Sunday, January 13, 2013

Radwanska cruises to Sydney triumph

Updated January 11, 2013 22:26:54

Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska claimed back-to-back WTA titles in spectacular style with a 6-0, 6-0 demolition of Dominika Cibulkova to win the Sydney International.

A week after winning the Auckland tournament, Radwanska lived up to her billing as top seed in Sydney as she claimed her 11th career WTA crown.

Cibulkova had proved somewhat of a giant-killer in a surprise run to the final, but she was no match for Radwanska in a ruthless display by the world number four on Ken Rosewall Arena.

"I'm just extremely happy that I could play my best tennis ... and not even dropping a set so definitely another great week for me and happy I could play on a really high level." Radwanska said.

While the first set was more competitive than the score suggested, Radwanska constantly frustrated the 15th-ranked Cibulkova, countering the Slovakian's power with patience and precision.

The second set seemingly could not end soon enough for Cibulkova, with Radwanska wrapping up the match in just under an hour.

Chasing a first major singles title after reaching the Wimbledon final last year, Radwanska now heads into the Australian Open with a perfect preparation.

In winning two titles and nine matches from nine attempts, she did not drop a set along the way, raising hope she can mix it with the likes of Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams in Melbourne.

Radwanska, the fourth seed in Melbourne, faces Australian qualifier Bojana Bobusic in the opening round.

Despite a horror performance in the final, Cibulkova will arrive at the Open after a run of encouraging results.

She ousted 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and German second seed Angelique Kerber en route to the final in Sydney.


Tags: tennis, sport, sydney-2000

First posted January 11, 2013 20:48:29

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Sharapova out of Brisbane International

Updated January 01, 2013 20:24:49

Maria Sharapova has pulled out of the Brisbane International with a collarbone injury but last year's Australian Open finalist still expects to play in 2013's first major in two weeks.

The four-time major singles winner, who had a bye in the opening round, was due to play her first match on Wednesday but called a media conference to announce her withdrawal this afternoon.

The French Open champion also pulled out of an exhibition match against Caroline Wozniacki at the end of December in Seoul because of a similar injury.

The injury to the Russian star's right collarbone left her unable to hit overhead shots and it was deemed too early in her rehabilitation process for her to play competitively.

"I haven't given myself a chance to hit any serves or anything over my head," Sharapova said.

"I've just been practising groundstrokes - I just ran out of time here.

"It is feeling much better. Soon I will be able to do all the things that I have to.

"I still have quite a bit of time for the Australian Open and I'm on the right track and training really well and I don't want to jeopardise what I've gained in the off-season so far and I just need to make a smart move now.

"It is much more important to be healthy than go out and play a lot of matches. Last year was a good example."

Sharapova, who also withdrew from this event last year due to injury, will now head to Melbourne and will not take part in any warm-up tournaments ahead of the Australian Open.

Brisbane tournament director Cameron Pearson says Sharapova had made every effort to play.

"We feel for Maria because we saw first-hand how badly she wanted to play for the people of Brisbane," he said.

"She has been fantastic since she got here and worked hard in the gym, on court and in the medical room to do everything she could to get herself right."

The chief beneficiary of Sharapova's withdrawal is Australia's Jarmila Gajdosova who was set to play the world number two in the second round.

Gajdosova will now meet a lucky loser for the right to play Daniela Hantuchova, who beat fifth seed Sara Errani 4-6, 6-1, 7-5.

Meanwhile, the tournament saw another high-profile attraction fall by the wayside with 2011 champion Petra Kvitova bowing out in the second round.

The Czech sixth seed lost in straight sets to Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4, 7-5.

Kazakh Ksenia Pervak, who upset Wozniacki on Monday, continued her winning run with a 3-6, 6-2, 7-6 (8-6) triumph over Poland's Urszula Radwanska.


Tags: sport, tennis, brisbane-4000

First posted January 01, 2013 15:56:33

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Tomic through to Sydney final

Updated January 11, 2013 20:11:55

Bernard Tomic progressed to his first ATP World Tour final with a straight-sets defeat of Italian Andreas Seppi at the Sydney International on Friday.

Tomic prevailed 7-6 (12-10), 6-4, having secured a vital break in the ninth game of the second set against the third-seeded Seppi that allowed him to serve for the match.

He will face Kevin Anderson in Saturday's final, the South African having advanced after beating Julien Benneteau of France 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (10-8).

If he beats the unseeded Anderson, Tomic will become the first Australian winner in Sydney since Lleyton Hewitt in 2005 and the first 20-year-old to hoist the trophy since the great Roger Federer in 2002.

"Obviously [it was] a tough match, feeling a little bit tired now but that's what happens at the end of tournaments," Tomic told Grandstand.

"You don't feel as best you can but you've got to prepare for the next match and I'm into the final now and hopefully I can win my first title tomorrow."

The triumph continues an unbeaten start to 2013 for Tomic, who was undefeated at last week's Hopman Cup in Perth.

His run in Sydney, regardless of the outcome of Saturday's final, is likely to arrest his rankings slide that saw him drop 12 places in the rankings to 64 this week.

Tomic chose not to defend the points he earned at last year's Brisbane International, where he made the semi-finals.

The lanky Australian certainly displayed some of Hewitt's fighting spirit to get to the final, having overcome heat stress in 40 degrees Celsius on-court temperatures.

After calling for the ATP trainer while leading 5-4 in the opening set, Tomic complained of dizziness and then had to fend off six break points - or mini set points - at 5-5.

Tomic then saved four set points in the tiebreaker before snatching it when Seppi dumped a forehand into the net after 55 minutes.

Seppi, who led Novak Djokovic by two sets to love at last year's French Open, was also the first to falter in the second set.

He dropped serve in the ninth game to give Tomic a 5-4 advantage and the Australian had no trouble closing out the match after one hour, 23 minutes.

"It was very hot and I was struggling out there but I managed to find myself and lucky I won that first set and started feeling better, and started to execute my shots and feeling good," Tomic said.

"I'm happy the feeling went away and I'll be ready for tomorrow night's final."


Tags: tennis, sport, sydney-2000

First posted January 11, 2013 17:49:03

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Stosur suffers upset loss in Brisbane

Updated January 01, 2013 07:45:49

Former US Open champion Samantha Stosur's miserable Australian form continued on New Year's Eve when she was knocked out of the first round of the Brisbane International by Sweden's Sofia Arvidsson.

Arvidsson took full advantage of 48 unforced errors from the Australian number one to win 7-6 (7-4), 7-5 on Pat Rafter Arena.

Stosur, who grew up on the nearby Gold Coast, has struggled to live up to expectations when playing in her home tournament and has not made it past the second round in four attempts.

She has also failed to make an impression at the Australian Open, last year losing in the first round to Romania's Sorana Cirstea as sixth seed.

Stosur began confidently against Arvidsson but fell away dramatically as her error rate climbed and despite fighting hard to stay in the match, she never seriously threatened the Swede.

"Part of it can be put down to being a bit rusty and it's the first match of the year," Stosur said.

Meanwhile in the men's draw, Australia's top-ranked Marinko Matosevic lost out to Japan's fifth seed Kei Nishikori 7-5, 6-2.

Elsewhere in the men's draw, sixth seed Florian Mayer beat Santiago Giraldo of Colombia 6-4, 6-4 and Finland's Jarkko Nieminen outlasted Frenchman Julien Benneteau 6-3, 2-6, 6-1.

Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis defeated Australian wildcard Ben Mitchell 6-4, 6-4 in the final match of the night.

Earlier, former world number one Caroline Wozniacki lost valuable Australian Open match practice when she lost to Kazakhstan qualifier Ksenia Pervak.

In a titanic battle lasting two hours and 48 minutes, left-handed Pervak eased past Wozniacki 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-1) in the first shock of the season-opening WTA tournament.

Eighth-seeded Wozniacki had looked in control as she reeled off the first set in just 29 minutes.

But the Russian-born Pervak found her range in the second set and had the Dane constantly under pressure with her swinging left-handed groundstrokes.

She won the set to level the match then stunned Wozniacki in the deciding set with an all-out attack.

"I had a really tough match yesterday, we played for three hours and I was tired in the beginning," Pervak said.

"But then I got into the game (and) it was easy. I won a few games and I felt that I can do it and I started to fight more."

Pervak said she knew she could not give the more experienced Wozniacki any cheap points in the tie-break.

"I just told myself that I needed to be focused on every point and just play my game as aggressively as I could," she said.

Wozniacki will play in Sydney next week in a last-ditch bid to find some form ahead of the January 14-27 Australian Open in Melbourne.

"Obviously you're a competitor so you want to win and you're not happy about it when you lose, no matter who you lose to or how you lose," she said.

"I fought until the end today. Maybe I didn't play my best tennis today, but it's tough to expect that from yourself in your first match back.

"Hopefully I can now play some practice matches with some of the other girls here and then go to Sydney and hopefully get a couple more there."

It was 21-year-old Pervak's first win over a top 10 player and the first time she has been past the first round in Brisbane in four attempts.

Fourth seed Angelique Kerber survived a tough three-setter against Georgia's Anna Tatishvili, winning 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, while German compatriot Sabine Lisicki had a more straightforward 6-2, 6-4 win over Czech Lucie Safarova.

French Open runner-up and fifth seed Sara Errani thumped Russia's Olga Puchkova 6-1, 6-3.


Tags: tennis, sport, brisbane-4000

First posted December 31, 2012 22:10:12

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Anderson, Benneteau into Sydney semis

Updated January 10, 2013 16:29:37

Tall timber Kevin Anderson will be looking to cut down a few big names at next week's Australian Open after the unseeded South African continued his run of good form to reach the Sydney International semi-finals.

The 2.03m Anderson, who is only shaded by the likes John Isner and Ivo Karlovic as the tallest man on the ATP tour, proved too strong for Denis Istomin in their quarter-final on Thursday, downing the Uzbek 6-4, 6-3.

He will meet Julien Benneteau in a semi-final on Friday after the Frenchman eased to a 6-4, 6-2 win over American qualifier Ryan Harrison.

Anderson has enjoyed a strong start to the year, winning two from three of his singles matches at the Hopman Cup, the only loss at the hands of world number eight Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in two tiebreaker sets.

The Hopman Cup proved something of a mixed blessing for Anderson, who chose to play in Perth ahead of the ATP tournament in Brisbane.

Good results in Brisbane could have seen the world number 36 move into the top 32 available players for the Australian Open, earning a seeding at Melbourne Park in the process.

"It was pretty tricky," Anderson said of deciding where to start his year.

"As things turned out I wasn't too far off from being seeded at the Australian. So I think that was biggest downside from not playing.

"But I chose to play (the Hopman Cup) before I knew that (possibility)."

With a booming serve and capable volley, Anderson looms as a player the seeds will be looking to avoid in the early rounds at Melbourne.

Benneteau, a journeyman who has spent 13 years on tour and is without a singles title from seven finals, was also impressive.

A losing finalist in Sydney last year to Finn Jarkko Nieminen, Benneteau discovered on Thursday morning he would be the beneficiary of Isner's injury-enforced withdrawal from the Australian Open, the 35th-ranked Frenchman elevated to the 32nd and last seeding.

"For sure it's better (to be seeded) but it doesn't mean that you are going to win some matches at the Australian Open," Benneteau said.


Tags: tennis, sport, sydney-2000, nsw, australia

First posted January 10, 2013 16:29:37

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Tomic wins all-Australian clash

Updated January 09, 2013 11:13:15

Swimming star James Magnussen has jumped on the Bernie Tomic bandwagon and at this rate the rest of the country will too.

Magnussen was a conspicuous observer in Tomic's courtside front-row box as the 20-year-old claimed bragging rights with a convincing victory over outclassed Australian number one Marinko Matosevic at the Sydney International on Tuesday night.

Tomic reigned 6-3, 6-4 in the much-hyped clash of the Davis Cup outcasts to continue his impressive unbeaten start to the summer.

"James Magnussen, thanks for coming out mate," Tomic said as he basked in the glory of his latest triumph.

Tomic found himself offside with Australian fans after a series of meek performances and off-court controversies in 2012, but he has taken no time this summer to win back respect and credibility.

His victory over Matosevic follows three at the Hopman Cup in Perth, including a stunning straight-sets dispatch of world No.1 Novak Djokovic.

"Hopefully I can keep this tennis up and do better," he said.

"I think I'm extremely strong now. I played not too bad today. I'm happy with my performance leading in from the Hopman Cup and I can't ask for anything better."

Apart from being able to seize back his Australian top ranking if he goes on to win the tournament, Tomic's immediate reward is a second-round shot at redemption against Florian Mayer on Wednesday.

Mayer clubbed Tomic in straight sets in Australia's Davis Cup World Group playoff loss in Hamburg last September.

It was during that drubbing that Tomic and Cup coach Tony Roche were involved in an animated courtside exchange - all in front of unimpressed captain Pat Rafter.

Rafter had already dumped Matosevic for the Hamburg tie because of his poor attitude earlier last year and took similar disciplinary action against Tomic, suspending the youngster from next month's Cup tie in Taiwan.

By the time Tomic and Matosevic hit the court for their twilight showdown, temperature had dipped somewhat from the scorching 41 degrees it had been earlier on Monday.

Tomic was strong around the court, while the crucial difference was Matosevic's poor second serve which made it harder for the Melbourne-based player to stay in the game.

Matosevic won 75 per cent of points when he got his first serve in, but only 40 per cent on second serve - a figure that was not good enough to hold off his powerful opponent.

The first turning point in the match came in the fourth game of the opening set, when ended after 11 minutes when Tomic finally converted a break point to go ahead 3-1.

Games then went on serve until the ninth game, when Tomic broke again to take the set 6-3 in 36 minutes.

Both player went hard at it in the second set, until the pivotal fifth game. Matosevic quickly found himself 0-40 down, and a slashing forehand winner down the line gave Tomic the decisive break at 3-2.

Matosevic saved a match point in the ninth game to hold for 4-5, but Tomic went up 40-15 on serve and only needed one more match point to draw an unforced error from his opponent to end the match after 73 minutes.


Tags: sport, tennis, sydney-2000, nsw, australia

First posted January 08, 2013 19:30:41

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Nishikori in doubt for Australian Open

Updated January 09, 2013 15:59:46

The Australian Open tennis campaign of Japanese star Kei Nishikori may well be over before it has begun.

The world number 18 has succumbed to a knee injury and pulled out of the Kooyong Classic lead-up event, due to begin on Wednesday.

Nishikori, an Australian Open quarter-finalist last year and winner of the Japan Open, withdrew from last week's Brisbane International and said on Tuesday he had not yet tested his knee.

However, after hitting at Melbourne Park, he felt he was not fit enough to compete at Kooyong and will use the remainder of the week undergoing intensive treatment to try to play in the Open.

Nishikori has been replaced in the field at Kooyong by Croatian Ivan Dodig, a 28-year-old ranked 74 in the world.

Despite the issue, the Japanese was upbeat about his chances of taking his place in the Open field.

"It's not bad - let's cross the fingers and hopefully it will be okay," he said.

Nishikori is the second player to withdraw from the exhibition event before its start.

Earlier, world number 12 Juan Monaco of Argentina pulled out on the eve of the tournament due to a hand problem.

Tournament director Colin Stubs said Monaco's management told him they were uncertain how serious the problem was but doctors had advised him not to play in the next few days.

Monaco's spot in the eight-man field was taken by world number 58 Paul-Henri Mathieu of France.


Tags: sport, tennis, melbourne-3000, japan

First posted January 09, 2013 11:09:13

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Australian Open could see more drop-outs

Updated January 09, 2013 18:30:33

American John Isner and world number nine Janko Tipsarevic are both in doubt for the Australian Open with injuries clouding their warm-up campaigns.

Isner admitted he may have to withdraw from the first grand slam of 2013 after he was troubled by a knee injury in a frustrating loss at the Sydney International.

Men's top seed Isner was beaten by compatriot Ryan Harrison 6-4, 6-4 in a second round match on Wednesday.

The world number 13 was feeling the effects of a knee problem picked up late last year and also admitted to being put off by the ATP's controversial new timing rules.

Isner came into the match with a wear and tear bone bruising injury on his right knee and, while it reacted better than expected, he feared he could make it worse by playing in Melbourne next week.

It means the big-serving American could opt out of the season's first grand slam and rest ahead of the US's opening-round Davis Cup clash with Brazil next month.

"I've got a decision to make shortly," Isner said.

"It was a lot better than it was six days ago but it wasn't 100 per cent. It needs rest is what it needs."

The 27 year-old said he would not be able to practice at the level required ahead of the Open and planned to make a call in the coming days.

"I could play (in Melbourne), you know. Certainly I could win a match maybe, a match or two," Isner said

"But I don't see myself winning the whole tournament at this point, that's for sure."

Isner became the latest in a string of players to criticise the ATP's recent crackdown strictly enforcing the amount of time players have between points.

He received a warning for breaching the 25-second limit during the first set and felt rushed throughout the match.

"You know, for someone who sweats a lot like me ... I felt like I could never go to the towel," Isner said.

"The umpire was (pointing at his watch) the whole match.

"I don't particularly like that rule, that's for sure, because it messed with my rhythm, my flow, and I'm sure it's doing that to a lot of other players, too."

Meanwhile Tipsarevic became the third player in 24 hours to pull out of the eight-man Kooyong Classic exhibition event with injury on Wednesday.

Just three days after winning the Chennai Open in India - and five days out from the Open - the Serbian quit the lead-in event on the opening day complaining of a wrist injury.

Tipsarevic was trailing Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis 1-6, 0-1 in his first match when he said he was unable to continue.

He said he was playing with the aid of painkillers when he scored his victory over Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut in the Chennai Open final on Sunday.

The Kooyong tournament was battered by the withdrawal of star players as it got underway.

Japan's Kei Nishikori, ranked 18 in the world, pulled out when unable to shake off the knee injury which forced him to forfeit his Brisbane International semi-final spot last week.

He said he only began hitting again on Tuesday and quickly realised he would not be able to play at Kooyong.

The Japan Open winner was undergoing intensive treatment in a bid to be fit to play next week's Open and was replaced in the Kooyong Classic field by Croatia's world number 74 Ivan Dodig.

Juan Monaco, the Argentinian world number 12, was the first player to pull out.

Monaco told tournament director Colin Stubs on Tuesday that he would not be able to line up due to a hand injury.

He was uncertain how serious the problem was but doctors had advised him not to play in the next few days.

Monaco's spot in the eight-man field was taken by world number 58 Paul-Henri Mathieu of France who lost his first match to Juan Martin del Potro.


Tags: tennis, sport, melbourne-3000, australia, vic

First posted January 09, 2013 18:30:33

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Stepanek pulls out of Brisbane International

Updated January 01, 2013 14:50:19

Former champion Radek Stepanek has pulled out of Tuesday night's first-round Brisbane International clash with Lleyton Hewitt due to an eye infection.

Russian lucky loser Igor Kunitsyn will replace veteran Czech Stepanek, the former world number eight, handing Hewitt a slightly easier path to the second round in his first match of the summer.

Eccentric world number 31 Stepanek, 34, had enjoyed a Midas touch in Brisbane, claiming the 2009 title and making the 2010 final.

Eighth-seeded Slovakian Martin Klizan is also out after suffering a straight-sets first-round loss to Uzbekistan's Denis Istomin.

World number 30 Klizan should have arrived in Brisbane with a spring in his step after being named 2012's ATP Newcomer of the Year.

Slovakia's top-ranked player had a breakthrough 2012 in which the big-serving left hander won his first ATP World Tour title.

But the 23-year-old looked out of sorts in an erratic display and world number 43 Istomin showed no mercy, wrapping up the match 6-1, 6-2 in just 70 minutes.

Istomin - the first player from Uzbekistan to finish the year in the world top 50 - ensured Klizan endured a nightmare start to 2013.

Istomin will play the winner of Hewitt's clash with world number 162 Kunitsyn.


Tags: tennis, sport, brisbane-4000, qld, australia

First posted January 01, 2013 14:50:19

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Sharapova all set for Brisbane

Updated December 27, 2012 13:46:26

Brisbane International organisers have been assured Maria Sharapova will start her Australian Open campaign in Queensland despite her withdrawal from a Korean exhibition match with a neck injury.

The world number two was scheduled to play Caroline Wozniacki in Seoul on Friday but pulled out after waking up with a strained neck.

The Russian has a history of withdrawing from the first WTA event of the new year in Queensland, having twice before scratched herself due to injury.

However Sharapova's manager has contacted tournament director Cameron Pearson to allay any fears of another Brisbane withdrawal.

Pearson said the four-time grand slam winner and reigning French Open champion was now flying straight to Brisbane and would arrive on Friday morning, two days earlier than previously expected.

Sharapova revealed her injury worry on her Facebook page and said she pulled out of the one-off exhibition clash as a precaution.

"For everyone in Korea, I'm sorry I had to withdraw from my exhibition match," she wrote.

"I woke up the other day with a neck pain and, after doing a few tests, the doctor wants me to take the next few days without any playing."

The news comes a week after there were concerns about Serena Williams overcoming foot surgery to play in Brisbane.

Williams' agent has also assured organisers the 15-time major champion would line up in the strong women's field for Brisbane, which boasts eight of the world's top 10, including top-ranked Victoria Azarenka and local hope Samantha Stosur.


Tags: sport, tennis, brisbane-4000, qld, australia

First posted December 27, 2012 13:15:09

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Sharapova fit and ready for Open

Updated January 11, 2013 19:26:16

Maria Sharapova's quest for a second Australian Open title was strengthened on Friday as she received a favourable draw and declared herself fully recovered from injury.

The Russian world number two withdrew from last week's Brisbane International to rest her injured right collarbone that had prevented her serving and hitting overheads in practise.

But the 25-year-old, chasing a fifth grand slam title, says the precautionary move has paid off and she will be heading into the tournament well prepared.

"I'm feeling really good and ready to go and healthy," Sharapova said.

"I didn't have enough time to prepare for Brisbane - I've had a few extra days. It's been nice to get to Melbourne early."

Sharapova was the big winner in Friday's draw as her two major rivals, Victoria Azarenka and Serena Williams, landed together in the top half of the draw.

The Russian, runner-up to Azarenka last year, will meet countrywoman Olga Puchkova in the opening round.

She shares the bottom half with number four Agnieszka Radwanska, number five Angelique Kerber and number six 6 Li Na and could meet Venus Williams in the third round, but insists she is not concerned.

"I don't pay attention too much to the draws because we could face anyone from the first round to the finals and you have to be ready to face that opponent," said Sharapova, who could also meet Australian ninth seed Samantha Stosur in the semi-finals.

The draw set up the exciting prospect of a semi-final match-up between defending champion Azarenka and title favourite Serena Williams.

Azarenka has lost 11 of her 12 matches against Williams, who increased her career haul to 15 major singles titles last year by winning at Wimbledon and the US Open.

Williams has won five Australian titles, more than any other woman in the Open era, and is in dominant form after winning 35 of her past 36 matches.

Azarenka has a first-round match against Romania's Monica Niculescu and is in the same quarter as former number one-ranked Caroline Wozniacki and seventh-seeded Sara Errani.

Williams will play Edina Gallovits-Hall of Romania first up and is in the same quarter as 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and 19-year-old American Sloane Stephens, who is seeded 29th.


Tags: australian-open, tennis, sport, melbourne-3000

First posted January 11, 2013 19:23:28

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Tomic stuns Djokovic in Hopman Cup

Updated January 03, 2013 07:13:41

Bernard Tomic produced the performance of his career so far and set a marker down ahead of the Australian Open by beating Novak Djokovic in straight sets in the Hopman Cup.

Tomic looked the better player in both sets breaking the world number one in the ninth game in each stanza to run out the winner 6-4, 6-4.

Looking in career-best shape, Tomic served impeccably and matched the incredibly fit Serbian ace around the court.

The winning point epitomised Tomic's performance hitting an audacious cross-court backhand winner from beyond the baseline.

"This is especially something I needed before the Australian Open," Tomic said.

"I'm playing the best tennis I've played the last few years. So I'm really happy with myself.

"I'm just happy that after training the last few months, this is all coming good.

"The training's paying off. It's a huge feeling to do this."

After a 2012 where Tomic fell foul of Davis Cup captain Pat Rafter and dropped out of the top 50 from a career high 27, the 20-year-old put in a display suggesting he may reach his potential this year.

Tomic had lost all of his previous eight competitive games against the big four in men's tennis, including three games against Djokovic.

The reigning Australian Open champion was full of praise for his opponent, making no excuses for his defeat.

"I've been saying the last couple of years that he's right up there with the up-and-coming players," Djokovic said.

"He's very talented and he knows the game really well. He plays very well for somebody of his age.

"Obviously for him, it's important to be consistent to be successful throughout the whole year.

"He's been playing really well in Australia, but he wasn't managing to maintain that level.

"It's up to him to see how he can adjust to the many different surfaces, but he definitely has the game."

In the second match of the quarter-final tie against Serbia, Ana Ivanovic defeated Ashleigh Barty 6-2, 6-3 to level the score at one apiece.

Tomic and Barty could not complete a shock win against the tournament favourites, as the pair lost a tight doubles match against Djokovic and Ivanovic 6-4, 6-7 (8-10), 10-6 after a match tie-break.

Tags: sport, tennis, perth-6000, australia

First posted January 02, 2013 22:24:12

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Top seeds progress in Auckland

Updated January 01, 2013 20:59:47

Agnieszka Radwanska and Julia Goerges moved easily into the second round of the WTA event in Auckland.

Radwanska, the top seed and world number four, quickly disposed of former Auckland champion Greta Arn 6-2, 6-2.

The second-seeded Goerges was in similar command against qualifier Anastasija Sevastova, winning 6-3, 6-4.

In other WTA action, top seed and 2011 French Open champion Li Na advanced to the second round at the Shenzhen Open in China.

Li encountered little trouble in dispensing of Mandy Minella of Luxembourg 6-4, 6-0.


Tags: tennis, sport, new-zealand, china

First posted January 01, 2013 20:59:47

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Hewitt opens Brisbane account

Updated January 02, 2013 08:35:00

Lleyton Hewitt began his 2013 campaign in fighting style with a three-set victory in the first round of the Brisbane International.

Hewitt defeated Russian lucky loser Igor Kunitsyn 6-3, 4-6, 6-2 on Pat Rafter Arena, having finished strongly in the third set to dominate the serve of his younger opponent.

Kunitsyn only got his chance in the main draw following the withdrawal of former champion Radek Stepanek because of an eye infection earlier on Tuesday.

"When you've been preparing for three or four days to play someone, then it changes," he told Channel Seven.

"It's always tough and especially when you're playing someone who's already had two or three matches in these conditions as well.

"He's a good ball striker and had nothing to lose so I felt like it was a pretty high-standard match out there tonight."

Hewitt will next face Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan and should the former world number one win he will be on course for a quarter-final clash with top seed Andy Murray.

Istomin progressed to the round of 16 with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Slovakian Martin Klizan.

Meanwhile, Serena Williams continued her strong build-up to the Australian Open with another straight-sets victory.

Williams breezed through her second-round match against Frenchwoman Alize Cornet, triumphing 6-2, 6-2.

She won her opening-round encounter against fellow American Varvara Lepchenko 6-2, 6-1 on Sunday.

"She's (Cornet) a former top 15 player and we've had a tough three-set match before so I knew I had to play really well," Williams said.

"I tried to be more aggressive and tried to be more consistent."

Williams, the current Wimbledon and US Open champion, is on course to meet top seed Victoria Azarenka in the semi-finals.

Azarenka enjoyed a bye in the opening round and will make her first appearance of the tournament against German Sabine Lisicki.

Williams' victory would have given the Brisbane organisers a sigh of relief, with four-time major winner Maria Sharapova withdrawing from the tournament earlier on Tuesday because of a collarbone injury.

Sharapova's scratching followed the early departure of seeds Petra Kvitova and Caroline Wozniacki, in addition to local favourite and seventh seed Samantha Stosur exiting the tournament on Monday night.


Tags: tennis, sport, brisbane-4000

First posted January 01, 2013 21:32:15

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A new year, new hopes for Gajdosova

by Peter Newlinds in Hobart

Updated January 08, 2013 00:54:39

Hobart International first-round winner Jarmila Gajdosova is in high spirits as she continues to build towards next week's Australian Open.

Gajdosova, who has received a wildcard into the Australian Open, enjoyed a first-round Hobart win over Switzerland's Romina Oprandi 6-4, 7-5.

Returning to the tournament she won two years ago Gajdosova is making up for lost ground in 2012.

Last year while playing a tournament in China her mother died unexpectedly during the course of her treatment for throat cancer.

Gajdosova, who had been having a poor year on the court, took eight weeks away from the game and to spend time with her family in Slovakia and think of things other than tennis.

'That time away from the sport gave me time to think of a tennis match for what it is," she told Grandstand.

"It's about having a bit of fun out there. There are so many worse things that can happen to you other than losing a tennis match.''

Her world ranking slipped to 183 but Gajdosova is optimistic about making big strides in 2013 on the women's tour.

"When you lose someone close to you it's never easy but it's a new start, a new year."

"I guess all the bad things have already happened so I'm looking forward to this year."

An upbeat Gajdosova described her win over Oprandi as a decent match and took some confidence out of last week's Brisbane International, her first tournament since September.

In her first round she managed to upstage Italy's Roberta Vinci but was eliminated in the second round by little-known Ukrainian Leisa Tsurenko. Her world ranking has improved to 167.

"It was a good start (in Brisbane)," she said.

"Beating the world number 16 wasn't too bad even though the second round didn't go as well as I had hoped."

Gajdosova said she has been back training foe eight weeks as is in fairly good shape heading into the Australian Open.

"It's more of a confidence thing than anything else," she added.

"Playing these tournaments enables me to build concentration and improve my preparation more than training does."

Gajdosova will meet Olga Govortsova of Belarus in the second round.

In the late match on Monday night, Australia's Ashleigh Barty was defeated by ninth seed Mona Barthel of Germany 6-2, 0-6, 1-6.

The biggest shock of the round was the defeat of number one seed, Su-Wei Hsieh of Taiwan, who was beaten 2-6, 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-4) by China's Peng Shuai.

Another to bow out was 2010 French Open finalist and sixth seed Francesca Schiavone of Italy, who was beaten by Belgium's Kirsten Flipkens 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-3).

Among other results, South Africa's Chanelle Scheepers beat Frenchwoman Alize Cornet 6-1, 6-2 and Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova downed Irina Begu of Romania 6-3, 6-4.

Australia's Bojana Bobusic was beaten by American Lauren Davis in three sets, 6-1, 2-6, 6-7 (5-7), while other winners included Romanians Monica Niculescu and Simona Halep, Russia's Elena Vesnina, Kazakhstan's Yaroslava Shvedova.

Tags: tennis, sport, hobart-7000

First posted January 07, 2013 12:58:19

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Sick Nadal to miss Australian Open

Updated December 29, 2012 12:21:33

French Open champion Rafa Nadal has been forced to withdraw from next month's Australian Open because of a stomach virus that has disrupted his recovery from a long-term knee injury, the world number four said.

"My knee is much better and the rehabilitation process has gone well as predicted by the doctors, but this virus didn't allow me to practise this past week," the Spaniard, who has also pulled out of the Qatar Open in Doha, said in a statement.

"Therefore I am sorry to announce that I will not play in Doha and the Australian Open, as we had initially scheduled."

Nadal was due to make his competitive comeback after the knee injury sidelined him for six months at this week's Mubadala World Tennis Championship, an exhibition tournament in Abu Dhabi that is not part of the ATP Tour.

The 26-year-old won the event in 2010 and 2011 but withdrew on December 25 citing the stomach virus.

He has not played since June when he suffered a shock defeat in the second round of Wimbledon to Czech Lukas Rosol.

He was subsequently diagnosed with a partial tear of the patella tendon and inflammation in his left knee and was unable to defend his Olympic title at the London Games.

The 11-times grand slam singles champion also missed the US Open and the season-ending World Tour championships before returning to the practice court on November 20.

At last year's Australian Open, Nadal was runner-up to Novak Djokovic after an epic five-set final that lasted almost six hours.

It was the longest match at the event and the longest men's grand slam singles final on record.

"It is completely understandable and we really feel disappointed for him," Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley said on the event's website.

"But without any match practice and without sufficient lead up time on the practice court, it makes it virtually impossible for him to get his body ready.

"We just hope he gets better quickly and we see him back on the tour as soon as possible. Tennis fans across the world have been missing him.

"I am confident we will see him back on the tour soon and back in Australia for 2014."

Nadal, who won a record seventh French Open crown in May on his favoured clay, said doctors had advised a period of rest without any sport for the next seven days starting on Friday.

"As my team and doctors say, the safest thing to do is to do things well and this virus has delayed my plans of playing these weeks," he said.

"I will have to wait until the Acapulco tournament (at the end of February) to compete again although I could consider to play before at any other ATP event.

"I always said that my return to competition will be when I am in the right conditions to play and after all this time away from the courts I'd rather not accelerate the comeback and prefer to do things well."

Nadal's athletic, aggressive playing style places huge demands on his muscles and joints and he has been sidelined several times by injuries during his 11-year career.

He said last week he does not expect to be back to full fitness and close to his best until the Masters event at Indian Wells in March.

"Rafa Nadal suffered last week a viral process that provoked a gastroenteritis with high fever for four or five days," doctor Angel Ruiz-Cotorro, the head of Nadal's medical team, said on Friday.

"Due to this it's been recommended a break from sports for a week.

"Because of this, and considering that the next event is Doha, starting next week he won't be in sufficient physical conditions to continue with his rehabilitation process."

Nadal's uncle and coach Toni added: "We consider it inappropriate to play the Australian Open since we will not have enough preparation for a...grand slam tournament.

"It is simply not conceivable that his first event is a best of five sets event, he wouldn't be ready for that," he added.

"It is true we have been quite unlucky with this but there is nothing we can do. After all this time it is better to do things well and the most professional thing to do is to start when we are ready."


Tags: tennis, sport, melbourne-3000, vic, australia

First posted December 29, 2012 09:00:37

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Serena looms for Stosur in Brisbane

Updated December 29, 2012 12:41:04

If Samantha Stosur can get past the second round of the Brisbane International for the first time, she is positioned to meet superstar Serena Williams in the quarter-finals of her home event.

The Australian seventh seed will face Swede Sofia Arvidsson in the first round and, if things go to plan, she will likely face Williams in the final eight of a strong tournament which features eight of the top 10 women's players.

Williams faces fellow American Varvara Lepchenko in the opening round.

Stosur and Williams are on the same side of a tough draw that includes number one seed Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki.

The top two seeds, Azarenka and Maria Sharapova, have first round byes.

Stosur will be looking to improve on a poor record in Brisbane.


Tags: tennis, sport, brisbane-4000, qld, australia

First posted December 29, 2012 12:41:04

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Rested Federer aims to go deep in Melbourne

Updated January 12, 2013 17:50:12

With a trophy cabinet straining at the hinges and a 53rd consecutive majors appearance looming, Roger Federer might be excused for feeling a little jaded ahead of his bid for a fifth Australian Open crown.

Not so, the 31-year-old Swiss maestro outlined on Saturday, having passed his motivation test during punishing practise sessions in the off-season.

Federer eschewed all warm-up tournaments for the year's first major, dropping off the radar altogether in favour of a hermit-like training regime and time with his family.

The break, coming off a disappointing US Open and the loss of his ATP World Tour Finals crown to Novak Djokovic, was seized upon as evidence his competitive fires were beginning to flicker out.

Federer admits to some trepidation before returning to the practise courts.

"I think it's always a bit of a test for me going into the practise season," the 17-times major singles champion said while attending an exhibition day at Melbourne Park.

"Am I hungry and motivated to wake up, go on the practice courts for hours?

"There was not one problem. For me, that was good news. I was eager to improve my game, change it up a bit from all the tournaments I played this last few years.

"To go on the practise court and try to improve my game there. I also go into the gym and get stronger again. I enjoyed it. As long as that's the case, that means I love [the game] very much."

Federer has had to compartmentalise his job and family duties since becoming a father to twin girls in 2009.

"Today things for me make sense," he said.

"I know why I'm doing them. I know they're necessary. Sometimes it's not the thing you want to do every day of the year.

"But I know it's only a handful of weeks, then obviously you give everything you have."

Like his masterful technique, Federer has exhibited a similar gift for managing his fitness levels and now trails only South Africa's Wayne Ferreira (56) and Swede Stefan Edberg (54) for the most consecutive appearances at majors.

Rafael Nadal's absence has taken care of one major impediment to Federer's hopes of extending his record to an 18th major singles title.

But he faces a tough draw and may need to overcome third seed Andy Murray in a semi-final, continuing a rivalry that gripped Great Britain during the last Northern Hemisphere summer.

Federer beat Murray in the Wimbledon final, but the Briton exacted revenge in the gold medal decider at the London Olympics and brings a new self-belief to Melbourne after ending his long wait for a maiden major title in New York.

Federer faces unseeded Frenchman Benoit Paire in the first round but the prospect of an unenviable fourth-round clash with big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic lurks.

His lack of competition in the lead-up to Melbourne is calculated but Federer concedes it may put him under extra pressure.

"I purposely didn't play a lead-up tournament so that I'd be fresh for the beginning, hopefully going deep into the tournament," he said.

"That's the goal obviously. But of course maybe somewhere you do feel more pressure going into the first round. Of course nerves play a role.

"Playing well at the right moments only comes with playing enough matches. Not like I haven't played for six months. I'm ready to go and eager. That to me right now dominates."

World number one Djokovic is favourite to win a third title in a row at Melbourne, an unprecedented feat in the professional era.

Most believe the trophy will end up with either Federer or Murray if the Serbian slips up, but the Swiss says Nadal's absence has opened the door for all sorts of surprises.

"Obviously with Rafa not in the draw, that might mean for some of the players they only have to beat one of us, of the top three, maybe none," he said.

"Who knows what the draw is going to do to us. But there could be some guys making deep runs at this tournament."


Tags: australian-open, tennis, sport, melbourne-3000

First posted January 12, 2013 17:50:12

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Gajdosova out of Brisbane International

Updated January 03, 2013 17:27:29

Jarmila Gajdosova has been dumped out of the Brisbane International by Ukrainian lucky loser Lesia Tserenko in three sets.

Gajdosova started the match superbly winning the first set 6-1, but lost the second by the same score.

The third was a close-run affair but the Ukrainian broke early and held on for victory to send out the last Australian woman in the draw.

Ultimately the difference between the players was the weakness of Gajdosova's second serve which Tserenko could feast upon, while after the first set she gave the Australian little chance of breaking her.

Gajdosova was set to play Maria Sharapova in the second round, after securing her first main draw victory since the French Open when she downed 16th seed Roberta Vinci in the opening round.

Sharapoova's withdrawal from the event yesterday with a collarbone injury left Gajdosoca facing Tserenko who lost in the final qualifying round to Russia's Olga Puchkova.

Earlier, Fourth seed Angelique Kerber of Germany scraped into the quarter-finals of the Brisbane International after eventually overhauling Puerto Rican qualifier Monica Puig.

The 19-year-old, ranked 124 in the world, gave Kerber a huge scare before the German triumphed 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 winning the third-set tie-breaker 9-7.

Kerber will meet unseeded Russian Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the quarter finals.

Sloane Stephens will take on fellow American Serena Williams in the quarter-finals after defeating Sofia Arvidsson of Sweden 6-3, 6-4.

In the men's tournament third seed Gilles Simon beat Alejandro Falla of Colombia 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-5) and will now meet Marcos Baghdatis in the last eight.

The unseeded Baghdatis beat Florian Mayer 6-4, 6-2 to reach the quarter-finals for the third year in succession.

Tags: tennis, sport, brisbane-4000, qld, australia

First posted January 02, 2013 15:57:08

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Barthel to meet Vesnina in Hobart decider

Updated January 11, 2013 21:13:47

Germany's Mona Barthel and Russian Elena Vesnina will contest Saturday's Hobart International final.

Barthel, the tournament's ninth seed, progressed to the tournament decider with a 6-4, 6-4 defeat of Belgian Kirsten Flipkens.

Vesnina caused an upset in the other semi-final by beating eighth-seeded Sloane Stephens 6-2, 6-2.

Tags: tennis, sport, hobart-7000

First posted January 11, 2013 21:13:47

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Tomic and Barty win in Hopman Cup

Updated January 04, 2013 12:21:34

Australian teenager Ashleigh Barty claimed the biggest scalp of her fledgling career with a 6-0, 6-3 demolition of 2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone at the Hopman Cup on Thursday night.

Barty's win, achieved in just 55 minutes, gave Australia an unassailable 2-0 lead over Italy after Bernard Tomic beat world number 23 Andreas Seppi 6-3, 7-5 in the men's singles rubber.

Although the pair went down to Italy in the mixed doubles in a match tie-break, Australia will reach Saturday night's final if Germany upset Serbia's top-seeded pairing of Novak Djokovic and Ana Ivanovic on Friday.

Barty was only playing at the mixed-teams tournament after Casey Dellacqua was forced to pull out with a foot injury.

The 16-year-old lost to Ivanovic in straight sets on Wednesday night, but came out with all guns blazing against world number 35 Schiavone, who couldn't keep pace in the opening set.

Schiavone committed 10 unforced errors in the first set, with two of her double faults handing Barty crucial breaks.

The 32-year-old veteran won the first two games of the second set but, from there, Barty took control to break Schiavone three times to secure the win.

"I can't believe it myself, I don't remember anything about it," Barty said.

"This tops Wimbledon, this trumps everything. I'm just so happy with the way I played."

Tomic, who stunned world number one Novak Djokovic on Wednesday night after accounting for German Tommy Haas earlier in the tournament, had too many weapons for Seppi, unleashing some blistering winners during big points.

"I think I played really well against Novak yesterday and today was really good as well," Tomic said.

"It's amazing preparation before the Australian Open and I'm really glad I came.

"The last few months were very hard. I was focusing a lot on my fitness and my serve. You need to serve well when you play against these top players."

Tomic had to save three break points on his first service game.

But from there, the 20-year-old took control of the match, breaking Seppi in the fourth game on the way to first-set honours.

Seppi and Tomic went toe-to-toe for much of the second set.

But a double fault from Seppi on break point in the 11th game ended the Italian's resistance, with Tomic easily serving out the match.

Australia lost their mixed doubles match against Italy 2-6, 6-4 [10-3].


Tags: sport, tennis, perth-6000, australia

First posted January 03, 2013 22:20:06

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Ferrer, Kohlschreiber into Auckland quarters

Updated January 09, 2013 21:16:43

Top seeds David Ferrer and Philipp Kohlschreiber both survived scares to reach the quarter-finals of the ATP men's tournament in Auckland on Wednesday.

Defending champion and number one seed Ferrer suffered a mid-match slump as he came under pressure from Lu Yen-Hsun of Taiwan in the warm-up event for next week's Australian Open, eventually grinding out a 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 victory.

"The court was very fast and sometimes I couldn't defend, but anyway, I won the match," a relieved Ferrer said.

Chasing a record-equalling fourth Auckland title, the Spanish world number five made a perfect start by breaking Lu in the second game, aided by three double faults from his opponent.

The dogged Lu broke back seven games later, only for Ferrer immediately to regain his advantage and take the first set 6-4.

But the Spaniard's serve misfired in the second and Lu, ranked 60 in the world, helped himself to a double break, claiming the set 6-2 to force a decider.

Ferrer regrouped and won the set 6-3 to set up a quarter-final on Thursday with Slovak Lukas Lacko, who defeated eighth seed Thomaz Bellucci of Brazil 6-3, 7-5.

Kohlschreiber, the second seed, was also unconvincing and committed 52 unforced errors and four double faults in a rusty 7-6 (7/4), 4-6, 6-3 win over Colombian Alejandro Falla.

The German managed an early break and appeared to be cruising as he raced to a 5-2 lead in the first set before Falla broke back to force a tie-break, which the German comfortably won 7-4.

But Falla, a quarter-finalist here last year, continued to press Kohlschreiber in the second, breaking the world number 19's serve in the 10th game to claim the set 6-4.

Kohlschreiber finally took control to win the third set 6-3, with the German opening up a double break over Falla as his ground shots finally found their range.

"It was very tough, Alejandro played very good points and it was very difficult for me to hang in there," he said.

"In the end, I was very happy with my performance."

Kohlschreiber, the 2008 Auckland champion, will face Belgian veteran Xavier Malisse in the quarters.

There were no form problems for former world number seven Gael Monfils, who never looked threatened as he disposed of Australian qualifier Greg Jones 6-4, 6-2.

The Frenchman, whose ranking plummeted to 77 while he was sidelined with a knee injury, was back to his acrobatic best, showing no sign of discomfort as he threw himself around the court.

"Obviously I was moving great, so I'm happy and pleased with my performance," he said.

A wild card entry in Auckland, Monfils lines up against Tommy Haas in the last eight after the German third seed downed Igor Sijsling 6-3, 6-4.

Fourth seed Sam Querrey defeated Belgium's Olivier Rochus 7-5, 6-3 to set up a quarter-final with Jesse Levine of Canada.


Tags: tennis, sport, new-zealand

First posted January 09, 2013 21:16:43

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Injury scare for Djokovic at Hopman Cup

Updated December 31, 2012 20:23:54

Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic suffered an injury scare at the Hopman Cup when the world number one hurt his leg as fans pushed towards him while he signed autographs.

Djokovic had wrapped up a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Italian Andreas Seppi at Perth Arena when the incident happened.

The Serbian left his racquets and bag on the court and limped straight up the players tunnel to receive a medical assessment in the locker room.

He was unable to complete a television interview he had agreed to after his victory over Seppi.

Djokovic only arrived in Perth from Abu Dhabi late on Sunday and says he was troubled by jet lag.

"I felt this morning that I was dream-walking," he said. "I broke the ice after the first set and started to feel better."

Serbia held an unassailable 2-0 following Djokovic's win and he later returned to the court to partner Ana Ivanovic in the dead mixed doubles rubber, where they lost 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 to Seppi and Francesca Schiavone.

Earlier, Ivanovic had begun the day by beating Schiavone 6-0, 6-4.

Djokovic is taking part in the mixed teams event to be guaranteed at least three matches in his build-up to the Australian Open, which begins on January 14.


Tags: tennis, sport, perth-6000

First posted December 31, 2012 17:43:15

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Sydney 'too hot for tennis'

Updated January 09, 2013 00:15:45

Jelena Jankovic said her head felt like it was about to explode, Li Na described conditions as sauna-like and Agnieszka Radwanska declared it simply "too hot to play".

But in temperatures that reached 41.4 degrees at Sydney Olympic Park, play tennis they did.

Right throughout the day, only pausing when women's matches went to a third set for a 10 minute break.

Some handled it better than others.

"It's like 40 degrees, but on court it feels like 50 - it feels so hot," said former world No.1 Jankovic, who went down to Roberta Vinci 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4).

"Then the feet are burning; my head was like going to explode there."

The end result was better for top seed Radwanska, the Pole claiming a 6-4, 6-3 win over Kimiko Date-Krumm to reach the last eight and remain unbeaten in 2013 after winning the Auckland tournament last week.

"I think this is too hot to play tennis," Radwanska said when asked if matches should be put on hold.

"Even for players, for ball kids, for the people sitting out there, I think it's just too hot.

"I think I would prefer to go on court at 11pm and play a match."

Galina Voskoboeva did suffer from heat stress in her match against second seed Angelique Kerber and had to take a medical time out.

Kerber, who rocketed from number 32 to number five in the world in 2012 and defeated Voskoboeva 6-2, 7-5, said she hardly noticed what was going on with her opponent.

"For sure the weather conditions are very strong and strange, but I think for everybody it's the same," she said.

"You need to go out there and try your best and just think about the points and not about the weather."

Another former world number one in Caroline Wozniacki was more bothered by a hot opponent who could go on to cause some damage at the Australian Open.

Unseeded two-time grand slam winner Svetlana Kuznetsova had an injury-plagued 2012, her ranking blowing out to number 85 in the world but the Russian suggested her best days were not necessarily behind her with a tidy 7-6 (7-4), 1-6, 6-2 win over the Dane.

Italy's Sara Errani moved into the last eight with a 6-1, 6-1 win over Maria Kirilenko and will take on Dominika Cibulkova for a spot in the semi-finals; the Slovakian having a tough three set win over Ekaterina Makarova.

Samantha Stosur's first round conqueror, Jie Zheng, surrendered meekly after her victory on Monday night, going down to American qualifier Madison Keys in straight sets.

Bothered by the heat Jie went down 6-0, 6-4.

The weather seemed less of an issue for her countrywoman Li, who summed up the situation pretty well after a win against qualifier Ayumi Morita in which she only lost one game.

"Oh, it's too hot, but I'm still in the tournament so it's good news," she said.

The tournament does have an Extreme Heat Policy (EHP) but it only comes into effect at the discretion of the tournament referee. Tennis officials apply a complex formula factoring in heat, humidity, wind and radiation to determine when on-court conditions become too stressful for the players.

At the Hobart International, ninth seed Mona Barthel of Germany - who defeated Australia's Ashleigh Barty late on Monday night - qualified for the third round with a straight sets win over South Africa's Chanelle Scheepers 7-6 (7-3), 7-5.

She was joined in the third round by American number eight seed Sloan Stephens, fourth seed Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan and Romanian second seed Sorana Cirstea.

Earlier, the first round was completed with Serbia's Bojana Jovanosvski beating Spain's Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor 6-0, 7-6 (9-7), and third seed Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic beating Hungary's Timea Babos 6-4, 6-3.


Tags: tennis, sport, sydney-2000, nsw, australia

First posted January 08, 2013 14:30:46

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Wozniacki bows out in Brisbane

Updated December 31, 2012 20:25:15

Former world number one Caroline Wozniacki crashed out of the Brisbane International in the first round following a three-set defeat to Kazakh qualifier Ksenia Pervak.

Wozniacki, seeded eighth in Brisbane, was expected to cruised through to the second round comfortably but the 103-ranked Pervak upset the Dane 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-1).

Pervak served for the match at 5-3 in the third set, however Wozniacki was able to fight her way back and force a tie-breaker.

But Pervak, who was ranked as high as 37 in 2011, found her cool and dominated the tie-breaker 7-1 to move through to the second round to meet Pole Urszula Radwanska.

"Obviously it's tough to lose 7-6 in the third," Wozniacki said.

"It was a tough match. Could have gone both ways. She just went for it and it went in for her. Hopefully I can get some more matches in Sydney and be more prepared for Melbourne."

Among other results in the women's draw French Open runner-up Sara Errani of Italy easily accounted for Russia's Olga Puchkova 6-1, 6-3.

The fifth-seeded Errani will be joined in the last 16 by fourth-seeded German Angelique Kerber, who downed Anna Tatishvili of Georgia 6-2, 4-6, 6-2.

There was little joy for local fans with Australian qualifier Bojana Bobusic losing to Frenchwoman Alize Cornet 2-6, 6-3, 6-1.

Meanwhile, Maria Sharapova says 2012 has been the most memorable year of her career after her victory at the French Open and carrying Russia's flag at the opening ceremony of the London Olympics.

"A lot of things came together," she said.

"It (French Open) was the grand slam that was going to take a little bit longer than the others for me.

"I knew that physically I needed a few extra years to get stronger to move more efficiently on that surface."

Sharapova, competing at the Brisbane International, says there is more depth in women's tennis than at any stage of her 12-year career.

"It's much more physical than it has been," she said.

"Maybe five years ago you go into a tournament and you would treat the first couple of rounds as, you know, not as a warm-up, but you don't have to go into the first round thinking, okay, this is where I really have to play my best tennis.

"Now it's certainly much different because you can be facing an opponent that's had good results, beaten top players, hasn't been consistent enough but is a really tough, tough player.

"The inconsistency obviously shows that their ranking is not high enough, therefore you're facing them in the first few rounds."

Sharapova, the second seed in Brisbane, will meet Australian Jarmila Gajdosova in her opening match of the tournament in the second round.


Tags: tennis, sport, brisbane-4000

First posted December 31, 2012 18:21:12

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Jarmila falls to Vesnina in Hobart

Updated January 10, 2013 22:52:45

Mercurial wildcard Jarmila Gajdosova has again paid for her inconsistency by crashing out of the Hobart International quarter-finals on Thursday.

The 2011 Hobart champion struggled in the blustery conditions as Russian Elena Vesnina handled Gajdosova's power game with aplomb to prevail 6-3, 6-2.

After cruising through to the final eight with two straight sets wins, Gajdosova never seriously threatened the world number 68's serve and was punished for serving at just 40 per cent herself.

The Victorian suffered early breaks in both sets and struggled to find her rhythm, or hold her nerve, in the pressure rallies.

"She was more solid than me in the tough conditions," the 25-year-old admitted.

Vesnina revealed she used the wind to her advantage in the baseline battle to progress to a semi-final against Sloane Stephens who outlasted fellow American Lauren Davis 6-3, 4-6, 7-5.

"Of course I had to be smart and in the wind you have to use it like a weapon," she said.

Despite the loss, Gajdosova, whose ranking slipped to 183 after a horror 2012, felt her confidence was growing again as she aims to break her duck at the Australian Open.

She has never progressed past the first round at Melbourne Park but has taken heart by her 3-2 record this year, including a first-round upset of Italian world number 16 Roberta Vinci in Brisbane.

"I thought it's been a pretty positive step forward," said Gajdosova, who will also play as a wildcard in Melbourne.

"I won two matches against two good players (in Hobart) so it was a good start."

Defending champion Mona Barthel also won through to the semi-finals with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova 6-3, 6-3.

Barthel will play Kirsten Flipkens next after the Belgian beat Monica Niculescu of Romania 2-6, 6-4, 6-0.

"I feel like I learned so much last year, playing all these tournaments and against the top players," Barthel said.

"My serve has got better and I feel like my groundstrokes are better ... but maybe a little more confidence this year."


Tags: tennis, sport, hobart-7000, tas, australia

First posted January 10, 2013 13:09:15

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Djokovic, Azarenka top seeds for Australian Open

Updated January 08, 2013 09:09:19

World number ones Novak Djokovic and Victoria Azarenka were named the top seeds on Monday for next week's Australian Open in Melbourne.

Djokovic, who beat Rafael Nadal in five sets in last year's final, will be bidding for his third successive Australian Open title at Melbourne Park.

Roger Federer, who has a record 17 grand slam titles in 24 finals, is the second seed ahead of US Open champion Andy Murray and Spain's David Ferrer.

Nadal will miss the year-opening grand slam as he is suffering from a stomach virus.

Defending women's singles champion Azarenka is seeded ahead of last year's finalist, Russian Maria Sharapova, five-time winner Serena Williams and Poland's Wimbledon finalist Agnieszka Radwanska.


Tags: sport, tennis, melbourne-3000, vic, australia

First posted January 08, 2013 00:22:42

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Rivals support Nadal comeback bid

Updated January 02, 2013 10:18:36

Two of Rafael Nadal's top ten rivals have spoken out against critics who say that the winner of eleven major titles can never again be the player he was.

David Ferrer, the world number five from Spain, and Richard Gasquet, the French world number 10, both contradict the idea that Nadal's prolonged absence is too long even for him to become the world's best player again.

The murmurs of doubters increased with Friday's news on Nadal that his six months on the sidelines with a damaged knee will be followed by more weeks out, reportedly because of gastro-enteritis.

But Ferrer, voted Spanish player of the year in Nadal's absence, talks differently.

"The good news is he doesn't have pain in the knees, so that's the most important," he said, contradicting suggestions that the statement that Nadal has been unwell is merely cover for continued mobility problems.

"I spoke with him few a days ago. He was sick with a virus, and he preferred to stop (practising). And he will come back in South America (Acapulco in February).

"Rafael, he can do it because he's a very good player. He's a special player, no? He's not like anyone else. Rafael, he's very competitive, he's a winner, and he's young also.

"I have confidence that when he comes back he will play good.

"Maybe not in his first tournaments because they are often tough, but I am sure he is coming back to number two or number one in the world."

Gasquet sounds even more certain of Nadal's resilience, suggesting that the seven-time French Open champion will be adding to his record-breaking exploits as soon as June.

"For sure he has problem with his knee, but I'm sure he's coming back on clay in a month, and I'm sure he will be ready for Monte Carlo, that kind of tournament," Gasquet said.

"He will be 100 per cent. I'm pretty sure he will come back at his best level soon.

"He's coming back on a clay court, which is better for his knee. For sure he will come back at his top form for Monte Carlo (in April), these kind of tournaments. And for me he's still the favourite for Roland Garros.

"Nadal is one of the best. He's incredible. I'm sure he will come back at his best level, and that he can still win a lot of grand slams."

Asked therefore why there were so many people who doubted that such things were possible, Gasquet had a one-word answer - "journalists."


Tags: tennis, sport, spain

First posted January 01, 2013 08:07:05

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Tomic battles into Sydney semis

Updated January 11, 2013 07:49:24

Bernard Tomic's new-found steel has thrust the reformed youngster into his second ATP Tour semi-final at the Sydney International.

Tomic battled back doggedly from a set down to defeat defending champion Jarkko Nieminen 6-7 (6/8), 6-4, 6-2 to move to within two victories of a long-awaited maiden tour title.

The 20-year-old will take on Andreas Seppi on Friday for a spot in the final after the Italian third seed beat Spain's Marcel Granollers 6-4, 7-5 in the late match.

Tomic's only other tour semi-final ended in defeat against Andy Murray last January in Brisbane.

Despite being below his best against the crafty Nieminen, Tomic will be a warm favourite no matter who he plays after extending his unbeaten summer streak to six straight wins.

The 2011 Wimbledon quarter-finalist now boasts 17 victories from his past 19 matches in Australia, an imposing record ahead of his home grand slam beginning in Melbourne on Monday.

But his latest triumph was hard-earned.

"I was happy with myself to stay in there," Tomic said.

"Early in that second set, I felt like he was going for shots and was relaxing and for me to stay in there til that 3-all point was really big.

"After I won that second set, I freed up and played better tennis."

Tomic fought hard to recover from 5-2 down in the opening set, only to blow his own 5-2 advantage in the tiebreaker.

He had two set points at 6-4 and wasted his best chance on his own service when he overcooked a routine forehand.

Heartened by the reprieve, Nieminen continued to attack and was rewarded with the first set.

"I was very concerned after that first set," Tomic said.

Living on the edge, Tomic grabbed the sole break of the second set late on when Nieminen faltered trying to stay in it at 4-5 down.

The Finn's poor service game ended quickly when he put two balls in the net to allow Tomic back on level terms.

Despite his experience, Nieminen has has converted only two of his 12 finals into titles and it showed as the left-hander capitulated in the deciding set.

He surrendered his second service game of the set and, rather embarrassingly, the one-time world number 13 shanked his second serve on match point.

Earlier, big-serving South African Kevin Anderson and Frenchman Julien Benneteau, last year's runner-up to Nieminen, booked their places in Friday's semi-finals.

Anderson downed Uzbek Denis Istomin 6-4, 6-3, while Benneteau eliminated American qualifier Ryan Harrison 6-4, 6-2.


Tags: tennis, sport, sydney-2000, nsw, australia, southport-4215, qld

First posted January 10, 2013 22:04:46

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Serbia through to Hopman Cup final

Updated January 05, 2013 08:12:57

Novak Djokovic made a blistering return to form as Serbia reached the final of the Hopman Cup at Perth Arena.

Djokovic was below his best in a loss to Australia's Bernard Tomic earlier in the round-robin stage but he demolished Germany's Tommy Haas 6-2, 6-0 before Ana Ivanovic defeated Tatjana Malek 6-0, 6-1 as Serbia finished top of Group A.

Australia needed a German victory for any hope of qualifying for Saturday's final.

The world number one needed just 62 minutes to beat Haas, hitting 33 winners in his most impressive match of the week.

Djokovic and Ivanovic will meet the Spanish team of Fernando Verdasco and Anabel Medina Garrigues in the final.

"It's great. I came out on court today feeling much fresher than the opening few days," Djokovic said.

"I'm glad I could get a point for Serbia.

"Tommy's a very talented player. He's been struggling with injuries for the last few years.

"He's very persistent to come back into the top 10. I wish him all the best for the Australian Open."

Earlier on Friday, South Africa beat France 2-1 in their dead rubber when Jo-Wilfried Tsonga had to retire in the deciding mixed doubles because of a groin injury.

Chanelle Scheepers beat France's Mathilde Johansson 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 before Tsonga defeated Kevin Anderson 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-3) during which the French player appeared to slightly injure his groin while stretching for a shot during a rally.

Scheepers and Anderson won the first set of the mixed doubles 6-3 and were trailing 2-1 in the second when Tsonga indicated he could not continue.

Tsonga then announced his withdrawal from the Sydney International, which begins on Sunday. The Australian Open gets underway on January 14.


Tags: sport, tennis, perth-6000, wa, australia

First posted January 05, 2013 00:43:31

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Saville and Rogowska awarded Australian Open spots

Updated January 04, 2013 13:36:53

Rising Aussie tennis stars Luke Saville and Olivia Rogowska have been granted wildcards into this month's Australian Open in Melbourne.

Saville, who won the Australian Open junior title last year and the Wimbledon junior title a year earlier, has been nudging his way up the senior rankings and is now ranked 349 in the world after winning tournaments in Cairns and Bangkok in 2012.

"To be competing against some of the best players in the world is going to be a great experience for me," Saville said.

"I feel as if this is a reward for the great year I have had and all the hard work I have put into my tennis."

The Adelaide-based 18-year-old was named male junior of the year at the Newcombe Medal, Australian Tennis Awards, last month.

Rogowska, 21, achieved a career-high singles ranking of 108 during 2012 with title wins in Esperance, Rockhampton and Burnie, and main draw appearances at the Australian and US Opens.

Rogowska said she is grateful to tournament director Craig Tiley for the opportunity to play in front of family and friends in her home town of Melbourne.

"I've been training really well over the last few months and have worked a lot on my fitness and strength," Rogowska said.

"I believe that I can compete with the top girls in the world. I'm looking forward to a big 2013 and there is no better way to start than at the first Grand Slam of the year."

The reciprocal French Open wildcards will go to 19-year-old Caroline Garcia, currently ranked number 154, and Josselin Ouanna, ranked number 120.

A promising junior, Ouanna defeated current world number one Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals of the boys' singles draw at the Australian Open in 2004 before going down to countryman Gael Monfils in the decider.

Tags: sport, tennis, melbourne-3000, renmark-5341, adelaide-5000

First posted January 03, 2013 17:12:47

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Millman hoping for future Davis Cup spot

Updated January 11, 2013 10:01:55

Australian Open wildcard John Millman is hoping his summer to remember will eventually lead to a Davis Cup call-up.

The world number 191 from Queensland has enjoyed some high-profile run-outs this summer, beating Japan's Tatsuma Ito in the Brisbane International before taking US Open champion Andy Murray to three sets.

He followed up his Brisbane efforts with a straight-sets win over Tommy Robredo at the Sydney International, before losing to third seed Andreas Seppi.

He told ABC News Breakfast he hopes his increased profile can result in a Davis Cup team nod - an idea that seemed fanciful just a month ago.

"That's the dream for every Australian tennis player," he said.

"That's the greatest achievement someone can have in sport, to represent their country and I'd jump at the opportunity, if given a chance.

"I know Pat (Rafter) and [Davis Cup coach] Josh Eagle and I'm in talks with them and hopefully, if I can keep getting results, then one day I can justify selection to the Davis Cup team."

He says his good form this summer is reward for battling back from injury in 2011.

"I was wondering whether to keep at it [in 2011] but I decided to, and 2012 was a long year," he said.

"Now the rewards have really paid off and I've managed to get some great results and hopefully I can keep them going here in Melbourne."

He says his match against Andy Murray, which ended 6-1, 5-7, 6-3 in the Scot's favour, was easily a highlight of his career so far.

He says playing in the big time has motivated him to push on from the Challenger Tour into the ATP Tour proper.

"I was having lunch with a few friends and my old man ... and I was wondering what that motivation was and how I was going to win points against [Murray in Brisbane].

"But I came out and it was a packed crowd, 5,500 strong Queensland supporters there and the atmosphere was easily the best I've ever experienced and a lot of the guys in the crowd thought it was unbelievable too.

"It was a great match and I fell just short and it's great to know that I can compete at that high level.

"Along the Challenger Tour it can get a little bit hairy there at times. I'm not going to lie, the money is nice and a grand slam, even with the increased prize money, it does fund your travel, it funds your year.

"I've never really done it for the money or the fame, it's more for personal satisfaction and accomplishment.

"It's something that's really rewarding when you've worked so hard to do something and it pays off."

Tags: tennis, sport, sydney-2000, nsw, australia

First posted January 11, 2013 10:01:55

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Serena streaks to Brisbane victory

By Luke Pentony at Pat Rafter Arena

Updated January 06, 2013 08:15:50

Serena Williams sent an ominous warning to her rivals ahead of the Australian Open, winning the final of the Brisbane International in compelling fashion at Pat Rafter Arena.

Williams claimed her 47th career title with a straight-sets defeat of close friend Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, posting a 6-2, 6-1 triumph in just 50 minutes.

The world number three, a winner of 15 major singles titles, will head to Melbourne with great confidence, as she has now lost just one match since exiting the French Open in the first round last May.

Williams described her Brisbane campaign as the ideal tune-up for the Australian Open, which begins January 14.

“It was a really good week for sure,” she said.

“I definitely worked hard for this week and I’m going to do a little more work so I can be ready in eight days.”

Williams did not drop a set in Brisbane and while the Friday night faithful were robbed of a semi-final clash between her and Victoria Azarenka when the world number one withdrew with a toe injury, those in attendance on Saturday evening were treated to a sublime display.

The 31-year-old fired down nine aces and scalped four breaks of serve, with the 36th-ranked Pavlyuchenko left frustrated after what had been a giant-killing week in Brisbane.

She beat seeds Petra Kvitova (sixth) and Angelique Kerber (fourth) in straight sets and her form in the Queensland capital suggests she should edge closer to her highest ever ranking of 13 during the season.

“I started the match pretty well, I think, but when she’s on fire ... I feel like there is not much I can do,” Pavlyuchenkova said.

“Still, I was hoping to turn the match around. Until the end I was fighting, like every point.”

Two breaks of serve proved to be the key for Williams in claiming the first set, although Pavlyuchenkova showed in the early stages she was intent not to allow her opponent to dictate terms.

She was not afraid to go for her shots on the Williams serve and this was evident when she crunched a crosscourt forehand winner to lead 30-15 during the third game.

Williams eventually held to lead 2-1 and games continued to go on serve until Pavlyuchenkova’s third service game.

She conceded her first double fault and her defensive game fell to pieces when Williams capitalised on her first break point with a powerful forehand that the Russian failed to return.

Williams, leading 4-2, knew she had the upper hand and after holding serve she secured her second break with Pavlyuchenkova conceding the set after just 24 minutes with a double fault.

The command Williams enjoyed showed no sign of diminishing in the second set, as she leapt quickly out to a 2-0 lead, having broken Pavlyuchenkova for the third time.

Williams illustrated the depth of her game in claiming the break of serve with a brilliant crosscourt volley at the net that left Pavlyuchenkova stranded near the baseline.

To the credit of Pavlyuchenkova she refused to give up and after Williams held her next service game she got on the board to trail 3-1.

But it did prove to be as close as the 21-year-old could get to Williams, who grabbed another break in the sixth game prior to serving for the match.

She clinched the title with a sizzling backhand winner in the corner, an appropriate punctuation mark to what had been an impressive showing.

“I’ve been in the zone a few times, I don’t know if I was in “the zone” today,” Williams said of her performance.

“I was definitely heading in that direction.

“I think it is the zone. I’ve been in the ‘Twilight Zone’ where I just felt so good I couldn’t do anything wrong.”

Williams will now head to Melbourne to complete her preparations under coach Patrick Mouratoglou.

Elsewhere, Li Na won the Shenzhen Open on Saturday, beating the Czech Republic's Klara Zakopalova 6-3, 1-6, 7-5.

Tags: sport, tennis, brisbane-4000, qld, australia

First posted January 05, 2013 21:12:16

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Millman, Barty get Australian Open wildcards

Updated January 02, 2013 10:11:42

Queenslanders John Millman and Ashleigh Barty received New Year boosts in the form of wildcards to play in the main draw at this month's Australian Open.

The 23-year-old Millman, who won through qualifying to play this week's Brisbane International, was rewarded by Tennis Australia for a strong year in which he hauled his world ranking up from number 541 to 199 after playing 25 tournaments.

Barty, 16, also made a big move in 2012, rising from number 669 to 175.

The 2011 junior Wimbledon champion was excited to get the news of her second Australian Open start at the Hopman Cup mixed teams tournament in Perth where she was teamed with Bernard Tomic for Australia.

"Hopefully I can bring out some of the tennis I've been producing here at the Hopman Cup so far," said Barty, who is coached by Jason Stoltenberg and Jim Joyce.


Tags: australian-open, tennis, sport, melbourne-3000, vic, australia

First posted January 01, 2013 10:51:39

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Del Potro and Hewitt to meet in Kooyong final

Updated January 11, 2013 17:31:19

Lleyton Hewitt will play world number seven Juan Martin del Potro in the Kooyong Classic final on Saturday after the Argentine beat Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis in the semi-final.

Del Potro cruised past Baghdatis 6-4, 6-1 in the semi-final to set up the clash with home town hero Hewitt.

The Australian 31-year-old Hewitt last won the Kooyong title in 2011 and he has met del Potro three times.

The Argentine has won the past two encounters between the two of them.

Taking on a player the class of del Potro will give Hewitt a solid hit-out before his tough first-round Australian Open match against world number nine Janko Tipsarevic.

Hewitt goes into the final in good form after defeating Milos Raonic and Tomas Berdych in his first matches at Kooyong.

In other results on Friday, Raonic suffered his third defeat of the exhibition tournament when he lost to Italy's Fabio Fognini 6-4, 6-4.

Japan's world number 19 Kei Nishikori finally made it onto the court and celebrated with a 6-0, 4-6, 6-3 win over French journeyman Paul-Henri Mathieu.

Tags: tennis, sport, melbourne-3000, australia

First posted January 11, 2013 13:34:45

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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Sam stalls again in Sydney loss

Updated January 08, 2013 10:25:17

Samantha Stosur is remaining upbeat about her Australian Open hopes despite her sorry run continuing with a roller-coaster first-round exit from the Sydney International.

Stosur's 6-3, 6-7 (7-9), 6-4 defeat at the hands of China's world number 42 Jie Zheng was her fifth consecutive loss in Australia, a miserable run that stretches back to last summer.

She rebounded from match point down to take the match to three sets, but despite a brave effort she could not produce her top form with enough consistency to clinch the match.

The world number nine will head to Melbourne for the Open starting next Monday alarmingly underdone after playing just two matches since having minor ankle surgery six weeks ago.

With little history of performing well at a tennis major without a strong build-up, Stosur's Open prospects look grim.

But the 2011 US Open champion insists she will take a considerably more positive mindset into the season-opening major than last year when she crashed to a first-round loss to Romanian Sorana Cirstea.

Stosur refused to blame her surgery as any kind of excuse for Monday night's loss and said she actually felt like she'd made significant strides since last week's rusty straight sets defeat in Brisbane to Swede Sofia Arvidsson.

"It's bad because it's another loss, but to be honest I feel a lot better after this loss than last week's loss because I felt like I did some better things," Stosur said.

"It's not like I was playing a bad opponent either - either week.

"I feel like I at least got out of a point in the match where I felt I could have been playing better and actually got through that and at least got myself into a winning position.

"I think another week I'll be playing better again. You never know what can happen with one win.

"We'll just try and take it one match at a time and hopefully I can get through that first one and then from there we'll see."

Stosur made a bright enough start against Jie, establishing two break points in the first game, but the alarm bells were ringing again when Zheng jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the opening set.

The Gold Coast-native got on the scoreboard to hold her own serve, but the 29-year-old Zheng was playing confidently and she sealed the opening set in 43 minutes.

Stosur showed fight to win five straight points from 0-40 to hold serve for 3-2 in the second set, and then raced through the next two games - including a break - for a 5-2 lead.

Stosur was starting to come into her own, hitting for the corners and putting Zheng on the defensive, but she could not quite make the final breakthrough.

Zheng survived a string of break points to hold in the eighth game, caught her opponent on the hop to get the break back and then held to level at 5-5.

The set eventually went to a tie-break, with a number of mini-breaks of serve.

Zheng had a match point on Stosur's serve at 6-7, but the Australian forced an error from her opponent to hold on.

Another error off Zheng's racket then brought up set point, before her passing shot on the run went long to give Stosur the set in 72 minutes.

Stosur looked confident in the final set, and she broke early to take a 3-1 lead.

Zheng looked down and out, but she dug in and forced a break before levelling at 3-3.

She held for 4-3 and then played solid on Stosur's serve, drawing errors from the Australian's racket before hitting an almost unplayable cross-court return to get the break for 5-3.

Serving for the match, Zheng went down three break points, and although she saved one, Stosur converted the second to take it back to 4-5.

The Australian could not take her chance, however, making a series of errors to go down 0-40.

Stosur rifled a forehand winner to save one match point, but a backhand into the net finally ended the match after two and a half hours.


Tags: sport, tennis, sydney-2000, nsw, australia

First posted January 07, 2013 21:28:44

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