Sunday, 21 January 2018

Wozniacki rushes to the final eight

Second on RLA was the battle between Caroline Wozniacki (2) and Magdalena Rybarikova (19).

Wozniacki served first and held comfortably as did Rybarikova next, complete with two aces.

Rybarikova hit four winners to break and led 2-1. 

Wozniacki broke back, using the fifth of five chances.

Caro then broke to love including three clean winners.

She led 4-2  which became 5-2 swith 2 winners and an ace.

A hold from Rybarikova forced Wozniacki to serve for the set which she did with three forehand and one backhand winners.

Set two was a disaster for Rybarikova, with no games won.

Wozniacki won 80% of points on both her first and second serves.

11 winners to two and 25 points to six.

6-3 6-0 to Caroline and she will play Carla Suárez Navarro in a quarter final.

Carla first to quarter finals

First up on RLA on Day Seven were Carla Suárez Navarro and Anett Kontaveit (32).

Carla had good wins over Timea Babos and Kaia Kanepi in the second and third rounds respectively.

Anett defeated Mona Barthel in round two before upsetting Jelena Ostapenko (7) in the third round.

Kontaveit had a height advantage of seven inches over her Spanish opponent, but Carla has been dealing with that for years.

Carla served first and held easily, a forehand winner from each lady.

Anett held serve equally as easily.

2-2 and no surprises yet.

Kontaveit finally broke serve for 3-2 after wasting three previous break chances.

4-2 Kontaveit after saving a break point.

Anett led 5-3 after saving two more break points, sealing the game with an ace and a clean winner.

Carla held serve but could nit prevent the Estonian from serving out the set 6-4, three winners helping.

Kontaveit broke serve in the third game of set two and led 2-1.

She extended the lead with another service break, and when she held serve again the lead was 4-1, Carla in deep trouble

From nowhere Carla won the next five games and the set was hers 6-4

We were going to a decider.

The first four games of set three went to serve, each player saving a break point or more.

Neither one giving ground and 4-4.

The ninth game, served by Carla, was key and it was long, five deuces and two break points.

The second break chance was taken with massive forehand by Kontaveit.

She would be serving at 5-4 for the match.

The break back was quick, and full of Kontaveit errors.

A love game from Suárez Navarro, clinched with two winners, and she led 6-5,

6-6 after a solid serving game from Kontaveit.

Pressure back on Anett following another excellent Spanish service game. 6-7 Kontaveit.

Match point - saved with a netted ground stroke.

Match point thanks to lucky net cord - saved.

Match point - done for Spain 

Carla Suárez Navarro the first quarter finalist

4-6 6-4 8-6

Next for Carla the winner of Caroline Wozniacki (2) and Magdalena Rybarikova (19)

Federer beats Gasquet-yet again

Roger Federer (2) played Richard Gasquet (29) in the final night match on the middle Saturday on RLA.

Gasquet has beaten Federer twice, in 2005 and 2011.

Not likely to add to that this year.

In set one, both players began with love games before Federer broke in his customary early fashion, converting a second break opportunity with a clean winner. 3-1.

Two winners, one from each side, confirmed the break and a 4-1 advantage.

After a number of Federer errors, Gasquet hit a winner to hold serve, but had no answers in Federer’s next service game and it was 5-2.

Gasquet served to stay in the set.

Two winning Swiss backhands set up three break points, one which was saved, but a second received a French double fault.

Federer led 6-2.

The second set was a real contest, with no break points in the first ten games.

5-5 and winners outweighing unforced errors.

Out of the blue, Gasquet faced three break points, saved two but not the third, and Federer served for a two set lead.

A backhand winner from Switzerland brought up set point and it was converted.

Federer led 6-2 7-5.

In the third set, Gasquet was broken in game two and Federer consolidated for 3-0. The end looked near.

4-2 after three more service holds.

Four deuces and two break points in the Federer service game, the seventh of the set. The second was converted with the third of three straight unforced Swiss errors.

4-4 after a Gasquet hold.

Federer held serve to love and after being down game point, and having wasted a break point, he hit 3 outright winners to break and win the game set and match.

6-2 7-5 6-4 and the defending champion won through to the fourth round.

Two more wins from a possible semi final against Djokovic.

Kerber thrashes Sharapova

The first match on RLA on the middle Saturday at night featured the only 2 ladies to have won the singles title here before, and both dangerous here.

Angie Kerber (21) has been unquestionably the form player on tour, undefeated through the Hopman Cup and winner of the Sydney International.

Maria Sharapova has been impressive in the two rounds of the Aus Open, defeating Tatjana Maria and Anastasija Sevastova (14) without dropping a set.

The match began with Sharapova losing serve in her first effort to trail 1-0

Kerber forced four errors, three on the Russian forehand.

The German swiftly made it 2-0 before Sharapova held serve and trailed 1-2. It wasn’t easy, going to deuce three times and saving a break point.

That was all the joy Sharapova could glean from set one.

Kerber won the next game, losing only one point due to a double fault and led 3-1.

Attacking the Russian backhand, the 21st seed broke again and it was 4-1.

Backhand and forehand winners from Kerber took her to within a game of the set, and a third break, this time to love sealed the deal 6-1 in half an hour.

Kerber broke Sharapova in game two of set two, but was broken back the next game.

A love game from Sharapova levelled things at 3-3 and it appeared that a contest may be happening.

No such luck - Kerber saved a break point en route to 4-3, then broke Maria’s serve, and held again to win the set 6-3.

The match was done and dusted 6-1 6-3 and Kerber marched into the round of sixteen.

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Chung finishes all over Zverev

The second match on RLA on Day Six was a little late beginning thanks to Halep and Davis but it rates as a good one between fourth seed Sascha Zverev and Korean Hyeon Chung.

Both opened well with strong service games and 1-1.  

Caroline Garcia (8) defeated Aliaksandra Sasnovich 6-3 5-7 6-2.

30-30 on the Zverev serve. A break point created was saved by Zverev who proceeded to win the game and lead 2-1.

Two games full of errors - mostly forced - saw serves held for 3-2.

Chung was taken to deuce but didn’t like it there so served an ace and hit a clean winner to move to 3-3 which was more to his liking.

Zverev served an ace and a service winner, together with a pair of forehand winners in a love game to lead 4-3.

Chung levelled at 4-4 and again at 5-5. Zverev was down 0-30 in the ninth game, but held on.

Zverev put the pressure on Chung to hold and stay in the set after holding himself for 6-5.

Three set points to Zverev after a pair of winners from both sides.

One saved. The second converted with a netted ground stroke from Chung. 7-5 Zverev.

Dominic Thiem (5) won the first two sets from Adrian Mannarino (26) 6-4 6-2.

Zverev closed out the opening game of set two with a pair of aces, and Chung wasted three game points before forcing errors and levelling at 1-1.

Again Zverev finished his service game with two aces to lead 2-1.

Chung levelled due to three loose German forehands, and Zverev again took the lead with a comfortable hold.

An opening double fault was forgotten when a lunge volley winner was delivered by Chung. His forehand winner confirmed the scoreline of 3-3.

After 4-4, Zverev delivered two aces, a service winner, and a forehand winner, surrounding a double fault, taking him within a game of a two set lead.  

Three game points to level again. Only one needed and 5-5.

A fourteenth ace from Zverev sealed the eleventh game and forced Chung to hold and stay in the set via a tie break.

Only one point lost to Chung’s serve and indeed a tie break necessary.

Chung took the first point, and off the German serve.

2-0 to the Korean.

Zverev retrieved the mini break and 1-2 became 3-2 after his two serves.

3-3 and an end change.

A backhand winner from Chung off a Zverev serve and 5-3.  

6-3 and three set points. Only one needed and sets are level one each.

The third match scheduled for RLA (Barty v Osaka) has had to be shifted to Margaret Court Arena because the Halep Davis match lasted too long, and time is too tight considering the start of the night session.

Dominic Thiem (5) has defeated Adrian Mannarino (26) 6-4 6-2 7-5.

Marton Fucsovics leads Nicolás Kicker 6-3 6-3 2-0

In game two of set three Zverev survived two deuces but the in next game a break point was converted by the fourth seed and he led 2-1.

Two service holds and 3-2.

Two break points saved by Zverev. And game won by him for 4-2.

Quickly it was 5-2 after Chung was broken to love, and Zverev a game away from two sets to one.

Two set points arrived via Luftwaffe and one was converted through a forced error. Set to Zverev and he led 7-5 6-7(3) 6-2.

Chung broke Zverev in the second game of set four and consolidated the break to lead 2-0.

A twelve minute game and two break points saved saw Chung lead 3-0.

Zverev fought back from 40-0, winning five points in succession, and trailed 1-3.

Chung held for 4-1.

Serving for the set at 5-3, Chung hit two winners and an ace to level at two sets apiece.

Two double faults from Zverev in the opening game of the decider and he lost his serve to love.

Chung strung together 13 points in succession as he won the fourth set and took a 2-0 advantage in the fifth.

Chung extended the lead to 3-0 with another break.

Another double fault and errors all over RLA from Zverev. Chung just cleaning up the mess. 5-0 and serving for the match.

An ace and service winner and three match points - no problem - Chung made the round of sixteen in a major for the first time, defeating a top ten and top five player for the first time.

5-7 7-6(3) 2-6 6-3 6-0.

Next the winner of Novak Djokovic (14) v Albert Ramos-Vinolas (21).

Barty overwhelmed by Osaka

Ash Barty (18) had a third round meeting with hard hitting Naomi Osaka on Margaret Court Arena, shifted from RLA because of timing.

Ash started as favourite but Osaka would cause a lot of competition.

Barty served first, and after two errors she delivered an ace and service winner and reached 30-30. However Osaka created a break point and converted it thanks to more Barty errors.

An ace and clean winner highlighted Osaka’s service hold - 2-0.

Barty held to feature on the scoreboard 1-2.

Two break points to Barty - both saved, the second with an ace.

Osaka held for 3-1.

A swift hold by Ash left her close but behind a break 2-3.

Osaka held easily for 4-2.

Two break points for Barty which were stamped out by Osaka who proceeded to hit a series of winners and capture the opening set 6-4.

Barty, for the third match in succession, would need to win in three.

From 30-0 Barty dropped serve in the first game of set two.

She had deuces in Osaka’s next game but was unable ro break and trailed 4-6 0-2.

Osaka broke again, sealing it with winners.

4-0 after three successive aces in Osaka’s next service game.

0-30 for Barty but she fought back to finally see a score registered on the board this set for her. 4-1 Osaka.

Osaka served for the match at 5-2. Down 0-30 she served brilliantly when it mattered to win the match 6-4 6-2.

Next for her world number one Simona Halep.

Halep defeats Davis in epic

First up on RLA on Day Six was top seed Simona Halep from Romania, doing battle with unseeded Lauren Davis from the US.

Having a problem with an ankle injury suffered in her first round match, Halep has managed her way through to this clash, but the question is can her talent alone carry her over the line today ?

Davis won the opening game, solving a deuce issue, and a Halep backhand winner saved the top seed from a break of her initial serve.

1-1.

The second exchange of serves was easier, but Halep was first to deliver a break of serve in game five. Three American errors contributed. 3-2 Halep.

A backhand winner from Davis brought up two break back points and she converted the second for 3-3.

4-4 came and went before Davis struck once more - at 4-5 Halep committed three errors to set up two break points.  

A Davis winning forehand on the first won the game and set 6-4.

A problem now for the world number one.

Davis held serve solidly to start set two but after Halep held comfortably, Davis lost her momentum and her serve - from 15-40 four straight points lost, the last with a double fault.

A love game consolidated the break and Davis then held for 2-3.

Halep saved a break point to make it 4-2, and Davis saved three to progress to 3-4.

At 5-4 Halep served to level the match - 3 unforced errors from Davis brought up 3 set points and Halep hit a backhand winner immediately.

The top seed was even at 4-6 6-4.

The decider was 1-1 after easy holds from both players.

Madison Keys (17) defeated Ana Bogdan 6-3 6-4.

The third game could well have been the match decider as Halep broke to love - all points a result of American unforced errors.

Another love game on serve and the lead for Simona was 3-1.

After Halep won her tenth point in succession, Davis steadied to hold for 2-3.

Two break back points - both saved. Another one created with a volley winner. Saved. A forehand forced an error and a fourth break chance.

Saved. Fifth chance taken and 3-3.

Two forehand winners, thwarted by a double fault, didn’t stop Davis launching to 4-3.

Halep regrouped and held strongly for 4-4.  

A backhand winner from Halep and an unforced error from Davis had the American down two break points. One was saved, the second not.

Halep served for the match - opening point to the top seed, then a double fault.

Break point after Halep error - games 5-5 following break of serve.

Two more break points for Halep and a second chance to serve for the fourth round.

Breaks of serve all over the place as Halep failed again to serve it out.

6-6.

7-7 with easy service holds at last.

However, Halep used the second of two break pointe to lead 8-7 and have a third crack at serving it out.

No luck for Simona again - 8-8.

After a long game and three break points, Lauren held serve and led 9-8.

Trading forehand errors it was 15-15.

Winners from both sides by Davis and deuce - Halep did well to hold and 9-9.

10-9 Davis and Halep 15-30 serving to stay in the match.

Two errors from Davis and game point - saved.

Another chance for Halep to even things but deuce again - ace and off forehand winner. 10-10.

30-30 and problems for Davis - but attacking worked for 40-30 and then the game. 11-10.

Ripping Davis backhand. 0-30, then three match points.

All saved.

Eventually 11-11.

Medical timeout for Davis. Back on court in strife at 15-30.

Double fault and two break points. One saved. And the second.

A third break chance. Saved. Fourth and fifth break points saved.

A remarkable service hold - correction: this match has gone beyond anything remarkable - and Davis led 12-11.

Karolina Pliskova (6) defeated Lucie Safarova (29) 7-6(6) 7-5 in an all Czech clash.

Davis led 13-12 after two comfortable service games. 

30-30 on Halep’s serve and she managed to hold for 13-13.

Davis lost the opening point on her next serve. And 0-30.

A third forced error and three break points.

One saved. Not the second and for the fourth time Halep would serve for the match. This time she looked the fitter player..

15-0 the ideal start but a netted shot from Halep complicated things somewhat. 30-30 after a netted shot from Davis.

Match point for Halep. A wide shot from Davis and the epic was finished.

Halep the victor 4-6 6-4 15-13 in three and three quarter hours.