2014/08/01

Top Seeds Errani and Vinci Claim Australian Open Women’s Doubles Title

ErraniVinci

By Jaclyn Stacey

(January 25, 2013) MELBOURNE PARK,  Australia – Top seeds Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci took out the Australian Open Women’s Doubles title on Friday, overcoming a spirited fightback from the local team of Casey Dellacqua and 16-year-old Ashleigh Barty 6-2, 3-6, 6-2 in one hour and 42 minutes.

 

Dellacqua and Barty were surprise finalists and were the first Australian pairing to reach the final since Evonne Goolagong Cawley and Helen Gourlay won the title in 1977.

 

In an exciting battle on Rod Laver Arena watched over by tennis legend Margaret Court the Italian top seeds raced to a commanding lead in the match, claiming the first set 6-2 in just 29 minutes.

 

The Australian pair dug deep in the second set to break the top seeds in the eighth game with Vinci serving and closed out the set 6-3 to give themselves a chance in the decider.

 

Errani and Vinci took control in the final set, claiming breaks in the sixth game and on championship point to become the first Italian pairing to win the Australian Open title. Italian Flavia Pennetta won with Argentine Gisela Dulko in 2011.

 

“In the third set we started to get nervous,” Vinci said post match. “However, today we’ve proven we’re a really strong doubles team.

 

“Our strength is that we always play together. We went out there today with lots of grit, and we really wanted to win.”

 

In the mixed doubles competition, the Australian team of Jarmila Gajdosova and Matt Ebden progressed through to the final after defeating the Kazakh and Uzbekh pairing of Yaroslava Shvedova and Denis Istomin in two tough sets 7-5, 7-6(5).

 

The Australians will play Czech duo Lucie Hradecka and Frantisek Cermak in the final on Sunday after the pair overcame Kveta Peschke and Marcin Matkowski in a super tiebreak 10-7.

 

The men’s doubles final will be contested on Saturday after the women’s singles final with top seeds Bob and Mike Bryan squaring off against the Dutch duo of Robin Haase and Igor Sijsling.

 

Jaclyn Stacey is a Melbourne based freelance journalist covering the Australian Open tournament as media for Tennis Panorama News.  Follow her Australian Open updates on @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her personal twitter @JackattackAU.

 

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Effortless Djokovic Through to Third Consecutive Australian Open Final

 

DjokovicShanghaiGetty

By Jaclyn Stacey

(January 24, 2013) MELBOURNE PARK, Australia – Novak Djokovic dominated fourth seed David Ferrer on Thursday night to progress through to his third successive Australian Open final.

 

It was a flawless Djokovic who broke through the dogged Spaniard in the semifinal, the world number one dispensing 30 winners and dropping just 7 points on serve during the 89 minute thumping.

 

“This is definitely one of the best performances that I’ve ever had in my career.” Djokovic said immediately after the match. “Before the match I was saying that he is one of the most respected guys on the tour you know, he’s been around for many years.

 

“Well the bottom line is it’s a mental game in the end. You know everybody works very hard. It’s not easy. It’s the semifinals of a Grand Slam and you’re playing one of the top players in the world and you need to focus on every point and even though I was two sets up and four love up I didn’t want to give him any points. I know he’s mentally very strong and he bounces back really really fast if you give him opportunities but, you know, as I said I don’t always expect myself to play this well but I was free in my mind tonight and hopefully I can maintain that level in the finals.”

 

Djokovic will play the winner of the semifinal between Roger Federer and Andy Murray in the final on Sunday evening. He was asked whether getting some end of year wins over Murray after his five set loss to him in the US Open final will give him an edge should he meet Murray in the final.

 

“That maybe might mentally help a bit, but it’s not a big advantage. Whenever I play Andy or Roger or Rafa, the top rivals, it’s always small margins and small details decide a winner, especially at this stage of a tournament.”

 

“So, you know, it’s finals. It’s really unpredictable who is going to come out as a winner.”

 

Whoever he plays in the final, Djokovic says he will be prepared for a long battle.

 

“You know, this two-day break definitely serves me well, you know, physically, mentally, emotionally, so I can get all my strength for that final.”

 

“I’m gonna be expecting — I have to be ready to expect a five-hour match or five sets. That’s the kind of approach that I have to every single match that I play on on Grand Slams, especially in the second week. No other thoughts than that one.”

 

“I’m just very thrilled to be able to have another shot at the title.”

 

Jaclyn Stacey is a Melbourne based freelance journalist covering the Australian Open tournament as media for Tennis Panorama News.  Follow her Australian Open updates on @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her personal twitter @JackattackAU.

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Day 11 2013 Australian Open Doubles Update

Bryan Brothers China Open 2

By Jaclyn Stacey

 

(January 24, 2013) MELBOURNE PARK, Australia – On semifinal day for the men’s doubles top seeds Bob and Mike Bryan won through to their ninth Australian Open final after defeating the Italian pairing of Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini in three sets.

 

Considered the greatest doubles team of all time, the Bryan brothers will be vying for their sixth Australian Open title and will compete against the Dutch duo of Robin Haase and Igor Sijsling in the final. The dutchmen knocked out the third seeds in Spaniards Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez in a tough straight sets encounter.

 

The semifinal lineup for the mixed doubles competition was also completed on Thursday. The pairings of Kveta Peschke/Marcin Matkowski and Yaroslava Shvedova/Denis Istomin had progressed through to the semifinals on Wednesday and they will play the pairings of Lucie Hradecka/Frantisek Cermak and Jarmila Gajdosova/Matt Ebden respectively.

 

The women’s doubles final will take place on Friday before the Roger Federer versus Andy Murray semifinal clash and will see the surprise Australian pairing of Casey Dellacqua and Ashleigh Barty take on the top seeds Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci.

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Australian Open Schedule of Play for January 25, 2013

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Australian Open 2013

Schedule for Day 12: Friday 25 January 2013

 

Rod Laver Arena 3:00 PM Start Time

1. Mixed Doubles – Semifinals

Yaroslava Shvedova (KAZ) v. Jarmila Gajdosova (AUS)

Denis Istomin (UZB) Matthew Ebden (AUS)

Not Before:4:00 PM

2. Women’s Doubles – Final

Sara Errani (ITA)[1] v. Ashleigh Barty (AUS)

Roberta Vinci (ITA)[1] Casey Dellacqua (AUS)

Not Before:7:30 PM

3. Men’s Singles – Semifinals

Andy Murray (GBR)[3] v. Roger Federer (SUI)[2]

 

Margaret Court Arena 3:00 PM Start Time

1. Junior Boys’ Singles – Semifinals

Filippo Baldi (ITA)[8] v. Nick Kyrgios (AUS)[3]

2. Junior Boys’ Singles – Semifinals

Borna Coric (CRO)[11] v. Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS)

3. Mixed Doubles – Semifinals

Kveta Peschke (CZE) v. Lucie Hradecka (CZE)

Marcin Matkowski (POL) Frantisek Cermak (CZE)

 

Show Court 3 3:00 PM Start Time

1. Junior Girls’ Singles – Semifinals

Elizaveta Kulichkova (RUS) v. Ana Konjuh (CRO)[3]

2. Junior Girls’ Singles – Semifinals

Anett Kontaveit (EST)[10] v. Katerina Siniakova (CZE)[2]

3. Junior Boys’ Doubles – Final

Maximilian Marterer (GER) v. Jay Andrijic (AUS)

Lucas Miedler (AUT) Bradley Mousley (AUS)

 

Court 6 3:00 PM Start Time

1. Quad Wheelchair Singles

David Wagner (USA)[1] v. Nicholas Taylor (USA)

2. Men’s Wheelchair Doubles – Final

T.B.D. v. Michael Jeremiasz (FRA)[2]

Shingo Kunieda (JPN)[2]

3. Junior Girls’ Doubles – Final

Ana Konjuh (CRO)[1] v. Oleksandra Korashvili (UKR)[6]

Carol Zhao (CAN)[1] Barbora Krejcikova (CZE)[6]

 

Court 7 3:00 PM Start Time

1. Quad Wheelchair Singles

Anders Hard (SWE) v. Andrew Lapthorne (GBR)[2]

2. Women’s Wheelchair Doubles – Final

T.B.D. v. T.B.D.

3. Quad Wheelchair Doubles – Final

David Wagner (USA)[1] v. Andrew Lapthorne (GBR)[2]

Nicholas Taylor (USA)[1] Anders Hard (SWE)[2]

 

Men’s Singles – Semifinals
[1] N Djokovic (SRB) d. [4] D Ferrer (ESP) 62 62 61

Men’s Doubles – Semi-finals
[1] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) d. S Bolelli (ITA) / F Fognini (ITA) 64 46 61
R Haase (NED) / I Sijsling (NED) d. [3] M Granollers (ESP) / M Lopez (ESP) 75 64

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Controversial Azarenka Advances into Final Over Stephens

Victoria Azarenka

By Jaclyn Stacey

(January 24, 2013) MELBOURNE PARK, Australia – Victoria Azarenka halted the absorbing run of young American Sloane Stephens in the semifinals of the Australian Open on Thursday, defeating her 6-1, 6-4 in one hour and 41 minutes in the notorious Melbourne heat.

 

Stephens had been riding on a high after shocking the tennis world on Wednesday by defeating 15-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams in the quarterfinals. Against Azarenka she didn’t play badly but was simply overpowered by the world No. 1 and hit too many unforced errors.

 

Azarenka raced to a 6-1 first set lead in the match by breaking the young American in the first, fifth and seventh games of the set.

 

The second set was a much more competitive affair as Stephens kept up with the world No. 1 early on. The two swapped breaks on several occasions before Azarenka managed to get ahead 5-3.

 

Azarenka attempted to serve for the match in the next game but squandered five match point opportunities. Stephens capitalized on her third break point opportunity in the game by hitting a striking forehand to level the match.

 

Azarenka then called for the trainer and was taken off the court for a controversial medical time out. When she came back on court it was Stephens who was having trouble closing a game and made a backhand unforced error on match point down to give Azarenka the spot in the final.

 

In the on court interview Azarenka gave the impression that she had taken the medical time out in the second set due to a panic attack. She refuted the comments in her press conference.

 

“You know what, I think I just really misunderstood what she asked me because the question was I had few difficulties and why I went off.  I completely thought of a different thing, why I couldn’t close out of match, you know, that I had few difficulties. So I understand the whole situation right now, but it just really simple misunderstanding of a question. I guess it was my bad.”

 

“I mean, I’m experienced enough to go over those emotions.  But when you cannot breathe, when something’s really blocking you, the stress, that was the stress I was talking about. I just couldn’t realize what was going on with me.”

 

“I couldn’t breathe; I couldn’t swing. I think it was pretty obvious that my shots were a little bit different. “

 

“Because as the trainer explained to me and the doctor explained to me after, when the rib blocks, it blocks your diaphragm and you can’t breathe.  I’m not a doctor to explain that.”

 

Azarenka keeps her title defense on track with the win and will face an in-form Li Na in the final on Saturday.

 

“I think she’s in incredible form right now really. You know, in the finals anything can happen. It looks like she improved a lot. Will be a tough match, so I’m really looking forward to it.”

 

Jaclyn Stacey is a Melbourne based freelance journalist covering the Australian Open tournament as media for Tennis Panorama News.  Follow her Australian Open updates on @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her personal twitter @JackattackAU.

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Li Na Ousts Sharapova to Advance to Second Australian Open Final

 

10062012 China Open Li Na in press 2

By Jaclyn Stacey

(January 24, 2013) MELBOURNE PARK, Australia – Li Na won through to her second Australian Open final after impressively defeating Maria Sharapova 6-2, 6-2 in one hour and 33 minutes.

 

“Beginning of the match I was nervous, ” Li Na said. “I was happy I come back to semis again, but for some reason I really want to win the match. I don’t know what happened today. Just come to the court, feeling like, Okay, just do it,”

 

She played focused and used all her power to wipe Sharapova off the court. Li produced an uncharacteristically low number of unforced errors at just 18 and created 21 winners in the match.

 

The 2008 champion got off to a terrible start by serving down two consecutive double faults. She was put under pressure from Li and netted a forehand on break point to give the Chinese the lead 1-0.

 

Li continued to keep the pressure on the Russian, speeding up the balls and forcing Sharapova to make the errors. She lead at one stage in the set by two breaks before Sharapova managed to get one back to trail Li 2-4. Li then put her foot down again and reclaimed the break to serve out the set 6-2 with a superb forehand winner.

 

Sharapova had dropped just nine games on her way to the semifinal clash and was suddenly down a set. She had yet to experience a challenge in any of her five matches and did not play any matches coming into the open after withdrawing from Brisbane. Li on the other hand was more prepared for the hot conditions at Melbourne Park on Thursday on the back of a lot of match play coming into the Open. She won in Shenzhen for the first week of the 2013 season and played to the semifinals during a Sydney heatwave.

 

The second set began on serve for the first four games before Li pulled ahead to 3-2 with a break. She then secured another break in the seventh game and closed out the match 6-2 6-2 to book her spot in the final of the Australian Open for the second time in her career.

 

Li made the Australian Open final in 2011 and lost to Kim Clijsters in three sets. She looks back on that experience and says she is better prepared the second time around.

 

“I mean, 2011, first time to the Grand Slam final, I was a little bit shocked because I didn’t know what I should do. Also no one tell me what I should do on the court. But this time I got more experience, so I think should be better.”

 

“I really hungry about title, yeah. It’s really – how you say – first time I was feeling I really near or close to the title. So, yeah, I think this time should be, I don’t know, maybe different story or maybe same story. But I will try.”

 

Li Na said she has a different mindset on the court now. She no longer worries as much as she used to.

 

“I was working so hard in winter training. I think now is everything just back to me. So I come to the court, take the racquet, enjoy the tennis, yeah.”

 

Li Na will meet defending champion Victoria Azarenka in the final on Saturday. Azarenka leads their head-to-head record 5-4 and has beaten Li in their last four encounters. Li has won their two encounters at Grand Slam level in straight sets at the 2011 Australian Open and the 2011 French Open which she went on to win.

 

Jaclyn Stacey is a Melbourne based freelance journalist covering the Australian Open tournament as media for Tennis Panorama News.  Follow her Australian Open updates on @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her personal twitter @JackattackAU.

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Australian Open Schedule of Play for January 24, 2013

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Australian Open 2013

Schedule for Day 11: Thursday 24 January 2013

Rod Laver Arena 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Men’s Doubles – Semifinals

Bob Bryan (USA)[1] v. Simone Bolelli (ITA)

Mike Bryan (USA)[1] Fabio Fognini (ITA)

Not Before:1:30 PM

2. Women’s Singles – Semifinals

Na Li (CHN)[6] v. Maria Sharapova (RUS)[2]

3. Women’s Singles – Semifinals

Victoria Azarenka (BLR)[1] v. Sloane Stephens (USA)[29]

 

Rod Laver Arena 7:30 PM Start Time

1. Men’s Singles – Semifinals

Novak Djokovic (SRB)[1] v. David Ferrer (ESP)[4]

2. Legends’ Doubles

Guy Forget (FRA) v. Pat Cash (AUS)

Henri Leconte (FRA) Goran Ivanisevic (CRO)

 

Margaret Court Arena 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Legends’ Doubles

Mansour Bahrami (IRI) v. Wayne Arthurs (AUS)

Wayne Ferreira (RSA) Darren Cahill (AUS)

2. Men’s Doubles – Semifinals

Marcel Granollers (ESP)[3] v. Robin Haase (NED)

Marc Lopez (ESP)[3] Igor Sijsling (NED)

3. Mixed Doubles – Quarterfinals

Sania Mirza (IND)[3] v. Lucie Hradecka (CZE)

Bob Bryan (USA)[3] Frantisek Cermak (CZE)

4. Mixed Doubles – Quarterfinals

Nadia Petrova (RUS)[5] v. Jarmila Gajdosova (AUS)

Mahesh Bhupathi (IND)[5] Matthew Ebden (AUS)

Not Before:3:00 PM

5. Women’s Legends’ Doubles

Nicole Bradtke (AUS) v. Martina Hingis (SUI)

Rennae Stubbs (AUS) Martina Navratilova (USA)

 

Show Court 2 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Junior Boys’ Singles – Quarterfinals

Nick Kyrgios (AUS)[3] v. Wayne Montgomery (RSA)[7]

2. Junior Boys’ Singles – Quarterfinals

Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) v. Gianluigi Quinzi (ITA)[2]

3. Junior Boys’ Doubles – Semifinals

Enzo Couacaud (FRA) v. Jay Andrijic (AUS)

Stefano Napolitano (ITA) Bradley Mousley (AUS)

 

Show Court 3 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Junior Girls’ Singles – Quarterfinals

Anett Kontaveit (EST)[10] v. Antonia Lottner (GER)[4]

2. Junior Boys’ Singles – Quarterfinals

Borna Coric (CRO)[11] v. Matej Maruscak (SVK)

3. Junior Boys’ Doubles – Semifinals

Hyeon Chung (KOR) v. Maximilian Marterer (GER)

Duk-Young Kim (KOR) Lucas Miedler (AUT)

 

Court 5 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Quad Wheelchair Singles

Anders Hard (SWE) v. Nicholas Taylor (USA)

2. Men’s Wheelchair Singles – Semifinals

Stefan Olsson (SWE) v. Shingo Kunieda (JPN)[2]

3. Women’s Wheelchair Singles – Semifinals

Aniek Van Koot (NED)[1] v. Marjolein Buis (NED)

4. Men’s Wheelchair Doubles – Semifinals

Ronald Vink (NED)[1] v. Stefan Olsson (SWE)

Stephane Houdet (FRA)[1] Adam Kellerman (AUS)

5. Women’s Wheelchair Doubles – Semifinals

Jiske Griffioen (NED)[1] v. Kgothatso Montjane (RSA)

Aniek Van Koot (NED)[1] Daniela Di Toro (AUS)

 

Court 6 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Junior Girls’ Singles – Quarterfinals

Ana Konjuh (CRO)[3] v. Barbora Krejcikova (CZE)[12]

2. Junior Girls’ Singles – Quarterfinals

Jelena Ostapenko (LAT) v. Katerina Siniakova (CZE)[2]

3. Junior Girls’ Doubles – Semifinals

Kamonwan Buayam (THA) v. Oleksandra Korashvili (UKR)[6]

Ziyue Sun (CHN) Barbora Krejcikova (CZE)[6]

 

Court 7 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Quad Wheelchair Singles

David Wagner (USA)[1] v. Andrew Lapthorne (GBR)[2]

2. Men’s Wheelchair Singles – Semifinals

T.B.D. v. Ronald Vink (NED)

3. Women’s Wheelchair Singles – Semifinals

Lucy Shuker (GBR) v. T.B.D.

4. Men’s Wheelchair Doubles – Semifinals

Maikel Scheffers (NED) v. Michael Jeremiasz (FRA)[2]

Gustavo Fernandez (ARG) Shingo Kunieda (JPN)[2]

5. Women’s Wheelchair Doubles – Semifinals

Sabine Ellerbrock (GER) v. Lucy Shuker (GBR)[2]

Sharon Walraven (NED) Marjolein Buis (NED)[2]

 

Court 8 11:00 AM Start Time

1. Junior Girls’ Singles – Quarterfinals

Elizaveta Kulichkova (RUS) v. Elise Mertens (BEL)[8]

2. Junior Boys’ Singles – Quarterfinals

Nikola Milojevic (SRB)[1] v. Filippo Baldi (ITA)[8]

3. Junior Girls’ Doubles – Semifinals

Ana Konjuh (CRO)[1] v. Anna Danilina (KAZ)[5]

Carol Zhao (CAN)[1] Elizaveta Kulichkova (RUS)[5]

 

AUSTRALIAN OPEN
Melbourne, Australia
January 14-27, 2013
Hard/Outdoors

Results – Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Women’s Singles – Quarterfinals
(1) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) d. Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) 75 61
(29) Sloane Stephens (USA) d. (3) Serena Williams (USA) 36 75 64

Women’s Doubles – Semifinals
(1) Errani/Vinci (ITA/ITA) d. (4) Makarova/Vesnina (RUS/RUS) 62 64
(WC) Barty/Dellacqua (AUS/AUS) d. Lepchenko/Zheng (USA/CHN) 62 64

Men’s Singles – Quarter-finals
[2] R Federer (SUI) d. [7] J Tsonga (FRA) 76(4) 46 76(4) 36 63
[3] A Murray (GBR) d. J Chardy (FRA) 64 61 62

Men’s Doubles – Quarter-finals
[1] B Bryan (USA) / M Bryan (USA) d. D Bracciali (ITA) / L Dlouhy (CZE) 63 75
S Bolelli (ITA) / F Fognini (ITA) d. J Cabal (COL) / R Farah (COL) 16 64 63

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Australian Open Doubles Update Day 10

errani-vinci

By Jaclyn Stacey

 

( January 23, 2013) MELBOURNE PARK, Australia – While the men’s and women’s singles quarterfinals have enthralled viewers of the Australian Open on day ten, on the outdoor courts the men’s, women’s and mixed doubles have been heading to the pointy end of their respective tournaments.

 

The number one seeded women’s doubles pairing of Italians Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci won in straight sets over the fourth seeded Russian pairing of Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina 6-2 6-4 and progressed through to the final to be held on Friday afternoon.

 

The top seeds will face the unseeded Aussie duo of Casey Dellacqua and 16-year-old Ashleigh Barty in the final after they defeated the pairing of Varvara Lepchenko and Saisai Zheng 6-2 6-4 late on Wednesday night. The Australians have been a surprise package at the tournament so far and have received great support from the local crowds.

 

The men’s doubles competed at the quarterfinal stage of the draw on Wednesday with top seeds Mike and Bob Bryan advancing to the semifinals with a straight sets over Daniele Bracciali and Lukas Dlouhy. They will play the Italian pairing of Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini for a place in the final.

 

Third seeded Spaniards Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez defeated the unseeded pairing of Tomaz Bellucci and Benoit Paire 6-3 6-1 and will play the dutch duo of Robin Haase and Igor Sijsling in the semifinals after the pair defeated Spaniards David Marrero and Fernando Verdasco in a tough two sets.

 

In the mixed doubles competition Kveta Peschke and Marcin Matkowski defeated Su-Wei Hsieh and Rohan Bopanna to progress through to the semifinals and will play the winner of the quarterfinal between Sania Mirza/Bob Bryan and Lucie Hradecka/Frantisek Cermak.

 

Yaroslava Shvedova and Denis Istomin also advanced to the semifinals and they will meet the winner of the match between fifth seeds Nadia Petrova/Mahesh Bhupathi and Australians Jarmila Gajdosova/Matt Ebden.

 

Jaclyn Stacey is a Melbourne based freelance journalist covering the Australian Open tournament as media for Tennis Panorama News.  Follow her Australian Open updates on @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her personal twitter @JackattackAU.

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Murray Races Through to Australian Open Semifinal

 

AndyMurrayDS2010

By Jaclyn Stacey

(January 23, 2013) MELBOURNE PARK, Australia - Andy Murray raced into the semifinals of the Australian Open, crushing hard hitting Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 in one hour and 51 minutes.

 

The win was a comprehensive victory for Murray as he heads into his fourth consecutive Australian Open semifinal. It wasn’t flawless however as Murray lead easily in each set but allowed the Frenchman to break him once in both the first and third set.

 

The Olympic Gold Medallist didn’t allow Chardy to play the game he’d been using to win through to the quarterfinal stage of the tournament, shutting down his attempts to reel Murray into the net and slam a big forehand past him.

 

Murray came into the contest the freshest player in the quarterfinal lineup having spent only seven hours and five minutes on court during his first four matches whereas Chardy had spent 11 hours and 40 minutes in total on court. Murray continued to field questions he won’t be ready for a big challenge against someone like Federer in the semifinals or Djokovic in the final having played such little tennis against lower ranked opponents in the tournament so far.

 

“I haven’t lost a set here yet. So, you know, maybe I’m expecting to play too well or whatever. But I’ve done a good job so far in this tournament.”

 

“But, you know, who knows. I played a lot of tennis in December. I had some good matches in Brisbane. So, I mean, I can’t be disappointed about being in the semis of a slam without dropping a set. That would be silly.”

 

There has been some criticism of the scheduling at the Open this year with world No. 3 Murray not playing one night match during the fortnight leading into the semifinals. His likely opponent Federer has played all bar one of his matches under the lights on Rod Laver Arena. Murray will practice under the lights on Hisense arena on Wednesday and Thursday night to adjust to the night match setting.

 

“It’s purely for the lights, yeah. I mean, I played in Brisbane a couple of matches in the evening, but it’s slightly different there, as well, because there’s a roof too. That’s why I’ll go out there. I’ll hit under the lights tonight and do the same tomorrow.”

 

“If I was the tournament director or the referee or whoever decides the schedule, I also would have put Federer against Tsonga on as the night match tonight because it’s the best match of the day.”

 

Murray has the chance to become the only first-time Grand Slam winner to immediately claim a second major at the next opportunity after he won his first Grand Slam at the US Open in September last year.

 

 

Murray will play the winner of the match between Roger Federer and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the semifinals on Friday night. Murray holds a head-to-head lead over Federer 10-9 and Tsonga 7-1 so will take some confidence into the match.

 

Jaclyn Stacey is a Melbourne based freelance journalist covering the Australian Open tournament as media for Tennis Panorama News.  Follow her Australian Open updates on @TennisNewsTPN. Follow her personal twitter @JackattackAU.

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Serena Williams Slayed by Rising Star Stephens in Australian Open Quarterfinals

SloaneStephens

By Jaclyn Stacey

 

(January 23, 2013) MELBOURNE PARK, Australia – 19-year-old Sloane Stephens shocked the tennis world on Wednesday at the Australian Open, defeating 15-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams 3-6, 7-5, 6-4 and progressing into her first career Grand Slam semifinal.

 

“Today I just really didn’t have anything to lose, “ Stephens said. “I mean, you’re playing for the semis of a Grand Slam. You just got to go out and do it really.”

 

Williams’ 18 years of experience as a pro shone through in the opening set and a half as she got herself ahead of the younger American claiming the first set 6-3 and leading a break in the beginning of the second set.

 

Being down 0-2 in the second set Stephens picked up her game and really took it to her mentor.

 

“I think I was convinced that I was able to do it when I lost serve in the first game in the second set and I went down 2-0.  And I was like, Hmm, this is not the way you want it to happen. But you just fight and just get every ball back, run every ball down, and just get a lot of balls in play, I think you’ll be okay.”

 

“From then on I got aggressive, started coming to the net more, and just got a lot more comfortable. I just kind of just kind of played my game from there, I think.”

 

Stephens got a break on Williams and attempted to serve out the set leading 5-3. At the same time her opponent down the other end was moving around the court in pain from a back spasm.

 

Williams explained the moment she felt the injury take place.

 

“Well, I was running to the net for a dropshot. As I went to hit it, it was on the backhand. I even screamed on the court. I was like, Ahh. I totally locked up after that. It was just like — it was a little painful.”

 

The five-time Australian Open champion managed to ignore the pain and break Stephens back by taking advantage of the nerves of the young American who double-faulted to go break-point down during the game. Williams held for 5-all but was again broken by Stephens in the next game as she struggled to serve without pain. Stephens then capitalized on her second opportunity to serve out the set 7-5 and took the match into a decider.

 

Williams left the court for medical treatment on her back at the break and came back serving balls at just 89mph, a whopping 39.7mph slower than her fastest recorded speed at the tournament of 128.7mph.

 

“Yeah, I mean, she was serving at lower speeds, but her serve, she hits spots. No matter how slow it’s going, it’s right on the line. It’s still a really good serve even though it’s much slower,” Stephens said of the slowed down balls coming her way.

 

The women held serve to start a very tense third set, both women hitting with impressive power and putting their all into the fight.

 

At the first change of ends a frustrated Williams smashed her racquet into the ground but remained quiet. The last two weeks had been tough on her body as she battled through an ankle injury in her first round match and then the back injury.

 

Williams got a break in the seventh game of the final set to take a 4-3 lead but was immediately broken back by Stephens to level at 4-4. From there she held and broke Williams again to claim her space in the semifinals.

 

It was a momentous win for the young American who defeated her childhood hero on tennis’ biggest stage at a Grand Slam. When asked about the poster of Williams she kept on her wall as a child she said through tears, “This is so crazy but – oh my goodness – I think I want a poster of myself now.”

 

Stephens plays world number one and defending champion Victoria Azarenka in the semifinals and says she will give it her all.

 

“Gonna be a totally different match. I’m just going to go out and play my best, obviously. Do what I do really well and just play my game. Just hopefully, you know, play well again.”

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