Bits and bobs from day 6 at the Australian Open - UBITENNIS
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Bits and bobs from day 6 at the Australian Open

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TENNIS AUSTRALIAN OPEN – Selfie mania at the Australian Open, where Radwanska is on a bagel diet, Vika is still dancing on court, and both Williams reach R4. In the mens’ singles all big names advance to Round four  From Melbourne Robbie Cappuccio

 

AO2015: Interviews, Results, Order of Play, Draws

The perfect Aussie Summer day, as you find it in the postcards: blue sky, 30ºC to and the usual happy crowd around Melbourne Park: the fact that there are around 300 different ancestries in Australia, added to the tennis fans coming from overseas, raise the chances that players, regardless of their nationalities, find a group of vocal supporters cheering and chanting for them.

spanish supporters

A lot is happening at Tennis Australia. After Rafter becoming director of performance, Lleyton Hewitt is going to be Australia’s Davis Cup Captain.

Twenty-four hours after Roger exits the tournament everybody still talks about it. It’s Federer’s loss according to the Aussie press, which does not even mention Seppi calling him “an unseeded Italian” (Herald Sun) and forecasting a place in the quarter for Nick Kyrgios, next opponent of Seppi. The Age does a little bit better with a quarter page photo of Andreas, whose name though is barely mentioned in the article.

It’s Seppi’s win, though, according to Serena Williams, who, during her press conference after defeating Svitolina says “Seppi played incredible. He served well, he played well, he moved well. He did everything great. If you want to beat the top players, that’s what you’re going to have to do. I think he proved he could do that consistently for four sets. I don’t think Roger played bad. I think Seppi played really, really well.

It’s selfie-mania at the Australian Open: people are taking selfies in the main arenas and designated spots around Melbourne Park to get to be seen on the main screen.

selfie Australian Open

But what happened on court?

Serena took a nap during first set against Svitolina who’s got “this fire in her eyes, this desire” – as Serena said –  to then powered off and closed the third set with a bagel  4-6 6-2 6-0

Azarenka looked sharp on court defeating Zahlavova Strycova with a double 6-4, reaching the fourth round without dropping a set, and then addressing the crowd “My name is not Vicky”. The shot of the day was definitely the one taking Vika to the match point: drop shot by Zahlavova Strycova, Azarenka gets it with the backhand, lob by Zahlavova Strycova, Vika jumps and misses the overhead, runs back, hits, Zahlavova Strycova approaches the net and … manages to place the forehand volley out. Priceless. “When I missed the overhead, I really had some bad words in my head that I thought about. It was really passionate, with a lot of probably anger in it. I’m not going to say them because you’re going to have to bleep all of them out“. During the press conference then kept on entertaining the journos with her outfit: “How am I an original? Well, first of all, look at my leggings (a sort of tutti frutti icecream). There’s not many players who can pull that off (smiling). What do you think about them?”

Madison Brengle won the all-American match with Vandeweghe and now waits either Kvitova or Keys. In case the American wins, we will have two Madisons, both Americans, playing in round four of a Grand Slam: something you do not see every day. Brengle had a skin tumour cut out of her knee in late October. “It obviously was not a fun time hearing that, but you deal with it. A lot of people have to go through so much worse. They found it really, really early. We took care of it and I have a nice scar on my leg to show for it”. Yes please, use your sunscreen everybody, and especially here down under!

Also, it’s been four years since both Williams reached round four of a Grand Slam tournament. Venus was faster than Serena to reach round four: despite being down to Giorgi 2-6 2-4 0-40, got her mojo back and ended winning 6-1 in the third. Could we see an all-Williams quarterfinal? Well ask Aga Radwanska, who seems to be on a bagel diet: one bagel to each opponent so far in the tournament. Today 6-0 7-5 to Varvara Lepchenko.

Another American caused the upset of the day, Madison Keys ousted fourth seed Petra Kvitova 6-4, 7-5 in the last match of the day on the Rod Laver Arena

In the men’s tournament no big surprises, with Djoker in straight set over Verdasco 7-6 6-3 6-4. The highlight of the match was a marriage proposal of a spectator captured by camera during the match and underlined by a round of applause by the crowd, including Novak Djokovic.

Raonic demolished Becker with 22 aces and is now the only big server remaining, after John Isner (who served 30 aces today) was upset 6-7 6-7 4-6 by Gilles Muller. There you go, the Luxembourger is another big server, cruising at over 25 aces per match so far. Boom Boom next round.

Stan the Man shows how he loves Melbourne cruising in 3 sets with Nieminen 6-4 6-2 6-4. Stan the Man, Stanimal, Stantastic. But to earn names like that “you have to play good and I’m here to win matches. I’m focused on that, not on my surname“.

Nishikori, after an initial stumble, remembers that the opponent has also a forehand (I was hitting to only his backhand, especially first set. He was playing really solid actually) changes pace and continues his Australian campaign by defeating Steve Johnson 6-7 6-1 6-2 6-3.

David Ferrer was made to fight for his win against Gilles Simon in the last match of the day on the Margaret Court Arena. After winning the first two sets, the Spaniard lost the third. In the fourth Ferrer won the match at the tie-break 6-2, 7-5, 5-7, 7-6(4)

Today the Legends’ Doubles tournament kicked off with the new Fast4 tennis; that’s tennis with the following different rules:

  1. play lets. If the serve clips the tape and lands in the service box, there’s no let, it’s game on. What’s more, if you’re playing doubles either the receiver or their partner can take the return.
  2. No ad scoring. As soon as a game gets to deuce it’s a Power Point aka Sudden Death. The receiver chooses which side will take the serve. This applies to doubles too with the receiving pair deciding who returns the point.
  3. Tie break at 3 games all. At 3 games all a short tie-break is played, first to 5 points. A Power Point determines the winner at 4 points all.4) First to win 4 games wins. Hence the name FAST4. It doesn’t matter how you get there, just make sure you get to four before the competition does. No advantage games.

Henry Leconte performed also wearing a Ball Kid outfit, and ended up defeating the Woodies, in team with Philippoussis, whereas Croatian team Ivanisevic/ Ljubicic loses to M.Bahrami / F.Santoro.

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Gerard Pique Believes Long-Term Davis Cup Project Will Work Despite Critics

Gerard Pique claims that the new Davis Cup is a long-term project as the competition kicks off today in Madrid.

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Gerard Pique (@bbctennis - Twitter)

Footballer Gerard Pique believes the Davis Cup is a long-term project that can work despite criticism over the re-formatted competition. 

 

Last August, the Barcelona defender had his re-formatted idea of the Davis Cup approve as part of big funding put in by his company Kosmos.

The competition, which starts today in Madrid, sees 18 teams compete in a one-week competition where they will fight for the Davis Cup title.

Despite Pique’s enthusiasm for the event, many fans and players have criticised the move explaining how the 118 year history of the competition has ended.

However for the Spaniard, he believes that he has convinced many doubters on this journey, “In terms of the event we needed to convince different people who were maybe sceptical and were against the idea of changing the format,” Pique admitted to Davis Cup.com.

“We’ve had to face it since the beginning. This is something I believe we did an amazing job at because we feel people in the game are now more convinced.

“The Davis Cup has a big meaning in the world of sport and tennis, there were some people against it, but right now I feel that Davis Cup is going to be stronger than it has been in the last 10 years.”

Despite the likes of Roger Federer and Daniil Medvedev missing from this week’s competition, there are eleven top 20 players competing including Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.

Many critics are seeing this innovation as a short-term project but Pique hasn’t seen it that way and believes that in five years time people will be convinced about the event, “I like to think big and our idea since the beginning is to put this competition where it deserves to be, and maybe to create an event longer than one week,” the Spaniard said.

We understand we have to start little by little. I don’t want to compare ourselves to any other tournament because I think we are unique. In five years’ time I want everyone, players and fans, to think ‘Davis Cup is in November and I want to be there.'”

Even though there are doubters players such as Andy Murray have told people to give the event a chance despite the amount of tickets that are still available for the event.

The action begins today at 3pm GMT time with three ties:

Croatia v Russia

Italy v Canada

Belgium v Colombia

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ATP

Pierre Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut claim their first ATP Finals title in London

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The French team formed by Pierre Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut claimed their first men’s doubles title with a 6-3 6-4 win over Raven Klaasen and Michael Venus in 70 minutes at the ATP Finals at the O2 Arena in London ending the 2019 ATP season on a high note with back-to-back titles in Paris Bercy and London. They remained unbeaten during the whole week at the ATP Finals in London winning all five matches in straight sets.

 

Herbert and Mahut fended off all four break points they faced scoring their ninth consecutive match win. The French doubles specialists have become the first team to win the doubles ATP Finals title without dropping a set since Jean Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau in 2015.

Herbert and Mahut fended off break points in the third game of the match before earning the only break of the opening set in the next game. The Frenchmen saved a break point in the sixth game before breaking serve in the seventh game.

They have become the French team to win the ATP Finals doubles title since Michael Llodra and Fabrice Santoro, who triumphed in Shanghai in 2005.

Herbert and Mahut have won 15 doubles titles as a team during their career. This year they became the eighth men’s doubles team to complete the career Grand Slam at last January’s Australian Open and also won the Rolex Paris Masters in front of their home fans.

Last year they came within one point of winning the ATP Finals title against Mike Bryan and Jack Sock after holding a match point.

“Thank you Nicolas for sharing the court, for having so much enjoyable moments and giving me so much joy, when I am with you on the court. You played an unbelievable final, so thank you for that”, said Pierre Hugues Herbert.

 

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Jannik Sinner wins his third ATP Challenger in Ortisei

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Jannik Sinner won the ATP Challenger in Ortisei adding another title to his impressive collection of trophies he lifted during a memorable 2019 season.

 

The 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals champion beat world number 173 Sebastian Ofner from Austria 6-2 6-4 in 1 hour and 6 minutes in the final of the Sparkasse Challenger Val Gardena Sudtirol at the Tennis Center in Ortisei.

Sinner won his third ATP Challenger title in 2019 after his previous wins in Bergamo and Lexington. He also reached the final in Ostrava. During the tournament the 18-year-old player from San Candido beat Lucas Miedler in the first round, Roberto Marcora in the second round, Federico gaio in the quarter final and Antoine Hoang in the semifinal without dropping a set.

Sinner will improve his ranking to his career-high at world number 78 in the ATP Ranking becoming the sixth best ranked Italian player after Matteo Berrettini, Fabio Fognini, Lorenzo Sonego, Marco Cecchinato and Andreas Seppi.

Sinner broke serve in the fifth game of the opening set to take a 3-2 lead. Ofner missed two game points in the seventh game. The Austrian player faced another break point after his third double fault. In the next game Sinner saved the first break point he faced. Sinner closed out the first set 6-2 after two backhand errors from Ofner in the eighth game.

Sinner went up a break to open up a 2-0 lead, but Ofner broke back in the fourth game and held on his serve to take a 3-2 lead. Ofner saved three break points in the seventh game to take a 4-3. Sinner converted his fourth break point in the ninth game to take a 5-4 lead and served out the win with two consecutive aces.

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