Showing posts with label Australian Open. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Australian Open. Show all posts

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Djokovic beats Federer and Reaches Sixth Australian Open Final


World No. 1 Novak Djokovic is through to his sixth Australian Open final after producing a masterful display to defeat Roger Federer 6-1, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 on Thursday night in Melbourne.
The Serb will face the winner of Friday night’s semi-final between Andy Murray and Milos Raonic as he bids to win his 11th Grand Slam championship. Djokovic has won the title at Melbourne Park in four of the past five years, with that reign only interrupted by Stan Wawrinka in 2014.
"I played unbelievable in the first two sets," Djokovic told Jim Courier in the on-court interview. "It was necessary against Roger, who was playing at a very high level during this tournament, only dropping one set. I knew he would be aggressive.
"I came out with the right intensity and executed everything perfectly. The two-set lead was comforting, but it was a battle in the end. At the end of the day, it's important that your convictions are stronger than your doubts."
Djokovic could barely put a foot wrong in a dazzling first-set display. The Serb committed just two unforced errors, compared to 12 from Federer. Federer elected to receive first, after winning the coin toss, and after starting on the front foot, Djokovic never looked back. The Belgrade native broke in Federer's first service game and lost only one point behind his first serve as he raced through the opener.

Federer tried to halt Djokovic’s momentum at the start of the second set, saving a break point to hold serve with a roar. But Djokovic didn’t flinch. In Federer’s following service game, the Serb broke to love and then a break to 15 in the fifth game all but sealed a two-set lead.
At the end of the second set, Djokovic had won 88 per cent of points (22 from 25) behind his first serve, and punished Federer’s second serve points won tally of just 26 per cent (5 from 19). Having committed an astounding 100 unforced errors in a five-set tussle with Gilles Simon in the fourth round, Djokovic made just six errors in the first two sets against Federer, compared to 22 from the Swiss. In a show of dominance, Djokovic won almost twice as many points as Federer (52 to 27) and did not face a break point.
But 17-time Grand Slam champions do not go away quietly. Federer saved a break point in the fifth game before going on the attack in Djokovic’s service game. With the majority of the crowd on Rod Laver Arena urging him on, the Swiss was thwarted on his first four break points of the match, but not on his fifth.
Federer engineered the opportunity by belying his 34 years to chase down a near-impossible get and dinking a forehand winner past Djokovic. He then converted by attacking Djokovic’s backhand corner with a rifled forehand. A nervy service hold in the ninth game saw him claw his way back into the match. Federer improved behind his second serve, winning seven of eight points, and hit 16 winners to just six from Djokovic.
The match was delayed at the end of the third set as the roof was closed due to a forecast of imminent rain. Djokovic kept his nose in front serving first at the resumption and the pressure ultimately told for Federer in the eighth game. At 15/30, the Swiss produced one of the points of the tournament as he chased down a Djokovic lob, then a smash, then a short volley to find the line with a remarkable backhand pass. But it would be the last point he won in the contest.
Djokovic opened up a 30/40 lead with a forehand pass that clipped the top of the net and went over Federer's racquet and then converted the break as he ripped a forehand return to the net-rushing Federer’s feet. A service hold to love saw him claim victory in two hours and 19 minutes.
"I think against Roger, these first two sets have been probably the best two sets I've played against him overall I think throughout my career," said Djokovic. "I've had some moments against him in sets where I've played on a high level, but this was a different level than from before. I'm just very, very pleased that I was able to perform the way I did from the very beginning till the end.

"It's not always possible to play this way. You strive to be the best you can be. When you're playing one of your top rivals, somebody of Roger's résumé, of course it requires a lot of focus, determination, and a different preparation for that match-up than most of the other matches. So that's why I came out with I think a great deal of self-belief and confidence and intensity, concentration. I played flawless tennis for first two sets, no doubt about it.
"I knew that if I dropped my level or concentration or allowed myself to get distracted by anything that he would take the first opportunity, jump on me, and just take the lead of the rallies," continued Djokovic. "That's what he has done in the third. He just waits for a little drop from his opponent. That's why he's been so successful throughout his career.

"But I was aware of that before the match, so psychologically I did not allow myself to have big oscillations. Of course, there was a lot of excitement from the crowd, as well, towards the end of the third set. Then of course they got into it. It was a great atmosphere. But I've played in these particular situations before, and managed to use that experience."
Since the start of the US Open, Djokovic has been nigh on unstoppable. The right-hander has compiled a 37-1 match record, with his only defeat coming to Federer in the round robin stage of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals – he would beat the Swiss when they met again in the final later that week. In that spell, Djokovic has gone 16-1 against Top 10 opponents.
The 28-year-old Djokovic won three of the four majors last year and was only denied the calendar Grand Slam by an inspired display from Wawrinka in the Roland Garros final. The Serb is looking to add to the Australian Open titles he won in 2008 (d. Tsonga), 2011 (d. Murray), 2012 (d. Nadal), 2013 (d. Murray) and 2015 (d. Murray).
Federer fell in the semi-finals in Melbourne for the fifth time in the past six years. The Basel native is a four-time champion Down Under, last hoisting the trophy in 2010 with victory over Andy Murray. The 34 year old was looking to win his first Grand Slam title since the 2012 Wimbledon crown this week.
"He definitely maybe dropped his level of play just ever so slightly [in the third set]," said Federer. "But that's all it takes. It's not easy to keep playing the way he was playing. You can't read all the serves all the time. I started to get a few more free points. I started to get more opportunities on his service games, as well.

"Margins are small out there. Even in a match like tonight where the first two sets run away. You can't get discouraged. You have to keep going, stay aggressive. I think my game started to come more and more.

"My rhythm, my timing, all that, was a bit off in the beginning. He took advantage of that and did an unbelievable job for a long, long time tonight." 
ATPWORLDTOUR.COM

Serena Williams storms to final with win over Agnieszka Radwanksa


For all the thrashings dished out during her famed career, Serena Williams can't have delivered too many more brutal performances than the one displayed under the roof of Rod Laver Arena on Thursday.

As the rain tumbled outside, Williams' reign showed no signs of abating, with the world No.1 charging through to her seventh Australian Open final.

"I'm really excited to be in another final. It kind of blows my mind right now," Williams said on-court after the match.

Agnieszka Radwanska is theoretically among the world's elite female tennis players. But the Polish fourth-seed barely managed to flounder, overwhelmed in the face of Williams' power game, and succumbed 6-0 6-4 in an hour and four minutes.

The odds were always stacked against the Pole, whose only victory against Williams came at the exhibition Hopman Cup last year. Then there was the fact that the 21-time major winner entered the match with a 25-4 record in grand slam semi-finals, which did little to inspire confidence that the 2012 Wimbledon finalist Radwanska could provide an upset.
And so it proved. Broken twice before she sat down for the first proper interval, Radwanska won just seven points in a first set lasting just 20 minutes.

Two-time Australian Open champion Chris Evert had quipped pre-match on ESPN that Radwanska only stood a chance "if Serena was is a little bit off her game".

She was right in the sense that the second set was much more evenly matched, with Williams not moving as nimbly as she had earlier in the afternoon. Her first serve percentage dropped off too, and Radwanska even managed to break Williams in the sixth game of the set. That only came after Williams had already broken though, and by the ninth game of the set she would do so again.

Serving for the match, Williams served three straight aces, before closing it out with a forehand winner.

Williams has been wearing yellow and black at this year's tournament. But unlike the AFL team that wears those colours, the 34-year-old is pretty good at winning come the pointy end of proceedings. Whichever of Johanna Konta or Angelique Kerber has the misfortune of facing the American in Saturday night's final will need a miracle.

Sydney Morning Herald

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Serena beats Maria again !!!


American tennis great Serena Williams is through to the semi-finals at the Australian Open again, and once again she's beaten Maria Sharapova in Melbourne.

Williams again triumphed in a repeat of last year's women's final on Rod Laver Arena - in fact, Sharapova has now lost her last 18 matches against the 34-year-old.
The world No.1 was pushed hard in the first set but then Williams easily overcame her old Russian rival in the second to win their quarter-final 6-4 6-1.
Sharapova got the early break in the opening set, but the defending champion broke back and held serve at 4-4 despite the Russian having two break point chances.
The six-time Melbourne champion then blew three set points on Sharapova's serve in the decisive 10th game, before Williams prevailed with her fourth attempt.
The second set was much easier as Sharapova crumbled - the 2008 champion's serve was broken straight away, and again to trail 0-5 before she finally held. But then Williams, in a truly dominant display, served it out.
Williams, who twice had treatment during breaks in the rematch of last year's final, has reached the last four at Melbourne Park on six previous occasions and gone on to win the title every time.

"Yeah it was super intense, she's an incredibly intense, focused player who was No.1 and has won so many grand slams for a reason so when you're playing someone like that, that's so great, you have to come out with a lot of fire and intensity," Williams said.
She now plays Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska in the semis, after the fourth seed advanced 6-1 6-3 over 10th seed Carla Suarez Navarro of Spain.
It's the second semi-final Radwanska's made at Melbourne Park, and she said it wasn't as easy as the scoreline would suggest.
"I knew it would be a tough one," Radwanska said.
"She is very solid, like most Spanish players and I knew everything would come back to my side. I tried to be aggressive and focus on my serve and I think I did a good job."
Williams, who is looking for her 22nd major singles title, has an 8-0 head-to-head record against Radwanska.
- RNZ/Reuters


Roger Federer to play semi-final in Melbourne

Swiss tennis great Roger Federer has advanced to his 12th Australian Open semi-final with an efficient victory over Czech sixth seed Tomas Berdych.
He won the match 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 6-4.

Federer, 34, was pressed hard in the opening set, taking it in a tie-break after swapping service breaks with his 30-year-old opponent.
He won the points he needed in the second set to take control of the match.
Berdych broke early in the third set before Federer, who has won 17 grand slams, broke back in the third game and upped the pressure - breaking again in the ninth, then serving out to seal his victory in two hours and 16 minutes.
Federer is now waiting for the winner of the quarter-final between world number one Novak Djokovic and Japan's Kei Nishikori, who will play later tonight.
Speaking after the match, Federer said he was "very, very happy" with the win.
"Tomas has caused me a lot of problems over the years... He's one of the guys who makes you a better player. He's beaten me around the world on the biggest courts," he said.
"I played a great match. I was aggressive, had some variety in there and I'm very happy I was able to play like that."
- Reuters / AAP

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Nick Kyrgios and Venus Williams hit with fine in opening round of Australian Open !!


Nick Kyrgios has been slapped with the second largest fine of the Australian Open to date after swearing in his first round victory against Pablo Correno Busta on Monday.
Kyrgios was hit was a $US3000 (NZ$4702.27) fine on Wednesday for audible obscenity during his straight sets win over the Spaniard.
While Kyrgios has a suspended $25,000 fine and 28-day ban hanging over his head, the strict guidelines around verbal and physical abuse are only applicable at ATP events, not grand slams.
The suspended sanctions were put in place after his now infamous "Kokkinakis banged your girlfriend" sledge at Stan Wawrinka in August last year.


However the biggest fine of the tournament has been handed to former world No.1 Venus Williams, who copped $US5000 (NZ$7837.11) fine for not fronting a mandatory post-match media conference on Tuesday.
Williams wasn't in the mood for talking following her shock straight sets defeat to the Sydney-born Johanna Konta, who now represents Great Britain.
Australian Open officials announced the 35-year-old, who went down 6-4, 6-2 on Rod Laver Arena, was sanctioned for her actions with a $5000 fine on Wednesday.
While her sister Serena Williams attended her post match commitments, she did call a premature end to the conference, saying "I'm calling it, I'm out" as she left the room.
Venus, the tournament's No.8 seed, was hit with the largest fine a female competitor has been given for brushing the media conference, and the second highest since former Australian Open champion Marat Safin was fined $10,000 at the French Open in 2001.
Australia's women have struggled at this year's Open, but Konta - who represented Australia from 2008 to 2012 before joining Great Britain - has no plans of returning.
"No. Unfortunately, my home is Great Britain," she said.
"It has been for a long time now, over a decade. Yeah, no, that's where my heart is."
 - smh.com.au

Australian Open 2016: Roger Federer describes lack of names in match-fixing reports as 'nonsense'


Roger Federer has cast doubt on the newsworthiness of the tennis match-fixing allegations that cast a long shadow over day one of the Australian Open, describing the speculation as "nonsense."
Speaking after his straight sets victory over Georgian Nikoloz Basilashvili, Federer was unsurprisingly quizzed at length about the BBC and BuzzFeed reports which claimed that international body the Tennis Integrity Unit, the Association of Tennis Professionals' internal corruption body, received warnings about the behaviour of 16 players, all of whom have been ranked in the top 50, and of which half were set to play at Melbourne Park.
While at pains to point out the need to ensure the sport is kept clear of corruption, the Swiss great, winner of a record 17 Grand Slam singles titles, said it was difficult to comment on the connections of former major winners until names were named.
"I mean, it's like who, what. It's like thrown around. It's so easy to do that. I would like to hear the name. I would love to hear names. Then at least it's concrete stuff and you can actually debate about it," Federer said.
"Was it the player? Was it the support team? Who was it? Was it before? Was it a doubles player, a singles player? Which slam? It's so all over the place. It's nonsense to answer something that is pure speculation.
"I don't know exactly how much new things came out, to be quite honest. I heard old names being dropped. That story was checked out. Clearly you got to take it super serious, you know, like they did back in the day. Since we have the Integrity Unit, it puts more pressure on them that a story like this broke again."
Nevertheless Federer, who next faces Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolov, highlighted the gravity of the potential consequences.
"Like I said, it's super serious and it's super important to maintain the integrity of our sport. So how high up does it go? The higher it goes, the more surprised I would be, no doubt about it. Not about people being approached, but just people doing it in general. I just think there's no place at all for these kind of behaviours and things in our sport. I have no sympathy for those people."
 - The Age
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