Federer, Kerber Crash Out Of Australian Open As Nadal Powers On

Roger Federer (L) and Angelique Kerber could not make it to the quarters of the Australian Open. AFP Photos


Defending champion Roger Federer was stunned by fiery Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas who ended his bid for a record seventh Australian Open Sunday on a day of upsets that also saw second seed Angelique Kerber crash out.

The Swiss master caved in under the energy and pressure of a man 17 years his junior to tumble out 6-7 (11/13), 7-6 (7/3), 7-5, 7-6 (7/5) in the last 16 on Rod Laver Arena.

World number two Kerber was also sensationally bundled out by a woman playing the event for the first time, with American Danielle Collins humiliating the Wimbledon champion 6-0, 6-2 in under an hour.

The man Federer beat in last year’s final, sixth seed Marin Cilic, was also sent packing by Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut, who now plays Tsitsipas in the quarter-finals.

Five-time Grand Slam winner Maria Shaparova was another to fall, but there was no such drama for a rampant Rafael Nadal who powered into the last eight with a straight sets win over Tomas Berdych.

Federer was gunning for a 21st Grand Slam title but had a battle on his hands from off against the 20-year-old, touted among the new generation of young stars as a future champion.

“I’m the happiest man on Earth right now, I cannot describe it,” said the 14th seed, who is the first Greek in history to reach the quarter-finals of a Slam.

“I’ve been idolising him (Federer) since the age of six. It was a dream come true for me just being on Rod Laver facing him. Winning at the end, I can’t describe it.”

The Swiss great was gracious in defeat, saying “I lost to a better player who was playing very well, who hung in there and stayed calm”.

Wimbledon winner and 2016 champion Kerber, the bookies’ favourite along with Serena Williams after defending champion Caroline Wozniacki was ousted early, was no match for Collins, ranked 35 in the world.

Collins is little known after playing much of her tennis in the US college system and was making her debut in the main draw at Melbourne Park. She had never won a Grand Slam match before this year.

“I may not have won a Grand Slam match before this but I tell you, it’s going to keep happening,” said the 25-year-old. “I better have many more of these.”

Chipping away

Men’s second seed Nadal, returning from foot surgery, barrelled past former world number four Tomas Berdych 6-0, 6-1, 7-6 (7/4) as he stays on track for an 18th Grand Slam title.

“I always say the same when I am back for injury,” said the Spaniard. “I don’t expect negative or positive things. I just try to do my work every day and just be with (the) right attitude every single day.”

He will play world number 39 Frances Tiafoe for a place in the semi-finals after the young American celebrated his 21st birthday by grinding his way past Grigor Dimitrov 7-5, 7-6 (8/6), 6-7 (1/7), 7-5.

Hometown hero Ashleigh Barty also made the last eight after muscling past Sharapova and will next meet Petra Kvitova.

Sharapova claimed her biggest scalp since completing a drugs ban in 2017 when she rolled Wozniacki in round three and looked on track to carry the momentum forward.

The 30th seed won the first set but then fell to pieces, eventually succumbing 4-6, 6-1, 6-4.

“I knew I had to keep chipping away — in a sense, trust the work we’ve done. I know that I can match it with the best,” said Barty, seeded 15.

Next up for the diminutive 22-year-old is Kvitova, who beat Barty in the final of the warm-up Sydney International this month.

The two-time Wimbledon champion beat 17-year-old Amanda Anisimova 6-2, 6-1 to match her best performance at a major since being slashed in a terrifying attack at her home in late 2016 that left her with lasting nerve damage in her fingers.


Barty Stuns Kerber To Reach Zhuhai Semis

Barty Stuns Kerber To Reach Zhuhai Semis
Ashleigh Barty of Australia hits a return against Angelique Kerber of Germany during their women’s singles match at the Zhuhai Elite Trophy tennis tournament in Zhuhai on November 2, 2017. STR / AFP


Australia’s Ashleigh Barty stunned former world number one Angelique Kerber in straight sets to reach the WTA Elite Trophy semi-finals on Thursday.

Twenty-one-year-old Barty, the youngest player at the season-ending tournament in China, needed just one hour and 11 minutes to down her German opponent 6-3, 6-4 at Zhuhai’s Hengqin International Tennis Center.

It follows an impressive victory over fourth seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia on Wednesday, also in straight sets.

“I felt like I served great today,” Barty told media after Thursday’s match.

“I… put myself in a good position in my service games to then be super-aggressive and nice and clear when returning so I can, you know, have a little bit more of a crack and then see if I can get some of those early breaks in the sets.”

Barty got off to an impressive start against eighth seed Kerber, securing a break in the sixth game and then firing an ace to win the set.

The pair exchanged breaks at the beginning of the second set as Kerber fought back, but Barty prevailed, helped by her 11 aces to the German’s two.

The pair’s sole previous meeting was in Brisbane in January when Kerber, then world number one and the reigning Australian and US Open champion, survived a big scare from the Australian wildcard entry.

“It was a bit of a… full circle for us, with the start and the end of the season. But, no, I felt like I was in a very different situation this time around,” Barty said.

The 2011 junior Wimbledon champion has enjoyed a resurgence since returning to tennis in 2016 after a spell with the Brisbane Heat cricket team.

She began the year ranked outside the top 300 but has since soared to world number 20 and recently became Australia’s number one.

She reached her first Premier 5 tournament final in Wuhan in September after crushing French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko of Latvia, but ultimately fell to Caroline Garcia.

Later Thursday, Latvian fifth seed Anastasija Sevastova overpowered Czechoslovakia’s Barbora Strycova 6-3, 6-4.

Sevastova, on a career-high ranking of world number 15, also hammered US Open champion Sloane Stephens on Wednesday — leaving the American with her third successive defeat since winning the US Open.

But Coco Vandeweghe, the number two seed, also from the US, managed to triumph over Russia’s Elena Vesnina in the final singles match of the day Thursday with a score of 6-3, 6-2.

The results mean Vandeweghe and Sevastova have also booked their spots in the semis of the round robin tournament.


Top Seed Angelique Kerber Crashes Out Of Wimbledon

Angelique Kerber Progresses At Wimbledon

Top seed Angelique Kerber was dumped out of the last-16 of Wimbledon by Garbine Muguruza on Monday, as the world number one’s woeful run against top-ranked opposition continued.

Muguruza’s 4-6 6-4 6-4 victory marked the ninth consecutive time Germany’s Kerber has failed to beat a top-20 opponent. She last achieved that feat in 2016.

Both Kerber and Muguruza have been runners-up at Wimbledon to Serena Williams, Kerber last year and Muguruza the year before that.

Venus Williams, the 10th seed, beat Croatia’s Ana Konjuh 6-3 6-2 to advance to the quarter-finals. Williams last won the singles final in 2008.

Svetlana Kuznetsova prevailed to beat Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2 6-4 to reach the Wimbledon quarter-finals for the first time in 10 years.

The Russian, seeded seventh, has found Radwanska an agreeable opponent over the past decade and did so again to beat her for the 14th time in 18 matches.

French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko let seven match points go begging before finally overcoming fourth seed Elina Svitolina 6-3 7-6(6) to reach the quarter-finals.

The 20-year-old Latvian, who is now only three wins away from completing what would be astonishing grand slam double, had looked to be cruising when she led 5-2 in the second set.

She will now play Williams in the quarter-finals.

Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova sprung a surprise as she beat Croatia’s Petra Martic 6-4 2-6 6-3 where she will face either American Coco Vandeweghe or Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki.

Results from the Wimbledon Women’s Singles Round 4 matches on Monday

10-Venus Williams (U.S.) beat 27-Ana Konjuh (Croatia) 6-3 6-2

14-Garbine Muguruza Blanco (Spain) beat 1-Angelique Kerber (Germany) 4-6 6-4 6-4

Magdalena Rybarikova (Slovakia) beat Petra Martic (Croatia) 6-4 2-6 6-3

13-Jelena Ostapenko (Latvia) beat 4-Elina Svitolina (Ukraine) 6-3 7-6(6)

7-Svetlana Kuznetsova (Russia) beat 9-Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland) 6-2 6-4