Section: Australian Open

Australian Open: Djokovic gets the better of Murray again

Novak Djokovic defeated Andy Murray for the third time in an Australian Open final as the world No.1 clinched his fifth Melbourne Park crown with a 7-6(5) 6-7(4) 6-3 6-0 win.

Djokovic got the better of British No.1 Murray in both the 2011 and 2013 finals and once again it was the Serb prevailed after a lengthy, tight encounter on Sunday.

The opening set lasted a marathon 72 minutes on Rod Laver Arena: both players broke serve twice in a remarkable exchange of tennis, before Murray forced the tie-breaker. However, despite taking the braver approach, Murray was eventually undone by his own efforts.

His return to set up a winner and earn a first set point was too long and Djokovic, who appeared frustrated with apparent thumb blisters, claimed first blood when the Scot netted a backhand on the second serve. Previously, Murray had never come back from a set down to beat Djokovic and that was not about to change.

The second set started in opposite fashion as the pace from both players slumped dramatically. With Djokovic struggling with thumb and ankle problems, Murray broke into a two-love lead only to lose four successive games and hand momentum back to his opponent: a trait that would ultimately cost him a maiden Australian Open crown.

A brief stoppage due to protestors invading the court provided a turning point; the standard lifted and Murray broke back. After 80 minutes, some long and fiercely contested points and a second tie-break, the Scot was level.

However, Murray’s failure to kick on when ahead proved detrimental. Flying from his levelling tie-break, he broke immediately at the start of the third and quickly held to move two-love up. Djokovic, though, was soon let off the hook; the same as he had been against Wawrinka in their semi-final and earlier in the match.

Two breaks of serve later and set three was over in less than half the time it took to finish set two. The four-time champion moved within a set of his fifth title.

Momentum had clearly shifted the Serb’s way and Murray looked to have given up the ghost. The Briton was broken immediately and, after Djokovic secured advantage with a comfortable hold, Murray dropped serve again. From that point there was only one outcome as, after over three-and-half gruelling hours on court, Djokovic wrapped up his third Australian Open final triumph against his old friend and rival with a bagel.

Read more at ESPN

Australian Open: Andy Murray’s fiancée Kim Sears responds to critics with brilliant T-shirt

Kim Sears wins the day with a wonderful T-shirt in response to her critics…

Well played, Kim Sears, very well played…

Sears, the fiancée of Andy Murray, responded in quite brilliant fashion to her critics after she swore during her man’s previous match at the Australian Open.

All eyes were always going to be on Sears after her outburst during Murray’s semi-final match against Tomas Berdych, and she found the perfect riposte.

The response on social media was one of delight with many quick to laud Sears for her humour in reacting to the controversy in such fashion.

kim-sears-t-shirt-response-tweet kim-sears-t-shirt-response

On Thursday, the TV cameras had alighted on Sears during a particularly intense moment: Murray was down 5-4 in the first set against Berdych, which he would go on to lose in a tie-break.

And amateur lip readers up and down the country were quickly accusing Sears of turning the air blue with what appeared to be a very rude outburst.

Read more at Yahoo Sport

Australian Open: Williams continues dominance over rival Sharapova

Serena Williams continued her dominance over Maria Sharapova as she collected her 19th grand slam title with a straight sets victory in the Australian Open final.

Sharapova has not beaten her rival for 11 years and her losing streak continued at Melbourne Park on Saturday, as the American enjoyed a 6-3 7-6(5) victory on Rod Laver Arena to claim the championship for a sixth time.

Top seed Williams, who was suffering from a coughing fit, broke Sharapova in the opening game of the match and she rallied to take the first set, amid a short rain delay, in 47 minutes.

Sharapova offered stubborn resistance in the second but, despite saving two championship points and forcing the tie-break, Williams proved too strong and wrapped up victory just shy of two hours.

“Growing up I wasn’t the richest but I had a rich family in spirit and support,” Williams said afterwards. “Standing here with 19 championships is something I never thought would happen.

“I went on the court with just a ball, a racket and a hope and that’s all I had. It’s inspiring for you guys that want to be the best you can be, you never give up because you never know what can happen and who you can inspire and influence.

“I have to congratulate Maria who played a wonderful match. She really pushed me tonight. She played so well.”

She added via Channel 7: “I had a really bad cough and ended up throwing up actually. I think that helped when I got everything out of me and cleared my chest out because I couldn’t breathe a little bit.

“I’ve had a really bad cold and cough. Usually when that happens you stay in bed for a week, you don’t play matches every other day and practice every other day. Now I have a couple of days to take a deep breath and lay down.

“I’m going to go to bed and curl up under some covers and go to sleep. That sounds excellent right now.”

Despite having not beaten her opponent since 2004 – a run of 16 straight losses – Sharapova was again magnanimous in defeat.

She said: “I have to congratulate Serena on creating history and playing some of her best tennis. It’s an honour playing against her. I’ve not beaten her in a really long time but I love stepping on the court every time because she has been the best and you always want to play the best.

“I was almost down and out in the second round so feel I gave myself a second life in this tournament. It was not quite enough today but I am proud of my effort. I had some of my best moments on this court but also some of my toughest losses but that’s the life of a tennis player.”

Victory sees Williams move into outright second in the list of grand slam titles won throughout the Open era; lifting the Daphne Akhurst trophy again saw Williams climb above Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova. She is now three titles away from Steffi Graff’s record of 22.

Read more at ESPN

Australian Open: Great Britain’s Swan beaten in girls final

Great Britain’s Katie Swan saw her superb Australian Open campaign come to a disappointing end as she lost to Slovakia’s Tereza Mihalikova in the final of the girls’ singles on Saturday.

Swan beat the top seed in the third round in Melbourne and saved three match points in an epic semi-final victory on Friday, where she struggled badly with cramp in a three-set match lasting more than two and a half hours.

But the 15-year-old from Bristol, who is now based in Kansas, perhaps paid the price for those heroics in the final, losing 6-1 6-4 in an hour and 29 minutes on Rod Laver Arena.

After losing the first set in comprehensive fashion in the windy conditions, Swan threatened to make a comeback when she saved two break points in the opening game of the second set and then broke serve on her way to a 3-0 lead.

However, she then left the court for a medical time-out and after returning with strapping on her right thigh, proceeded to lose the next five games in a row.

Swan bravely saved two match points to force Mihalikova to serve for the match, but the unseeded 16-year-old held her nerve from 0-30 down to seal victory.

“I actually started to feel my groin at the middle of the first set and then it got worse and worse throughout,” Swan said. “I decided at 1-0 when I changed ends I was going to have the trainer on no matter what. So we went off and I think it’s a strain in my groin. It’s unfortunate but not much I can do about it.

“I think I didn’t have much time to recover from yesterday, so that’s part of it.”

Swan, who was set to watch one of her favourite players – Maria Sharapova – in Saturday’s women’s final, added: “It was tough the first set. I wasn’t really playing my best. I was pretty nervous so I wasn’t really on my game.

“Then the second set I told myself again I just had to keep fighting. If I didn’t have this [injury] and I could move fully, I think I would have had a better chance of taking that set. But I was still pleased with the way I fought and saved two match points.

“It’s been an amazing experience. Obviously my best tournament I’ve ever played. I’m really pleased with the way I’ve been playing this week. I hope that there are a lot more tournaments like this for me.”

Annabel Croft was the last British winner of the girls’ title in Melbourne in 1984, while Laura Robson reached the final in 2009 and 2010 after winning the junior title at Wimbledon in 2008.

Swan revealed Robson had sent her a good luck message on Twitter, adding: “It’s actually been crazy. There have been so many people that sent me messages, tweeting, Facebook, Instagram. Everybody has been so supportive from my home in England and Wichita, Kansas.

“I got a few new followers on Twitter, which I was really pleased with, and Laura Robson tweeted me, which made me feel real good.”

Read more at ESPN

Australian Open: Novak Djokovic in final after beating Stan Wawrinka

Top seed Novak Djokovic beat defending champion Stan Wawrinka in another dramatic five-set contest to reach the Australian Open final.

The Serb won 7-6 (7-1) 3-6 6-4 4-6 6-0 – the third year running they have played five sets at Melbourne Park.

Djokovic, chasing a fifth Australian Open title, will play Britain’s Andy Murray in the final on Sunday.

He beat the Scot – who is in his fourth final at Melbourne Park – to claim the 2011 and 2013 titles.

Murray will have taken some encouragement from the length and quality of the second semi-final, however.

The third instalment of Djokovic-Wawrinka did not hit the heights of the previous two, with a combined 118 unforced errors and 12 breaks of serve.

“I did not play on the level that I intended before the match,” said Djokovic.

“There were parts of the match where I stepped in and played a game I needed to play, but parts where I played too defensive and allowed him to dictate the play from the baseline.

“I’m in the finals, that’s why I’m here, to try to get far in the tournament. Getting to the finals in any way possible is a great achievement.”

Read more at BBC Sport

Australian Open: Andy Murray in final after beating Tomas Berdych

Andy Murray came storming back after a poor start to beat Tomas Berdych and reach his fourth Australian Open final.

The British number one lost a tense first set but recovered to win 6-7 (6-8) 6-0 6-3 7-5.

It will be the sixth seed’s eighth Grand Slam final and first working with Amelie Mauresmo, with ex-coach Dani Vallverdu now in Berdych’s corner.

Murray, 27, will play the winner of Friday’s semi-final between Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka.

“There was a little bit of extra tension – it was a big match,” said Murray. “A lot was made about Dani Vallverdu, my former coach, working with Tomas.

“But we’ve been friends since we were 15 years old and I felt that the focus was unfair and unnecessary.

“This is sport – and there’s more to life than sport. It created a bit of extra tension but everyone calmed down after start of the match.”

The Scot’s hopes were under threat after losing a tension-filled opening set, but he turned it around with a brilliant lob early in the second and took control with seven straight games.

Berdych, 29, had started much the better and served for the set at 5-3, only for Murray to break straight back in a rally of huge forehands and celebrate wildly in the direction of the Czech’s player box.

There was a definite edge to the contest, and some sharp words followed from Murray in the next game when Berdych complained about the balls.

Two more break points slipped by at 5-5 but Murray edged ahead in the tiebreak, earning the first set point, only for Berdych to save it impressively behind his serve and go on to clinch it.

Read more at BBC Sport

Australian Open : Serena Williams to face Maria Sharapova in final

Serena Williams will face Maria Sharapova in the Australian Open final after the pair won their semi-finals in straight sets in Melbourne.

World number two Sharapova won an all-Russian contest against Ekaterina Makarova 6-3 6-2.

Williams, the top seed, converted her ninth match point to beat fellow American Madison Keys 7-6 (7-5) 6-2.

Williams, 33, capped a fine performance with a dramatic ending as she saw seven match points slip by at 5-1, before converting her ninth with an ace and a scream in the following game.

Keys, 19, matched Williams for power but not always control as the 18-time Grand Slam champion edged a tight match over one hour and 24 minutes.

The world number one, a five-time champion in Australia, recovered from 3-0 down to force a tie-break and clinched it with a big serve.

A fired-up Williams bounced up and down in delight at the baseline, and powered on with a break at the start of the second as she began to dominate the Keys second serve.

Williams flipped a brilliant forehand winner around the net post on her way to breaking again at 4-1 and eventually closed out after that gripping seventh game.


Sharapova, the 2008 champion, had earlier needed one hour and 27 minutes to beat 10th seed Makarova for the sixth time in six meetings.

The 27-year-old coped well on serve after saving two break points in a testing 10-minute opening service game, easing into a 4-1 lead.

Makarova, 26, hinted at a comeback when she broke for 4-3 but Sharapova responded immediately and served out the set after 48 minutes.

When she hammered away a backhand for the double break at 3-0 in the second, there was no way back for Makarova.

Sharapova made it six games in a row, saving two more break points at 4-1, to seal a place in her 10th Grand Slam final.

The Russian has a 2-16 record against Williams and has not beaten the American since 2004.

Read more at BBC Sport


Australian Open: Madison Keys to play Serena Williams in semi-finals

Madison Keys beat Venus Williams to reach her first Grand Slam semi-final and end the possibility of an all-Williams contest at the Australian Open in Melbourne.

The unseeded 19-year-old came through 6-3 4-6 6-4 in one hour and 54 minutes.

The American goes on to face top seed Serena Williams, who swept past 11th seed Dominika Cibulkova 6-2 6-2.


Keys overcame a recurrence of the upper leg injury that hampered her at Wimbledon last year, requiring a medical timeout off court during the second set.

“It was definitely kind of a flashback to Wimbledon for me,” she said. “I have had some problems with that part of my leg, so it was kind of an overwhelming moment.

“It was kind of scary but luckily I was able to catch it before I did any real damage to it.”

Serena Williams fired down 15 aces in a comprehensive 65-minute win over last year’s finalist Cibulkova.

The 33-year-old American has won the title on all five occasions she has made it past the quarter-finals.

Read more at BBC Sport

Australian Open: Novak Djokovic beats Milos Raonic in quarters

Four-time champion Novak Djokovic dismantled the big serving of Milos Raonic to reach the Australian Open semi-finals.

The world number one needed just one hour and 55 minutes to beat eighth seed Raonic 7-6 (7-5) 6-4 6-2.

Djokovic, 27, is through to his 25th Grand Slam semi-final as he chases an eighth major title.

He will next face defending champion Stan Wawrinka for the third year running in Melbourne.

“I take a lot of confidence,” sad Djokovic. “I try to carry that in every next match, next challenge. Obviously I’m going to play Stan, who is the defending champion here.

“We played five-set matches in 2013 and 2014 Australian Open. I’m going to be ready for a fight. But knowing that I have raised the level of performance tonight, and probably playing the best match of the tournament so far is affecting my confidence in a positive way.

“Hopefully I can carry that into next one.”

Raonic, 24, went into the match with 99 aces to his name and having dropped serve just twice in four matches.

Djokovic’s return proved too much to handle, however, and while lacking the Canadian’s service speed, the Serb moved into the last four having been broken just once in the tournament.

There were moments of frustration for Djokovic as four break points came and went in the first set, but a wild Raonic forehand at 3-2 down in the tie-break handed over the initiative.

Djokovic capitalised, before taking an even firmer grip on the contest with a brilliant cross-court backhand winner to finally break at the start of the second.

Raonic, who reached the semi-finals at Wimbledon last year, could not hurt the top seed and failed to muster a single break point as the match raced away from him.

Djokovic broke twice more as he cruised through the third set, sealing victory with a backhand volley to reach his fifth Australian semi-final.

“He just didn’t allow me to organise my game. Even when he was returning well, by the end of the match he was doing a good job of playing deep and never allowing me to go forward,” said Raonic.

“Obviously if you watch the footage, he was pretty much on the baseline the whole time and I was further back.”

Read more at BBC Sport

Australian Open: Andy Murray beats Nick Kyrgios in last eight

Britain’s Andy Murray ended the run of home favourite Nick Kyrgios with a brilliant display to reach the Australian Open semi-finals.

Murray, 27, outsmarted the 19-year-old to win 6-3 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 and set up a clash with Tomas Berdych on Thursday.

Kyrgios threatened a comeback in the second set tie-break but two superb lobs helped the Scot to a crucial lead.

The sixth seed is through to his fifth Australian Open and 15th Grand Slam semi-final.

In the last four he will take on seventh seed Berdych, now working with Murray’s former coach Dani Vallverdu who left the Briton’s team in November.

While Berdych enjoyed a landmark win over Rafael Nadal in his quarter-final, Murray overcame the great new hope of Australian tennis – and a packed and expectant crowd on Rod Laver Arena.

“I didn’t go into it obviously thinking like that,” said Murray about facing the home favourite.

“I was just trying to win against Nick, which was tough because he has an exceptional serve and makes it very difficult for you when he’s serving.

“And it was very tricky conditions as well, so I was quite happy with the way I handled everything tonight.”

The dominant force from the outset, particularly on serve, Murray used a variety of spins and angles to keep Kyrgios off balance.

When Kyrgios did suggest a fightback, the Briton was able to find a big serve or a winner to halt the momentum.

Two terrific lunging returns set up a break point in game six and a sliced backhand drew the error when Kyrgios went for too much.

On a cold and breezy evening, the home crowd needed their man to bring a bit of heat to the contest and, after saving an early break point in the second, he worked his way into the match.

A tie-break was required and Kyrgios looked likely to take it when he turned around a 2-0 deficit to lead 4-3 with a break, but Murray played a magical forehand lob to wrestle back the initiative.

Read more at BBC Sport