Posts Tagged ‘Australian Open


Raonic will face the winner of the Hewitt/Roddick match.

Canadian Milos Raonic is trying to start the new season even better than he did a year ago. The No.23 seed had his work cut out for him on Thursday, working his way past Philipp Petzschner 6-4 5-7 6-2 7-5 on Show Court 3. It was in Australia that Raonic qualified for the main draw last year before making a tear to the fourth round, breaking through for the first time at a slam and making tennis enthusiasts take notice. In 2012, he already has a title to his name and booked his place in the third round with the four-set, nearly three-hour win. Raonic made an impressive start to 2012 by winning the ATP stop in Chennai where he beat Top 10 players Nicolas Almagro and Janko Tipsarevic on his way to his second career title. He also won in San Jose in 2011. Thursday morning he and Petzschner, the German ranked No.63, locked horns into the early afternoon. Raonic used a break in the first game of the match to secure the first set 6-4, his serve ticking along just fine, bolstered by his forehand. Raonic won the set when he served out wide to Petzschner, then clocked a forehand winner crosscourt to take the set. But Petzschner worked his way into the match in the second, frustrating the Canadian by bringing him into net and often passing him or forcing an error. Petzschner, an accomplished doubles player, used a drop volley winner to take a 2-1 lead. “I was struggling a little bit, I don’t know why,” Raonic said. “He started well and just put a lot more pressure on me.” It was in the tenth game of the second set that Petzschner was really able to put pressure on the Raonic serve. He held three set points at 0-40 only to watch Raonic rocket three service winners at him. At 5-6, however, Raonic made a series of errors, including a backhand long when Petzschner rushed the net, giving the 27-year-old German the set, 7-5.

Petzschner fought off a break point in the fifth game of the fourth set before Raonic had to dig out of another 0-40 hole in game eight. The seeded player looked destined to close out the match when he broke in the next game, running down a drop shot to flick a spectacular crosscourt winner before forcing Petzschner into a half-volley error. But Raonic couldn’t serve it out at 5-4 in the fourth, needing to break Petzschner for the second time in as many games and the fifth time in the match in game 12. He won the tie just short of the three-hour mark when Petzschner batted a forehand long. “I know he can play really well,” Raonic explained. “My goal was really just to stick with him [until] I get my opportunities.” Raonic’s big serve provided plenty of opportunities, clocking at 225 KMH at one point in the match. Raonic bashed 15 aces to Petzschner’s 10. The two men seemingly traded stats: Raonic hit 43 winners to Petzschner’s 43 unforced errors. The German hit 37 winners to Raonic’s 38 unforced errors.

He is a name that many are keeping their eye on after he raced through the Chennai draw and seemed to have a special place in his heart for the courts at Melbourne. Counting his wins in qualifying he is 8-1 over the last two years here. But Raonic’s early success in 2011 wasn’t for nothing. He was named the tour’s Newcomer of the Year and reaching a career-high ranking of No.25 after starting the year No.152.








99 of the world’s top 100 men and women all confirmed for the 2012 Australian Open.

Novak Djokovic will be determined to defend his title and maintain his world No.1 position, while Roger Federer’s year-end win in London sees him eyeing off a sixth Australian Open title and the honour of becoming the tournament’s 100th men’s singles champion. Rafael Nadal will put his disappointing 2011 season behind him and Andy Murray, twice a finalist in Melbourne, is desperate for a Grand Slam breakthrough.

Australia’s own US Open champion Sam Stosur leads a new generation of Grand Slam winners in contention for the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup. Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, and French Open winner Li Na will be joined by defending champion Kim Clijsters and five-time AO winner Serena Williams, both returning from injury. World No.1 Caroline Wozniacki is still in the hunt for her maiden Grand Slam, while former champion Maria Sharapova is showing all the signs of returning to winning form. Only world No.13 Robin Soderling and No.69 Alisa Kleybanova, both currently battling illness, are missing from the ranks.

The 104 direct acceptances into the men’s draw include Tommy Haas, Fernando Gonzalez, Benjamin Becker and Paul-Henri Mathieu, all of whom used their injury protected rankings. The women’s draw includes 108 direct acceptances, with Timea Bacsinszky and Anna Chakvetadze both using protected rankings as they return from injury. Venus Williams, currently ranked 105, has also made the cut. Williams hasn’t played since withdrawing from her second-round US Open match after being diagnosed with autoimmune disease Sjögren’s Syndrome.

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said he was thrilled with the line-up. “It’s incredible to once again have every available top player in both the men’s and women’s fields heading to play the Australian Open. “These superstars of world sport love coming to Melbourne. They love the Australian Open and the fans, the city, the facilities at Melbourne Park and the way we look after them while they are here.



Wimbledon junior champion Ashleigh Barty has breezed into the semi-finals of the Australian Open wildcard tournament.

Two more wins would see the 15-year-old Queenslander in the main draw of next month’s Australian Open. Barty defeated Emelyn Starr from New South Wales 6-3 6-2 on Thursday. “It was tough out there today,” Barty said. “It was a little bit windy and the sun was pretty bad at one end but I was able to put my game together just long enough to get the win.” Barty upset top seed Casey Dellacqua in the first match of the round robin event and is shaping as a strong favourite for the wildcard. “I just wanted to see how I went. I was just out here to have fun and to play against Casey was great,” she said. Barty admitted she had “definitely” surprised herself with her progress but is unsure about whether she is prepared for an Open main draw spot. “I’m not really sure, I’m ready when I’m ready. I can’t tell you when that will be but I’ll just keep developing and see if I get there,” she said.

Dellacqua won her second match but due to an earlier loss will have to rely on Tennis Australian providing her with a discretionary wildcard into next month’s grand slam. After winning six straight Pro Tour events in the past three months she is certain to be awarded a place in the draw.


Will Djokovic play the role of ‘spoiler’ in 2011?

All the talk is about a ‘Rafa’ slam, and the resurgence of Roger to take back the #1 spot, but keep an eye on Novak in 2011. He finished the 2010 season on a high, he’s healthy, he’s confident and he’s hungry!

The upcoming Australian Open will mark three years since the 23-year-old Djokovic won his lone Grand Slam title, with victory over first-time finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Djokovic rose to No. 2 in the 2010 ATP Rankings in February and went on to finish the year World No. 3 for the fourth straight year. A grand achievement for the vast majority of professionals, but Djokovic will no doubt be eager to finish the year inside the Top 2 for for the first time. While Grand Slam success would surely help cement Djokovic’s place at the top of game, he will also look to improve his performance in ATP World Tour events. In 2010 the Serbian won just two ATP World Tour titles (Dubai and Beijing), his lowest tally since 2006 and five less than Nadal’s extraordinary tour-level haul. He particularly underperformed in the nine ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournaments, only reaching the semi-finals in Shanghai, Toronto and Monte-Carlo.

However, Djokovic reaped the rewards of hard work and self belief when he hit top form to save two match points and defeat five-time former champion Roger Federer in this year’s US Open semi-finals, before finishing runner-up to World No. 1 Rafael Nadal in the final. The right-hander then went on to have a very successful end to the season, culminating in leading Serbia to a 3-2 victory over France in the Davis Cup final. While disappointed after his defeat in the US Open final, Djokovic believed he had turned a corner in his career. “I am feeling bad about my loss. I wanted that trophy, and I know I gave my maximum to get it even tonight,” said the Serb. “But when I sleep over the night, tomorrow I will wake up as a new man. I will continue to work hard and wait for the next chance to come. “I feel much more comfortable on the court, more confident and getting this aggressive game back – the game that I need to have in order to stay at the top – and a game that has been a part of me always. It’s a good sign. I will continue on working, as I said, and hope that I can keep that performance.”


17 year old Lauren Davis is headed to the Aussie Open.

Lauren Davis defeated Coco Vandeweghe, 6-2, 6-2, to win the Australian Open 2010 Wild Card for the main draw.

Davis, currently ranked No. 444 in the WTA world rankings, won all three of her matches over the weekend without dropping a set. The 17 years old trains with the Chris Evert Academy in Boca Raton, and now 27 consecutive matches and 36 of her last 37 matches. She won two ITF Futures events and the recent Dunlop Junior Orange Bowl and the prestigious Eddie Herr Junior Championships. “I think I handled the nerves well and I handled her power and everything she threw at me,” Davis said.

When told she made only eight unforced errors, Davis was shocked. “Really? That wasn’t my strategy at all,” she said. “Of course I wanted to be consistent but I wanted to be aggressive too because if I knew if I didn’t she would just go right through me.” Davis started the match in great form as she twice broke and held serve to go up 3-0. She was then broken back to make it 3-1, but controlled the match from there on out. “All the credit goes to Lauren,” said Vandeweghe’s coach Tom Gullikson. “She set the tone for the match with those first few games. She didn’t miss a ball. She forced Coco to hit a couple three, four, five balls every point and Coco just ended up missing.”


“I’m happy I’m in the final, I knew it would be tough to play Alicia,” said Dokic.

Jelena Dokic has cruised through to the final of the Australian Open wildcard tournament at Melbourne Park. Dokic crushed top seed Alicia Molik 6-3 6-1 in her semi-final and will now meet Victorian Olivia Rogowska for a spot in the Open main draw. Fifth-seeded Rogowska defeated Sophie Ferguson 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 in her semifinal.

If Molik was unsure how Dokic was going to approach their AO Play-off semifinal, she had her answer after the first point. Dokic raced to the net like a sprinter going for gold in an early attacking move and while her backhand volley sailed just long, her intent was clear – she was on the attack. Not happy with her form in her last match – a three-set win over Tammi Patterson – Dokic skipped practice yesterday to ensure she would be fresh for today’s semifinal. “I didn’t play great in my last match and was actually feeling a little bit fatigued yesterday … I’ve been working a lot and it just hit me the last two days,” she explained after her 6-3 6-1 win over Molik.

Early on games stayed on serve with both players making their share of mistakes and winners. But in the seventh game Molik let her guard down and the re-energised Dokic was past her in a flash. With three break points up her sleeve, Dokic converted the second to strike the first blow. Two games later and Dokic was at it again, breaking Molik’s serve with a fizzing forehand down the line to take the opener 6-3. It wasn’t just Dokic’s forehand that was causing Molik grief, but the depth of her backhand was also giving the former world No.8 more problems than she could deal with. With Dokic leading 2-1 in the second, the grey clouds that had been gathering ominously above Court 6 finally showed their true intentions and brought about yet another rain delay. Players didn’t leave the court but instead spent 20 minutes sitting on the sidelines – plenty of time for both to tweak their game plans.

While Molik would have been hoping that the break would provide her with the energy she needed to challenge Dokic, it wasn’t to be. It simply delayed Dokic’s charge to the final. A framed backhand from Molik followed by a missed forehand volley that should have been an easy winner delivered Dokic the break. And from there it was all Dokic. The former world No.4 reeled off the next four games to install herself as the favourite for tomorrow’s final where she will come up against 19-year-old Olivia Rogowska who had earlier dispatched second seed Sophie Ferguson to make the AO Play-off final for the second year in a row.

“I’m happy I’m in the final, I knew it would be tough to play Alicia,” said Dokic. “I didn’t think [the score reflected the match]. But I played the big points very well. I saved a couple of break points early on and the set points I had I took all my chances straight away.”

Dokic is now just one win away from a wildcard into Australian Open 2011, but to get there she will need to find a way past fifth seed Rogowska. The two have met in the AO Play-off before, with Dokic coming away the winner. “I played her a couple of years ago in the play-off. She seems to like to play here, she played finals last year. She’s playing well and hasn’t lost a set yet. “It will be a tough match, but it will be different from today, I think her game suits me more than someone like Alicia who mixes it up so much.”


“We haven’t played for many years now. I can’t remember the last time,” Molik said.

Tennis stars Jelena Dokic and Alicia Molik will rekindle a rivalry which has been dormant since their junior days when they meet in the semi-finals of the Australian Open wildcard tournament. Molik and Dokic both battled to win their matches in three sets on day three of the play-offs, with Molik beating Canberra’s Alison Bai 3-6 6-3 6-1 and Dokic outlasting Victorian Tammi Patterson 7-5 2-6 6-3.

Molik, 29, and Dokic, 27, travelled as juniors together but have not met in a senior tour event. “We haven’t played for many years now. I can’t remember the last time,” Molik said. “We’ve practised so many years together and been on so many junior trips together, it’s all a bit of a blur but the junior rivalry will come back out on Saturday, I’m sure. “We always had a pretty healthy rivalry so it should be a really good match.”

Molik recalled Dokic’s stirring run to the Australian Open quarter-finals two years ago, but warned even experienced players could become apprehensive. “She’s a fantastic ball striker, no doubt about that,” Molik said. “Everyone saw her form two years ago in the Australian Open – but there’s a lot up for grabs (and) it’s amazing what nerves can do in a match.”


It’s been a while since an Aussie won the Open!

Samantha Stosur believes she will cope much better with the pressure of playing in her home tournament when the Australian Open gets under way next month. A first-round success at the Brisbane International (January 2-8) could secure the 26-year-old a coveted top-four seeding at Melbourne Park and avoid facing a higher-ranked opponent until at least the semi-finals. Stosur bowed out of the 2010 Australian Open at the fourth round stage, but hopes to improve on that after a stellar season that saw her reach the final of the French Open.

“It was quite difficult last year, it was harder than what I thought it was going to be and I thought I was ready for all the hype and the extra attention, but didn’t really handle it too well in the first couple of weeks. “But as the Aussie Open went on, I started to feel a bit more comfortable and started playing quite well. “So now that I’ve had a good taste of that, not only January this year but throughout the whole year, I think I’ll be much better prepared. “I guess it’s a matter of just keeping your head and really focusing on what’s important and that’s getting on the court and being prepared for matches.”

Stosur also believes that being able to train in Australia will give her an advantage. “I’m one of the few players that are here now training – on the (Plexicushion) court, in the sun, getting used to the conditions, so I think it can only help throughout January,” she said. “It’s not so easy for the Europeans who have been in winter or training somewhere else. “They’ve got to have a long flight over here, a short preparation going into the first couple of tournaments, so hopefully it will put me into a good spot.”


“We are in for some incredible tennis in January.”

Australian Open 2011 will feature one of the strongest fields in the tournament’s history, with all of the world’s top 100 men and 98 of the top 100 women entered into the year’s first Grand Slam event. World No.1 Rafael Nadal is focused on winning his fourth consecutive major to complete a ‘Rafa Slam’, while world No.2 Roger Federer’s mission will be to hoist the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup for a fifth time. Caroline Wozniacki is on the hunt for a maiden Grand Slam title to go with her No.1 ranking, and Australia’s very own Sam Stosur, world No.6, has the game and the belief to take the next step.

The first entry lists have been released with injured Serena Williams the only omission from the top 100 women. The 104 direct acceptances into the men’s draw include Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG) and Dmitry Tursunov (RUS), both of whom used their injury protected rankings. The women’s draw includes 107 direct acceptances, with notable exceptions Elena Dementieva (RUS) who retired at the end of the season and world No.37 Agnes Szavay (HUN), also out with injury.

Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said he was thrilled with the line-up. “To have the top 104 players in the world in the men’s main draw is incredible and shows the high esteem with which the Australian Open is held in world tennis. “The women’s field also has every available top player in the world. The players vote with their feet and they are doing it again. I think it is a credit to the Australian public, the staff at the event and the facilities both at Melbourne Park and in the city of Melbourne that the players have such high regard for the Australian Open.

“We are in for some incredible tennis in January.” The men’s field will be completed by 16 qualifiers and eight wildcards, while the women’s field has 12 qualifiers and eight wildcard to be added.


As expected Serena withdraws from the 2011 Aussie Open.

Defending champion Serena Williams has pulled out of January’s Australian Open because of a longstanding foot injury. Williams had surgery after cutting her foot on glass in a restaurant while celebrating winning Wimbledon. “As I recently learned, pushing myself back into my intense training too early only caused further injury,” Williams said in a statement. “It is imperative for my health that I continue to work with my doctors to ensure my foot heals.”

The 29-year-old American, who has not played competitively since winning a fourth Wimbledon crown in July, has also withdrawn from the Hopman Cup, which acts as a warm-up event for the year’s opening Grand Slam event. “The decision, though heavy on my heart, is the right one,” added five-time Australian Open champion Williams. “I am praying for a healthy recovery and I promise my Aussie fans and my fans around the world that I will be back better than ever as soon as I can be. Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said: “Serena is a great champion and we will miss her. “We send her our very best wishes for a speedy recovery.”

The 2011 tournament begins on Monday 17 January.

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