Archive for January, 2010


Federer wins his 4th. Aussie Open…..16th. Grand Slam!

Andy Murray’s title dream died as he was well beaten in straight sets by Roger Federer in the final of the Australian Open on Sunday.

Federer was in brilliant form as he claimed a 16th Grand Slam singles title with a 6-3 6-4 7-6 (13/11) victory in Melbourne.

In winning for the fourth time Down Under, the world number one played some of his now-familiar sublime tennis in the opening two sets to gain full control of the match.

And although Murray battled hard and had his chances in the third set – including five set points in the tie-break – Federer was able to stand firm and close it out.

Afterwards Federer said he was “over the moon” at his latest success, but he also had consolatory words for Murray.

“Well done for your incredible tournament,” he said. “You are too good a player not to win a Grand Slam so don’t worry about it.”

The only excitement came in the 3rd. set tie breaker, when Murray had four set points and save 3 match points. Apart from that brief spell the match was completely one sided. Murray began the match wearing a blue shirt but it became drenched in sweat in just the first 5 games, a sure sign that he was very nervous. His serve never worked, and his legs must have felt like lead as he had trouble moving them to retrieve Roger’s shots.

For all the hype from the British press, and for the expectations by the public that saw their man fizzle out, let’s hope that their enthusiasm is a little less by the time Wimbledon comes around. Winning a Grand Slam is tough enough, but winning your first against Roger Federer is almost impossible!


“I’m looking forward to a great final,” says Roger with a smile.

How hard do you work to maintain your incredible form? Federer was asked. “All I do is take care of the kids,” he replied, as relaxed as it possible to be on the verge of a 16th grand-slam title.

“I know Andy would like to win the first title for British tennis in what is it, 150,000 years?” Federer added. “Andy, the poor guy, has to go through those moments over and over again but he has done tremendously. I’m looking forward to a great final, we match up well together. I will play the way I usually always play, aggressively. Andy, if you are listening, I’l drop shot, you will slice to my backhand, I’ll lob and you will play through your legs,” a reference to the shot of the tournament in the semi final.

If Federer is in synch on Sunday as he was in his demolition of Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France, it will take more than the hopes and prayers of the nation to see the British No 1 home. This was Federer at his imperious best, a 6-2, 6-3, 6-2 triumph in an hour and 28 minutes, less than half the time it took Murray to see off Marin Cilic of Croatia on Thursday.


Lleyton Hewitt out for a few months after 2nd. hip surgery.

Lleyton Hewitt has been forced to undergo a second bout of hip surgery and faces another long stint on the sidelines.

Hewitt, who was beaten in straight sets by top seed Roger Federer in the fourth round of the Australian Open, hopes to return to the sport in time for the French Open in May.

Hewitt said he injured his right hip while playing in the recent Hopman Cup.

‘‘I was in a reasonable amount of pain but I’ve played with pain before … I’m able to block it out as much as possible,’’ he said.

‘‘But against (Marcos) Baghdatis in Sydney it wasn’t good and that’s why I had to fall away at that match and concentrate on the Australian Open.

Hewitt, who turns 29 next month, said he ‘‘absolutely’’ had the desire to keep playing.

‘‘Otherwise I wouldn’t have had the operation straight away.

‘‘At the end of the day with the scans before the Australian Open we knew the decision was pretty much out of my hands.

‘‘If I’d waited any longer it would have been similar to 2008 where I prolonged it and ended up missing the US Open.

‘‘As it is I’ll be back and ready for the French Open.’’


Serena wins her 5th Aussie Open!…..12th. Grand Slam!

Serena Williams denied Justine Henin of a fairytale return in her first grand slam since coming out of a 20-month retirement with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 victory in front of a packed Rod Laver Arena.

Both players suffered from nerves in the early exchanges, but top seed Williams broke her Belgian opponent twice to wrap up the opening set in 51 minutes.

Henin valiantly battled back in the second as Williams began to show signs of tiredness.

Although the first two games went with serve, Henin broke Williams in the third game when the American played a poor volley that the Belgian whipped across court.

Williams immediately broke back and held her next service game to lead 3-2 before her game started to unravel and Henin reeled off the next four games in succession.

Henin won the last nine points in a row to force the match into a deciding third set and looked on course to deny Williams of a fifth title in Melbourne by taking the opening game.

But Williams stamped her class when it mattered to win the first three-set women’s final since Wimbledon in 2006 – when Henin was also on the wrong end of the scoreline against Amelie Mauresmo.


Tiago Fernandes wins boys Junior title.

Brazil’s Tiago Fernandes has earned himself a memorable 17th birthday present, winning the Australian Open junior boys’ championship at Rod Laver Arena on Saturday.

Fernandes, who turned 17 on the eve of the final, overcame an early surge from Australian wildcard Sean Berman to win 7-5 6-3 in one hour and 50 minutes.

The win was the Brazilian’s first junior Grand Slam title, his previous best result being a quarter-final finish at last year’s junior US Open.

Seventeen-year-old Berman, a South-African born and New Zealand-raised player who now represents Australia, claimed the early momentum by hitting a series of quality forehand winners to break Fernandes’ serve and hold to take a 2-0 lead. However, Fernandes soon rose to the challenge, and leveled at 2-2 after breaking the Australian in a lengthy fourth game.

At 5-5, Fernandes fought off two break points against his own serve to hold and then broke Berman in the following game, claiming the set 7-5.

The 14th seed looked to be running away with the match early in the second set as he raced out to a 3-0 advantage, hitting some of the best of his 27 winners through this period.

The players then exchanged service breaks midway through the set, with Fernandes then holding to take a 5-2 advantage.

Serving for the championship at 5-3, the Brazilian managed to save three break points and eventually close out the match with an ace.

Upon claiming the championship point, the animated 17-year-old rushed over to his coach Carlos Eduordo in his players’ box to celebrate the win.


Karolina Pliskova defeats Laura Robson for junior title.

Karolina Pliskova has claimed the junior girls’ singles crown at Australian Open 2010 with a straight-sets victory over British sensation Laura Robson on Saturday afternoon.

The 17-year-old sixth seed was steadier and more powerful than her left-handed opponent, cruising through the first set but being pushed in the second before prevailing 6-1 7-6(5).

It is the second consecutive year Robson has reached the girls’ final at Melbourne Park, and in both years, she lost in straight sets. The 16-year-old Brit entered Saturday’s final in fantastic form, having scored a win in the women’s senior qualifying draw, reaching the women’s doubles quarter-finals with Australian Sally Peers, and dropping just one set in the junior event.

Her path through the junior event included a straight-sets win over Pliskova’s twin sister Kristyna in the semi-finals, and at the beginning of the final, it appeared that Karolina was intent on avenging that defeat.

Pounding groundstrokes consistently into the corners, Pliskova watched as Robson sprayed the ball everywhere around Rod Laver Arena except inside the court.

Breaking Robson in the second game on her way to a 3-0 lead, Pliskova’s big serve was proving difficult for Robson to handle. Three aces by the Czech in the seventh game handed her the first set in just 22 minutes.

Although signs were more encouraging for Robson in the second set, errors continued to hurt her chances. She was broken in the opening game and did not get on the board until the third game, indicating her fighting spirit with a loud “come on!”

Pliskova’s serve continued to be the difference, and she held in the sixth game to move ahead 4-2. When the Czech gained a break point in the following game, things were looking extremely grim for Robson.

However, the Brit gritted her teeth, coming up with some big serves and a successful trip to the net to hold serve and remain in the match.

Pliskova first showed signs of nerves when serving for the match up 5-4. Incorrectly challenging a line call on a serve left her with no more challenges, and four errors in the game allowed Robson to break back and level scores, much to the delight of the small but vocal crowd.

Robson had now cut down on her errors and was finding the corners with her lethal forehand, while Pliskova seemed to be having difficulty shrugging off the effects of her poor performance in the 10th game.

The set went to a tie-break, and Robson used her momentum to surge ahead to a 4-1 lead. But from there, she reverted to her habits earlier in the match, committing errors off routine shots and becoming agitated.

Pliskova claimed five consecutive points to reel in the Brit’s lead, and she closed out the match on her second championship point thanks to a double-fault from Robson.

Apart from her participation in the Traralgon junior tournament a fortnight ago, it is the first time Pliskova has played a junior event since April 2007.


Nadal diagnosed with a small knee tear….out for 4 weeks!

Rafael Nadal is set to be out of action for up to four weeks in an attempt to recover from a knee injury sustained during his quarter-final defeat to Andy Murray at the Australian Open.

Nadal described the injury as a “little tweak” after being forced to retire while trailing 6-3, 7-6, 3-0 to the world No.4 in Melbourne, but the six-time Grand Slam champ has since been diagnosed with a small tear at the back of his right knee.

Though the injury is unconnected to the knee tendonitis that so-affected his 2009 season, the Spaniard will miss Rotterdam’s ATP 500 tournament starting February 8.

Dr. Angel Ruiz-Cotorro – who examined the 23-year-old– said that the injury could be treated with physiotherapy and anti-inflammatory treatment.

“It is not important for me – the ranking issue and losing a few spots – that’s normal when you are not able to compete.” – Nadal

“After two weeks and depending on the results of the different tests and controls, he will steadily resume his sporting activity with a total recovery time to resume competition in fours weeks,” Ruiz-Cotorro said.

Nadal’s world No.2 ranking is now set to come under threat from Novak Djokovic and Murray – who beat him in the Rotterdam final last year.

But despite being unable to defend the ranking points he earned as a result of his run to the final in Holland, Nadal is more concerned with regaining full-fitness than worrying about slipping down the rankings.

“It is not important for me the ranking issue and losing a few spots, that’s normal when you are not able to compete,” said the Spaniard.


May the best man win!

It’s been quite a while since the two finalists entering a Grand Slam final have been in such good physical shape. Neither Federer nor Murray have any excuses for a poor performance. They have had a day more than normal to rest their bodies, and neither has been pushed too hard in their matches leading up to the final. Murray has only lost one set, while Federer has lost two. They had no medical time outs, no trainers to fix cramps, no limps, and no bandages adorn their arms or legs.

Even though Murray does hold an edge over Federer in the games won and lost, the edge must be in Federer’s favour when it comes to Grand Slam finals. A win would be #16!

The pressure from the British press, his family and his entourage cannot be ignored, and for Murray as he steps onto the court in Rod Laver arena to face the best player in the world, maybe the best ever, his heart will be pumping and his nerves must be taken into consideration for the duration of the first set. If he loses the first set, he will be faced with the daunting task of winning 3 out of 4 sets against Federer.

In his match with Nadal, Murray showed that he could be offensive rather than defensive, and if he fails to exert pressure on Federer and allows Federer to pin him deep behind the baseline, his defensive style cannot win the match. It was obvious when he lost the first set in the Cilic match that his defense was not good enough to hold off the aggressive Croatian. Murray eventually won because Cilic ran out of gas. As smart as he is, Murray is not as experienced as Federer nor can he read his opponent and change tactics as well as Federer does. If Murray’s ‘A’ Plan does not work and he is forced to revert to his ‘B’ plan, his fate will be sealed!

I would love to see the underdog win…..but I wouldn’t waste my money on a bet against Roger Federer!


Sania Mirza dumps her boyfriend to stay on tour!

Weeks after Sania Mirza shocked the country saying that she would quit professional tennis after marriage, the sports star has announced yet another shocking decision.

The 23-year-old tennis ace’s family has reportedly called off the her engagement to childhood friend Mohammad Sohrab Mirza.

“We were friends for half a decade, but found ourselves incompatible during our engagement period. I wish Sohrab the best in life,” Sania has been quoted as saying in a English media report.

According to Telugu TV news channel reports, the family’s decision came after the Hyderabad girl poured her heart out to her father through SMSes.


Laura Robson(girls) and Sean Berman(boys) into Junior Finals.

Laura Robson reached the final of the Australian Open girls’ singles with a straight-sets win over Kristyna Pliskova of the Czech Republic on Friday.

The Briton, who turned 16 last week, cruised to a 6-3 6-1 triumph in 65 minutes and will now look to go one better than last year when she finished runner-up.

Robson converted five of her 13 break opportunities, dropping her own serve just once.

The 16-year-old will meet Pliskova’s identical twin sister, Karolina, in Saturday’s final.

Robson lost last year’s final to Ksenia Pervak when she admitted to being hampered by nerves but she hopes that will not be a problem when she returns to Rod Laver Arena.

Sean Berman, who grew up in New Zealand and has been in Australia for only the past six months, powered into the Australian Open boys’ singles final with a 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 win over Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics at Melbourne Park on Friday.

Berman showed plenty of Hewitt-like qualities, fighting back from 5-3 down in the opening set and 5-1 down in the first set tie-break to lift off the canvas.

“I was a little nervous to begin with and I was 5-3 down, but I was able to stay calm and I just kept going and managed to take it,” Berman said.

“Today I handled it pretty well and I was pretty pleased with the way I handled adversity.”

He will be aiming to follow in the footsteps of West Australian Brydan Klein (2007) and rising star Bernard Tomic (2008) as recent hometown Australian Open boys’ champions.

Berman will play 14th seed Tiago Fernandes in the final after the Brazilian upset No.2 seed Gianni Mina of France 4-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-2.

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