Category Archives: Tennis

Federer cruises past Zverev to set up Wawrinka semi-final

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Four-time Australian Open champion Roger Federer trumped unseeded MIscha Zverev to cruise into the semi-final of the grand slam event, setting up an encounter against fellow Swiss Stan Wawrinka.

The 17-time grand-slam winner won against Zverev 6-1, 7-5, 6-2 on day nine of the Australian Open, in a punishing match that lasted just 92 minutes — with 65 winners and only 13 unforced errors.

While Zverev did not perform badly after the match in which he bested World No.1 Andy Murray, he was thoroughly outclassed in the first set — which lasted just 19 minutes — up unto Federer’s final classy forehand winner that left the German rooted to the baseline.

As Federer is now the oldest player to reach a slam semi‑final since Jimmy Connors, then 39, did so at the US Open in 1991. The Swiss Maestro will also be the oldest semi-finalist here in Melbourne, breaking the record set by 34-year-old Arthur Ashe, in 1978.

However, he was surprised as he did not expect to go so far in the tournament after a six-month hiatus through injury — it was also his first competitive return after last playing at Wimbledon in July.

“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,” Federer said.

“I will probably never be able to play 27 tournaments a year any more, we all know that,” he added in reply to how long he thinks he can extend his illustrious career.

“But, maybe instead of playing 22, you play 18, instead of 20 you play 17. That could totally happen. You always need the right balance, I feel like, enough practice, enough matches, enough time off. I guess as you get older, everything becomes a bit different.”

Australian Open: Mischa Zverev ousts Andy Murray in 4th round

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Mischa Zverev, ranked 50th in tennis men’s World rankings, has ousted World No.1 Andy Murray in a surprising win at the 4th round of the Australian Open.

It was Murray’s earliest defeat in Melbourne since 2009, and the lowest-ranked player he has lost to at a Grand Slam since the 2006 Australian Open.

The Scotsman dropped serve eight times in the match that lasted three hours and 33 minutes, losing 7-5, 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 at the Rod Laver Arena.

Zverev, had played with an attacking style that he used to great effect against Murray, serve-volleying 119 times and winning 65 points at the net, while dismantling the Briton’s second serve. While Murray ended the match with an impressive 71 winners to 28 unforced errors, it was not enough as he found himself pressured incessantly.

Murray started strongly and found himself lead 4-1 in the first set, but Zverev got the break back with a return winner and would not give the world number one a place to rest. The German continued with another break in game nine and moved ahead with a delicate drop volley, before seeing out the set.

Murray levelled at a set all with a rasping winner after again being pegged back twice, but from midway through the third set it was clear that Zverev was in command — taking five straight games to move two sets to one and a break up, and despite one nervous smash into the net — managed to serve his way to a great win.

“It was kind of easy to stay aggressive but it was tough to stay calm,” said the German. “I was expecting to maybe double fault in the last game but somehow I made it.”

Could this be the long awaited return of Roger Federer?

Zverev’s next opponent, Roger Federer, made it through to the quarter-finals of the Grand Slam after a five-set showdown against tournament fifth seed Kei Nishikori.

The Swiss maestro last won a grand slam in 2012 at his favoured Wimbledon grass court, but has since struggled. Injury forced him of the world’s top 10 for the first time in 734 weeks last November, and arrived in Melbourne ranked 17th — his lowest position since May 2001.

While he is the oldest man to grace a grand slam quarter-final since 9-year-old Jimmy Connors at the 1991 US Open, the elimination of tournament favourites Novak Djokovic and Murray would very well throw the competition out for his taking.

 

Australian Open: Novak Djokovic ousted in second round

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Novak Djokovic, defending champion of the Australian Open suffered a shock exit in the Grand Slam event after he failed to overcome world number 117 Denis Istomin in the second round.

A six-time winner of the opening Grand Slam event of the calendar year, Djokovic struggled for rhythm and lost 7-6 (10-8) 5-7 2-6 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 in four hours and 48 minutes.

He won his first service game after 15 minutes but went on to lose the first set in one hour and 25 minutes.

As his opponent faltered in the third set, he won four consecutive games but Istomin managed to come back in the fourth set to extend the match to a tie-break.

Both players served aggressively as they received vocal support from the crowd, as Istomin, who broke in game five, remained strong on his own serve. The Uzbek national wrapped things up when Djokovic, lunging on the backhand, could only block another crunching delivery long on match point.

This was the first time that the Serb has lost in the second round of a Grand Slam event — his last similar defeat was at Wimbledon in 2008.

It is also only the second time in seven years that Djokovic has lost to a player ranked outside the top 100 — his defeat by Juan Martin del Potro, ranked 145th, at the Rio Olympics in 2016 being the other occasion.

“He deserved to win. No doubt, he was a better player in the clutch moments,” said Djokovic. “Many things came together for him today and he’s a well-deserved winner. There’s not much I could do.”

“It is the biggest win of my career and means so much, now I feel I can play with these guys and be with them on the same level,” said Istomin. “From the third set I had cramp in my leg, I don’t know how I held it. I was playing so good. I surprised myself.”

Ana Ivanovic retires from tennis at 29

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Serbia’s Ana Ivanovic, a former world number one and champion of the French Open 2008 has retired from tennis at the age of 29.

Ivanovic spent nine weeks as world number one in 2008 and won 15 career singles titles. She reached the French Open semi-final in 2015, and was runner-up at Roland Garros and Wimbledon in 2007 and at the 2008 Australian Open.

However, Ivanovic won just 15 matches in 2016 – the most recent in June. The Serb has been out with injury since August and dropped to 63 in world rankings after losing to the Czech national Denisa Allertova in the US Open first round, her final match on the WTA tour.

She announced her retirement from a video.

“I played so many memorable matches. But staying at those heights in any professional sport requires top physical form and it’s well-known that I have been hampered by injuries,” Ivanovic said. “I can only play if I perform up to my own high standards. I can no longer do that, so it’s time to move on.”

“There is no other way to say this. I have decided to retire from professional tennis. It was a difficult decision but there is so much to celebrate,” Ivanovic said. “Don’t be sad, be optimistic alongside me. My love and my greatest thank you to all of you.”

Ivanovic, who married Manchester United midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger earlier this year, was the first Serbian woman to win a grand slam.

She added in the video she will explore opportunities in business, beauty and fashion in retirement as well as with UNICEF, with whom she holds the position of National Ambassador for Serbia.