Tag Archives: tennis

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.

paes&hingis

Maria Sharapova survives two match points to progress to the third round

World No. 2 Maria Sharapova was on her way to a regulation win against her Russian compatriot Alexandra Panova. The qualifier, who had entered the tournament without a grand slam match win to her name, had just been dispatched 6-1 in the opening set by the five-time major winner. It had taken just 26 minutes. Roger Federer – next up on court – would have been forgiven for expecting action within the hour.

 

And then without warning, the flow of the match changed dramatically.

Federer’s estimated time of arrival was quickly pushed back, as Sharapova capitulated. Dropping the second set 6-2, and facing a 4-1 deficit in the third, the 2008 Australian Open winner was on the precipice of an early departure from this year’s tournament.

Panova, 25, kept on getting the ball back, and Sharapova kept on making unforced errors, 43 across the second and third sets.

In all four of the service games Sharapova lost during the match she committed a double-fault, including twice in the second set when facing a break point.

Twice staring down match points at 5-3 in the third, what had been a passive display to that point suddenly turned aggressive, as she at last took advantage of Panova’s tame second serve.

Two thundering forehand winners sandwiched an equally telling backhand drive. The “on” button was finally activated, and Sharapova again showed her Tarzan-like fighting qualities, which belie her well-documented Jane-like appearance.

“I think my thought process through the match until that point was pretty negative,” Sharapova said after the match.

“I was dwelling too much on my mistakes and what I was doing wrong.

“I was thinking about it too much instead of just being in the present, saying, Hey, go up to the line; do what you do; do what you’ve done thousands of times. I’m good at that and I’ll continue to be good at that. But some days are just a little off. Today was one of them.”

The change in fortunes stemmed from an altered mindset. Once the second match point had been saved, Sharapova ran away with proceedings. She served two aces in the 12th game of the match, and dropped just three further points on her way to a 7-5 victory in the decider.

“I just really tried to take it a point at a time and think positively.”

Sharapova conceded after the match that she had known little about her 150th-ranked opponent before their clash. She now has 152 minutes of data to call upon if she ever faces her again.

Even once the women’s second seed was done, the surprises didn’t end.

Federer, the second-seeded man, dropped the opening set of his match against Italian journeyman Simeone Bolelli. That he then received medical attention for a finger ailment gave cause for those watching to believe that he, too, would have to work overtime for the win. Those fears were soon allayed, however, with the 17-time grand slam champion careering away to win 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 in a little over two hours.

Neither the 33-year-old, nor the physio who checked, could quite put their finger on what had been causing his finger trouble.

“It’s the weirdest thing, it just felt really odd.”

“I feel like it’s numb and swollen.”

He didn’t seem too concerned though, guessing that perhaps it was a bee sting or something similar.

maria-sharapova1

Sania Mirza coasts to opening round win in women’s doubles

Melbourne: The Indo-Taiwanese pair of Sania Mirza and Hsieh Su-wei got their Australian Open tennis tournament campaign off to a strong start, winning their first round match 6-2, 6-0 against Maria Irigoyen of Argentina and Romina Oprandi of Switzerland on Wednesday.
Sania, who recently reached her career best doubles ranking of No.5 for the second time, started the match in a dominating fashion at the Melbourne Park.
The Indo-Taiwanese pair asserted their dominance early in the match and ultimately hit 23 winners compared to a mere eight by their opponents.

Sania Mirza and Hsieh Su-wei

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.

Tennis

Tennis is a racquet sport that can be played individually against a single opponent (singles) or between two teams of two players each (doubles).

Each player uses a racquet that is strung with cord to strike a hollow rubber ball covered with felt over or around a net and into the opponent’s court. The object of the game is to play the ball in such a way that the opponent is not able to play a good return. The opponent who is unable to return the ball will not gain a point, while the opposite opponent will.

Tennis is played by millions of recreational players and is also a popular worldwide spectator sport. The four Grand Slamtournaments (also referred to as the “Majors”) are especially popular: the Australian Open played on hard courts, the French Open played on red clay courts, Wimbledon played on grass courts, and the US Open played also on hard courts….

More…

Roger Federer Humiliates Andy Murray, Kei Nishikori Advances

Roger Federer sent Andy Murray crashing out of the ATP Tour Finals in humiliating fashion with 6-0, 6-1 victory on Thursday that ensured Japan’s Kei Nishikori would qualify for the semi-finals.

Nishikori’s 4-6, 6-4, 6-1 win over alternate David Ferrer earlier on Thursday left Murray facing the daunting task of having to beat Federer in straight sets to go through from Group B.

But Murray was routed in only 56 minutes in a defeat which equalled his worst ever result, a 6-1, 6-0 loss against Novak Djokovic in Miami in 2007.

Federer, bidding for his seventh Tour Finals title, finished top of the group after winning all three of his matches, and he will be joined in the last four by Nishikori on his maiden appearance in the prestigious season-ending event at London’s O2 Arena.

“Clearly I’m very happy to play a good match today. I knew I was qualified so maybe I went in a bit more relaxed,” Federer said.

“It’s not the way I thought it was going to go but there’s always next year for Andy.”

It was a horrible way for Murray to end a disappointing campaign which saw him surrender his Wimbledon title, briefly drop out of the top 10 for the first time in six years and fail to win a tournament until the final weeks of the season.

But he could have no complaints after a lacklustre display was brutally punished by Federer, who becomes the ninth player ever to reach the landmark of 250 career indoor wins.

Murray had a solid record against Federer, winning 11 of their 22 previous meetings, but the Swiss had won both their matches this year and all three of their past encounters at the Tour Finals.

Federer was already through to the semi-finals for the 12th time in 13 attempts, equalling Ivan Lendl’s record for last four appearances, and Murray was the latest to fall victim to the 33-year-old’s dominance under the O2 dome.

TENNIS

Tennis is a racquet sport that can be played individually against a single opponent (singles) or between two teams of two players each (doubles).

Each player uses a racquet that is strung with cord to strike a hollow rubber ball covered with felt over or around a net and into the opponent’s court. The object of the game is to play the ball in such a way that the opponent is not able to play a good return. The opponent who is unable to return the ball will not gain a point, while the opposite opponent will.

Tennis is played by millions of recreational players and is also a popular worldwide spectator sport. The four Grand Slamtournaments (also referred to as the “Majors”) are especially popular: the Australian Open played on hard courts, the French Open played on red clay courts, Wimbledon played on grass courts, and the US Open played also on hard courts…. More…

FELICIANO LOPEZ TAKES HIS CHANCE AGAINST NADAL

Feliciano Lopez claimed just his third win in 11 years of playing against Rafael Nadal on Wednesday, taking his chance to beat the World No. 2 6-3, 7-6(6) in the second round of the Shanghai Rolex Masters.

Nadal revealed on Tuesday that he was diagnosed with the beginnings of appendicitis at the weekend, but given a course of aggressive antibiotics to avoid surgery, was determined to give it a go against Lopez.

“For sure [I don’t feel] perfect,” said Nadal. “It’s the same way that I felt before. A little bit more dizzy now. But that’s it. Nothing that I have to worry about. When you lose a match, it is not the moment to talk about obvious things. I lost. Feli played better than me.”

With Nadal lacking in match practice, having fallen in the quarter-finals of his comeback tournament in Beijing last week, the 33-year-old Lopez rose to the occasion and did not miss his opportunity.

The Madrid native fought back from 3-5 down in the second set and saved a set point at 5-6 in the tie-break before claiming victory in one hour and 44 minutes. Lopez fired 15 aces and saved four of the five break points he faced.

Lopez will look to reach his third ATP World Tour Masters 1000 quarter-final of the season when he faces John Isner on Thursday. Isner came through an all-American contest with Steve Johnson 7-6(6), 7-6(7) in one hour and 40 minutes, having fired 24 aces. Isner and Lopez have split their four previous matches, with Lopez winning their most recent contest in four tight sets at Wimbledon.

Nadal, meanwhile, revealed that he hopes to have the surgery to remove his appendix at the conclusion of the year. “My thoughts is continue with Basel, Paris and London. Is true that the past few months I did not have the best of luck. I didn’t have the best of luck since Wimbledon. I was playing a good year, very positive year. After that I was unlucky with the wrist, what’s going on now. Now there remains three more tournaments for me.”