Djokovic & Kerber Reign Supreme In Melbourne

Jan 31, 2016

Novak Djokovic and Angelique Kerber were crowned the respective men’s and women’s singles champions at the 2016 Australian Open in Melbourne over the weekend, certainly it was no surprise to see Djokovic win his 6th Australian Open title against regular rival Andy Murray, but the big surprise in the women’s championship decider was seeing Kerber play brilliantly to upend world No.1 Serena Williams in a high quality three set contest, the 28 year old German was playing in her first Grand Slam final and she could have been forgiven for having a few nerves considering she was up against one of the best women’s singles players in the history of the sport, Williams was a little off in the first set but once Serena leveled the match at one set-all, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that she would go on to win her 7th Australian Open crown, Angelique had other ideas though and kept her nerve whilst playing to “win” the match.

It was refreshing to see Kerber continue to go for her shots and play to win against Serena instead of just hitting the ball back hoping that Serena would somehow gift her the title, the two women exchanged in some fine rallies in the third and final set and it was one of the better Australian Open women’s finals for some years, Kerber deserved her victory and the German lass can now be called a Grand Slam champion as well as the new world No.2, it was a fitting way to end what has been a very surprising fortnight of tennis in the women’s singles more »

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Zhang Shuai Becomes The Cinderella Story Of AO 2016

Jan 25, 2016

Zhang Shuai, the current world No.133 Johanna Konta, has become the Cinderella story of the 2016 Australian Open by reaching the women’s singles quarter-finals in Melbourne, the 27 year old native from Tianjin in China almost lost in the final round of qualifying for the tournament, but she now finds herself in the last eight of a major championship for the first time in her career.

Zhang had never previously won a match at any Grand Slam tournament being 0 from 14 in her career before the Australian Open, what’s even more remarkable though is that Zhang had lost the previous 20 sets she has played at a major event before she came to Melbourne this year and was considering retirement, the Chinese lady will now have to contemplate how she will handle the spotlight after becoming only the fourth Chinese player in history to reach the quarter-finals in Melbourne.

Zhang’s opponent in the quarter-finals, Johanna Konta, also reached her maiden Grand Slam quarter-final and etched her name in the history books by becoming the first British woman to reach the last eight at a Grand Slam tournament since Jo Durie in 1984, either Zhang or Konta will now progress to the semi-finals of the 2016 Australian Open women’s singles championship, who would have picked that before the tournament started, my guess is nobody…..Cinderella story indeed! more »

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Is Rafa Now Officially On The Decline?

Jan 20, 2016

Is it time that we started contemplating the decline of the greatest clay court player, Rafael Nadal, in the history of the game tennis?

After Nadal’s first round loss to his compatriot Fernando Verdasco on Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, many are now starting to question whether Rafa’s career is officially in decline, I think it is too soon to jump the gun on that topic just yet, remember all those people who suggested Roger Federer was done after some poor results a few years back, Fed is now playing some sublime tennis after many wrote him off too early, the same could be said for Nadal although the Spaniard will have to prove his critics wrong in the not too distant future.

Rafa has a chance to redeem himself throughout the clay court season, which is his favourite time of the year on the ATP calendar, he will be keen to show that he is still one of the elite tennis players going around, but if he isn’t the dominant force in 2016 that we are used to seeing on the red dirt, will it be time then to suggest that one of the best ever careers in men’s tennis is on the slide?

I think the clay court season should tell us exactly where Rafa is at, both mentally and physically, should he claim a few clay court titles and enjoy a deep run at Roland Garros then it might be premature to say that he is in decline, in 2015 Rafa made only two clay court finals in Buenos Aires and Madrid respectively, he won the 250 series title in Buenos Aires but was beaten comprehensively by An more »

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Novak & Serena Favoured Again In Melbourne

Jan 18, 2016

Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams, the respective men’s and women’s world No.1 tennis players on the planet, commenced the defence of their respective Australian Open crowns today as the first Grand Slam for 2016 got underway in Melbourne, Novak and Serena are both favoured to win their respective singles championships again this year after sweeping all before them on Rod Laver Arena in 2015, Djokovic is a raging hot favourite heading into the men’s event while Williams is a warm favourite with most tennis experts and pundits alike in the women’s championship, it is certainly hard to argue with either player being installed as favourite in their respective singles events again in 2016.

Novak ended the 2015 season in superb touch and the 28 year old Serb was seemingly untouchable in all the major men’s events toward the end of last season, Serena on the other hand hadn’t played a competitive match before Melbourne since her shock loss to Roberta Vinci in the semi-finals of the 2015 US Open, the players have had somewhat different preparations coming into the first major event of the season but the one constant that remains is that both are still on top of the world and expected to do well on centre court once again.

Djokovic is in sublime form and I have never seen Nole so confident in his own ability and his own game, Williams on the other hand doesn’t exude the same confidence right now as Djokovic does, Serena could easily build into the tournament though and if she more »

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Flavia Pennetta Ends Grand Slam Career On A High

Sep 13, 2015

The 2015 US Open women’s singles champion is the Italian Flavia Pennetta, yes that’s correct, it is not a misprint or a silly joke, the 33 year old native from Brindisi has won seven matches to complete an unlikely title run in New York, she then ended her Grand Slam career by announcing that she will retire at seasons end, Pennetta toppled world No.4 Petra Kvitova and world No.2 Simona Halep back to back to reach the women’s decider at Flushing Meadows, almost everybody would have picked that Flavia would have then been playing Serena Williams in the womens singles final, but Pennetta’s compatriot Roberta Vinci caused the shock of the entire tennis season by ousting Serena in a dramatic semi-final.

Pennetta was likely a beneficiary of not having the world’s media attention on her after Vinci grabbed all the headlines by ending Serena’s quest for a calendar Grand Slam, Flavia has always enjoyed playing in New York but even she would have conceded at the start of the tournament that she was a longshot to win the title, her odds would have shortened dramatically for the final once Vinci knocked out the hot favourite Williams, the 2015 US Open women’s singles championship has been anything but the status quo, two Italian women in a Grand Slam final and both had previously never reached the big dance at a major before, the tournament saw numerous seeds falling early but it still appeared most likely that it would be William versus Halep or Kvitova in the final, nobody checked  more »

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