Former world champion Serena Williams joins the list of withdrawals from Australian Open 2018

Defending champion Serena Williams withdrew from the 2018 Australian Open on Friday.  The American tennis player said that although she was regaining fitness post her delivery- she gave birth to her first child in September- she did not feel entirely ready to defend her glorious title.

While eight weeks pregnant last year, the 36 year old triumphed for a seventh time at Melbourne Park to claim an Open-era record 23rd grand slam title. She then resorted to take the rest of the year off before giving birth to her daughter, Olympia. Last week, in Abu Dhabi, she played her first match post her delivery, losing to French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko. However, she hoped to make remarkable return at the Australian Open, only until she decided against it a week ahead of the Open.

 “My coach and team always said ‘only go to tournaments when you are prepared to go all the way’. I can compete – but I don’t want to just compete, I want to do far better than that and to do so, I will need a little more time,” Williams said in a statement.

In an interaction with Vogue magazine last August, she spoke about her “outrageous plan” encircling around defending her title. Williams’ grand slam tally is just one shy of an all-time record held by former world number one Australian Margaret Court.

She expressed disappointed to withdraw but looked forward to a dynamic return in the future. She said, “After competing in Abu Dhabi I realised that although I am super close, I’m not where I personally want to be.” “

Craig Tiley, Australian Open tournament director, said: “Serena transcends the sport in the way she approaches all aspects of her life. It was never going to be good enough for her to just compete.”

The 2018 Australian Open, the year’s opening grand slam, will be played from Jan. 15-28. Williams is the latest to withdraw from it, with Britain’s Andy Murray (hip) and Japan’s Kei Nishikori (wrist) having already announced their absence.

Uncertainty also hovers around over whether or not former champions Novak Djokovic, Stan Wawrinka and Rafa Nadal (who arrived in Melbourne earlier on Friday) will be fit to participate.

Sources: Indian Express ,BBC 

Milos Raonic hauls out of the Us Open

Milos Raonic has become the latest addition to the list of top players who have hauled out of the US Open. He confirmed to have undergone a procedure on his left wrist.

The Canadian is currently positioned on the eleventh spot and also finished as the runner up at Wimbledon last year. He declared his withdrawal from the last Grand Slam of the year last night on Instagram.
Raonic will follow the likes of 12 time major champion Novak Djokovic ,  2016 UO Open Champion Stan Wawrinka and 2014 finalist Kei Nishikori in being an absentee from the tournament due to injuries.
Likewise sitting out the activity at Flushing Meadows will be the 23 Grand Slam Champion Serena Williams, who is pregnant, and two-time Australian Open Champion Victoria Azarenka, who is fighting a custody battle with the father of her child.
The US Open is scheduled to start from Monday.

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

Serena announced engagement to Alexis Ohanian

Sending her fans all around the world in a tizzy, the World No. 2 tennis pro Serena Williams announced her engagement to Alexis Ohanian, the co-founder of Reddit (the social news aggregation, web content rating and discussion website). Through a poem posted on her official Reddit account she mentioned how Alexis proposed to her while vacationing in Rome. In a similar fashion, even Ohanian broke the happy news of his engagement on Facebook and linked it to Williams’ Reddit post. The couple who had been dating since late 2015 had kept their relationship under wrap. They had first met in Rome during a lunch.
According to the Guardian, Venus Williams said “I might just be her big sister, I might know these things,” referring to keeping a lid on the news of her sister’s engagement early on.
Currently at No. 2, after losing her top ranking to Germany’s Angelique Kerber, Williams aims to win her seventh Australian Open title in Melbourne next month. The duo William sisters are presently in Auckland for a tournament that would lead to the Open. Serena has won 22 major singles titles and 16 doubles title in her career so far, making her one of the greatest tennis players of all time.

Serena Williams suffers shock defeat to Karolina Pliskova in the US Open

10th seed Karolina Pliskova defeated Serena Williams to advance to the finals of the US Open after Williams double-faulted on match point to lose 6-2 7-6 (7-5). The Czech will go on to play the second seed Angelique Kerber from Germany, who had defeated Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki, to reach her first US Open final.

Pliskova came into the tie on a ten match winning streak, despite never having progressed past the third round of a major tournament. However, Karolina Pliskova is one of the best servers on the tour, and her 446 aces are unrivalled on the current circuit.She used the advantage to her benefit and dominated Williams for a majority of the match. Williams praised the Czech for her performance, and refused to blame the loss on the fatigue of playing a challenging three-set match less than 24 hours before her semi-final defeat.

This defeat will serve to end Serena Williams’ reign as world number one and guarantees that Angelique Kerber will overtake her at the top of the rankings after the US Open. Serena Williams led the rankings for a span of 186 weeks, which equalled Steffi Graff’s record for consecutive weeks at the top of the rankings.

The defeat temporarily took away Williams’ opportunity of winning her 23rd Grand Slam title, which would have helped her to break a tie with Steffi Graff for most titles in the Open Era. It would have also helped take her tally of US Open Championships to 7, allowing her break a tie for the most US Open championships with Chris Evert.

US Open: Williams sisters’ showdown hopes come to an end

Day eight of US Open saw the hopes of Williams sisters’ semi-final clash at Flushing Meadows come to an end. 6th seeded Venus Williams lost to  Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (3) early on Arthur Ashe stadium. The 36-year old Venus Williams failed to convert match point to reach the quarter-final and a potential semi-final clash with sister Serena Williams.
Pliskova needed five match points to  reach her first ever Grand Slam quarter-final. She will face 18-year old Croatian Ana Konjuh, who stunned 4th seeded Agnieszka Radwanska, and also reached her first Grand Slam quarter-final.
Followed by her elder sister’s match, Serena took on Arthur Ashe and displayed her usual dominance and entered the quarter-final. She defeated Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan 6-2, 6-3. Serena overtook Roger Federer’s record highest Grand Slam match victories with her 4th round win. She will face 5th seeded Romania’s Simona Halep in the quarter-finals on Wednesday.
In the men’s draw Andy Murray, Stan Wawrinka, Del Potro and Kei Nishikori were through to the quarter-final. Tonight in men’s quarter-final match-ups Novak Djokovic will take on 9th seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Gael Monfils will face Lucas Pouille, a French set-up.

Serena and Venus Williams suffer first round exit

Winners in three previous events, Serena and Venus Williams suffered their first ever defeat in the women’s doubles at an Olympic games.

They were knocked out by the Czech pair Lucie Safarova and Barbora Strycova in straight sets (6-3,6-4).

In their previous three games as a doubles pair at Sydney in 2000, Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012 – the American sisters have won gold as a doubles partnership.

In the first set they lost downright 6-3. The second set they led 4-3 but once again faltered to lose 6-4.
Serena is through to the second round of the singles after her victory over Australia’s Daria Gavrilova.
Venus on the other hand, lost her first round singles game to Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens.