Djokovic Beats Medvedev To Win Ninth Australian Open

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates beating Russia’s Aslan Karatsev in their men’s singles semi-final match on day eleven of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on February 18, 2021. (Photo by Brandon MALONE / AFP)

 

Peerless world number one Novak Djokovic demolished Russia’s Daniil Medvedev in straight sets to win his ninth Australian Open title and extend his record-breaking reign at Melbourne Park Sunday.

Djokovic overpowered the fourth seed 7-5, 6-2, 6-2 in front of 7,400 fans on Rod Laver Arena to end the Russian’s unbeaten run at 20 matches.

In winning a third straight Australian Open for the second time, the Serb claimed his 18th Grand Slam title to move within two of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal who have 20 each, while denying Medvedev his first.

Rarely has a player been so dominant at a single tournament with the Serb’s record-extending ninth title moving him past Federer’s eight at Wimbledon but still a long way behind the 13 Nadal has won at Roland Garros.

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But it was a rollercoaster ride to get there, with Djokovic dropping five sets en route to the final and battling an abdominal injury that nearly forced him to pull out after the third round.

Despite admitting it was a gamble to keep playing, with a risk the injury could get worse and affect the rest of his season, the 33-year-old chose to continue and it paid off.

Medvedev, 25, is one of the smartest players on tour, keeping his opponents guessing with his flat and low groundstrokes, changing up the pace and angles, as he blends impenetrable defence with opportunistic offence.

But the Serb, who held a 4-3 head-to-head record against him but had lost three of the previous four, had his measure.

– Wild backhand –

In front of a pro-Djokovic crowd, Medvedev overcooked two forehands on his opening service game then sent one into the net to hand the Serb the first break points, then a wild backhand saw him immediately on the back foot.

Djokovic consolidated with a serve to love before the Russian finally got off the mark with a wobbly hold for 1-3. But then a failed drop shot and net volley from the top seed allowed the Russian to break back.

Long rallies ensued and it went with serve until some brilliant groundstrokes from Djokovic earned three break points at 6-5. Medvedev saved two but not the third to lose the opening set.

Undeterred, the tall, pencil-thin Russian kept coming and dialed up the pressure to break Djokovic’s opening serve in set two, only for the Serb to immediately strike back.

Djokovic won three games in a row, despite the disruption of two fans being ejected in an apparent refugee protest, as he took control.

He raced to a 5-2 lead with Medvedev smashing his racquet in frustration as the set and the championship began slipping away.

Deflated, Medvedev dropped his opening serve in set three and never looked like finding a way back as Djokovic, in his 28th Grand Slam final compared to the Russian’s second, drew on his experience to close out the match, dropping to the court in celebration.

The win reinforced Djokovic’s status as world number one, where he will mark his 311th week when the new rankings come out on Monday, surpassing Federer’s record of 310.

Medvedev will move to a career-high three in the rankings, behind Nadal.

Venus Hobbles Out Of Australian Open In Agony

Venus Williams of the US leaves after losing against Italy’s Sara Errani in the women’s singles match on day three of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on February 10, 2021. (Photo by William WEST / AFP)

 

Venus Williams hobbled out of the Australian Open Wednesday after a straight-sets loss to Italian qualifier Sara Errani, departing from her record 21st appearance at Melbourne Park as a disconsolate figure.

The seven-time Grand Slam winner rolled an ankle late in the first set and offered little resistance after that, crashing 6-1, 6-0 in 75 minutes.

“I’m not happy to win like that,” Errani, ranked 134, said. “I’m so sad for her. It isn’t easy playing someone injured.”

Williams, 40, appeared to roll her right ankle mid-point while attempting a volley, down 5-1 in the opening set, screaming in agony and seeking medical attention.

The American had her ankle strapped as she cut a dejected figure, but decided to gamely fight on.

READ ALSO: Djokovic Passes Tiafoe Test, Serena Sublime At Australian Open

Williams, who also had strapping to her left knee reapplied, was noticeably hampered and could barely exert force on serve as the match petered out.

An amazing 27 years after making her professional debut, two-time Australian Open finalist Williams had beaten Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium in the first round.

Errani next plays Hsieh Su-wei of Taiwan who upset eighth seed Bianca Andreescu.

Australian Open: Federer Sets Up Semi-Final Clash With Wawrinka

Roger Federer,Four-time former Australian Open champion, Roger Federer, has set up a thrilling semi-final contest against fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka at the Rod Laver Arena.

Federer, who was close to his imperious best, ended the dream run of Andy Murray’s conqueror, Mischa Zverev, 6-1, 7-5, 6-2 at Melbourne Park for a place in his 41st Grand Slam championship semi-final.

Earlier in the day, Wawrinka beat Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in straight sets.

The 35-year-old Federer leads Wawrinka, the fourth seed, 18-3 in their Head-to-Head series.

Federer, bidding to reach the 41st major championship semi-final of his career, took advantage of early nerves for 29-year-old Zverev by winning the first five games – and losing seven points. The first set lasted 20 minutes.

World No. 50 Zverev regrouped and covered the net to keep Federer on the back foot, but, ultimately, was left to rue a missed volley that could have edged him closer to a 4-1 lead. The doubts started to set in and Federer sensed his opportunity, fighting back to break to love for a 6-5 lead.

Zverev kept battling, but his resistance faltered in the fifth game and a 26-point seventh game of the third set. Federer hit 65 winners overall, committing just 13 unforced errors in the one-hour and 32-minute encounter.

roger-federer-and-stan-wawrinka
Roger Federer’s thrilling semi-final contest against fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka

Federer won 23 of 32 points at the net (72%), as he booked a thirteenth semi-final place at the Australian Open.

“My expectation was not to play Stan Wawrinka in the semis. I thought maybe I could get to the fourth round or quarters – that’s what I told the Swiss press,” he said.

“For me to play against Stan I have to play aggressive, the more time I give him the better he is. I’m happy he’s got this far but he doesn’t need to go a step further – Stan knows I’m joking.”

Federer is the oldest men’s singles semi-finalist at the tournament since Arthur Ashe in 1978, and the oldest at any Grand Slam since Jimmy Connors reached the 1991 US Open last four aged 39.

Kerber Beats Serena To Win Australian Open Title

Angelique-KerberAngelique Kerber has won her first Grand Slam title at the Australian Open.

The German tennis player made the feat after she stunned world number one, Serena Williams in three sets.

Kerber, seeded seventh, winning a thrilling final of 6-4 3-6 6-4 at Melbourne Park.

The 28-year-old was the first German to win major single titles since Steffi Graf at the 1999 French Open.

Serena was beaten for the fifth time in 26 Grand Slam finals and missed out on the chance to stalemate Graf’s open-era record of 22 titles.

German champion, Kerber will progress upward to number two in the world rankings.

Serena Fit To Defend Australian Open Title

Serena World number 1, Serena Williams says she is fit for the Australian Open despite recent injury worries.

Serena failed to complete any matches at the recent Hopman Cup due to left knee inflammation, leading to reports that she is not in good physical condition for the first grand slam of the year, but the 34-year-old insists she is ready to defend her title.

“No, I’m at 120, 130 per cent right now,” Williams said.

“This week and the weeks leading up have been a lot of work. I actually wanted to have an easy day today but in my mind ’easy’ is just two hours of really intense working out.”

She added: “It’s actually really fine. I don’t have any inflammation anymore. It’s just that I needed some time to get over that little hump.”

Serena, who is gunning for her 7th title at Melbourne Park, could face Maria Sharapova in the quarter-finals in an earlier-than-scheduled sequel to the pair’s title clash last year

“I always seem to have a tough draw, so it’s fine. Doesn’t matter who I play. At some point you have to play everyone,” Williams said. “That’s how it always works out. So that’s what it is.”

Australian Open: Serena Williams Beats Sharapova To Win 19th Grand Slam

Serena WilliamsSerena Williams won her sixth Australian Open and 19th career Grand Slam with victory over bitter rival Maria Sharapova on Saturday.

The American world number one earned a hard-fought 6-3, 7-6 (7/5) on the way to making history as one the greatest tennis players of all time.

She is now second only to Steffi Graf on the all-time Open-era Grand Slam winners’ list, having overtaken 18-time major champions, Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert.

“Standing here with 19 championships is something I never thought would happen, I went on the courts with just a ball and a racquet and hope and that’s all I had,” said Williams.

“I’m just so excited to have this title,” she added, revealing that she had been “throwing up” during a rain delay in the first set.

The American has been battling a cold all tournament and was coughing during the match.

Sharapova could have overtaken Williams if she had beaten the American on Saturday but she believes she remains on the path to closing the gap.

“Yes, I haven’t won against her many times, but if I’m getting to the stage of competing against someone like Serena, I’m doing something well,” said Sharapova, who has a 16-match losing streak record against the American.

At 33 and now the oldest woman to win the Melbourne title, Serena Williams still wants to win at Roland Garros.

Djokovic Knocks Out Wawrinka To Reach Fifth Australian Open Final

Djokovic of Serbia hugs Wawrinka of Switzerland after winning their men's singles semi-final match at the Australian Open 2015 tennis tournament in MelbourneNovak Djokovic has reached his fourth Australian Open  final in the past five years with a five-set victory over Stan Wawrinka, the man who dumped him out of Melbourne Park in 2014.

Wawrinka had downed Djokovic 9-7 in the fifth set when the pair met in the quarter-finals in Melbourne en route to breaking the stranglehold of tennis’ Big Four in 2014 but the Serb prevailed Friday 7-6 (1) 3-6 6-4 4-6 6-0 this time.

During a courtside interview, Djokovic said, “As it was the case in the last two years we played five sets and I was ready for the battle.

“We pushed each other to the limit. Stan is a quality player. He made my life very complicated on the court.”

Wawrinka, however, could not explain his feelings after the match.

“Describe the match? Strange. Not the best, for sure,” said Wawrinka, who fell to 1-17 against top-ranked players.

The world number one faces old friend, Andy Murray, on Sunday, with the Briton looking to win his first Melbourne Park title in his fourth final.

“Andy and I go back to when we were 12 years old, that’s when we first played each other,” Djokovic said.

“We’ve known each other a long time, it’s nice to play another grand slam final against him.”

Djokovic is unbeaten in finals at Melbourne Park, claiming his first Grand Slam title there in 2008 and winning three straight years from 2011 before his run was ended in the 2014 quarter-finals by Wawrinka.

Djokovic has equaled the record shared by Roger Federer and Stefan Edberg for most Australian finals in the Open era. He has won all four of his previous finals, including two against Murray.