2015/01/29

Serena Williams to face Madison Keys in Australian Open Semifinal

Madison Keys

Madison Keys

(January 28, 2015) No. 1 Serena Williams and No. 35 Madison Keys booked spots in Australian Open semifinals on Wednesday. Keys broke up what could have been an “all-Williams” semifinal when the 19-year-old knocked out 34-year-old Venus Williams 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 to reach her first Grand Slam final four.

Serena Williams had a much easier time advancing, dismissing last year’s Australian Open losing finalist Dominika Cibulkova 6-2, 6-2 in 69 minutes, is still on track to try and win her 19th major and sixth Australian Open title.

Statistics tell the story for the world No. 1 American who hit 58 winners including 15 aces and made only 18 unforced errors against the Slovak. Williams has won the title at Melbourne Park each of the five previous times she has advanced to the semifinals.

“I feel I played well,” said Serena. “I felt I had to. I feel like when you’re going up against a player like that who is confident on the court – she just had a few good matches – I knew that I needed to really play well or go home.”

“It was tough match for me today,” No. 11 Cibulkova said. “She was just playing really well today, I have to say. She was putting so much pressure from the serve and return. I didn’t have a chance to play my game. Just felt under so much pressure. It was a good day for her.

“It’s the way I struggle with reading her serves. I just don’t put many first returns in the game. That’s what makes it tough. And also then I feel under a bigger pressure on my serve. That’s why I try to go for much more first serve today. It just didn’t go in. Then my second serve, she was just going for it. Yeah, that’s make it really tough. She tries to make the rallies much shorter and not to get me in the rhythm. Yeah, that’s it.”

In a battle between tennis generations, Venus Williams and Keys, it was the first All-American quarterfinal since Sloane Stephens beat Serena Williams in Melbourne Park back in 2013.

After a dominant first set by Keys, who is now coached by former No. 1 and three-time slam winner Lindsay Davenport, she had to overcome a left leg injury and rally from a break down in the third set to win the match. Keys completed the match with 34 winners to 45 unforced errors, while Venus hit 10 winners to 38 unforced errors. The match saw 12 service breaks.

“I definitely didn’t serve as consistently as I wanted to,” said the seven-time major champion. “I felt like just not as aggressive off the ground as I would have liked. So I think in this kind of match you have to be aggressive. Like I said, I give a lot of credit to her because she really set her points up. She was swinging freely. Most of them went in for her. So it was just, you know, great for her.”

“It already feels like a long season already, so many matches in a row,” Williams said. “But it’s a great start. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep this level up.”

Venus is 9-1 on the year, having won the tournament in Auckland.

“I think she played really well,” Venus said “Of course, I have to give credit to her just for playing well, landing a lot of great shots I think is ultimately — ultimately she played really well.

Venus hadn’t reached the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam since the U.S. Open in 2010 since being diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome in 2011, an auto-immune disease which causes fatigue.

“I think just being able to come back from being down and from not being able to move as well, not having as effective of a serve, just being able to kind of grind through that, still figure it out, manage to win some points, is what I’m most happy about,” Keys said about her left abductor injury.

“It was definitely one of those things where it wasn’t nearly as bad as Wimbledon, but it was that nightmare of `I don’t want this to happen again,’” Keys said. “Luckily the pain meds kicked in.”

“I mean, it definitely feels amazing,” said the teenager about the victory. “It’s one of those things where you want to feel this way all the time. But it’s not, you know, this unbelievable excitement either ’cause you want to keep winning and you want to keep doing better. I am very happy and I am very excited, but also not getting too far ahead of myself and being too content where I am.”

This is the third straight year that a teenager has reached the Australian Open semifinals: 2013 – Sloane Stephens, 2014 – Eugenie Bouchard and 2015 – Keys.

“I think Genie and Sloane are both really talented and can play some really good tennis,” Keys said.” It’s not super surprising they made semifinals. But, no, it’s one of those things when you see some of your fellow peers doing well, going deep in tournaments, it’s inspirational. Makes you kind of believe that you can do the same.”

About how Venus sees Keys’ future: “Sky’s the limit. There is no limit on what you can achieve. No one can stop you. Sometimes you may not win every match, but there’s a lot of them you can win. Really the sky’s the limit for her and anyone out there.”

On playing Serena next, Keys said: “It’s just one of those things where I have to go out and I have to do my best and I have to really just have to stay focused on my side of the court, because she’s obviously very, very good and she’s going to play very well. So if I get too focused on what she’s doing I think I can kind of let the moment get away from me. So I’m just really going to stay focused on myself.”

Serena on playing Keys:“I think she likes the surface. I’m just happy to be in the semis, and whatever happens an American will be in the final.”

“She’s playing great. I told her I was really happy that she did well. She’s in the semis. It’s good to see another American, another African American, in the semifinals playing so well. Regardless, there’s going to be an American in the finals, so that is great. It’s also great for me and Venus because we know that finally there’s other Americans that are constantly playing well and playing better, showing that they want to be the world’s greatest.”

On the men’s side of the draw, No. 1 Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka posted straight set wins to reach the semifinals. Djokovic defeated Milos Raonic 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-2 to gain his 25 major semifinal, while defending champion Wawrinka dominated Kei Nishokori with a powerful backhand 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (6).

This sets up a repeat of the last year’s dramatic quarterfinal which Wawrinka won in five sets.

 

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Rafael Nadal Stunned by Tomas Berdych at Australian Open

BerdychMadrid511

(January 27, 2015) 2009 Australian Open champion Rafael Nadal is out of the Australian Open in the quarterfinals. , No. 7 Tomas Berdych defeated the No. 3 player in the world 6-2, 6-0, 7-6 (5) on his fourth match point on Tuesday in Melbourne. Berdych has now reached his fifth career slam semifinal.

Coming into the match Berdych had lost 17 straight matches to Nadal.

The Czech was dominant in the first two sets, dishing out a second set bagel to the Spaniard. It was only the third time that Nadal lost a 6-0 set in a major. He lost 6-0 sets to Andy Roddick at the 2004 US Open in the second round and to Roger Federer in the 2006 Wimbledon final.

Berdych hit 41 winners to 21 unforced errors versus Nadal with 24 winners and 26 unforced errors.

The 14-time major champion was playing in just his seventh tournament since the French Open last June. Nadal had been sidelined with a wrist injury and then appendix surgery in November.

Nadal saved two match points in the 12th game of the final set. Berdych led 5-2 in the tiebreaker and Nadal rallied to get back on serve at 4-5. Berdych ended the match on the fourth match point as Nadal hit a return of serve into the net.

“As I said when I got here, it is always tough to come back from injuries,” said Nadal. “I am feeling OK, but it was not my day. Quarterfinals here is not bad for me.”

“I’m feeling ok. Just was not my day. It was a day that my opponent played better than me.”

“You can’t make the big difference of level during matches when you are coming back from injury.”

“You have to play well to play against a guy like Berdych. He’s a top player and today he played better than me.”

“As I said before, Tomas is ranked No. 5, No. 6 of the word, No. 7, I don’t know. He’s a top player. We cannot expect the things that — all the challenges that he put me on court today because he’s a top player. You have to play well to win against a player like Tomas. I didn’t play my best today. He played better than me and that’s it. That’s the sport. Sometimes, almost every time, is simple: the player who plays better, the player who is able to maintain the better rhythm, the better concentration, play with less mistakes, is the player who has more success. And today this player has been Tomas.”

“I start pretty well,” Berdych said. “I start with the plan that I set up before the match, and then it turns that it was the right one. I was able to keep going with the same plan all the way through the match. Even though that it was the first two sets kind of looks easy, you know, but you’re playing Rafa and you know what kind of opponent he is and you have to be ready for anything. So, you know, that’s why I keep myself really focused and was keep going all the way till the end and trying to make my chances. Even though he just changed a couple of things – he gets better in the third set – but still I was able to finish it and close it up in three sets.”

 

Andy Murray dashed the dreams of young Australian Nick Kyrgios on Tuesday night, winning 6-3 7-6 (5), 6-3 to reach the semifinals of the Australian Open.

In the round of 16, Kyrgios knocked out Andreas Seppi, the man who upset Roger Federer in the third round.

“It was a really good experience,” said Kyrgios. “That was my first Aussie Open Grand Slam match playing on Rod Laver, so that was really cool. But he was way too good for me tonight. There are some things I can take from that match and get better at. Yeah, he was just way too good for me.”

“Trying to win against Nick, which was tough ’cause he has an exceptional serve and makes it very difficult for you when he’s serving,” said Murray. “And, like I said on the court afterwards, it was very tricky conditions, as well. So I was quite happy with the way I handled everything tonight.”

“I think, you know, for me tonight it was a tricky one to judge, to say how well I played, because I found the conditions difficult tonight. So I tried to use the conditions to my advantage and played a slightly different style than what I had been in the other matches. I would say the match against Dimitrov was a very high level. It was a clean match. Both of us were striking the ball well. And, yeah, I made improvements with each of the matches. But then tonight, you know, I just tried to play the best with what the conditions were allowing you to do, and I think I did that quite well.”

Murray, a three-time losing finalist will next play Tomas Berdych.

“He’s a big guy,” Murray said of Berdych. “He strikes the ball very well. Yeah, he serves well. Yeah, he’s fairly calm on the court. I think he manages emotions fairly well. And, yeah, he’s obviously played extremely well this tournament so far. Just by looking at the results, he’s had some good wins and played well in Doha. He’ll be coming into the match with confidence.”

 

 

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Maria Sharapova to Play Ekaterina Makarova in Australian Open Semis

Makarova

Makarova

(January 27, 2015) It will be an all-Russian semifinal in the bottom half of the women’s draw at the Australian Open. 2008 champion Maria Sharapova and No. 10 seed Ekaterina Makarova advanced in Melbourne with easy victories on Tuesday.

No. 2 Sharapova took down 20-year-old Canadian Eugenie Bouchard 6-3, 6-2 to keep her record perfect against the world No. 7 at 4-0. Earlier in the day Ekaterina Makarova upset No. 3 Simona Halep 6-4, 6-0 in 69 minutes.

“I had to produce a really good performance against Genie,” Sharapova said after the match. “She’s been playing so confidently and aggressively.”

Sharapova rallied past Bouchard the last time they played each other, in the semifinals of the French Open where the Russian went on to win her second Roland Garros title, her fifth major.

“I felt under pressure the whole time, a bit on my back foot,” Bouchard said. I mean, that’s not how I want to play. I feel like I didn’t start well, and it kind of all went downhill from there. It’s definitely easier when you have a good start to the match.”

“I’m never happy with losing. I wanted to obviously win today, win the tournament. But, you know, I feel like I dealt with, yeah, pressure, outside expectations well. I wasn’t really focused on the whole defending thing. I really just tried to block that out of my mind. So I think, you know, that helped me get through the first week, get through some, you know, matches that could have been tricky. But, yeah, you know, I always want to do better, especially than the year before. I’m always trying to aim for that.”

“I knew I had to play a really complete match,” Sharapova said. “She’s someone who really goes after it and goes after her strokes, so I knew that the second and third balls would be really important. I knew I had to take time away from her and be aggressive – I wanted to get in the rallies a little bit, but I also wanted to something on my own first few shots today.”

“I felt pretty good from the start,” said the Russian. “I thought I had a really good start. I kept my focus throughout the whole match. I didn’t feel that I had too many letdowns, which is important. When I did have a few slips I was able to come out with great first serves or really powerful returns. But overall really happy with the way the match went.”

Bouchard hit 30 unforced errors to Sharapova’s 18.

For Makarova, this marks her second straight major semifinal having reached the semifinals of the 2014 US Open.

“I was just I was a little bit stressed, I don’t know why,” last year’s French Open finalist Halep said of her loss. “I had experience from last year to play quarterfinals, so it doesn’t mean that I felt pressure. I just I didn’t feel the game, the ball. It was a very bad day for me.”

“I practiced very well in the morning, but maybe I was a little bit too stressed before I started the match. Wasn’t my good day. I had a bad day. But she played well and everything was in for her. So she deserves this winning. I’m really sad a little bit now that I could not play my tennis, my game, but that’s tennis and I have to look forward to the next tournament.”

“I have experience. I had experience to play quarterfinals in Grand Slams. But sometimes you cannot manage the situation. I tried. I did everything I could this match. But, you know, just mentally because during the points maybe I didn’t fight very well today. I just lost my concentrate to win the points, to win the match. So I didn’t believe any more in second set, and that’s maybe why I lost 6-0.”

Makarova talked about her strategy in the match; “I just tried to stay solid and to play my game. She’s a tough opponent, and I lost to her already two years ago. She doesn’t miss a lot, so every point we had really tough one and really long one. I tried to be more aggressive more to win this point because she never miss and she never give up. So I tried to stay solid and to keep my game.”

“I was playing my good tennis, so maybe in the second set she was a little bit upset. She, like, didn’t understand what to do. But she’s a great player. She had a great season last year. She always like sometimes can turn around the game, doesn’t matter what’s the score, so I was so concentrate.”

Makarova goes into the semifinal against Sharapova with and 0-5 record, having never won a set.

“Well, I never beat her,” said the 26-year-old on playing Sharapova, “so it will be tough. Definitely she’s a great fighter. Like here on the second round, she almost lost, but she turned around. I’m looking forward. I’m want to enjoy this time and want to rest and we’ll see what happen in semis.”

“She likes playing here,” Sharapova said of next opponent. “She uses that left-handed serve really well. It’s always tricky playing a lefty and your compatriot, as well, but one of us will be in the final and that makes me happy.”

“Well, besides playing another Russian, I’m also facing an opponent that wasn’t necessarily a favorite coming into that stage,” Sharapova said. “That’s always a tricky situation because she’s going to come into that match free and almost happy to be in that situation, and that’s dangerous. You know, I haven’t faced a lefty in this tournament yet. She’s been using her lefty serve extremely well from what I’ve seen. But, yeah, I’ll be looking out for that, work on a few things tomorrow, and be ready for that match.”

“I’m so comfortable here, it’s all the atmosphere and maybe memories from New York that I bring here,” said Makarova.

 

AUSTRALIAN – MELBOURNE, AUS
$15,561,973
19-31 JANUARY, 2015

Results – Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Singles – Quarterfinals
(2) Maria Sharapova (RUS) d. (7) Eugenie Bouchard (CAN) 63 62
(10) Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) d. (3) Simona Halep (ROU) 64 60

Doubles – Quarterfinals
Mattek-Sands/Safarova (USA/CZE) d. (3) Makarova/Vesnina (RUS/RUS) 76(5) 46 62
(13) Krajicek/Zahlavova Strycova (NED/CZE) d. (5) Kops-Jones/Spears (USA/USA) 36 63 76(3)
(14) Chan/Zheng (TPE/CHN) d. Jans-Ignacik/Klepac (POL/SLO) 61 62
(16) Goerges/Groenefeld (GER/GER) d. Bertens/Larsson (NED/SWE) 62 75

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Venus Williams Reaches First Grand Slam Quarterfinal Since 2010

(January 26, 2015) Seven-time major champion and former No. 1 Venus Williams reached her first Grand Slam quarterfinal since 2010 on Monday when she upset No. 6 Agnieszka Radwanska 6-3, 2-6, 6-1 at the Australian Open.

Venus Williams is one win away from a potential semifinal match against her sister Serena Williams. The 34-year-old Venus will play 19-year-old American Madison Keys in the quarterfinals.

Williams had not been past the fourth round of any major since Wimbledon in 2011. Venus Williams had been formally diagnosed with Sjogren’s Syndrome in the fall of 2011. The auto-immune disorder causes extreme fatigue.

No. 18 Williams was aggressive in her play against Radwanska – she hit 43 winners and made 36 unforced errors to her opponent’s 23 winners and 19 unforced errors.

Williams came into the net with success, winning 24 out of 40 points there.

Venus was broken to begin the third set and then surged past Radwanska.

“Honestly, I don’t know, “Williams said. “I just felt like in the third set I was trying to get back to the form that I was in in the first set. I didn’t do a lot wrong in that first game. It was just overhit some, missed an easy one that would have definitely helped my cause. It was frustrating but I stayed focused and I wanted to just continue playing like I did in the first game because it was really the right way to play.”

With the win, it marks the 21st time that both Venus and Serena have reached the quarterfinals of the same major.

“For me I’m just really focused and poised right now,” said Venus. “I feel like I’ve been here before, so it’s not like I’m jumping up and down for joy, Oh, shoot, what is this? I’ve never done this. Yes, I’ve done this. This is what I’m always going into each tournament thinking I want to do, even when I fall short. It’s definitely not the first time. I guess that’s how I feel.”

“I think I played well when it mattered. Her style of game was completely different than the first three players I played. The first three players I played tried to blast me off the court. This was the first time there was any sort of rhythm at all. The way she hits the ball is so different. A lot of times, especially for a player like me, you feel like, Wow, why am I not hitting more winners? That’s not just always the answer. It’s definitely a balance between being aggressive and being patient and being smart because the way she plays is very deceptive. Not everyone plays that way. Definitely a good win against her.”

Serena Williams Gets French Open Revenge to Reach Australian Open Quarterfinals

 

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Serena Williams Gets French Open Revenge to Reach Australian Open Quarterfinals

Serena Williams Thursday

(January 26, 2015) Serena Williams gained some revenge at the Australian Open on Monday for an early round loss at the French Open last year, when she rallied to beat Spain’s Garbine Muguruza 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 to reach the quarterfinals.

The 18-time major champion, seeking her sixth title in Melbourne lost badly to No. 24 Muguruza in the second round of last year’s Roland Garros 6-2, 6-2. She avenged one of her worst Grand Slam tournament losses with the victory on Monday.

Williams saved six break points in an almost 13-minute game, the second game of the third set. Williams then broke Muguruza’s serve twice before closing the match.

“It was a great match – congratulations to Garbiñe, she played so well,” Williams said in an on-court interview.

“She did everything she needed to do in the first set. For once I didn’t start out slowly, she was just playing so well at the start. She hits the ball really, really big and really, really hard.

“But I started to focus from there and just relaxed a little bit.”

“She made me play a lot better,” Williams said in press. “I had to play the best match of the tournament or else I was going to be out. I think she was just hitting winners like left and right. Every shot I hit, she basically hit a winner on. So I had to change my approach. I was hitting a little bit too much to her.”

“The hardest part, I mean, mentally she’s amazing,” said Muguruza . She’s world No. 1. She has the power to be all the match without saying anything, concentrate, waiting for her opportunity. I mean, the serve, when she serves good, it’s really difficult to return. And then in the back, she’s very strong. So it’s very difficult to find the spot to beat her.

Williams will play Dominika Cibulkova in the quarterfinals. Cibulkova, who reached the final of the Australian Open last year, beat two-time champion Victoria Azarenka 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 under a closed roof in Rod Laver Arena in a very intense match. Due to injuries last year the Belarusian saw her ranking fall into the 40’s and came into the tournament unseeded.

Dominika Cibulkova ©Sony Open Tennis

Dominika Cibulkova ©Sony Open Tennis

The woman from the Slovak Republic hit 44 winners and broke Azarenka seven time during the match. This marks the sixth time that the No. 10 player Cibulkova has reached a major quarterfinal

Today was extremely, extremely good match from my side,” Cibulkova said. “I would say it was a high level of tennis. The first set, the way I played, was just really, really — no mistakes. I was going for my shots and I was just doing the right things. I was really putting her under so much pressure. And then — then she stepped up in the second set much more. She started to serve better and return better. So she kept me out of the — more behind the baseline. Then in the third set I just knew I have to go for it more than hundred percent. I knew I have to be much more aggressive and just stay there and to go for my shots. So, yeah, today was really, really tough one, but I managed to get through. It was such a good match.”

“I take it as a progress,” Azarenka said of her run in Melbourne. “I think there are a lot of the positive things to take from here. It’s a good start. There was some good quality of tennis today, even though the result is not the one that I wanted and not what I was looking for. But I need to be realistic a little bit and keep working hard and try to sharpen my game. I need to be more consistent and I need to be able to take my opportunities when I have them. But overall, I can be pretty happy. But I’m such a perfectionist that I don’t want to be satisfied.”

“She really went for her shots today and was very fearless throughout whole match,” Azarenka said of her opponent. “She’s the type of player that sometimes you just get — she gets in that groove and it’s a little bit difficult to break that rhythm. But I think I still had my opportunities, and I really just didn’t — I wasn’t present enough today, and she was there. She jumped on those opportunities and really took control of that. So I think in that aspect, I have to give her a lot of credit.”

“Well, she is a really good player,” Williams answered when asked about playing Cibulkova. “I mean, to be her size, she hits so hard and she plays so well. She’s just such a power, compact, great player. I just have to stay focused and not underestimate her. She actually almost beat me before. I want to make sure I come ready and prepared.”

Serena Williams has a 4-0 record versus Cibulkova.

 

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Kyrgios Saves a Match Point to Join Nadal and Berdych in Australian Open Quarterfinals

Kyrgios

(January 25, 2015) Australian teenager Nick Kyrgios rocked the jam-packed Hisense Arena on Sunday in Melbourne Park coming back from two sets down and saving a match point by beating Roger Federer conqueror Andreas Seppi 5-7, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (5), 8-6 to reach the quarterfinals. Seppi knocked out Federer in the third round.

He is now the first Australian to reach the quarterfinals of the Australian Open on the men’s side since 2005. The 19-year-old also becomes the first male teenager since Roger Federer to reach two Grand Slam quarterfinals. Kyrgios reached the Wimbledon quarterfinals last year defeating then No. 1 Rafael Nadal along the way.

After the match in an on-court interview Kyrgios said to the crowd, “Thanks mate. Feels so good.”

“I know that he (Seppi) had a lot of confidence, obviously, beating Roger,” Kyrgios said. “Drawing all my experience from Wimbledon, coming back from two sets down, I knew I had the legs to do that.”

“I knew it was going to be a tough battle. He’s playing some of the best tennis he’s played ever since coming off that win against Roger. I knew it was going to be tough from the get-go. I just had to draw on my experiences of coming back from two sets to love. Paid off in the end.”

“I don’t think it’s sunk in yet. When I saw I had finally won the match it was incredible. It was the best feeling I ever had. To know the body could come back from two sets to love, knowing I haven’t had matches, it’s just massive confidence.”

“As you all know – you’ve been asking about my back a fair bit – that’s a bit sore. Physically I thought my legs pulled up well throughout the whole match. I got a bit tired halfway through the fifth set, you know, I guess just by being out on the court. Being in that atmosphere is pretty tiring, but I knew he’d be feeling the same way. He’s never reached a quarterfinal before. All those thoughts going through his head. I think I had to draw on that. I just stuck in there.”

“I think I just played a couple bad games at the beginning of the third set, Seppi said. “I missed three easy forehands for the break for him. And, yeah, maybe he played a little bit more relaxed after that. Yeah, I think maybe if I could stay even in the third set it’s a little bit already change.”

The young Australian will play Andy Murray in the quarterfinals. The seventh seed Murray won the last five games of the match to take out Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-3, 7-5

Asked about the potential match against Murray or Dimitrov, Kyrgios said: “They’re both some of the best players in the world. Obviously for the last couple years, they’ve been in the best form of their life. Murray, I think he’s one of the greatest athletes on the tour. He’s going to make me play a lot of balls. And Dimitrov, obviously he’s got unbelievable talent, can come forward, can transition, returns well, mixes it up well. They’re both great players. I’m just excited to go up against either one of those guys.”

2009 Australian Open champion Rafael Nadal and Tomas Berdych will match-up in the final eight.

Nadal fended off six break points in the first set before changing the momentum and passing Keven Anderson 7-5, 6-1, 6-4. Nadal will play No. 7 Berdych next. Berdych took out another Australian hope Bernard Tomic 6-2, 7-6 (3), 6-2.

“The chance to be in the quarterfinals after a tough period of time for me is a fantastic result,” said Nadal. “But for me quarterfinals is a great result, talking seriously. Arriving here, losing in the first round of Qatar, not playing matches for the last seven months, to have the chance to be in quarterfinals again here is a very positive thing for me. I’m very happy for that. I am sure that going to help me for the next events. For sure I going to try my best after tomorrow. I am not a person that I am happy like this and that’s it. No. I try to play better and better every day. If that happens, I hope to keep having chances for the next match. But today is a day to be happy the way that I improved my level of everything, talking about tennis, all the things I have to do on court. I was closer today. Even if I played the first two sets the other day well, today I was much closer what I have to do to try to have success.”

More to follow….

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Maria Sharapova to Face Eugenie Bouchard in Australian Open Quarterfinals

 

(January 25, 2015) Maria Sharapova and Eugenie Bouchard will face off for a place in the Australian Open semifinals after reaching the quarterfinals in Melbourne on Sunday.

No. 2 seed Sharapova won the last 8 games of the match in her 6-3, 6-0 dismissal of No. 21 seed Peng Shuai in the fourth round.

Seventh seed Bouchard won nine of the first 10 games against No. 42 Irina-Camelia Begu, but was pushed to win her first three-setter of the tournament in her 6-1, 5-7, 6-2 win.

On the road to the round of 16, the Romanian Begu defeated No. 9-seeded Angelique Kerber in the first round.

Bouchard, advanced to semifinals or better at the first three major tournament in 2014, took a break after the second set.

“I gave myself a good, long hard look in the mirror,” Bouchard said post-match in regard to going off court. “I said, `Genie, this is unacceptable.’ I really kind of kicked myself in the butt a little bit.”

The Canadian spoke about how the match switched momentum to her opponent in the second set. “It’s disappointing for me because I want to play so well and I want to be perfect. That’s not possible. It happens. Yeah, I think I started being a bit less aggressive, a bit too passive, and you know, that’s not my game at all. I don’t do well when that happens. She could string together a few good points here and there, hit some good shots and serves and got some confidence in the second set. You know, that helped her. So definitely disappointing. But I learned a lot from it and I’ll try to make sure it doesn’t happen next time. I’m happy that I could regroup and, yeah, play a bit better tennis in the third. I want to build on that for the next match”

“Clearly I need more practice!” she said.

The 20-year-old Bouchard will play Sharapova next. The Russian has a 3-0 career record against Bouchard. Sharapova fell in the fourth round at Melbourne Park last year, while Bouchard reached the semifinals in her Australian Open debut.

Sharapova said, “Last year I lost in the fourth round here, getting to the quarters is really special.”

Asked about what she expects in her match with Bouchard, Sharapova responded: “She’s been playing really well in this tournament and also in the slams the last year. Really confident tennis and inspired form. I expect her to come out and play a really good match. I think we only played each other one time last year, which was at the French. That was a really tough match for me. I had to come back from being down one set to Love. Yeah, I’m sure she’ll come out and play extremely well.”

“She’s a pretty aggressive player. She stays really close to the line, she likes to dictate the points. Yeah, I feel that’s where she’s hurt a lot of players and been really successful.

 

“I would definitely look forward to that match,” Bouchard said. “I think it’s always great to play the best players in the world. We’ve had a couple matches, and a good match last year. You know, I think I was close. It was just a tough battle. But I think I’ve progressed a lot since then, and, you know, I definitely want to keep playing my game no matter what. Really kind of take it to her, go for my shots. That’s what I want to do on the court. And it’s more fun when I play that way, too. I had more fun in the third set today. So I want to try to do that.”

Sharapova was asked about Bouchard being compared to her. “I think we all want to go through our own paths and we all want to — when I was coming up, I was compared to Kournikova for many years in my career and still occasionally name always comes up in interviews and articles. That’s just part of it, part of the game, part of the business. It’s understandable. It is what it is. As I have said, I believe I was still a teenager, I don’t want to be the next anyone. I want to be the first Maria Sharapova. And that’s how I’ve been throughout my whole career. And we all want to create our own path and go through our own career. And we’re all destined for some sort of thing. We work extremely hard at a sport, and that’s what we want to be known for.”

Asked about if she sees Bouchard in her, Sharapova responded:

“I personally don’t know Genie very well. As a tennis player she’s a big competitor. She’s an aggressive player as well that likes to take the ball early and dictate points. From that perspective, yeah, definitely.”

 

In another fourth round match, No. 10 Ekaterina Makarova of Russia won 6-3, 6-2 over Germany’s Julia Goerges to reach the elite eight, where she’ll face off against No. 3 Simona Halep.

Halep is in the Australian Open quarterfinals for the second straight year with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Yanina Wickmayer.

For Makarova it’s her third trip to the Australian Open quarterfinals.

“A lot of confidence I have now because I didn’t lose a set,” Halep said. “I had good matches here in first week, so I’m really happy that I’m in second week now like last year. Here I started to play my best tennis in Grand Slams. So means a lot for me. I really have more confidence now to play the quarterfinals.”

“I’m so happy, yeah, that I’m showing my good tennis here and already in the quarter; third time here in Australian Open,” said the Russian. So I’m so happy that I beat today Julia. She’s tough opponent. She’s in great shape. She played great her matches. So I’m happy that I came through.”

 

Makarova upset Serena Williams at the Australian Open in 2012.

On playing Halep next, Makarova said: “Well, we played once in New Haven I think not the last year, the year before. I lost 6-1, 7-6, something like that. She’s one of the greatest player now, and I’m really looking forward. If she wins today, depends, yeah. I will want to forward and forward step by step.”

Halep on matching up against Makarova: “I know her. I play a few times against her. She serves pretty well; she’s moving well; she’s playing aggressive. I have my chance. I believe in my chance next round. So I have to make my game again to be aggressive and to serve well like today.”

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2015 Australian Open Day 6 Men’s Match Notes and Previews

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2015 AUSTRALIAN OPEN

DAY 6 MEN’S NOTES

Saturday 24 January

3rd Round Top Half

 

 

Featured matches

 

No. 1 Novak Djokovic (SRB) v No. 31 Fernando Verdasco (ESP)
No. 4 Stan Wawrinka (SUI) v Jarkko Nieminen (FIN)
No. 5 Kei Nishikori (JPN) v Steve Johnson (USA)

No. 8 Milos Raonic (CAN) v Benjamin Becker (GER)

No. 9 David Ferrer (ESP) v No. 18 Gilles Simon (FRA)

No. 12 Feliciano Lopez (ESP) v Jerzy Janowicz (POL)

No. 19 John Isner (USA) v Gilles Muller (LUX)

Vasek Pospisil (CAN) v Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (ESP)

 

 

On court today…

  • Four-time champion Novak Djokovic will look to continue his serene progress through the draw when he opens the night session on Rod Laver Arena against Fernando Verdasco. The Spaniard had a milestone moment at Melbourne Park in 2009 when he pushed Rafael Nadal to five-sets in a thrilling 5-hour-14-minute semifinal. It will take a similar performance if Verdasco is to upset the 7-time Grand Slam champion today, but he’ll need to record his first win over a No. 1 player on his 10th attempt if he is to do so.

 

  • 4 of the 5 Spanish men to reach the 3rd round are in action today. The last time as many as 5 Spanish men reached the round of 16 here was in 2011, when Nicolas Almagro, David Ferrer, Rafael Nadal, Tommy Robredo and Verdasco reached the last 16.

 

  • Kei Nishikori will take on a familiar face on Hisense Arena in his attempt to reach the round of 16 at the Australian Open for the 4th straight year. The Japanese world No. 5 faces rising American Steve Johnson for the 2nd time this month having also met in the 2nd round at Brisbane, with Nishikori winning in straight sets.

 

  • A big-serving clash on Show Court 3 sees John Isner take on Gilles Muller. Muller is looking to record his 100th career hard court win and reach the round of 16 here for the first time. An upset win over No. 19 seed Isner would see the man from Luxembourg, this year’s Sydney semifinalist, score 3 Tour-level wins in back-to-back tournaments for the first time since September 2011.

 

  • After taking the scalp of No. 17 seed Gael Monfils on Thursday, Jerzy Janowicz will bid to record back-to-back wins over seeded opposition at a Grand Slam for the first time when he plays No. 12 seed Feliciano Lopez on Margaret Court Arena. Victory over the Spaniard would see him become just the 3rd Polish man in history to reach the round of 16 at the Australian Open.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. 1 NOVAK DJOKOVIC (SRB) v NO. 31 FERNANDO VERDASCO (ESP)

Head-to-head: Djokovic leads 6-4

2005     US Open                      Hard (O)           R32      Verdasco          61 46 67(2) 64 64

2006     AMS Hamburg              Clay (O)            R32      Verdasco          64 63

2007     Roland Garros              Clay (O)            R16      Djokovic           63 63 76(1)

2007     AMS Madrid                  Hard (I)             R32      Djokovic           67(7) 63 63

2009     Monte Carlo-1000          Clay (O)            QF        Djokovic           62 46 63

2009     US Open                      Hard (O)           QF        Djokovic           76(2) 16 75 62

2009     Beijing                          Hard (O)            QF        Djokovic           63 16 61

2010     Monte Carlo-1000          Clay (O)            SF        Verdasco          62 62

2010     Rome-1000                   Clay (O)            QF        Verdasco          76(4) 36 64

2013     Hopman Cup                 Hard (I)             R1        Djokovic           63 75

2013     Beijing                          Hard (O)            R16      Djokovic           75 26 62

 

An 11th Tour-level meeting between these 2 players and their 4th at a Grand Slam.

 

Djokovic has won 4 of their 5 Tour-level meetings on a hard court.

 

                         DJOKOVIC                                      v                                     VERDASCO

 

27                                           Age                                           31

1                                    ATP Ranking                                   33

48                                         Titles                                          6

182-33                      Career Grand Slam Record                       87-46

45-6                          Australian Open Record                         20-11

608-141                               Career Record                               408-285

394-82                          Career Record – Hard                         186-150

4-1                                    2015 Record                                    3-1

4-1                               2015 Record – Hard                              3-1

22-8                          Career Five-Set Record                          18-17

3                          Comebacks from 0-2 Down                          5

172-102                        Career Tiebreak Record                       152-157

1-1                             2015 Tiebreak Record                            3-0

 

  • DJOKOVIC is bidding to reach the round of 16 here for the 9th consecutive year.

 

  • Djokovic advanced to the 3rd round after defeating qualifier Aljaz Bedene 63 62 64 in the opening round on Tuesday and Andrey Kuznetsov 60 61 64 in the 2nd round on Thursday.

 

  • The last time Djokovic lost in the 3rd round at any Grand Slam event was at 2009 Roland Garros, when as No. 4 seed he fell to Philipp Kohlschreiber. Seeded No. 29, Kohlschreiber is the lowest-ranked seed to have defeated Djokovic at a major.

 

  • Djokovic is looking to become the second man in history to win 5 or more Australian Open titles. Roy Emerson is the only man who has won more than 5 titles in Melbourne [see Preview page 1].

 

  • Djokovic won his 7th Grand Slam title at Wimbledon last year, defeating Roger Federer in the final. He is a 4-time Australian Open champion having won the titles here in 2008 (d. Jo-Wilfried Tonga), 2011 (d. Andy Murray), 2012 (d. Rafael Nadal) and 2013 (d. Murray).

 

  • Last year here Djokovic’s streak of 14 consecutive Grand Slam semifinal appearances was ended by Stan Wawrinka in the quarterfinals. Elsewhere at the majors in 2014, Djokovic lost to Nadal in the final at Roland Garros and to Kei Nishikori in the semifinals at the US Open.

 

  • Djokovic has lost to just one Spanish player other than Rafael Nadal since November 2011. His defeat to Tommy Robredo at 2014 Cincinnati-1000 was his first defeat to a Spanish player other than Nadal since falling to David Ferrer in the round-robin stages at the 2011 ATP World Tour Finals.

 

  • Djokovic has won 5 of his last 6 matches against lefthanders. Rafael Nadal ended his 5-match winning streak against left-handed players in the final at 2014 Roland Garros – his last meeting with a lefthander.
  • Djokovic won 7 titles in 8 finals in 2014 and in so doing finished the year with a prize money haul of $14,269,462. It was the 4th straight year he had earned over $12 million. He finished the year ranked No. 1 for the 3rd time after winning his 3rd consecutive ATP World Tour Finals crown.

 

  • Djokovic warmed up for the 2015 Australian Open by reaching the quarterfinals at Doha (l. Ivo Karlovic).

 

  • Djokovic started working with 2-time Australian Open champion Boris Becker in 2014. He has also been coached by Marian Vajda since June 2006. His wider team includes physios Miljan Amanovic and Gebhard Phil-Gritsch.

 

  • Lefthander VERDASCO is bidding to reach the round of 16 here for the first time since 2011. He advanced to the 3rd round after defeating James Ward 26 60 76(6) 63 and Go Soeda 63 62 76(3) in the opening 2 rounds.

 

  • Last year here Verdasco lost to Teymuraz Gabashvili as No. 31 seed in the 2nd round. This is his 12th consecutive Australian Open appearance and his 47th Grand Slam overall.

 

  • Melbourne Park is the scene of Verdasco’s best Grand Slam performance and one of the most significant milestones in his tennis career. In 2009, he pushed Rafael Nadal to 5 sets in the semifinals, eventually falling 67 64 76 67 64 in 5 hours 14 minutes.

 

  • Verdasco has lost 6 of his last 8 five-set matches. His only 5-set wins in that time came against Pablo Cuevas at 2014 Roland Garros and Blaz Rola at the 2014 US Open.

 

  • At the Grand Slams in 2014, Verdasco reached the round of 16 at Roland Garros (l. Andy Murray), the 2nd round at the Australian Open (l. Gabashvili) and the US Open (l. Andrey Kuznetsov) and fell in the 1st round at Wimbledon (l. Marinko Matosevic).

 

  • Verdasco’s best result in 2014 is winning the title at Houston (d. Nicolas Almagro). It was his first title since 2010 Barcelona and ended a 6-match losing streak in Tour-level finals. He also reached the semifinals at Bastad (l. Pablo Cuevas) and Gstaad (l. Pablo Andujar). He finished the year ranked No. 33 – his lowest year-end ranking for 8 years.

 

  • Verdasco warmed up for the Australian Open by reaching the 2nd round at Doha (l. David Ferrer).

 

  • Verdasco is one of 5 Spanish men through to the 3rd round here for the second straight year. The last time as many as 5 Spanish men reached the round of 16 here was in 2011, when Verdasco was joined by Nicolas Almagro, David Ferrer, Rafael Nadal and Tommy Robredo.

 

  • Verdasco is bidding to defeat a player ranked No. 1 for the first time on his 10th attempt. He has faced a No. 1 at a major on 3 previous occasions – falling to Nadal in the semifinals here in 2009 and in the quarterfinals at the 2010 US Open, and to Roger Federer at the 2012 US Open. He has defeated a world No. 2 on 3 occasions – Novak Djokovic at Monte Carlo-1000 and Rome-1000 in 2010, and Nadal at 2012 Madrid-1000.

 

  • Verdasco has lost 7 of his last 9 matches against seeded opposition at the Grand Slams. His only wins in that time came against No. 31 seed Julien Benneteau at 2013 Wimbledon and No. 12 seed Richard Gasquet at 2014 Roland Garros.

 

  • Verdasco has played at every Grand Slam event since making his debut at 2003 Wimbledon. This is his 47th straight major. Only 3 men have a longer active streak: Roger Federer (61), Feliciano Lopez (52) and David Ferrer (49).

 

  • Verdasco is coached by Sergio Perez. His technical advisor is 1999 Australian Open runner-up Thomas Enqvist. His fitness trainer is Vicente Calvo.

 

 

 

 

 

  1. 4 STAN WAWRINKA (SUI) v JARKKO NIEMINEN (FIN)

Head-to-head: tied 1-1

2009     Basel                Hard (I)             R16      Wawrinka          75 26 61

2011     Stockholm        Hard (I)             R16      Nieminen           63 64

 

WAWRINKA                                     v                                      NIEMINEN

 

29                                           Age                                           33

4                                    ATP Ranking                                   72

8                                          Titles                                          2

84-38                       Career Grand Slam Record                       53-48

25-8                          Australian Open Record                         17-13

344-216                               Career Record                               396-332

179-116                          Career Record – Hard                         245-206

6-0                                    2015 Record                                    3-2

6-0                               2015 Record – Hard                              3-2

21-16                          Career Five-Set Record                          20-11

6                          Comebacks from 0-2 Down                          2

126-143                        Career Tiebreak Record                       163-137

3-0                             2015 Tiebreak Record                            2-1

 

  • Defending champion WAWRINKA is bidding to reach the round of 16 here for the 4th time.

 

  • Wawrinka defeated Marsel Ilhan 61 64 62 and qualifier Marius Copil 76(4) 76(4) 63 in the opening 2 rounds. This is his 10th Australian Open appearance and his 40th Grand Slam overall.

 

  • Wawrinka is looking to avoid becoming the first defending Australian Open champion to lose in the 3rd round since Petr Korda in 1999.

 

  • Last year here Wawrinka broke through to win his first Grand Slam title in his first Grand Slam final             (d. Rafael Nadal 63 62 36 63). He was the first player to defeat the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds en route to a Grand Slam title since Sergei Bruguera won 1993 Roland Garros. He is on a 9-match winning streak at Melbourne Park.

 

  • Wawrinka had an outstanding 2014 season. As well as winning his first Grand Slam title, he won his first Masters-1000 title at Monte Carlo (d. Roger Federer) and lifted the trophy at Chennai (d. Edouard Roger-Vasselin). He was also a member of the Swiss team that won the Davis Cup title for the first time in its history. Wawrinka recorded a career-high ranking of No. 3 following his Australian Open triumph and plays here at No. 4.

 

  • Elsewhere at the Grand Slams in 2014, Wawrinka reached the quarterfinals at both Wimbledon
    (l. Federer) and the US Open (l. Kei Nishikori).

 

  • Wawrinka warmed up for the Australian Open by successfully defending his title at Chennai. He defeated qualifier Aljaz Bedene in the final. It was his 8th career title and 3rd at Chennai, having also won there in 2011 and 2014.

 

  • Wawrinka has not lost to a lefthanded player since he lost to Nadal at the 2013 ATP World Tour Finals. He is on a 6-match winning streak against lefthanded players.

 

  • Wawrinka is currently working with Magnus Norman, who reached the semifinals here in 2000.

 

  • Lefthander NIEMINEN is bidding to reach the round of 16 at the Australian Open for the 2nd time and the first time since 2008.

 

  • Nieminen defeated Andrey Golubev 61 62 76(6) and qualifier Mathias Bachinger 76(4) 75 75 in the opening 2 rounds. It is the first time he has reached the 3rd round at a Grand Slam since the 2008 US Open.

 

  • Last year here Nieminen reached the 2nd round (l. Fabio Fognini). This is his 14th consecutive Australian Open appearance and his 49th Grand Slam overall.
  • Nieminen’s best Australian Open – and Grand Slam – performance is reaching the quarterfinals. He reached the last 8 at the 2005 US Open (l. Lleyton Hewitt), 2006 Wimbledon (l. Rafael Nadal) and the 2008 Australian Open (l. Nadal).

 

  • Prior to coming here, Nieminen reached the 2nd round at Brisbane (l. James Duckworth) and lost in the 1st round as a qualifier at Sydney (l. Pablo Andujar).

 

  • Nieminen’s 2014 highlight was reaching the semifinals at Montpellier (l. Gael Monfils) and Kuala Lumpur
    (l. Kei Nishikori). He was part of the shortest completed ATP match on record when he defeated Bernard Tomic 60 61 in the 1st round at Miami-1000. He finished the year ranked No. 73 – the 14th straight year he has recorded a year-end ranking within the Top 100.

 

  • At the Grand Slams in 2014, Nieminen lost in the 2nd round at the Australian Open, Roland Garros
    (l. Jerzy Janowicz) and Wimbledon (l. John Isner), and in the 1st round at the US Open (l. Ivo Karlovic). Nieminen’s 2nd round loss to Isner at Wimbledon included a 19-17 tiebreak in the 1st set which is the 2nd longest tiebreak in Wimbledon history (after Bjorn Borg won a 20-18 tiebreak against Premjit Lall in 1973).

 

  • Nieminen has won just one of his last 24 matches against Top 10 opposition, when he defeated No. 7 Juan Martin del Potro at 2013 Monte Carlo-1000. He has a 1-17 win-loss record against Top 10 players at the majors – his only victory coming against No. 7 Andre Agassi at 2005 Roland Garros.

 

  • Nieminen is a 2-time singles titlist having won titles at 2006 Auckland and 2012 Sydney. He has also won 4 doubles titles – at 2007 Mumbai, 2010 Gstaad, 2013 Munich and 2014 Kitzbuhel. He entered the men’s doubles event here with Ivo Karlovic. The pair lost 64 36 76(5) to Pablo Andujar/Dustin Brown in the 1st round.

 

  • Nieminen reached a career-high ranking of No. 13 in July 2006. He plays here ranked No. 72.

 

  • Nieminen was a member of the ITF 18 & Under International Team in Europe and North America in 1999 funded by the Grand Slam Development Fund.

 

  • Nieminen has been coached by Jan de Witt since June 2010.

 

 

 

 

  1. 5 KEI NISHIKORI (JPN) v STEVE JOHNSON (USA)

Head-to-head: Nishikori leads 2-0

2014     Halle                 Grass (O)          QF        Nishikori           61 76(4)

2015     Brisbane           Hard (O)            R16      Nishikori           64 75

 

A 3rd career meeting between these 2 players, whose most recent meeting came on Australian hard courts earlier this month.

 

NISHIKORI                                      v                                       JOHNSON

 

25                                           Age                                           25

5                                    ATP Ranking                                   38

7                                          Titles                                          0

39-21                       Career Grand Slam Record                        5-10

14-5                          Australian Open Record                           2-2

193-106                               Career Record                                31-40

139-72                          Career Record – Hard                           25-30

4-1                                    2015 Record                                    5-2

4-1                               2015 Record – Hard                              5-2

10-2                          Career Five-Set Record                           1-5

2                          Comebacks from 0-2 Down                          1

63-42                         Career Tiebreak Record                         19-30

3-2                             2015 Tiebreak Record                            1-2

 

  • NISHIKORI is bidding to reach the round of 16 here for the 4th straight year.

 

  • Nishikori advanced to the 2nd round after defeating Nicolas Almagro 64 76(1) 62 in the 1st round on Tuesday and Ivan Dodig 46 75 62 76(0) in the 2nd round on Thursday. This is his 6th Australian Open appearance and his 22nd Grand Slam overall.

 

  • Nishikori’s best result here is reaching the quarterfinals as No. 24 seed in 2012 (l. Andy Murray). He was the first Japanese man to reach the quarterfinals at Melbourne Park in the Open Era.

 

  • At the 2014 US Open, Nishikori became the first Asian male to contest a Grand Slam final after defeating 3 Top 10 players – Milos Raonic, Stan Wawrinka and Novak Djokovic – in consecutive matches before falling to Marin Cilic in the title match.

 

  • Also in Grand Slam play last year Nishikori reached the round of 16 at the Australian Open (l. Rafael Nadal) and Wimbledon (l. Raonic) and fell in the 1st round to Martin Klizan at Roland Garros.

 

  • Nishikori had a career-best year in 2014. As well as reaching his first Grand Slam final at the US Open, he won 4 titles – at Memphis (d. Ivo Karlovic), Barcelona (d. Santiago Giraldo), Kuala Lumpur (d. Julien Benneteau) and Tokyo (d. Raonic) and finished as runner-up in his first Masters-1000 final at Madrid
    (l. Nadal). It was the first time he had won multiple titles in a season. 6 of Nishikori’s 7 career titles have come on a hard court.

 

  • Nishikori warmed up for the Australian Open by reaching the semifinals at Brisbane, where he lost to Raonic 67(4) 76(4) 76(4). He also reached the doubles final alongside Alexandr Dolgopolov, losing to Jamie Murray/John Peers in the final.

 

  • Nishikori has won 11 of his last 12 matches against American opposition. His only defeat to an American opponent in that time was against Jack Sock at 2014 Shanghai-1000.

 

  • Nishikori’s defeat to No. 60 Sock at 2014 Shanghai was the last time he lost to a player ranked as low as today’s opponent. The last time he lost to a player ranked as low as today’s opponent at a Grand Slam was against No. 59 Martin Klizan at 2014 Roland Garros.

 

  • Nishikori is the highest-ranked Japanese man in ATP World Tour Rankings history (since 1973). He had the nickname ‘Project 45’ as a major goal was to get him to No. 45 in the rankings, which would be one spot better than the highest by any Japanese man (Shuzo Matsuoka). He plays here on his career-high ranking of No. 5.

 

  • Nishikori is coached by Dante Bottini and Michael Chang. Chang finished as runner-up at the 1996 Australian Open, losing in the final to Boris Becker.

 

  • JOHNSON is bidding to reach the round of 16 here and record his best Grand Slam result. He defeated qualifier Kyle Edmund 64 64 63 and No. 30 seed Santiago Giraldo 63 64 62 in the opening 2 rounds.

 

  • By reaching the 3rd round here, Johnson has equalled his best Grand Slam result. He also reached the 3rd round as a wild card at the 2012 US Open (l. Richard Gasquet),

 

  • Johnson lost in the 1st round in 5-sets on both of his 2 previous appearances here – as a qualifier in 2013 (l. Nicolas Almagro) and as a wild card in 2014 (l. Adrian Mannarino). He recorded his first 5-set match-win, and ended a 5-match losing streak in 5-set matches, by defeating Laurent Lokoli in the 1st round at 2014 Roland Garros on his way to reaching the 2nd round (l. Jack Sock).

 

  • Johnson has lost in the 1st round at 7 of the last 8 Grand Slams – including in 2014 as a wild card at the Australian Open (l. Adrian Mannarino) and as a direct acceptance at both Wimbledon
    (l. Roberto Bautista Agut) and the US Open (l. Tatsuma Ito). His 2nd round finish at Roland Garros was his first Grand Slam match-win since the 2012 US Open.

 

  • Johnson is contesting his 3rd consecutive Australian Open and his 11th Grand Slam

 

  • Johnson’s best result in 2014 was reaching his first Tour-level semifinal as a qualifier at Delray Beach
    (l. Kevin Anderson) – one of just 2 occasions he has won 3 back-to-back matches at Tour-level along with 2014 Washington, where he reached the quarterfinals. He reached a further 4 Tour-level quarterfinals last year and won 2 Challenger titles.

 

  • Johnson finished 2014 on a career-high ranking of No. 37. It was the first time he had finished the year ranked inside the Top 150.

 

  • Johnson is bidding to defeat a Top 10 opponent for the first time at the 5th attempt. The highest ranked players he has defeated are No. 12 Tommy Haas at 2014 Delray Beach and No. 12 John Isner at 2014 Washington.

 

  • Johnson warmed up for the Australian Open by reaching the quarterfinals at Auckland (l. Kevin Anderson) following a 2nd round finish at Brisbane (l. today’s opponent).

 

  • Johnson played college tennis. He was 2011 NCAA singles champion and lead USC to their third consecutive NCAA team title.

 

  • Johnson is coached by Peter Lucassen.

 

 

 

  1. 8 MILOS RAONIC (CAN) v BENJAMIN BECKER (GER)

Head-to-head: Raonic leads 2-1

2012     Memphis           Hard (I)             SF        Raonic              64 64

2012     Newport            Grass (O)          R16      Becker              63 63

2014     Miami-1000       Hard (O)            R16      Raonic              63 64

 

RAONIC                                        v                                        BECKER

 

24                                           Age                                           33

8                                    ATP Ranking                                   41

6                                          Titles                                          1

37-16                       Career Grand Slam Record                       16-28

12-4                          Australian Open Record                           5-7

179-88                               Career Record                               135-181

130-53                          Career Record – Hard                          94-131

5-1                                    2015 Record                                    2-2

5-1                               2015 Record – Hard                              2-2

4-3                           Career Five-Set Record                           1-6

0                          Comebacks from 0-2 Down                          1

121-69                        Career Tiebreak Record                         63-92

  • 2015 Tiebreak Record                                    0-2

 

  • RAONIC is bidding to reach the round of 16 and equal his best Australian Open performance. He defeated qualifier Illya Marchenko 76(3) 76(3) 63 and Donald Young 64 76(3) 63 in the opening 2 rounds.

 

  • Both Raonic and Vasek Pospisil are in 3rd round action today. If they both win and progress to the round of 16 it would be the first time in history that Canada has held multiple representation in the round of 16 in the men’s event at a Grand Slam.

 

  • Last year here as No. 11 seed Raonic reached the 3rd round (l. Grigor Dimitrov). This is his 5th Australian Open appearance and his 17th Grand Slam overall.

 

  • Raonic’s best Australian Open result is reaching the round of 16 on his debut here as a qualifier in 2011
    (l. David Ferrer) and as No. 13 seed in 2013 (l. Roger Federer).

 

  • Raonic’s best Grand Slam result is reaching the semifinals as No. 8 seed at 2014 Wimbledon (l. Federer). He became the first Canadian man to reach a Grand Slam semifinal after Robert Powell at 1908 Wimbledon. He reached a career-high ranking of No. 6 as a result but plays here ranked No. 8.

 

  • Also in Grand Slam play in 2014 Raonic reached the 3rd round at the Australian Open, the quarterfinals at Roland Garros (l. Novak Djokovic) and the round of 16 at the US Open (l. Kei Nishikori).

 

  • In 2014, Raonic won the title at Washington (d. Pospisil) and finished as runner-up in his second Masters-1000 final at Paris (l. Djokovic) and at Tokyo (l. Nishikori). All 6 of Raonic’s career titles have come on a hard court.

 

  • Raonic warmed up for the Australian Open by reaching the final as No. 3 seed at Brisbane, losing to Federer 64 67(2) 64. It was Federer’s 1000th career match-win.

 

  • Raonic became the first Canadian to be seeded in the men’s singles at a Grand Slam event in the Open Era at 2011 Roland Garros. He plays here seeded No. 8.

 

  • Raonic was born in Montenegro but moved to Canada in 1994. He started playing tennis aged 8.

 

  • Raonic started working with Ivan Ljubicic at 2013 Roland Garros. Ljubicic reached the quarterfinals here in 2006.

 

  • BECKER is bidding to reach the round of 16 at the Australian Open for the first time and equal his best Grand Slam result.

 

  • Becker defeated No. 25 seed Julien Benneteau 75 57 62 64 and Lleyton Hewitt 26 16 63 64 62 in the first 2 rounds. He came back from 0-2 down to defeat Hewitt in the 2nd round and record his first 5-set victory in his 7th career 5-set match.

 

  • Becker’s victory over No. 25 seed Benneteau ended a run of 6 defeats to seeds at the Grand Slams. It was his first match-win over a seed since he defeated No. 24 seed Ernests Gulbis at the 2011 Australian Open. He has never won back-to-back matches against seeds at a major.

 

  • Becker’s 1st round match-win over Benneteau was also his first victory in 2015. Prior to coming here he fell in the 1st round to Simone Bolelli at Doha and to Leonardo Mayer at Sydney.

 

  • By reaching the 3rd round Becker has recorded his best Australian Open performance. His previous best performance here was reaching the 2nd round here in 2010 (l. Nicolas Almagro), 2011 (l. Alexandr Dolgopolov) and 2013 (l. Juan Martin del Potro).

 

  • Last year here Becker lost in the 1st round to Nick Kyrgios. This is his 8th appearance at Melbourne Park and his 29th Grand Slam overall.

 

  • Becker’s best Grand Slam result is a round of 16 finish as a qualifier at the 2006 US Open (l. Andy Roddick) – the only time he has advanced beyond the 2nd round at a major in 28 previous Grand Slam appearances.

 

  • Becker achieved good results in 2014, culminating in a career-high ranking of No. 35 in October. He reached his 3rd Tour-level final at ’s-Hertogenbosch (l. Roberto Bautista Agut), the semifinals at Atlanta
    (l. Dudi Sela) and Tokyo (l. Kei Nishikori) and the quarterfinals at 3 further events.

 

  • Becker won just one Grand Slam match last year, when he reached the 2nd round at Wimbledon
    (d. Donald Young, l. Dolgopolov). He fell in the 1st round at the Australian Open, Roland Garros (l. Thomaz Bellucci) and the US Open (l. Peter Gojowczyk).

 

  • Becker has entered the men’s doubles here with Artem Sitak. They progressed to the 3rd round after their 2nd round opponents Julian Knowle/Vasek Pospisil retired when leading 2-1 due to Pospisil having a back injury.

 

  • As a qualifier at the 2006 US Open, Becker ended Andre Agassi’s career, defeating the Americans 75 67 64 75 in the 3rd round in Agassi’s last tournament before retiring.

 

  • Becker is looking to end a run of 11 straight defeats to Top 10 players. His last victory over a player ranked in the Top 10 came against No. 9 Fernando Verdasco at 2011 Brisbane. His victory over No. 4 Nikolay Davydenko at 2008 Wimbledon is the only time he has defeated a Top 10 opponent at a major.

 

  • Becker is coached by former world No. 13 Andrei Pavel, who reached the round of 16 here in 1999 and 2004.

 

 

 

  1. 9 DAVID FERRER (ESP) v NO. 18 GILLES SIMON (FRA)

Head-to-head: Ferrer leads 5-2

2007     AMS Monte Carlo          Clay (O)            R64                  Ferrer                63 61

2007     Bastad                          Clay (O)            QF                    Ferrer                61 60

2011     Cincinnati-1000              Hard (O)            R16                  Simon               64 67(3) 64

2011     Davis Cup (WG-SF)       Clay (O)            R2                    Ferrer                61 64 61

2012     Rome-1000                   Clay (O)            R16                  Ferrer                60 76(5)

2013     Paris-1000                     Hard (I)             R16                  Ferrer                62 63

2014     US Open                      Hard (O)           R32                  Simon              63 36 61 63

 

A 2nd straight Grand Slam meeting for the 2 players. Simon’s victory over No. 4 Ferrer at the 2014 US Open ended a run of 3 straight defeats to Ferrer and a 6-match losing streak against Top 10 opponents at the Grand Slams. No. 4 seed Ferrer is also the highest-ranked seed Simon has defeated at a major.

 

FERRER                                        v                                         SIMON

 

32                                           Age                                           30

10                                    ATP Ranking                                   20

22                                         Titles                                         11

123-48                      Career Grand Slam Record                       58-34

34-12                         Australian Open Record                          17-8

609-295                               Career Record                               331-233

277-154                          Career Record – Hard                         193-128

7-0                                    2015 Record                                    2-1

7-0                               2015 Record – Hard                              2-1

19-11                          Career Five-Set Record                           14-9

4                          Comebacks from 0-2 Down                          1

136-124                        Career Tiebreak Record                       105-106

2-3                             2015 Tiebreak Record                            1-0

 

  • FERRER is bidding to reach the round of 16 here for the 5th straight year. He defeated Thomaz Bellucci 67(2) 62 60 63 and Sergiy Stakhovsky 57 63 64 62 in the opening 2 rounds. He is contesting his 13th successive Australian Open and 49th straight Grand Slam.

 

  • Ferrer’s best Grand Slam result is reaching the final as No. 4 seed at 2013 Roland Garros, where he lost in straight sets to Rafael Nadal. At 31 years 68 days, he was the 4th oldest man to reach the Roland Garros final.

 

  • Ferrer’s best Australian Open performance is reaching the semifinals as No. 7 seed in 2011 (l. Andy Murray) and as No. 4 seed in 2013 (l. Novak Djokovic).

 

  • Last year here Ferrer reached the quarterfinals as No. 3 seed, losing to Tomas Berdych. Elsewhere at the Grand Slams in 2014, Ferrer reached the quarterfinals at Roland Garros (l. Nadal), the 3rd round at the US Open (l. today’s opponent) and the 2nd round at Wimbledon (l. Andrey Kuznetsov).

 

  • Ferrer’s loss to Simon at the US Open ended a run of 8 straight victories over French opposition. He has a 5-1 win-loss record over French players at the Australian Open – his only loss here came against Fabrice Santoro in 2006.

 

  • Ferrer is one of 5 Spanish men through to the 3rd round here for the second straight year. The last time as many as 5 Spanish men reached the round of 16 here was in 2011, when Ferrer was joined by Nicolas Almagro, Rafael Nadal, Tommy Robredo and Fernando Verdasco in the last 16.

 

  • Ferrer warmed up for the Australian Open by winning the title at Doha (d. Berdych). His victory over Berdych ended a run of 5 defeats to Top 20 opponents. 9 of his 22 career singles titles have come on a hard court.
  • Ferrer finished 2014 at No. 10 in the rankings – his lowest year-end finish since 2009. He won one title in 2014 – the fewest titles he has won in one year since 2006 – at Buenos Aires (d. Fabio Fognini). He also finished as runner-up at Hamburg (l. Leonardo Mayer), Cincinnati-1000 (l. Roger Federer) and Vienna
    (l. Murray).

 

  • Ferrer plays here seeded No. 9 – his lowest Grand Slam seeding since the 2010 US Open. He has been seeded at every Grand Slam event since 2005 Roland Garros.

 

  • Since making his debut at the 2003 Australian Open, Ferrer has played at every Grand Slam He is in 5th place for the most consecutive majors played in the Open Era behind Federer (61), Wayne Ferreira (56), Stefan Edberg (54) and Feliciano Lopez (52) with 49 [see Preview page 4].

 

  • Ferrer started working with Francisco Fogues in 2015.

 

  • SIMON is looking to reach the round of 16 here for the 3rd time. He is contesting his 9th Australian Open and his 35th Grand Slam overall.

 

  • Simon defeated Robin Haase 61 63 64 and Marcel Granollers 76(5) 62 64 in the first 2 rounds. It is the first time he has reached the 3rd round here without dropping a set.

 

  • Simon and Richard Gasquet are the only 2 French men through to the 3rd round here from the 12 to start in the men’s draw. This is the fewest French men to reach this stage at the Australian Open since 2005 when only Jean-Rene Lisnard reached the 3rd round. The last time fewer than 2 players reached the 3rd round at a Grand Slam was at 2010 Roland Garros when only Jo-Wilfried Tsonga reached that stage.

 

  • Simon’s best Grand Slam result came here in 2009, when he reached the quarterfinals as No. 6 seed losing to eventual champion Rafael Nadal.

 

  • Last year here Simon reached the 3rd round, losing to Tsonga. He had defeated Daniel Brands and Marin Cilic in 5-sets in the opening 2 rounds to extend his 5-set record at Melbourne Park to 6-2. He has a 14-9 win-loss record in 5-set matches overall.

 

  • Elsewhere at the Grand Slams in 2014 Simon reached the round of 16 at the US Open (l. Marin Cilic) and fell in the 3rd round at the Australian Open, Roland Garros (l. Milos Raonic) and Wimbledon (l. Novak Djokovic).

 

  • Simon’s best result in 2014 was reaching the final at Shanghai-1000 (l. Roger Federer). He also reached the semifinals at Nice (l. Federico Delbonis) and Tokyo (l. Raonic).

 

  • Simon’s last match-ups against Top 10 players came at 2014 Shanghai-1000 when he defeated No. 4 Stan Wawrinka in the 3rd round, No. 7 Tomas Berdych in the quarterfinals before losing to No. 3 Federer in the final.

 

  • Prior to coming here, Simon lost to James Duckworth in the 1st round as No. 6 seed at Brisbane. He also played at the Kooyong Exhibition Event, losing to Fernando Verdasco 62 76 but defeating Filip Krajinovic 64 63.

 

  • Simon is a former Top 10 player having reached a career-high ranking of No. 6 in January 2009. He plays here ranked No. 20. He has won 11 career singles titles, most recently at 2013 Metz (d. Tsonga) and is the 2nd most successful Frenchman in the Open Era in terms of titles won (behind Yannick Noah with 23).

 

  • Simon is coached by Jan de Witt. His fitness trainer is Paul Quetin.

 

 

 

 

  1. 12 FELICIANO LOPEZ (ESP) v JERZY JANOWICZ (POL)

Head-to-head: first meeting

 

LOPEZ                                         v                                      JANOWICZ

 

33                                           Age                                           24

14                                    ATP Ranking                                   44

4                                          Titles                                          0

75-52                       Career Grand Slam Record                       20-10

19-12                         Australian Open Record                           6-2

366-337                               Career Record                                74-63

204-196                          Career Record – Hard                           49-39

2-1                                    2015 Record                                    3-1

2-1                               2015 Record – Hard                              3-1

19-9                          Career Five-Set Record                           7-5

3                          Comebacks from 0-2 Down                          2

224-195                        Career Tiebreak Record                         47-32

1-0                             2015 Tiebreak Record                            2-3

 

  • LOPEZ is bidding to reach the round of 16 here and equal his best Australian Open result. This is his 13th consecutive Australian Open appearance.

 

  • Lopez is through to the 3rd round for the 3rd straight Grand Slam event. He defeated wild card Denis Kudla 36 62 46 62 108 in the 1st round and was trailing Adrian Mannarino 46 46 76(3) 4-0 when the Frenchman retired with illness in the 2nd. He saved 3 match points against Kudla and one match point against Mannarino.

 

  • Lopez’s 5-set victory over Kudla in the 1st round was his 8th 5-set win in his last 9 five-set matches. His only defeat in that time came against Florian Mayer in Spain’s Davis Cup World Group first round tie against Germany last year. Lopez has not lost a 5-set match at a Grand Slam since losing to Karol Beck in the 1st round at 2009 Wimbledon. He has a 19-9 five-set win-loss record overall.

 

  • Lopez recorded his best Australian Open result in 2012 by reaching the round of 16 as No. 18 seed
    (l. Rafael Nadal). His best Grand Slam result is 3 quarterfinal finishes at Wimbledon in 2005
    (l. Lleyton Hewitt), in 2008 (l. Marat Safin) and 2011 (l. Andy Murray).

 

  • At the Grand Slams last year, Lopez reached the round of 16 at Wimbledon (l. Stan Wawrinka), the 3rd round at the Australian Open (l. Murray) and the US Open (l. Dominic Thiem) and the 2nd round at Roland Garros (l. Donald Young).

 

  • Lopez’s best result in 2014 was successfully defending his title at Eastbourne, where he defeated Richard Gasquet in the final. He also finished as runner-up at Queen’s (l. Grigor Dimitrov) and reached the semifinals at Toronto-1000 and Shanghai-1000. He finished the year ranked inside the Top 20 for the first time since 2011 at a career-high No. 14.

 

  • Lopez has won 4 career singles titles, 2 of which have come on a hard court – at 2004 Vienna
    (d. Guillermo Canas) and at 2010 Johannesburg (d. Stephane Robert).

 

  • Lopez warmed up for the Australian Open at Chennai, where he lost in the 2nd round to Aljaz Bedene (after receiving a 1st round bye). He also played at the Kooyong Exhibition Event, losing both of his matches against Gasquet and Jordan Thompson.

 

  • This is Lopez’s 52nd consecutive Grand Slam appearance, which puts him in 4th place for the most consecutive Grand Slam events played in the Open Era. Among active players only Roger Federer (61) has played more consecutive Grand Slam events [see Preview page 4].

 

  • Lopez entered the men’s doubles event here alongside Max Mirnyi. The pair defeated wild cards James Duckworth/Luke Saville 76(1) 67(5) 62 in the 1st round and No. 7 seeds Rohan Bopanna/Daniel Nestor 75 63 in the 2nd.

 

  • Lopez is coached by Jose Clavet.

 

  • JANOWICZ is bidding to become just the 3rd Polish man in history to reach the round of 16 at the Australian Open. Wojtek Fibak (1978) and Lukasz Kubot (2010) are the only Polish men to have reached the round of 16 here.

 

  • Janowicz defeated lucky loser Hiroki Moriya 76(5) 26 63 75 in the 1st round on Tuesday and No. 17 seed Gael Monfils 64 16 67(3) 63 63 in the 2nd round on Thursday. His victory over Monfils improved his 5-set record at Melbourne Park to 3-0 and his overall 5-set record to 7-5.

 

  • Janowicz ended a 6-match losing streak against Top 20 opposition by defeating Monfils in the 2nd round here. It was his 2nd career victory over a Top 20 opponent at a major – after No. 16 Nicolas Almagro at 2013 Wimbledon. He has a 12-20 win-loss record against Top 20 opposition overall.

 

  • Janowicz’s 2nd round win over Monfils was his 2nd victory over a seeded player at a Grand Slam. The only other seed he has defeated at a major is No. 15 seed Almagro at 2013 Wimbledon. He has a 2-7 win-loss record against seeded opposition at the majors.

 

  • Janowicz is bidding to record his 50th hard court match-win today. He has a 49-39 win-loss record on hard courts, compared with 11-18 on clay, 9-5 on grass and 5-1 on carpet.

 

  • By reaching the 3rd round here, Janowicz has maintained his record of always reaching this stage at the Australian Open. He reached the 3rd round here on his Australian Open debut in 2013 (l. Almagro) and in 2014 (l. Florian Mayer). This is his 3rd straight Australian Open appearance and his 11th Grand Slam appearance overall.

 

  • Janowicz’s best Grand Slam performance is reaching the semifinals as No. 24 seed at 2013 Wimbledon
    (l. Andy Murray). He was the first Polish man to reach a Grand Slam semifinal.

 

  • At the Grand Slams in 2014, Janowicz reached the 3rd round at the Australian Open, Roland Garros (l. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga) and Wimbledon (l. Tommy Robredo), and fell in the 2nd round at the US Open (l. Kevin Anderson).

 

  • Janowicz’s best result in 2014 was reaching his 2nd Tour-level final at Winston-Salem, losing to Lukas Rosol 36 76(3) 75. He held 2 match points in the 3rd set. He reached the semifinals at Montpellier
    (l. Richard Gasquet) and the quarterfinals at Rotterdam and Metz.

 

  • Prior to coming here, Janowicz won the Hopman Cup with Agnieszka Radwanska. He defeated Matt Ebden and Benoit Paire but lost to Andy Murray and John Isner. Poland defeated USA 2-1 in the final.

 

  • Janowicz is coached by former Finnish tennis player Kim Tiilikainen. His strength and conditioning coach is Piotr Grabia.

 

 

  1. 19 JOHN ISNER (USA) v GILLES MULLER (LUX)

Head-to-head: Isner leads 3-0

2010     Atlanta              Hard (O)            R16      Isner     46 76(6) 76(7)

2011     Atlanta              Hard (O)            SF        Isner     75 67(3) 61

2012     Memphis           Hard (I)             R32      Isner     76(1) 76(4)

 

A 4th career meeting between these 2 players on a hard court. 5 of the 8 sets they have contested have been decided by a tiebreak.

 

ISNER                                          v                                        MULLER

 

29                                           Age                                           31

21                                    ATP Ranking                                   42

9                                          Titles                                          0

39-26                       Career Grand Slam Record                       23-26

9-6                           Australian Open Record                           7-8

245-152                               Career Record                               135-130

182-100                          Career Record – Hard                           99-84

2-0                                    2015 Record                                    7-2

2-0                               2015 Record – Hard                              7-2

5-12                          Career Five-Set Record                           9-4

1                          Comebacks from 0-2 Down                          3

243-131                        Career Tiebreak Record                         98-78

2-0                             2015 Tiebreak Record                            8-2

 

  • ISNER is bidding to reach the round of 16 and equal his best Australian Open result. He advanced to the 3rd round for the first time since 2012 after defeating qualifier Jimmy Wang 76(5) 64 64 in the opening round on Tuesday and Andreas Haider-Maurer 64 76(4) 46 64 in the 2nd round on Thursday.

 

  • Isner’s best Australian Open performance is reaching the round of 16 as No. 33 seed in 2010 (l. Andy Murray). This is his 7th Australian Open appearance and his 27th Grand Slam overall.

 

  • Last year here as No. 13 seed, Isner retired in the 1st round with a foot injury while trailing Martin Klizan 62 76(6). He missed the 2013 event with a knee injury.

 

  • Isner recorded his best Grand Slam result at the 2011 US Open where he reached the quarterfinals as No. 28 seed (l. Murray).

 

  • Isner warmed up for the Australian Open at the Hopman Cup. He won 3 of his 4 singles matches, defeating Fabio Fognini, Adam Pavlasek and Jerzy Janowicz but losing to Vasek Pospisil. USA fell to Poland in the final. He also played a match at the Kooyong Exhibition Event, losing to James Ward 36 76 62.

 

  • Isner is one of 2 Americans through to the 3rd round here along with Steve Johnson. The last time 2 Americans reached the round of 16 here was in 2010, when Isner and Andy Roddick reached that stage.

 

  • Isner won 2 titles in 2014 – at Auckland (d. Yen-Hsun Lu) and Atlanta (d. Dudi Sela). It was the 4th straight year he has won 2 titles in a season. He also reached the semifinals at Delray Beach (l. Marin Cilic) and Indian Wells-1000 (l. Novak Djokovic) and 4 further quarterfinals. 6 of Isner’s 9 career titles have come on a hard court.

 

  • Isner finished 2014 ranked No. 19 – the 5th consecutive season he has finished inside the Top 20. He plays here ranked No. 21.

 

  • In Grand Slam play in 2014, Isner fell in the 1st round at the Australian Open before reaching the round of 16 at Roland Garros (l. Tomas Berdych) and the 3rd round at Wimbledon (l. Feliciano Lopez) and the US Open (l. Philip Kohlschreiber). He was the first American to reach the round of 16 at Roland Garros since Robby Ginepri in 2010.

 

  • Isner’s 64 36 67 76 70-68 1st round defeat of Nicolas Mahut at 2010 Wimbledon played over 3 days set the record for the longest tennis match in history in terms of number of games and duration. The match lasted 11 hours 5 minutes and totalled 183 games. The final set alone lasted 8 hours 11 minutes. In comparison, the fewest games played through 7 rounds to win a Grand Slam Open Era men’s singles title is 147, by Guillermo Vilas at the 1977 US Open.

 

  • Isner started working with Justin Gimelstob, who was a doubles semifinalist here in 2001, in December 2014. His fitness trainer is Kyle Morgan.

 

  • Lefthander MULLER is bidding to reach the round of 16 and record his best Australian Open result.

 

  • Muller is also bidding to record his 100th career hard court win today. Hard court is by far his best surface – he has a 20-19 win-loss record on clay, 13-21 on grass and 3-6 on carpet.

 

  • By reaching the 3rd round here, Muller has equalled his best Australian Open result. He also reached the 3rd round here in 2009 (l. Juan Martin del Potro). This is his 9th Australian Open and his 27th Grand Slam overall.

 

  • Muller advanced to the 3rd round after defeating Pablo Carreno Busta 64 76(5) 76(3) and No. 13 seed Roberto Bautista Agut 76(5) 16 75 61 in the opening 2 rounds. His win over Bautista Agut ended a 9-match losing streak against Top 20 opposition at the Grand Slams. His best career-win was against No. 3 Rafael Nadal at 2005 Wimbledon and No. 3 Andy Roddick at the 2005 US Open.

 

  • Muller’s win over No. 13 seed Bautista Agut was the highest ranked seed he has defeated at a Grand Slam since he defeated No. 5 Nikolay Davydenko at the 2008 US Open. He has an 8-16 win-loss record against seeded opposition at the majors overall.

 

  • Muller’s best result at a Grand Slam came at the 2008 US Open, where, as a qualifier, he reached the quarterfinals (l. Roger Federer). He came back from 0-2 down in the 2nd and 3rd rounds to become the first player from Luxemburg to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal.

 

  • Muller played mainly on the Challenger circuit in 2014 on his comeback from a left elbow injury the previous year that kept him off the Tour for 7 months. He returned to action in January at the Germany F2 Futures event and went on to win 5 Challenger titles – at Guadalajara (MEX), Shenzhen (CHN), Taipei (TPE), Gimcheon (KOR) and Recanati (ITA).

 

  • Muller dropped to No. 374 in the ATP rankings in December 2013 but finished 2014 ranked inside the Top 50 for the first time at No. 47. He plays here at No. 42 – equalling the career-high ranking he first achieved in October 2011.

 

  • At the Grand Slams in 2014, Muller reached the 2nd round as a qualifier at Wimbledon (d. Julien Benneteau, l. Federer) and lost in the 1st round at the US Open (l. Paul-Henri Mathieu). His win over Benneteau at Wimbledon was his first Grand Slam match-win since the 2012 US Open. He was ranked too low for direct entry and didn’t attempt to qualify at the Australian Open and Roland Garros.

 

  • Muller is bidding to record 3 consecutive Tour-level match-wins in back-to-back tournaments for the first time since September 2011 when he reached the round of 16 at the US Open and the semifinal at Metz. Prior to coming here, he reached the semifinals at Sydney (l. Viktor Troicki) after a quarterfinal finish at Chennai (l. Stan Wawrinka).

 

  • Muller is one of 5 lefthanders through to the 3rd round here from the 17 to start in the men’s main draw. The last lefthander to win the title here was Rafael Nadal in 2009.

 

  • Muller is a former junior World No. 1 and was crowned ITF Junior World Champion in 2001 – the same year he reached the semifinals in the boys’ singles at the Australian Open (l. Janko Tipsarevic), won the US Open boys’ singles title (d. Yeu-Tzuoo Wang) and finished runner-up in the boys’ singles at Wimbledon
    (l. Roman Valent).

 

  • Muller is the only man from Luxembourg to compete at a Grand Slam in the Open Era. Countryman Gaston Wampach played at 1946 and 1947 Roland Garros.

 

  • Muller is coached by his occasional doubles partner Jamie Delgado and Alexandre Lisiecki when in Luxembourg.

 

 

 

VASEK POSPISIL (CAN) v GUILLERMO GARCIA-LOPEZ (ESP)

Head-to-head: first meeting

 

POSPISIL                                       v                                  GARCIA-LOPEZ

 

24                                           Age                                           31

60                                    ATP Ranking                                   37

0                                          Titles                                          3

6-9                        Career Grand Slam Record                       33-41

4-0                           Australian Open Record                         11-10

51-63                                Career Record                               221-252

45-43                           Career Record – Hard                          97-125

3-1                                    2015 Record                                    4-2

3-1                               2015 Record – Hard                              4-2

2-5                           Career Five-Set Record                           7-4

0                          Comebacks from 0-2 Down                          1

28-39                         Career Tiebreak Record                         80-99

2-3                             2015 Tiebreak Record                            0-3

 

  • POSPISIL is bidding to reach the round of 16 at a Grand Slam for the first time and become the 4th Canadian man to reach the last 16 at a major in the Open Era. Martin Laurendeau, Daniel Nestor and Milos Raonic are the only 3 Canadian men to have reached the last 16 at a major in the Open Era.

 

  • Both Pospisil and Raonic are in 3rd round action today. If they both win and progress to the round of 16 it would be the first time in history that Canada has held multiple representation in the round of 16 in the men’s event at a Grand Slam.

 

  • Pospisil defeated Sam Querrey 63 67(5) 26 64 64 and Paolo Lorenzi 67(3) 76(4) 63 64 in the opening 2 rounds. Pospisil’s 5-set victory over Querrey ended a run of 5 straight defeats in 5-set matches and improved his 5-set win-loss record to 2-5. It was his first 5-set match at the Australian Open.

 

  • By reaching the 3rd round here Pospisil has equalled his best Grand Slam performance. He gave a walkover to Stan Wawrinka due to a back injury in the 3rd round here last year on his Australian Open debut. It is the only Grand Slam where he has advanced beyond the 2nd round. This is his 2nd appearance at the Australian Open and his 11th major overall.

 

  • Prior to coming here, Pospisil won all his singles matches at Hopman Cup, defeating Adam Pavlasek, John Isner and Fabio Fognini in the round-robin stage and lost to Julian Benneteau in the 2nd round at Sydney.

 

  • In 2014, Pospisil’s best result was reaching his first Tour-level final at Washington, where he lost to compatriot Raonic in the first all-Canadian ATP final in the Open Era. He reached the semifinals at Chennai (l. Wawrinka) and 3 quarterfinals.

 

  • Pospisil’s match-wins at last year’s Australian Open were his only victories at the Grand Slams in 2014. He lost in the 1st round at Roland Garros (l. Teymuraz Gabashvili), Wimbledon (l. Robin Haase) and the US Open (l. Simone Bolelli).

 

  • Also in 2014 Pospisil won the men’s doubles title at Wimbledon with Jack Sock. Unseeded they defeated Bob Bryan/Mike Bryan in the final to win the title in their first tournament together. Pospisil entered the men’s doubles here as No. 13 seed with Julian Knowle. Pospisil retired with a back injury in his 2nd round doubles match when leading Benjamin Becker/Artem Sitak 2-1.

 

  • Pospisil reached the boys’ doubles final at the 2008 Australian Open as No. 2 seed with Cesar Ramirez
    (l. Cheng-Peng Hsieh/Tsung-Hua Yang). He entered the boys’ singles event the same year, losing in the 1st round.

 

  • Pospisil is coached by Frenchman Frederic Fontang.

 

  • GARCIA-LOPEZ is bidding to reach the round of 16 and equal his best Grand Slam performance.
  • Garcia-Lopez was leading Peter Gojowczyk 67(1) 75 64 1-0 when Gojowczyk retired due to cramp in the 1st round and defeated Alejandro Gonzalez 61 63 63 in the 2nd.

 

  • Garcia-Lopez’s best Grand Slam performance is a last 16 finish at 2014 Roland Garros. He defeated reigning Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka in the 1st round en route to the round of 16 where he lost to Gael Monfils.

 

  • By reaching the 3rd round here, Garcia-Lopez has equalled his best Australian Open result. He also reached the 3rd round here in 2008 (l. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga) and 2011 (l. Andy Murray).

 

  • Last year here Garcia-Lopez lost to Edouard Roger-Vasselin in the 2nd round. This is his 11th straight appearance at Melbourne Park and his 42nd Grand Slam overall.

 

  • In 2014, Garcia-Lopez won his 3rd career singles title at Casablanca (d. Marcel Granollers) and reached the quarterfinals at 5 further tournaments. He finished the year ranked No. 36, his highest year-end ranking since 2010.

 

  • At the Grand Slams in 2014, as well as reaching the 2nd round at the Australian Open and the round of 16 at Roland Garros, Garcia-Lopez fell to Dusan Lajovic in the 1st round in 5-sets at Wimbledon and to Sam Querrey in the 2nd round at the US Open.

 

  • Garcia-Lopez’s 5-set loss to Lajovic at 2014 Wimbledon ended a run of 5 consecutive 5-set victories. He has a 7-4 win-loss record in 5-set matches but has never played one at Melbourne Park.

 

  • Prior to coming here, Garcia-Lopez reached the quarterfinals at Chennai (l. Aljaz Bedene) and to Diego Sebastian Schwartzman in the 1st round at Auckland.

 

  • Garcia-Lopez is coached by Diego Dinomo. His fitness trainer is Jose Maria Castillo.

 

* Statistics provided by the International Tennis Federation

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Roger Federer Upset in Third Round of Australian Open

(January 23, 2015) In the biggest upset of the tournament so far, No. 2 seed Roger Federer was knocked out of the Australian by world No. 46 Andreas Seppi of Italy 6-4, 7-6 (5), 6-4, 7-6 (5) in the third round on Friday.

“I just tried to enjoy to play on the center court again, so I just tried to do my best,” Seppi said in a post-match on-court interview on ESPN Televison. “It was one of my best matches for sure, or else I couldn’t win against Roger. It was fun to play in front of a full stadium.”

The loss for Federer ends an 11-year run of at least reaching the semifinals of the Australian Open.

Coming into the match, Seppi was 0-10 against the world No. 2, winning only one set.

Seppi’s win breaks a 23-match losing streak against the Top 10.

Federer won 145 points to Seppi’s 144. Federer served at 59% for first serves with 15 aces and 9 double-faults. He hit 57 winner to 55 unforced errors. Seppi had 50 winner to 40 unforced errors.

Federer had his chances. In the second set tie-breaker, the 33-year-old Swiss could not hold onto a 4-1 lead. Seppi won six out of the next seven points.

Federer was also up 3-1 in the fourth set tiebreak and could not hold the advantage.

The 17-time major champion had won his last 41 third round Grand Slam matches, is now 51-4 overall in third round of majors.

“You never feel comfortable playing against Roger, but I was focusing on my service game, I didn’t have many chances on his serve,”  Seppi said.

“Just a bad day, yeah,” Federer said in his post-match news conference.  “I mean, I wish I could have played better, but clearly it was tough losing the first two, you know. Had chances to get back into it. I let it slip, I mean, both times in some ways. I guess I won the wrong points out there today. I knew how important that second set tiebreaker was, so clearly that hurt, losing that one. The end wasn’t pretty, you know. It wasn’t easy to play with the shadow. But it was the same for both of us. Just a disappointing loss, you know.”

“I guess it was just an overall feeling I had today out on the court that I couldn’t, you know, really get the whole game flowing. You know, was it backhand? Was it forehand? Was it serve? It was a bit of everything. At the same time, I think I got broken in the last couple of sets. The second set also I only got broken once. I was hanging in there. Gee, what did I have, 4-1 in the breaker, 3-1 in the breaker? I don’t remember what it was. I hit a pretty good serve that I shouldn’t — downwind I should never lose that point. So it wasn’t all bad. It’s just when it counted the most somehow it just ended up going his way. I think that was because overall I wasn’t feeling it quite as well. I had to play it a little bit passively at times when normally I would play aggressive. You know, it was just a tough match for me.”

This is the earliest exit for Federer  at a major since Wimbledon in 2013, when he fell to Sergiy Stakhovsky in the second round.

“You know, to beat Roger first time, especially in a Grand Slam, best-of-five, is a special moment for me,” Seppi said. “Of course at the beginning I just went on the court to enjoy the match and to play my best tennis. Yeah, but especially after the first set, then I felt, you know, I am there, I am hitting the ball very well. I start to believe that I can do more. Yeah, then I think very important was the second set tiebreak. And, yeah, it worked out pretty well.”

“I had to believe that I could win,” said Seppi.

“It’s first time I beat him. I beat once Nadal in Rotterdam when he was 2 in the world. Was also a big win. Against Roger, you know, I never went close. I never had the chance. To have this win in my career, it’s for sure something big.”

Seppi will face young Australian Nick Kyrgios in the fourth round.

 

No. 3 seed Rafael Nadal had easy time with Dudi Sela 6-1, 6-0, 7-5 and will face Kevin Anderson in the round of 16.

Andy Murray defeated Portugal’s Joao Sousa 6-1, 6-1, 7-5 to reach the fourth round. Tomas Berdych was the first man to book a place in the fourth round when he defeated Viktor Troicki 6-4, 6-3, 6-4.

Another young Australian is also in the fourth round. Bernard Tomic will play Berdych.

No. 10 Grigor Dimitrov won five-set battle against 2006 Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3. He will face Andy Murry next.

“Thought Marcos was playing dominating tennis early on in the match,” said Dimitrov. “I wasn’t really able to turn things around as fast as I wanted to. I felt quite good physically, which was I think the best sign for me today. I’m not going to hide my excitement of winning the match because it meant a lot to me. To be able to play three and a half hours and win 6-3 in the fifth and feelin really good after the match physically, that says a lot for me. Just getting ready for the next one.”
On the women’s side,No. 2 seed Maria Sharapova moved into the fourth round with a 6-1, 6-1 dismissal of Zarina Diyas.

Third seed Simona Halep moved into the fourth round of the Australian Open with a 6-4, 7-5 win on Friday over Bethanie Mattek-Sands.

“Here I started last year to play my best tennis. I (reached) my first quarterfinal in Grand Slams then I made final in French Open,” said Halep. “I have more confidence now during Grand Slams and I believe I have my chance at every tournament.”

The 2014 French Open finalist will play Yanina Wickmayer next, who beat 14th seed Sara Errani.

No. 7 seed and a Melbourne semifinalist last year, Canadian Eugenie Bouchard eked out a tough first set before breaking away to win 7-5, 6-0 over Carolina Garcia to reach the round of 16.

“Yeah, I don’t think it was the prettiest tennis out there,” said the 20-year-old.

“I wasn’t playing great tennis in the first. I feel like she was putting some pressure on me and I really didn’t feel like I got a rhythm. But I’m happy that I just kept going. Even if it wasn’t going so well, I was able to turn it around.”
Other seeded women advancing to the fourth round included No. 10 Ekaterina Makarova and No. 21 Peng Shuai.

More to follow….

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Serena and Venus Williams Reach Australian Open Third Round

(January 21, 2015) The Williams sisters have reached the third round of the Australian Open on Thursday. No. 1 ranked Serena rallied from set points down in the first set and won 10 straight games to beat Vera Zvonareva 7-5, 6-0. Venus defeated American countrywoman Lauren Davis 6-2, 6-3.

Five-time Australian Open champion Serena Williams said that her opponent started out aggressive and that she was too passive.

After have set points against Serena in the first set, Zvonareva could only win a total of eight points in the second set.

“Yeah, things really clicked,” Serena said. “I had no other option but for things to click. Yeah, I just had to start playing better.”

Venus Williams is happy to be in the third round.

“Always good to advance,” said the 7-time major winner. “That’s pretty much the goal when you step on the courts, it’s like, Come on. Let’s get to the next round. Met the goal today.”

“I’m hitting the ball a lot like how I want to. Yeah, some points you play well and some not as well. I’m just continually trying to be as consistent as I can on the court and still play consistent while taking risk as well. Find that balance.”

When Venus was asked about why she and her sister Serena withdrew from the doubles on Wednesday, she said: “According to the rules you don’t have to give a reason. I think we’ll stick with that.”

When further pressed by a reporter, Venus ended the line of questioning by politely saying: “No further questions on that. I object. Sustained. Thank you.”

Venuswill play Italy’s Camila Giorgi in the third round.

“Not sure if I played her before,” the 34-year-old 18th seed noted, “but she definitely raises her game depending on the caliber player that she plays. I think it’s just important to remain consistent and aggressive, just as I’ve been this whole year. That’s my goal.”

With her new coach Martina Navratilova in attendance, No. 6 Agnieszka Radwanska began the day on Rod Laver Arena with an easy 44-minute, 6-0, 6-1 win over Sweden’s Johanna Larsson.

“I think it was great match. I really start well. I play aggressive from the beginning to the end. And well, short, good match. So, you know, it’s better, especially that it’s really hot today. Be fresh for the next one.”

Also advancing were No. 4 Petra Kvitova, No. 11 Dominika Cibulkova the 2014 finalist, No. 19 Alize Cornet and No. 24 Garbine Muguruza and No. 30 Varvara Lepchenko. Seeds falling on Thursday included 8the seed Caroline Wozniacki who lost to two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka, No. 20 Sam Stosur lost to young American Coco Vandeweghe.

 

On the men’s side top seed Novak Djokovic had an easy win to reach the third round 6-0, 6-1, 6-4 over No. 88 Andrey Kuznetsov. Defending champion Stan Wawrinka also advanced with a 7-6 (4), 7-6 (4), 6-3 win over Romanian qualifier Marius Copil.

No. 4 seed Kei Nishikori needed four sets to stop Ivan Dodig. No. 12 Feliciano Lopez was trailing 4-6, 4-6, 7-6 (3), 4-0 when Adrian Mannarino retired from the match and No. 19 John Isner beat Andreas Haider-Maurer 6-4, 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-4.

Steve Johnson upset No. 30 Santiago Giraldo 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.

 

 

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