Hurkacz and Bencic fall in second round of of Australian Open
(Tennis news) The men’s draw saw the biggest casualty yet as the second round began in the 2022 Australian Open. Hubert Hurkacz at no point of time had hopes of making a comeback against Adrian Mannarino and it was also doomsday for Belinda Bencic as she was beaten by Amanda Anisimova. The doubles matches started today in both the draws.
Hurkacz movement around the court was nowhere near Mannarino who fought till the last point of the match. The 10th seed seemed to be very rigid during the rallies as the left hander did not let any service breaks go to vain. Mannarino has never gone past the third round and will be eager to reach when he faces Aslan Karatsev in the next round. Mannarino defeated Hurkacz 6-4, 6-2, 6-3.
Sebastian Korda picked up his first five set victory over Corentin Moutet in a match that lasted for almost five hours. Moutet kept attacking from the baseline with his forehand as Korda kept coming to the net and finished most of his points standing in the front. The world number 100 kept most of his strokes in the safezone while the next gen player had 92 unforced errors. In the 8th game of the deciding set, Korda surprised the whole court with a forced late reaction dropshot which left Moutet staring in agony as the chair umpire confirmed it being a legitimate shot. Korda defeated Moutet 3-6, 6-4, 6-7(2-7), 7-5, 7-6(10-6).
Karen Khachanov was an all rounder in his second round match against Benjamin Bonzi. The Russian hit 46 winners with his forehand causing the most trouble and served 19 aces. Bonzi had his chances to take it to the tiebreak in the third set but an unforced error gave Khachanov a breakpoint and a route to the third round. Khachanov defeated Bonzi 6-4, 6-0, 7-5.
In women’s singles, Tokyo Olympics singles gold medallist Belinda Bencic was beaten in straight sets by Amanda Anisimova. Bencic broke Amanda’s serve in the first game of the match but could only do it twice in the whole match. The 20 year old had 13 breakpoints in the match and could only win 5 of them but it was enough for a first time win against Bencic in their second career meeting. Amanda defeated Bencic 6-2, 7-5.
Victoria Azarenka only needed 72 minutes to beat Jil Teichmann in a one sided match. Azarenka had four breakpoints in the match which she won and Teichmann had 5 of them in the first set but could not convert any. Teichmann was also winning more points in the 1st serve overall but could only win 5 of the 24 second serves and lost 5 consecutive games in the second set. Azarenka defeated Teichmann 6-1, 6-2.
In men’s doubles, the Dutch pair of Robin Haase and Botic van de Zandschulp beat the 15th seeded pair of Jean-Julien Rojer and Marcelo Arévalo in a match that lasted for 2 hours and 40 minutes. Rojer and Arévalo lost 6 of the 7 breakpoints they had as it denied them the crucial points while Haase and Zandschulp had only won 1 of their 2 breakpoints. The numbers were against the winning pair but they played well to take the final set. Haase and Zandschulp defeated 6-7(5-7), 7-6(10-8), 10-8.
In women’s doubles, Rebecca Peterson and Anastasia Potapova beat Nina Stojanović and Irina-Camelia Begu in a 1st round upset. Rebecca and Anastasia served 8 double faults but that didn’t stop the pair in making a comeback in the deciding set to defeat Stojanović and Irina 2-6, 6-3, 7-5.
Sania to retire after 2022 season, says body is wearing down
Melbourne, Jan 19 (Tennis News) India tennis star Sania Mirza on Wednesday announced that 2022 will be her last season since her body is "wearing down" and motivation and energy for the everyday grind is not the same anymore.
Mirza, 35, had returned to tennis after giving birth to her son in March 2019 but her progress was later thwarted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Mirza made the retirement announcement after losing the Australian open women's doubles first round with partner Nadiia Kichenok.
"There's a bunch reasons for it. It's not as simple as 'okay I'm not going to play'. I do feel my recovery is taking longer, I do feel, considering my son is three years old, I'm putting him at risk by travelling so much with him, that's something I have to take into account," Mirza said at the post-match press conference.
"My body is wearing down. My knee was really hurting today and I'm not saying that's the reason we lost but I do think that it is taking time to recover as I'm getting older," she said.
Also Read : Bopanna-Vasselin pair's campaign ends in first round
News Source : PTI
Bopanna-Vasselin pair's campaign ends in first round
Melbourne, Jan 19 (Tennis News) India's Rohan Bopanna and his French partner Edouard Roger-Vasselin were knocked out of the Australian Open men's doubles event by wild card pair of Chirstopher Rungkat and Treat Huey here on Wednesday.
Bopanna and Roger-Vasselin began confidently but lost momentum mid-way to lose 6-3 6-7(2) 2-6 in the opening round that lasted one hour and 48 minutes.
Phillippines' left-hander Huey's exceptional service games and net play was crucial in the outcome of the match while Indonesian Rungkat, who initially appeared a weak link, gradually upped his game.
Rungkat's hitting from the baseline improved remarkably as the match wore on.
The Indo-French pair got the first break chance in the fourth game when Bopanna hit a crushing forehand winner past Huey at 15-30 on the serve of Rungkat, who could not put the ball across the net on the next point.
That break positioned Bopanna to serve out the set in the ninth game and he did that with ease, at love, with his booming serves.
Rungkat and Huey came out all guns blazing in the opening game of the second set, attacking Bopanna's serve and earned two breakpoints with a flurry of winners but could convert none.
Both the pairs held serves throughout the second set, which was decided by a tie-breaker.
In the 11th game, though, Roger-Vasselin and Bopanna earned two break chances but their rivals saved both. It was a winner from Roger-Vasselin and a Rungkat forehand error that put the wild cards 15-40.
The wild card pair reeled off six straight points in tie-breaker from 1-2 to level the match.
The momentum changed dramatically after that with Rungkat and Huey dominating the contest by breaking their rivals with ease. They raced to a 5-1 lead with a double break. The Indonesian then served out the match.
Also Read : Kerber, Kvitova and Isner knocked in opening round of Australian Open
News Source : PTI
Kerber, Kvitova and Isner knocked in opening round of Australian Open
(Tennis news) The first two day have not been kind to the seeds as they kept the trend on day 2 of the 2022 Australian Open. Multiple Grand Slam winners Petra Kvitova and Angelique Kerber made their way out of Melbourne in the first round of the event. In the men’s field, it was a bad start to the season for John Isner, Ugo Humbert and Nikoloz Basilashvili.
In men’s singles, Andy Murray has been playing a couple of stretched matches as he played a four hour match against Basilashvili. Both the players had been involved in a three hour battle a few days ago at Sydney and it was the former world number who again held on for a win. Murray totally outplayed Basilashvili in the opening set but in the second the 29 year old began his ball bashing technique to set up another marathon match. The Georgian even played a few deft dropshots which Murray had done earlier, the 3 time Grand Slam winner had his chances beaten to a pulp by Basilashvili in the fourth set. Murray defeated Basilashvili 6-1, 3-6, 6-4, 6-7(5-7), 6-4.
When two servers meet, there is not much movement on the court but there are a lot of first serves which take up all the heat. It was an all American meeting between John Isner and Maxime Cressy as it was also their first career meeting. The 36 year old has not been able to win matches lately and the streak continued in the 1st round as Cressy had the extra boost in the final set. The match saw 70 aces by the players and 20 double faults by the 24 year old who also won two service games more than the 6 foot 11 inch player. Cressy defeated Isner 7-6(7-2), 7-5, 6-7(4-7), 6-7(4-7), 6-4.
In another court there was a similar French battle and it was the senior this time who took the next gen in the 1st round. Richard Gasquet waved his magic backhand for his first victory at the event in four years and will face another next gen player Botic van de Zandschulp in the second round. Gasquet defeated Ugo Humbert 3-6, 7-6(7-4), 7-6(7-3), 6-3.
In women’s singles, Kaia Kanepi could not have imagined her match in any other way as she beat Kerber in 70 minutes. The 2016 champion was never strong enough against Kanepi who played from the baseline and never did rush a point to enter the second round. Kanepi defeated Kerber 6-4, 6-3.
It was the end of the road for another Grand Slam winner as Petra Kvitova was hit by Romanian storms. Sorana Cirstea had to pull out tough shots in the beginning of both sets but after that it was a smooth run against Kvitova. Cirstea reached the fourth round in 2017 and has not won more than 2 matches since then. Cirstea defeated Kvitova 6-2, 6-2
The next gen in the women’s field did not have as much luck as their male counterparts. Leylah Fernandez joined other top seeds in making an early exit of the season opener. Fernandez lost three breakpoints as she lost the first set in a close encounter in which both the players had long rallies but in the second set, Maddison Inglis took the first four games to open a huge lead in the match and over her opponent’s mind. From there it was game over for the 2021 US Open runner up who lifted her hands in disappointment after losing the match. Inglis defeated Fernandez 6-4, 6-2.
Norrie, Gauff and Fognini fall in opening day of Australian Open
(Tennis news) Day 1 of the 2022 Australian Open saw quite a few seeded players making their exit. The highest seeded player to fall was Cameron Norrie, the 12th seed had it tough against Next Gen player Sebastian Korda while 18th seed Cori Gauff was knocked out by Wang Qiang.
Cameron Norrie was nowhere near his best as he lost the first two sets in an hour and failed to take a single game in the second set. Korda kept hitting winners as Norrie’s court movement was also hampered, there was no ray of light for the British number one as the youngster did not shy away from taking chances in almost all the rallies. Korda kept coming forward to finish the points and only had some issues in the third set where Norrie put in some volleys which delayed the result of the match. Korda defeated Norrie 6-3, 6-0, 6-4.
“It wasn't easy. I didn't get a lot of preparation, didn't get any matches under my belt,” Korda said in his post-match press conference after he was forced to withdraw from the Adelaide International 1 in the first week of the season due to testing positive for Covid-19. “But I am just super happy with the way I came out. I stuck with my tactics. They worked really well and I am really comfortable on these courts.”
Fabio Fognini failed to find his touch against Tallon Griekspoor in the opening round. Griekspoor did see some half hearted winners from Fognini who could not hit most of the balls on the other side of the court. Griekspoor entered the main draw at Melbourne for the second time in his career and it was his second victory at Grand Slams. The 25 year old will next face Pablo Carreno Busta as it will be tough against the Spaniard who has been in form this year. Griekspoor defeated Fognini 6-1, 6-4, 6-4.
Feliciano Lopez played a record 79th consecutive Grand Slam at Melbourne, the 40 year old lost to John Millman in the 1st round. Millman was quick to find space around the net as Lopez is one of the last players to fully rely on the classic serve and volley. Millman moved well around the court while finding the lines even with his backhand and had sublime control when hitting winners from the net. Millman defeated Lopez 6-1, 6-3, 4-6, 7-5.
Cori Gauff made her first early exit at a Grand Slam in two years when she was shocked by Wang Qiang in straight sets. Wang secured her first victory in over 6 months as she took advantage of an error-stricken game by the teenager. Gauff had 38 unforced errors which mostly contributed to the former world number 12 taking 6 consecutive games from the end of the first to the second. Even though it looked like the American could have staged a comeback when saving a few match points but it was not happening this time. Wang defeated Gauff 6-4, 6-2.
Sofia Kenin also had her luck give up on her as she was up against Madison Keys in the first round. Sofia had won the title at Melbourne two years ago but it was all over right on the first day for the former champion. Keys was too powerful around the court as no amount of sprints could cover certain groundstrokes she unleashed. The 12th seed has been struggling with a foot injury and coming back on tour after being infected with Covid. Keys defeated Kenin 7-6 (7-2), 7-5.
Paula Baodsa captures third career title at Sydney
(Tennis news) Paula Badosa set her priorities for the big ones in Australia when she won the Sydney Tennis Classic beating Barbora Krejcikova in the final. Krejcikova had played the match of her life against Anett Kontaveit in the semifinal but could not draw much inspiration for the championship match. Badosa on the other hand had a much straightforward semifinal against Daria Kasatkina.
Badosa had tough opponents on her way to the final as she faced Jelena Ostapenko in the opening match, Belinda Bencic in the quarterfinals and also played one match more than Krejcikova. All of the opponents of the 2021 Indian Wells champion faced were in the top 50 while Krejcikova’s real test came in the semifinal against Kontaveit which took 2 and half hours.
The world number 9 had a 2-0 head to head record against Krejcikova, both the victories coming last year. The Spaniard started well by taking the first two games and broke serve thrice to win the first set comfortably. In the second set, the world number 4 took the first two games and the rallies were getting shorter as she found her target in no time while Badosa had no chances to take.
In the deciding set, the momentum kept shifting each game as both players broke serve once but could get a lead at point of the set. In the tiebreak, it was Badosa who took the lead with her defensive shield proving to be a tough one to break. She was leading 5-2 and Krejcikova tried to repeat the semifinal drama but could not get much time, Badosa lost the next two points but won the next point to get herself a championship point. With a strong backhand down the line, the 24 year old made it 3 out of 3 in WTA finals as well as a third victory over the 2021 Roland Garros champion.
"Of course winning the title gives me a lot of confidence, especially with the level I have played this week," Badosa said. "Of course I am tired. I play Monday. I will have to fly tonight, so let's see how I recover. But I will try to give my best there. I'm playing at a high level. Let's see. I'm looking forward to it."
Both players have a chance to play again at the Australian Open quarterfinals, the 26 year old would want to add more majors after her victory in Paris last year. While Badosa is still looking for a first Grand Slam title win and the victory at Sydney is certainly going to pump her up when she plays at Melbourne.
Karatsev and Kokkinakis start 2022 season with title wins in Australia
(Tennis news) Thanasi Kokkinakis made a dream comeback by winning the Adelaide International 2, he beat Arthur Rinderknech in the final. This was the first title for Kokkinakis and second final after Los Cabos in 2017. The Australian had saved multiple match points against Marin Cilic in the semifinal and even in the final he had to burn all his energy to take the trophy.
Both players were serving strong in the first set as Kokkinakis was the first one to get a chance in tie break 6-5 but couldn't finalize the deal. After saving a set point, Rinderknech won the set due to an unforced error by the wildcard entry. The second set saw the service defense going strong and the tiebreak saw Rinderknech win the first two points until Kokkinakis won a hat trick of points. It was level at this point, the 25 year old made it 6-3 as he had 3 set points to level the score but the frenchmen saved two points which didn’t put load on his opponent. With a strong first serve, the scores were leveled.
In the deciding set, the world number 48 serve was broken in the opening game as the crowd was fully behind the home favorite. The world no 103 did not let his serve get broken as he continued to dominate the service games and then broke Rinderknech for the second time to take the title at Adelaide.
"I wouldn't want to win my first title anywhere else," said Kokkinakis, who out-aced his opponent 18 to 15. "To my family, friends and coaches, what a ride it's been. You have seen me at my lowest lows and now the highest high. It's been a serious journey. For now I am so happy.
“I’ve been playing and practicing on this court since I was eight or nine years old, coming here before school every day. I love this court so much.”
Aslan Karatsev replayed his 2021 Australia form this year when he beat Andy Murray for the Sydney Tennis Classic title. Karatsev only needed an hour and half in the final to win his third career title. The Russian never looked out of shape in the event as the groundstrokes were hard to reciprocate and even Murray was not able to match up to Karatsev aggressive stroking of the ball.
Karatsev had 4 breakpoints in the first set and won two of them to keep a lead over the former world number 1. Murray could not decode his opponent's serve as he failed to break him in the opening set and had 4 double faults to give the lead. In the second set, Murray had five breakpoint chances but could win one of them and conceded 2 out of three to again lose the chance to come back into the match.
In the 9th game of the second set, Murray was out of fuel as he couldn’t believe it when Karatsev hit a neat inside out forehand winner in a 19 shot rally. Karatsev and Murray will be heading into the Australian Open because of their performances in Sydney.
"It was an important moment to keep the level, keep the serve. I lost a bit of concentration on the first serve. Especially against him it's important to have a first serve, because on the second serve he steps in and can dictate the point more," Karatsev said. "It was a tough game. I tried to manage it, to stay calm, to stick to my plan."
Mirza-Kichenok to open against Zidansek-Juvan in Australian Open
Melbourne, Jan 16 (Tennis News) Veteran Indian tennis player Sania Mirza and her Ukrainian partner Nadiia Kichenok have been seeded 12th in the women's doubles event of the Australian Open and have been pitted against Slovenia's strong singles players Kaja Juvan and Tamara Zidansek.
Sania and Kichekon have entered the first Grand Slam of the season after reaching the semifinals of the first Adelaide WTA event and making a first round exit from the second.
Zidansek is ranked 29th in the world in the singles chart while Juvan is also a top-100 player at number 89.
In the men's doubles, 41-year-old Rohan Bopanna and his French partner Edouard Roger-Vasselin have been placed in the bottom half of the draw where they will play against wild card pair of Indonesia's Christopher Rungkat and Philippines' Treat Huey in their first round match.
The mixed doubles draw has not been made as yet and it is highly unlikely that Bopanna and Mirza would enter together since their combined ranking won't be enough to enter the event as a team.
No Indian player could make the singles main draw with Yuki Bhambri, Ramkumar Ramanathan, Prajnesh Gunneswaran and Ankita Rain falling in the qualifiers.
Also Read : Tie break thrillers continue to take the spotlight in Australia
News Source : PTI
Tie break thrillers continue to take the spotlight in Australia
(Tennis news) The past two days have seen comebacks overstaying their visit to Australia and it appears unclear when their visas will get revoked. The semifinals at Sydney Tennis Classic and Adelaide International 2 showed the world how a sport inaugurates a season. Sydney had seen Barbora Krejcikova play one of the top matches in WTA tour history yesterday and now it was the turn of ATP to light the court up.
Aslan Karatsev reached the finals at Sydney by beating Daniel Evans in a 3 hour semifinal war. The Russian has grown fond of Australia as last year he had a major breakthrough and now it's recurring. The world number 20 took four consecutive games in the first set to make it 5-1 until Evans took two games in a row to extend the first set to 40 minutes. In the second set, both players were holding their serve as there was no breakthrough for an hour until the tie break paid a visit.
The crowd expected the match to end when Karatsev got his first match point at 6-5 but did expect a handful of forehand hammers from Evans who then went to save four more. Then Evans had his first chance to take the set at 9-8 but hit a forehand lob long and went on to lose four more chances until a backhand into the net by Karatsev gave hope to the Brit. After 3 hours and 6 minutes, Karatsev took the match in the deciding set to reach the final. Karatsev defeated Evans 6-3, 6-7(13-15), 6-3.
Andy Murray made his first final in three years with a win over Reilly Opelka. Opelka was too strong for Murray in the first set as the ace machine continued to hit powerful forehand winners and came into the net to get ahead in the tiebreak. The former world number one was the first one to break serve as he did it thrice in the second set and even managed to lob the 6 foot 11 inch player in the 8th game.
After losing the second set, Opelka got back at Murray in the very first game of the deciding set when the world number 25 quickly managed to change his backhand into a forehand lob due to a net cord. Murray did not slow down as he went on to break serve four times and even saved a breakpoint to win their first meeting on tour. Murray defeated Opelka 6-7(8-6), 6-4, 6-4. Murray again will have a first time meeting when he plays Karatsev in the final.
At Adelaide, it was Thanasi Kokkinakis who reached the finals on tour for the first time in 5 years. Kokkinakis was up against Marin Cilic and started the match with robust groundstrokes to take the set. In the second set, Cilic overpowered the Australian by a long margin to level the match as both players played their best in the first two sets. In the third set, the 2014 US Open winner saved 3 breakpoints and Kokkinakis saved 2 as it went for a tie break.
It was the 25 year old who got a great start as he booked 4 match points at 6-2 but a few superhuman forehands by Cilic cancelled them all. The Croatian won the next 5 points to give himself matchpoint as the youngster started hitting unforced errors, Kokkinakis found clarity immediately and went on to save 3 match points. A double fault by the 33 year old gave the wildcard a fourth matchpoint and then finally a ticket to the final against Arthur Rinderknech. The match saw a combined effort of 72 winners and 192 points. Kokkinakis defeated Cilic 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(12-10).
Australian Open 2022: Medvedev and Sabalenka leading the next gen attack
(Tennis news) After more than 120 days since the last Grand Slam, the 2022 season is ready for the Australian Open to take place at Melbourne. At the beginning of every year, there are new expectations from the next gen to take over the older generation and there are few players who will look to take over the trophy from the seniors.
Daniil Medvedev had beaten Novak Djokovic at the 2021 US Open final and Djokovic had beaten Medvedev in the final of Australia at the start of the year. This year, the Serbian is currently playing against the Australian government as he needs a victory to compete in the main draw. Meanwhile the Russian will be keen to add a second major to his pocket but will be facing a challenge from the rest of the rising stars. Alexander Zverev has not won a major title yet, he has won everything else including the Olympic gold and can join Andre Agassi and Rafael Nadal in winning all the major titles in the sport.
Nadal won the Melbourne Summer Set which was his first title at Australia in 13 years, his first title was the 2009 Australian Open. The Spaniard was beaten by Stefanos Tsistsipas in the quarterfinal last year and the Greek player will also be in line to get his first big title. Most of the next gen players have not played any matches so far, the players who have started with year in form would be Felix Auger Aliassime, Denis Shapovalov. The two Canadians have shown how much they grew as players and would be willing to do the same at Melbourne. Carlos Alcaraz, Jannik Sinner would also play till the final days of the event as they had a good run last year.
In the women’s singles, Ashleigh Barty will be aiming for a third Grand Slam overall and a first at home. While the Australian has her targets, Aryna Sabalenka can set a sight at a first major as well as the top ranking when she plays next week. Sabalenka reached the semifinals of the last two Grand Slams, the 23 year old can steal the thunder from Barty and it would be daring to do it in front of the home crowd. In the top 10 rankings, all the players are below 30 years and a few made their debuts in the single digit platform. Barbora Krejcikova took the Roland Garros by storm by winning the singles and doubles trophy; Krejcikova takes on Paula Badosa who is yet another debutant in the top 10 and certainly one of them to watch out.
Naomi Osaka will also make her return and if she is in form then there is no doubt about her taking home her 5th major. The Japanese player issued a walkover in the semifinal at Melbourne Summer Set a few days ago but is expected to play at the event. The Australian Open is set to start from January 17 and the audience would want to wear their seat belts as its going to be a bumpy start to the year.
Novak Djokovic has long divided opinion. Now, his legacy will be complicated even further
Melbourne, Jan 15 (Tennis News) After a convoluted and shambolic visa approval process, followed by questions about his movements over the past month and the information provided to Australian border officials, Immigration Minister Alex Hawke has cancelled Novak Djokovic’s visa.
The decision is a major blow to Djokovic, who is tied with Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal at 20 Grand Slam singles titles, the most ever by a male player. While his lawyers will attempt to challenge the latest visa cancellation, Djokovic is unlikely to chase history at his most successful Grand Slam tournament.
The decision is also a blow to the Australian Open. With Federer out with injury, Djokovic and Nadal were the prime draw cards in this year’s men’s tournament. If the top-ranked Serbian player and nine-time Australian Open champion is deported, some have feared serious repercussions for the longevity of the event.
Critics have gone so far as to theorise global tennis powerbrokers might look elsewhere to host the “grand slam of the Asia-Pacific”, so as: […] to be confident the tournament can proceed smoothly with strong levels of public and government support.
In that sense, the conservative MP and former professional tennis player John Alexander had urged allowing Djokovic to stay in the country, arguing: Retaining the Australian Open as a grand slam event […] is in our national interest.
While the Australian Open’s reputation certainly has taken a hit, its status as one of the four Grand Slam tournaments has plenty of support. The longer-term damage might be to Djokovic’s legacy.
Given the extraordinary backstory to his medical exemption from COVID vaccination to enter Australia – along with the many questions that have arisen about his COVID infection in December – public opinion about him has swayed back and forth on a daily basis.
Djokovic has long been a polarising figure in tennis. Despite his athleticism, endurance and mental toughness, he has sometimes been accused of gamesmanship, “exaggerating” injuries to allow for medical pauses when an opponent has the momentum.
Like other players, Djokovic has also exhibited unruly behaviour on court, with occasional racket smashes, as well as disqualification from the 2020 US Open after recklessly – albeit accidentally – smashing a ball into a line judge.
Compared with the much-loved Federer and Nadal, Djokovic has a narrower fan base. At the Australian Open, he’s always had the effervescent support of Melbourne’s large Serbian diaspora, with their patriotic singing and flag-waving. But the mood of the rest of the crowd this year would likely have been mixed, with some undoubtedly voicing their hostility.
Indeed, local tennis fans would have good reason to chafe at Djokovic’s medical exemption from immunisation given the stringent COVID protocols they must follow to attend the Australian Open.
The tournament requires fans to be double-vaccinated or provide evidence of a medical exemption. However, unlike Djokovic’s peculiar defence, prior COVID status does not absolve local residents from the need to be double-vaccinated, with “previous infection” no basis for an exemption.
Grand slammed? Further complicating Djokovic’s legacy is the question of whether he’ll now face visa difficulties at the other tennis majors. The rapid spread of the Omicron variant may alter the rules for unvaccinated players in different countries and tournaments.
As things stand, Djokovic appears to face no vaccine-related impediment to competing at the French Open in a few months. The French sports minister has said Djokovic “would be able to take part”, although unlike vaccinated players he would need to follow “health bubble” protocols.
French President Emmanuel Macron, however, has made headlines by declaring he wants to “piss off” the unvaccinated – in part by mandating a “health pass” for public venues, a requirement for which is to be vaccinated. Whether Macron insists on changes for competitors at Roland-Garros remains to be seen.
As far as Wimbledon is concerned, unvaccinated international arrivals to the United Kingdom are currently required to take repeat COVID tests over several days, plus quarantine for ten days at a residence of their choice.
Djokovic would, presumably, look to a rent a house with a lawn tennis court attached.
The US Open seems less certain. The unvaccinated are not permitted in specific indoor venues in New York without a medical exemption.
So, if one of Djokovic’s matches on the showcourts at the US Open was affected by rain and the roof needed to be closed, it is not clear what organisers would do. He might be forced to forfeit the match.
Given Djokovic has been less prone to injury than Federer or Nadal and is coming off one of his best years on tour, he is still likely to retire with the most men’s grand slam titles. If so, he can rightfully be feted as the greatest male tennis star of all time.
But how he will be remembered is a more complicated question. In one sense, Djokovic appears to revel in being depicted as the “arch-nemesis” of Federer and Nadal – it has fuelled his desire to surpass their grand slam title hauls.
Yet, for all his tennis greatness, Djokovic often attracts eye-rolling outside the court – not simply in relation to his views on vaccines, but the wider pseudo-scientific ruminations that underpin his public pronouncements.
As the Australian tennis player Nick Kyrgios has put it, Djokovic seems “a very strange cat”.
The drama from the past week will have an effect on the way others view him, too. It will inflame his supporters, infuriate his detractors, and prompt even neutral observers to take a stand in respect to his entry to Australia. When it comes to Novak Djokovic, everyone will now surely have an opinion. (The Conversation) MRJ
Also Read : Krejcikova wins epic semi final against Kontaveit at Sydney.
News Sources : PTI
Krejcikova wins epic semi final against Kontaveit at Sydney
(Tennis news) The first semifinal at Sydney Tennis Classic saw the clash between the world number 4 and 7. The encounter saw 12 match points in the final set as Barbora Krejcikova and Anett Kontaveit lit the court on fire as the match was among the best on the WTA tour. Kontaveit began the first set as the crowd did not even settle even when she bageled her opponent in 26 minutes.
It was a tragic start for the 2021 Roland Garros winner, she improved in the second set as a backhand winner of Kontaveit’s second serve gave the crucial break in the 9th game. It was the only break in the set but it was all that Krejcikova needed to level the score. The final set saw the players sharpening their groundstrokes even after 2 hours, Krejcikova saved three match points while serving at 5-6 to take it for a tiebreak and then Kontaveit saved two match points in the tiebreak to make it 6 all. The tie break had 25 points in all which took almost half an hour to complete when the Estonian hit a forehand long to end her run at Sydney. Krejcikova defeated Kontaveit 0-6, 6-4, 7-6(14-12).
"I think from both sides it was a really, really tough match," Krejcikova said, in her post-match press conference. "I think we played wonderful tennis. It was very, very tight, and I'm really happy that I was able to hold my nerves better and that I won this match.
In the second semifinal, it was in-form Daria Kasatkina versus world number 9 Paula Baodsa. They both last played in 2013 in European Junior Championships in Moscow where Kasatkina had won the match. The former world number 10 had made the semifinals at melbourne earlier as Badosa had lost the opening match here a week ago.
Both the players have a similar playing style as they wait for the ball a bit after the bounce but Badosa did not wait for a breakthrough in the match as she won the first 3 games in 8 minutes. Kasatkina got her first game when she hit a forehand lob to break the Spaniard’s serve to make it 1-4 and then held her serve to make it two in a row. Badosa then won the next two games with her backhand dominating the winning shots.
In the second set, Kasatkina was left behind when she lost the first five games as Badosa was only a game away from victory. The Russian had to defend two match points on her serve and took the risk to win her first game of the set, she then broke Badosa’s serve with three nerve-wracking forehands for her second consecutive game. The crowd was getting mentally prepared for a second epic semifinal but then Badosa denied a second inspiring comeback at Sydney to enter the final. Badosa defeated Kasatkina 6-2, 6-2.
Also read: Kasatkina reaches second semi final in 2 weeks at Sydney Tennis Classic
Arthur Rinderknech makes his first ATP tour final at Adelaide
(Tennis news) Arthur Rinderknech made his first ATP final since making his debut on tour two years ago. It was an all French semi final as Rinderknech was against Corentin Moutet who was aiming to go into the final stage for the second time. The world number 58 was powerful with his returns as Moutet's serves were slowing down as the match went ahead. Moutet’s average 1st serve speed was 169 km/ hour which was just ahead of Rinderknech’s second serve average of 159 km/hour.
The world number 115 lost more than half of his service points which allowed his fellow country mate to complete the match without much sweat. Rinderknech was also winning short and long rallies as he was on the front on all aspects of the game; he also won 21 of his 25 net points as it was overall just what he wanted. Rinderknech defeated Moutet 6-1, 6-3.
"It was a tough match inside our heads. I'm sure everybody knows what a home-country duel match is about," Rinderknech said. "There was a little bit of tension but I was happy to get the win with a pretty short time on court.
"It's a great achievement. I'm really happy to be in the final. It's a new step again. I made the semi-finals in Kitzbuehel last summer. Now the final here for my first tournament of the year.”
In the fourth quarterfinal of the event it was a battle of the wildcards. Two 25 year old Australians fighting for a spot in the semifinal at home, Thanasi Kokkinakis and Aleksandar Vukic were facing each other for the first time. Kokkinakis had his chances in the first set, 9 breakpoints to be exact and could not win any of them as the world number 160 took the set in a tiebreak.
In the second set, Kokkinakis hit heavy winners off his forehand as he broke Vukic’s serve in the 8th game which gave him the lead and on the set in half an hour. In the decider, Kokkinakis broke Vukic’s serve twice in the first five games and only dropped two points of serve on his own serve. The world no 145 now has reached the last four in the first two events of the year, he will face Marin Cilic for a place in the final against Rinderknech. Kokkinakis defeated Vukic 6-7, 6-3, 6-2.
In doubles, the first semi final was between second and third seed as Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski beat Marcelo Melo and Ivan Dodig. Melo and Dodig were the top seeds left in the event and had reached the final at the Adelaide International 1 but could not make it two in two. Koolhof and Skupski are in line for a second consecutive title as they had won in Melbourne. Koolhof and Skupski defeated Marcelo and Ivan 6-4, 6-1.
Ariel Behar and Gonzalo Escobar have been a rising pair in the doubles as they made five finals last year and are into their first championship match of the 2022 season. In the second semifinal, Behar and Escobar defeated Tomislav Brkic and Nikola Cacic 6-4, 6-7(5-7), 10-6.
Reilly Opelka sets up first time meeting with Murray at Sydney
(Tennis news) Reilly Opelka went through a first rough set against Brandon Nakashima when the pair met for the first time in the quarterfinals of Sydney Tennis Classic. Both players held their serve in the first set as there was not a single breakpoint, at the tie break it was Opelka who managed to break in the serve and take the set.
In the second set, Opelka improved on his court coverage and his forehand strokes were strong as ever. The 24 year old even had 5 breakpoints in which he lost three of them but two was enough to take a four game lead over his fellow junior. The next gen player had to face faster serves in the second set as the fastest serve was timed at 234 km/ hour. Opelka defeated Nakashima 7-6(7-4), 6-2.
The crowd cheered the loudest for Maxime Cressy’s tweener winner against Daniel Evans in the second quarterfinal match at Sydney. Evans was hitting backhand winners every now and then as Cressy came to the net on 18 occasions and lost 11 points there. The American was clearly hitting faster groundstrokes but Evans returned the ball most of the time and kept hitting the ball from side to side.
In the second set, Cressy was at the net on 30 occasions and went on to win 23 points as Evans had to use a lot of self motivation. On saving a set point at 5-4 in the second point, Evans roared “let’s go” multiple times to himself as he went to hit the ball harder in the next few rallies. At 5-5 all in the tiebreak, the 24 year old found it difficult to finish points as a forehand shot into the net gave his opponent matchpoint and it was done as Evans set up a second career meeting with Aslan Karatsev. Evans defeated Cressy 6-4, 7-6(7-5).
Andy Murray had his match cut short against David Goffin as the Belgian had to retire at the end of the first set due to a knee injury. Goffin moved well on the first set as he was facing the former world number 1 for the eighth time and has never won a match yet. Murray broke Goffin in the opening game as he made the 31 year old test his speed on court, both the players were known for their ability to chase down balls down the court and a bit of that was seen in the first set. Murray defeated Goffin 6-2, retired.
Also read: Andy Murray lights up Sydney, Karatsev enters last semifinals
Kasatkina reaches second semi final in 2 weeks at Sydney Tennis Classic
(Tennis news) Daria Kasatkina has been shining bright in the warm Australian courts. The Russian reached her second semifinal in 2 weeks as she had reached the last four at Melbourne a few days ago. The Russian got her first top five victory in 4 years when she beat Garbine Muguriza at the Sydney Tennis Classic.
Kasatkina had last beaten Muguruza in 2019 and now remains the lowest seeded player left in the draw. The world number 26 placed the ball so well that most of her winners were not even attempted by the Spaniard, the world number 3 took time to build up the point while Kasatkina could instantly find a loose spot and hit the ball exactly in that area.
Muguruza was hitting the ball well but there was no momentum on her side as she was constantly distracted by her opponents' most unexpected winners. Kasatkina will face another Spanish player in the next match as Paula Badosa will be ready for another tough battle. Kasatkina defeated Muguruza 6-4, 6-4.
Badosa’s timing was right on target as she beat Tokyo Olympics Singles gold medalist Belinda Bencic for a place in the last four. The first set saw two players playing one of the best rallies of the year as Belinda took the ball on the rise while Badosa was patient enough to hit the ball well after the bounce. Badosa’s light bend backward while hitting the forehand generates enough power to smash the ball across and Bencic had this forward fall while hitting the ball.
Both of them had different styles but Belinda took more risks as it did not work in the first set as the world number 9 did not take many chances but the forehand winner at tie break was enough to prove her point. Sensing her groundstrokes were not doing enough damage, the swiss player changed her tactics completely and the speeds were decreasing in her groundstrokes. The surprise drop shot caught Badosa completely off guard on multiple occasions. A crucial backhand into the net by Belinda in the eighth game gave the lead to Badosa and she did not again let go of the chance to serve out the match. Badosa defeated Bencic 7-6(8-6), 3-6, 6-3.
Barbora Krejcikova only lost two games in her quarterfinal match against Caroline Garcia as she will next face Anett Kontaveit. Krejcikova won 8 consecutive games in the match as Garcia kept struggling to hit a clean ball on the other side of the court. The unforced errors gave last year’s Roland Garros champion a bagel in the opening set, she took the first two games until the unseeded player won her first game of the match. Krejcikova looked like she won the match even before the ending of the second set as Garcia could never get her form in the match. Barbora defeated Garcia 6-0, 6-2.
Also read: Emma Raducanu falls in opening match at Sydney Tennis Classic