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and 2017 winner Serena Williams, who is back on court after giving birth to her daughter Alexis Olympia, has sadly withdrawn from this year’s event.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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World Tennis News: French Open Results

The French Open title has eluded World and British number one Andy Murray again this year after he was beaten by third seed Stanislas Wawrinka in their five set semi-final encounter. Murray lost after battling against Wawrinka for over four hours 6-7 (6-8), 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (7-3) in a reverse of their 2016 semi-final meeting where Murray was the victor.

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In the run up to the semis Murray beat Andrey Kuznetsov in the first round 6-4, 4-6, 6-2, 6-0, Martin Klizan in round two 6-7, 6-2, 6-2, 7-6 followed by Juan Martin del Potro 7-6, 7-5, 6-0 in the third round. He then beat fourth round opponent Karen Khachanov 6-3, 6-4, 6-4, and had a tough match against Kei Nishikori 2-6, 6-1, 7-6, 6-1 in the quarter finals.

Wawrinka’s success was thwarted in the final by former number one Rafael Nadal who made history on court in Paris by winning a record 10th French Open title. Nadal won 6-2, 6-3, 6-1 to claim his 15th major title and entered the history books as the first person in the Open era to have won a Grand Slam tournament ten times.

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In the women’s event there was a major shock as twenty year old unseeded player Jelena Ostapenko battled to defeat third seed Simona Halep 4-6, 6-4, 6-3. Not only did she win the French Open title but also became Latvia’s first Grand Slam champion at the French Open. She also made history as the first unseeded woman to win at the Roland Garros event since 1933, prior to this title she had never won a Tour-level tournament before and was playing in only her eighth Grand Slam. British number one Johanna Konta suffered a shock defeat in the first round after losing against Hsieh Su-wei 1-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-4.

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In other tennis news, British number two Heather Watson lost in the final of the Surbiton Trophy to Magdalena Rybarikova from Slovakia 6-4, 7-5. British number three and top seed at Nottingham Open Dan Evans has been forced to pulled out of the tournament with an injury. Fellow Brit Laura Robson lost in  the first round at Nottingham to American Julia Boserup 6-3, 6-4, top seed Konta starts her campaign tomorrow alongside teammate Watson.

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Defending champion Murray will be back in action at Queen’s Club from 19th June hoping to add a sixth title to kick start his grass court season and in preparation for Wimbledon.

News and photos sourced from www.bbc.com/sport/tennis

 

 

World Tennis News: Murray Wins First Dubai Title

World and British number one Andy Murray won his first Dubai Duty Free Championship title after beating Spain’s Fernando Verdasco in straight sets in the final at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium.

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Murray secured the title in just over an hour winning in two sets 6-3, 6-2. This is his first title of 2017 and his 45th career title which keeps him firmly at the top of the world ranking above nearest rival Novak Djokovic.

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In other news, big brother Jamie and his partner Bruno Soares won their first ATP doubles title of 2017 at the Mexican Open in Acapulco. The duo beat John Isner (USA) and Feliciano Lopez (Spain) 6-3 6-3 in the final to give them their fourth title, including the Australian Open, since they teamed up in 2016. In a shock defeat American Sam Querrey defeated second seed Rafael Nadal in straight sets in the Mexican Open men’s final 6-3, 7-6 (7-3).

Photos and info sourced from www.bbc.co.uk/sport/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: Nadal Crowned Champion in Abu Dhabi

Rafael Nadal was crowned this year’s Mubadala World Tennis Champion earlier this week in Abu Dhabi, picking up a hefty US $250,000 prize money alongside his latest trophy.

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Fourteen-time Grand Slam winner Nadal defeated the big-hitting Milos Raonic from Canada 7-6, 6-3 to win the event in front of a packed centre court at the International Tennis Centre in Zayed Sports City.

Also competing in the 8th annual three-day event was Stanislas Wawrinka, David Ferrer, Jo-Wilfred Tsonga and Kevin Anderson. Defending champion and British Number One Andy Murray was not competing in this year’s event and neither was World number one Novak Djokovic.

Ferrer finished in third place after beating Wawrinka in a thrilling three-set match 6-7, 6-4, 10-8

The Mubadala World Tennis Championship is now a well established annual season-opener with the tournament featuring six of the world’s best players every year. As well as the exciting centre court action the players hosted coaching sessions for fans and lucky competition winners on the practice court. Former Wimbledon champion and tournament ambassador, Pat Cash, shared his knowledge and expertise with the UAE national tennis team.

Information and photo sourced from www.mubadalawtc.com

 

Tennis Talk: Barclays ATP World Tour Finals

This year’s Barclays ATP World Tour Finals prestigious season closing event will take place at The O2 in London from next month, from 15th – 22nd November. The event will feature the world’s best eight singles players and doubles teams and six of the top players have already qualified for the singles event with the fight on to claim the last two spots.london-finale-2014-final-djokovic-trophy-2000

World number one and 2014 ATP World Tour Finals champion Novak Djokovic is top of the leaderboard with 14, 285 points followed by British number one Andy Murray on 7,870 points. Third place is Roger Federer who lost in round two of the Shanghai Rolex Masters on 6,750 points. Tokyo champion Stanislas Wawrinka is in fourth place on 6,140 and former World number one Rafael Nadal who lost Jo-Wilfred Tsonga in Shanghai semi-final has secured his place for the eleventh consecutive season, sits in fifth position with a total of 4,330. Also recently qualifying and snapping at Nadal’s heels just fifty points behind on 4,280 is Tomas Berdych, who is aiming to get his third Stockholm title his this week.

There’s everything still to play for to secure the final two slots up for grabs in the Emirates ATP Race to London. Kei Nishikori and David Ferrer are currently in seventh and eighth place respectively with 3,945 and 3,445 points and hoping to secure a place in the world’s biggest indoor tennis tournament. Tsonga is in ninth position but only has 2,545 points at this stage.

In the doubles event it’s a similar story with just two spots remaining in the eight-team doubles field as  Dodig/Marcelo Melo, Pierre-Hughes Herbert/Nicolas Mahut, Simone Bolelli/Fabio Fognini and Jamie Murray/John Peers have all now secured their places in the much publicised season ending finale. World Number One’s Bob and Mike Bryan and Wimbledon champions Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau have already qualified.

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The Barclays ATP World Tour Finals is a popular event with more than 1.5 million tennis fans attending previous events at The O2 arena over the past six years. The event has established itself as the biggest indoor tennis tournament in the world since moving to London in 2009. Tickets for this year’s event can be purchased at www.BarclaysATPWorldTourFinals.com.

Information and photos sourced from www.BarclaysATPWorldTourFinals.com

World Tennis News: Djokovic Wins Shanghai Masters

British number one Andy Murray met his nemesis World number one Novak Djokovic in the semi-final of the Shanghai Rolex Masters and was beaten quite convincingly by the Serbian 6-1, 6-3 to end any title hopes.

_86180292_andymurraygetty1For Djokovic this meant his 13th consecutive ATP Tour final and his opponent was Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who had defeated former World number one Rafael Nadal 6-4, 0-6, 7-5 in the other semi-final to book his place in the event finale. Twenty-eight year Djokovic continued his run of fantastic form dominanting the match against Tsonga winning 6-2, 6-4 in just over an hour minutes at the Qi Zhong Stadium, giving him his ninth title of a season in which he has also won an impressive three of the four Grand Slams. The previous week he won the ATP China Open beating Nadal in the final 6-2, 6-2 and he now has twenty-five Masters titles in total overtaking Roger Federer by one but still two behind current record-holder Nadal.

_86188889_djokovic_reutersThird seed Murray had looked previously looked confident in his matches on the way to the semi-finals beating fifth seed Tomas Berdych in the quarter-final 6-1, 6-3 and two American’s Steve Johnson 6-2, 6-4 and John Isner 6-7 (4-7), 6-4, 6-4 in first two rounds.

Over in Japan, Stanislas Wawrinka won the ATP Rakuten Japen Open beating Benoit Pairie from France in the final 6-2, 6-4 to take the title. On the women’s tour Danka Kovinic beat Agnieszka Radwańska 6-2, 6-2 in the WTA Tianjin Open Final and Jelena Jankovic took the Hong Kong Tennis Open title after defeating AngeliqueKerber in the final 3-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-1. British number one Heather Watson was been knocked out of the Hong Kong Open at the quarter-final stage by fifth seed Samantha Stosur in three sets 4-6, 6-3, 6-0.

In other news British Doubles number one Jamie Murray has announced that he will end his three-year partnership with his doubles partner John Peers at the end of this season and his new partner will be Bruno Soares from Brazil. Murray and Peers have won two titles this year in Brisbane and Hamburg and were runners-up at Wimbledon and the US Open.
Their final matches playing together will be at the World Tour Finals in London in November.

_86242098_gettyimages-461319294Information and photos sourced from www.bcc.com/sport/0/tennis