2014/10/31

Birthday Girl Kerber Fends Off Keys to Advance at Australian Open

Angelique Kerber

Angelique Kerber

(January 18, 2013) Celebrating her 25th birthday, Germany’s Angelique Kerber held back a challenge from 17-year-old American Madison Keys 6-2, 7-5 to move into the round of 16 at the Australian Open on Thursday.

The first set opened with three straight breaks of serve, Kerber added an additional break to cruise to a 6-2 first set aided by Keys’ unforced errors.

The second set was much tighter with both women exchanging opening serve breaks hold their own until the 10th game when keys squandered a 0-30 opportunity on Kerber’s serve. The German held on to the game for 5-5 and broke the American’s serve at love to lead 6-5.

Keys fought back in the next game to get to double break point, but Kerber held steady and won the next four points to seal the match.

The key statistic in the match was unforced errors – the American had 41, the German 12.

For Keys, it was her first run to the third round of any major, playing in her second Australian Open.

“Madison is a great young player and it was very tough,” Kerber said on court after the match “So happy I won today on my birthday!”

The tournament brought out a birthday cake after the match and the crowd at the Rod Laver Arena sang “Happy Birthday.”

Kerber will play  Ekaterina Makarova in the round of 16 for a spot in the quarterfinals.

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Federer Sets Up Exciting Third Round Clash Against Tomic

Roger Federer photo © Enrique Fernandez for Tennis Panorama

Roger Federer photo © Enrique Fernandez for Tennis Panorama

By Jaclyn Stacey

(January 17, 2013) MELBOURNE PARK,  Australia – Roger Federer had an easy straight sets win over long term rival Nikolay Davydenko 6-3, 6-4 6-4 to move through to a much anticipated third round encounter against Bernard Tomic.

 

Federer took to the court in a surprising ensemble of lavender grey shirt and pink detailing around his chest, shoes and sweatband in a change from the classic blue shift he displayed on day two of the Open. “I have nothing to say at all. I like to play around with various colors.” He said when asked about the color choice on court after the match.

 

Federer breezed through the match taking an early break in each set and never looking back. He was able to take the foot off the gas in the final set and sealed the match with an ace.

 

He discussed the match-up against Tomic in the post-match news conference and analysed the learning curve Tomic has had to experience in the past months.

 

“Yeah, I guess he’s learned a lot in the last year. It’s been, you know, a year of a younger player on tour. I went through the same sort of thing, you know, ups and downs, playing on the big courts, playing on the smaller courts, playing against all the different opponents for the first time. So it’s tricky.”

 

“It’s nice he’s been able to turn it around after a tough end of the year last year. It seems he’s playing well. Obviously a difficult match-up in terms of early in the tournament. But I’ve got to be ready, so I’m looking forward to the match.”

 

Federer said that he should have an edge over the confident Tomic due to his experience and fitness level.

 

“Look, I have so much more experience than him. Last year I reached my thousandth match on tour. That’s what I meant. I know how hard a five-setter can be. I know how intense a night session can be and all these things.”

 

“Whatever that means, length of rally, length of match, intensity, I’ve been there. That could potentially help me, but it could also not help me.”

 

“We’ll see how it goes. But he’s done a really nice job today, for instance, in the heat. He’s already played at night, so you see that as well. I don’t have a big advantage in this regard. I don’t see it as an advantage actually.”

 

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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Del Potro Cruises to Victory at Australian Open

Delpotro51112Madrid

By Jaclyn Stacey

(January 17, 2013) MELBOURNE PARK, Australia – Juan Martin Del Potro stormed into the Australian Open third round crushing German Benjamin Becker 6-2, 6-4, 6-2 in the Margaret Court Arena night match on day four. He will play Jeremy Chardy on Saturday who today defeated Spaniard Marcel Granollers in four sets 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2.

 

“I’m happy to win close to my best level.” Del Potro said on court after the match. “I served well and made a lot of winners with my forehand.”

 

Del Potro cemented his status as one of the players most likely to challenge the top three guys in the draw and win the Australian Open. He already knows how to win a Grand Slam and play against the best in the world having defeated Roger Federer in the final of the 2009 US Open.

 

Del Potro was untroubled throughout the encounter, breaking Becker early in each set and never looking in danger of losing his own serve. He won a remarkable 87% of first serves in play and produced a total of 50 winners and only 18 unforced errors in the one hour and 44 minute thumping.

 

When asked about the heat Del Potro said “I played much better than in my first round but it’s the same condition for the other players. This is tennis. I drank a lot of water before the match to stay hydrated.”

 

Elsewhere in Thursday evening Australian Open action, Gael Monfils fumbled his way to victory in a five set thriller on Hisense arena, double faulting on several occasions on match point before recording the 7-6(5), 4-6, 0-6, 6-1, 8-6 victory over Yen-Hsun Lu. He goes on to play countryman Gilles Simon in the third round who was victor on Thursday in four sets against Canadian Jesse Levine.

 

Richard Gasquet had an easy win over Alejandro Falla 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 in 1hour and 40 minutes and will play Ivan Dodig who defeated Jarkko Nieminen in five sets.

 

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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Tomic Survives Brands to Gain Third Round of Australian Open

Bernard Tomic

By Jaclyn Stacey

 

(January 17, 2013) MELBOURNE PARK, Australia - Bernard Tomic triumphed in a difficult second round match against German qualifier Daniel Brands 6-7(4) 7-5 7-6(3) 7-6(8) to set up a likely third round encounter against Roger Federer.

 

As temperatures soared in Melbourne on Thursday the players took to the courts with the mercury sitting at 38°C (100°F) and during the match hit 40°C (104°F), making the court play faster than normal. Both players wore caps on court to deal with the conditions.

 

Neither player was able to take control in the match as three out of the four sets ended in a tie-break. The only break in the match came in the eleventh game of the second set when Tomic hit a running forehand pass down the line to take a 6-5 lead and serve out the set.

 

In the post-match news conference Tomic admitted that he had underestimated his opponent and said that Brands played a lot better than his ranking of 120 would suggest.

 

“I mean, he’s ranked not in the top 100 and he played like a top 10 player today, top 15. I think, as you saw in Doha, he played well, made the semis. He’s been in the top 60 or 70. But he played much, much better than his ranking today. Full credit to him. Like I said, he played much better than his ranking.”

 

Tomic closed out the match on his eighth opportunity in the fourth set tie-break and said he is feeling physically and mentally healthy after the two hour and 55 minute match.

 

“I was fine physically. Just the heat always distracts you when you’re playing an opponent that you can’t figure out, you can’t break him, he’s on top of you. It’s very difficult. It was very hot out there. I managed to cool down. I had a few cheap service games of mine. It allowed me to focus in the third and fourth set.”

 

Tomic says he very pleased with how he is serving and that being able to hold against Federer would be crucial in having a chance at beating him.

 

“I saw the stats as I was walking out. It was 23 to 26 aces my way. That’s probably the best I’ve ever served. I didn’t get broken today at all, not even in the first round. I think the last break of serve was in the quarters against Nieminen in Sydney. I think I just got broken once there. Tells you I’m serving really well.”

 

“But I’m going to use all this confidence into the next round, you know, potentially who waits there. We’ll see.”

 

Tomic says he’ll watch the match between Davydenko and Federer tonight and believes it might not go completely in the favour of the 17-time Grand Slam champion.

 

“He’s playing a guy that’s beaten him before. It’s not easy playing Davydenko. I’m sure Roger knows that as well. You can’t take anyone lightly, especially someone that’s been in the top 5 for like six years.”

 

If he does come up against the world No. 2,  Tomic is confident he will have more of a chance than ever to beat him.

 

“Yeah, if it is him, then what a match it is, you know, 10 out of 10 now with matches. I feel so confident. This is the perfect time to play him. I think, you know, I’ve got a good attitude to win. I’ve beaten a lot of good players over the last past two weeks, especially Novak. I think I can do it if he wins his match.”

 

“I’m ready. I mean, I’m not going to say, you know, I don’t have the belief. I do have the belief now. It’s possible. I showed that in Perth, that you can beat these players. Now I’m going to try to beat him.”

 

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 Answers Questions About Her Ankle with Easy Second Round Victory

Bank of the West semifinals (Serena Williams)

(January 17, 2013) Serena Williams answered the questions about her ankle with a 6-2, 6-0 rout of No. 112 Garbine Muguruza of Spain on Thursday at the Australian Open.The American rolled over on her right ankle falling on the court during her first round 6-0, 6-0 win over Edina Gallovits-Hall.

 

“I didn’t feel anything today,” in terms of the ankle injury said Williams.  “Obviously when you go out to play you’re heavy on adrenaline and you’re really pumped up.

 

“Usually I feel injuries after the match, but so far, so good.  I felt pretty, much better than I ever dreamed of expecting to feel.

 

“There was definitely a discomfort, said Williams about her practice on Wednesday.  “So I woke up this morning and I was really shocked that I didn’t have as much.

 

“So I think the hit helped, though, but it was definitely not comfortable at all.”

 

During Thursday’s match, Williams had another scare – she hit her mouth on a forehand follow through with her racquet during the first set.

 

“I don’t know why my racquet was even in my face, Williams said. “I mean, it’s like I have been playing tennis far too long to hit myself.  I think I was hitting a forehand, Williams said demonstrating her follow through.

 

“I’m like, come on.  Like, Serena, pull yourself together here.”

 

“One day I twist my ankle, one day I hit my mouth. I don’t know what’s going to happen on Saturday,” Serena said after the match.

 

The most competitive game of the match came in the first game in the second set which had 10 deuces over 17 minutes which ended in a break for Williams.

 

Serena was dominant on her serve hitting 10 aces winning 84 percent of her first serve points. She ended the match on a 128 mph ace.

Williams next plays Japan’s Ayumi Morita on Saturday for a place in the Round of 16.

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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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Stosur Falls Apart as Zheng Advances at Australian Open

SamanthaStosurTennis PanoramaNews

By Jaclyn Stacey

 

(January 16, 2013) MELBOURNE PARK, Australia - Jie Zheng progressed through an error filled match against ninth seed Samantha Stosur in two hours and 42 minutes on Rod Laver Arena in day three action at Australian Open 2013.

 

Stosur served for the match in the final set with a 5-2 lead before mentally falling apart and double faulting on match point down to gift Zheng a place in the third round against Julia Goerges.

 

The 2011 US Open champion has struggled playing on home soil in the recent past, falling in the first round at Australian Open 2012 and never progressing past the fourth round in 13 appearances.

 

Stosur led their head-to-head 3-2 coming into the match but Zheng had defeated Stosur last week in Sydney to have the mental edge in the match.

 

Stosur had opportunities to break early in the first set but it remained on serve until Zheng secured the first break after a superb return game, hitting some sweeping cross court winners past Stosur to take a 4-3 lead. Stosur immediately broke back to level at 4-4 before she again lost momentum in the next game, Zheng regaining the break and serving out the set on her eighth set point opportunity 6-4.

 

After a tough first game hold Stosur picked up momentum and stormed to a 6-1 second set win to send the match into a third set decider.

 

Zheng won the final set and the match after Stosur failed to serve out the match while leading 5-2, losing the next five games.

 

In the post-match news conference Zheng spoke about the match and referred to the first time she played on Rod Laver Arena and her desire to keep playing the big matches there.

 

“In the final set 2-5, I was thinking first time I played in center court is 2006.  I thinking, How many times I can play like this court? I need to keep fighting and enjoy the match.”

 

“Today I feel Sam Stosur is play much better for last week. Kick serve and the big forehand. Also backhand slice is give me the big trouble.”

 

“But today I try to play more aggressive. I try to go to the net, give her some pressure, yeah.

I think this is my coaches tell me give her some the pressure, and this way is for the key for

win this match.”

 

Stosur was disappointed following the match. “I mean, obviously it’s a pretty hard one to take when you get yourself well and truly into a winning position, yeah, playing really quite well. Then all of a sudden you get to 5-2 and you lose five games straight.”

 

Stosur has often had trouble holding on to momentum in matches and when asked whether losing the match was a mental thing she said “You know, unfortunately it was — it just kept happening point after point after point. You know, then crazy things start popping into your head, and before you know it, you’re back on even terms and really lost a lead that, you know, with two breaks in the third should never go away.”

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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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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Promising American Teen Madison Keys Moves into Third Round of Australian Open

Madison Keys (Photo by Erik Gudris) ©Tennis Panorama New

Madison Keys (Photo by Erik Gudris) ©Tennis Panorama News

(January 16, 2013) Seventeen year-old American Madison Keys will be making her first appearance in the third round of major on Friday. Keys dismantled No. 30 Tamira Paszek 6-2, 6-1, closing the match with an ace.

“My serving definitely helped me today,” Keys noted. “In the first set when I got down Love‑40 when I was up 4‑2, I think being able to hold and come back definitely helped me out.”

On top of her serving performance which produced 6 aces, she hit 23 winners in the 56 minute match.

The 105th ranked Keys first picked up a racquet a four,  trained at the Chris Evert Academy  in Boca Raton, Florida and has switched to the local  USTA training center. Keys  gained a place in the Australian  Open main draw when she won the USTA wildcard playoff tournament in December.

The promising Keys who won a pro match at 14 against a top 100 player in 2009, took No. 7 Li Na to three sets last week at the Sydney tournament in the quarterfinals.

“Really, really liked watching Kim Clijsters,” Keys lists as her tennis idol.  “I thought she was very passionate, and I thought her movement was incredible.”

She admits what drew her to the sport,  “the outfits,” she said to media with a smile. She fell in love with Venus Williams’ dress seeing her play on TV.

“Really wanted a tennis dress.  My parents told me that if I played, they would buy me one.  I was like, Hey, I’ll try it.”

Keys who has played in previous Grand Slam events feels composed for this one.  “I feel more prepared for this one,” said Keys. “My first US Open main draw, it was a big stadium and wasn’t really used to it.  But I feel good about this one so far.

Keys will take on fifth seed Angelique Kerber in the third round on Friday.

“I think just really have to focus on playing my game and just worrying about me, “ Keys said about the match-up.  “She’s obviously a good player.  She’s been around and she’s done well the last couple years.

“I think if I just focus on what I’m doing, then it doesn’t really matter.”

Karen Pestaina for Tennis Panorama News

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Almagro Wins All Spanish Encounter to Advance to Australian Open Third Round

The Miami Cup tennis tournament held at Crandon Park Tennis Center.

By Jaclyn Stacey

(January 16, 2013) MELBOURNE PARK, Australia – Nicolas Almagro moves into the third round at the Australian Open for the fifth consecutive year after conquering his countryman Diego Gimeno-Traver 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 in an all Spanish second round encounter on Hisense Arena in morning play on Wednesday.

 

The tenth seed was never really troubled throughout the encounter, Gimeno-Traver only looking to have any chance during the beginning of the first set when he broke Almagro for a 2-1 lead.

 

The two have played each other on many occasions stretching back to the ITF junior days with Gimeno-Traver winning their only encounter on hard court at the 2010 Valencia Open in three sets.

 

One of 16 Spanish men flying the flag for Spain in the absence of Rafael Nadal, Almagro used his explosive shot making to shut down Gimeno-Traver.

 

He is known to be an intense personality on court, and let out plenty of emotional cries and fist pumping on his way to victory.

 

Gimeno-Traver drew blood early in the first set, breaking Almagro to take a 2-1 lead. It didn’t last long though as Almagro dug deep to return the set on serve in the eighth game. Gimeno-Traver double faulted while serving at set point down to gift his countryman the first set.

 

Almagro kept up the intensity in the second set, allowing his opponent only one game on his way to a 6-1 set win.

 

The third set was a similar story as Almagro convincingly won through to the third round, sealing the match with an ace.

 

Almagro improved his first serve percentage from a low 53% in his opening round five set match against American Steve Johnson to 64% and served down 10 aces. “I think I played better than in the first round. I served better today than the other day.”

 

“The Spanish are really good players. He [Gimeno-Traver] did a really good match in the first round so maybe he’s a bit tired. But I want to think about me I want to rest and play well in the next round.”

 

Almagro equaled his best showing fourth round at the Australian Open last year and to progress further in 2013 he would need to defeat a likely fourth round opponent in eighth seed Janko Tipsarevic before a possible quarterfinal showdown with number one ranked Spaniard David Ferrer.

 

Almagro plays 24th seed Jerzy Janowicz in the third round on Friday.

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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