World Tennis News: Australian Open 2018 Preview

The first Grand Slam of the 2018 tennis season, The Australian Open will be played in Melbourne from 15th – 28th January. The world’s top players will be in action at the newly upgrade Melbourne Park battling it out on court to lift the first Grand Slam trophy of the year.

o_redevelopment_pre_08012018_05Defending Men’s champions Roger Federer will be back in action this year, hoping to win his sixth Australia Open championship title. Seven time champion and 2017 winner Serena Williams, who is back on court after giving birth to her daughter Alexis Olympia, has sadly withdrawn from this year’s event. Williams played her first match since giving birth at the beginning of September on 30th December at the Mubadala World Tennis Championships in Abu Dhabi. After losing that exhibition match against current French Open Champion Jelena Ostapenko 2–6, 6-3, [5–10] she decided to withdraw from the Australian Open

After competing in Abu Dhabi I realized that although I am super close, I’m not where I personally want to be.” Williams said, “Even though I am disappointed about it, I’ve decided not to compete in the Australian Open this year. 

Former champion (2009) Rafael Nadal is back at the top of the World rankings and looking to win another Grand Slam title after losing to Federer in last year’s final. Six time champion Novak Djokovic will also be biting at Federer’s heels for another crack at the title. The Women’s event is wide open after Williams withdrawal but there are plenty looking to talk their place on the podium.

In disappointing news for patrotic tennis fans British number one and former World number one Andy Murray, who is actually in Melbourne after hip surgery in the city, will not be competing this year. His subsequent post-op recovery and rehabilitation will see him off court in competition mode for some time, maybe even until the summer’s grass court season. Murray, who has now dropped to 16th in the world rankings, has been dogged with injury since last year’s Wimbledon Championships when he last won a competitive match.

99513070_murray_insta.jpgMurray, pictured with his coach Jamie Delgado, after his hip surgery this week in Melbourne (Source: Andy Murray Official Instagram page)

Murray said in an interview with the BBC, “I’m not finished playing tennis yet. I’m going to be competing at the highest level again,” he added, “I’m very optimistic about the future – the surgeon is very happy about how it went.”

British interests now lies elsewhere with eyes trained on British number one and tenth seed Johanna Konta who has enjoyed success in both her previous Australian Open campaigns. Konta, who was forced to retire from the quarters in the Brisbane International last week due to hip problems, is in Sydney where she hoped to defend her 2017 Sydney International title. Things didn’t go to plan for the defending champion who was beaten in the first round by Agnieszka Radwanska 6-3, 7-5 to in a repeat of last year’s final.

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British No.2 Kyle Edmund also got to the quarters of the Brisbane event but has withdrawn from this week’s Auckland Open to assess his ankle injury ahead of the Australian Open. Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares who were runners-up at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha and are now in Adelaide to compete for Team International in the World Tennis Challenge ahead of the Australian Open where they won the doubles title in 2016.

For a full player line-up, schedules and all the latest news ahead and during the tournament visit www.ausopen.com

Photos and information used courtesy of www.ausopen.comwww.lta.org.uk and www.bbc.com/sport/tennis/ Featured image used courtesy of www.ausopen.com/news-media/

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January and February in Pictures

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The top placed players in the Australian Open, the first TT Tour of 2017 

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Performance player Liam Hignett represented Hampshire & Isle of Wight (IOW) in the 18U Boys County Cup held at Taunton Tennis Centre in Somerset.

 

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QMC Mixed team who will play in the National Finals in Bolton on 11th March (L to R) Luke Watts, Jordan Mosquera, Dessi Bratinova and Andrew Dingwall.

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Performance player Liam Hignett was third in the Junior Sportsman Category at the annual Basingstoke Sports Awards

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Hignett with Head Coach James McIntosh at the annual Basingstoke Sport’s Awards.

World Tennis News: Shock Defeat for Murray Knocked Out at Australian Open

With nemesis Novak Djokovic knocked out of this year’s Australian Open in round two by  Denis Isthmian in the Rod Laver Arena. if looked like 2017 might be the year that World Number One Andy Murray would win his first title in Melbourne. Enter his fourth round opponent Misha Zverev from Germany who destroyed Murray’s dream with his aggressive play, a shock defeat that has stunned the tennis world. Ranked 50th in the world, Zverev won in four sets 7-5, 5-7, 6-2, 6-4 at the Rod Laver Arena and will now face Roger Federer or Kei Nishikori in the quarter-finals.

Murray dropped serve eight times and Zverev capitalised on this rare drop of form sending Murray packing. Not a great start to to the season for British number one Murray who will undoubtedly go away on reflect on his earliest defeat at this Grand Slam event since 2009 as well as his loss to the lowest-ranked player in a Grand Slam since the Melbourne event back in 2006. In other news fellow Brit Dan Evans was also knocked out in the fourth round by twelfth seed Jo-Wilfred Tsonga 2-7, 6-2, 6-4, 6-4.

Fourth seed Stanislas Wawrinka is through to the quarter-finals after beating Andreas Seppi in a close match 7-6, 7-6, 7-6 and will play Tsonga. In the bottom half of the draw the fourth round clashes see ninth seed Rafael Nadal face sixth seed Gael Monfils, third seed Milos Raonic take on thirteenth seed Roberto Bautista Agut, eighth seed Dominic Thiem play eleventh seed David Goffin and fifteenth seed Grigor Dimitrov pitted against unseeded Isthmian (who defeated Djokovic).

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In the women’s event British number one Johanna Konta defeated world number one Caroline Wozniacki 6-3, 6-1 to reach the fourth round of the Australian Open. Ninth seed Konta will now play Ekaterina Makanrova in her next match, also through to the last sixteen are world number one and defending champion Angelique Kerber,  Serena Williams, Barbora Strycova, Karolina Pliskova, Daria Gavrilova, Jennifer Brady, Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, Coco Vandeweghe, Garbine Muguruza and Sorana Cirstea. Venus Williams will face Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the quarter finals after both players won their matches earlier today. Williams defeated Mona Barthel 6-3, 7-5 and Pavlyuchenkova beat Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3, 6-3.

In other shock news defending champions and second seeds Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares were locked out in the first round of this men’s doubles event by unseeded American pair Sam Query and Donald Young 6-3, 7-6. Top seeds Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut from France are through to the quarter final stage.

Information and photos sourced from www.bbc.com/sport/tennis and www.ausopen.com

World Tennis News: Australian Open 2017

This week saw the start of the first Grand Slam of 2017, the Australian Open in Melbourne that runs from 16th until 29th January. World and British number one Andy Murray is top seed in this years Men’s singles draw and he is looking to add this title, that has so far eluded him even though he’s been in the final five times) to his ever growing collection. Standing in his way is defending champion Novak Djokovic who beat Murray in the 2016 final to claim his sixth Australian Open crown.

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In the first round Murray beat Illya Marchenko from the Ukraine in three sets 7-5, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 to set up a second round clash with Russian Andrey Rublev which he also won 6-3, 6-0, 6-2. He will now face thirty-first seed Sam Querrey from America in the third round on Djokovic beat Fernando Verdasco in the first round and now faces Denis Isthmian in round two.

World number nine Rafael Nadal, who hasn’t won a Grand Slam title since 2014, defeated Florian Mayer from Germany 6-3, 6-4 ,6-4, he now faces Marcos Baghdatis. Four time champion Roger Federer has progressed to the third round after beating Jurgen Melter 7-5,  3-6, 6-2, 6-2 and Noah Rubin 7-5, 6-3, 7-6 (7-3).

In other British players news, Dan Evans beat Facundo Bagnis from Argentina 7-6 (10-8), 6-3, 6-1 and then pulled off a shock four set defeat of seventh seed and 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-3, he will now face either twenty-seventh seed Bernard Tomic from Australia or Victor Estrella Burgos of the Dominican Republic. Kyle Edmund beat Columbian Santiago Giraldo in his first round match 6-2, 7-5, 6-3 but Aljaz Bedene lost in round one against Victor Estrella Burgos in four sets 7-6 (9-7), 7-5, 0-6, 6-3.

_93646919_evans_rex_2Dan Evans celebrating his shock victory against Marin Cilic

In other shock news Australian Nick Kyrgios, seeded fourteenth, was knocked in round two after he was beaten by Italy’s Andreas Seppi. Tempestaous Kyrgios (who received warnings from the umpire) lost his two set lead against the fifty-ninth seed and crashed out of his home tournament after losing the five-set marathon 1-6, 6-7 (1-7), 6-4 , 6-2, 10-8.

Defending women’s champion Angelique Kerber from Germany didn’t have an easy start to this year’s tournament after dropping a set in her first round match against Lesia Tsurenko 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 and will now play Kristyna Pliskova in the next round. Six-time Australian Open champion Serena Williams is hoping to win her 23rd Grand Slam singles title in Melbourne and get her 2017 campaign off to a good start beating Belinda Bencic 6-4, 6-3.

British number one and ninth seed Johanna Konta who made it to the semi-final last year beat Kirsten Flipkens from Belgium 7-5, 6-2 in round one and will next play against Japan’s Naomi Osaka. In her first round singles match Heather Watson beat eighteenth seed Samantha Stosur from Australia 6-3, 3-6, 6-0 but lost in the doubles first round with fellow Brit Naomi Broady against Italy’s Karin Knapp and Luxembourg’s Mandy Minella 7-5, 2-6, 7-6 (7-5). Brady lost in the singles against Daria Gavrilova 6-3, 4-6, 5-7.

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Defending Men’s Doubles champions Brit Jamie Murray and partner Bruno Soares from Brazil are second seeds in this year’s competition, they face USA pairing of Query and Donald Young in the first round.
Featured image used courtesy of www.ausopen.com. All other images used courtesy of www.bbc.com/sport/live/tennis/

World Tennis News: Arise Sir Andy

What a great start to 2017 for World and British number one Andy Murray as he became Sir Andy Murray when his knighthood was announced in the Queen’s annual New Years honours list.

Murray, who was previously awarded the OBE in 2012 spoke to BBC sport about his new title saying, “It sounds strange. Obviously it’s a big honour.” he added, “It’s great recognition for my results of the last few years and it’s obviously a very nice way to finish 2016 or start 2017, but I’m more than happy just being known as Andy, that’s fine by me.”

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While good things were happening off court the news wasn’t so good on court as Sir Andy only managed a disappointing third place finish at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship held in Abu Dhabi over the New Year period. A surprise first round defeat against David Goffin from Belgium 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 was thankfully followed by a win in his final match of 2016 beating Canada’s Milos Raonic 6-3, 7-6 (8-6). The annual exhibition event was won for a fourth time by Rafael Nadal, a nice end to an injury stricken year for the Spanish player.

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Staying in the Middle East and the bad news continued as Murray then competed in the Qatar ExxonMobil Open held at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex in Doha. Top seed Murray lost to closest rival Novak Djokovic in a tense and close final 6-3, 5-7, 6-4, a result that signalled an end to his 28 consecutive ATP Tour matches winning streak. This was the 36th meeting between the pair, Murray won their last encounter at the ATP Tour Finals in November, an important victory that kept him at world number one and stopped Djokovic regaining the top position.

Murray and Djokovic are now preparing for the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of 2017 season which starts in Melbourne on 16th January. Murray is looking to add this elusive title to his growing collection and Djokovic is once again the defending champion having defeated Murray in last years final and four times previously.

First photo used courtesy of www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/. Second photo and information sourced from www.bbc.com/sport/tennis

World Tennis News: Murray Runner-Up Again

British number one Andy Murray had his Australian Open title dreams quashed again this year in the final by Novak Djokovic. World number one Djokovic put on a powerful display beating Murray in three sets 6-1, 7-5, 7-5 (7-3) to become six-time Australian Open champion and a fifth final defeat in Melbourne for Murray. Serbian Djokovic now has an impressive eleven Grand Slam titles to his name, equalling tennis legends Rod Laver and Bjorn Borg.

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It wasn’t all doom and gloom for British tennis as Murray’s brother Jamie was crowned Australian Doubles champion with his new partner Bruno Soares, the pair beat Daniel Nestor and Radek Stepanek 2-6, 6-4, 7-5 in the final. Soares made it two titles in twenty-four hours when he won the Mixed Doubles title with partner Elena Vesnina defeating Horia Tecau and Coco Vandeweghe 6-4, 4-6 (10-5).

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British number one Johanna Konta made history making it to the quarterfinals where she was defeated by new champion Angelique Kerber. German Kerber upset world number one Serena Williams in the final to win 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, denying Williams a twenty-second title and the chance to draw level with Steffi Graf as the most decorated Grand Slam champion of the Open era.

Photos used courtesy of http://www.bbc.com and www.ausopen.com

 

Tennis Talk: Great Day For British Tennis In Melbourne

British number ones Andy Murray and Johanna Konta have made tennis history today by being the first pair of British players to be Grand Slam singles semi-finalists since 1977. Both players are through to the final four in their respective singles competitions after winning their quarter finals matches at the Australian Open in Melbourne.

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Forty-seventh seed Konta continued her fantastic run of form beating Zhang Shuai from China in straight sets 6-4, 6-1 and will now face seventh seed Angelique Kerber tomorrow in their semi-final encounter. Two time Grand Slam winner Murray defeated eighth seed David Ferrer from Spain in a long four-set match 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2, 6-3 to reach his sixth Melbourne semi-final. Second seed Murray will play on Friday against either Gael Monfils or Milos Raonic.

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Konta and Murray have now matched the achievement of semi-finalist and now tennis commentator Sue Barker and runner-up John Lloyd, who both reached the last four at the Australian Open thirty-nine years ago. Konta is the first British woman to reach a Grand Slam semi-final since 1983 when Jo Durie made the last four at the US Open.

Also through to the last four in the men’s event are world number one and defending champion Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer who will face each other on Friday. In the women’s event defending champion Serena Williams beat Maria Sharapova to book her semi-final place and will play against Agnieszka Radwanska.

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In other British tennis news Jamie Murray and his Brazilian partner Bruno Soares are through to the Men’s Doubles semi-finals. It’s a great day to be a British Tennis fan!

Information and first two photos sourced from www.bbc.com. Last photo used courtesy of www.lta.org.uk