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Anderson Saves 1 M.P. To Conclude Day 2 Play

  • Posted: Jan 21, 2020

Anderson Saves 1 M.P. To Conclude Day 2 Play

South African to next play Fritz on Thursday

Kevin Anderson may not have envisaged his return to Grand Slam championship play would end at 1:30 a.m. local time in Melbourne, but that’s what happened on Wednesday morning at the Australian Open.

The big-serving South African finally completed a 6-4, 2-6, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6(8) comeback victory over Belarusian qualifier Ilya Ivashka in three hours and 54 minutes.

The 33-year-old Anderson first recovered from 1-4 down in the fourth set and then saved one match point on serve at 4-5, 30/40 in the deciding set. He completed victory with an overhead, having gained the decisive mini-break in the final tie-break when he rushed to the net and Ivashka hit a backhand passing stroke wide.

Former World No. 4 Anderson played three matches for Team South Africa at the inaugural ATP Cup two weeks ago, since 2019 season-ending knee surgery in September. He played his last match in 2019 on 5 July against Guido Pella at Wimbledon.

Anderson will now challenge American No. 29 seed Taylor Fritz, who was a 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 winner over Dutch qualifier Tallon Griekspoor in 86 minutes earlier on day two.

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Australian Open: Serena Williams, Roger Federer, Dan Evans & Heather Watson play on day three

  • Posted: Jan 21, 2020
2020 Australian Open
Venue: Melbourne Park Dates: 20 January to 2 February
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra and online; Live text on selected matches on the BBC Sport website and app.

Britons Dan Evans and Heather Watson are looking to progress in the Australian Open on Wednesday after only Harriet Dart survived day two.

Evans, seeded 30th, plays Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka, with defending champion Novak Djokovic possibly awaiting the winner in the third round.

Watson, ranked 75th, meets Kristyna Pliskova in her first-round match.

The pair were scheduled to meet on Tuesday but the match was postponed because of a backlog.

Evans, 29, is the only Briton left in the men’s singles after Kyle Edmund and Cameron Norrie lost on Tuesday.

The British number one, who fought from two sets down to beat American Mackenzie McDonald on Monday, meets Nishioka second on court 19 at about 02:00 GMT.

Watson, 27, is hoping to join qualifier Dart in the second round after Johanna Konta and Katie Boulter were also beaten on Tuesday.

She opens against Czech world number 64 Pliskova – twin sister of second seed Karolina – on court 12 at 00:00 GMT.

  • Dart advances but Konta & Edmund out
  • Sharapova ‘unsure’ on future after first-round loss
  • Nadal, Kyrgios & Medvedev through to round two

Djokovic is among a star-studded line-up on Rod Laver Arena, taking on Japanese wildcard Tatsuma Ito in his second-round match.

Australian world number one Ashleigh Barty, who is aiming to become the home nation’s first singles champion for 42 years, and Czech 2019 runner-up Petra Kvitova also play in the day session.

American legend Serena Williams continues her quest for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles title by opening the evening session against Slovenia’s Tamara Zidansek, before Swiss great Roger Federer rounds off the night on the 15,000-seat show court, facing Serb Filip Krajinovic.

Wednesday’s order of play on Rod Laver Arena
Day session starts at 00:00 GMT
Paula Badosa (Spa) v Petra Kvitova (Cze) [7]
Ashleigh Barty (Aus) v Polona Hercog (Slo)
Tatsuma Ito (Jpn) v Novak Djokovic (Ser) [2]
Night session starts at 08:00 GMT
Tamara Zidansek (Slo) v Serena Williams (US) [8]
Filip Krajinovic (Ser) v Roger Federer (Swi) [3]

Nishioka just as tough as Djokovic right now – Evans

Evans is no stranger to playing the biggest names on the biggest stage, having faced Federer at both the Australian Open and US Open last year.

The Briton, playing his first Slam as a seed, will meet 16-time Grand Slam champion Djokovic for the first time in his career if both men win on Wednesday.

First Evans must overcome world number 71 Nishioka, who is looking to reach the last 32 at a major for the first time.

“I have to play Nishioka first and if I do get there it’s a good match, another good opportunity.

“It’s obviously a difficult match but Nishioka’s just as tough right now.

“It’s a good thing to have waiting if I win.”

Evans has lost both of his two previous meetings with the Japanese left-hander, including a 6-4 6-1 defeat at the Washington Open in August.

“If I’m being totally honest I had a real bad mental performance last time,” Evans said.

“It was just before I split with my coach [David Felgate] so I wouldn’t read too much into the last one.”

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Watson hopes new love can inspire change of Grand Slam fortunes

British number two Watson says she is going into the Australian Open feeling “happy on and off the court”, believing her new relationship with Yeovil Town footballer Courtney Duffus has particularly contributed to her improved results.

Watson is hoping to end a miserable run at the Grand Slams – and the Australian Open, in particular – by beating Pliskova.

“He’s super positive. I don’t like boys to have too much influence over me but he has really been a good influence,” a smiling Watson told reporters.

Watson has won only two main-draw Grand Slam matches in the past two years, with just one victory in her past six appearances in the main draw in Melbourne.

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Australian Open: Maria Sharapova set to drop out of top 350 after defeat

  • Posted: Jan 21, 2020
2020 Australian Open
Venue: Melbourne Park Dates: 20 January to 2 February
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra and online; Live text on selected matches on the BBC Sport website and app.

Maria Sharapova is not sure if she will be at the Australian Open next year, with a first-round exit meaning she is set to drop out of the world’s top 350.

The five-time Grand Slam champion, who won at Melbourne Park in 2008, lost 6-3 6-4 to Croatian 19th seed Donna Vekic.

It was only the Russian’s second competitive outing since September’s US Open because of a shoulder injury.

Asked whether this might be her last appearance at the tournament, she said: “I don’t know. I don’t know.”

The 32-year-old, who was given a wildcard, added: “I was fortunate to get myself to be here and thanks to [the organisers for] allowing me to be part of this event.

“It’s tough for me to tell what’s going to happen in 12 months’ time.”

This was the former world number one’s earliest exit at the Australian Open since 2010 and she has now gone out in the first round in her past three Grand Slams.

“I put myself out there. As tough as it was, I finished the match and it wasn’t the way that I wanted,” she said.

  • Konta, Edmund & Boulter out in first round
  • Nadal eases into round two

Halep, Pliskova, Muguruza through to round two

Wimbledon champion Simona Halep had to save three set points in the first set but eventually came through 7-6 (7-5) 6-1 against American Jennifer Brady.

Romanian Halep, who had her right wrist strapped after a fall in the first set, raced through the second set in 27 minutes after the opener took 69 minutes.

World number two Karolina Pliskova raced through the first set before having to work hard in the second as she beat Kristina Mladenovic to reach the second round.

The Czech took the opener in just 25 minutes on her way to a 6-1 7-5 win.

It was a tricky draw for the second seed, with Mladenovic a former top-10 player who helped France win the Fed Cup in November.

Pliskova is unbeaten in 2020, winning the Brisbane International this month.

“We had some good matches in the past and it was tough mentally in the second set,” said Pliskova, who had shared a 2-2 record against Mladenovic before this match.

In the next round, the 27-year-old will play German world number 72 Laura Siegemund.

Pliskova, chasing a first Grand Slam title, is joined in the second round by Swiss sixth seed Belinda Bencic, Dutch ninth seed Kiki Bertens, American 10th seed Madison Keys and Greek 22nd seed Maria Sakkari, but British 12th seed Johanna Konta was knocked out.

Two-time Grand Slam champion Garbine Muguruza fought back from a dreadful first set to beat American Shelby Rogers 0-6 6-1 6-0 and 2016 champion Angelique Kerber of Germany saw off Italian qualifier Elisabetta Cocciaretto 6-2 6-2.

American 26th seed Danielle Collins, a surprise semi-finalist in Melbourne last year, overcame Vitalia Diatchenko 6-1 3-6 6-4.

Czech 15th seed Marketa Vondrousova, a finalist at last year’s French Open, lost 6-2 4-6 6-4 to Russian 34-year-old Svetlana Kuznetsova, while American 18-year-old Amanda Anisimova fell 6-3 4-6 6-3 to Kazakhstan’s Zarina Diyas.

Catherine Bellis, playing at her first Grand Slam in two years, breezed past Germany’s Tatjana Maria 6-0 6-2.

American Bellis, who has fallen to 600 in the rankings, was told she may have to quit tennis after struggling with wrist and elbow injuries.

She had four surgeries in 2018 on her wrist, arm and elbow and only returned to the WTA Tour in November 2019.

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Medvedev Edges Tiafoe, Moves On In Melbourne

  • Posted: Jan 21, 2020

Medvedev Edges Tiafoe, Moves On In Melbourne

Russian to face Koepfer or Martinez in second round

Daniil Medvedev was forced to work hard for his first-round win at the Australian Open on Tuesday night, beating Frances Tiafoe 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 in Melbourne.

The Russian, who fell to eventual champion Novak Djokovic in the Round of 16 last year, broke serve on nine occasions and hit 42 winners throughout the entertaining encounter at Rod Laver Arena. Medvedev is aiming to capture his first Grand Slam title at Melbourne Park, following his run to the US Open final last year (l. to Nadal).

Medvedev improves to 5-1 this year after his two-hour, 36-minute win. The fourth seed won four of his five matches for Team Russia at the inaugural ATP Cup earlier this month.

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Medvedev will meet Dominik Koepfer or Pedro Martinez for a place in the third round. The World No. 4 beat Koepfer in their only previous ATP Head2Head meeting to reach the US Open quarter-finals last year.

Medvedev made an impressive start to the match, covering the court well and using his forehand to finish points and establish a 4-1 advantage. Tiafoe stepped in on his returns to recover one of the breaks, before the Russian showcased great touch around the net to break for a third time and take the opener after 33 minutes.

After trading breaks early in the set, Tiafoe attacked with his backhand and moved up the court to take time away from Medvedev. The American broke serve to love at 4-4 and levelled the match with a powerful serve out wide.

Medvedev moved into a 3-0 lead in the third set, using his forehand to claim his fifth break of the match in a game that featured seven deuce points. But Tiafoe continued to fight hard, finding success behind a series of flat backhand strikes to level the score. Serving at 4-5, a series of Tiafoe groundstroke errors handed Medvedev three set points. The Russian converted his first opportunity, charging to the net behind a dipping passing shot to place the ball past his opponent.

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Once again, Medvedev found success with another low forehand passing shot to break for a 2-0 lead in the fourth set. Tiafoe continued to battle, finding mixed success with aggressive play on his forehand side before Medvedev booked his place in the second round. The 23-year-old secured another service break to close the match, driving a deep backhand return to the laces of his opponent.

Contesting his 100th tour-level hard court match (41-59), Tiafoe was attempting to reach the second round for the third time. The 23-year-old reached the quarter-finals in Melbourne last year, beating Top 20 seeds Kevin Anderson and Grigor Dimitrov.

Stan Wawrinka improved to 15-0 in Australian Open first-round matches, beating Damir Dzumhur 7-5, 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-4. The 2014 champion landed 57 winners and saved both break points he faced to level his ATP Head2Head series against Dzumhur at 2-2.

Wawrinka will face Andreas Seppi for a place in the third round. The Italian moved past 2019 Next Gen ATP Finals semi-finalist Miomir Kecmanovic 6-4, 6-4, 7-6(3).

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Nadal cruises into Australian Open round two

  • Posted: Jan 21, 2020
2020 Australian Open
Venue: Melbourne Park Dates: 20 January to 2 February
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra and online; Live text on selected matches on the BBC Sport website and app.

World number one Rafael Nadal cruised into the Australian Open second round with a straightforward victory over Bolivia’s Hugo Dellien in Melbourne.

Nadal, champion in Melbourne in 2009, dropped just five games in a 6-2 6-3 6-0 win over his 72nd-ranked opponent.

The Spaniard, runner-up last year, is bidding to equal Roger Federer’s record of 20 Grand Slam men’s singles titles.

He will play either Federico Delbonis of Argentina or Portugal’s Joao Sousa next.

Nadal has reached the Australian Open final five times but won it only once, beating Federer in a five-set epic 11 years ago.

He dropped serve twice against Dellien but barely looked troubled, hitting 38 winners to his opponent’s 15.

“For me personally it has been a very positive start,” the 33-year-old said.

“What you want is to win in the first round and, if you can do it in straight sets, even better.”

There were also wins on Tuesday for Austrian fifth seed Dominic Thiem, Spain’s ninth seed Roberto Bautista Agut and Argentine 14th seed Diego Schwartzman.

Stan Wawrinka, who won the title in 2014, progressed in four sets, while former finalist Marin Cilic and 2016 semi-finalist Milos Raonic won in straight sets.

  • Konta & Edmund out in first round
  • Teen Sinner wins & impresses Federer
  • Pliskova through; Sharapova out

‘You’re pathetic’ – Fognini & Opelka clash with umpire

Italian 12th seed Fabio Fognini fought back from a two-set deficit to beat American Reilly Opelka in a bad-tempered match.

Opelka, who had earlier been given a code violation for time-wasting, shouted at the umpire when he felt Fognini should have been penalised for the same thing.

Fognini had earlier sworn at the umpire in Italian and broken a racquet.

After Fognini threw his racquet, Opelka approached Carlos Bernardes and said: “Let me ask you something, real quick. You’re pathetic.

“You give me one warning after one throw. He’s thrown his three or four times, bro.”

Opelka had led Fognini overnight after rain delayed their match, but was ultimately beaten 3-6 6-7 (3-7) 6-4 6-3 7-6 (7-5).

“You don’t want to engage with a guy like that,” Opelka said of Fognini after the match.

“You want to keep him out of the match as much as possible. It’s definitely not a positive thing.”

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Nadal In Full Flight For Opening Test

  • Posted: Jan 21, 2020

Nadal In Full Flight For Opening Test

Top seed cruises past Dellien on Tuesday

Hugo Dellien won plenty of new fans with his inspired effort on Tuesday, but Rafael Nadal handily won their first-round clash at the Australian Open. The top-seeded Spaniard moved past the Bolivian 6-2, 6-3, 6-0 and continued the quest for his first Melbourne crown in 11 years.

Dellien handled his new surroundings well in the early stages, stepping into his returns and making it clear that he was ready to fight. But despite the Bolivian holding nine game points in the first four games, Nadal’s relentless baseline slugging proved too strong and he led 5-0 after 39 minutes. The top seed’s only minor blip came as he attempted to serve out the set at 5-1, but he recovered with a strong forehand in the next game to take the early lead.

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Nadal cleaned up his game in his second set, beefing up his first-serve percentage (54% to 67%) and reducing his error count from the baseline. Although Dellien managed to break at 4-2 to get the set back on serve, the moment only intensified Nadal’s focus. The Spaniard sprinted through eight of the last 10 points for a commanding advantage.

The grueling baseline rallies finally took their toll on Dellien and Nadal quickly seized his opportunity. The World No. 1 dominated the final set with a sublime display of power tennis, hitting 18 winners to just five enforced errors to advance in two hours and two minutes. He improved to 62-13 at the first major of the year.

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Nadal awaits the winner of Argentine Federico Delbonis and Argentine Joao Sousa. He holds a 3-0 lead against both players in their respective ATP Head2Head rivalries.

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Australian Open: Johanna Konta loses to Ons Jabeur in first round

  • Posted: Jan 21, 2020
2020 Australian Open
Venue: Melbourne Park Dates: 20 January to 2 February
Coverage: Listen on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra and online; Live text on selected matches on the BBC Sport website and app.

British number one Johanna Konta made her earliest exit from the Australian Open by losing to Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur in the first round.

Konta, seeded 12th, was beaten 6-4 6-2 by the tricky world number 78 at Melbourne Park.

The 28-year-old was playing only her second match in almost five months because of a knee injury.

Konta struggled to settle as Jabeur knocked out Britain’s highest-ranked player.

Five other Britons play later on Tuesday, which features a packed schedule with 96 first-round matches needing to be completed after the opening day was washed out by heavy rain.

British number three Kyle Edmund will shortly resume his match against Serbia’s 24th seed Dusan Lajovic with a 5-2 lead.

Fellow Britons Katie Boulter, Heather Watson, Harriet Dart and Cameron Norrie should also play as planned with a much-improved weather forecast.

  • Follow live coverage of day two of the Australian Open
  • Live scores, schedule and results
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Rusty Konta unpicked by Jabeur

Konta, a 2016 semi-finalist at Melbourne Park, went into this year’s opening Grand Slam having played only one match since September’s US Open.

A tendonitis-like inflammation of the knee, which she suffered in the latter stages of last season, has had to be carefully managed.

Although she did not look troubled by the problem against Jabeur, Konta did show signs of rust and was unable to take her game to the levels that took her to the French Open semi-finals, along with the Wimbledon and US Open quarter-finals, last year.

Konta hit 19 unforced errors, while Jabeur also punished her with 19 winners.

The Briton’s serve came under immediate pressure from Jabeur, who is able to unsettle opponents with her variety, and she had to save a break point in the opening game.

After steadying herself, an erratic game where she struggled on her first serve enabled Jabeur to strike and take the opening set.

Konta, backed by a healthy number of British fans, came out for the second set with renewed purpose, playing more aggressively to break in the opening game.

However, she was unable to back that up with a hold and from that point Jabeur took control to win in just one hour and two minutes.

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