2014/11/27

Harrison Given Lesson By Djokovic at Australian Open

Novak Djokovic at Desert Smash

By Jaclyn Stacey

 

(January 16, 2013) MELBOURNE PARK, Australia – Novak Djokovic barely raised a sweat in defeating young American Ryan Harrison 6-1 6-2 6-3 in one hour and 31 minutes on Rod Laver Arena in the day three night session at the Australian Open on Wednesday night.

 

Djokovic outclassed his opponent in every way tonight, putting together an almost perfect performance to keep his title defence hopes alive.

 

“This was definitely a better performance than the first round. You know, I managed to play in a very high level already in the second round of a Grand Slam, which is very encouraging for next challenge.”

 

Harrison was given a lesson in tennis by a player at a completely different level to his own and has seen just how far he has to go. After the match he spoke about his experience against the world number one.

 

“Yeah, he played really well. Kind of getting broke in that first service game, giving a guy that’s that good a little bit of a lead and letting him front run is just not the ideal way to start. I guess your first service game you want to at least stay in it. From then on out, he just had his foot on the gas pedal.”

 

“It was tough because his balls were landing so hard and deep. Whenever your game plan is to try and take control of a guy and you’re not getting balls to hit, you know, if I try to lace balls from six, eight feet behind the baseline I just look stupid and crazy.”

 

“So it’s just something where I know that level now. I’ve played him three times now. I played some of the best guys in the world. I’m not there yet. I know how to get there. I just got to keep working at it.”

 

Djokovic says so long as Harrison remains committed and confident in achieving his ambitions he will do the hard work to get there.

 

“Well, we all know that the hard work and dedication pays off in the end.  So I’m sure, knowing him for last two years, that he’s gonna put on these hours on the court and off the court being very professional, committed.”

 

“So that’s why I think they rate him as one of the up and coming rising stars from the United States. They put a lot of hopes into him.”

 

“But it’s a process. And tennis has changed. It’s much more demanding nowadays with I guess the competition that is around the tour and many quality players.”

 

“It’s more difficult to make that breakthrough for a youngster. He needs patience and he needs to believe in himself and wait for a chance.”

 

Djokovic plays Radek Stepanek in the third round on Friday who earlier had an easy straight sets win over Spaniard Feliciano Lopez 6-2 6-2 6-4.

 

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Janowicz Battles Emotions to Win in Five

 

By Jaclyn Stacey

(January 16, 2013) MELBOURNE PARK, Australia – Twenty-fourth seed Jerzy Janowicz won the battle against his mind and his opponent on Wednesday, coming back from two sets down to progress through to the third round in a five set thriller against India’s Somdev Devvarman 6-7(10), 3-6, 6-1, 6-0, 7-5 at the Australian Open.

 

Drama unfolded in the first set tiebreaker when a line call didn’t go Janowicz’ way while he was up 9-8 and serving on set point. He proceeded to have a meltdown, collapsing to his knees and putting his forehead to the ground in frustration before a verbal tirade at the umpire ended in a code violation for unsportsmanlike behavior. He also hit his racquet against the umpires chair and threw his water bottle across the court during the outburst.

 

Devvarman remained focused throughout the drama and managed to seal the tiebreak 7-6(10) and the first set in 79 minutes. He then went on to win the second set 6-3 to take a two sets to love lead in the match.

 

Janowicz regained composure and hit 38 winners to Devvarman’s five in claiming the third and fourth sets to send the match into a decider.

 

After a more competitive almost hour long final set Janowicz hit a blistering forehand return winner on match point and goes through to play 10th seed Nicolas Almagro in the third round on Friday.

 

Jonowicz blamed poor umpiring during the first set on his mental breakdown.

 

“One of the most important mistake was set point in this tiebreak, 9 8. Was shanked forehand from Devvarman. The ball was really slow.  It was clean out. I was already happy. I was already shouting, C’mon. But the referees didn’t say anything. This was the moment when I went nuts.  Otherwise the rest of the match I was pretty calm.”

 

“Well, sometimes happens like this. You can’t control your emotions all the time. This was really big point for me. We played this set for more than 1 hour, 10 minutes, so this was really important point for me.”

 

“Actually, I went nuts. I calmed down little bit later on. Sometimes I have problem to control my emotions, but I’m trying to work on this.”

 

When asked about how making the final of the Paris Masters last year changed his life Janowicz says “This changed my life, but this not change me. I’m all the time same crazy person, and I hope is going to be all the time the same.”

 

“But, I mean, yeah, in life you change a lot. Now I don’t have to worry about my trips. I can buy easily business class for me for that kind of trip like to Australia. Now I don’t have to worry about money for my coach. So it’s much easier for me to play tennis now.” 

 

Janowicz plays Nicolas Almagro on Friday in the first meeting between the pair. “No, I never play against Nicolas Almagro, but I know him pretty well because I was watching a lot of his matches in TV. So I know what I can expect from him. He’s really, really good player. He’s extremely, extremely solid player. He has unbelievable groundstrokes from baseline. So this is not easy match for me, but I will try my best, and for sure I will fight for every single point.”

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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Tipsarevic Grinds Down Veteran Hewitt to Progress at Australian Open

Janko Tipsarevic

By Jaclyn Stacey

(January 14, 2013) MELBOURNE PARK,  Australia – Eighth seed Janko Tipsarevic ground out victory in just over three hours against former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt in a thrilling three set encounter on Rod Laver Arena in Monday’s evening session 7-6(4), 7-5, 6-3.

 

“I cannot tell you how happy that I am, first of all, that I managed to win, and second of all, to win in straight sets.”

 

An electric atmosphere for the first Australian Open 2013 night session greeted the players in the hotly anticipated first round matchup between the two time grand slam champion and the world No. 9.

 

With both players coming into the tournament on the back of some confidence building title wins, the scene was set for a thrilling match that was predicted to go the distance. Hewitt lead their head-to-head 3-1 before the match with their last meeting being played in 2007 before Tipsarevic became a prominent top 10 player.

 

Hewitt and Tipsarevic are well known for being fighting competitors who play with a lot of intensity and the tight match was a great example of this. The two matched each other blow for blow, producing scintillating rallies and groundstroke winners. Hewitt was more willing to come into the net and his decision to do so often paid off as he was able to surprise Tipsarevic and generate some superb angle volley winners.

 

The first set was evenly matched with neither player able to break serve. Tipsarevic had an opportunity to break with Hewitt serving at 5-5 but the Australian’s determination got him over the line as he saved the break with an ace. The crowd became more involved in the match from this point, stirred on by Hewitt saving a break point and employing his trademark ‘C’MON!’

 

Tipsarevic remained focussed and driven in the first set tie-break, taking a 4-0 lead before closing out the first set 7-6(4).

 

Competing in his 17th consecutive Australian Open, Hewitt was not disheartened following the first set loss and fired up immediately to go ahead two breaks points.

 

Tipsarevic leveled the match at 5-5 after being gifted the second of two break point opportunities as Hewitt sent his shot beyond the baseline while serving for the second set. He then held and broke Hewitt again to take a two sets to love lead in the match.

 

Tipsarevic started the third set in a much stronger fashion than he did in the second, holding his first service game before grinding out a break against Hewitt in a tough second game to lead 2-0.

 

With Tipsarevic serving at 3-1 Hewitt had the opportunity to break back and did so on his second opportunity, demonstrating his never say die attitude and ending a rally with an aggressive lob forehand that swept past Tipsarevic and landed deep in the court to put the set back on serve.

 

While Hewitt remained focused, determined and driven throughout the contest, Tipsarevic was able to take advantage of Hewitt’s consistent height and speed in his hitting and put away more winners. Hewitt fought hard to stay in the match but Tipsarevic managed to claim a break to lead 5-3 in a heartbreaking moment for the patriotic crowd.

 

Completely in control of the third set, Tipsarevic then confidently served out the match, sealing victory 7-6(4) 7-5 6-3.

 

In his post match news conference Tipsarevic said “I think I was a little bit too passive in the first and the beginning of the second set. But luckily I was able to get out of trouble with my serve. I was serving really well I think all throughout the match.”

 

“But when I really started playing well was I think when I was a double break down in the second set. That’s when I realized that if I  continue running, pushing, relying on my first serve, that I will not be able to beat this guy in a  best-of-five-set match.” 

 

“Especially because it was a night session match, it was getting colder, the serve was not going as fast as it did in the first set. I stepped up, I started to hit, I started being closer to the line, my backhand down the line was making more damage later in the match.” 

 

Tipsarevic was full of praise for his more experienced opponent, marveling at Hewitt’s ability to continue to play at such a high level at his age and after dealing with so many injuries.

 

“I think Lleyton Hewitt is as tough as it gets for a first round Australian Open first Grand Slam of the year. With all the respect to all the other guys who are potential threats, like Davydenko or Monfils or Dimitrov or whatever, I think this is as tough as it gets, knowing that he plays really good tennis here, knowing that he won Kooyong last week, beating Raonic, Berdych, and Del Potro in the same tournament, even if that was an exhibition event.”

 

The win continues a run of great form for Tipsarevic coming off his most successful season in 2012 in which he won the title in Stuttgart and was runner-up in Chennai, the tournament he won just over a week ago to kick start his 2013 season.

 

Tipsarevic will play Slovakia’s Lukas Lacko in round two who  defeated Gilles Muller in straight sets  earlier on Monday 6-2 6-4 7-6(3).

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 joins Premier Ted Baillieu to announce Australian Open Wildcard Play-off in China

Former French Open champion Li Na joined Victorian Premier the Hon. Ted Baillieu to announce the inaugural Asia-Pacific Wildcard Play-off set for Nanjing, China in October.

The Asia-Pacific Wildcard Play-off, which will see the region’s top players compete for a coveted Australian Open wildcard was announced today in Beijing by the Hon. Ted Baillieu, Premier of Victoria, who was joined by Grand Slam® champion and 2011 Australian Open finalist Li Na, Tennis Australia CEO Steve Wood and Crown CEO Greg Hawkins.

“I’m delighted to announce the first Asia-Pacific Wildcard Play-off for Australian Open 2013 will take place in Nanjing, China, in October,” Premier Baillieu said.

“Melbourne boasts a world class events calendar and the Australian Open, Grand Slam of Asia-Pacific, is one of Victoria’s, and indeed Australia’s, most successful events and attracts thousands of visitors from Asia each year. The success of China’s home-grown champion, Li Na, continues to build interest and excitement for both the sport and the tournament.

“We are very pleased to have Grand Slam champion Li Na with us here today, along with the magnificent Australian Open women’s trophy, the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup. Li Na, we look forward to seeing you in Melbourne in January and wish you all the very best for Australian Open 2013,” Premier Baillieu continued.

Tennis Australia CEO Steve Wood outlined the importance of the Asia-Pacific region to the Australian Open, announcing a new exchange program with the China Open that will see six Chinese ballkids displaying their skills on court at the Australian Open.

“The Chinese Ballkid Exchange Program, the Asia-Pacific Wildcard Play-off and the Australian Open International Trophy Tour are all just part of our ongoing mission to promote and develop the sport of tennis in China and the Asia-Pacific region. We are also working closely with the China Tennis Association and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank them for their assistance with the delivery of the Wildcard Play-off tournament in Nanjing,” Steve Wood said.

“We appreciate the support of the Victorian government, not only for their assistance in promoting the event internationally, but for their long term commitment to upgrading our home at Melbourne Park. The current $363 million redevelopment project will see the Australian Open lead the world in Grand Slam facilities, with three stadium courts featuring retractable roofs by 2015.

“There has been a 400% increase in visitation to the Australian Open from the Asia Pacific region over the past eight years and in 2012 the Australian Open’s official ticketing agents and tour operators saw a 30% increase in ticket sales from the previous year.

“More than half the Australian Open’s global media value is now generated from the Asia-Pacific region and new broadcast deals include access to an additional 65 million homes.”

“And when Li Na made her historic run to the final in 2011 we achieved the highest ever broadcast exposure throughout Asia, and China in particular, with 135 million tuning in across the region,” Wood continued.

“Crown is thrilled to support this exciting Tennis Australia event by providing best-in-class accommodation for the winners of the Australian Open Asia-Pacific Wildcard Play-off in Nanjing,” Crown Melbourne CEO Greg Hawkins said.

“The Crown Melbourne integrated resort features three world-class hotels, over 40 premium and casual restaurants, a luxury retail precinct and a wide range of entertainment to choose from 24 hours a day. Crown looks forward to welcoming the winners and providing them with the best possible accommodation experience for the duration of their stay in Melbourne. Crown is also extremely proud to sponsor the great Li Na and awaits her highly anticipated return to Melbourne and Crown this summer for the Australian Open,” Hawkins continued.

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