Australian Open

Stan

It was a victorious weekend in Melbourne for the long shot underdogs when 28-year-old Swiss player Stanislas Wawrinka defeated Rafael Nadal to win the Men’s Singles Championship and 32-year-old Chinese player Li Na defeated Slovak Dominika Cibulkova on Saturday to win the Women’s Singles.

It was expected to be a Nadal vs defending Aussie Open champion Djokovic in the Men’s Final and Serena vs defending champion Azarenka in the Women’s final.  However, sovaldi sale world No. 1 Nadal was the only top-seeded player to even make the semi-finals. No. 2 Djokovic lost to eight seed Wawrinka in an epic five-set quarter final 6-2 4-6 2-6 6-3 9-7.

Nadal defeated Roger Federer in straight sets to reach the Australian Open tennis final and Wawrinka defeated Tomas Berdych in 4 sets in the semi-finals.

No. 1 Serena Williams  lost to Ana Ivanovic in the fourth round and Agnieszka Radwanska upsets No. 2 Victoria Azarenka in quarterfinals.

MEN’S SINGLES CHAMPIONSHIP

Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland won his first Grand Slam title with victory over an injured Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open final Sunday. Wawrinka defeated the world number one, help who was struggling with a back problem, 6-3 6-2 3-6 6-3.

He becomes the second Swiss man to win a Grand Slam singles title after 17-time champion Roger Federer.

“I still think that I’m dreaming,” said Wawrinka after the match. “It’s a strange feeling. I saw so many finals. I always try to watch the finals of Grand Slams because that’s where the best players are playing. Before today, for me it wasn’t a dream. I never expected to play a final. I never expected to win a Grand Slam. And right now I just did it.”

Stanislas Wawrinka consoles Rafael Nadal after Wawrinka’s win. (Photo ABC.net)

Nadal, always the class act, revealed he felt the back problem during the warm-up. Rafa said: “It is a tournament that I really had some troubles physically in my career and is something that is painful for me. But that’s part of life. That’s part of sport. It’s not the end of the world. Is just another tough moment. The last thing that I wanted to do was retire. No, I hate to do that, especially in a final. It’s not the moment to talk about that. It’s the moment to congratulate Stan. He’s playing unbelievable. He really deserved to win that title.”

Before this Championship, Wawrinka had never won a set, let alone a match, in 12 previous attempts against Nadal, and was making his Grand Slam final debut against Nadal who was in his 19th.

Despite Nadal’s loss, he will retain his world No.1 ranking.

WOMEN’S SINGLES CHAMPIONSHIP

Li Na wins 2014 Australian Open (Getty Images)

Li Na erased memories of previous final losses in 2011 and last year to defeat 24th ranked Slovak Dominika Cibulkova 7-6, 6-0 Saturday in 97 minutes.

“This is my favorite grand slam (championship) and I’m so happy I’ve won the title here”, an exuberant Na said after the final.  However most memorable is her hilarious victory speech.

After paying respects to her opponent, Li thanked her agent Max Eisenbud for “making me rich” and her husband and former coach Jiang Shan, long the butt of his wife’s jokes, for special praise. “Now, of course, my husband … famous in China. Thanks for him for giving up everything, just travelling with me to be my hitting partner, fix the drinks and fix the racquets, so, he did a lot of jobs,” she grinned as Jiang was ribbed in the players’ box.

“So, thanks a lot, you’re a nice guy. And … also you are so lucky, you found me.”

Watch Li Na’s Australian Open victory speech here:

Have a Smashing week and the long wait until the next tennis Grand Slam – The French Open 2014 begins on Sunday, May 25  and ends on Sunday, June 8.

Smashing Golf & Tennis – Made in Chicago

0 comments
Event-AustralianOpenofTennis-landscape

Temperatures reached 108 degrees during the second day of the tennis season’s first Grand Slam event of the year.  The Australian Open began Monday, capsule January 13th in Melbourne and this hard-court slam lasts two weeks – culminating with the Women’s final on Saturday, drugstore January 25th and the Men’s final on Sunday, January 26th.

Juan Martn Del Potro of Argentina feels the heat. Michael Dodge Getty Images

Forecasts call for more 100-plus degree heat for the next two to three days. Although not all due to the extreme heat, nine players retired in the first round after the second day, which ties the 2011 U.S. Open for most retirements in a single round at a Grand Slam tournament.

It was so hot that a ball boy required medical attention after collapsing during an early-day match. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France said the under soles of his sneakers became soft.

China’s Peng Shuai threw up in a bucket and then cramped near the end of a 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 loss to Japan’s Kurumi Nara. Peng limped off the court barely able to finish. Others described the court surface as a frying pan and the wind like “when I open the oven and the potatoes are done,” said American John Isner.  (Isner, seeded 13th, had to retire during his match again Slovakia’s Martin Klizan with an ankle injury. Isner had just won the title last weekend at Auckland.)

However many players took the scorching heat in stride, including Roger Federer, who often trains in the hot desert of Dubai and had little sympathy for his peers, calling it “just a mental thing”.

Aussie Open Outlook

Djokovic  def. Murray 2013 Australian Open final. WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images

In the spotlight are whether last years’ Aussie Open champions Novak Djokovic and Victoria Azarenka can both defend their 2013 singles titles.  It was Djokovic’s third straight victory at Melbourne Park, making him the first man to win three straight Australian titles in the Open era.

MEN’S SINGLES CHAMPIONSHIP

The men’s side is dominated by the Big Three—Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray. Many tennis enthusiast predict that Djokovic will break the record for most titles by anyone in the Open Era – or after 1968 when professionals were allowed to join the tournament. He is currently tied with Federer and Andre Agassi with four Aussie titles.

Roger Federer plays a forehand in his first-round match against James Duckworth. Scott Barbour, Getty Images

Novak Djokovic improved his winning streak at Melbourne Park to 22 matches as he began his bid for a fourth consecutive Australian Open title defeating Lukas Lacko of Slovakia.

World No 1 Rafael Nadal easily advances to the second round after one set after Bernard Tomic is forced to retire with a groin injury after losing opening set.

Andy Murray has reached the final of the last five Slams. In his opening match, Murray hit 32 winners, 12 aces and only 13 unforced errors on his way to an easy victory against Go Soeda of Japan 6-1, 6-1, 6-3.

However, Roger Federer is looking to re-enter fray and won in his first match with former world no. 1 Stefan Edberg as a coach, by defeating James Duckworth, 6-4, 6-4, 6-2.

WOMEN’S SINGLES CHAMPIONSHIP

Not surprisingly, Serena Williams will head into the Australian Open as the player to beat. On opening day, Williams easily defeated Ashleigh Barty, 6-2, 6-1 a 17-year-old Australian wild-card entry. The World No.1 has an incredible 78-4 win/loss record for the season including The French Open and the US Open slams.  Serena ended the season with the WTA Championships and will arrive in Melbourne with an 18 match winning streak. Serena will be competing for her sixth Aussie Open and 18th Grand Slam crown.

Azarenka celebrates defeating Na Li in 2013 Julian Finney/Getty Images

The second-ranked Victoria Azarenka had a difficult match Monday against Larsson, ranked 91st, who twice had chances to serve for the first set but lost in a tiebreaker. However, Azarenka still seems to be the only player who has both the talent and attitude to have a chance of defeating Serena Williams. Azarenka beat her twice in 2013 at Doha and Cincinnati and challenged Serena by taking her to three sets of the US Open final in September.  However, Azarenka has yet to beat Williams in a Slam final – losing out to the 17 times Major winner in back-to-back finals at Flushing Meadows in 2012 and 2013.

However, it’s not impossible for Azarenka.  She just beat Williams in straight sets in an exhibition match between the world’s top two women’s players in Thailand the end of December. Azarenka defeated Williams 7-5, 6-3 in front of about 3,000 fans at the Hua Hin World Tennis Invitation in a match both players used as a warm-up ahead of the Australian Open.

Australian Open TV Coverage

Melbourne is 17 hours ahead of Chicago. As far as TV coverage goes, ESPN and the Tennis Channel have you covered throughout the whole tournament. ESPN’s early round coverage begins at 7 p.m. ET on their ESPN2 network, and will run through 7 a.m. The Tennis Channel will carry coverage from 7 p.m. through 9 p.m.  For complete listing see link ESPN.

0 comments
French Open 2013

Are you a tennis lover? Or maybe just a casual fan? Perhaps you just like to watch the big name stars to see what all the fuss is about? Tennis aficionado or not, check get ready because the summer tennis tournaments kick off this weekend with the 2013 French Open.

The four historic tennis Grand Slam tournaments, capsule The Australian Open, advice the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open, are the most important and highly anticipated tennis events of the year. The second tournament of the “Slams” (also called the “Majors”), The French Open, is set to start this weekend at Roland Garros, Paris. This tennis fortnight will run from this Sunday, May 26th to June 9th, 2013.

The current singles title holders are Men’s 2012 Singles Champion Rafael Nadal and Women’s 2012 Singles Champion Maria Sharapova.

Who to Watch : Men’s Singles –  Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal winning in Rome
(Photo: Gabriel Buoys, AFP/Getty Images)

World #4 ranked Nadal is heavily favored to repeat his win this year. Nadal has dominated play in the last few months, winning six titles in eight events (reaching the final in all eight) since returning in February from a knee injury. He topped off  this hot streak by winning the Italian Open in Rome by beating #3 ranked Roger Federer in straight sets. Coupled with the fact he is known as the “King of Clay”, having won at Roland Garros more than anyone else.  He won seven of the last eight times, and vying to make it his 8th. (The French Open is the only Slam played on a clay surface.)

Nadal’s biggest threat will be world #1 ranked Novak Djokovic, coming off of his commanding Australian Open win over #2 ranked Andy Murray in January, winning his third straight Australian Open and six Grand Slam titles overall. Federer is always tough to beat, but he is much better on grass courts. And unfortunately, Andy Murray withdrew from the French Open on Tuesday because of a chronic back injury.

Novak Djokovic (Photo: optimumtennis.net)

Few believe any men not ranked in the top 4 really have any chance to win the French Open, so decide which is your favorite out of Djokovic, Federer and Nadal before opening up conversations about the French Open, because ‘who will win’ is always a topic of discussion.

Who to Watch : Women’s Singles – Serena Williams

Serena Williams defeats Victoria Azarenka in Rome. (Photo: AP)

The Women’s singles championship seems even more cut and dry, with #1 ranked Serena Williams heavily favored to win.  The iconic tennis star has won four consecutive titles, clinching the Rome title by defeating #3 ranked Victoria Azarenka, 6-1, 6-3. Serena has also won a career-best 24 matches in a row and will be the top seed at the French Open trying to avenge a first-round loss in Paris a year ago and some speculation at the time that it might be time for her to retire.

However, Serena has only won at Roland Garros twice and #2 ranked and current French Open Champion Maria Sharapova might have other ideas.  However, she had to withdrawal from Rome last month due to sickness ahead of her quarter-final against #5 ranked Sara Errani.  But realistically, the only way that Serena doesn’t win at Roland Garros is if she does it to herself – she can often be her own worse enemy at times.

So at this point in time, a Nadal and Williams championship seem inevitable.  Check back next week to see what upsets and dark horses there were in the first week of match play, because in grand slam tennis, anything can happen.

The French Open airs on ESPN, NBC Sports, and the Tennis Channel. The first round of match play begins Sunday, May 26th and will be shown live starting at 4am CST on ESPN3 and at 9am CST on the Tennis Channel, see link for complete listing Tournament Schedule.

Breaking sports news video. MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL highlights and more.

Get your game face on with apparel from Smashing Golf & Tennis –       Made in Chicago, IL   (Photo: Mike Caplan)

 

Smashing Golf & Tennis

www.SmashingOnline.com

 

3 comments
back to top