Tag Archives: Australian Open

Australian Open: Paes and Hingis storm into mixed doubles final

Leander Paes kept himself in line for his 15th grand slam title by reaching the Australian Open mixed doubles final with Martina Hingis as they defeated Su-Wei Hsieh and Pablo Cuevas in straight sets at Melbourne on Friday.

The seventh seeded Indo-Swiss pair recorded a comfortable 7-5 6-4 win over the unseeded Taipei-Uruguay combine in the semifinals in one hour and 14 minutes.

Paes and Hingis broke Hsieh, who till recently was ranked world number one, thrice in the match.

41-year-old Paes has won eight men’s doubles and six mixed doubles title in his glittering career. He has joined forces with Hingis for the first time in his career. The Swiss legend is also a winner of 14 Grand Slam titles, including five singles.

The seventh seeds had a breakpoint in the very first game when Hingis hit a volley winner but the Swiss missed a backhand winner, letting the opponents hold the serve.

Paes’ serve was broken in the next game when Hsieh hit a lob for a winner at deuce as the unseeded team took a 2-0 lead in the opening set.

Hingis and Paes initially left enough gap between them for Hsieh and Cuevas to take advantage, specially the Taipei player who hit winners comfortably but they later dominated the contest.

The seventh seeds got the break back in the seventh game as Hsieh was broken at love with Hingis hitting a backhand winner on first chance. What followed was a sensational 20-shot rally which the Indo-Swiss pair won courtesy Paes’ super fast reflexes at the net. The teams were now locked 4-4.

Paes and Hingis broke Hsieh in the 11th game and then the Swiss served out the set to nose ahead in the contest.

They yet again broke the Taipei player for an early lead in the second set, zooming to a 3-1 lead. The set went on serve after that even as Paes and Hingis saved a breakpoint in the sixth game when the Indian was serving.

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Maria Sharapova beats Ekaterina Makarova to Reach Australian Open Final

Second seed Maria Sharapova powered into the Australian Open final with a straight sets 6-3, 6-2 demolition of 10th seeded fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova on Thursday.

Five-time Grand Slam champion Sharapova, a winner at Melbourne Park in 2008, will play the victor of an all-American semi-final between top seed Serena Williams or the unseeded Madison Keys.

The 27-year-old said it felt “special” to defeat Makarova and make a ninth career Slam final, her fourth in Australia,

“Playing a fellow Russian and playing someone who maybe wasn’t the favourite going into the semi-final, I knew she would come out and play really well,” the reigning French Open champion said.

“I was ready for that and stood my ground and competed well.”

Sharapova went into the match with a 5-0 record over Makarova and always looked in control, despite intially struggling with her serve in blustery conditions on Rod Laver Arena.

She was forced to defend two break points as she double faulted twice in an opening game that stretched for 10 minutes, finally holding after winning a 17-shot baseline rally.

She then broke Makarova with a blistering forehand down the line off a tame serve, going on to hold her compatriot to love in the next game and make it 3-0.

Makarova, appearing in only her second Grand Slam semi compared to 18 for her opponent, yelled at her coaching box during the changeover.

She held on to get on the board but was again pressured by Sharapova, who appeared untroubled by the left-hander’s serve.

But the Muscovite regrouped and switched tactics against her high-profile compatriot, attacking the net more and earning a break to go back on serve.

It was a temporary reprieve, with Sharapova rising to the challenge by breaking back immediately then serving out the set after 48 minutes.

She continued to dominate with an early break in the second, the stunned Makarova looking close to tears at times between points.

She desperately tried to stave off a second break with an wild arcing lob in the third game but Sharapova was waiting at the net to smash it home and go up 3-0.

Makarova salvaged some pride by holding serve twice before Sharapova completed the rout after one hour 27 minutes.

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Smooth draw for Novak Djokovic at Australian Open

Novak Djokovic’s chances of winning a fifth Australian Open title have been boosted by a kind draw in the opening week, while women’s top seed Serena Williams kicks off her campaign against 106th-ranked Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck.

World number one Djokovic faces a qualifier first up and will avoid the top 10 seeds until at least the quarter-finals, where he could meet big-serving Milos Raonic, one of the highly-fancied crop of young players tipped to challenge the dominance of the ‘Big Four’.

Reigning champion Stan Wawrinka, seeded fourth, faces a tougher route if he is to defend his crown.

The Swiss takes on 99th-ranked Marsel Ilhan of Turkey before a possible fourth round matchup with 16th seeded Italian Fabio Fognini and a likely quarter-final against US Open finalist Kei Nishikori.

On the comeback trail from injury and illness, third seed Rafa Nadal has also been given few favours with a dangerous opening round tie against Russian Mikhail Youzhny, a former top-10 player.

“Youzhny is not that easy to beat,” said 83-year-old Hall of Fame coach Nick Bollettieri at the draw ceremony at Melbourne Park on Friday. “I’m sure a lot of people will be looking at that first round to see how healthy Nadal is.”

Following that, the 2009 champion has a possible third round against Czech bogey-man Lukas Rosol, who upset him in the second round of Wimbledon in 2012.