Federer reaches 7th Australian Open final after Chung retires

MELBOURNE, Australia --- Roger Federer has moved to within one win of a 20th Grand Slam singles title after reaching a record seventh Australian Open final when Hyeon Chung retired from their semifinal on Friday night. Defending champion Federer was leading 6-1, 5-2 when Chung retired because of blisters on his left foot. Federer, who spent just over an hour on court, will play No. 6-seeded Marin Cilic in the final on Sunday night. "I've played with blisters in the past a lot, and it hurts a lot. And at one point, it's just too much and you can't take it anymore --- you can't go on," said Federer, who will be contesting his 30th major final. "That's why this one feels bitterswe...Keep on reading: Federer reaches 7th Australian Open final after Chung retires.....»»

Category: newsSource: inquirer inquirerJan 26th, 2018

Roger Federer sails to 20th final as blistered Chung retires

MELBOURNE – Roger Federer earned a crack at a 20th Grand Slam title via short route, advancing to the Australian Open Finals with a 6-1, 5-2 win as Hyeon Chu.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJan 27th, 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

Injured Rafael Nadal will miss Indian Wells, Miami events

NEW YORK --- Rafael Nadal will miss the upcoming Indian Wells and Miami tournaments because of a lingering right hip injury. Nadal made the announcement Friday on Facebook. He withdrew from the Mexico Open before his first match on Wednesday, saying he needed more time to recover. He wrote Friday "the injury I suffered in Acapulco before starting the tournament is the same area as the one suffered in Melbourne." The second-ranked Spanish star hasn't played since retiring in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open in late January. Last year, Nadal lost to Roger Federer in the fourth round at Indian Wells and in the final at Miami....Keep on reading: Injured Rafael Nadal will miss Indian Wells, Miami events.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsMar 3rd, 2018

Federer wraps up 20th slam title

MELBOURNE – Roger Federer powered home to beat Marin Cilic in five sets to win his sixth Australian Open and 20th Grand Slam title in a riveting final on Sun.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJan 29th, 2018

Federer beats Cilic in Aussie final; wins 20th major title

JOHN PYE, AP Sports Writer MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Roger Federer has won his 20th Grand Slam singles title with a 6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 victory over Marin Cilic in the Australian Open final. Back where his career resurgence began last year with an unexpected run to the title following a six-month injury layoff, Federer had an almost perfect title defense until he reached the second set of the final. After going through four years without winning a major, Federer has now won three of the last five. The 36-year-old Federer started with an intensity that stunned Cilic, getting service breaks in the first and third games and forcing his Croatian rival to go for a new racket after just 12 points. Federer only conceded two points on his serve in the opening set, which lasted just 24 minutes and was played under a closed roof on Rod Laver Arena because of the heat outside. But Cilic rallied in the second, getting his big forehand working and, after missing a set point on Federer's serve in the 10th game, leveled the match in the tiebreaker. Federer won the third set in 29 minutes and was up a break in the fourth but momentum swung fully again, with Cilic going on a roll to level the match. Federer's first-serve percentage plummeted from above 80 in the third set to 36 in the fourth as Cilic attacked. The fifth started with Federer fending off two break points to hold, then breaking Cilic for a 2-0 lead. Federer upped his level when it counted most, breaking Cilic again in the sixth game and then closing out love — including an unsuccessful challenge from Cilic on match point — to start his celebrations. Federer had won eight of their previous nine matches — his only defeat coming in the semifinals of the U.S. Open in 2014, where Cilic claimed his first major title......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 28th, 2018

UPDATE: Federer wins Australian Open for 20th Grand Slam title

ROGER Federer powered home to beat Marin Cilic in five sets to win his sixth Australian Open and 20th Grand Slam title in a riveting final on Sunday. The Swiss defending champion dropped his only sets of the tournament before completing a 6-2, 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 win over the sixth seeded Croatian in [...] The post UPDATE: Federer wins Australian Open for 20th Grand Slam title appeared first on The Manila Times Online......»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimes_netRelated NewsJan 28th, 2018

Federer wins Australian Open for 20th Grand Slam title

Roger Federer powered home to beat Marin Cilic in five sets to win his sixth Australian Open and 20th Grand Slam title in a riveting final on Sunday. The Swiss defending champion dropped his only sets of the tournament before completing a 6-2, 6-7 (5/7), 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 win over the sixth seeded Croatian in 3hr 3min. Federer, playing in his 30th Grand Slam final, joined Novak Djokovic and Australian great Roy Emerson as joint top for the most Australian Open men's titles. He added to his already imposing win-loss record in Melbourne and is now 94-13. His overall his Grand Slam mark stands at 332-52. The roof was closed over Rod Laver Arena as the tournament's heat policy was im...Keep on reading: Federer wins Australian Open for 20th Grand Slam title.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJan 28th, 2018

Halep and Wozniacki aim for Australian Open first

MELBOURNE, Australia -- Simona Halep and Caroline Wozniacki face off for the Australian Open title on Saturday in a culmination of two weeks of intense tennis that will see a new name engraved on the trophy. The Romanian is the top seed and the Dane number two, with the evening decider on Rod Laver Arena having an extra enticement for both players with the number one world ranking at stake. Defeat for Halep would see her toppled by Wozniacki, who is currently second. Defending men's champion Roger Federer plays Croat Marin Cilic in the men's final on Sunday. The Swiss ace, who leads Cilic 8-1 in their previous meetings, is targeting an incredible 20th Grand Slam title and...Keep on reading: Halep and Wozniacki aim for Australian Open first.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJan 27th, 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

Roger Federer makes 7th Aussie final as Chung Hyeon retires

MELBOURNE, Australia – Defending champion Roger ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsJan 26th, 2018

Federer cruises into his 43rd Grand Slam semis

MELBOURNE, Australia – Defending champion Roger Federer swept into a record 14th Australian Open semi-final with a commanding straight sets win over long-time rival Tomas Berdych on Wednesday, January 24. The second seed cruised to a 7-6 (7/1), 6-3, 6-4 win in 2 hours and 14 minutes on Rod Laver Arena ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsJan 24th, 2018

Federer advances to Australian Open semifinal against Chung

MELBOURNE, Australia --- Roger Federer beat long-time rival Tomas Berdych to set up an Australian Open semifinal against Hyeon Chung, a champion of the so-called Next Generation. Defending champion Federer extended his winning streak to 14 in Australian Open quarterfinals and to nine in a personal duel with Berdych that dates to the 2004 Olympics. The 19-time major winner wins that head-to-head contest 20-6, including all five meetings at Melbourne Park. The 36-year-old Swiss star overcame a shaky start, dropping his opening service game and uncharacteristically challenging the chair umpire because of a technological fault, before winning 7-6 (1), 6-3, 6-4 on Wednesday night. ...Keep on reading: Federer advances to Australian Open semifinal against Chung.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJan 24th, 2018

Tennys Sandgren blasts media in final shot at Aussie Open

MELBOURNE, Australia --- After losing in the Australian Open quarterfinals on Wednesday, Tennys Sandgren saved his final shot of the tournament for the media. Sandgren opened his news conference following a 6-4, 7-6 (5), 6-3 loss to Hyeon Chung by reading a prepared statement directed at the media that has scrutinized his Twitter feed during his unexpected run at Melbourne Park. "With a handful of follows and some likes on Twitter, my fate has been sealed in your minds," Sandgren said, reading from his mobile phone. "To write an edgy story, to create sensationalist coverage, there are a few lengths you wouldn't go to to mark me as the man you desperately want me to be." Sa...Keep on reading: Tennys Sandgren blasts media in final shot at Aussie Open.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJan 24th, 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

Cilic obstacle in way of Nadal’s semifinal quest

Rafael Nadal sees his quarterfinal showdown with big-match player Marin Cilic on Tuesday as the time to crank up his Australian Open offensive for Grand Slam number 17. The Spanish world No.1 has been in ominous form in the first week after coming into the year's opening major tournament with knee concerns. Nadal, who lost to Roger Federer in last year's final, overcame tenacious Argentine Diego Schwartzman in a classic round of 16 encounter and will have to get past former US Open champion Cilic to reach the semi-finals. In Tuesday's other quarter-final in the top half of the draw, Bulgaria's world No.3 Grigor Dimitrov is up against British hope and 49th-ranked Kyle Edmund for a pl...Keep on reading: Cilic obstacle in way of Nadal’s semifinal quest.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated 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:»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 21st, 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:»»

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

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:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 14th, 2018