Posts Tagged ‘Australian Open’

Yesterday (Saturday 30 January), Serena Williams played in her seventh Australian Open final. She had not only won all six of her previous final appearances, but she had the opportunity to win more Australian Open titles than anyone in history. Having failed to win the US Open last year, and hence just miss out on the Grand Slam, Serena had looked very impressive in her previous rounds. But, she was denied her 22nd Major title (which would have equalled Steffi Graf’s record) by a relatively unknown German by the name of Angelique Kerber.


Serena Williams failed to win her first Major of 2016 and her 22nd of her career, to equal Steffi Graf’s record

It could not have started worse for Kerber, she lost the first seven points in the opening two games, but quickly turned things around and went on to win the first set 6-4. Serena won the second set 6-3, and in a tight third set it went all the way to a tense tenth game, which Kerber won to win the match and the championship.

With this year being an Olympic year, people were even talking of Serena winning a Grand Slam plus the Olympics, a “super Slam” maybe? But, with the Australian Open now lost, Serena clearly cannot now do that. However, it was nice to see her smiling in defeat. I suspect that the pressure she put on herself last year as the possibility of a Grand Slam progressed has now been replaced with a feeling of “if I stay fit, I will surpass Steffi, so why sweat it?”. Which is my feeling. She looks as fit as ever at 34, and if she does not injure herself there is no reason why she cannot play this year, next year and, who knows, maybe even into 2018. Surely, with 4 Majors every year, it is just a matter of time before she wins her 22nd, 23rd, 24th and…… who knows?

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On Saturday (31st of January) Serena Williams won the Australian Open, and in so doing won her 19th Major title. This means that she is now second only to Steffi Graf in the list of Major titles in the open era (see my blog “Tennis roll of honours” which I wrote in July 2013 when Serena had 16 Major titles to her name). If people didn’t think it already, this now confirms Serena as one of the all-time greats of women’s tennis.

On Saturday she made relatively light work of Maria Sharipova, beating her in straight sets 6-3 7-6 (7-5 in ins set tie-breaker), and never really looked like losing the match.

On Saturday Serena Williams won her 19th Major title, putting her second only to Steffi Graf  in the list of most Majors won.

On Saturday Serena Williams won her 19th Major title, putting her second only to Steffi Graf in the list of most Majors won.

As long as Serena does not get injured, I see no reason why she cannot surpass Graf’s 22 Major titles. As she has already won all four Majors in her career (including holding 4 Major titles at the same time in the 2002/03 season) It is even possible for her to reach 22 by the end of this year with the French, Wimbledon and US Open still to play. At 33 years of age, she is obviously approaching the end of her illustrious career, but as long as she stays healthy she should be able to play for a couple more years. She has already shown her incredible determination many times; not least when she battled back from a life-threatening accident in 2010 when she stepped on glass and suffered hematoma and a pulmonary embolism.

I cannot see her motivation subsiding. Even though she is regarded as one of the all-time greats, she has yet to win a Grand Slam (winning all 4 Major titles in the same calendar year), and of course has Steffi Graf’s 22 Major titles record to try and surpass. If she can achieve both of these before she retires, she could well end her career being considered the greatest ever female tennis player. We shall see!

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As I type this early on Wednesday morning (23rd of January 2013), half a World away in Melbourne Andy Murray is playing in the quarter final of the Australian Open Tennis tournament. He is playing against Jérémy Chardy of France, and Murray has just won the 1st set 6-4. Chardy is currenty ranked 36 in the World, Andy Murray is ranked 3rd. So, on paper at least, it should be a win for Andy Murray. Should he win, he has the unenviable prospect of facing Roger Federer in the semi final on Friday.

As those of you who follow tennins will know, Murray won his first Major a few months ago, when he won the US Open in September 2012. This came after his agonising defeat in Wimbledon, which I blogged about here, but also after his success one month later in August in the 2012 Olympics.

Andy Murray won his 1st Major, the US Open, in September 2012.

Andy Murray won his 1st Major, the US Open, in September 2012.

Prior to winning his first major, Murray had suffered an agonising series of 4 defeats in major finals. In particular, in Australia where he lost twice in a row. He lost to Roger Federer in the 2010 final, and in the 2011 final he lost to Novak Djokovic. Here is a summary of Murray’s records in Grand Slam finals.

Murray’s record in Majors
Year Tournament Opponent Score
2008 US Open Roger Federer 2-6, 5-7, 2-6
2010 Australian Open Roger Federer 3-6, 4-6, 6-7
2011 Australian Open Novak Djokovic 4-6, 2-6, 3-6
2012 Wimbledon Roger Federer 6–4, 5–7, 3–6, 4–6
2012 US Open Novak Djokovic 7–6, 7–5, 2–6, 3–6, 6–2

Now that Murray has finally won his first Major and got that monkey of his back, many are expecting him to go on and win many more over the next several years. Only time will tell. Certainly having Ivan Lendl as his coach seems to have made a big difference. Lendl won 8 Major finals in his career, but just like Murray he lost his first 4 Gland Slam finals. This experience has probably proved invaluable in advising Murray on how to improve his mental approach and start winning at the final hurdle. Should Murray win in Melbourne, he will be the first man in history to follow up his 1st major victory with a 2nd victory.


Murray won easily, 6-4 6-1 6-2.

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It is one of the biggest upsets in Wimbledon history. Rafa Nadal, recently crowned as the seven times winner of the French Open (the most ever), lost in the 2nd round of Wimbledon last night. He lost to an unknown from the Czech Republic by the name of Lukas Rosol. I missed the 1st set, but saw the match from that point on. Rosol narrowly lost the 1st set on a tie-breaker, after apparently having 3 set points. But, he went on to win the 2nd and 3rd sets to take a 2-1 lead.

Rafa Nadal winning his 7th French Open title in June 2012

Nadal fought back to win the 4th set, so levelled the match 2-2. By this time it was closing in on 9pm, so the Wimbledon officials made the sensible decision to close the roof and allow play to continue into the early part of the night. Closing the roof and getting the humidity down with the air-conditioning system means a delay of about 30 minutes, which only added to the tension.

When the players came back on court, it was Rosol who came out of the blocks the quickest, continuing the high level of tennis he had played in all but the 4th set. It is not that Nadal played badly, but Rosol outplayed him, and thoroughly deserved his win.

Lukas Rosol beats Nadal in one of the biggest upsets in recent Wimbledon history.

This is probably the biggest upset at Wimbledon (at least in the men’s tournament) since 1996, the year Dutchman Richard Krajicek beat Pete Sampras in the quarter finals, the only defeat Sampras suffered at Wimbledon between 1993 and 2001, during which time he won 7 titles (the most ever at Wimbledon).

My own current favourite player, Roger Federer, hopes to equal Sampras’ record; he currently has won 6 Wimbledon titles in his 16 Major titles, and I am sure would dearly love to equal and then pass Sampras’ Wimbledon record so he can go down at the greatest Wimbledon champion in history.

Roger Federer showing his 16 Major titles (6 Wimbledon, 1 French Open, 5 US Open and 4 Australian Open)

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