Australian Open is known for many “edges off the seat” matches. This year was no different. Novak Djokovic lifted his record-extending 8th Australian Open title. Thiem fought hard. He was in excellent form. In the previous 29 hard court games, he registered wins in 23. The Serb legend posted 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 win in the summit clash.
Women’s final was 750-1 odd among the bookies. In the title match, 14th seed Sofia Kenin ended unseeded Garbine Muguruza’s run. The US girl came from the position of 0-40, 2-2 in the decider. The Spanish girl tried hard but could not live up to the expectation of fans. Russian born Kenin won 4-6, 6-2, 6-2.
Other games were equally interesting. In a rain-delayed game, wily Fabio Fognini rose from two sets down. The 32-year-old 12th seed Italian got the better of 6’11” tall American Reilly Opelka 3-6,6-7(3), 6-4, 6-3, 7-6(5) in the first-round tie. Three tense games of the second-round deserve a mention. Tennys Sandgren stunned big-serving Italian Matteo Berrettini 7-6(7), 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 7-5 in a dog fight. 2018 finalist Croat Marin Cilic pulled off a victory from 2 sets to 1 down. Playing as an unseeded player this time, Marin squeezed past Frenchman Benoit Paire 6-2, 6-7(6), 3-6, 6-1, 7-6(3). Andreas Seppi was a break up in the decider but lost against Stan Wawrinka. The Italian lost 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4.
In third-round games, Roger Federer registered his 100th Australian open win when he was only 2 points away from the exit. The Swiss maestro came back from 4-8 down to post 10-8 victory in the fifth set tie break. He crushed the dreams of local favorite John Millman in 4 hours and a five-set battle. The final scoreline read 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(8). Among women, Coco Gauff upset third seed Naomi Osaka.US teen handed the Japanese a 6-3,6-4 defeat. Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark played her last game against Ons Jabeur of Tunisia. Former World Number one lost the tie 7-5, 3-6, 7-5. Qiang Wang of China shocked the world. She soaked up all the pressure to beat eighth seed Serena Williams 6-4, 6-7(2), 7-5.
In the fourth round, Stan Wawrinka shocked 4th seed and favorite Russian Daniil Medvedev. The veteran Swiss came from 2 sets to 1 down and won 6-2, 2-6, 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-2 in a thrilling fashion. Roger Federer again snatched a victory from the jaws of defeat. He ended a sensational show of the 100th ranked US player Tennys Sandgren. Roger saved seven match points to book his semifinal with Novak Djokovic. The final score read 6-3, 2-6, 2-6, 7-6(8), 6-3. Kenin stopped the run of 15 year Coco Gauff in all US clash.
Dominic Thiem left Nadal wondering about his poor show in Australian open. The 26-year-old Austrian won 3 tie breaks for 7-6(3), 7-6(4), 4-6, 7-6(6) victory. 4 set Quarter final consumed 4 hours and 10 minutes.
Two players deserve a separate mention. The dream run of Jabeur hit the headlines. In the fourth-round clash, the Tunisian won against Qiang in straight sets. Thus she became the first Arab woman to reach a quarterfinal of a Grand Slam. Eventual champion Sofia Kenin stopped her march in QF. Currently, she is the highest-ranked Arab woman in the history of WTA. Another shocker came from the girl’s section. Jimenez Kasintseva became the first girl from Andorra to lift any Grand Slam tournament.The 14-year-old was the youngest player in the draw.
Two weeks again witnessed nail-biting matches. Let’s hope, the same momentum will continue in the coming years.
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