The men’s bottom half of the draw will just be completing their third round matches today, so the women will be a full round ahead when play concludes this evening. While there are many younger players well worth your attention on Monday, the biggest stories to follow will be veterans who continue to amaze in the twilight of their careers: 38-year-old Venus Williams, 37-year-old Roger Federer, and 36-year-old David Ferrer.
Simona Halep (2) vs. Venus Williams
Embed from Getty Images
This is a rematch from January’s Australian Open, which was also a fourth round match. Halep prevailed in straights sets on that day, as she has the last three times they’ve met. In fact, Venus has not won more than three games in any set of those matches. Venus did claim the other three matches they’ve played, though her last win came in 2013. As impressive as Venus’ play has been this month, especially considering she’s been much less than 100% physically, Halep is just not a good matchup for her. Venus’ serve and groundstrokes are not as powerful these days, and Simona is too solid off the ground and too quick around the court. However, Halep herself is far from 100%. She was hampered by a knee injury in her third round match yesterday, and needed three sets to survive against the 93rd-ranked player in the world. Simona spent nearly three hours on court yesterday, while Venus dropped just four games in a much quicker victory. And you know the crowd will be fully behind the American today. If Venus is ever going to defeat Halep again, this may be her best shot.
Frances Tiafoe (28) vs. David Ferrer (WC)
Embed from Getty Images
Watching David Ferrer outcompete Sascha Zverev on Saturday night, and seeing how much he still wants to win just mere weeks ahead of retiring from the sport, was a thing of beauty. His upset of the second seed is even more impressive considering David had not won back-to-back matches yet this year. Does he have another upset left in him? It would seem unlikely under normal conditions, but much like the women’s match of the day, the player on the other side of the net may not be 100% healthy. Frances Tiafoe appeared to be dealing with stomach issues in his second round match on Saturday, and his leg went into a full cramp right after match point. Tiafoe can ill afford to be tired or injured against one of the game’s best competitors. Hopefully Frances is good to go, as he’s had a full day off to recover. In their first career meeting, the 21-year-old American should be the favorite.
Other notable matches on Day 8
- Roger Federer (4), who survived on Saturday despite some very poor play, vs. Filip Krajinovic, who upset Stan Wawrinka in the last round
- Petra Kvitova (3) vs. Caroline Garcia (19). The Frenchwoman had a losing record on the year coming into this tournament, but already defeated Victoria Azarenka and Julia Goerges, and is 3-2 lifetime against Kvitova
- Caroline Wozniacki (13) vs. Su-Wei Hsieh (27), who took out World No.1 Naomi Osaka on Saturday
- Kiki Bertens (7) vs. Ash Barty (13). Barty is vying to enter the top 10 for the first time, as Bertens aims for her debut in the top five. Bertens is 0-2 against Barty.
Ons Jabeur Powers Past Tame Konta To Reach Australian Open Second Round
Ons Jabeur powered past Johanna Konta to book a place in the second round of the Australian Open.
Ons Jabeur powered past a tame Johanna Konta 6-4 6-2 to reach the second round at the Australian Open.
The Tunisian was in confident form as she dispatched an out-of-sorts Johanna Konta in a straight sets victory that lasted 63 minutes.
Next for Jabeur will be either Madison Brengle or Caroline Garcia while there were wins for Dayana Yastremska and Maria Sakkari early on day two.
It was a bright start for Jabeur as she brought her unconventional style to court as the Brit struggled with her opponent’s variety.
A break point was saved from the 12th seed as she looked to find some structure in a difficult match-up for the Brit, who lost to Jabeur in Eastbourne last season.
Plenty of power and good tactical serving was shown by Konta, who looked to create the space and power past Jabeur.
That worked to an extent but Jabeur’s confidence would soon pay off as her drop-shots and slices were causing the world number 12 problems.
Eventually a thumping forehand sealed the opening set for Tunisian as she grabbed the first break of the contest.
Despite losing the opening set, Konta dug in deep as she started to shorten points off in the net with good success as she broke to start the second set.
But once again Jabeur’s quick thinking and unconventional style caught Konta off-guard as some stunning returning sealed the break back.
There was only one winner after that moment as the Brit only managed to hold serve on one occasion in the second set.
As Konta fell apart, Jabeur embraced the occasion as she powered her way into the second round to play Madison Brengle or Caroline Garcia.
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 21, 2020
It was clear Konta was far from her best and a lot of fitness and match practice will be needed in order to thrive later in the season.
On the other hand, Jabeur’s confidence and unique game style will cause problems throughout the draw as she looks for another good season.
In other results on day two so far, there was a convincing win for Adelaide Dayana Yastremska as she thrashed Kaja Juvan 6-1 6-1.
The Ukrainian hit 11 winners as she set up a second round meeting with Caroline Wozniacki on Wednesday. There was also a 6-2 6-2 win for Maria Sakkari over Margarita Gasparyan.
Four breaks of serve secured the Greek’s place in the second round against Nao Hibino or Shuai Peng.
Novak Djokovic Overcomes Blip To Secure 900th Tour-Level Victory
Novak Djokovic advanced into the second round of the Australian Open by setting another milestone on Monday evening.
Novak Djokovic overcame a third set blip to secure his 900 tour-level victory after a 7-6(5) 6-2 2-6 6-1 win over Jan-Lennard Struff.
It wasn’t a vintage performance from the defending champion but he produced his best tennis when he needed to against a high-level opponent.
The four set win not only seals a place in the second round of the Australian Open but secures his 900th tour-level win.
Tatsuma Ito or Prajnesh Gunneswaran awaits Djokovic on Wednesday.
The Serb picked up from where he left the ATP Cup as he produced a stunning start to the match as he penetrated his forehand in the early stages.
Although Struff had an amazing 2019 season, he hasn’t yet brought his best tennis when playing the best in the world.
Looking to prove a point, the German managed to fend off Djokovic in the early stages before the defending champion raised his level.
Smooth and fast movement around the forehand as he whipped it with pace and power saw the world number two force a lot of errors from Struff.
Racing into a 5-2 lead, it looked like it would be another typical Djokovic performance in which he makes the strongest players average.
However the German refused to give up as he relied on his confidence from last season. Some magical shot-making and a lapse in concentration saw Struff claw his way back to 5-5 in the opening set.
There was a look of frustration on Djokovic’s face as Struff’s power saw him force a first set tiebreak which was eventually edged by the Serb 7-5.
After a nervy and bizarre opening set, the Serb was back to his best tennis in the second set dominating play from the back of the court, producing some sensational returning.
It was a flatter set from Struff though as he conceded two breaks of serve and fell to a two sets to love deficit in quick fashion.
Although Djokovic produced his best tennis in the second set, the third set was completely the opposite as he lacked concentration and intensity to allow his German opponent back into the match.
The world number 37 broke serve on three occasions as he became the first to take a set off Novak Djokovic in the first round of the Australian Open since 2006.
That resolve and mini-comeback ended as soon as it began though as Djokovic secured his 900th tour-level win after winning six of the last seven games.
After the match, Djokovic sounded proud of his latest milestone, “I’m obviously very proud of all the achievements but at the same time I try to remind myself of how grateful I should be,” Djokovic said in his on-court interview.
“Playing at a very high level in the sport I truly love. Can’t take things for granted, I’m trying to enjoy every moment.”
Although it wasn’t a vintage performance from last year’s champion, it was still a victory against a high-level opponent who was playing some hard-hitting tennis at times.
Next up for the second seed will either be Tatsuma Ito or Prajnesh Gunneswaran.
Elena Rybakina reaches her second consecutive final in 2020
Elena Rybakina beat British qualifier Heather Watson 6-3 4-6 6-4 after 2 hours and 16 minutes in the Hobart International semifinal setting up a final match against China’s Zhang Shuai.
Rybakina has become the first player to reach back-to-back finals in the first two weeks of the year since Agnieszka Radwanska in 2013. The Kazakh player finished runner-up to Ekaterina Alexandrova last week in Shenzhen.
Rybakina earned the first break in the first game, but Watson broke back with two forehand winners in the fourth game to draw level to 2-2. Rybakina broke for the second time with a crosscourt forehand in the fifth game to take a 3-2 lead and sealed the first set with another break on the first set point, as Watson hit her dropshot into the net.
Rybakina saved three break points with two aces and a service winner, but Watson converted her fourth chance with her forehand return winner.
Watson went up a double break with a forehand pass and held her serve to race out to a 5-1. Rybakina converted her second break point chance to claw her way back to 3-5.
Rybakina earned two break points in the 10th game, but Watson saved the first chance with a backhand winner before serving out the second set with consecutive service winners.
Watson saved a break point in the second game of the third set as Rybakina made a backhand error. Rybakina fended off a break point chance in the fifth game with a down-the-line backhand winner. Rybakina converted her second break point chance with a drop-shot winner on the match point.
“It was a really tough match. I was still missing all these balls in the second set. In the last few games I was playing really risky, and I am really happy that I won this match”, said Rybakina.
Rybakina set up a final against Zhang Shuai, who reached the third WTA final of her career after a 6-3 6-4 win over Veronika Kudemertova.
Zhang earned three break point chances at 2-1 with a backhand crosscourt winner and converted her first chance after Kudemertova sent her forehand wide. Kudemertova won two hard-fought service game at 4-2 and at 5-3. Zhang closed out the set on her second set point in the ninth game.
Both players held on their service games in the second set until 4-4. Zhang earned a break point in the ninth game, as Kudemertova made a forehand error. The Chinese player got the break, as Kudemertova made her forehand error. Kudemertova earned her first two break points of the match, as Zhang was serving for the match. Zhang held her serve at deuce, as Kudemertova missed returns on the next four points.
“The winter training went really good for me. Training with the national team, a lot of coaches helped me, so I was already ready before this tournament. I think all matches I played really well this week, and also a lot of the Chinese fans are coming to cheer for me, so I have had a lot of motivationto win”,said Zhang Shuai.
Dominic Thiem beats Adrian Mannarino to reach the second round in Melbourne for the fifth consecutive year
Endorsed By Federer And Nadal, Teenage Star Jannik Sinner Shines At Australian Open
Bad Behaviour Overshadows Fabio Fognini’s Epic Australian Open Win
Maria Sharapova Fuels Retirement Speculation After Australian Open Exit
Rafael Nadal Reacts To First Round Win At Australian Open
Roger Federer And Rafael Nadal Branded ‘Selfish’ As Fallout Over Australian Open Conditions Continue
Roger Federer Responds To Criticism From Environmental Activists
Rafael Nadal Undaunted By Growing Threat From The Next Gen
Rafael Nadal Seeks Improvement Ahead Of 2020 Season
L’Equipe names Rafael Nadal “Champion of Champions”
(VIDEO) Australian Open Day 1: Rain Causes Havoc, But Djokovic And Federer Still Shine
(VIDEO) Season’s Greetings From Ubitennis
(VIDEO) Davis Cup Round-Up: Rafael Nadal Leads Spain To Victory
(VIDEO) Davis Cup Day 2: Historic Day For Canada As Spain Prevail In Late-Night Thriller
(VIDEO) Roger Federer, Alexander Zverev Guide Europe To Laver Cup Glory
Latest news2 days ago
Tributes Start To Pour In For Caroline Wozniacki Ahead Of Australian Open Farewell
WTA3 days ago
Elena Rybakina claims the second title of her career in Hobart
ATP3 days ago
Roger Federer Plays Down Air Quality Concerns Ahead Of Australian Open
ATP3 days ago
Andrey Rublev starts the year with back-to-back titles in Doha and Adelaide
ATP1 day ago
Grigor Dimitrov Causes A Stir At Australian Open With Crazy Outfit
WTA3 days ago
Ashleigh Barty clinches the eighth title of her career in Adelaide
Grand Slam2 days ago
Australian Open Day 1 Preview: Five Must-See Matches
ATP2 days ago
Three Things We Learned From Novak Djokovic’s Pre-Australian Open Press Conference