Australian Open 2015: 19 Times Serena! The World Number 1 Wins her 6th Melbourne title - UBITENNIS
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Australian Open 2015: 19 Times Serena! The World Number 1 Wins her 6th Melbourne title

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TENNIS AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2015 – Serena Williams edged Maria Sharapova 6-3 7-6 (7-5) to clinch her sixth Australian Open title (her first since 2010) and her 19th overall Grand Slam trophy. She has overtaken Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert in the all-time ranking of the players with most Grand Slam wins. Only Steffi Graf won more times with 22 titles. Diego Sampaolo

 

AO2015: Interviews, Results, Order of Play, Draws

Serena won 16 consecutive matches against Maria and extended to 17-2 in her head-to-head matches against her Russian rival. She clinched 12 of these matches in straight sets. Sharapova has not beaten Williams since the WTA Championships final in Los Angeles.

Williams won her previous Australian Open final against Sharapova in 2007 in straight sets with 6-1 6-2 They met only once more in 2005 in the semifinals when Williams won in three sets with 2-6 7-5 8-6. The Russian star won one of her four finals Down Under in 2008 when she defeated Ana Ivanovic.

Williams earned a break point in the first game as Sharapova hit a backhand wide. Serena got the break for 1-0 with a double fault from the Russian player. Serena won the first significant rally of the match with a backhand winner with 40-30 and held serve with a backhand winner.

Sharapova capitalized on a couple of errors and to go up 30-0 before winning her first game to love with a serve and a forehand winner. In the fourth game Sharapova won the point after the best rally of the match with a drop-shot. Serena hit a forehand winner and her first ace of the match before going up 40-30. Williams won the game to pull away to 3-1 after an unsuccessful challenge from Sharapova.

The Russian five-time Grand Slam champion kept the pace by holding serve for 3-2. Sharapova hit a forehand winner and came close to a break point in the sixth game but Williams clawed her way back to draw level to 30-30. The match was stopped for 13 minutes at 30-30 in the sixth game when rain came down heavier. After the roof was closed and the match was resumed Williams hit an ace and a forehand to win the game for 4-2.

Sharapova double faulted to hand Williams three break points. Serena converted on her first break point chance for 5-2 as Maria hit a forehand long.

In the next game Sharapova earned three chances to break back as Williams hit her backhand into the net. Williams saved the first chance with her forehand and the second with an ace but Sharapova converted the break-back point chance on the third opportunity when Williams made a double fault.

After an exciting rally Sharapova missed a forehand down the line to hand Williams a break point. Williams hit a backhand winner to convert on the break point to close out the first set with 6-3

There were no breaks of serve in the second set. Williams hit her fifth and the sixth aces in the opening game of the second set before going up 1-0 with a forehand down-the line winner. Williams earned a break point chance but Sharapova saved it when Williams sent a backhand long. Williams held serve for 2-1 in the third game.

Sharapova missed a forehand to go down 15-30 but she held on and hit a backhand winner into the corner to draw level to 2-2. Sharapova hit 18 of her 21 winners and saved four break points during the second set

Sharapova hit a winner to go up 0-30 on Williams’ serve but the US legend hit two aces to draw level to 30-30 before clinching the fifth game with tow more aces for 3-2. Williams earned a break point in the sixth game with a backhand winner but failed to convert it when she sent a forehand long.

Sharapova started the seventh game with a forehand winner but Williams survived a tough game with her 13th game for 4-3. Sharapova won the 8th game to draw level to 4-4.

Williams brought up a match point with Sharapova serving at 4-5 30-40. Masha hit a forehand down the line winner to save the first of two match points and held her service game in the 10th game.

Sharapova won a long and exciting rally to draw level to 30-30 but Williams hit two aces to clinch the 11th game and edge ahead with 6-5 but Sharapova won the service game to force the second set to the tie-break.

Sharapova hit a winner into the corner on Williams’ serve to get the mini-break but was broken back immediately. With her 17th ace Williams pulled away to a 4-1 lead but Sharapova clawed her back into the match after a couple of misses from Williams.

Williams build up a 6-4 lead in the tie-break. Sharapova saved the second match point with a winning service return. Williams hit her 18th ace to clinch her 19th Grand Slam title on her third match point. Only Steffi Graf won more titles with 22 Grand Slam titles. With her sixth title Serena has become the oldest winner of the Australian Open women’s tournament.

Williams won 37 of her 44 first serve points and hi 38 winners.

I have to congratulate Maria. She played a wonderful match. She really pushed me tonight. She gave us a great final not only for you guys but for women’s tennis. I am really honoured I got to play you in the final. Growing up I wasn’t the richest, but I had a rich family in spirit and support and standing here with 19 championships is something I never thought would happen. It feels really good to be sitting here as the champion. I definitely didn’t think I would be here at the beginning of the week or the beginning of the two weeks, but it feels pretty excellent. I was not feeling great. Every time I didn’t feel great I started to feel better, and then the next day I got worse. I had a bad cough. I ended up throwing up. I have just got a bad cold. When that happens, you stay in bed, you don’t play matches every day. There was a lot of ups and downs. So I just thought that I was somehow still in the tournament and now I somehow I have won. It’s really exciting”, said Williams

The match definitely got tough in the second set. Maria started playing a lot better. She started being a little more aggressive. I think I got a little more passive. She was just trying to get the ball back in play but I started serving better in the second set because I knew if I wasn’t having my groundstrokes where I wanted them to be. I knew I could serve it out. It got really interesting. I had a lot of moments. I had some easy shots that I missed in the second set on her serve, and then she came up with a big serve when she was down a breakpoint, which was great. I definitely can look back and say: I could have done a few things better just for the future”

Sharapova admitted in the post-match press conference that she fell short in the finish during the tie-break.

It’s always tough getting to a final stage of an event where it’s down to two players and you end up become the one that’s going home with the smaller trophy. There is no doubt about it. No matter how you played, well or not, whatever the scoreline is. It’s always tough. In the finish I definitely thought I could have put a few more serves in the tiebreaker. Giving her many looks on the second serve. Event though they were good, deep second serves, she was ready. She was aggressive. She hit a couple of winners. Then in some of the service games where I had 15-30 and 30-all, she came up with really big serves, ones I sometimes couldn’t get my reach at. Those you just have to let go and keep going. One of her biggest strengths is her serve. Maybe it’s something that has saved her in many matches, situations where you cannot get her racquet on the ball. When the games on her serve were 30-all. 40-30 or 15-30 a few times, she came up with really great serves. I have not beaten her for a long time but I love every time I step out on the court with her. I have had some of the best memories of my career on this court and some of my toughest losses but that’s the life of a tennis player”, said Sharapova

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Victoria Azarenka Cruises Past Svitolina To Reach Australian Open Fourth Round

The former champion produced a ruthless display to book her place in the last 16.

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Victoria Azarenka (Photo by Darren Carroll/USTA)

Victoria Azarenka is through to the fourth round of the Australian Open after beating 15th seed Elina Svitolina 6-0, 6-2 in 67 minutes.

Facing a top 20 player at Melbourne Park for the first time since 2016, the world No.25 hit 17 winners and four aces in the win. Azarenka, who is one of only eight active players to have won more than 100 Grand Slam main draw matches, improving her record against Ukrainian players to 16-1.

 

“I thought I was really well-executing my game plan. I wanted to put as much pressure as I could on her and kind of not let her come into the match,” said Azarenka. “She’s an amazing fighter. I know if I give her a little room, she’s going to get back out there. That was my purpose today, and I think I executed that well.”

It was the number 24 seed with the better start to the match and ashe played aggressively from the word go. Earning three chances to break in the very first game and broke to take an early 1-0 lead. After consolidating the break, Azarenka was hungry for more and she got another chance to go up a double break and broke once again with a stunning forehand winner.

at 4-0, the Belorussian continued to dominate and broke Svitolina’s serve once more this time with a backhand winner down the line before serving out the first set to take it 6-0 in 25 minutes flat.

The first game of the second set was a carbon copy of the opening of the first set with Azarenka breaking once again to take a 1-0 lead and it stayed on serve until 4-2 when the number 24 seed went up a double break to lead 5-2.

The last game was a long affair with the Ukrainian starting to find her game and it went back and forth with the Belorussian looking to seal the win while Svitolina pushed back to stay alive.

It took six match points and saving three break points before Azarenka was able to serve it out and take the win. She will now face Barbora Krejickova who defeated Jelena Ostapenko 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.

“The rise of Barbora has been pretty incredible over the last year and a half, basically since COVID. She seems to kind of elevate her game more and more. She has all the good tools to play,” the two-time champion said of her next oponent.
She can play aggressive, she can mix it up. A very dangerous player. We played once in Ostrava. It was pretty tight match and really good quality.” She added.

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Naomi Osaka Overcomes Second Set Scare To Reach Last 32 At Australian Open

Naomi Osaka is into the last 32 of the Australian Open where Amanda Anisimova awaits.

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Naomi Osaka (@ITFTennis - Twitter)

Two-time champion Naomi Osaka overcame a second set scare to defeat Madison Brengle 6-0 6-4 to reach the third round of the Australian Open.

 

Osaka overcame a second set scare as she produced another dominant display of power to reach the last 32 against the unconventional American.

The world number 14 is looking for her fourth grand slam title in Melbourne.

Next for Osaka is Amanda Anisimova who beat a physically compromised Belinda Bencic 6-2 7-5.

It was a lightening quick start from Osaka who took the opening set in 20 minutes.

A display of power, accuracy and pace saw Brengle struggling to gain points on her service games.

The American isn’t a player who is going to hit you off the court and her shots were way too conservative against a player like Osaka who hits the ball so cleanly from the baseline.

https://twitter.com/andy_murray/status/1483721476461240322

Brengle came close but no reward as Osaka reeled off seven games in a row to take a 6-0 1-0 lead.

However Brengle eventually settled into her rhythm and to her obvious delight was ecstatic to win her first game of the match.

This relaxation allowed her to play with complete freedom as she started to use a lot of depth, angles and topspin to disrupt Osaka’s rhythm, who’s level dropped slightly.

Brengle created nine break points which Osaka saved with aggression and precison but on the tenth one, the American eventually broke to go a break up in the second set.

The American’s smile said it all as she was now in command of the second set but that didn’t last long.

That’s as Osaka used her champion’s skills to grind the break back and then went on a run of eight consecutive points to seal victory and a spot in the third round.

After the match Osaka spoke about her return game and the prospects of facing Amanda Anisimova in the next round, “I honestly want to say I returned pretty well,” Osaka admitted in her on-court interview.

“Been really working on it in the off-season. I’m trying not to [rate my level] if I compare myself to the past I will never be satisfied. I’m trying to take it one day at a time.

“I think we’re both going to take our chances. It’s very interesting to play against the younger players because I remember being a younger player myself and having nothing to lose.”

Friday’s meeting between the two players will be the first time they have faced each other.

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Aryna Sabalenka Survives Sanders Scare At Australian Open

The Belarussian was made to work hard during her opening match at Melbourne Park.

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Aryna Sabalenka (Darren Carroll/USTA)

World No.2 Aryna Sabalenka came back from the brink of defeat to seal her spot in the second round of the Australian Open.

 

The two-time Grand Slam semi-finalist struggled with her consistency throughout her 5-7, 6-3, 6-2, win over wild card Storm Saunders, who is yet to win a Grand Slam main draw match in her career. At one stage Sabalenka looked to be on the verge of suffering a third consecutive Tour defeat after trailing by a set and a break to the underdog before staging an emphatic fight back. Doing so with the help of her rival who started to unravel as the match progressed.

“She played well, she’s a tough opponent and I’m happy I won today,” Sabalenka said of Sanders during her on-court interview.

Sabalenka’s roller-coaster victory is best illustrated by the match statistics. Dealing with inconsistencies in her serve, she produced a total of 12 double faults and won 43% of her second service points. Furthermore, she hit a total of 29 winners against 37 unforced errors en route to the victory.

Playing a top 10 player for only the second time in her career, 27-year-old Sanders started the match in clinical fashion as she produced a level of tennis which exceeded that of her current ranking. Three consecutive times she managed to dismantle the Sabalenka serve to open up a swift 4-1 lead. However, the second seed briefly managed to find her footing in the match to claw her way back and level the set at 5-5. Not to be disheartened, Sanders continued pressing her opponent who faltered at the worst possible moment. Granting the underdog another break before she closed out the set.

On the verge of suffering an upset, Sabalenka’s woes continued in the second set when she got broken once again three games in. Trailing 5-7, 1-3, she managed to turn her fortunes around with the help of a six-game winning streak. Exposing the inexperienced her opponent has of playing on the biggest stages of the game. Serving to level up, she triumphed on her third set point with the help of a serve down the center of the court which Sanders returned out.

Into her stride, Sabalenka charged towards the finish line by winning a further four games in the decider before Sanders managed to register another game of her own. Serving for the win, a blistering serve down the center of the court secured the victory.

“I was already (mentally) in the locker room. Maybe that was the key because I stopped thinking too much and started playing tennis. I tried to put the ball (on the court) as much as I could and I think I did it well. That’s why I came back (in the match),” Sabalenka commented on how she turned the match around.
“Now I will recover and then tomorrow I will speak with my team about my next opponent.”

Sabalenka will play China’s Wang Xinyu in the next round. She could claim the world No.1 ranking in Melbourne if one of two scenarios occur over the coming days. She reaches the final and Ash Barty loses before the quarter-finals or Barty reaches the Quarter-finals and Sabalenka goes on to win the title.

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