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Federer deflects attention to Nadal, Djokovic in Australia

By John Pye, Associated Press MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Roger Federer prefers to think of Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic as the favorites for the Australian Open title, despite entering as defending champion and coming off a worry-free preparation. "I play down my chances just because I don't think a 36-year-old should be a favorite of a tournament," Federer said Sunday on the eve of the year's first Grand Slam tournament, "It should not be the case. "That's why I see things more relaxed, you know, at a later stage of my career." The 19-time major winner can afford to relax slightly longer, given the half of the draw that he shares with Djokovic doesn't start until day two. Top-ranked Nadal will get under way Monday night against Victor Estrella Burgos on Rod Laver Arena, where he lost the final in five sets to Federer last year. All four singles finalists were 30 or older here last year in what became a tournament for the ages, and three of them are back. Serena Williams beat her older sister Venus Williams in the final to capture an Open era-record 23rd major here last year but decided against defending her title because she didn't have enough time to recover from health issues after a complicated childbirth in September. Venus Williams is seeded fifth and is second match scheduled on center court to get her 77th major under way with a challenging opener against Belinda Bencic. She's 4-0 in career head-to-heads against 20-year-old Bencic — who reached a career-high No. 7 ranking in 2016 and who helped Federer win the Hopman Cup title for Switzerland earlier this month — but is coming off an abbreviated preparation that included a loss in the second round to eventual champion Angelique Kerber at the Sydney International last week. At 37, Venus Williams among the top contenders at Melbourne Park. Others in action on Monday include seventh-seeded Jelena Ostapenko, who meets Francesca Schiavone in a match featuring current vs. former French Open champions, No. 2-ranked Caroline Wozniacki, who opens against Mihaela Buzarnescu, and U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens against Zhang Shuai. Simona Halep is the No. 1 seed in the women's draw, and one of six women who can hold the No. 1 ranking at the end of the Australian Open. Halep, who has had back-to-back first-round exits on her last two trips to Melbourne Park, opens on day two against Australian wild-card entry Destanee Aiava. Only two men can hold the top ranking in the first week of February — Nadal or Federer — regardless of what No. 3 Grigor Dimitrov or No. 4 Alexander Zverev or anybody else does in Melbourne. Federer returns in contrasting circumstances to his appearance in 2017, when he was coming off a six-month break for an injured left knee and had low expectations about ending a Grand Slam title drought that dated to Wimbledon in 2012. "This year I hope to win the first few rounds and get rolling hopefully, whereas last year I was just hoping to win," a match, Federer told his pre-tournament news conference Sunday. "It was more of a 'let's see what happens' kind of tournament, maybe similar to what Novak or Stan (Wawrinka) or others are going through this year." Six-time Australian Open winner Djokovic has been sidelined for six months with an injured right elbow, returning with a remodeled service motion, and 2014 champion Wawrinka has also been out of the game since Wimbledon after surgery on his knee. Nadal, who won the French and U.S. Open titles last year, has also had a limited preparation restricted to couple of exhibition matches last week as he recovers from a sore knee. None of that makes them any less of a threat to Federer. "Rafa, with the year that he's had, and Novak with the six titles he's had here, even if it's unknown how he's feeling, they could very well be the favorites, too," Federer said. "If you're in the draw, you give yourself a chance. That's what happened for me last year — all ended up way better than I thought it would, as you know.".....»»

Category: sportsSource: abscbn abscbnJan 14th, 2018

Cilic joins elite group by reaching Australian Open final

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Marin Cilic has joined an elite group at the season-opening Grand Slam, becoming just the second man outside the so-called Big Four to reach the Australian Open final in a decade. Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have dominated the finals here since 2009, with only 2014 champion Stan Wawrinka breaking the quartet's court occupation in the men's championship match. After his 6-2, 7-6 (4), 6-2 semifinal win over No. 49-ranked Kyle Edmund, Cilic could face one of the Big Four on Sunday night. That's if defending champion Roger Federer can get past Hyeon Chung on Friday night. "Now I have two days off — it's going to be a nice one on Sunday," he said. Cilic lost to Federer in last year's Wimbledon final, but beat the Swiss star on the way to his own Grand Slam title at the U.S. Open in 2014. The 29-year-old Cilic was under pressure early against Edmund and had to fend off break points in the opening game. He held and quickly got on top in the first set and, after maintaining his composure in a nervy second set tiebreaker, quickly established a break in the third set against the tiring British player. "I think in that second set, I was just a little up and down with my game. I wasn't getting enough returns back to put pressure on him in his service games," Cilic said. "I noticed that in the third game in third set, when I broke him, he just let a couple balls go past him. ... I was seeing with this movement he was a little bit restricted so I just tried to move the ball around." Cilic didn't face another break point after the opening game and took advantage of his experience, while Edmund got heated in his first major semifinal, arguing with the chair umpire over a call in the fifth game of the second set and demanding the tournament supervisor come onto court to explain the ruling. Wins over U.S. Open runner-up Kevin Anderson in the first round and in the quarterfinal over No. 3-seeded Grigor Dimitrov took a toll on Edmund, but Cilic praised him for a breakthrough major. "He's playing great tennis, last couple years he improved a lot." Cilic said. "He had an extremely tough run to the semis, couple five setters and four setters, as well. Definitely it left some scars on his body. I can feel that, too." It took Cilic 10 attempts to reach the final in Australia, equaling an Open era record held by Kim Wawrick. He lost a semifinal in 2010 to Murray, and said he benefited from the experience......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 25th, 2018

Australian Open: A lookahead to Sunday, recap of Saturday

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — A quick glance at the Australian Open: LOOKAHEAD TO SUNDAY Local hope Nick Kyrgios and third-seeded Grigor Dimitrov meet for the second time this year, this time with more on the line. Kyrgios beat Dimitrov in three sets in the Brisbane International semifinals two weeks ago, then went on to take the title. Dimitrov had beaten the Australian in their two previous meetings, including in straight sets on hard courts at Cincinnati last year. Kyrgios defeated Jo Wilfried-Tsonga in the third round and was mostly well-behaved, a far cry from some of the antics he has pulled in the past, including a suspension in October 2016 for not trying during a match in Shanghai, and a heavily-criticized on-court exchange with Stan Wawrinka in 2015. Kyrgios said he's doing nothing special to change his image: "It's not something I wake up and I'm like, 'Look, today I'm going to try to change the perception'. Nothing has changed. I've always been emotional." Dimitrov said he won't get caught up in the moment, or the expected parochial crowd cheering on Kyrgios' attempt to become the first Australian man since 1976 (Mark Edmondson) to win the Australian title. "I've played against the local, so to speak, all that," Dimitrov said. "That's part of the game." Kyrgios pulled out of his doubles pairing with Matt Reid on Friday to save himself for the Dimitrov match. Top-seeded Rafael Nadal plays Diego Schwartman in another fourth-round match. In women's fourth-round matches, second-seeded Caroline Wozniacki plays Magdalena Rybarikova. Wozniacki needed to win the last six games of her second-round match against Jana Fett to stay in the tournament, and says she's playing with "house money." Another fourth-round match has fourth-seeded Elina Svitolina playing Denisa Allertova, a Czech qualifier who has not dropped a set in any of her main-draw matches. __ By AP Sports Writer Dennis Passa. ___ SUNDAY FORECAST Partly cloudy, high of 27 Celsius (81 Fahrenheit) SATURDAY'S WEATHER Mostly sunny, high of 24 C (75 F) SATURDAY'S RESULTS Men's Third Round: No. 2 Roger Federer beat No. 29 Richard Gasquet 6-2, 7-5, 6-4; Chung Hyeon beat No. 4 Alexander Zverev 5-7, 7-6 (3), 2-6, 6-3, 6-0; No. 5 Dominic Thiem beat No. 26 Adrian Mannarino 6-4, 6-2, 7-5; No. 14 Novak Djokovic beat No. 21 Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-2, 6-3, 6-3; No. 19 Tomas Berdych beat No. 12 Juan Martin del Potro 6-3, 6-3, 6-2; No. 25 Fabio Fognini beat Julien Benneteau 3-6, 6-2, 6-1, 4-6, 6-3. Women's Third Round: No. 1 Simona Halep beat Lauren Davis 4-6, 6-4, 15-13; No. 6 Karolina Pliskova beat No. 29 Lucie Safarova 7-6 (6), 7-5; No. 8 Caroline Garcia beat Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-3, 5-7, 6-2. No. 17 Madison Keys beat Ana Bogdan 6-3, 6-4; Naomi Osaka beat No. 18 Ashleigh Barty 6-4, 6-2; No. 20 Barbora Strycova beat Bernarda Pera 6-2, 6-2; No. 21 Angelique Kerber beat Maria Sharapova 6-1, 6-3; Hsieh Su-wei beat No. 26 Agniezska Radwanska 6-2, 7-5. STAT OF THE DAY 2:22: time in hours and minutes of the third set of the Halep-Davis match (3 hours, 45 minutes for the match). QUOTE OF THE DAY "I'm almost dead" — Halep after her win. _____ More AP coverage: www.apnews.com/tag/AustralianOpen.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 20th, 2018

Nadal a straight-sets winner to begin Australian Open

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Top-seeded Rafael Nadal didn't show any side effects from a right knee injury that sidelined him at the end of last season, beating Victor Estrella Burgos 6-1, 6-1, 6-1 in a first-round match. Nadal, who won the French Open and U.S. Open last year, lost in last year's final here to Roger Federer. The Spanish lefthander has only lost in the first round at two Grand Slam singles tournaments — to Steve Darcis at Wimbledon in 2013, and to Fernando Verdasco in Melbourne in 2016. Nadal will play Leonardo Mayer in the second round on Wednesday. Mayer beat Nicolas Jarry 6-2, 7-6 (1), 6-3 earlier Monday. In other matches: Caroline Wozniacki was an easy 6-2, 6-3 winner over Michaela Buzarnescu in a first-round match at Melbourne Park. At No. 2, Wozniacki is playing here at her highest seeding since appearing as the top-seeded player at the 2012 Australian Open when she lost in the quarterfinals. Wozniacki, seeded 19th in Melbourne last year, is still looking to win her first Grand Slam singles title. Add Jack Sock's name to the list of Americans departing Monday from the Australian Open. On the same day the U.S. lost eight women's players, including 2017 finalist Venus Williams and U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens, Sock was defeated by Japan's Yuichi Sugita of Japan 6-1, 7-6 (4), 5-7, 6-3 in the first round. Sock, who's never advanced beyond the third round at the Australian Open, was the highest-ranked American man at No. 8 and had his highest seeding at a major. The American, who retired from a match against Sugita at the Hopman Cup to start the season, had 52 unforced errors compared to just 30 winners in the match. Sock is coming off a career-best season in which he won his first Masters title in Paris and qualified for the ATP Finals for the first time. He lost his first match of the new season last week in New Zealand, however, and was criticized afterward in the local media for appearing not to give his full effort in the match. Third-seeded Grigor Dimitrov advanced to the second round at the Australian Open for the seventh time with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 win over qualifier Dennis Novak. Last year at Melbourne Park, Dimitrov equaled his best Grand Slam result, reaching the semifinals before losing to Rafael Nadal in five sets. He also lost a Wimbledon semifinal in 2014 to Novak Djokovic. Dimitrov has never lost to a qualifier in seven matches at a Grand Slam tournament, and has dropped only one set. American actor and comedian Will Ferrell watched the Rod Laver Arena match......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 15th, 2018

Nadal, Djokovic top bets for Aussie Open

MELBOURNE, Australia – Roger Federer prefers to think of Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic as the favorites for the Australian Open title, despite entering as d.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJan 14th, 2018

Federer says he s too old to be Australian Open favorite

MELBOURNE, Australia - Defending champion Roger Federer says rivals Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic should be seen as leading contenders for the Australian Open as he is too old to be considered favorite. The 36-year-old is bidding for a record 20th Grand Slam ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsJan 14th, 2018

Pondering lunch, Sascha Zverev saves match point in Paris

By Howard Fendrich, Associated Press PARIS (AP) — Talented and pegged-for-success as Alexander Zverev might be, there he was in the French Open's main stadium Friday, on the precipice of a third-round defeat and yet another Grand Slam disappointment. A loss would have left the No. 2-seeded Zverev with an 0-8 record at major tournaments against men ranked in the top 50. A loss also would have left his resume still with merely one trip as far as the round of 16 at any Slam — and zero such runs at Roland Garros. In the fourth set, his opponent served for the victory. In the fifth, the circumstances were more dire: Zverev faced a match point. Both times, he proved steadier and sturdier than Damir Dzumhur, a Bosnian ranked 29th and seeded 26th, and Zverev eventually prevailed 6-2, 3-6, 4-6, 7-6 (3), 7-5 in 3 hours, 54 minutes. It gave the 21-year-old German his second consecutive five-set win; he trailed two sets to one in each. It also showed — not just to others but, perhaps more importantly, to Zverev himself — that he can handle such occasions, that he is capable of doing what's necessary when the sets and hours add up, and that he is perhaps finally ready to stride into the very last days at a major. He's the only active player outside of the "Big 4" of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray with three Masters titles. But Grand Slam success has been elusive. As for what sort of internal strife was happening in Zverev's head Friday? "None," Zverev said. "Mainly, I was thinking (about) what I was going to have for lunch." Well, then. He acknowledged drawing a dose of confidence from managing to win two five-setters in a row, "knowing that I'm fit enough to last as long as I want." In contrast, No. 4 Grigor Dimitrov was unable to pull off back-to-back five-set wins. The two-time major semifinalist fell to 0-7 against top-50 foes at the French Open with a 7-6 (4), 6-2, 6-4 loss to 35th-ranked Fernando Verdasco. "I lost my nerves early on," Dimitrov said. "He played an absolutely stunning match. What can I say?" Verdasco's seventh career fourth-round match at Roland Garros — he's never won one — will come against 2016 champion Djokovic, who seemed to come alive after obliterating his racket in the second-set tiebreaker and wound up eliminating No. 13 Roberto Bautista-Agut 6-4, 6-7 (6), 7-6 (4), 6-2. "Sometimes emotions get the worst out of you, you know," Djokovic said, "or the best out of you, whatever you want to call it." In Dzumhur's case, he was afflicted by jitters while on the verge of making it to a major's last 16 for the first time. Dzumhur served for the match leading 6-5 in the fourth set. But everything fell apart with this sequence: forehand into the net, forehand wide, drop shot into the net, backhand into the net. Just like that, he'd been broken at love. A later errant backhand ended the tiebreaker. "I was not mentally ready to win that match in the fourth set. And I just was rushing a little bit in that service game," Dzumhur said, before offering some credit to Zverev. "He was playing very smart in that moment. He let me do mistakes." Ahead 5-4 in the fifth, Dzumhur was one point from winning while Zverev served at 30-40. But Zverev — at 6-foot-6 (1.98 meters), he is 9 inches (20 centimeters) taller than Dzumhur — came up with the goods, a 118 mph service winner. Dzumhur again helped Zverev, putting a pair of easy backhands into the net, then later said of the first of those: "That's the point that I will probably remember." Perhaps Zverev will, too. More likely, he won't fuss too much over the details, including that Dzumhur entered the French Open with a losing record this year. Instead, it's the outcome that matters. That didn't used to be the case, when Zverev was 12 and coached by Dad. His father taught Sascha, as Zverev is called by many, and brother Mischa — in third-round action Saturday — the importance at that age of process over results, preparing them for success not as juniors but as pros. And now? "I'm trying to win. That's all that matters. It doesn't matter how long it goes. It doesn't matter how much time I'll spend on court," Zverev said. "It doesn't matter if it goes 9-7 in the fifth or it goes 6-1, 6-1, 6-2." He seems more equipped for the former now than ever......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJun 2nd, 2018

Up-and-comers will try to announce arrival at French Open

It’s an oft-cited and oft-updated stat in men’s tennis: The so-called Big 4 — Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray — have won 47 of the past 52 Grand Slam titles, a run of dominance that began in 2005......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsMay 27th, 2018

How can Rafa Nadal wrest top ranking from Roger Federer?

ROME, Italy – Rafael Nadal set up an Italian Open semi-final blockbuster against old rival Novak Djokovic after both former world number one players battled back in thrilling last-8 clashes on Friday, May 18. It will be the 51st meeting between the tennis superstars, but the second-ranked Nadal must get ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsMay 19th, 2018

Nadal and Djokovic to renew rivalry in Italian Open semis

By Andrew Dampf, Associated Press ROME (AP) — Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will renew their rivalry in the Italian Open semifinals — and three-time Rome champion Maria Sharapova also reached the last four Friday. Nadal, who holds a record seven titles at the Foro Italico, overcame a poor first set and a partisan crowd to beat Fabio Fognini 4-6, 6-1, 6-2. Then, four-time Rome winner Djokovic rallied past Kei Nishikori 2-6, 6-1, 6-3. Nadal and Djokovic have played each other 50 times but their last meeting came more than a year ago, when Nadal won in the Madrid Open semifinals. "Tomorrow is going to be the ultimate challenge on clay," Djokovic said. "Beating Rafa is a really difficult thing to do on this surface. But, I've done it before." Djokovic leads Nadal 26-24 overall, but Nadal holds a 15-7 advantage on clay. Nadal can replace Roger Federer at No. 1 if he lifts the Rome trophy for the first time since 2013. Federer is sitting out the clay season to prepare for Wimbledon, where he will bid for a record-extending 21st Grand Slam title. Djokovic, who is returning from a persistent right elbow injury, hadn't reached a semifinal since before Wimbledon last year. "This is what I was looking forward to," Djokovic said. "This is what I was hoping to achieve." In the other half of the draw, defending champion Alexander Zverev extended his winning streak to 12 matches with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 victory over ninth-seeded David Goffin. He'll meet Australian Open finalist Marin Cilic, who beat 10th-seeded Pablo Carreno Busta 6-3, 6-3. Sharapova required more than three hours to eliminate last year's French Open winner, Jelena Ostapenko, 6-7 (6), 6-4, 7-5; and defending champion Elina Svitolina defeated Angelique Kerber 6-4, 6-4 for her sixth straight victory over the former No. 1 player. Svitolina will next face 26th-ranked Anett Kontaveit of Estonia, who beat Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki 6-3, 6-1. Sharapova's semifinal opponent will be Simona Halep, who advanced with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Caroline Garcia that ensures she will keep the No. 1 ranking for another week. Djokovic has now won 12 straight matches over Nishikori and the Japanese player didn't help his cause when he landed an easy overhead into the net early in the third set. Still, it remained tight with long rallies until the end. "It was a fantastic match," Djokovic said. "We went toe to toe until the last point." Fans were decidedly behind Fognini, Italy's top player, and Nadal was under pressure when Fognini won five straight games to cancel out a 4-1 deficit and win the opening set. "He played aggressive, a great level of tennis, creating a lot of winners and taking balls earlier," Nadal said. "I felt the pressure a little bit and played a couple of bad games." But Fognini couldn't keep up with Nadal's consistency and heavy topspin on the red clay court and eventually was physically worn down. "I tried to play more with my forehand and when I play aggressive with my forehand the backhand becomes better," said Nadal, who sat out earlier this season with right knee and hip injuries. "It's important to be able to change the tactics of the match." Fognini had tape applied under his left knee while trailing 3-2 in the third set due to a physical problem that has bothered him for weeks. "The first set lasted more than an hour," Fognini said. "It's him that causes the problem." While the result meant it was now 42 years since an Italian man last won the tournament — Adriano Panatta in 1976 — Fognini was still applauded as he walked off of the court. Nadal joined in the applause for Fognini......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsMay 19th, 2018

Federer hails Chung as future top 10 player

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Roger Federer hailed Chung Hyeon as a future top 10 player Friday after the South Korean's Australian Open came to a painful end at the hands of the Swiss maestro. The defending champion was leading 6-1, 5-2 and in full control when Chung retired with foot blisters, bringing the curtain down on a breakout tournament in which he announced himself as a future star in the making. The 21-year-old sent 12-time Grand Slam winner Novak Djokovic packing in the fourth round, although the Serb was carrying an injury and not at his best. But he also accounted for fourth seed Alexander Zverev in his best Grand Slam showing so far. In 20 years at the top, Feder...Keep on reading: Federer hails Chung as future top 10 player.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJan 27th, 2018

Struggling Djokovic out, Federer into quarters

MELBOURNE, Australia – Wounded 12-time Grand Slam winner Novak Djokovic was sent tumbling out of the Australian Open by Korean giant-killer Chung Hyeon Monday, January 22, but ice-cool Roger Federer roared into the quarter-finals. The Serb, who was returning from 6 months out with a right elbow injury, was clearly in ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsJan 22nd, 2018

Kerber pulls through a surprising challenge, faces Keys next

By John Pye, Associated Press MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Angelique Kerber remains the only Grand Slam singles winner in the Australian Open women's draw after surviving a frustrating fourth-round match. For a while, though, it appeared Kerber's progression may have unraveled against No. 88 Hsieh Su-wei, a former top-ranked doubles player with a double-handed grip on both sides. With a mix of slice and chips, lobs and bunts, whippy half-volleys and wristy crosscourt ground strokes off both wings, Hsieh pushed Kerber to the extremes and unsettled her rhythm. Former No. 1-ranked Kerber finally got a succession of breaks to take the second set and dominate the third in a 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 victory on Monday afternoon. "Credit to her. She played an unbelievable match," said Kerber, who won the Australian and U.S. Open titles and reached No. 1 in 2016. "I was feeling I was running everywhere. She was playing a lot of corners and drop shots. I was bringing a lot of balls back." After holding it together to improve her 2018 winning streak to 13, Kerber faces U.S. Open quarterfinalist Madison Keys in the quarterfinals. Keys returned to the quarterfinals here for the first time in three years with a 6-3, 6-2 win over No. 8-seeded Caroline Garcia. She has yet to drop a set at Melbourne Park and is averaging a brisk 62.5 minutes on court through her first four rounds. Going into the fourth round, Keys had only dropped 14 games — the second fewest among the women through three rounds, just behind Kerber's 13 games. Keys, the only American woman to reach the fourth round, said she feels like she's playing without pressure since returning from her wrist injury that forced her out of last year's Australian Open. "I definitely realize how much l love it and how much pressure I put on myself," in the past, she said. "Just being really happy to be back out here and not at home in a cast." Hsieh certainly made the most of her time back in the spotlight, returning to the fourth round at a major for the first round in a decade. She took out one major winner — Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza — in the second round, and took a set off an almost dumbfounded Kerber to open the fourth. Kerber, returning from a form slump that saw her ranking drop into the 20s in 2017, had to produce some of her best tennis. She finished a 14-shot rally early in the second set by racing to the net and reaching at full stretch to track down a drop shot and send a forehand winner over the net post. The 30-year-old German player had to serve to stay in the match in the ninth game of the second set. Then, after winning four straight points and converting a break-point chance with a sliding forehand winner down the line, Kerber crouched and screamed to celebrate the point. She served out the set at love and then got critical service breaks in the first and fifth games of the final set as Hseih began to tire and started to miss the lines. Hsieh has won two Grand Slam doubles titles, and was ranked No. 1 in doubles in 2014 but had a career-high singles ranking of 23. At age 32, she was oldest woman still in the singles draw. Recent work with former doubles champion — and Australian Open tournament director — Paul McNamee paid off with her singles ranking expected to rise again. She'll likely also attract more attention from sponsors after going through the singles in an unadorned white tank top and black skirt. On the men's side, Tomas Berdych returned to the Australian Open quarterfinals for the seventh time after a 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 win over Fabio Fognini. Berdych has been this far at Melbourne Park for seven of the last eight years. The only time he's failed to reach at least the quarters was last year when he lost in the third round to Roger Federer. He could meet Federer again in the next round, if second-ranked Federer wins his fourth-round match against Marton Fucsovics later Monday......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 22nd, 2018

Nadal, Dimitrov advance to Australian Open quarterfinals

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — If Rafael Nadal wanted a fitness test in the first week of the Australian Open, he got one in his almost four-hour, 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-3 win over Diego Schwartzman. No. 3-ranked Grigor Dimitrov did it tough, too, before advancing to the quarterfinals at the expense of the last Aussie in the draw. Dimitrov avenged a loss two weeks ago to Nick Kyrgios with a 7-6 (3), 7-6 (4), 4-6, 7-6 (4) win over Nick Kyrgios on Sunday night. He'll next face Kyle Edmund, who reached his first Grand Slam quarterfinal with a 6-7 (4), 7-5, 6-2, 6-3 win over Andreas Seppi earlier in the afternoon and could relax and watch the night-time entertainment. Nadal, with his spot in a 10th Australian Open quarterfinal secure, draped an arm around his Argentine friend Schwartzman and patted him on top of the head after they met at the net. "A great battle ... he's a good friend of mine," Nadal said. "This is the first big match that I played in 2018. That's confidence for myself ... confidence I can resist for four hours on court at a good intensity." Nadal lost last year's Australian Open final to Roger Federer, but went on to regain the No. 1 ranking and win the French and U.S. Open titles before bringing his season to a premature end because of an injured right knee. He didn't play a competitive match before the season-opening major, and advanced through three rounds without dropping a set. That streak finished when Schwartzman took the second set, rebounding three times after dropping serve to break back against Nadal and level the match. Nadal lifted to win the third, but Schwatzman didn't relent. The second game of the fourth set lasted almost 13 minutes and 20 points, with Nadal finally holding after saving five break points. The 16-time major winner broke again in the next game and withstood more break points — seven in all in the last set and 15 of 18 in the match — before clinching it in 3 hours, 51 minutes. "It was a good test for me. It was a lot of hours on court. Moments under pressure," Nadal said. "So, yeah, a lot of positive things that I managed well." Nadal will next play 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic, who collected his 100th Grand Slam match win with a 6-7 (2), 6-3, 7-6 (0), 7-6 (3) victory over No. 10 Pablo Carreno Busta. "I had the 300th win of my career at the U.S. Open in 2014, so this is also beautiful one," Cilic said of his latest major milestone. "I hope I'm going to continue and gather three more here." Caroline Wozniacki continued to cash in on her second chance, reaching the quarterfinals here for the first time since 2012 with a 6-3, 6-0 win over Magdalena Rybarikova. After saving match points and coming back from 5-1 down in the third set of her second-round win, No. 2-ranked Wozniacki said she was "playing with the house money" and had nothing to lose. "I played really well from being down 5-1 ... since then I've just kept that going," she said. After a tight tussle in the opening four games against No. 19-seeded Rybarikova, a Wimbledon semifinalist last year, Wozniacki dominated the fourth-round match and conceded only six points in the second set. She tried a between-the-legs shot for the first time in a tour-level match. "I think you can tell my confidence is high," Wozniacki said in an on-court TV interview. "I tried a tweener today and it went in." Wozniacki next plays Carla Suarez Navarro, who came back from a set and 4-1 down to beat No. 32 Anett Kontaveit 4-6, 6-4, 8-6. Elise Mertens reached the quarterfinals in her Australian Open debut, beating Petra Martic 7-6 (5), 7-5 to extend her winning streak to nine matches including a title run at the Hobart International. _____ More AP coverage: www.apnews.com/tag/AustralianOpen.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 21st, 2018

Federer joins Djokovic, Sharapova in 2nd round in Australia

By John Pye, Associated Press MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Roger Federer picked up where he left off at the last Australian Open on a day when Maria Sharapova, Angelique Kerber and Novak Djokovic ensured there were all kinds of successful comebacks. Defending champion Federer beating Aljaz Bedene 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 in a night match, his first on Rod Laver Arena since clinching a career-reviving title here last year. He's been met on court after wins here previously by tennis greats Laver, John McEnroe and Jim Courier. On Tuesday night, he got something different. Comedian Will Ferrell stepped out of the crowd and, slipping into character as Ron Burgundy from the movie Anchorman, conducted the post-match interview. Six-time champion Djokovic and 2014 Australian Open winner Stan Wawrinka stuck to business, returning from long injury layoffs with victories in their first matches since Wimbledon. Sharapova barely missed a beat in her first match in Melbourne since a failed doping test in 2016 resulted in a 15-month ban from tennis. One of just two former champions in the women's draw, Sharapova recovered from an early break in the second set and closed out her 6-1, 6-4 victory over Tatjana Maria with an ace at Margaret Court Arena. She celebrated by twirling, waving and blowing kisses to the crowd. "It's been a couple of years since I've been back here — obviously I wanted to enjoy the moment," the 2008 Australian Open champion and three-time runner-up said in an on-court TV interview. Former No. 1-ranked Kerber, the 2016 Australian Open winner, continued her resurgent run with a 6-0, 6-4 victory over Anna-Lena Friedsam to extend her streak to 10 consecutive wins. Her ranking slid into the 20s in 2017, but she's coming back into the kind of form that won her a title in Sydney last week and makes her a strong contender at Melbourne Park. "Something is going on with Australia and me," Kerber said. "I enjoy my stay, play my best tennis." Djokovic tweaked his service motion while recovering from an injured right elbow, and used it to good effect in a 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 win over Donald Young. Djokovic lost in the second round here last year, but won five of the previous six Australian Open titles. "Obviously I wanted to start with the right intensity, which I have," Djokovic said. "I played perfect tennis, like I never stopped." Wawrinka, who had six months out after surgery on his left knee, beat Ricardas Berankis 6-3, 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (2). No. 4-ranked 4-Alexander Zverev and No. 7 David Goffin advanced, but No. 20 Roberto Bautista Agut lost to Fernando Verdasco, a semifinalist here in 2009, and former Wimbledon finalist Milos Raonic lost 6-7 (5), 7-5, 6-4, 7-6 (4) to Lukas Lacko. No. 13 Sam Querrey restored some order for the U.S. men with a 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 win over Feliciano Lopez. Two other U.S. contenders, No. 8 Jack Sock and No. 16 John Isner, were out on opening day. Madison Keys also reversed a trend, becoming the only one of the four American women who contested the U.S. Open semifinals last September to reach the second round in Australia. Sloane Stephens, Venus Williams and CoCo Vandeweghe were all eliminated on Monday. No. 17-seeded Keys, the runner-up at the U.S. Open, had a 6-1, 7-5 win over Wang Qiang. No. 9 Johanna Konta beat Madison Brengle 6-3, 6-1 and will meet another American, Bernarda Pera in the second round. The U.S. women had four wins and 14 losses in round one. No. 1-ranked Simona Halep was in serious trouble twice — having to save set points at 5-2 down in the first set, and badly twisting her left ankle early in the second — before beating 17-year-old Australian wild-card entry Destanee Aiava 7-6 (5), 6-1. Halep, who lost back-to-back first-round matches here in the previous two years, will next play Eugenie Bouchard, the 2014 Wimbledon finalist who beat Oceane Dodin 6-3, 7-6 (5). "It's always really cool to go up against the best in the world," Bouchard said. "You use it as a measuring stick. I want to try to play my game and go out there and do some damage." Other seeded players advancing included Wimbledon champion Garbine Mugurza, No. 6 Karolina Pliskova, No. 8 Caroline Garcia, No. 16 Elena Vesnina, and No. 29 Lucie Safarova. Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova lost 6-3, 4-6, 10-8 to Andrea Petkovic. Sharapova was banned for after testing positive for the drug meldonium here in 2016, when she reached the quarterfinals, and finished last year ranked No. 60. The five-time major winner will next play No. 14-seeded Anastasija Sevastova, who beat her at the U.S. Open last year in her return to a Grand Slam to tournament. After returning in New York, Sharapova is confident she's prepared again for a major. "I felt like I have got a lot of things out of the way physically and emotionally and mentally last year with — there was a lot of firsts again for me, playing the first tournament, first Grand Slam, and just different feelings and what it would be routinely," she said. "But it felt pretty routine today.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 16th, 2018

Ruthless Nadal powers to first round win at Australian Open

MELBOURNE, Australia (UPDATED) - Rafael Nadal says he has no doubts over a knee injury as he destroyed his opening round opponent at the Australian Open on Monday, January 15. The world No.1, a beaten finalist to Roger Federer in Melbourne last year, ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsJan 15th, 2018

After one for the ages, Australian Open now a fitness test

MELBOURNE, Australia — With Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic among the walking wounded and Serena Williams already deciding not to defend her title, injuries.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJan 12th, 2018

Nadal, Federer seeded 1st and 2nd for Australian Open

MELBOURNE, Australia — Top-ranked Rafael Nadal and defending champion Roger Federer have been seeded first and second for the Australian Open, meaning they c.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJan 11th, 2018

Nadal to play Kooyong exhibition ahead of Australian Open

MELBOURNE, Australia --- Top-ranked Rafael Nadal will make his return from injury at the Kooyong Classic exhibition tournament to prepare for the Australian Open, which begins on Jan. 15. Nadal joins former No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic, a six-time Australian Open champion, in using the Kooyong event to warm up for the year's first Grand Slam tournament. Tournament director Peter Johnston on Sunday said negotiations with Nadal accelerated after the 16-time major winner withdrew from the Brisbane International. "Rafa was looking for match play and of course we were more than happy to oblige," Johnston said. "The addition of both Novak and Rafa changes our schedule and the way we will r...Keep on reading: Nadal to play Kooyong exhibition ahead of Australian Open.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJan 7th, 2018

End of ‘big four’ era in tennis?

DOHA — The dominating “big four” era of Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, Rafa Nadal and Andy Murray could be coming to an end, former Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych said Sunday. Speaking ahead of his appearance in the year-opening tournament, the Qatar Open which starts on New Year’s Day, the world number 19 said men’s tennis […] The post End of ‘big four’ era in tennis? appeared first on BusinessWorld......»»

Category: newsSource:  bworldonlineRelated NewsJan 1st, 2018

Nadal to return in Tie Break Tens; Djokovic also playing

MELBOURNE, Australia — Top-ranked Rafael Nadal will make his return from injury in the Tie Break Tens event in Melbourne on January 10......»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJan 1st, 2018