Australian Open 2015: Fascinating First Round Matches to Watch - UBITENNIS
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Australian Open 2015: Fascinating First Round Matches to Watch

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TENNIS AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2015 – The first few days of any major is the most exciting in my humble opinion. If one is fortunate enough to get to go a major tennis event, it is best to go in those first days when all 256 players (128 men and 128 women) excluding doubles players are present and accounted for on all the courts.

 

AO 2015: Interviews, Results, Order of Play, Draws

The first few days of any major is the most exciting in opinion. If one is fortunate enough to get to go a major tennis event, it is best to go in those first days when all 256 players (128 men and 128 women) excluding doubles players are present and accounted for on all the courts. Not only can one see their favourites in action but also new and emerging talents as well as the forgotten veterans who are still out there fighting to remain relevant in the sport. Usually the first round matches are completed within the first three days barring no unforeseen events or inclement weather patterns. The 1st round of a major can also provide some very unlikely upsets. Who can forget in 2013 when Rafael Nadal lost to Steve Darcis in straight sets at Wimbledon or Serena Williams’ epic meltdown in Paris in 2012 to Virginie Razzano who handed the 18-time major winner her lone loss ever in the 1st round of a major in her entire career? There was also the time here in Melbourne back in 2010 when Maria Sharapova went out to fellow Russian Maria Kirilenko in the 1st round.

The 1st round of a major is not only famous for those epic losses but also it can make for some very interesting encounters. This year’s Australian Open is no different as there are several matches both on the men and women’s side that will be fascinating for a lot of tennis fans. This is by no means saying that Andy Murray (6) verses Yuki Bhambri or Serena Williams (1) against Alison Van Uytvanck in the 1st round are not worthy of fans’ time. My point is that there are some matches slated that are sure to bring out some good “tennis drama” with the potential of an upset and/or showing us a young player’s potential on great things on one of the biggest stages the sport of tennis has to offer.

Below are several matches that are slated for Day 1 that I think everyone should check out at least in part if not the entire match if at all possible:

On the Men’s side, the biggest match is Rafael Nadal (3) v Mikhail Youzhny. Youzhny has had a win over Nadal at a major in the past (2006 US Open quarterfinals) but as of late, the Russian has slipped down the rankings and now finds himself playing the 14-time major winner in the 1st round. It is unlikely that Youzhny will score the upset but seeing as Nadal is not in perfect match condition coming off a long layoff, Youzhny can make life difficult for the Spaniard.

Ernests Gulbis (11) v Thanasi Kokkinakis, the young Australian hopeful. Despite being the heavy favourite, Gulbis in many instances has the tendency to play well below his level. He is capable of going toe-to-toe with the best of the game and then follows up that performance with a sub-par performance indicative of a player who barely ever gets out of the qualification rounds at tournaments. With the crowd support, Kokkinakis might just feel the magic of a major and sneak in for the upset win.

Jeremy Chardy (29) v Borna Coric, ATP’s new wonder kid. The men’s game has recently lacked any teenager in the top 100 despite the fact that the history of tennis is littered with so many early prodigious talents. However, lately, there has been a few to make their way to the top 100 and Coric is one of them. Having defeated Nadal at the Swiss Indoor in Basel last year, the 18-year-old Croat is continuing to rise up the ranking. This would be only his 2nd major tournament and he does possess the ability to take out the very inconsistent Chardy. If he can get past his first two rounds of play in Melbourne, he could possibly face Roger Federer (2) in the 3rd round which would be an invaluable experience to draw from for the youngster win or lose.

Another good match up on Day 1 is Jiri Vesely v Viktor Troicki. Both players won warmup tournaments leading up to this major event; Vesely in Auckland and Troicki in Sydney. Troicki is trying to rebuild his career and rankings after serving a doping suspension from the tour (July 2013-July 2014) whereas Vesely is slowly trying to make a name for himself on tour. They both have something to prove and are hungry for the win. This match is definitely one to watch from start to finish.

There are also several matches on the women’s side that should definitely be on everyone’s radar. During the 1st day of play, Lucie Safarova (16) v Yaroslava Shvedova is a must see match. They are both big hitters and servers. Safarova has that nasty lefty swing which can be problematic for any player. Shvedova is a very streaky player. She is capable of playing amazing tennis and then absurd tennis. Safarova can be an early round casualty if she faces a hot Shvedova.

Julia Goerges v Belinda Bencic (32) and Svetlana Kuznetsova (27) v Caroline Garcia are two matches that should produce some interesting results. Goerges has been extremely inconsistent on tour and Bencic is trying to move up the ranking. Winning major matches would definitely help in that quest and Goerges can be a tough opponent. However, if Goerges does score the win, no one will necessarily see this as an upset. Kuznetsova, a 2-time major champion (2004 US Open and 2009 French Open) can be a dangerous floater but Garcia is looking to make good on all the potential she has been touted as possessing. It would be interesting to see who wins this match and also how it plays out. If Kuznetsova is in great form, she will be a threat to all the big names in her section of the draw. Meanwhile, this could Garcia’s breakout year.

There are several other women’s matches that have a lot of buzz surrounding them in particular the Victoria Azarenka v Sloane Stephens and the Caroline Wozniacki v Taylor Townsend matches. However, those matches have not been scheduled as yet but when they do, be sure to check them out.

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Nick Kyrgios Insists Bombshell Assault Charge Didn’t Affect Wimbledon Prep

The tennis star has been publicly questioned about the allegations for the first time.

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Image via https://twitter.com/Wimbledon/

Australia’s Nick Kyrgios says he has ‘a lot of thoughts’ concerning the revelation that he has been charged with assaulting his former girlfriend.

 

On Tuesday it was reported in the media that the tennis star has been summoned to court next month over an incident involving his former partner  Chiara Passari. The incident is reported to have taken place in December 2021 which has triggered the charge of ‘common assault.’ In the worst-case scenario, those convicted of such offenses can face up to two years in prison in extreme cases. 

The timing of the news coincides with Kyrgios enjoying his best-ever win at a Grand Slam. He defeated Cristian Garin in straight sets to book a showdown with Rafael Nadal in the Wimbledon semi-finals. A player who he has beaten on three previous occasions. It was after his milestone win when the tennis star was asked about the assault charge. 

“Obviously I have a lot of thoughts, a lot of things I want to say, kind of my side about it,” he said.
“I’ve been advised by my lawyers that I’m unable to say anything at this time.’
“I understand everyone wants to kind of ask about it and all that, but I can’t give you too much on that right now.”

Due to the ongoing legal case, it is unclear if Kyrgios was informed about the charge on the same day the news broke out or before. Although he has assured that the development had no impact on his preparations or affected his mentality at The All England Club. 

“It didn’t really affect me at all, to be honest,” he stated.
“Obviously seeing it — I’m only human. I read about it and everyone else was asking questions. It was hard. It was hard to kind of just focus on the mission at hand. It was the quarterfinals of Wimbledon today. I know deep down that’s what I was prepared for.’
“It didn’t really affect my preparation at all. I knew I stayed true to myself and gave my best performance today.”

The court is a much happier place for Kyrgios at the moment. Currently ranked 40th in the world he is the lowest-ranked player to reach the last four at Wimbledon since Marat Safin did so in 2008. His win-loss record on the grass this season currently stands at 12-2.

The surge in form for the tennis star comes during what has been a roller-coaster career where he had doubted on multiple occasions if he wanted to continue playing. 

“I obviously had thoughts the last year, year and a half, whether I wanted to play anymore. I lost the love, lost the fire and lost the spark,” Kyrgios reflects.
“Then some things just changed in my life. I kind of just rediscovered that I’ve got a lot of people that want me to play, that I play for. I’ve got a lot left in the tank. I feel like I’m probably playing some of my best tennis, mentally I’m feeling great.”

As for his upcoming clash with Nadal, the former top 20 star feels that it could be a very special encounter. Although the match is currently overshadowed by Nadal’s health with him nursing an abdominal injury.

“We are two completely different personalities. I feel like we respect the hell out of each other, though,” he said. “I feel like that would be a mouth-watering kind of encounter for everyone around the world. That would probably be the most-watched match of all time. I would argue that.”

Kyrgios will play Nadal on Friday. 

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Tatjana Maria – Reaching Wimbledon Semi-Finals is ‘Amazing’ But It Doesn’t Beat Parenthood

The underdog is enjoying her best-ever run at a major 15 years after making her debut.

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Image via twitter.com/wta

Germany’s Tatjana Maria reveals people once doubted her ability to return to tennis after having her first child. Now a mother-of-two, she has secured a place in the Wimbledon semifinals. 

 

The fairytale run of the world No.103 continued on Tuesday when she ousted compatriot Jule Niemeier 6-4, 2-6, 7-5, in her quarter-final match. Until the tournament, Maria had never been beyond the third round of a major event. However, that changed with high-profile wins over Sorana Cirstea, Maria Sakkari and Jelena Ostapenko prior to Niemeier.

“It’s amazing. I mean, I tried to calm down a little bit in the locker room and to realize something, but it’s still hard to realize it,” she said of reaching the last four at Wimbledon.

Whilst some players prepare for their Grand Slam matches in the gym, Maria’s routine is somewhat unique. She began her day by taking her 8-year-old daughter to her tennis lesson. It wasn’t enough to keep her busy, she also has a 15-month-old baby.

“Outside of the court, nothing changes for me for the moment,” she said.  “I try to keep this going, everything the same. We keep going (to the tennis lessons) even if I’m playing the semifinals.”

Incredibly the 34-year-old returned to the circuit following maternity leave less than a year ago. It was during that absence that she decided to switch to a one-handed backhand. She has been ranked as high as 46th in the world and has two Tour titles to her name. 

“A lot of people who never believed I would come back. This was already after Charlotte and when I changed my backhand,” she said.
“I showed it last time already that I am back. I reached the top 50 with Charlotte, and now I’m back with my second child. Still, everybody was doubting.’
“I’m still here and I’m a fighter, and I keep going and I keep dreaming.”

Relishing in her best-ever performance at a major event, Maria is another example of a player having a breakthrough later in their career. To put her run in perspective, in the Open Era only five other women have reached the semifinals at Wimbledon after turning 34.

However, in Maria’s eyes, her achievements on the court can’t beat her top priority off the court.

“To be a mum is for me on the top of my life. So I think it helps me in tennis too because now my priority is my kids,” she explains. “I play tennis, I want to do my best, that’s all that I want. But my kids are the priority.’
“If I go out there, I want my kids to be happy, that they are healthy, that everything is okay. That’s the most important thing for me in my life.”

Maria made her Grand Slam debut back at Wimbledon in 2007. 

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Wimbledon: Nick Kyrgios Shakes off Injury Trouble During Epic Clash To Reach Quarter-Finals

The Australian is through to the last eight but how will his body fair in the next round?

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Nick Kyrgios has reached his first Wimbledon quarter-final in eight years but fresh concerns have risen over his current health. 

 

The world No.40 ousted America’s Brandon Nakashima 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(2), 3-6, 6-1, in a marathon last-16 encounter but at times looked to be in discomfort. Throughout the match, Kyrgios clinched his right shoulder on multiple occasions and required a medical timeout during the third set. The issue comes two days after his dramatic clash with Stefanos Tsitsipas who has since accused the tennis star of bullying. 

Despite the injury scare, Kyrgios still managed to produce a total of 35 aces and dropped serve only three times in the match. Overall, he hit a total of 78 winners against 42 unforced errors. 

“It was a hell of an effort by Brandon. He is a hell of a player. He is 20-years-old and he is going to do some special things (in the future), that’s for sure,” said Kyrgios.
“It wasn’t anywhere near my best performance but I’m super happy to get through. I fought really well today and the crowd was amazing. it was special stepping out here (on center court) once again.”

Kyrgios’ use of unorthodox antics was on display from the start. Besides a series of heavy-hitting, his first use of the underarm serve occurred just three games into the match. Although it was canceled out by a let call. It was soon after that when the alarm bells first began to ring with the Australian showing visible discomfort with his right shoulder. Appearing to clutch it after almost every point. At 5-4, Nakashima was the first to draw blood after a forehand shot from his rival landed beyond the baseline to hand him the break to clinch the opener.

Whilst Kyrgios initially looked to be far from his best, he was handed a lifeline at the start of the second frame. 20-year-old Nakashima produced a double fault followed by a forehand shank to hand Kyrgios an early break. The American was making his second main draw appearance at the tournament and sixth overall in a major.  Seizing the moment, Kyrgios consistently served around the 130 mph mark to close in on leveling the match. Doing so with a serve down the middle of the court his rival returned into the net. 

However, the shoulder still proved problematic for the 26-year-old who had to take a medical time out for treatment half-way through the third frame. Visibly bothered by the issue and shaking his head, he continued playing on Center Court and somehow managed to go ahead. During the third set tiebreak, a Nakashima double fault handed Kyrgios an early break as he worked his way to a 6-2 lead. He then sealed the set with a blistering forehand return.

The roller-coaster continued into the fourth frame with Kyrgios buckling after hitting back-to-back errors to go down a break. It was at this point that he fumed at a comment made by somebody in the crowd.

“It’s the same sh*t over and over again. I’m trying to obviously make my first serve. Stop saying that. Obviously, I’m trying to f**king make my first serve.” He was heard saying during the changeover.

Nakashima continued the momentum with a three-game winning run to force the encounter into a decider. 

Despite the blip, Kyrgios managed to find another level by storming through the decider by winning six out of the last eight games played.

“I’ve played a lot of tennis in the last month-and-a-half. I’m just proud of how I managed to steady the ship,” Kyrgios replied when asked about his shoulder. “He came out firing in the fourth set. My five-set record is pretty good and that is what I was thinking about.’
“I was like ‘I’ve been here before, I’ve done it before and I can come through again.’”

Kyrgios is the sixth Australian man in the Open Era to reach the last eight of Wimbledon on multiple occasions after also doing so in 2014. The run continues his fine form on the grass this season where he has already reached back-to-back semi-finals in Stuttgart and Halle.

In the next round, he will play Chilean underdog Christian Garin who edged out Alex de Minaur 2-6, 5-7, 7-6, 6-4, 7-6 in an epic clash to become only the fourth man from his country to ever reach the quarter-final stage. Garin saved two match points en route to victory after four hours and 34 minutes of play. 

“I was really excited to play de Minaur, to be honest. He has been flying the Aussie flag for so long. I came on the court when he was two sets to love up and I was expecting to play him but I’m not going to think about that,” said Kyrgios.
“I need a glass of wine for sure tonight.”

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