third seed broke in the final game of the second to level, but Sharapova edged a tight third in Melbourne.

    The 2008 Australian Open champion, 31, took her second match point to win in two hours and 24 minutes and set up a fourth-round meeting with Australia's Ashleigh Barty on Sunday.

    "I haven't played many matches in the last year, especially against top players and these are the ones I train for, so it's really rewarding to win," said Sharapova, who served a 15-month ban for failing a drugs test.

    Danish world number three Wozniacki, defending the ranking points won in Melbourne last year, is set to slide down the standings as a result of the defeat.

    She was competing at a Grand Slam as the defending champion for the first time, but says the experience did not put on added pressure.

    "I did not find it hard all all. I find it kind of pleasurable," she said.

    "In tennis, you're one on one, you battle and you do your best. One day you win, some days you lose.

    "I gave it everything I had today. She was just a little bit better than me and that was really it."

    Sharapova has been unable to climb back into the upper echelons of the game since returning from a doping ban in April 2017, making just one Grand Slam quarter-final at last year's French Open.

    But against Wozniacki she proved she still has the talent - and, most importantly, desire - to cause problems for the world's best.

    It was not Sharapova's biggest win in terms of ranking since returning, having also beaten Simona Halep - who was then second in the world - at the 2017 US Open.

    "These are the types of match-ups that I haven't really had where I could really challenge myself," Sharapova said.

    "Whether it was a bad result or an easy two-set loss, to be in the grind of things and to have to figure out a way to be on top is what I missed.

    "Halep was where I was challenged like that and maybe one or two other matches.

    "When you put yourself in those positions and you get through, those are great victories."

    While she obviously impressed with her quality of play, her sheer will-to-win also stood out.

    Against one of the game's fittest and most relentless players, the Russian won 17 of 23 rallies which lasted nine shots or more.

    That included a pivotal moment at 4-4 in the first set where she switched hands in a 23-shot rally to stay in the opening point and went on to win it.

    In turn, she went on to hold and broke in the next game on her way to the opening set.

    Sharapova was constantly screaming in celebration after seeing winners go in and an intense fist-pump at her box moments after clinching victory illustrated how much it meant.

    "I haven't played many matches in the last year against top players so it was really rewarding to win that last set," she said.

    "These are the kinds of matches I train for."

    Wozniacki unable to scale Slam heights again
    Defeat is another blow for Wozniacki, who announced in October she has been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.

    The former world number one came into the first Grand Slam of the year with little hype, perhaps because she has not gone past the last 16 at a major since winning in Melbourne and lost to Canadian teenager Bianca Andreescu in Auckland earlier this month.

    She found encouragement by easing past Belgium's Alison van Uytvanck and Sweden's Johanna Larsson - both ranked outside the top 50 - in the opening two rounds here.

    But, against Sharapova, she was outfought.

    Wozniacki was among one of the most vocal critics of Sharapova following her doping ban, leading to Sharapova's agent Max Eisenbud dismissing the Dane as a "journeyman".

    Yet there was a civilised handshake at the net as Wozniacki congratulated Sharapova on her performance.

    "Our terms are the same as they have always been," the Dane said. "I think she doesn't really talk to anybody and has her team and has her own thing.

    "I do my own thing. We are competitors. We both try our hardest when we're out there on court and fight our hardest."

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/tennis/46915154
    Last edited by MenInG; 19th January 2019 at 11:12.


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  19. #19
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    Seven-time champion Serena Williams comforted opponent Dayana Yastremska after powering past the teenager into the Australian Open fourth round.

    Williams beat the 18-year-old Ukrainian 6-2 6-1 in one hour and seven minutes and did not drop a service game.

    "You're gonna make it, don't cry", Williams, 37, told a tearful Yastremska following her victory.

    The American will face Romanian world number one Simona Halep or sister Venus Williams in the next round.

    "I thought she did really amazing," Williams said when asked about the future of Yastremska, who was not even born when the American won the first of her 23 Grand Slam singles titles in 1999.

    "She came out swinging and to be so young, she came out ready to go. When I was young I played against so many people and everyone I faced was intimidating and not easy. You just go out and swing and do the best you can."

    Williams is favourite to win a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles title in Melbourne and her performance in the third round showed why.

    She put youngster Yastremska under immediate pressure, breaking in the first game and winning four games in a row.

    The occasion seemed to have got the better of the Ukrainian - a promising talent who could only provide brief glimpses of her ability and could not hide inconsistencies with her serve.

    But Williams was ruthless and looks firmly on course to win a record-extending eighth Australian Open title.

    With defending champion Caroline Wozniacki exiting on Friday and rivals Naomi Osaka - the fourth seed - and Elina Svitolina - the sixth seed - being forced to fight back to scrape their way into the fourth round, it is so far falling into place for Williams.

    Her toughest test yet will be in the next round where a mouth-watering tie with either Halep or her elder sister awaits.

    Williams joked that sister Venus "still intimidates me now" but that she is enjoying being back in Melbourne after missing last year's competition four months after she gave birth.

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/tennis/46929981


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  20. #20
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    Top seed Simona Halep set up a highly anticipated Australian Open last-16 tie against Serena Williams by beating the American's older sister Venus.

    The 27-year-old Romanian eased to a 6-2 6-3 victory, winning in straight sets for the first time at this year's tournament in Melbourne.

    Seven-time champion Williams, 37, reached the last 16 by thrashing 18-year-old Ukrainian Dayana Yastremska.

    "It's going to be a bigger challenge but I'm ready to face it," said Halep.

    The Romanian says she has "nothing to lose" against the 23-time Grand Slam champion, who is aiming to match Australian Margaret Court's all-time record of major triumphs.

    Williams has won eight of their nine previous matches, with their last meeting coming at the US Open in 2016.

    Since then, Halep has won her first Grand Slam title, having triumphed at last year's French Open.

    Halep, who lost to Caroline Wozniacki in last year's final, said she came into the first Grand Slam of the year with "no expectations" after a difficult past five months.

    She arrived in Melbourne having not won since August, a five-match losing streak punctured by an absence with a back injury, while she also split with her long-time coach Darren Cahill in November.

    After needing her fighting qualities to beat Estonian veteran Kaia Kanepi and young American Sofia Kenin in the opening two rounds, Halep moved up a level against seven-time major winner Williams, 38.

    "It was a great match - my best match here this year," Halep said.

    "It is always a big challenge to play against the Williams sisters so I was super motivated."

    Halep could not take any of three break points in Williams' first two service games, yet was finally rewarded in the fifth game to lead 3-2.

    After surviving four break points in the next game, Halep took control of the opener as Williams appeared to wane physically in a set containing some lengthy rallies.

    The points became shorter at the start of the second, allowing Williams to stick with Halep as they stayed on serve to 3-3.

    But when Williams failed to land a first serve in the seventh game, Halep pounced.

    Two break points - added to the five she created in the first set - arrived and she upped the pace to force Williams into sending a weak backhand into the net on the first.

    Serving to stay in the match, Williams produced two double faults to hand Halep two match points - but the Romanian only needed one and sealed victory with a stunning forehand down the line.

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/tennis/46931265


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  21. #21
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    Australian Open 2019: Naomi Osaka & Elina Svitolina come through tough tests

    US Open champion Naomi Osaka came back from within two games of an Australian Open third-round exit to beat Taiwanese Hsieh Su-wei 5-7 6-4 6-1.

    Sixth seed Elina Svitolina also diced with danger in a 4-6 6-4 7-5 win over Chinese world number 40 Zhang Shuai.

    Japanese fourth seed Osaka lost the first set and was a break down in the second.

    But she broke back twice at the end of the second and won seven games in a row to take the advantage in the decider.

    The 21-year-old will face 13th seed Anastasija Sevastova next after the Latvian's 6-3 6-3 victory over Wang Qiang of China.

    Svitolina, who delivered a drink to shattered opponent Zhang at the end of their draining three-hour encounter, takes on 17th seed Madison Keys next after the American beat Belgian 12th seed Elise Mertens 6-3 6-2.

    Spain's two-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza beat Swiss Timea Bacsinszky 7-6 (7-5) 6-2 and will face Czech seventh seed Karolina Pliskova next.

    Pliskova overcame Italy's Camila Giorgi 6-4 3-6 6-2.

    Svitolina would 'either die or win'

    Svitolina, like Osaka among the favourites for the title here after her win at the WTA Finals in Singapore at the end of last season, was also out of sorts.

    She received treatment on her shoulders and neck and looked uncomfortable at times against Zhang, who also had the trainer on for a back problem in the third set.

    Having gone a break up in the sixth game of the first set, Svitolina then lost back-to-back service games to allow Zhang to serve out the set.

    Zhang continued to put pressure on the Svitolina in the second set, failing to convert a break point in the seventh game.

    But she then allowed the world number seven back into the match when she went 0-40 on her serve to hand Svitolina three set points, the third of which she converted with a forehand winner.

    The match looked to be out of Svitolina's reach when she went a double break down early in the third set but after a change of top she began to stage her comeback.

    There were seven breaks of serve in a gripping deciding set with Svitolina finally sealing victory on her second match point on Zhang's serve.

    "It was a very tough match for both of us," Svitolina said. "She played unbelievable tennis and hopefully we'll see many more of her talents back in Melbourne. It was very hot conditions so I was struggling a little.

    "We left everything on court but we practise every day for those matches. I thought I will either die or win.

    "I had to stay mentally strong. I was trying to stay out there as long as possible."

    Out-of-sorts Osaka pulls through

    After sweeping aside Serena Williams in a controversial US Open final, Osaka came to Melbourne as one of the title favourites.

    But she was not her usual bubbly self on Margaret Court Arena in a nervy encounter in which she made 42 unforced errors.

    She showed signs of frustration in the third game and slammed the ball into the court after being broken for the first time in the tournament midway through the opening set.

    Osaka appeared to compose herself - breaking back immediately before moving 5-4 ahead.

    But Hsieh went on to win six games in a row and Osaka's frustrations grew as she threw her racquet into the ground following another break of serve.

    Osaka began to bounce back at 4-1 down in the second set and she flipped the match on its head as she then went on to win seven consecutive games.

    The 21-year-old dominated the third set - converting three of her five break points - and ensured she reached the last 16 for the second year in a row in Melbourne.

    "I just didn't want to give up," said Osaka.

    "I really love Grand Slams so I did anything I could do to stay here a bit longer."

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/tennis/46929656

  22. #22
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    Home favourite Ashleigh Barty won nine games in a row to inspire a comeback against Maria Sharapova and book her place in the Australian Open quarter-finals.

    Having lost the first set, Barty broke twice in the second and went on to win 4-6 6-1 6-4 to reach the last eight of a Grand Slam for the first time.

    "This is unreal," the 15th seed told a packed crowd on the Rod Laver Arena.

    She will face eighth seed Petra Kvitova, who beat Amanda Anisimova.

    World number six Kvitova comfortably won 6-2 6-1 against the American 17-year-old on Rod Laver Arena.

    The Czech two-time Grand Slam champion has reached the last eight on two other occasions but has never won the title in Melbourne.

    Petra Kvitova was knocked out in the first round of the Australian Open in 2018 but is one of the favourites to win the title this year
    It was a world-class performance from Kvitova and she shrugged off any threat from young Anisimova from the off.

    The 17-year-old had already knocked out Belarusian 11th seed Aryna Sabalenka in the third round but was made to look nervous and uncomfortable on her serve, under pressure from Kvitova.

    Kvitova had three breaks points in the first game and added a further five throughout the match - breaking Anisimova's serve on five occasions in total.

    Anisimova could not muster any break points of her own and never came close to troubling the Czech's serve.

    After making light work of the first set, Kvitova continued to impose herself in the second - breaking in Anisimova's second service game.

    The world number six attacked with precision on the return and only clocked up one double fault and nine unforced errors in a truly commanding performance.

    "I am feeling good and really enjoying my tennis and that's the most important thing for me," said Kvitova, who is appearing in her first Grand Slam quarter-final since the US Open in 2017.

    "Being in the quarter-finals is where you want to be in the second week of a Grand Slam."

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/tennis/46936075


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  23. #23
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  24. #24
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    Tsitsipas is ATG material

  25. #25
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  26. #26
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  27. #27
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    World number one Novak Djokovic reached the Australian Open quarter-finals for the first time since 2016 with a hard-fought win over Daniil Medvedev.

    The 31-year-old Serb earned a 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 6-2 6-3 victory over the 15th seed in Melbourne.

    Djokovic was not at his fluent best, but outlasted Medvedev to win in three hours and 15 minutes.

    Russia's Medvedev, 22, grew frustrated as he paid the price for only taking two of nine break points.

    Medvedev's resistance continued until the end, saving two match points before Djokovic took the third with a wonderful cross-court winner.

    Six-time champion Djokovic will play Kei Nishikori in the last eight after the Japanese eighth seed beat Spain's Pablo Carreno Busta in controversial circumstances in a five-hour match decided by a super tie-break.

    Another triumph for the top seed at Melbourne Park will see him move ahead of Australian great Roy Emerson and Roger Federer, who was knocked out by Greek youngster Stefanos Tsitsipas on Sunday, in terms of all-time victories.

    Nishikori through in five-set thriller as Carreno Busta apologises for on-court meltdown
    Williams knocks out Halep in epic last-16 tie
    Djokovic outlasts Medvedev in physical encounter
    Djokovic's progress to the last 16 had been relatively serene, apart from a third-set blip which came against the run of play in his previous win over Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov.

    But the powerful Medvedev, one of the rising stars and in good form having reached the final at the Brisbane International coming into the tournament, was expected to provide a sterner test.

    It was a test of durability as the pair pushed each other in some long, physical rallies - including two which lasted more than 40 shots.

    In stuffy conditions on Rod Laver Arena, both players struggled physically at times with Medvedev appearing to tire first in the third set.

    Although there was a suspicion Medvedev was putting up little fight to preserve energy for a push in the fourth, it proved to be the key to Djokovic's victory as he maintained the momentum that had swung his way.

    "It was definitely a physical battle," Djokovic said.

    "It is difficult to go through him and I had to find another way to go through him.

    "In this kind of match you just have to hang in there and wait for your opportunities."

    Although Djokovic needed his survival instincts from early in the match, he was also guilty of squandering his own chances in the second set.

    After spurning five break points in Medvedev's first service game of the second set, Djokovic finally took one in the next game and then had another for a 5-1 lead which would have left him serving for the set.

    Medvedev responded by thumping two aces on his way to holding and Djokovic, whose mood soured as he threatened to damage his racquet, appeared to be rattled.

    Yet after Medvedev controlled the second-set tie-break to level, Djokovic reasserted his authority to reach his 10th quarter-final in Melbourne and become only the second man, after Federer, to reach 10 at all four Grand Slams.

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/tennis/46949137


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  28. #28
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    Serena Williams outlined why she is the favourite to win the Australian Open with a 6-1 4-6 6-4 win over top seed Simona Halep in a high-quality last-16 match.

    The 37-year-old American dismantled Halep's game to race through the opening set in 20 minutes.

    Romania's Halep, 27, recovered in the second, breaking in what proved to be the final game.

    Australian Open: Not yet Serena - Williams retreats after walkout mix-up
    Williams, seeded 16th, saved three break points for 3-3 in the decider, crucially winning the next game to seize control.

    The 23-time Grand Slam champion comfortably held her next service game to edge closer, then served out for victory over last year's runner-up in one hour and 47 minutes.

    Triumphantly punching the air with both arms as she gave a steely stare towards her box, Williams showed how much relief she felt at beating the world number one.

    "It was an intense match and there were some incredible points, but I love being here," she said.

    Williams, searching for her first Grand Slam title since coming back from pregnancy last year, has now won nine of her 10 meetings with Halep.

    The seven-time champion will meet Czech seventh seed Karolina Pliskova, who beat Spain's two-time Grand Slam winner Garbine Muguruza earlier on Monday, in the last eight.

    If Williams goes on to extend her record number of victories in Melbourne, she will equal Australian Margaret Court's all-time tally of 24 Grand Slam titles.

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/tennis/46943934


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  29. #29
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    Stefanos Tsitsipas beat Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut in four sets to continue his superb run in Melbourne and reach the Australian Open semi-finals.

    At 20 years and 168 days, Tsitsipas is the youngest man to reach the last four of a Grand Slam since Novak Djokovic at the 2007 US Open.

    The Greek 14th seed won 7-5 4-6 6-4 7-6 (7-2) in three hours and 15 minutes.

    He will face Spanish 2009 champion Rafael Nadal or unseeded American Frances Tiafoe next.

    "It all feels like a fairytale almost. I'm just living the dream, living what I've been working for," he said.

    "I feel a bit emotional but not too much because I know I really worked hard to get here."

    Tsitsipas became the first Greek player to go beyond the fourth round of a Grand Slam when he knocked out six-time champion Roger Federer to reach the quarter-finals.

    He is the youngest man to reach the last four in Melbourne since Andy Roddick in 2003.

    Any suggestion of a 'Federer hangover' was squashed by Tsitsipas, who demonstrated just why he is considered one of the hottest young prospects in tennis.

    There were signs of tiredness and a lack of concentration in parts. He started off slowly, dropping serve in the opening game after sloppily smashing an overhead into the net.

    But the Greek responded to break twice from 4-2 down, hitting 18 winners and picking up 90% of the points on his first serve in the first set.

    His focus wavered again at the start of the second and a first double fault in the third game of the set contributed to a break of serve for Bautista Agut, who went on to level the match.

    The 22nd seed again took the upper hand in the third - moving 4-2 up for the third set in a row - and Tsitsipas' volleying continued to let him down on key points.

    The 20-year-old was too casual and his concentration levels dipped before a second time violation when serving seemed to refocus him.

    Tsitsipas needed three break points to level at 4-4 in the third and then broke again with a superb sliced backhand on Bautista Agut's next service game to secure the set.

    All the momentum was with the Greek, and though he was given a warning for coaching during the break between sets, Tsitsipas rose to the challenge.

    Bautista Agut, 30, could only win three out of 13 points on Tsitsipas' second serve in the fourth set and a double fault from the Spaniard brought up match point at 5-6.

    He was not going to go down without a fight, though, and a brave forehand on the line saved it before Bautista Agut went on to hold serve and force a tie-break.

    Tsitsipas immediately stamped his authority with two mini-breaks, although Bautista Agut did retrieve them to pull it back to 3-2.

    However, the Greek won the final five points and when Bautista Agut netted a forehand, Tsitsipas fell to the ground in disbelief.

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/tennis/46955475


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  30. #30
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    Second seed Rafael Nadal eased past unseeded American Frances Tiafoe to reach the Australian Open semi-finals and continue his bid to win all four Grand Slams for a second time.

    The 32-year-old Spaniard cracked 29 winners in a 6-3 6-4 6-2 victory.

    Nadal broke 21-year-old Tiafoe in each of his first service games of the set.

    The 17-time Grand Slam champion will play Stefanos Tsitsipas in the last four after the 20-year-old Greek beat Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut.

    "It is emotional to be back in the semi-finals," said Nadal, who retired injured in his quarter-final against Marin Cilic last year.

    "I had some troubles in this event so, after a while of not playing, to be back in the semi-final means a lot to me. I feel very lucky to be where I am after all the troubles I've been through."

    Nadal, who did have to stave off two break points at 2-1 in the second set, has not dropped a set as he aims to become the first man to win each of the four Grand Slams twice in the Open era.

    Despite reaching at least the quarter-finals in 11 of his past 12 appearances, including four finals, he has only converted one of these runs into victory - his sole triumph at Melbourne Park in 2009.

    And, despite not playing competitively since September's US Open because of multiple injuries, he has cruised through his opening five matches.

    Tiafoe, who celebrated his 21st birthday by reaching his maiden Grand Slam quarter-final on Sunday, could not cope with Nadal's quality and intensity.

    He had spent almost 12 hours on court coming into the match - more than three hours longer than Nadal - including his four-set wins over Wimbledon finalist Kevin Anderson and former world number three Grigor Dimitrov.

    Nadal broke again for a 5-2 lead in the third, going on to serve out victory in one hour and 47 minutes.

    The Spaniard used his trademark forehand to great effect, particularly down the line, hitting 13 winners on that side.

    "The serve and winner with the first forehand is something very important for me, very important today, but also very important if I want to keep playing for a few years," he said.

    "It has given me a lot of free points and that is so important at this stage of my career."

    Tsitsipas, 20, followed his last-16 victory over defending champion Roger Federer with another four-set win over Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut earlier on Tuesday.

    Nadal has beaten the Greek in straight sets in both of their previous meetings - in ATP finals on clay in Barcelona and the Toronto hard-court last year.

    "It is going to be a great year to be sharing generations, that's what makes this sport special - let's see what happens," Nadal said.

    "During the last year he has been improving every month. He has already won a tournament and now in the semi-finals and able to win against best players in the world.

    "He is unbelievable today but he has the chance to be one of the best for a long time."

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/tennis/46958545


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  31. #31
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    Has any1 been following this. I haven't closely at all. Just watched the last 1.5 sets of Federer game.
    How is Nadal looking. Is he good enough to overcome djoko if he manages to beat the Greek


    If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you always got #improve

  32. #32
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    Final four: Naomi Osaka sets up a potential semi-final showdown with Serena Williams

    Naomi Osaka has reached her first semi-final at the Australian Open with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Elina Svitolina.

    Osaka used her aggressive style and big hitting to compile a 31-11 edge in winners, including eight aces.

    The No. 4-seeded Osaka is the reigning U.S. Open champion. She never had been past the fourth round at Melbourne Park.

    In a bizarre first set, both women struggled to hold serve, with Osaka breaking Svitolina on three occasions, and Svitolina breaking Osaka twice.

    Osaka blew her opportunity to close out the set when serving at 5-3, but immediately responded, breaking Svitolina in the next game to secure the opener.


    But if the first set was a tight contest, the second was a one-sided affair.

    Svitolina appeared hindered and called for the trainer, with Osaka steamrolling the no. 6 seed.

    After battling with temperament issues across the tournament, Osaka said she was determined not to lose her cool against Svitolina.

    “For me, today I just had one goal and that was to try as hard as I can to not get angry,” Osaka told Channel 9 after her win on Wednesday.

    “I didn’t do that well in the last two rounds so that was my only goal.

    “I think I did that well so I’m really happy with the way I played.”

    Svitolina had her neck and shoulders massaged by a trainer during a medical time-out while trailing 3-0 in the second set.

    “I felt pain from the beginning of the tournament here and there,” she said.

    “It was going and coming back. Yeah, unfortunately today was a little bit worse than I expected.

    “And, yeah, I mean, it’s normal to have some tension during the Grand Slam and it happens, but unfortunately I couldn’t handle it today.”

    Osaka’s semi-final opponent will be 23-time major champion Serena Williams or No. 7 seed Karolina Pliskova.

    Osaka beat Williams for the championship at Flushing Meadows last year in a match filled with all sorts of drama involving the American star and the chair umpire.

    https://www.foxsports.com.au/tennis/...23a6894fbd67fd

  33. #33
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    Serena Williams missed four match points before succumbing to Czech seventh seed Karolina Pliskova in a dramatic Australian Open quarter-final.

    American Williams, 37, led 5-1 in the final set but lost the last six games as her bid for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles title ended with a 6-4 4-6 7-5 defeat in Melbourne.

    Williams seemed unsettled after turning her ankle on her first match point.

    The 26-year-old will meet Japan's Naomi Osaka in Thursday's semi-finals.

    Williams' inability to seal victory means a highly anticipated rematch of her controversial US Open final defeat by Osaka must wait.

    Like Osaka, Pliskova will be playing in the last four here for the first time.

    "I was almost in the locker room but now stand here as the winner," said Pliskova, who reached the US Open final in 2016.

    "My mind was in the locker room at 5-1 down but I was still here. I was too passive and mentally down. She got a little bit shaky in the end. I took my chances and I won.

    "Naomi Osaka is dangerous but there is nobody more dangerous than Serena."

    It was an extraordinary topsy-turvy match on Rod Laver Arena with Pliskova leading by a set and a break at 3-2 before Williams won nine games out of 10 to make victory appear a formality.

    However, while serving at 5-1 40-30 in the decider, a call of foot fault and then the ankle roll seemed to totally derail the seven-time champion, whose movement and confidence were visibly affected.

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/tennis/46968407


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  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Abdullah View Post
    Has any1 been following this. I haven't closely at all. Just watched the last 1.5 sets of Federer game.
    How is Nadal looking. Is he good enough to overcome djoko if he manages to beat the Greek
    Nadal has changed his service and forehand so that he can play shorter points instead of getting others to tire out and make mistakes. His new style has worked with all the other players so far will be interesting to see how he does against Djokovic who is the one player that was able to outlast him.


    "Too often we... enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought"-JFK

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Couch Cricketer View Post
    Nadal has changed his service and forehand so that he can play shorter points instead of getting others to tire out and make mistakes. His new style has worked with all the other players so far will be interesting to see how he does against Djokovic who is the one player that was able to outlast him.
    I would love it if Nadal wins it. Takes it to 20-18 with French open up next. Huge couple of matches for him


    If you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you always got #improve

  36. #36
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    ‘No excuses’: Serial quitter Kei Nishikori called out after another retirement

    On Wednesday night Australian tennis fans were given a taste of what the rest of the world has been enduring for much of Kei Nishikori’s career — his body letting him down in a big match.

    The Japanese star was hailed by some for his incredible fight as he backed up from three five-set matches earlier in the tournament to take on world number one Novak Djokovic, before succumbing to an apparent leg injury after falling behind 6-1 4-1.

    While there’s no doubt all that extra time on court took its toll, others — including tennis legend John McEnroe — have frustratedly pointed the finger at the world number nine, saying he had no one to blame but himself for not finishing off the likes of 176th-ranked Kamil Majchrzak and Ivo Karlovic more efficiently and noting his form as one of the most regular retirees on tour.

    “Some of this was Kei’s fault, he should have put away Karlovic, he should have won his first round match against a qualifier more easily, he didn’t, it caught up with him,” McEnroe told Today.

    “It is sort of like a middleweight playing heavyweights. At a certain point he gives in mentally.

    “That is why he hired Chang. Michael wouldn’t do that. You could see Michael’s dismay, the coach, in the coach’s box, ‘Why do you have to stop playing?’

    “That is not in (Chang’s) DNA. He’s trying to get that more into Kei, but Kei is more conservative.

    “Some guys and girls have higher thresholds for pain than others and they can go out there and compete at a higher level for longer. He is not one of them.”

    After leaving fans who forked out big money for the night session at Rod Laver Arena fuming, Nishikori attempted to explain his withdrawal.


    “Before the match, I was okay,” Nishikori said. “Of course, I wasn’t, like, fresh, fresh. I thought I was going to be okay. After third game or fourth game when I was serving, I felt pretty heavy to my right leg. After that I couldn’t really bend my knees and couldn’t jump up. Yeah, I decided to stop.

    “I’m sure it comes from my past matches, especially last match. I was moving a lot, waste too much energy. Could be from that and also, yeah, something happen today during the match.

    “I was trying. Like I said, after couple games, I couldn’t really move, couldn’t hit my serve well. Yeah, I don’t think even if it’s Novak, I couldn’t beat anybody with my one leg. It was just too tough.”

    DJOKER MAN TO BEAT AGAIN

    The early night gave Djokovic’s chances of winning the tournament a massive boost. “As they say, this is exactly what the doctor ordered for me after a match two nights ago,” he said “Not to spend too much time on the court.”

    The Serb has six titles at Melbourne Park, equal to Roger Federer’s haul and one short of Serena Williams’ Open-era record of seven titles, but most significant is one statistic.

    Every time he’s reached the last four, he’s lifted the trophy. And courtesy of Nishikori’s withdrawal in their quarterfinal, he’s well rested for another championship assault.

    “It feels great,” Djokovic said.

    “This has been my most successful grand slam throughout my career, the first one that I won back in 2008.

    “Over the past 10 years, I’ve had plenty of success here.

    “Obviously that has helped to kickstart the season in a great fashion, obviously served as a great confidence boost for what was coming up.

    “That’s one of the reasons why I think I always try to push myself really to focus here and to play as best as I can so I can really start off the season well.

    “Australia has been really kind to me throughout my career, I can say.”

    Djokovic’s next challenge is Lucas Pouille, the 28th seed who will be appearing in his first major semi-final.

    After that lurks either world No.2 Rafael Nadal or another insurgent force, Greek 20-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas.

    Given their pedigree, most are preparing for a Djokovic-Nadal clash on Sunday; a resumption of the most played match in the Open-era.

    The pair have met 52 times, with the Serbian edging their duels 27-25. It would also be their first clash in Australia since their 2012 final epic, a five-set, almost six-hour clash won by Djokovic.

    Not that Djokovic was in the mood to contemplate that prospect just yet. “Right now it’s my press conference, so it will be nice to talk about me more than Nadal. If you want to talk about our possible encounter, we talk about that if we both win semis,” he said.

    “(Pouille) has won against some top players. Of course Milos (Raonic), (Borna) Coric in the last round.

    “With the quality of the tennis that he possesses, he deserves to be definitely at the top 15, maybe top 10 of the world. He’s got that quality and potential, no question about it.

    “We both, I’m sure, want to get to the finals. Hopefully we can both be fresh and fit and put on the great show.”

    https://www.news.com.au/sport/tennis...632fae95e27ce1

  37. #37
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    Petra Kvitova reached her first Grand Slam final since being stabbed, beating unseeded American Danielle Collins under the roof after extreme heat at the Australian Open.

    Czech Kvitova, seeded eighth, dominated a tie-break to win a tight first set, in which the roof was closed at 4-4.

    The two-time Wimbledon champion, 28, controlled the second as Collins, 25, grew frustrated.

    Kvitova won 7-6 (7-2) 6-0 and will meet Naomi Osaka or Karolina Pliskova.

    Victory for Pliskova against the US Open champion later on Thursday would set up an all-Czech final for the first time in a women's singles at a Grand Slam.

    A vicious forehand winner sealed victory on Kvitova's first match point as she reached her first Australian Open final.

    "This means everything, that's why I work really hard - to be in a final at a Grand Slam," she said.

    "Finally, I made it deep into a major. Whatever happens in the final I am very happy."

    If Kvitova goes on to win the final, she will beat Osaka or Pliskova in the battle to replace Romania's Simona Halep as the world number one.

    Kvitova had not reached a Grand Slam semi-final since being attacked in a robbery at her home in December 2016.

    Now the former world number two has the chance to cap a fairytale story by winning a third major title on Saturday.

    The left-hander said she was "fortunate to be alive", requiring surgery on the hand which she predominantly plays with before returning to the sport five months later.

    She has started this year superbly, winning a 26th career title in Sydney and extending her winning streak to 11 matches here in Melbourne.

    But her big serve came under pressure first in the opening set, Collins - who had never won a Grand Slam main draw match before this tournament - taking a second break point with a brilliant dipping cross-court winner for a 3-2 lead.

    Kvitova hit straight back with a break in the following game as the American's service game dipped, leading to a 41% first-serve percentage at the end of the first set.

    Following the roof closure at the end of the eighth game, Collins started to grow frustrated and had two heated discussions with umpire Carlos Ramos either side of losing the tie-break.

    She seemed to lose focus in the second set, winning just 12 points - four on Kvitova's serve - as the Czech needed just 32 more minutes to wrap up victory.

    The conditions were a key factor in the first women's semi-final as temperatures were expected to reach around 40C in Melbourne on Thursday.

    The Australian Open has introduced a new extreme heat policy this year, with a heat stress scale now indicating when a break should be introduced and play being stopped.

    If the index reaches four, then the players are allowed a 10-minute break between the second and third sets.

    If a five is recorded, the tournament referee can decide to close the roof on Laver and suspend the start of matches on outside courts.

    Before the match, the index read 3.9 and meant the roof remained open.

    But it became quickly apparent that the index was going to rise quickly during the match between Kvitova and Collins.

    At the end of the eighth game of the first set, umpire Ramos announced the roof was going to be closed because the scale had hit five - leading to huge cheers from the crowd.

    Kvitova, who has struggled in heat in the past, won eight of the next 10 games - plus the tie-break - on her way to victory.

    "In the second set I was happier than the fans when the roof closed," Kvitova said.

    "The first set I was very tired and making errors. I couldn't have a full swing and be more relaxed like I was before so I was glad my game came in the tie-break.

    "I like playing indoors and I think that helped me a little bit."

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/tennis/46968660


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  38. #38
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    US Open champion Naomi Osaka reached back-to-back Grand Slam finals with a hard-fought win over Czech seventh seed Karolina Pliskova at the Australian Open.

    The Japanese fourth seed won 6-2 4-6 6-4 and will face Petra Kvitova, another Czech, in Saturday's showpiece.

    Osaka, 22, hit 15 aces and 56 winners in a confident display.

    The semi-final was played under the Rod Laver Arena roof as temperatures touched 40C in Melbourne.

    Osaka hit another forehand winner to give herself a match point at 40-30, shouting "come on" as she looked up to the sky and tried to compose herself, then hit what she thought was an 111mph ace down the middle.

    After it was called out, Osaka challenged and clasped her hands together in hope as she watched the replay - and was left celebrating when Hawkeye showed the ball had clipped the line.

    Asked about her feelings when Pliskova won the second set, Osaka said: "I kind of expected it a little because I've played her so many times and she has beaten me more than I've beaten her. I told myself to regroup and I managed to win.

    "It's just experience playing matches like this. I was so scared serving second serves, I was like 'oh, my god, please' and somehow I made it so I guess that's experience."

    The final will see Osaka and 28-year-old Kvitova, who has reached her first Grand Slam final since being stabbed in December 2016, battling for the world number one ranking.

    Defeat ended 26-year-old Pliskova's hopes of reaching her second Grand Slam final and setting up a first all-Czech final against her Fed Cup team-mate.

    Osaka won her maiden major at the US Open in September, although that victory was overshadowed by opponent Serena Williams's furious row with umpire Carlos Ramos.

    Now the fourth seed has the chance to savour another triumph in the first Grand Slam of the 2019 season.

    Osaka has become the first player to reach the final at her next Slam following a maiden major win since American Jennifer Capriati in 2001.

    She produced a bold performance from the start against the big-hitting Pliskova, hitting 16 winners and breaking serve twice on her way to clinching the opening set in 32 minutes.

    The early advantage boded well for the Japanese player, having won her past 58 matches after taking the first set.

    Yet Pliskova, who fought back from four match points down to beat Serena Williams little over 24 hours earlier, played more aggressively in the second set and was rewarded with a decisive break in the 10th game.

    Osaka only landed one first serve and made two unforced errors as she relinquished her serve to love.

    Pliskova had finally found her rhythm, and then threatened to break Osaka in the opening game of the decider.

    Osaka crucially dug in to save three break points, before breaking to love in the following game and then fighting off another break point at 4-3 with an ace.

    That left her another hold away from becoming the first Japanese woman to reach the Australian Open final and she upped the ante again from 30-30 to seal her place in another Grand Slam showpiece.

    The match between Pliskova and Osaka was the best women's match I've ever seen.

    That was incredible in terms of level - 58 winners for Osaka and only 20 unforced errors. I was impressed by Pliskova's resilience - she should have lost in two sets. She kept on finding solutions.

    Now it's two players playing at their peak facing each other in the final - Petra Kvitova and Naomi Osaka.

    If I have to pick a favourite for the final then I will go for Osaka.

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/tennis/46982886


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  39. #39
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    Nadal is an absolute machine. Don't see Djokovic being able to tackle him in the final.

  40. #40
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    Nadal on


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  41. #41
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    Prime Nadal was the highest quality of Tennis I have witnessed in nearly 2 decades of watching the sport. Even the current worn-out Nadal is right up there with Djokovic if he starts giving his body the break it deserves. Absolute beast!

  42. #42
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    6-2, 6-4, 6-0 demolition completed.

  43. #43
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    The new serve is working wonders for Nadal. Gave just one break point that too when he had already won and had relaxed a bit too much. Hasn't been broken since the first round of the tournament. The serve was what most considered his weak point for many years but now he has covered it up. End result is he is walking into the final without having dropped a set.

    I have seen Nadal's matches and I have seen Novak's matches and unless Nadal's intensity drops significantly in the final, due to nerves/pressure or injury, it's hard to see Novak beating Nadal.

  44. #44
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    Second seed Rafael Nadal ended Greek youngster Stefanos Tsitsipas' captivating run to reach his fifth Australian Open final.

    Nadal, 32, was in devastating form as he beat the 20-year-old 14th seed 6-2 6-4 6-0 in one hour and 46 minutes.

    The Spaniard cracked 28 winners, breaking Tsitsipas' serve six times and only facing one break point himself.

    He will play either top seed Novak Djokovic or France's Lucas Pouille - who meet on Friday - in Sunday's final.

    "It was a great match, it has been a great tournament and I have played very well every day," Nadal said.

    "Hopefully I can play better than that."

    Nadal, who triumphed at Melbourne Park in 2009, is one more victory away from winning all four Grand Slams at least twice - a feat which no other man has achieved in the Open era.

    Serbia's Djokovic is also chasing a slice of history as he bids for a record seventh men's singles title, although he must first beat Grand Slam semi-final debutant Pouille.

    You can follow the match on the BBC Sport website and BBC Radio 5 live sports extra from 08:30 GMT.

    After a number of injury problems, Nadal is playing his first tournament since losing in last year's US Open semi-finals.

    The world number two pulled out of the Brisbane International earlier this month with a thigh strain and the move has paid dividends for the 17-time Grand Slam champion.

    "To start the season like this when a few weeks ago I was in Brisbane having to take a tough decision not to play there, it is difficult to imagine where I am today," Nadal said.

    "But I never stopped practising. That week of practice made me feel good."

    Nadal has looked sharp in his six matches on his way to the final and has still not dropped a set.

    He has played three players - Alex de Minaur, Frances Tiafoe and now Tsitsipas - who are aged under 21 and competed in the Next Gen finals.

    "They don't need me to send them a message - they are good," he said.

    "It is always a big challenge to play against them. They are a young and new generation that are already here fighting for the most important things."

    Tsitsipas, playing in his first Grand Slam semi-final, was the highest-ranked player Nadal had faced this fortnight but, with his service game and famed forehand tuned in from the start, the Spaniard had no concerns.

    Nadal won 100% of the first serves he landed in the first set, backing that up with a strong 63% on his second serve, allowing him to put pressure on Tsitsipas.

    After Nadal broke in the third game for a 2-1 lead, Tsitsipas produced two double faults and the Spaniard pounced for a 5-2 advantage before serving out the opener in 31 minutes.

    Tsisitpas, who cut a forlorn figure in his post-match news conference, has "everything to become a great champion", according to Nadal.

    "There are not many reasons to be down when you have started the season like this, even if is normal just straight after the match not to be happy," he said.

    Where the greats have won their Grand Slam titles
    Australian Open French Open Wimbledon US Open Total
    Roger Federer 6 1 8 5 20
    Rafael Nadal 1 11 2 3 17
    Novak Djokovic 6 1 4 3 14


    Tsitsipas has become a global star on the back of his run in Melbourne, with his last-16 victory over Roger Federer bringing him to the attention of a wider audience.

    With his entertaining style of play and colourful character off the court, Tsitsipas has emerged as a leading contender to fill the void when the likes of Nadal, Federer and Djokovic retire.

    However, this was a stark, first-hand reminder that Nadal is not willing to depart quite yet.

    "I was not even close to getting something," Tsitsipas said.

    "I feel like I could do better today - but it is a weird feeling. It feels like I couldn't play better.

    "He's not the biggest server on tour, has a pretty average serve, but it's annoying that I didn't get close to break him at all.

    "He's just very aggressive from the baseline. That's pretty much it."

    Tsitsipas was not allowed to settle by Nadal and once that first set flashed by him, never looked like causing another upset on Rod Laver Arena.

    The second set was tighter, however, with Tsitsipas rediscovering his first serve to fight off three break points in the fifth game and eventually clinching the hold with an ace out wide for 3-2.

    Nadal continued to dominate his service games, dropping just one point in his next three, serving out after pouncing again to break in the ninth game of the set.

    Tsitsipas looked lost in the third set, winning only eight points, as Nadal stormed to victory.

    "He gives you no rhythm. He plays just a different game style than the rest of the players," Tsitsipas said.

    "He has this talent that no other player has. He makes you play bad. I would call that a talent."

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/tennis/46985669


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  45. #45
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    ‘Completely wrong’: Nadal objects to one suggestion after Tsitsipas win

    Rafael Nadal left Stefanos Tsitsipas a dazed, confused and broken mess after destroying him in straight sets in the Australian Open semi-finals.
    The young Greek star was so bereft of ideas as to what had happened during the 6-2 6-4 6-0 bloodbath his post-match press conference turned into a therapy session.

    As he grappled for answers, he twice mentioned the new-found aggression he felt the Spanish star had brought to the contest which had left him on the backfoot on the baseline the entire night.

    But in the final blow in a series of haymakers that began as soon as the match began and didn’t finish until Nadal had wrapped up his post-match press conference, the world number two took issue with Tsitsipas’s assessment.

    “Is nothing new that I am aggressive,” said Nadal, when told his 20-year-old opponent had been surprised by the intensity of his approach.

    “The problem with myself is because I had a lot of success on clay people probably think I am not aggressive.

    “People (who) think that are completely wrong. That’s the real thing, no?

    “Of course, I am not doing serve and volley. I am not hitting winners every ball. But I play all the shots with a goal. There is not better way to be aggressive than hit every shot with the goal to create damage on the opponent. That was my goal during all my career.”

    Nadal was prepared to concede a tweak to his service motion, which has been a stirring success to this point of the tournament, was allowing him to dictate points earlier.

    “Today I can do that damage little bit earlier than before because during this event I have been serving great,” he said.

    “So when you serve great, then the first ball normally is a little bit easier. That’s probably the only reason. I had the determination to make that happen. That’s all.”

    In a frightening development for men’s tennis — and particularly Roger Federer’s hopes of hanging on to the record for most grand slam titles (currently 20-17 in Federer’s favour) — Nadal feels better equipped to shorten points and reduce the wear-and-tear is famously delivered to his body throughout his career.

    “I can’t play like Roger when I don’t have the serve of Roger. You know, Roger have a lot of free points, have lot of times that he starts with the serve, then he have a not-very-difficult forehand. Was not my case during all my career because I never had that serve,” Nadal said.

    “But today I’m serving better. That’s why I’m able to create more winners on the first ball.”

    Nadal declared it impossible to assess whether he’s playing better than ever, but he knows his game has moved with the times.

    “We can’t compare the rest of my career with today. I am playing well today. I am doing a lot of things well. (But) the results say during my career I did a lot of things very well, too. We can’t say now I am playing better than never, no. I did a lot of things well during my career,” he said.

    “Today I have to adapt my game to the new time and to my age, that’s all. That’s what I did during all my career, just try to adapt my game with the circumstances that I went through. That’s the only reason why at this moment I’m still here competing at high level.

    “I know during that 15, 16, 17 years of my professional tennis career, I (was) going to lose things on my way, so I need to add new things. That’s what I tried to do during all my career, to improve the things that I can improve.”

    Nadal will likely face a familiar foe in Sunday’s final with Novak Djokovic a heavy favourite to progress through a semi-final against Lucas Pouille on Friday night.

    Before the start of the tournament Djokovic was tipped to win the tournament, based on his sensational finish to last season and 8-2 record against Nadal since 2015.

    But it’s hard to argue against the form the Spanish left-hander has shown over the past fortnight and he has a huge opportunity to take control of the chase for Federer’s record of 20 slams which turned back in Djokovic’s favour when he jumped to 14 after winning Wimbledon and the US Open last year.

    If Nadal can get No. 18 on Sunday it’s hard to see anyone denying him No. 19 at the French Open — where he’s won 11 times including the past two years — which would raise the stakes enormously at Wimbledon.

    https://www.foxsports.com.au/tennis/...9dbdc72c75b07d

  46. #46
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    Poor quality of tennis from Pouille in the first set. Djokovic was good no doubt but his opponent did not play like a semi-finalist.

  47. #47
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    Australian Open 2019: Novak Djokovic beats Lucas Pouille to set up Rafael Nadal final

    Top seed Novak Djokovic set up a tantalising Australian Open final against Rafael Nadal by thrashing Lucas Pouille in a one-sided semi-final.

    The Serb, 31, needed just one hour and 23 minutes to win 6-0 6-2 6-2.

    Djokovic broke serve seven times as he outclassed 24-year-old Frenchman Pouille, seeded 28th and in his first Grand Slam semi-final.

    Djokovic and Spaniard Nadal - who have 31 Grand Slams titles between them - meet on Sunday.

    The world number one set up their first meeting in Melbourne since their epic six-hour final in 2012 - which the Serb eventually won - with a near flawless performance against Pouille.

    He made just five unforced errors and hit 29 winners on Rod Laver Arena.

    "It is definitely one of the best matches I've ever had on this court," said the 14-time major winner.

    "Everything worked how I imagined it before the match - it was a tough one for Lucas."

    Djokovic, is aiming for a seventh Australian Open crown, which would move him clear of Roy Emerson and Roger Federer in terms of all-time victories in Melbourne.

    Nadal, who would trail Federer by two if he wins his 18th major, could become the first man to claim a second career Grand Slam in the Open era.

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/tennis/46999177



  48. #48
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    Absolute demolitions in the semis, what blowouts! A hard fought final awaits, hopefully

  49. #49
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    Djokovic with his exceptional return game was always able to put pressure on Nadal weak serve and win important parts of matches between them. Now with Nadal bringing a new serve would be a really interesting match. The way they are both playing these 2 will take the 4 slams this year.


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  50. #50
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    Naomi Osaka and Petra Kvitova meet in the Australian Open final on Saturday amid high emotional stakes and with the world number one ranking on the line.

    Osaka, who received her US Open trophy in tears, and to boos, after Serena Williams' meltdown, can become the first player since 2001 to follow her maiden Grand Slam title with another.

    Kvitova, meanwhile, is in a first major final since being stabbed in 2016.

    The winner will replace Simona Halep as world number one.

    The Melbourne match between fourth seed Osaka and eighth seed Kvitova, who have never met before, starts at 08:30 GMT and you can follow the match live on the BBC Sport website and BBC Radio 5 live.

    Dominant Djokovic sets up Nadal final
    Not many thought I could return - Kvitova
    How many women's Grand Slam champions of past decade can you name?
    Follow the Australian Open on BBC TV, radio and online
    Japanese 21-year-old Osaka is aiming to become the first player since American Jennifer Capriati in 2001 to win back-to-back majors after a maiden triumph.

    She hit 15 aces and 56 winners as she beat Czech seventh seed Karolina Pliskova, who knocked out 23-time Grand Slam champion Williams in the quarter-finals.

    Two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova, 28, eased to a 7-6 (7-2) 6-0 win over unseeded American Danielle Collins.

    Former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli said both finalists are "playing at their peak" but that Osaka has the edge over Czech Kvitova.

    "Based on the level of tennis I saw in the semi-finals then I'd pick Osaka as the winner," Bartoli said.

    "And I think you have to say the player who has lifted a Slam most recently is the slight favourite."

    Osaka v Kvitova - how they compare
    N Osaka (Jpn) P Kvitova (Cze)
    Ranking 4 6
    WTA titles 2 26
    Finals record 2-2 26-7
    Time on court 8 hours 51 mins 7 hour 5 mins
    Sets dropped in Melbourne 3 0
    Osaka won the US Open in September by beating Williams in a dramatic final, although it was somewhat overshadowed by the American's row with umpire Carlos Ramos.

    Williams appealed for calm in her runner-up speech, asking her supporters to "give credit" to Osaka's achievement, while the Japanese player pulled her visor down to hide her tears during the trophy ceremony.

    Four months later, Osaka is back in another major final after becoming the first Japanese player to reach the Melbourne showpiece.

    Osaka says she "loves" Grand Slams as she aims to replicate Capriati's achievement almost two decades ago.

    "When you're little, you watch the Grand Slams, you watch all the players play the legendary matches here," Osaka said.

    "For me, this is the most important tournament. There's only four of them a year, so of course I want to do the best that I can."

    Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams
    Naomi Osaka was left in tears after boos from the crowd in her US Open victory over Serena Williams
    Kvitova has previously said she is "fortunate to be alive" after she was stabbed in her left playing hand during a robbery at her home.

    She had surgery and made a remarkable return to the court in May 2017, going on to win the Birmingham International title a month later.

    "It's probably a little bit more special after everything I have been through," Kvitova said.

    "I think it's different to the other finals, but I don't think I'm more nervous.

    "There have been moments and days where I didn't really think very positively that I can be in the final again.

    "That's probably the best thing that I really proved, that I didn't give up."

    The facts you need to know
    Osaka began last year ranked 72 in the world
    She reached the fourth round in Melbourne but was beaten by eventual finalist Simona Halep
    Kvitova was ranked 28 in the world in January 2018 but lost in the Australian Open first round
    This year she has dropped just 28 games on the way to the final
    Kvitova has not lost a final since the Luxembourg Open in October 2016 to Monica Niculescu
    Since then, the Czech has won eight finals in a row
    Osaka is the youngest back-to-back Grand Slam finalist since Ana Ivanovic in 2008 - Ivanovic reached the Australian Open final and won the French Open that year
    Should she win, Osaka would be the first Asian world number one

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/tennis/46999279


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  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Couch Cricketer View Post
    Djokovic with his exceptional return game was always able to put pressure on Nadal weak serve and win important parts of matches between them. Now with Nadal bringing a new serve would be a really interesting match. The way they are both playing these 2 will take the 4 slams this year.
    I can't wait. I'm a huge Nadal can and I can't deny that there is a mental block with djoko.
    Hopefully he can pull through


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  52. #52
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  53. #53
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    Naomi's post-match interviews are always adorable! Congrats to her!

  54. #54
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    Oh man Djokovic.. Hopefully Rafa can pull through... happy to see him in the final.. Don't watches tennis but will try to watch tomorrow...


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  55. #55
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    Djokovic bossing Nadal.

    Nadal suffering from a bit of nerves clearly and against Djokovic that's suicide. He has to be at his best.

  56. #56
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    Nadal looks rushed and intimidated. This will be over in 3 sets, no tiebreak.

  57. #57
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    Very uncharacteristic from Nadal. He is missing so many easy winners.

  58. #58
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    Nadal is simply not making the shots he normally makes.

    On the other hand Djokovic winning the cross-court rallies just as expected.

  59. #59
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    Reminds of Nadal's French Open final demolition of Federer in 2008. Djoko should finish this in 20 minutes, 2 sets up now.

  60. #60
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    This is the worst I have seen Nadal play. He is scared of Djokovic, and I don't blame him.

  61. #61
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    Novak Djokovic won a record seventh Australian Open title and a third successive Grand Slam as he swept aside Rafael Nadal in Melbourne.

    The Serb broke the Spaniard's serve five times - and was rarely troubled on his own - in a 6-3 6-2 6-3 victory.

    Second seed Nadal, 32, looked rattled by the world number one's intensity and made 28 unforced errors.

    Djokovic, 31, won in two hours and four minutes to move clear of six-time men's winners Roy Emerson and Roger Federer.

    A forehand winner down the line brought up two championship points, Djokovic taking the second when Nadal clubbed a backhand long.

    Djokovic fell to his knees after sealing another triumph on Rod Laver Arena, smacking the court with both hands and screaming towards the sky.

    The reigning Wimbledon and US Open champion claimed his 15th Grand Slam title, moving him outright third ahead of American Pete Sampras in the all-time list, closing in on Switzerland's Federer (20) and Nadal (17).

    Djokovic has now won 13 of his past 16 meetings with Nadal, who has not beaten the Serb on a hard court since the US Open final in 2013.

    He leads 28-25 in their record 53 meetings between two male players.

    Djokovic continued his fine record of going on to win the tournament every time he has reached the semi-finals, while Nadal lost for a fourth time in the Melbourne showpiece.

    The result meant the 2009 winner was unable to become the first man in the Open era to win all the Grand Slams at least twice.

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/tennis/47019140
    Last edited by MenInG; 27th January 2019 at 15:41.


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  62. #62
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    Djokovic was too good at the same time Nadal from the start played like he didn't think he could win. So many unforced errors just made it a cakewalk for the Djokovic


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  63. #63
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    Djokovic can win 4 slams this year if he keep this level and doesn't get injured.

  64. #64
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    what a mismatch final is.. Nadal really fears Djokovic.. ruined my day..


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  65. #65
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    What a decade honestly, Federer, Nadal and Novak. Tennis has really gotten competitive.

  66. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by Couch Cricketer View Post
    Now with Nadal bringing a new serve would be a really interesting match. The way they are both playing these 2 will take the 4 slams this year.
    It's safe to say that Djokovic doesn't think much of Nadal's new serve does he? Nadal was dismissed in the same way he dismissed everyone else.

  67. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by JaDed View Post
    What a decade honestly, Federer, Nadal and Novak. Tennis has really gotten competitive.
    I would say from 2007-2017 tennis was very competitive and all 3 of them had their periods of dominance and won close matches and lost. But as time has gone on, it's become clear neither Nadal or Federer have found a way to keep Djokovic quiet. Djokovic has turned the H2Hs around to the point where these guys know they'll probably lose even if they play their best. The only exception is Nadal at RG.

  68. #68
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    Feb 2018
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    Quote Originally Posted by bones View Post
    It's safe to say that Djokovic doesn't think much of Nadal's new serve does he? Nadal was dismissed in the same way he dismissed everyone else.
    Nadal's extra pace in serve actually worked in Djokovic's favor. Djokovic sent it back as fast making Nadal look rushed throughout the match. Commentators too mentioned how the new serve was backfiring against the best returner game has ever seen.


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