Li Na

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

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Will the Magic of Monfils Continue? (Getty Images)

If you’ve been watching the first week of the French Open, drugstore you’ve probably noticed the less than perfect conditions. The first five days of the French Open at Roland Garros have been unusually cold and rainy causing long delays and postponed matches, levitra however, there’s still been plenty of upsets, drama and exciting play to discuss.

Maria Sharapova was unable to finish her second-round match against Eugenie Bouchard on a rainy fifth day of action in Paris and the officials finally suspended play and will pick up where they left off on Friday. Match play has been delayed, but with the hope that Friday will bring better weather and a chance to finish the remaining second and third round matches before the weekend.

In the meantime, some highlights from the week so far.

Men’s Singles

Nadal First Round Scare

Rafa in Disbelief in early 1st Round (Gallo Images)

French Open favorite Rafael “Rafa” Nadal had a very scary first two sets in the first round.  Rafa struggled during his opening-round win over German Daniel Brands after dropping the first set—only the 15th set he has lost at Roland Garros—and falling to 0-3 in the second.

Of course, Rafa then made it look easy and then went on to win decisively in four sets, but it was exciting to watch live and wonder if my prediction would fall on only the second day of play.

Monfils the “Magician”

Monfils “The Magician” (Washington Post)

The biggest upset on the Men’s side this week so far has been fifth seed Tomas Berdych’s shocking loss after five sets by unseeded Frenchmen Gael Monfils on Monday 7-6, 6-4, 6-7, 6-7, 7-5 in a thrilling four hour and two minute match.

Monfils continued to perform his magic to the delight of local crowds Wednesday by beating 40th ranked Ernests Gulbis  6-7, 6-4, 7-6, 6-2, in what was one of the most entertaining and competitive matches so far.

Ironically, a Frenchman has not won at Roland Garros since Yannick Noah, the father of Chicago Bull, Joakim Noah,  in 1983.  Monfils will next play 34th ranked Tommy Robredo on Friday, who’s first 2 rounds have not have been as hard fought as Monfils, but the local crowds will be cheering on for more of Monfils magic and will be a match not to be missed.

The Other Top Seeded Men

Roger Federer (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Novak Djokovic eased into the third round with decisive 6-2, 6-0, 6-2 win over Argentina’s Guido Pella Thursday, and Federer barely broke a sweat defeating Somdev Dewarman of India in the second round 6-2, 6-1, 6-1.

Women’s Singles

Mattek-Sands Shocks 2011 Champion Li

Bethanie Mattek-Sands (Photo : AFP)

Unconventionally dressed American Bethanie Mattek-Sands delivered the biggest upset of this year’s French Open so far by beating the 2011 champ and current #6 Li Na of China  5-7, 6-3, 6-2.

Mattek-Sands is renown for her unusual style and says “I’m kind of doing my own thing, I want my tennis to do my talking.”  This week at the French Open, she did just that.

Serena – Inevitable Champion? 

Serena Williams (USA Today)

Serena Williams easily extended her winning streak to 26 matches Wednesday by beating #114th ranked Caroline Garcia of France, 6-1, 6-2 in the second round.

The No. 1-ranked Williams seeks her first French Open title since 2002. She hasn’t reached the semifinal since 2003 and lost in the first round last year at Roland Garros.

Other Upsets

Former top-ranked and current #10 ranked Caroline Wozniacki lost 7-6 (2), 6-3 to 47th ranked Bojana Jovanovski of Serbia in the second round of the French Open on Wednesday.

Who to Watch Friday

(Roland Garros)

Due to the rain suspended play on Thursday, the match schedule was not finalized at time of writing.  Check link for Friday final schedule of play at French Open.

However, the following matches should be worth watching.

Men’s Singles  

  • Rafael Nadal vs. Martin Klizan
  • Gael Monfils vs.Tommy Robredo

Women’s Singles

  • Maria Sharapova vs. Eugenie Bouchard – To finish rain delayed match, currently at 6-2 4-2
  • Serena Williams vs. Sorana Cirstea
  • Agnieszka Radwanska  vs. Dinah Pfizenmaier

The matches get started at 4 a.m. on ESPN2, and will run on that channel through 9 a.m. The Tennis Channel will then pick up coverage from 9 all the way through 6 p.m., so there will be plenty of opportunities to watch on Friday. The Tennis Channel then has the French Open Highlights at 6 p.m. and this program runs again at 9pm.

Smashing Golf & Tennis – Made in Chicago
(Photo: Mike Caplan)

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