Archive for the 'Medibank International' Category


Ivanovic adds Medibank International to her 2011 schedule.

Ana Ivanovic will enter the Medibank International, a $600,000 Premier event that takes place in Sydney during 10-15 January. It will be the 23-year-old’s fourth appearance at the tournament and her first for three years. On her last visit to Sydney Ana reached the semi-finals and then went on to finish as runner-up at the 2008 Australian Open. She has a 6-3 win-loss record in Sydney. The tournament, which is a combined men’s and women’s event, is renowned for its strong player field. Over the past decade, champions have included Martina Hingis, Kim Clijsters, Justine Henin and Elena Dementieva. Ana’s entry completes her tournament schedule for January. She will begin the season at the Hyundai Hopman Cup during 1-8 January, before heading to Sydney and then onto the Australian Open in Melbourne.

“It’s one of my favourite cities and I’m keen to play a lot of matches, and to find my rhythm early, before the Australian Open,” said Ana. “This tournament always has one of the strongest fields in women’s tennis, so it’ll be great preparation for Melbourne. I enjoy playing against the top players most of all, and hopefully I can compete for the title.”


Nalbandian and del potro both win titles.


Argentine fourth seed David Nalbandian defeated Finland’s unseeded Jarkko Nieminen to win the Medibank International Sydney final, 6-3, 6-7 (9/11), 6-2 on Saturday.

It was Nalbandian’s 10th career ATP title in his 20th final appearance, and left Nieminen with just one title from nine finals.

Nalbandian appeared to be heading for a comfortable straight sets victory when he was serving for the match at 5-4, but was broken to love as Nieminen surged back into contention.

The left-handed Finn battled back, taking the second set in a tiebreaker 11 points to nine.

But Nalbandian broke Nieminen’s serve three times in the final set to take the championship in two hours and 16 minutes.


Top seed Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina made a perfect start to his 2009 ATP World Tour season, clinching his fifth singles title on Saturday at the Heineken Open in Auckland by defeating American No. 6 seed Sam Querrey 6-4, 6-4.

Del Potro broke Querrey to start the title match at the ATP World Tour 250 tennis tournament, and after dropping serve in the sixth game, clinched the opening set 6-4 by winning the final three games. He again broke Querrey at 4-4 in the second set and proceeded to serve out the match in one hour and 24 minutes.


Djokovic loses again!


Finnish left-hander Jarkko Nieminen has upset top seed Novak Djokovic to book a date with David Nalbandian in the final of the Medibank International Sydney.

Nieminen – and the blustery conditions – frustrated an error-prone Djokovic, who was below his best in the quarter final match. The Finn, who benefited from a walkover on Wednesday night when Jo-Wilfried Tsonga withdrew from their quarter final, defeated the Serb 6-4  7-6(3).

It was the first time Nieminen had scored a victory over Djokovic, who before today’s match had won both their previous encounters in 2006 and 2007.

On Saturday night when he takes on Nalbandian, Nieminen will be aiming to become the first Finnish player to win the title in Sydney.

Fourth-seeded Argentine David Nalbandian was the first man through to the Medibank International Sydney final after cleaning up Frenchman Richard Gasquet in straight sets.

Nalbandian, who ended Lleyton Hewitt’s quest for a fifth title on Thursday, outclassed the unseeded Gasquet 6-4 6-3 in 81 minutes at Sydney Olympic Park on Friday.

The former Wimbledon finalist broke Gasquet’s serve once in the first set and twice in the second to set up the win and advance to his first final for 2009.

Despite the loss, Gasquet will head to Melbourne for the Australian Open full of confidence after two successive reaching the semifinal in two successive tournaments in Brisbane and Sydney.

“Both are going to be tough,” Nalbandian said when asked which player he would prefer to play in the final.

“It’s the first week of the year, so it’s going to be tough for both, for all players.”

“I have to keep going and believing on my game and try to do a good match tomorrow.”

Nalbandian said he felt he had developed and improved his game during each match this week in Sydney.

“I feel that today I played much better than the first one and yesterday, so looks like every day is going on I feel more feeling on the ball and on the game,” he said.

“So it’s good playing a few matches and be in the finals here.”

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Dementieva makes it two in a row!


Elena Dementieva will head to the Australian Open as the hottest player in women’s tennis after claiming the Medibank International Sydney on Friday night.

Dementieva enjoyed a 6-3 2-6 6-1 win over countrywoman Dinara Safina to go alongside her Auckland Classic title won the week before, marking the world No.4 as the woman to watch at Melbourne Park.

The 27-year-old has lost just one set in her last 10 matches and has taken out three of the last four tournaments she’s played.

Her challenge now is to add a grand slam trophy to her cabinet – something she’s failed to do over 10 years and 40 majors.

Dementieva was electric in the first set, capitalising on her opponent’s wayward groundstrokes to steal two breaks of serve and the early advantage.

But it was a different Safina that came out in the second.

After what appeared to be a dressing down from coach Zjelko Krajan courtside, Safina cut down her errors and broke her countrywoman twice to claim the set in a canter.

Some even more colourful exchanges were had between Safina and Krajan after the second set, at one stage the 22-year-old telling her coach his laughing and joking with others in the stands was “pissing her off”.

The two managed a few smiles and chuckles to show there were no hard feelings but the pep talk hardly helped as Safina quickly found herself down 4-0 in the decider.

Safina pulled back one break of serve but it mattered little as Dementieva closed out the match in 1 hour and 55 minutes.

Despite the loss it was also an impressive lead-up for Safina who hadn’t lost a set in Sydney until Friday night.

Safina rose from No.15 to No.3 in the rankings in a stellar 2008 and, like her compatriot, about the only thing she hasn’t won is a grand slam.

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Tsonga hurt, Hewitt out in sydney.


Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga is in doubt for the Australian Open after withdrawing from his Medibank International Sydney quarter-final with a back injury.

Tsonga, who powered his way to the Melbourne Park final last year, was scheduled to play Finn Jarkko Nieminen on Thursday night.

The world No.6 had been bothered by his back during his opening match against Simone Bolleli, receiving treatment during the breaks.

Lleyton Hewitt’s run at the Medibank International Sydney has come to an end, the former world No.1 going down to David Nalbandian.

The Argentine was too consistent for Hewitt, downing him 7-6 (7-3) 7-5.

Hewitt showed his usual tenacity in a tight first set, having his serve broken twice only to bounce straight back.

But Nalbandian’s polished all-court game gave him the edge in the tiebreak before the former Wimbledon finalist broke early in the second set.

While Hewitt dug deep to break the Argentine to love when he served for the match, Nalbandian sealed the result three games later.

Hewitt though, will be well pleased with his return following a five-month lay-off with a hip injury.

The two-time grand slam champion has enjoyed a solid hit-out, getting three matches in Sydney and another three singles fixtures at the Hopman Cup, winning four from six.

His next challenge is out of his hands – getting a decent Australian Open draw when it is announced on Friday.

For the first time since the 2000 Australian Open, Hewitt will be unseeded in a grand slam he’s competing in.

It leaves him open to drawing the best players in the world from the first round.

Meanwhile, Nalbandian will meet Frenchman Richard Gasquet in a semi-final on Friday.

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serena sent packing in just over an hour….


Russian Elena Dementieva stretched her winning streak to nine matches with a dominant straight sets victory over a subdued Serena Williams to reach the final of the Medibank International Sydney on Thursday.

The world number four pounded away the winners, only dropped her serve once, and gave the tournament top seed no way out in reeling off a 6-3, 6-1 win in 68 minutes.

That set up a rematch of last year’s Beijing Olympics gold medal final against second seed Dinara Safina in an all-Russian night decider on Friday.

Dementieva’s form matched the blistering heat as the Olympic champion sent the nine-time grand slam champion crashing out, breaking Williams’s serve five times for her third win over the reigning US Open champion in seven meetings.

Dementieva is coming off her tournament victory in last week’s Auckland Classic where she didn’t drop a set in five matches and beat compatriot Elena Vesnina in the final.

Williams was backing up from her 2hr 40min struggle with Danish teenager Caroline Wozniacki late Wednesday, when she saved three match points before prevailing in a third-set tie-breaker.

“I wasn’t moving as I wanted to today,” Williams said. “I gave it away more than anything. I made a lot of errors and made her look like a champ, really. I just pretty much gave her the match.”

While Dementieva is looking to go to Melbourne and improve on her lamentable Australian Open record, where she hasn’t got past the fourth round in 10 attempts, three-time champion Williams is expected to go into the year’s first grand slam as the women’s favourite.

Safina broke through a wall of intense heat and the resistance of Japan’s Ai Sugiyama to reach her first Medibank International Sydney final at the fourth attempt.

The Russian world number three spent 1hr 45min battling the 29th-ranked Sugiyama in a 42 Celsius (108 Fahrenheit) scorcher before clinching a 6-4, 7-6 (7/3) victory.

Safina will be bidding for her 10th career WTA title against Dementieva.

The semi-finalists did not have the sanctuary of the extreme heat policy implemented at the Australian Open where play for women’s matches is suspended once the temperature reaches 35 Celsius (95 Fahrenheit).

“I don’t know when it was worse, yesterday or today. It was pretty hot even (when) I was warming up before the match outside of the court,” Safina said.

“I was just standing there, and I was like, I cannot move. But it’s not an excuse, because it’s (as) hot for her and for me.”

Safina, last year’s French Open runner-up, is already enjoying her best results in an Australian campaign and has yet to drop a set this week.

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Safina ousts Alize Cornet in sydney.


Dinara Safina has won through to the semifinals of the Medibank International Sydney after winning a tight tussle with Frenchwoman Alize Cornet today.

Despite double faulting on her first match point, the Russian second seed eventually managed to close it out 6-3 6-4.

It’s Safina’s second win over Cornet in as many weeks after the pair met at the Hopman Cup event in Perth last week.

Cornet was clearly struggling to handle the heat late in the second set, taking considerable time to recover between points.

Safina will now meet Japan’s Ai Sugiyama in the semifinals after she was handed a walkover by Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova, who withdrew  with an abdominal complaint.

Kuznetsova, who has beaten China’s Peng Shuai and Estonia’s Kaia Kanepi this week, informed tournament organisers of her decision this morning.

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Serena, Dinara win in sydney.


Top-seeded Serena Williams and No. 2 Dinara Safina made short work of their second-round opponents Tuesday to move into the Sydney International quarterfinals.

Williams, who was stretched to three sets and saved four match points in her opening match against Samantha Stosur of Australia, beat Sara Errani of Italy 6-1, 6-2 in 50 minutes Tuesday.

Her win at Ken Rosewall Arena came moments after Safina finished off a 6-3, 6-0 win over fellow Russian Vera Dushevina in just over an hour on Court 1 at the Olympic Park Tennis Centre.

Williams said she was much more comfortable with her game Tuesday.

“I still think I can improve on some things, and that’s what I want to do,” Williams said. “I don’t want to peak too soon. I just want to stay level for the whole season.”

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serena squeaks by in sydney…….


American top seed Serena Williams has survived a massive scare to reach the second round of the Medibank International Sydney with a tense three-set victory over local hope Samantha Stosur.

The world No.2 and three-times Australian Open champion saved four match points and needed almost two-and-a-half hours to prevail 6-3 6-7(4) 7-5 and deny Stosur what would have been the biggest win of her career.

After claiming the first set, the match turned when Williams was serving for the match with a 6-5 lead in the second set, Stosur making the most of a controversial missed let call to break the American and take the set in a tiebreak.

The lack of a decision by the umpire clearly irked Williams and galvanised Stosur, who came out on top when the pair traded breaks early in the third set.

And the home crowd was sensing an upset when Stosur raced to a 40-0 lead serving for the match at 5-4 in the third.

But the top-ranked Australian blew all three match points and another in the same game to let Williams back into the match, the top seed showing plenty of heart in her first competitive match since suffering a hamstring injury at the year-ending Sony Ericsson WTA Championships in November.

Another tight game followed but Williams held serve and then secured the win on her second match point of the 11th game when Stosur’s shot drifted long.

The victory means Williams avoided the ignominy of becoming the first No.1 women’s seed to bow out in the first round since Jennifer Capriati in 2003

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Serena headlines opening day in sydney.


Main draw matches of the women’s singles and the final round of men’s qualifying highlight the first day of the Medibank International Sydney.

In a sensational start to the event, Serena Williams launches her Australian swing of tournaments with a first round match against Aussie No.1 Samantha Stosur.

They have only played once before, that was at the Olympic Games in Beijing last August and it was Williams who scored a straight sets win. The match is second on the centre court, the newly named Ken Rosewall Arena but is scheduled not before midday.

Prior to that match, which is the highlight match of the early stages of the Medibank International Sydney, last year’s runner-up Svetlana Kuznetsova will take on China’s Peng Shuai who tends to hit the ball double-handed off both wings. It’s a match that Kuznetsova would be favoured in but she is fully aware of the Chinese player’s capabilities.

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