Rafael Nadal loses to Gasquet at Kooyong, optimistic about Australian Open

World No.1 Rafael Nadal made a shaky start at the Kooyong Classic facing defeat at the hands of Richard Gasquet with a 6-4, 7-5 score. However, despite losing his first match of the year, Nadal expressed pleasure on facing no issues with his knee.
Nadal’s recurring knee pains forced him to withdraw from Brisbane International and proved to be an obstruction to the ending of his season in 2017. Rafa is also expected to play a match for a Tie Break Tens tournament in Melbourne Park on the 10th of January.
His opponent, on the other hand, had been forced out of Kooyong because of physical ailments but was obviously happy to have beaten the Spaniard even if informally. Nadal historically has beaten the Frenchman 15 times to none on the ATP tour.
The first set saw a rusty Nadal with Gasquet who relied on a solo break at 5-4 and took it. The second set started with Gasquet leading 3-0. The Spaniard came back with full force and equalled the score at 3-3. But Gasquet eventually won with a smash winner.
In the women’s game, German Andrea Petkovic beat Aussie Destenee Aiava 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 despite the strong winds.
Sources – The Guardian, New Indian Express

Srikanth reaches 3rd consecutive Superseries Final

Recently crowned Indonesian Open Champion, Kidambi Srikanth today stormed into his third straight final after he convincingly defeated fourth-seeded Shi Yuqi of China in the semi-final. With this win, he becomes the first Indian male badminton player to feature in three consecutive finals – Singapore Open (Runner-up), Indonesian Open (Winner) and now Indonesian Open.
“It’s a dream performance,” said Srikanth, post his match. A clinical performance filled with smashes and backhands saw him winning the game in straight sets. He sealed the first set in just 15 minutes and the entire match in less than 40 minutes. This was his second win over the Chinese in as many meetings having defeated the World No. 4 in April in the Singapore Open.
Both games began with nothing to choose between the two, with Set-1 being level at 5-5 and Set-2 being level at 6-6. Srikanth then pushed the initiative and did not let Yuqi back into the game, winning the match 21-10 & 21-14 at the Sydney Olympic Park Sports Centre.
On Sunday he will face Olympic champion Chen Long, who defeated Lee Hyun 26-24, 15-21, 21-17 in an hour and eight minutes game in the other semi-final.
If he goes on to win the crown on Sunday the 24 year old will clinch his fourth Superseries tittle and his second this year in a row and will be only the second Indian shuttler after Saina Nehwal (2014 & 2016) to win the Australian open.

Serena defeats sister Venus to win Australian Open

The stage is set. Rod Laver Arena is jam-packed. The opponent is none other than the elder sister. She is only two sets away from becoming the only woman in the open era to hold the most number of Grand Slam wins—the magical number 23. She walks on to the court behind her sister, all set to break Steffi Graff’s 22 record Grand Slam wins. The task is not just hard but also emotional. She has to defeat her elder sister, her inspiration and her constant motivation.

She takes the court and in less than two hours Serena Jameka Williams wins her 23rd Grand Slam and 7th Australian Open 6-4, 6-4. With 27 winners, 5 double faults and 23 unforced errors against Venus’ 21, 3 and 25 respectively, Serena breezed past her sister and lifted the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup. The last time the sisters met in a Grand Slam final was at Wimbledon in 2009, where Serena defeated Venus 7-6, 6-2.

For Venus, it was a sweet defeat. The 7 time Grand Slam Champion was appearing in a Grand Slam final after 8 years and at the age of 36. She will rise to world no.11 post her final defeat.

The victory has also given Serena the world no.1 spot which she lost to Angelique Kerber last year.

Source: 1] Australian Open

The Williams sisters: A fierce rivalry

The last time Venus and Serena met in a Grand Slam final, Serena had 11 Slams to her name, Russia’s Dinara Safina was World No.1, Amelie Muresmo, Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters were still playing and Garbine Mugueuza and Johanna Konta were yet to turn pro. It was the finals at Wimbledon 2009 where Serena won 7-6, 6-2.

The sisters first played against each other in 1998, at Melbourne Park itself. It has been a long and fierce rivalry since their first encounter.  Almost 20 years later, the two are meeting in the finals of the Australian Open. Whenever the two have met, fireworks have exploded because of the sheer quality the two bring to the game. For the 36 year old veteran Venus, who is in a Grand Slam final after 8 years, this is an opportunity to win her 8th Grand Slam and for her younger sister Serena, it is a chance to win her 23rd Slam, a record which will make her name immortal in the annals of tennis.
Serena in her post-match interview regarded Venus as her toughest opponent. She said, “She’s my toughest opponent — nobody has ever beaten me as much as Venus has.” Serena holds the winning record of 16-11 against Venus.

The Saturday finals could possibly be the last time to see Williams sisters playing against each other in a final. History will be made and the Rod Laver Arena will bear witness to it.

Sources: 1] Indian Express

Shocks, Wins and Losses at the Australian Open

After the surprising defeat of former World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, Federer, defying his age waltzed to the top sixteen in a one-sided game against Tomas Berdych. The scores were 6-2 6-4 6-4. Federer will now play against World no. 5, Kei Nishikori.

According to the official website of the Australian Open, Federer said, “If he’s the favourite, I’m the favourite, I don’t know,” Federer said of Nishikori, who trails their head-to-head 4-2. “But he’s definitely played better and more tennis in recent months. But then again, it’s a new season. We’ll see what happens”.

Nishikori defeated Lukas Lacko in a three set match with the scores, 6-4 6-4 6-4.

Bernard Tomic and Daniel Evans played a nail-biting three settler with Tomic bowing out of the match 7-5 7-6 7-6. Tomic fought his way back, with the crowd on the Queenslander’s side as he made his opponent run around the court with clever placement of shots. However, this wasn’t enough to clinch a win. Tomic finally folded to Evans in a tiebreak, bowing out of the Open and causing another upset for the tournament.

World No. 1 Andy Murray defeated Sam Querrey in an easy three-set win, advancing into the fourth round. It is his 48th victory in Australian Open, just a mere four wins away from his maiden title in Melbourne.

News Source- Telegraph, The Australian 

Image Source- Telegraph

 

 

The Djoker has the last laugh at Melbourne

Melbourne: Novak Djokovic crushed Andy Murray 7-6(5) 6-7(4) 6-3 6-0 to clinch his fifth Australian Open grand slam title. This was the Serbian’s eight grand slam title overall which includes two Wimbledon and one U.S Open titles.

Djokovic took his record to five wins out of five at the Australian Open finals as his love affair for the hard court continued in front of a capacity crowd at the Rod Laver Arena on Sunday. Meanwhile, for Murray, it was yet another defeat in a grand slam final.

“I’ve had, thankfully many great moments on the court in grand slams. I think every grand slam win is special in its own way. I can’t really compare,” he said. “This tournament by far has been my most successful tournament in my life, in my career. I enjoy playing here, enjoy coming back” said Djokovic after the game.

The first two sets were tie breakers as both players battled it out for two and half hours cancelling each other out. The first two sets took a toll on both the players, especially Djokovic, as he appeared to have a thigh problem early on in the third set. Djokovic lost energy and pace as he barely moved for a couple of shots in the third set giving Murray the advantage. Murray got distracted by this development as Djokovic surprisingly regained his lost energy to clinch the third. The fourth set was a breeze for the Serbian as the match which looked pretty exciting early on turned out to be a rout.

The Serbian recently gave birth to his first child with his wife Jelena and he considered this title extra special.

“I think it has deeper meaning, a more intrinsic value now to my life because I’m a father and a husband. As my life progresses, there are circumstances, situations, events that define these beautiful moments” he told a news conference.

 

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/02/sports/tennis/novak-djokovic-defeats-andy-murray-to-win-australian-open.html

Photo: Filip Singer/European Pressphoto Agency

 

Serena Williams defeats Sharapova to win her sixth Australian Open title

http://www1.pictures.zimbio.com/gi/Serena+Williams+2015+Australian+Open+Day+2+5xIuaComf5Ml.jpg

Melbourne: Top seed Serena Williams brushed aside Russia’s Maria Sharapova 6-3, 7-6 (7/5) at Melbourne Park to claim the 19th grand slam title of her career. The victory took her tally to five Australian Open titles in five appearances in the final.

The rivalry between the two had notched up a bit before the final, but Serena made sure the Russian had no control of the game with a staggering tally of 18 aces in the game. This was Serena’s 16th straight victory over her decade long rival.

Serena marched past Sharapova in the first set leaving the Russian in complete disarray. Sharapova came back in the second set fighting her way through the game before Serena weaved her way through trouble with three aces. This was the first time in a decade that Australia had seen the top two seeds compete in the final.

Heavy rain had interrupted play early in the game halting the final for about 13 minutes. Serena did not lose momentum as she blasted her first shot for an ace which was followed by winning a break point after Sharapova had double faulted. The Russian was no where in the game as Serena ended the contest with a fiery ace down the line.

The American went past 18 time world champions Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert, to go second on the list of all time greats with only Steffi Graf who has 22 titles behind her. The world number one also became the oldest women in the open era to win the Australian open aged 33.

Read more: http://www.firstpost.com/sports/australian-open-serena-beats-sharapova-final-win-19th-grand-slam-title-2073509.html

Image courtesy: Zimbio.com