Defending champion Angelique Kerber tumbled out of Wimbledon in disappointing fashion as she lost 2-6 6-2 6-1 to Lauren Davis.
It was an awful performance by the German. She made 31 unforced errors – a huge number for her – and won just 45% of all points played on her serve. In addition, the World No.5 only hit 13 winners.
At the other end, the heavily-taped-up American improved as the match went on. She hit eight winners and made 19 unforced errors during a first set when she was broken four times, but then struck more than double the number of winners (20) in the second set as she broke Kerber three times to level the match.
Davis, 25, dominated the decider. She cut down on unforced errors and held her serve more easily. This enabled her to attack Kerber’s serve and she did this to great effect by breaking the German three times.
The final break occurred in a lengthy game which proved to be the last of the match. Davis saved game point with a forehand down the line. She then hit a backhand winner to earn her first match point.
Kerber saved it by outlasting the American in a long rally. She then earned two more game points, but she was too passive on the first one and Davis hit a winner, and she made an error on the second one. It was typical of the match.
With the score at deuce again, the German was still in the match. But that did not last long, as the defending champion made two more unforced errors to hand a famous victory to her opponent.
Davis relishes win over Kerber
“This means everything to me,” Davis said in her post-match interview. “This is what I work for. It was a really tough match and I was a bit nervous.”
She continued, “In the first set I slid and hurt my foot. I thought, ‘Oh God, worst timing’. But I’m so happy that I won. It’s almost surreal.”
The American has endured a tough time in the last 12 months. She plummeted to World No.264 last October, but she battled her way up to a high-enough ranking to compete in Wimbledon qualifying.
Davis lost in the third round in Roehampton to Kristie Ahn. However, a few withdrawals enabled her to take her place in the Ladies Singles’ Draw as a lucky loser. Now she will face Carla Suarez-Navarro in the last 32.
“Dropping that much in the rankings has made this all the more fulfilling,” Davis said. “(My belief) is always there. I definitely have some doubts but deep down I know I can do it.”
As Bushfires Rages, The Australian Open Is Left In Limbo
The upcoming grand slam leaves a sense of uncertainty for both players and fans
On Saturday Novak Djokovic endorsed the idea of potentially delaying the start of the Australian Open and with good reason too.
The country has been battling devastating bushfires since September. Resulting in the loss of life, homes being destroyed and thousands of acres of land being burnt. In the midst of it all, Australians are getting on with everyday life. Although concerns are mounting about air quality, especially when it comes to major sporting events.
Fires burning from the East of Melbourne Park have had a negative impact on its air quality. Just over 300 KM away from the sporting venue is the town of Bright. On Sunday, authorities declared the area as having a hazardous air quality rating. On the same day Wangaratta (257KM away) had a ‘very poor’ air rating.
“They’re obviously tracking the situation every single day as it’s evolving and hopefully calming down with the smoke and fires,” World No.2 Djokovic told reporters when discussing the idea of delaying the Australian Open.
“I think they will, if it continues the same way and if the quality of air is affected… I think Tennis Australia probably will be forced to, I think, create some rules about it.
“I mean, it’s tough for them because scheduling has to be respected in terms of play and the Australian Open starts at a certain time, so there’s a lot of different things involved.
“But health is a concern for me and for anybody.”
Tennis Australia find themselves in a difficult situation. Wheather conditions get better or worse over the coming days are down to mother nature. The Environment Protection Agency (EPA) has warned that Melbourne’s air quality could be ‘hazardous‘ on Monday. This is due to the haze spreading from fires burning in Tasmania.
Tennis tournaments have already been affected by the current conditions. A Challenger event in Canberra, who recorded the worst air pollution rating in the world earlier this week, was moved to Bendigo. Meanwhile, at the ATP Cup in Sydney on Sunday, the city had a rating of 150 on the Air Quality Index at 15:00. Meaning is is ‘unhealthy for sensitive groups.’ It if had reached 151, it would have been declared unhealthy for all.
“Obviously I’ve seen it a little bit more now [after the match] – it’s definitely not pleasant,” Grigor Dimitrov said following his singles match on Sunday. “I even noticed [the smoke haze] this morning when we were going to warm-up, the court was a little more dustier than it was the previous days. It is what it is … we can control only what we can.”
The smoke haze in Sydney has noticeably got worse over the past hour or so. The view towards the SCG… pic.twitter.com/BDArHpgsHe
— Stuart Fraser (@stu_fraser) January 5, 2020
It is unclear as to if or what organizers will do at the Australian Open to deal with a potential threat posed by the haze. One idea mentioned by Kevin Anderson, who is the vice-president of the ATP Players council, is to continuously monitor the air quality throughout. Although the prospect of delaying the Australian Open remains unlikely.
“First and foremost it has been so sad to see everything that has been going on, to see the extent of it (bushfires),” Anderson said.
“A distant second is the air quality and us being able to perform.
“But it is hazardous. I think that is one of the concerns.
“Hopefully it won’t be an issue but if it is we will definitely need to have that conversation about whether it is dangerous to be out there.”
Former Doubles Star Backs Daniil Medvedev For Australian Open Glory
The 16-time men’s grand slam doubles champion believes the Russian has what it takes to topple Rafael Nadal and Co.
Russia’s Daniil Medvedev is the player to end the dominance of the Big Three in grand slam tennis, according to former world No.1 doubles player Todd Woodbridge.
The 23-year-old has been picked by the Australian as his favourite to win the upcoming Australian Open. Medvedev has rapidly risen up the ranks following a successful second half of 2019 where he reached six consecutive finals on the ATP Tour. Including the US Open where he took Rafael Nadal to five sets in the title match. Despite experiencing a wobble towards the end of the season, he has finished the year in the world’s top five for the first time in his career.
“I’m going with Medvedev,” Woodbridge told Nine’s World Wide of Sport.
“That run he had through the US Open was just phenomenal. I think he believes, I reckon he thinks he can get into a final and take those guys out.
“He’s also the most dynamic of that group. He’s going to run all day long, he’s going to keep that ball going.”
2020 has been billed by many as the potential year where there could be a change in the guard at the top of men’s tennis. Other challengers to the Big Three include ATP Finals champion Stefanos Tsitsipas, two-time French Open finalist Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev. However, breaking the dominance of the trio will be easier said than done.
Consisting of Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer, the Big Three have won 51 out of the last 59 grand slam tournaments. At least one of them have featured in the final in 57 out of the last 59 majors. Furthermore, Since 2004 Andy Murray is the only player outside of the trio to have clinched the year-end No.1 spot back in 2016. Something Medvedev hopes to one day achieve.
“I have been thinking about it (the No.1 spot) since I was six-years-old, but the thing is that I’m not obsessed with it,” He explained during a recent interview with Ubitennis. “For example, if I was 40 and during my career, I achieved a best ranking of number two in the world, It would not change my life completely.’
“Of course working hard and playing so many tournaments you want to achieve the best ranking possible.” He added.
Looking ahead to the Australian Open, Medvedev is hoping to build upon the confidence he gained in 2019. Where he won more matches on the ATP Tour than any other player. Only two Russian men have ever won the Melbourne major. Yevgeny Kafelnikov triumphed in 1999 and Marat Safin in 2005.
“Being in the grand slam final makes you confident for the next grand slam, because you know it’s possible to achieve it,” Medvedev told the Australian Associated Press.
“Before the US Open, the fourth round was my best result, so maybe I wasn’t sure about myself at grand slams and five-set matches.
“Now I know that it’s possible, but the other question is, is it going to happen again? I’m going to try to do my best.”
The Australian Open will get underway on January 20th.
Kei Nishikori To Miss Australian Open
There is bad news for fans of the Japanese tennis star.
Japanese No.1 Kei Nishikori has suffered a blow to the start of his 2020 season after deciding to withdraw from two key events next month.
The world No.13 has announced his withdrawal from both the ATP Cup and Australian Open due to an ongoing injury. Nishikori hasn’t played a match on the tour since his third round loss at the US Open in September. He has been sidelined from action due to a right elbow issue that continues to cause him problems. He underwent surgery on his elbow in October.
“Unfortunately I have to pull out of the ATP Cup and the Aussie Open,” Nishikori said in a statement.
“Today, together with my team, we have made this decision as I am still not 100 per cent ready or healthy to compete at the highest level.
“This decision was not taken lightly as Australia is one of my favourite places to compete,” he added.
Nishikori reached the quarter-finals of the Australian Open this year for the fourth time in his career. He was also forced to pull out of the event in 2018 due to a wrist injury. Due to his upcoming absence, he will be unable to defend his 360 ranking points previously won at the major.
There has been speculation in recent weeks that the 30-year-old would miss next months grand slam in Melbourne. Earlier this month, he stated that his goal was to be fully fit for the second half of next year. He had also recently pulled out of an exhibition event in Hawaii.
“The prospect of a return from surgery on right elbow in January. Maybe February. In the second half of next year I want to be able to play well.” Nikkan Sports quoted Nishikori as saying on December 4th.
“I don’t want to overdo it,” he added.
Nishikori embarks upon the new year with a change in his team. In November he added former world No.1 doubles player Max Mirnyi to his coaching staff. He will also continue his collaboration with Michael Chang.
The Australian Open will start on January 20th.
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