The Australian Open would not be the Australian Open without a good measure of drama and epic m...
The Australian Open would not be the Australian Open without a good measure of drama and epic matches now, would it? From unfortunate collapses in the stands to giant killings of the highest order, the 1st week down under has made for compelling viewing for fans worldwide with many talking points to ponder about.
Azarenka Is BACK!
2012 and 2013 champion, Victoria Azarenka has had something of a renaissance in the last few months after a severely injury ravaged 2 years or so. She signalled her return to form with her first title since 2013 at Brisbane earlier this season, and has carried that form into the first major of the year.
|Azarenka back after almost 2 years battle with injury|
She opened with a ruthless double bagel against Alison Van Uytvanck and dropped just 5 points I her other 2 matches as she cruised into the 4th round.
Surely, she must be regarded as favourite alongside Maria Sharapova, to pose a serious threat to Serena Williams’ quest for glory.
SHOCKS All Round
Okay, maybe not so much in the Men’s half but the carnage in the Women’s draw has been a thing of beauty, depending on how you look at it. Of the original top 10 seeds, only Serena Williams, Agnieszka Radwanska, Maria Sharapova, Angelique Kerber and Carlos Suarez Navarro live to fight another week in Melbourne.
|Rafael Nadal walks away after crashing out against Fernando Verdasco|
The men’s draw hasn’t been completely exempted from the spate of upsets however, as Rafael Nadal and Marin Cilic have both failed to scale through to the 2nd week in Melbourne.
While Daria Gavrilova contriving to lose to Carlos Suarez Navarro despite winning the first set 6-0 is a collapse in its own right, it got more literal in the stands this week as there were 3 reports of medical emergencies in the stands, two of them coming in matches involving Ana Ivanovic.
A patron fell earlier in the week halting play for about 20 mins, but it got even more frightening when Nigel Sears, Ana’s coach and Andy Murray’s father-in-law collapsed in the player’s box while she led 6-4 1-0 against Madison Keys.
The Serb was clearly shaken by the incident as she struggled and eventually fell to the American in three sets but can take solace from the fact that Nigel is okay and is close to being released from Hospital
Novak Djokovic’s total domination of the Men’s game in the last few years has basically rendered Roger Federer’s quest for an 18th major title rather unlikely. The Swiss maestro however has shown superbly in the 1st week in Melbourne completely outclassing all opponents, dropping just 1 set to Grigor Dimitrov.
|The world No 1 made 100 unforced errors, and showed he can be beaten, but still did just enough to win|
Novak on the other hand has looked quite faillible and came agonisingly close to crashing out in an epic 5-set battle with Giles Simon.
Giles Simon claimed he had the support of everyone in the locker room, and while Tomas Berdych has moved to deny such claims, the players surely must be sick of the Serb’s total domination of the men’s game now.
New Kids On The Block
The 2016 Australian Open has been an absolute fairytale for 26 year old Shuai Zhang. The Chinese qualifier couldn’t have gotten a tougher draw in the first round as she went up against World No.2, Simona Halep. The occasion didn’t seem to faze her however, as she produced a tears inducing display to see of the Romanian 6-4, 6-3.
She took the form into the 2nd round, getting past Alize Cornet and now prepares to face Madison Keys in the 4th round.
It wasn’t all about Zhang however as Nami Osaka also went on a fairytale run, seeing off Caroline Wozniacki in the 1st round before falling to the Azarenka express in the 3rd round. It would also prove to be an unforgettable tournament for Daria ‘Dasha’ Gavrilova as she produced resilient performances, wowing home fans.