2015/03/06

Novak Djokovic Wins 5th Australian Open Crown for 8th Major Title

Djokovic

(February 1, 2015) Novak Djokovic won his fifth Australian Open on Sunday with a 7-6(5), 6-7(5), 6-3, 6-0 victory over Andy Murray in 3 hours and 39 minutes. The world No. 1 now has 8 major titles tying him for eighth on the all-time list with Andre Agassi, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, Ken Rosewall and Fred Perry.

The Serb has won four out of the last five Australian Opens. He now joins Roy Emerson as the only men to win five Melbourne titles and the first to do it in the Open Era.

Djokovic closed out the match winning the last nine games.

Great Britain’s Murray has now lost four Australian Open finals, three to Djokovic (2011, 2013, 2015) and one to Roger Federer (2010).

“I’m so grateful to be standing here as a champion for the fifth time, and to be in the elite group of players… Roy Emerson, Rod Laver and all the legends of our sport,” Djokovic during the trophy presentation.

“I had amazing support again here,” said the four-time runner-up Murray. “It’s been my most consistent Grand Slam of my career. I haven’t been quite able to win, but the support I’ve received here has been amazing. I’ll try and come back next year and hopefully have a slightly different outcome in the final.”

“Novak has won five times here now. There’s no disgrace obviously in losing to him. So, yeah, a lot of positives for me to take from it.”

The first two sets took two hours and 32 minutes, saw break leads vanish for both men. Djokovic broke Murray in the fourth game of the first set, but Murray returned the break to get even. Djokovic broke serve in the eighth game and served for the set, but the Scot put the set back on even terms.

The set eventually went to a tiebreaker, with Murray taking a 2-1 mini-break lead. Djokovic won 5 out of the next 6 points to swing the tiebreaker in his favor.

The second set saw Djokovic save a set point in the 10th game. Murray dominated the second set tiebreaker.

The match was interrupted in the second set during the seventh game when someone protesting Australia’s refugee policies ran on the court and was removed by security.

The pendulum of momentum made its final swing towards Djokovic, when he broke Murray’s serve at love in the eighth game of the third set. Murray showed his displeasure by throwing his racquet and yelling into a towel.

“There were a lot of turning points in the match. As I think everybody predicted, it was going to be a big battle,” Djokovic said. “Of course, Grand Slam finals for both of us, regardless of the record that I have here, and him playing also three times the final not winning a title, regardless of that, we both knew that, you know, we have equal chances to win it. Very similar match to the Australian Open final in 2013 when we played over two hours the first two sets. Tonight two and a half hours the first two sets. Very physical. Very exhausting. We both of course went through some tough moments physically. You could see that I had a crisis end of the second, beginning of the third. Just felt very exhausted and I needed some time to regroup and recharge and get back on track. That’s what I’ve done. I started hitting ball and trying to be a little bit more aggressive coming to the net, shortening the points. I got a very important break of serve at 2-Love for him in the third that got me back in the match mentally, as well. It was a cat-and-mouse fight. It always is. We always try to outplay the opponents with the groundstrokes, with the long rallies, a lot of variety in the games: spin, flat, slice, dropshots. I think both went out with the full repertoire of the shots we have. I hope everybody that watched it enjoyed the finals. From my side it was definitely very exhausting. Just glad that I believed it all the way through. Saved some breakpoints at 3-All in the third set and managed to make that break and win the third. After that I felt huge relief. I felt I could swing through the ball. I felt the momentum was on my side and I wanted to use that. At this level very few points can turn things around on the court as we could see tonight.”

“Obviously had opportunities in the first three sets,” Murray said. “Then the fourth set, I mean, obviously I need to watch it back to see if I played badly. I mean, he was just ripping everything. Returns he was hitting on the baseline, this far from the line all the time. Once he got up a break, he just loosened up and was just going for his shots. I couldn’t recover. So the fourth set wasn’t as frustrating to me. The third set was frustrating because I got a bit distracted when he, like, fell on the ground after a couple of shots. It appeared that he was cramping, and then I let that distract me a little bit. That’s what I’m most disappointed about, not so much the fourth set because I think, especially at the end of it, he was just going for everything, and it was going in. But the third set was more frustrating for me.”

Djokovic appeared to have an issue with his leg in the third set, which looked as though it distracted Murray.

“I have no idea what the issue was,” Murray commented. “He obviously looked like he was in quite a bad way at the beginning of the third set and came back unbelievable at the end of that set. Then obviously the way he was hitting the ball in the fourth and moving was impressive. So, yeah, I don’t know exactly what the issue was for him.

“If it was cramp, how he recovered from it, that’s a tough thing to recover from and play as well as he did at the end. So, yeah, I’m frustrated at myself for letting that bother me at the beginning of the third set, because I was playing well, I had good momentum, and then just dropped off for like 10 minutes and it got away from me. So that’s the most frustrating thing because I thought I obviously had opportunities in the first set. I couldn’t quite get them. I managed to sneak the second. Then obviously was that break up in the third”

 

“I think it has deeper meaning, more intrinsic value now to my life because I’m a father and a husband,” the Serb said of the win. “It’s the first Grand Slam title I won as a father and a husband. Just feel very, very proud of it.

“I try to stay on the right path and committed to this sport in every possible way that I have had in the last couple of years and try to use this prime time of my career really where I’m playing and feeling the best at 27. This is why I play the sport, you know, to win big titles and to put myself in a position to, you know, play also for the people around me. I know how much sacrifice they put in in my own career, and I try to thank them and not take anything for granted. As my life progresses, there are circumstances, situations, events that define these beautiful moments. Getting married and becoming a father in the last six months was definitely something that gave me a new energy, something that I never felt before. And right now everything has been going in such a positive direction in my life. I’m so grateful for that. So I try to live these moments with, you know, all my heart.”

Murray’s ranking will move up to No. 4 in the world when the rankings are released on Monday.

 

 

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Serena Williams Wins 6th Australian Open for 19th Grand Slam Title

 

(January 31, 2015) Serena Williams moved up on the all-time list of Grand Slam title holders beating Maria Sharapova 6-3, 7-6 (5) to win her sixth Australian Open title on Saturday night. It’s the 33-year-old’s 19th major, tying her with Helen Wills Moody for third on the all-time list, just behind Steffi Graf (22) and Margaret Court (24). The American passes both Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert with 18 each.

“I would love to get to 22,” Williams said. “I mean, 19 was very difficult to get to. Took me 33 years to get here, so… I would love to get there. But I have to get to 20 first, and then I have to get to 21. There’s so many wonderful young players coming up, so it will be a very big task. My next goal was just to get to 19. That was my goal. So I didn’t think it would happen this fast, to be honest, but it feels really good.”

Battling a cold during the tournament, No. 1 Williams remains unbeaten in six finals. She is the oldest Australian Open champion of the Open Era.

“Standing here with 19 majors is something I never thought would happen,” Williams said during the trophy ceremony. “I went on the court with a ball, a racket and a hope”

“I have to congratulate Maria. She really pushed me tonight. She played a great match… not only for you guys but for tennis”

“I haven’t beaten her in a really long time but I love playing her because you want to play the best,” world No. 2 Sharapova said. “And she’s the best.”

It was the 16th straight win for Williams over Sharapova to raise her record to 17- 2 over the Russian.

The match began with the roof open on Rod Laver Arena, but the rain came and the roof close in the first set causing a 13-minute delay.

Williams promptly hit an ace upon resumption of play, winning six straight points which included a break of serve.

Williams was dominant in her serving, hitting 18 aces during the 1 hour and 51 minute match. Fifteen of the aces came in the second set.

Williams celebrated prematurely on her third match point, thinking she had hit an ace, when it was a let.. She promptly regrouped.

“I thought after the let, Man, I am not meant to win this tournament,” Willliams said. “I had a couple of match points. I mean, she played great on those match points. She totally went for broke. I was like, C’mon. First of all, why I hear the let. Then I was like, Okay, do I go T? Do I go wide? What am I going to do? Then I just tossed and served as hard as I could.”

 

“I haven’t won against her many times, but if I’m getting to the stage of competing against someone like Serena, I’m doing something well.,” Sharapova said in her post-match interview with the media. “I’m setting up a chance to try to beat her and it hasn’t happened. I’m not just going to go home without giving it another chance. That’s just not who I am and not who I was raised to be. I’m a competitor. If I’m getting to the finals of Grand Slams and setting myself up to play a match against Serena, I mean, I know it sounds — maybe you’re telling me I’m wrong — but I’m happy to be in that position. I love the competition. I love playing against the best, and at the moment she is.”

“Over the last 10 years her and I have been out of the game. Sometimes she was injured for a period of time; I was out for a year. So, yeah, between all of that, between and around it, we’ve been able to play a lot of great matches against other players. I’m proud to be part of an era where she’s in.”

“I’m happy with the way I’ve handled a few of the matches here, how I’ve come back strong, how I’ve set myself up to try to win another major. It’s not easy to get to the final of a Grand Slam. It takes a lot of work. It’s over the course of two weeks. That’s a good achievement. It’s a good start to the year. The year is very young at this point.”

“It feels really good to be sitting here as the champion,” Williams said in her post-match interview. “I definitely didn’t think I would be here in the beginning of the week or the beginning of the two weeks, but it feels pretty excellent.”

“The match definitely got tough in the second set. Maria started playing a lot better. She started being a little more aggressive. I think I got a little more passive. Was just trying to get the ball back in play. But I also started serving better in the second set because I knew if I wasn’t having my groundstrokes where I wanted them to be, I knew I could serve it out. So, yeah, it definitely got really interesting. I had a lot of moments. I had some easy shots that I missed in the second set on her serve, and then she came up with a big serve when she was down a breakpoint, which was great. But I definitely can look back and say, Oh, I could have done a few things better just for the future”

“I’ve been through so much the past week,” the champion continued. “I really, really didn’t expect to win. I didn’t expect to be here this long. I was walking down the hall yesterday and I was thinking, Wow, I’m still in the tournament. It’s been a long time since I’ve been to the final here or the semifinal. It’s been a long time coming. I was just really, really elated to have an opportunity to walk out on the final match.”

Williams’ six Australian titles came in 2003, ’05, ’07, ’09 ’10 and ’15. She defeated Sharapova in ‘07 and ‘15. Sharapova won the title in 2008.

Serena Williams is halfway to another “Serena Slam” having won the 2014 US Open and now the Australian Open. The next major and second leg of the calendar Grand Slam will be the French Open in May.

“When I think about Paris, I don’t think about 20,” Williams said. “I just think about winning there. It’s the one slam I don’t have more than two titles on. I only have two there. Sorry. That and Wimbledon I’ve been struggling. Yeah, so I think, okay, now that I got this under my belt. I’m a little more comfortable with my ranking now. Now I can really move. Like I did so bad last year at Roland Garros, and Wimbledon as well. So those are the two I really have my eye on, because I would like to do better at those. And I know I can do better. I’m not going into it not as number 20, but I want to win Roland Garros.”

 

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Tale of the Tape – Novak Djokovic Versus Andy Murray in the Australian Open Final

head_to_head_murraydjokovicTPN

2015 AUSTRALIAN OPEN

DAY 14 MEN’S NOTES

Sunday 1 February

 

 

Singles Final

 

 

  1. 1 NOVAK DJOKOVIC (SRB) v NO. 6 ANDY MURRAY (GBR)

At stake for the finalists, in addition to the prestige of the Australian Open title, is the following:

 

 
AUD$
ATP Ranking Points
Champion 3,100,000 2000
Finalist 1,550,000 1200

 

Who has the advantage?
For 4 out of the past 7 years, the man who played his semifinal second has been the one who won the final, so recent history would suggest that Djokovic has the slight advantage in winning the 2015 Australian Open title.

 

No. 1 v No. 6
This is just the 2nd Open Era meeting between a No. 1 seed and No. 6 seed in the Australian Open final after the 1979 final, when No. 1 Guillermo Vilas defeated No. 6 John Sadri. The last meeting between a No. 1 seed and No. 6 seed at a major was at the 2009 US Open, when No. 6 Juan Martin del Potro defeated No. 1 Roger Federer. This is just the 5th Grand Slam final meeting between a No. 1 seed and a No. 6 seed in the Open Era.
The No. 1 seed has reached the final here for the 4th consecutive year. Rafael Nadal’s loss to Stan Wawrinka in the final here last year was the first defeat for a Top seed in the Australian Open final since 1995 (No. 2 Andre Agassi d. No. 1 Pete Sampras) and ended an 8-match winning streak for the No. 1 seed in Australian Open finals.

Hard court heroes
Murray could equal Ivan Lendl in 5th place on the list for most Open Era hard court titles if he wins the title here. Djokovic, meanwhile, is looking to close the gap on Andre Agassi in 2nd place.

.                                                        Hard court title leaders (Open Era)

Player

Hard court titles

Roger FedererAndre Agassi 57
46
Novak Djokovic 37
Pete Sampras 36
Ivan Lendl 26
Andy Murray 25

ATP Rankings update…

Regardless of the outcome of the final, Djokovic will still occupy the No. 1 position in the ATP Rankings when they are published on Monday 2 February. Murray has climbed to 4th in the rankings by reaching the final and will climb to No. 3 if he goes on to win the title.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Head-to-head: Djokovic leads 15-8

2006     AMS Madrid                  Hard (I)             R16      Djokovic           16 75 63

2007     AMS Indian Wells          Hard (O)            SF        Djokovic           62 63

2007     AMS Miami                   Hard (O)            SF        Djokovic           61 60

2008     AMS Monte Carlo          Clay (O)            R16      Djokovic           60 64

2008     AMS Toronto                Hard (O)            QF        Murray              63 76(3)

2008     AMS Cincinnati              Hard (O)            FR        Murray              76(4) 76(5)

2009     Miami-1000                   Hard (O)            FR        Murray              62 75

2011     Australian Open           Hard (O)           FR        Djokovic           64 62 63

2011     Rome-1000                   Clay (O)            SF        Djokovic           61 36 76(2)

2011     Cincinnati-1000              Hard (O)            FR        Murray              64 3-0 ret. (right shoulder injury)

2012     Australian Open           Hard (O)           SF        Djokovic           63 36 67(4) 61 75

2012     Dubai                           Hard (O)            SF        Murray              62 75

2012     Miami-1000                   Hard (O)            FR        Djokovic           61 76(4)

2012     Olympic Tennis Event    Grass (O)          SF        Murray              75 75

2012     US Open                      Hard (O)           FR        Murray             76(10) 75 26 36 62

2012     Shanghai-1000              Hard (O)            FR        Djokovic           57 76(11) 63

2012     ATP World Tour Finals   Hard (I)             RR        Djokovic           46 63 75

2013     Australian Open           Hard (O)           FR        Djokovic           67(2) 76(3) 63 62

2013     Wimbledon                  Grass (O)          FR        Murray             64 75 64

2014     Miami-1000                   Hard (O)            QF        Djokovic           75 63

2014     US Open                      Hard (O)           QF        Djokovic           76(1) 67(1) 62 64

2014     Beijing                          Hard (O)            SF        Djokovic           63 64

2014     Paris-1000                     Hard (I)             QF        Djokovic           75 62

 

Murray is bidding to end a 4-match losing streak against Djokovic and defeat the Serb for the first time since the 2013 Wimbledon final.

 

It will be the 5th meeting between these 2 players in a Grand Slam final which puts them in joint-3rd position on the all-time leaderboard for most match-ups in a Grand Slam final along with Andre Agassi v Pete Sampras and Ivan Lendl v Mats Wilander.

 

                                                Most head-to-heads in Grand Slam finals

Head-to-head Grand Slam final meetings
Roger Federer v Rafael Nadal 8
Novak Djokovic v Rafael Nadal 7
Andre Agassi v Pete SamprasIvan Lendl v Mats Wilander

Novak Djokovic v Andy Murray

55

5

 

This is the 3rd Australian Open final to feature Djokovic and Murray, which extends their lead for the most match-ups in the Australian Open final ahead of Jim Courier v Stefan Edberg (2) and Johan Kriek v Steve Denton (2).

 

Murray and Djokovic are the closest Grand Slam finalists by age. Murray is just 7 days older than Djokovic. The previous closest Grand Slam finalists in terms of age were Guillermo Vilas and Jimmy Connors who met at the 1977 US Open when Vilas was 16 days older than Connors.

 

Djokovic has a 13-6 win-loss record against Murray on a hard court.

 

Road to the Final

DJOKOVIC Time^ Time^ MURRAY
d. (Q) Aljaz Bedene 63 62 64d. Andrey Kuznetsov 60 61 64 1:491:24 1st round2nd round 2:131:42 d. (Q) Yuki Bhambri 63 64 76(3)d. Marinko Matosevic 61 63 62
d. No. 31 Fernando Verdasco 76(8) 63 64 2:21 3rd round 2:06 d. Joao Sousa 61 61 75
d. Gilles Muller 64 75 75d. No. 8 Milos Raonic 76(5) 64 62

d. No. 4 Stan Wawrinka 76(1) 36 64 46 60

2:082:00
3:30
Round of 16Quarterfinals
Semifinals
3:322:05

3:26

d.   No. 10 Grigor Dimitrov 64 67(5) 63 75d. Nick Kyrgios 63 76(5) 63

d. No. 7 Tomas Berdych 67(6) 60 63 75

total time on court 13:12 ^Scorecard time 15:04 total time on court

 

 

 

DJOKOVIC                                      v                                       MURRAY

 

27                                           Age                                           27

6’2”/1.88m                                   Height                                   6’3”/1.90m

1                                    ATP Ranking                                    6

72,444,489                      Career Earnings (US$)                      34,190,080

48                                         Titles                                         31

186-33                      Career Grand Slam Record                      140-33

7 titles                        Best Grand Slam Result                        2 titles

49-6                          Australian Open Record                          39-9

612-141                               Career Record                               487-151

398-82                          Career Record – Hard                          338-95

8-1                                    2015 Record                                    6-0

8-1                               2015 Record – Hard                              6-0

23-8                          Career Five-Set Record                           17-6

3                          Comebacks from 0-2 Down                          7

175-102                        Career Tiebreak Record                        141-90

4-1                             2015 Tiebreak Record                            2-2

                                                                                

  • 4-time champion 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.

 

Australian Open title leaders (all-time)

Player
Titles won
Years
Roy Emerson 6 1961, 1963-67
Andre Agassi 4 1995, 2000-01, 2003
Jack Crawford 4 1931-33, 1935
Novak Djokovic 4 2008, 2011-13
Roger Federer 4 2004, 2006-07, 2010
Ken Rosewall 4 1953, 1955, 1971-72

 

  • Djokovic is bidding to win his 8th Grand Slam title and move into equal-8th place with Andre Agassi, Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl, Fred Perry and Ken Rosewall on the all-time list for most major titles.

 

All-time Grand Slam men’s singles titles

1. 17 Roger Federer
2= 14 Rafael Nadal
Pete Sampras
4. 12 Roy Emerson
5= 11 Bjorn BorgRod Laver
7. 10 Bill Tilden
8= 8 Andre AgassiJimmy Connors

Ivan Lendl

Fred Perry

Ken Rosewall

 

  • Djokovic is bidding to win his 8th Grand Slam title. He has a 7-7 win-loss record in his 14 previous Grand Slam finals and a 4-0 win-loss record in Australian Open finals:

                                          

                                             Djokovic’s record in Grand Slam finals

Grand Slam Final Result
2007 US Open l. Roger Federer 76(4) 76(2) 64
2008 Australian Open d. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 46 64 63 76(2)
2010 US Open l. Rafael Nadal 64 57 64 62
2011 Australian Open d. Andy Murray 64 62 63
2011 Wimbledon d. Rafael Nadal 64 61 16 63
2011 US Open d. Rafael Nadal 62 64 67(3) 61
2012 Australian Open d. Rafael Nadal 57 64 62 67(5) 75
2012 Roland Garros l. Rafael Nadal 64 63 26 75
2012 US Open l. Andy Murray 76(10) 75 26 36 62
2013 Australian Open d. Andy Murray 67(2) 76(3) 63 62
2013 Wimbledon l. Andy Murray 64 75 64
2013 US Open l. Rafael Nadal 62 36 64 61
2014 Roland Garros l. Rafael Nadal 36 75 62 64
2014 Wimbledon d. Roger Federer 67(7) 64 76(4) 57 64
2015 Australian Open v. Andy Murray??

 

  • 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 Tsonga), 2011 (d. Andy Murray), 2012
    (d. Nadal) and 2013 (d. Murray).

 

  • Djokovic also won the titles at 2011 Wimbledon and the 2011 US Open, defeating Nadal on both occasions. He has never won Roland Garros despite reaching the final there twice – in 2012 and 2014, losing to Nadal both times.

 

  • Djokovic is in 8th place on the list for the most Grand Slam match-wins in history with a 186-33 win-loss record. The leading all-time performers are as follows:

 

Most Grand Slam match-wins (all-time)

Rank Player Win-loss
12 Roger FedererJimmy Connors 281-46233-49
3 Andre Agassi 224-53
45 Ivan LendlRoy Emerson 222-49217-48
67

8

Pete SamprasRafael Nadal

Novak Djokovic

203-38191-26

186-33

910 Stefan EdbergKen Rosewall 178-47174-32

                                                                               Note: active players in bold

 

  • Djokovic is bidding to record his 50th match-win at the Australian Open and close the gap on Stefan Edberg in 2nd place on the list for most Australian Open match-wins in the Open Era.
Player Win-loss
Roger Federer
Stefan Edberg
    75-12
56-10
Novak DjokovicAndre Agassi    49-648-5
Ivan Lendl        48-10
Rafael NadalPete Sampras     45-945-9

 

  • Djokovic is bidding to become the 17th 1 seed to win the Australian Open title in the Open Era. The last Top seed to win the title here was Djokovic himself in 2013. The Top seed has won the title here in 6 of the last 9 years.

 

  • Djokovic is bidding to extend his 9-match winning streak against Top 10 opposition. He has not lost to a Top 10 player since losing to Federer in the semifinals at 2014 Shanghai-1000. He has dropped just 3 sets in his last 8 matches against Top 10 players – one set to Kei Nishikori in the semifinals at the 2014 ATP World Tour Finals and 2 sets to Stan Wawrinka in the semifinals here.

 

  • Djokovic is the only male Serbian Grand Slam champion and also the only Serbian man to appear in a Grand Slam final.

 

  • By reaching the final here Djokovic has equalled Stefan Edberg and Federer in first place for the most Australian Open final appearances.

 

                                            No. of Australian Open final appearances (Open Era)

Novak Djokovic 5
Stefan Edberg 5
Roger Federer 5
Andre Agassi 4
Andy Murray 4
Ivan Lendl 4
Mats Wilander 4

 

  • Djokovic has reached his 15th Grand Slam final and moved into equal-8th place on the all-time list of most appearances in Grand Slam finals.

 

1 Roger Federer 25
2 Rafael Nadal 20
3 Ivan Lendl 19
4 Pete Sampras 18
5 Rod Laver 17
6= Bjorn Borg 16
Ken Rosewall 16
8= Andre AgassiNovak Djokovic 1515
Jimmy Connors 15
Roy Emerson 15
Bill Tilden 15

 

  • Last year here, Djokovic’s streak of 14 consecutive Grand Slam semifinal appearances was ended by Wawrinka in 5 sets in the quarterfinals. It is his last 5-set loss. He has a 23-8 Tour-level win-loss record in 5-set matches and a 4-2 win-loss record in 5-set matches at Melbourne Park.         

 

  • 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.

 

  • At the Grand Slams in 2014, as well as reaching the quarterfinals at the Australian Open and winning the title at Wimbledon, Djokovic lost to Nadal in the final at Roland Garros and to Nishikori in the semifinals at the US Open.

 

  • 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.

 

  • 3-time Australian Open runner-up MURRAY is looking to become the first man in the Open Era to win the Australian Open title after losing 3 finals. He finished as runner-up here in 2010 ( Roger Federer), 2011
    (l. Djokovic) and 2013 (l. Djokovic). Marat Safin is the only player to lose 2 or more Australian Open finals before winning the title.

No. of Australian Open final appearances before winning first title (Open Era)

Player
No. of Australian Open final appearances before winning the title
Years
Andy Murray 4?? Lost 2010, 2011, 2013
Marat Safin 3 Lost 2002, 2004. Won 2005

 

  • If Murray wins the title for the first time on his 10th Australian Open appearance, he will set a record for most Australian Open appearances before winning the title.

 

                    Number of Australian Open appearances before winning the title (Open Era)

Andy Murray??Petr Korda

Stan Wawrinka

Thomas Johansson

Ivan Lendl

Marat Safin

10??9

9

8

7

7

 

  • Murray is bidding to become the first British man to win the Australian Open since Fred Perry defeated Jack Crawford in 1934.

 

  • Murray is bidding to become the 21st man in the Open Era to win 3 or more Grand Slam titles. He is also looking to become the 16th man in the Open Era to win at least 3 of the 4 Grand Slam titles.

 

  • Murray is bidding to end a 5-match losing streak against players ranked No. 1. He has not defeated a world No. 1 since defeating today’s opponent in the final at 2013 Wimbledon. He has a 2-8 win-loss record against players ranked No. 1 at the Grand Slams – as well as defeating Djokovic at 2013 Wimbledon, he also defeated No. 1 Nadal in the semifinals at the 2008 US Open.

 

  • By reaching his 4th Australian Open final, Murray has moved into joint-4th place on the list for most Australian Open finals reached in the Open Era.

 

Player No. of AO finals
Novak DjokovicStefan Edberg

Roger Federer

5
Andre AgassiIvan Lendl

Andy Murray

Mats Wilander

4

 

  • By reaching the final here, Murray has closed the gap on Fred Perry for the most appearances in a Grand Slam final by a British man (since the Challenge Round was abolished at Wimbledon in 1922):

 

Player Appearances in a Grand Slam final
Fred Perry 10 – US Championships 1933-34, 1936, Australian Championships 1934-35, French Championships 1935-36, Wimbledon 1934-36
Andy Murray 8 – US Open 2008, 2012, Australian Open 2010-11, 2013, 2015, Wimbledon 2012-13

 

  • Murray is the only Briton to reach 4 Australian Open finals. Fred Perry is the only other British man to reach multiple finals at the Australian Open, winning in 1934 and finishing a runner-up in 1935:

 

British Players in the Australian Open final (all-time)

Year Player Opponent Result
1915 Gordon Lowe Horace Rice Won 46 61 61 64
1920 Algernon Kingscote Eric Pockley Won 64 60 63
1929 Colin Gregory Richard Schlesinger Won 62 62 57 64
1934 Fred Perry Jack Crawford Won 63 75 61
1935 Fred Perry Jack Crawford Lost 26 64 64 64
1977 John Lloyd Vitas Gerulaitis Lost 63 76 57 36 62
2010 Andy Murray Roger Federer Lost 63 64 76
2011 Andy Murray Novak Djokovic Lost 64 62 63
2013 Andy Murray Novak Djokovic Lost 67(2) 76(3) 63 62
2015 Andy Murray Novak Djokovic ??

 

  • By reaching his 8th Grand Slam final, Murray has equalled Ken Rosewall and Guillermo Vilas in joint-13th place for the most Grand Slam finals reached in the Open Era. Only 3 active players have reached more Grand Slam finals than Murray – Roger Federer (25), Rafael Nadal (20) and today’s opponent (15).

 

  • Murray is a 2-time Grand Slam champion. He won the 2012 US Open title (d. today’s opponent) and became the first British man to win the Wimbledon singles title in 77 years in 2013 (d. today’s opponent).

 

  • Murray has a 2-5 win-loss record in his previous Grand Slam finals:

                                            

                                             Murray’s record in Grand Slam finals

Grand Slam Final Result
2008 US Open l. Roger Federer 62 75 62
2010 Australian Open l. Roger Federer 63 64 76(11)
2011 Australian Open l. Novak Djokovic 64 62 63
2012 Wimbledon l. Roger Federer 46 75 63 64
2012 US Open d. Novak Djokovic 76(10) 75 26 36 62
2013 Australian Open l. Novak Djokovic 67(2) 76(3) 63 62
2013 Wimbledon d. Novak Djokovic 64 75 64
2015 Australian Open v. Novak Djokovic

 

  • Murray is bidding to become the first No. 6 seed to win a Grand Slam title since Juan Martin del Potro won the 2009 US Open. Just two No. 6 seeds have won the title here – Petr Korda in 1998 and Andre Agassi in 2001.

 

  • Murray’s semifinal victory over Berdych was his 2nd win in his last 6 matches against Top 10 players at the Grand Slams. He has a 4-6 win-loss record against Top 10 opposition at the Australian Open compared with 0-3 at Roland Garros, 6-5 at Wimbledon and 5-5 at the US Open.

 

  • If Murray wins today he will take sole occupancy of 8th place on the list for the most Australian Open match-wins in the Open Era. He is currently level with Wayne Ferreira (39-14) with a 39-9 win-loss record here.

 

Most Australian Open match-wins (Open Era)

Player Win-loss record
1.    Roger Federer 75-12
2.    Stefan Edberg 56-10
3.    Novak Djokovic 49-6
4= Andre Agassi   Ivan Lendl 48-548-10
6= Rafael NadalPete Sampras 45-945-9
8= Wayne FerreiraAndy Murray 39-1439-9
10. Andy Roddick 38-11

*Players at the 2015 Australian Open in bold

 

  • Murray is the leading British man in history in terms of Grand Slam match-wins with a 140-33 win-loss record.

 

  • Murray is on a 5-match winning streak in 5-set matches. The last time he lost a 5-set match was against Novak Djokovic in the semifinals at the 2012 Australian Open. He has a 1-3 win-loss record in 5-set matches at Melbourne Park.

 

  • Last year here Murray reached the quarterfinals, falling to Federer 63 64 67(6) 63. He is contesting his 10th straight Australian Open and 36th Grand Slam overall.

 

  • Elsewhere in Grand Slam play in 2014 he reached the semifinals at Roland Garros (l. Nadal) and the quarterfinals at Wimbledon (l. Grigor Dimitrov) and the US Open (l. today’s opponent). It was the 4th straight year he had reached the quarterfinals at all Grand Slams in a calendar year. [NB He missed 2013 Roland Garros with a back injury.]

 

  • Also in 2014, Murray won 3 titles – at Shenzhen (d. Tommy Robredo), Vienna (d. David Ferrer) and Valencia
    (d. Robredo). He saved 5 match points in both of his finals against Robredo. The Valencia final was the longest ATP final in 2014 at 3 hours 20 minutes.

 

  • Murray warmed up for the Australian Open at the Hopman Cup, where he won all 3 of the singles matches he played against Benoit Paire, Jerzy Janowicz and Marinko Matosevic in straight sets.

 

  • Murray is coached by 2006 Australian Open and Wimbledon champion Amelie Mauresmo. His fitness trainer is Matt Little and his physio is Mark Bender.

**Statistics provided by the International Tennis Federation

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Novak Djokovic Reaches Fifth Australian Open Final

Djokovic

(January 30, 2015) No. 1 Novak Djokovic avenged last year’s quarterfinal loss to Stan Wawrinka in the Australian Open, besting the Swiss 7-6 (1), 3-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 to reach his fifth Melbourne final on Friday.

The match which lasted 3 hours, 30 minutes, was by no means epic as it produced a total 118 unforced errors – 49 for Djokovic and 69 for last year’s champion Wawrinka.

“I did not play on the level that I intended before the match,” Djokovic said. “There were parts of the match where I stepped in and played a game I needed to play, but parts of the match where I played too defensive and allowed him to dictate the play from the baseline. He has great depth in his shots. Once he has control of the rallies it’s very difficult to play against him. So, yeah, it was very emotional, very tense, as it always is against a top player in semifinals of a Grand Slam. Of course, judging by the last two matches we played here in Australian Open last two years, we could expect something like that, five-setter. So the battle was great. It was no different this year from the previous two years in terms of, you know, fighting from both sides. The only difference was that the fifth set went completely my way. But, again, it was a tight first opening game of the fifth set where he had some breakpoint opportunities, missed an easy ball. Yeah, I mean, a couple points decide a winner in these particular matches when you’re playing for Grand Slam final. I can say I’m glad, of course I’m happy and satisfied to go through. I’m proud of the fighting spirit that I had. But the level of performance was not where I wanted it to be.”

“Describe the match? Strange. Not the best, for sure,” said Wawrinka. “I think there were a lot of up and down. Beginning conditions weren’t too good. It’s quite flying a little bit. Balls are not easy to control. Not much. It was not the best match, for sure. “

“Told my coach before the match and already yesterday that I was mentally completely dead and no battery. Tough to focus on what I want to do. Tough to focus on my game. And that’s what happened today.”

Four-time Melbourne champion Djokovic reaches his fifth Australian final and will face Andy Murray, whom he defeated in two previous finals. Djokovic has now equaled the record of Roger Federer and Stefan Edberg for most Australian finals in the Open era.

“Getting to the finals is already a great achievement,” said the Serb. “But now this is the match for which you have worked for now two months. This is where you want to be. This is why you put all these hours on and off the court, trying to get yourself in a position to win Grand Slam trophy, because that’s what matters the most. I’m going to give my best, of course.”

On playing Murray in the finals. Djokovic said: “He’s one of the best defenders in the game, no question about it. He is an incredible counter-puncher. He’s got a lot of variety in his game. He’s got also a big serve. I think if he serves well, that’s a huge, let’s say, confidence boost and advantage for him. He feels that he’s more relaxed on the court and he can swing through his shots from the baseline. I think forehand has improved, judging by the matches he has played the matches during these couple weeks compared to a few months ago. The courts are playing a little bit faster in the last two years than it was the previous years in Rod Laver Arena as we mentioned before. Because they are faster, because the ball is bouncing a bit lower, that’s pretty suitable to his style of the game. He likes that. He has a flat backhand and moves around the court pretty well. So it’s going to be a very physical match, no doubt about that. It’s finals, so I’m sure that we both are going to go out and give our best.”

Djokovic has a 15-8 record versus Murray.

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Serena Williams Win Sets Up Australian Open Final Against Maria Sharapova

(January 29, 2015) For the first time since 2004, the Australian Open women’s final will feature No. 1 versus No. 2. Top seed and five-time Australian Open winner Serena Williams will take on 2008 champion Maria Sharapova for the title on Saturday.

Both women won straight set matches on Thursday to advance. Williams won a slugfest of big serves and hard groundstrokes against 19-year-old Madison Keys in a battle between Americans 7-6 (5), 6-2. Williams was pushed by Keys at the very end, needing nine match points to close the contest. Sharapova had a much easier time against Russian countrywoman No. 10 Ekaterina Makarova 6-3, 6-2.

For the 33-year-old Williams, she is seeking her sixth Australian Open title and 19th major. She last won the Australian Open in 2010. Sharapova will be trying to claim her second Melbourne title and sixth Grand Slam title.

“She (Keys) pushed me really hard the first set ……. and I had to really dig deep mentally to get through that,” said a coughing Williams who has been ill for several days. “It was a little frustrating, I had like nine or 10 match points and couldn’t close it out. That doesn’t happen so much. She played like she didn’t have anything to lose.”

“I think she’s going to be winning this tournament very soon and lots of other Grand Slams,” said Williams to ESPN.

A total of 25 aces were hit during the match – 13 for Williams, 12 for Keys. Williams hit 19 winners to 16 unforced errors to Keys 27 winners to 39 unforced errors.

“I was impressed by her ability to stay in the match,” Said Williams. She never let up at all till the end. I think that is a really great quality to have.

“Well, I was just happy to get through it today. And I think I was able to serve big when I needed to. So that really helped me out a lot.”

“I’m really happy to have gotten this far in a tournament,” Keys said. “It’s my first one. Just looking forward to having more. Hopefully have a couple where I’m with the trophy at the end of the week.”

“I think I handled the moment pretty well. I definitely had a good start, so nerves didn’t totally play into that. I thought I handled myself pretty well in that last serving game of mine. But, I mean, she played really well. She served really well. It was pretty much impossible for me to break her serve. So, you know, great job to her today.”

“I think this week has definitely more shown to me, more than anyone else, that I can play the top players and I can do well against them. I can play the No. 1 player in the world in a pretty close match. So I think for me that’s inspiration for every time I’m on a practice court to keep working, keep getting better so I can have more and more weeks like that.”

 

Sharapova was pleased with her decisive win on Thursday. “I’m definitely happy. Like today, I thought I played solid. I did everything I had to do. I wasn’t afraid for it to become a physical match. You know, I think it was important to really stand my ground in the first few games, which I did well, even though I was behind, especially the first and second one. But, yeah, those key moments are really important. Yeah, definitely happy I was able to win really solid today.”

The No. 2 player’s road to the final had one major bump – she saved two match points in the second round of the tournament coming back to beat No. 150 Russian qualifier Alexandra Panova.

“It’s been a strange road for me to get to the finals, but I’m happy,” said Sharapova. “Came from behind in a few, really behind in one – saving match points. I felt like I was given a second chance. I just wanted to take my chances.”

Williams is 16-2 against Sharapova, with her last loss to the Russian coming in 2004. Williams has won the last 15 straight matches against Sharapova. Regardless who wins the final, Williams will remain in the top spot after the tournament.

“Everyone’s expecting me to win, “Williams said to ESPN. But I have to win. I’m glad No. 1 and No. 2 are in the final and I think it will be a good match.”

“Maria is playing great,” Williams said in her post-match news conference. “She’s in the tournament only because she’s a fighter and only because she refuses to give up. So, yeah, it’s a new match. She has nothing to lose, once again. She has only things to gain. And I feel that way, too. I feel I don’t. I’ve won this tournament several times. I don’t have to go out there and have another title. I want it, but it’s not life or death for me. I think that helps me he relax. So, yeah, she absolutely has nothing to lose, and I have nothing to lose, so it will be fun.”

Asked about what about Williams’ game give her trouble, Sharapova responded: “I think her power and her aggressiveness, I think that’s always made me a little bit too aggressive, maybe going for a little bit more than I had to. You know, she’s great at making players hit that shot that you don’t necessarily have to go for. You know, maybe going for a little too much, going on the line. It’s been a really difficult matchup for me, but, you know, I am a competitor. If I do play her, I will go out and I will do everything I can to try to change that result around.”

“I think my confidence should be pretty high going into a final of a Grand Slam no matter who I’m facing against and whether I’ve had a terrible record, to say the least, against someone” said the 27-year-old. “It doesn’t matter. I got there for a reason. I belong in that spot. I will do everything I can to get the title.”

“I’ve had many great memories on Rod Laver Arena. I’ve hopefully set myself up for another good one.”

“I think it’s great for women’s tennis,” Williams remarked about No. 1 versus No. 2. “I think it’s good for me and Maria. I’m excited. Like I said, I love playing her. I look forward to it. I didn’t expect to get to the finals of this tournament when I first got here because I wasn’t playing great. So I’m happy to be here. Yeah, I’m just happy, like I said, to get past the quarterfinals of a slam. Fourth round actually, outside the Open.”

No. 6 Andy Murray advanced to his fourth Australian Open final defeating No. 7 Tomas Berdych 6-7 (6), 6-0, 6-3, 7-5.

On the court there was obvious tension during this night match due to one of Andy Murray’s coaching team switching over to Berdych’s in the off-season.

There were profanities being yelled between the players on the court and during the first set of the match it appeared that Murray’s fiance Kim Sears was caught on camera cursing at Berdych.

“Obviously losing in the finals is disappointing. But making four finals is a very, very difficult thing to do,”Murray said. “And, yeah, I’m proud of my record here. I’ll go in with best tactics possible, prepare well – I literally couldn’t have done anything more to put myself in a better position come Sunday.”

Murray, who has been coached by former No. 1 player Amelie Mauresmo since June, had come under scrutiny for his choice of a female coach.  After the match on Thursday night he paid tribute to female coaches: “A lot of people criticized me working with her,” said Murray. “And I think so far this week we’ve showed that women can be very good coaches as well.”

“Madison Keys, who reached the semis here and had her best tournament, is also coached by a woman, Lindsay Davenport, and I see no reason why that can’t keep moving forward like that in the future.”

Murray will play the winner of the Novak Djokovic –  Stan Wawrinka match in Sunday’s final.

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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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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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