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Roger Federer wins sensational Australian Open Final in five sets

Posted on 31 January 2017 by TSL

Roger Federer beats arch-rival Rafael Nadal in five epic sets in the Australian Open final to claim his 18th major title. The 35-year-old, coming off a six-month injury lay-off, has fought past his great rival and bogeyman Rafael Nadal to win the Australian Open in a five-set epic – 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3. That match was everything we hoped it would be (and honestly a little bit more) as it kept see-sawing from the first point to the last. Federer looked cooked early in that set, but he kept fighting to stay in it and that break back in the sixth game of the decider came on the back of superb tennis that certainly belied the fatigue he would have been feeling. Nadal looked great and the error count was rising on Federer's side of the net. But Federer survived to pull off a sensational victory.

Just to recap, Federer won his fifth Australian Open SEVEN YEARS after his last one, also winning his 18th major FIVE YEARS after his last one. He's also the second-oldest major winner ever. Not only that, he did at 35 after a lengthy lay-off with a knee injury against a man whose game is tailor-made to beat him. Speaking of Rafael Nadal, his comeback from countless injuries has been a more long-term process and shouldn't be ignored either. Unfortunately for him, he came up against a champion of champions tonight who simply refused to give an inch. Thank you so much for joining me tonight. That was a lot of fun and an impossibly close match. I thought he was done, but now I can't wait to see what else The Fed can do.

He earned himself his 18th grand slam title by playing with verve and precision, defeating four top-10 players here — Tomas Berdych, Kei Nishikori, Stan Wawrinka and Nadal — to win his first Grand Slam title since Wimbledon in 2012. Down a break at 1-3 in the fifth set, Federer rallied to win the last five games of the match.

In fairness, both players produced a super Australian Open 2017 final. Kudos to Federer and Nadal for a match that was a fitting finale to the opening tennis grand slam for the year!

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Australian Open 2017: Serena Williams beats Venus Williams to set Grand Slam record

Posted on 28 January 2017 by TSL


AFP  Published : 3:45 pm  January 28, 2017.

LONDON, ENGLAND – JULY 09: Serena Williams with the winners trophy after defeating Angelique Kerber in the women’s final of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships at Wimbledon on July 09, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)

Serena Williams rewrote history Saturday to surpass Steffi Graf and capture a record 23rd Grand Slam title as well as the world number one ranking by beating her sister Venus in the Australian Open final.

The dominant American swept past her greatest rival 6-4, 6-4 on Rod Laver Arena for her seventh Melbourne Park crown to finally clinch the record for Open-era major titles, nearly 18 years after winning her first.

The 35-year-old, who equalled Graf’s mark of 22 at Wimbledon last year, now stands just one behind the all-time 24 won by Margaret Court, who was in the president’s box to witness Williams’ feat.

Her astonishing achievement also means she again becomes the world’s top-ranked player, ending the brief stay of Angelique Kerber who knocked Williams off the top after three-and-half years in September last year.

Fittingly, her sister and closest confidante Venus was on the other side of the net to share the moment, another chapter written in their long rivalry.

It was Venus — still a teenager with beads in her hair — who knocked Serena out in round two on her Grand Slam debut in Melbourne 19 years ago, and they have since played nine major finals together, living each other’s highs and lows.

At 36 and seeded 13, Venus had turned back the clock to make her first Grand Slam title match since Wimbledon in 2009, but adding to her seven major successes was not to be.

Showing the single-mindedness that has propelled her to greatness, a focused Serena, seeded two, overcame a scratchy and nervous start in which all four opening games were breaks and when she smashed a racquet in frustration.

But she soon settled to get a decisive break to go 4-3 in front with an unstoppable backhand, and served out the set with an ace.

Serena was fired up and after the first two games of the second set went to serve, she worked three break points in the third only for her sister to negotiate her way out of trouble with some big forehand winners.

The tense battle went with serve to 3-3 before Serena cranked up the pressure to break with a scintillating crosscourt backhand and take a 4-3 lead.

With history beckoning, she wasn’t about to throw it away and she served out the match, falling to the floor in celebration before a long embrace with Venus to share the biggest moment of her career.


Serena Williams beat sister Venus in straight sets to win her seventh Australian Open and an Open-era record 23rd Grand Slam singles title.

Serena, 35, won 6-4 6-4 to pass Steffi Graf in the all-time list of major winners since the Grand Slams accepted professional players in 1968.

The American regains the number one ranking from German Angelique Kerber.

Australia's Margaret Court, with 24, is the only player still ahead of Serena in terms of Grand Slam singles titles.

"Congratulations Serena on number 23," said Venus, who at 36 is the oldest Australian Open finalist in the Open era.

"I have been right there with you, some of them I lost right there against you. It's been an awesome win.

"I'm enormously proud of you, you mean the world to me. I, God willing, would love to come back. Thank you for all the love."

Serena paid tribute to her sister, who was playing her first major final for eight years, saying: "There's no way I would be at 23 without her. There's no way I'd be at one without her. She's my inspiration.

"She's the only reason I'm standing here today. She's the only reason the Williams sisters exist. Thank you for inspiring me. Every time you won this week, I felt like I got a win too."

Favourite Serena too strong for Venus

Serena went into the match as a strong favourite, but the tension was apparent as early as the third game when she smashed a racquet in frustration, receiving a code violation.

She had broken serve in the first and third games only to hand the advantage straight back each time, three double faults inexplicably littering a desperate game for 2-2.

All-time Grand Slam singles titles leaders
24 (1960-1973) – Margaret Court (Aus) 19 (1923-1938) – Helen Wills Moody (US)
23 (1999-present) – Serena Williams (US) 18 (1974-1986) – Chris Evert (US)
22 (1987-1999) – Steffi Graf (Ger) 18 (1978-1990) – Martina Navratilova (US)

It was clear the six-time champion was struggling to settle, with 13 unforced errors in the opening five games, while elder sister Venus kept her under pressure with some deep hitting.

The decisive move of the set came with a superb drop volley followed by a thumping forehand winner from Serena to break for 4-3, and this time she managed to consolidate on serve.

In contrast to the opening stages, the following nine games went with serve – Venus recovering superbly from 0-40 early in the second set – but it was Serena who was creating the chances.

She finally capitalised on her sixth break point of the set with a brilliant return to lead 4-3 and followed it up with her best service game of the match for 5-3.


Russell Fuller, BBC tennis correspondent:

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Serena Williams is the length of time she has been winning Grand Slam titles. The first came on 11 September 1999 in New York; the 23rd on 28 January 2017 here in Melbourne.

The match itself will quickly be forgotten; but never the achievement. Richard Williams used to beg tennis clubs to part with their old balls when he started to put his daughters through their paces in the Los Angeles district of Compton, and now Serena has more Grand Slam singles titles than anyone who has ever played the game, with the exception of Margaret Court.

Williams is now just one behind the Australian – who was watching on the Rod Laver Arena – and in the view of the 18-time Grand Slam champion Martina Navratilova, it is a record she could "shatter" before her playing days are done.

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Milos Raonic overcomes tough Spaniard to reach Aussie Open quarters

Posted on 23 January 2017 by TSL

Canadian will next face former champ Rafael Nadal.

Courtesy: The Associated Press Posted: Jan 22, 2017 9:25 PM ET Last Updated: Jan 23, 2017 5:22 AM ET

Canada's Milos Raonic hits a backhand to Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut during their fourth round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia on Monday evening. (Dita Alangkara/The Associated Press)

Raonic, who's been ill with the flu for the past few days, struggled at the outset against the 13th-seeded Spaniard. He rallied from 5-1 down in the first-set tiebreaker to win the opening set, then was broken twice in the second set.Canada's Milos Raonic has advanced to the quarter-finals at the Australian Open for the third straight year after a 7-6 (6), 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 win over Roberto Bautista Agut on Monday in Melbourne.

But Bautista Agut began to falter midway through the third set when the roof at Hisense Arena was closed due to a passing rain shower, and he later had to call for a trainer to work on his leg.

"I was very fortunate to get through today," Raonic said. "There were moments where it wasn't looking so good."

The Thornhill, Ont. product hit 33 aces and 75 winners but had nine double-faults and 55 unforced errors, and seemed to get on a roll after spiking his racket into the court in frustration in the ninth game of the third set.

"I'm happy that I was able to find a way to pull through," he said.

Asked during the brief post match on court interview how his body was feeling, Raonic's one word reply was "fantastic."

Raonic is seeded third for the first time at a Grand Slam, and the top two seeds, Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic, are already out of the tournament.

He next plays former champion Rafael Nadal of Spain, who defeated Gael Monfils 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4. Nadal won the Australian Open in 2009.

Serena reaches quarters

Serena Williams scrapped her way into the quarters in the women's draw, working around a misfiring serve and a rash of unforced errors to beat Barbora Strycova as the heat intensified on Monday.

She had a little bit of luck in some big moments, but created it herself by staying in points against the No. 16-ranked Strycova, who made the No. 2-ranked Williams engage in more and longer rallies than anyone so far in the tournament.

Despite the four service breaks (three in the first set), and with the fluky net cord and the off-balance, scrunched-shoulder backhand that bounced flatly and clinched her the first set on her eighth set point, Williams found a way to win 7-5, 6-4.

That keeps Williams on track in her bid for an Open-era record 23rd Grand Slam title. If she gets there, the 35-year-old American will regain the No. 1 ranking as well.

"I feel like it was really good for me to win on probably not my best day, which is always good, because sometimes you rely on one shot and if it goes off, and then, like, what happens now?" Williams said. "It was really good for me to almost lose that so I know my other game is going pretty good, too."

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Serena Williams Stutters Into Australian Open Quarters1:07

Next up, she'll face No. 9 Johanna Konta, who beat Ekaterina Makarova for the second straight year in the fourth round.

The 2016 semifinalist was only broken once and broke Makarova four times.

"That's an incredible experience for me. She's one of the few players still playing I watched growing up," Konta said of Williams. "It's an incredible honour and I can't wait to share the court with her."

7 service breaks in 1st set

The match started with four straight service breaks, with only two points going with serve, until Williams held for a 3-2 lead. There were seven service breaks in the first set — with Williams getting the decisive one in the 12th game.

She broke Strycova's serve early in the second to establish a lead but was broken while serving for the match. She finished off in the next game with another break of her own, her sixth of the match.

"It's good to know I have a plan B or option 2, I wasn't serving my greatest today, also she was putting a lot of returns in there," said Williams, who had a first-serve percentage of 45, and made four double-faults. "It's always good to have something to improve on."

'I love pressure'

The second-seeded Williams advanced to quarterfinals at Melbourne Park for the 11th time since 2001 — she's only ever lost three times here in that round.

Angelique Kerber, who beat Williams in the final here last year and then ended the 22-time Grand Slam winner's 186-week streak at No. 1 by winning the U.S. Open, was upset in the fourth round in a straight-sets loss to Coco Vandeweghe the previous night.

"I love pressure. I feel like I deal well with pressure," said Williams, who has won the Australian Open six times. "I love the game. Honestly I have nothing to lose. I've won enough. … Everything is a bonus for me right now. It's kind of a little relaxing."

She has never met Konta, who is 9-0 so far in 2017.

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Andy Murray crashes out of Australian Open against world No. 50

Posted on 23 January 2017 by TSL

With defending women’s champion, and top seed, Angelique Kerber also out, it’s the first time since the 2010 French Open that both top-seeded players went out in the same round.

By JOHN PYEThe Associated Press (Courtesy)

Sun., Jan. 22, 2017 – MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA—Andy Murray and Angelique Kerber had much in common heading into the first Grand Slam of the season as the No. 1 seeds.

They shared an unwanted link on Sunday, though, when both were upset in the fourth round of the Australian Open.

By the end of a chaotic first week at Melbourne Park, five-time finalist Murray had extended his Australian drought following a 7-5, 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 loss to No. 50-ranked Mischa Zverev a matter of hours before defending women’s champion Kerber lost 6-3, 6-2 to Coco Vandeweghe in an upset that finished at six minutes past midnight.

Read more: Raonic beats flu bug to reach fourth round of Australian Open

Novak Djokovic, who beat Murray in finals to win four of his record six Australian titles, didn’t make it past the second round. Multiple major winners Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, both returning from injury layoffs, needed come-from-behind wins to advance to the second week.

Another six-time champion, Serena Williams, is still on track for a record 23rd major title and will get the second week started on centre court.

It was tough at the top on Sunday for Murray and Kerber.

“Right now I’m obviously very down because I wanted to go further in this event,” Murray said. “I’ve had tough losses in my career in the past. I’ve come back from them. This is a tough one.”


Kerber said: “Of course, they are new experiences . . . new challenges,” Kerber said. “I can learn from all the other stuff which is new for me.”

Against Vandeweghe, she said she was “trying everything, but I missed a lot and I make a lot of unforced errors — this was not my game.”

Vandeweghe had never been past the third round at the Australian Open, and lost in the first round here last year. But she pounded Kerber with a powerful forehand, clubbing 13 of her 30 winners from that side.

After match point, she shrugged her shoulders in a “so-what” motion after moving into a quarter-final against French Open winner Garbine Muguruza.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever beaten a world No. 1,” the 35th-ranked American said. “And especially at a Grand Slam, I think it makes it that much sweeter.”

Kerber saved a match point in the first round last year before winning her first major title, beating Serena Williams in the final. She replaced Williams atop the rankings after winning the U.S. Open. Now Williams can regain the top spot — if she wins the title here.

Murray rebounded last year from his Australian and French Open finals defeats to replace Djokovic at No. 1.

He was undone by some old-school serve and volley from Zverev, who played the match of his life. Zverev will now meet 17-time major winner Federer in the quarter-finals.

In between the upsets was pretty rocky, too. Federer was down 5-1 in the first set against Kei Nishikori but found a way to fend off the 2014 U.S. Open finalist, who was cramping and needed late treatment on his back, 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3.

It was Federer’s 200th career win over a top 10 player.

He was ecstatic. “It was about staying with him. . . . almost going down 6-0, I thought ‘It’s not going to get any worse from there,’” said Federer, on the comeback from six months on the sidelines to repair his injured left knee. “Huge win for me in my career.”

Murray’s exit follows the second-round departure of Djokovic, beaten in the second round by No. 117-ranked wild-card entry Denis Istomin.

It’s the first time since 2002 that the top two seeds in the men’s draw haven’t reached the Australian Open quarter-finals, and the first time at a Grand Slam since the French Open in 2004.

In their absence, U.S. Open champion Stan Wawrinka is a growing contender after beating Andreas Seppi 7-6 (2), 7-6 (4), 7-6 (4). He’ll play a quarter-final against 2008 Australian Open finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who beat Dan Evans 6-7 (4), 6-2, 6-4, 6-4.

In the bottom half of the draw, 14-time major winner Nadal is the only remaining contender who has won a Grand Slam title.

The top half of the women’s draw is open, too. Venus Williams returned to the quarter-finals for the ninth time with a 6-3, 7-5 win over No. 181-ranked Mona Barthel.

The seven-time major winner next plays No. 24-seeded Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who beat No. 8 Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3, 6-3.

Muguruza beat Sorana Cirstea 6-2, 6-3 and will next play Vandeweghe — they’re both in the quarter-finals here for the first time.

Kerber’s loss continued a poor run since she won the U.S. Open last September. She’s played seven tournaments without winning a title, only reached one final, and was 5-7 against top-50 players.

The bigger upset of the day, then, was produced by Zverev, the older and apparently lesser-talented brother of Alexander who had never gone past the third round of a major and was appearing at only his third Grand Slam in six years.

Zverev attacked Murray, unsettling his natural baseline game, and won 65 of 118 points at the net. Murray had reached the quarter-finals or better on his previous seven trips to Australia but never won the title.

He had not lost to a player ranked as low as Zverev at a major since his loss to No. 51 Juan Ignacio Chela here in 2006.

Zverev next plays Federer, who beat him 6-0, 6-0 in 40 minutes in their last meeting in 2015.

He made some stunning, lunging volleys on clutch points against Murray, but for him it was all a blur.

“It was like I was in a little coma, I just served and volleyed my way through,” Zverev said. “Honestly there were a few points where I don’t know how I pulled it off.”

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Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard eliminated from Australian Open in third round

Posted on 20 January 2017 by TSL


Eugenie Bouchard

MELBOURNE, Australia – Canada's Eugenie Bouchard fought hard in the final set, but ultimately fell short in her third-round match at the Australian Open, losing to Coco Vandeweghe 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 on Friday. The American won the match in two hours and 22 minutes. In the final set, Vandeweghe got her second service break of the match to level the score 4-4 on Bouchard’s fourth double fault. At 5-5, Vandeweghe held her serve before getting the decisive break. Vandeweghe, ranked 35th, had a 40-21 edge in winners. She also won 85 per cent of the points on her first serve.

Vandeweghe meets No.1 ranked Angelique Kerber of Germany in the next round of 16.

Bouchard, ranked 47th, held her serve to start the second set. She lost a 40-0 lead, but rebounded to win the game.

Vandeweghe lost the second game on a double fault and then a Bouchard ace helped her roll to a solid 3-0 lead. Bouchard went on to win the second set.

Vandeweghe won the first set riding her powerful serve, which Bouchard couldn’t solve.

The two players had played only once before and Bouchard had prevailed in two sets at Indian Wells two years ago.

Bouchard’s best performance in Melbourne was in 2014, when she reached the semifinals.

Watching the match at the Rod Laver Arena was Martina Hingis, a former champion who won in Australia in 1997, 1998 and 1999.

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Australian Open 2017: Milos Raonic meets Dustin Brown 1st round

Posted on 15 January 2017 by TSL

The Australia Open Tennis grand slam begins 16 – 29 Jan 2017, in Melbourne.

Canadaès Milos Raonic does a double-take at the top of his Australian Open media conference

World No. 3 Milos Raonic was left wondering whether one member of the press corps was fully engaged at the top of his pre-tournament Australian Open press conference in Melbourne Saturday. The Canadian was expecting to be asked about the addition of Richard Krajicek, but he was unprepared for how it went down.

Here's the first question of the media conference:

Q. Why did you change your coach to Krajicek?

MILOS RAONIC: It was just a timing of how things went. I feel like for me to make the steps I want, especially forward, specifically with that focus, you have these two guys that move very well laterally. I don't think I'm ever going to be the best guy from the baseline by any means, especially not against them. If I'm going to take it to them, it's by coming forward. So I wanted to improve in that aspect.

But, here’s where it got weird. Second question…

Q. Why did you add Richard Krajicek to your staff?

MILOS RAONIC: That's the same exact question.

Ever the gentleman, Raonic at least made the best of the situation, expanding on his original answer. His focus on moving forward is designed in part to improve his record against Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic, the two players who have stopped him at the Australian Open the past two years.

“No, it's really to help me be more efficient going forward. I believe you have these two guys that are phenomenal right now at the top of the game covering the baseline. It's really hard to get by them, especially with the way they move. I can't expect to move like they do. I think I've got to be at least 20, 25 pounds heavier than them. It's going to be about moving forward.

"I think Richard could really help me in being more aggressive, more forward orientated, and more efficient when I'm able to get myself coming in.”

Raonic finished 2016 at a career-high No. 3 in the Emirates ATP Rankings after a strong showing at the ATP Finals in London, where he pushed Novak Djokovic to 7-6, 7-6 in the group stage and held match point against Andy Murray in the semi-finals. But after pushing Murray to five sets in the Melbourne semi-finals last year, Raonic has 720 points dropping after the Australian Open and is under pressure to stay ahead of No. 4 Stan Wawrinka and No. 5 Kei Nishikori.

Raonic, who fell to Grigor Dimitrov in his title defence in Brisbane in the first week of the season, will play shotmaker Dustin Brown in the first round.

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Canada’s Milos Raonic ranked No.3 at Australian Open 2017 starting Monday, January 16

Posted on 13 January 2017 by TSL

The Australian Open Tennis Grand Slam tournament commences on Monday, January 16 and is played through until January 29th in Melbourne.

Britain's world number one Andy Murray will play Ukraine's Ilya Marchenko in the Australian Open first round. Murray was drawn in the same quarter as Roger Federer – meaning the pair could face each other in the last eight. The 29-year-old Scot is chasing a fourth Grand Slam title and his first in Melbourne, where he has reached the final five times.

British world number 10 Johanna Konta, 25, will face Kirsten Flipkens from Belgium. Konta's draw places her in the same quarter as Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova and American six-time champion Serena Williams.

Heather Watson and Naomi Broady will both face Australian opponents, with Watson playing Sam Stosur and Broady up against Daria Gavrilova.

Defending men's champion Novak Djokovic will be aiming for a record seventh Australian Open title with a first-round match against Fernando Verdasco. Spaniard Verdasco knocked his compatriot Rafael Nadal out in the opening round last year, but lost to Serb Djokovic in their recent meeting at the Qatar Open despite having five match points during a second-set tie-break. Nadal, seeded ninth, will play German Florian Mayer, before a possible quarter-final against Canadian Milos Raonic.

Britain's three other male participants see Kyle Edmund face Santiago Giraldo, Dan Evans play Facundo Bagnis while Aljaz Bedene was paired with Victor Estrella Burgos.

If Murray can safely find a way through his first week as a top seed at a Grand Slam, then he may have the chance to avenge last year's US Open quarter-final defeat by Kei Nishikori.

But Federer may have something to say about that. Now seeded 17, after six months out through injury, the 17-time Grand Slam champion is in Nishikori's section of the draw.

All the British men will face opening round opponents outside the world's top 50, but the women have a tougher draw.

Flipkens brings the experience of a Wimbledon semi-final into her match with Konta, while Watson and Broady must both face seeded Australians.

Sam Stosur has a very poor record in front of her home fans, however, which should give Watson cause for optimism.

Andy Murray could have a tricky path to becoming the last man standing in Melbourne, while Novak Djokovic has an equally treacherous road in pursuit of a seventh Australian Open crown. 

Top seed Murray opens up his quest for his first Australian Open title against Illya Marchenko, with the Brit winning their lone meeting at the 2011 edition of this tournament. Looking ahead, Murray could face No. 16 seed Lucas Pouille in the fourth round and either No. 5 seed Kei Nishikori or No. 17 seed Roger Federer in the quarter-finals.

Second seed Djokovic was given a very tricky first-round against veteran Fernando Verdasco. The Serbian leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head rivalry 9-4, including a third-round victory in the 2015 edition of this tournament. However, he was forced to save five match points in prevailing over Verdasco earlier this month in the semi-finals in Doha. The Spaniard is also more than capable of upsetting big names in early rounds, as evidenced by his first-round win last year in Melbourne over Rafael Nadal.

Should Djokovic advance, he could play No. 15 seed and recent Brisbane champion Grigor Dimitrov in the fourth round, followed by eighth seed Dominic Thiem in the quarter-finals.

Federer was given a comparatively kind opener in his first sanctioned tournament since Wimbledon, with the Swiss maestro guaranteed to play a qualifier in his first two rounds. His path gets significantly harder afterwards, though, with potential matches against No. 10 seed Tomas Berdych in the third round, Nishikori in the fourth round and Murray in the quarter-finals.


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