Saturday, January 27, 2018

Australian Open 2018 - Caroline Wozniacki tells Simona Halep: 'I am sorry, I had to win'

What a thrilling Australian Open Women's Singles  Finals it was. Caroline Wozniacki won and regained her No 1 ranking after some six years. But she got that not without a tough fight from Simona Halep, who fought bravely with an injury in her ankle.

Here is how the scores progressed:

Simona Halep - Caroline Wozniacki

First set: (opens with Wozniacki serve)

0-1; 0-2; 0-3; 1-3; 1-4; 2-4; 2-5; 3-5; 4-5; 5-5; 5-6; 6-6; 6-7.

Second set (opens with Halep serve)

1-0; 1-1; 2-1; 2-2; 3-2; 3-3; 4-3; 5-3; 6-3.

Third set (opens with Wozniacki serve)

0-1; 0-2; 1-2; 1-3; 2-3; 3-3; 4-3; 4-4; 4-5; 4-6.

Simona and Caroline were so graceful and magnanimous in their victory speeches. Here is them both: (Courtesy: Twitter: @AustralianOpen)
Clearly recognizing the stature of Simona, Caroline, in her speech, said, "I want to congratulate Simona. I know today is tough and I'm sorry I had to win, but I am sure we will have many matches in the future."

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Roger Federer speaks on Rafael Nadal's looks, on fashion, on his pink shoes, and on going sleeveless

Roger Federer moved to the semifinals on 2018 Australian Open, by beating Tomas Berdych in straight sets, 7-6, 6-3, 6-4, at the Rod Laver Arena at Melbourne Park today.

The opening set of the quarterfinal match was a really competitive one, and I thought this might just stretch to a five-setter.

Finally, it was an easy win for Roger Federer against Berdych, who seemed to be handicapped by some physical discomfort. He took a medical break too.

But it must be said to Tomas' credit that he didn't let Roger win so easily. He played some great shots, including some powerful aces, zipped around the court, and caught Federer off guard with deftly placed passing shots. The third set showed some hope, but ended in the expected fashion.

Now I am waiting for the semifinal match against Chung, whom Federer will be facing for the first time. It's on Friday, at 2 pm, IST.

Here is Federer's post-match interview... What a entertaining one it was... Just like the match ... Impeccable Roger Federer on his quarterfinal victory, his pink tennis shoes, on fashion, on going sleeveless, on Rafa's looks, on Rafa's injury, on new players, on upcoming match against Chung ...

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Australian Open - Day 3 - A day of turnarounds

What a way to spend the day - riveting action on Day 3 at the Australian Open. Some really scintillating display of roller-coaster games where top players nearly crashed out.

119-Jana Fett vs 2-Caroline Wozniacki

Fett, making her Grand Slam debut, won the first set, 6-3.

She lost the 2nd, 2-6.

In the 3rd set, she was on the brink of creating history, when she was serving for the match at 5-1.

And then the unbelievable turnaround. She lost control, letting Wozniacki claw her way back.

Fett lost 5-7.

6-3, 2-6, 5-7

The way Wozniacki picked her points in the last games of the deciding set, gave me a feeling that she loves to be on the edge, and knows how to find her way back to safety.

51-Dennis Shapovalov vs 15- Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

I joined this match when it was two set all, and in the fifth set Tsonga was on the defensive, down 2-5, and on the verge of losing the match.

But another turn around. He battled his way back to win the decider 7-5.

6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 6-7, 5-7

186-Mackenzie McDonald vs 3-Grigor Dimitrov 

McDonald won the first, 6-4; lost the 2nd, 2-6, lost the third, 4-6, but won the fourth 6-0.

When the fifth set began, excitement mounted with the hope that he will carry the momentum, and edge Dimitrov out.

This guy, who was on the verge of creating history in a Grand Slam, had played just four tour-level matches, and lost in the first round in all of them. And he was playing in an arena as big as Rod Laver Stadium for the first time. But then, he seemed to have everything under his control.

But Dimitrov held out in the deciding set. It was 3-3. Then it became 4-3 Dimitrov. It was back to 4-4. Then, McDonald made it 5-5. Then Dimitrov edged ahead 6-5. McDonald levelled it 6-6, but then he slipped, letting Dimitrov make it 8-6.

A match that the world number 3 just managed to survive and move into the third round.

6-4, 2-6, 4-6, 6-0, 6-8

25-ranked Daria Gavrilova vs 36-ranked Elise Mertens

It was just a minute short of 6.30 pm; means a minute short of midnight at Melbourne. The last match of the day began.

One interest in this match was that Gavrilova is a local Melbourne girl. And it looked she will just wrap this match up in jiffy, as she led 5-0 in the first set.

Then suddenly the match began to come alive. Mertens picked up one game after another, and in no time, the scores were level; and then she unbelievably won the first set 7-5, after trailing 0-5.

The level of Mertens' game seemed to have dramatically improved. She was making Gavrilova sweat for each point.

In the second set, from two games all, Mertens reached 4-2.

Then, Gavrilova got into an argument with the chair umpire. When she was trailing 2-4, she challenged a point. But the umpire, Aurelie Tourte, said she was late in raising the challenge, and that she was looking at her box in the stands.

But Gavrilova insisted that she wasn't late, that she had raised her hand, and that she was actually looking at the screen.

The umpire retorted, "No, you were waiting."

"No, I wasn't," the player shot back, and walked back to her place quite dejected.

She never recovered after that.

Mertens moved up to 5-2, and finally she wrapped up the match at 6-3.

5-7, 3-6

What stood out was Mertens' composure. Gavrilova seemed to be getting distracted from the moment she lost a point in the first set after noticing a feather drifting into the court.

And after the post-match shake-hand, Gavrilova climbed up the chair of the umpire, and argued about the earlier challenge. Not surprising, considering her disappointment of having lost on her home ground. Luckily for her, there were not many in the stands, and most Australians will only wake up tomorrow to know that their local player has crashed out.

The day also saw Nadal beating Mayer, which I missed.

On the whole, a some really entertaining tennis.