Posts tagged Australian
Tennis: Murray loses in Australian final
Feb 2 2011 by Donald Morton, Stirling Observer Wednesday
Tennis: Murray loses in Australian final
ANDY Murray’s hopes of winning his first Grand Slam slipped away in Melbourne on Sunday.
With no Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer to face, it seemed a certainty.
But Serbian Novak Djokovic is not world number three for nothing and he was on top form.
Andy said afterwards that the only way he can respond to suffering a third Grand Slam final defeat is by working hard to ensure he does better next time.
“I want to keep working hard, try and improve,” he said. “It’s going to be tough, for sure, for a few days.
“I said before the final it’s not something that I lose sleep over at night. I want to try and win one, of course, but if it doesn’t happen it doesn’t happen.
“I’m just working as hard as I can. I train very hard. You know, I take tennis very seriously.
“But I love my life away from tennis as well. That’s why maybe this year, compared with last, I’m very, very happy off the court. I’m enjoying myself. There’s other things to look forward to too.”
He added: “Anyone who played in three finals would have loved to have won one but I haven’t. I just need to keep working hard and try and do it. But, yeah, I would have preferred to have won one than lost three.”
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
It wasn’t a masked ball at the Rod Laver Arena on Saturday yet the final moments led to some spontaneous unmasking. Kim Clijsters of Belgium told the fans in the stadium that they could finally call her Aussie Kim while Li Na was very cross with her own supporters claiming they were trying to coach her in Chinese what to do mid-point.
Li Na has been the story of the tournament and to her credit she has put a face to China and broadly some would say even to Asia. Her on court interviews have delighted people across the world and her tennis has won her many admirers. It was the first Grand Slam final for Li and also a first for the large continent and she rose to the occasion and came out firing in the first set. The experienced Clijsters was taken by surprise and she had no answers to the power and accuracy of the Chinese star.
It was something that even Clijsters acknowledged later. “She did everything better than me in that first set,” said Clijsters. “Her ground strokes were heavier, deeper, she served better and she returned better. She was playing really well, probably the best she has ever played against me.”
Clijsters was playing well but Li was playing brilliantly and she took nine out of the first 14 games. In the 15th game Clijsters was down 0-30 and a break there could have put Li on course to victory. However, that was where things started slipping away from her. Once her clear-sightedness was clouded by impatience, Li got flustered and struggled to get her composure back. She won just three out of the last 13 games as Clijsters tightened her defence and saw her opponent make a host of unforced errors.
Earlier Clijsters needed some help from Li to get back into the contest and it was her experience and the relative inexperience of her opponent that turned the tide. “I tried to do things differently to break her rhythm a little bit and make her think a little bit more,” Clijsters said. “I mixed it up a little bit, put some slices in, also hit a few higher shots and it made her make some unforced errors. And then she got a little bit aggravated and I just tried to hang in there.”
This was backed up by Li’s claim: “If you haven’t got that experience, if you come across some problems, you can’t get out of them that easily. It’s not that there’s no way out, it’s because you don’t know how to find a way out.”
Afterwards, Li said: “I don’t know why after I got to the final I had so many Chinese coaches on the court. Of course they want me to win the match but they were trying to coach me how to play tennis.” Can the crowd be blamed for Li Na’s downfall? That can only be considered if the crowd can be credited with her winning the previous rounds and reaching the final. “Be a master of your petty annoyances and conserve your energies for the big, worthwhile things. It isn’t the mountain ahead that wears you out; it’s the grain of sand in your shoe.” That could well be said for Li Na.
The witty and graceful Chinese needed to keep her tunnel vision going and there was no reason for her to be paying more attention to the crowd than to her game. Clijsters had changed her approach mid-way in the second set when she started defending from the baseline and scooping some high balls for Li to hit from the back of the court. Li needed to be aware of what her opponent was trying to do and also aware of the fact that she was in the ascendancy.
Sadly the couple of errors Clijsters drew upset Li’s rhythm and that is when she started getting bothered by the crowd. Clijsters used the occasion to get her rhythm going and squeezed out the second set. From there on it was Clijsters all the way. The final score read 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 in Clijsters favour.
Nevertheless the experience would do a world of good for Li Na and if she finds herself in the same situation next time she may well be prepared to listen only to the rustling of the tennis ball. It would be wonderful if she treats everything else as just noise.
MELBOURNE: Kim Clijsters wore the glow of a Grand Slam winner and the perspective of a working mother who worries about spending too much time on the road.
The 27-year-old Belgian wore a white designer dress and hoisted her trophy for the cameras on Sunday for a day-after photo shoot at Melbourne’s Brighton beach, where she posed in front of historic huts and dipped her toes in the bay on a hot summer’s day.
The night before, Clijsters defeated China’s Li Na to win her first Australian Open and her fourth major – her third since returning from a 2 1/2-year break from tennis to start a family.
Her daughter, Jada, who turns three next month, accompanies her on tour, along with husband Brian Lynch and other members of her family.
The unique situation has raised questions about juggling the demands of playing and a family, whether she might stop to have more children, and how her daughter handles life on the tour.
It’s the kind of world Clijsters, whose father was a professional football player and whose mother was a Belgian gymnastics champion, has long known, and one she doesn’t wants for her daughter.
“I know in our situation because my dad was a little famous that it was a little hard sometimes,” Clijsters said on Sunday. “People have a prejudgement and that’s something that I felt when I was younger and I used to get teased in school and it was very bad at some points.
“So those are things that I don’t want her to go through,” she said of Jada.
Clijsters said 2011 will probably be her final full year on the tour, though she would like to play at the London Olympics in 2012 and told the crowd after winning her title here that she’d like to come back and defend it. She also said she would like to have another baby, though there are no firm plans.
For Jada, her mother winning the Australian is not a big thing. “To her it really doesn’t matter,” Clijsters said “I mean, she’s always excited. Although when she saw the trophy, she was like, ‘Who is that trophy for?’ And then she’s like, ‘Did you win that?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah.’
“I mean, to her, she knows I play tennis, but that’s it. She doesn’t know everything else that comes with it, winning, losing,” Clijsters said. “I mean, she’s seen me like a little bit disappointed and stuff. … I explain to her that I lost. But, I mean, it’s not a big deal for her.”
Clijsters’ comeback has served as an inspiration for many women, including some of the top players.
“Wow I’m so impressed! Mommy and winner??? U r my hero!! kiss kiss,” Serena Williams wrote in a Twitter post to Clijsters soon after the final. Serena Williams won the Australian title last year but was unable to defend it due to a persistent foot injury.
Clijsters quit the tour in 2007 after four years in thee top five rankings, her first U.S. Open triumph in 2005 and reaching the finals of three other majors. She returned in late 2009, and won the 2009 U.S. Open in her third tournament back – becoming the first mother to win a Grand Slam since Australia’s Evonne Goolagong Cawley at Wimbledon in 1980.
Now, Clijsters shares the record with Margaret Court of three grand slam titles as a mother.
For all the extraordinary achievement, Clijsters said she wants a normal life for her daughter, not the one she had.
“I would never really enjoy going to school, but I’m going to try to make it something that is important for Jada,” she said.
“I didn’t finish school, I wasn’t able to do the usual birthday parties and all that stuff. I never did anything like that because I was playing tennis and doing a lot of traveling,” she said. “I want to give her all that. I want to give her those friendships in school and those friends you grow up with and kind of have that normal kind of lifestyle.”
UPDATE 2-Tennis-Clijsters rallies past Li to win Australian Open
* Li crumbles under pressure in second set
* Blames Chinese fans for noise
* Clijsters wins fourth grand slam title (adds details, quotes)
By Ian Ransom
MELBOURNE, Jan 29 (Reuters) – Belgian Kim Clijsters shrugged off a listless start to reel in China’s Li Na 3-6 6-3 6-3 to win the Australian Open and her fourth grand slam title on Saturday.
Clijsters took control of the match after Li imploded under pressure in the second set and took out her frustrations on her country’s fans.
Stunned early by Li’s fierce baseline power, third seed Clijsters upped her game to break at 3-3 in the second set in a tension-charged atmosphere at Rod Laver Arena.
The 28-year-old Li crumbled spectacularly and marched to the chair at the change of ends to ask British umpire Alison Lang: “Can you tell the Chinese don’t teach me how to play tennis?”
Li’s outburst was reminiscent of her infamous moment during her semi-final against Dinara Safina at the Beijing Olympics singles tournament where she told a boisterous local crowd to “shut up.”
Having dominated for most of the match, Li won only three of the next eight games as triple U.S. Open champion Clijsters marched to her first Australian Open crown.
Li, who was bidding to become both China and Asia’s first singles grand slam champion, almost fittingly blasted a wild forehand to concede the match and Clijsters shrieked and held her head in elation.
“I’m a little shaky still. Congratulations to Li Na. She had a great effort the last two weeks and is definitely a very tough competitor,” said working mum Clijsters, clutching the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup.
“A few more grand slam finals together (with Li) would be nice.”
The win was Clijsters’s third grand slam since returning to the game in 2009 after a two-year retirement.
Li, who also complained about flashing cameras as the third set slipped away, recovered her composure during the award’s ceremony and thanked her husband and coach Jiang Shan in the stands.
“The man in the yellow shirt is my husband. It doesn’t matter if you are fat or skinny or ugly. I always love you,” she said, prompting roars of laughter from the 15,000-strong crowd at the stadium.
Dubai: No less than three of this year’s four Australian Open finalists are set to entertain fans at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships next month.
And the premier men’s event of the Middle East is certain to feature the latest Grand Slam champion — both Dubai defending champion Novak Djokovic and top Brit Andy Murray, whom he faces off against in today’s final in Melbourne, have confirmed their participation.
“Djokovic and Murray are both great champions who have already made a lasting impression at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships,” said Colm McLoughlin, Managing Director of tournament owners and organisers Dubai Duty Free.
“Djokovic has won the title here for the past two years and Murray produced one of the biggest upsets in the history of the tournament when he inflicted a first round defeat on Roger Federer in 2008. They are so closely matched that it is impossible to predict who will win the Australian Open final, but one certainty is that they will both provide fantastic entertainment for their many fans here when they travel on to Dubai.”
Both Djokovic and Murray have made stunning starts to the new season, and they are certain to be top attractions when play gets underway at the Dubai Tennis Stadium.
Djokovic began the year by reaching the final of the Hopman Cup mixed team competition, only for his partner Ana Ivanovic to succumb to injury. He then followed up that success by ousting defending champion Federer in straight sets in the Australian Open semi-finals.
Murray, too, has been in top form while proving that his run to the final of the Australian Open last year was no flash in the pan. He reached his second straight Australian Open final with a thrilling four-set victory over seventh seeded Spaniard David Ferrer to set up a scintillating finale.
Well before that match, the women’s final yesterday featured Dubai-bound ninth ranked Li Na against third-ranked Kim Clijsters.
Li made history as the first player from China to reach the world’s top 10, and now she has made another big splash by becoming the first player from her country to reach the final of a Grand Slam.
Coached by her husband, Li has bettered her semi-final finish at last year’s Australian Open and was, until yesterday’s final, undefeated this season after beating Clijsters in the recent Sydney International final.
Djokovic, Murray and Li will all be part of a star-studded field that also includes WTA world number one Caroline Wozniacki, Vera Zvonareva, defending champion Venus Williams, alongside ATP world number two Federer, and names such as Tomas Berdych, Marcos Baghdatis and Nikolay Davydenko. The organisers said tickets for the event are still available for certain days online, through www.timeouttickets.com, and from the Box Office at the Dubai Tennis Stadium.
The two-week Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships is held under the patronage of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.
Play begins on February 14 with the WTA Tour event and continues with the ATP tournament from February 21.
By Cynthia Koons
MELBOURNE, Australia—It took three hours and 46 minutes, two tie breaks and, in the end, one perfectly placed match point volley for Britain’s Andy Murray to defeat Spaniard David Ferrer in the Australian Open semifinals Friday night.
His four-set 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-1, 7-6 (2) victory sets him up for a clash against good friend and practice partner No. 3 Novak Djokovic in the final.
The Serbian defeated No. 2 Roger Federer in straight sets here on Thursday night to create the first Grand Slam final without Mr. Federer or No. 1 Rafael Nadal in three years.
Mr. Murray and Mr. Djokovic are often considered the best players on the tour behind Mr. Federer and Mr. Nadal, but they have yet to meet in a Grand Slam because their close rankings mean they typically end up on opposite sides of the draw.
“I hope it’s the start of us playing each other in the big matches,” Mr. Murray said.
This will be Mr. Murray’s third Grand Slam final and second consecutive Australian Open final. Winning the final would make Mr. Murray the first man from Great Britain to win a Grand Slam since 1936.
Against Mr. Djokovic, Mr. Murray has won the last three matches they played on hard courts. Mr. Djokovic won the four matches they played before that. Mr. Murray recalled the first time the pair played, when they were just 13. As far as he can remember, Mr. Murray won that match 6-0, 6-1.
“It will be just a bit tougher than that on Sunday,” he joked.
Unlike Mr. Djokovic and Mr. Federer’s fast-paced semifinals match, Mr. Murray and Mr. Ferrer’s meeting on Friday night began much more deliberately, the first set marked by spectacular 27-, 37- and 40-shot rallies, the type of tennis that tends to favor the tireless Spaniard. As early as the first set, which Mr. Ferrer won, his Scottish opponent looked a bit weary.
Mr. Ferrer, the underdog heading into tonight’s semifinals match, had beaten countryman No. 1 Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals earlier this week to make it into the semis. But that victory came from a match in which Mr. Nadal injured his hamstring and was left to play out the match with limited mobility.
Mr. Murray broke Mr. Ferrer at the start of the second set Friday night, taking the first game on one of the Spaniard’s unforced errors. Mr. Ferrer immediately broke back in the second game, setting the tone for what was certain to be a long night.
Down 2-3 in the second set, Mr. Murray ratcheted up his serve, doling out three serves that Mr. Ferrer could not put back in play and one ace, denying Mr. Ferrer the chance to convert three break points in the game.
The second set wound up in a tiebreak, a point at which Mr. Murray found his pace and Mr. Ferrer seemed to lose his. Where Mr. Murray was able to hit winners from the baseline, Mr. Ferrer was making unforced errors on his groundstrokes. Mr. Murray comfortably won the tiebreak 7-2.
In the third set, Mr. Murray took an early lead, breaking Mr. Ferrer in the third and sixth games to win that set 6-1.
It was then Mr. Ferrer, who had changed from a black shirt into a neon yellow one after he won the first set, came back onto the court in the black shirt, perhaps with the hope that would bring back some of what his game had lost during the course of the match.
The fourth set was indeed a tougher fight for Mr. Murray. Mr. Ferrer, broken in his first service game, broke back in the fourth game to even the score, and the pair held serve until the final tiebreak.
Gone were the long rallies. Mr. Murray opened the final tiebreak with a short rally that ended with him forcing Mr. Ferrer to hit a backhand into the net. Mr. Murray followed that up with an ace and then, despite giving up one point to Mr. Ferrer on an unforced error, Mr. Murray managed to maintain the momentum to reach match point. It was then Mr. Ferrer responded with a serve Mr. Murray couldn’t return, and it seemed the match would go on.
It was during the next point, in a rally that brought both men to the net, that Mr. Murray hit the backhand volley needed to finish the match.
“He’s an unbelievable athlete,” Mr. Murray said of Mr. Ferrer after the match. “He’s an unbelievable competitor. He works so hard. I was expecting an unbelievable match and I got it.”
Kim Clijsters is deceptively homely, with a turned up nose and a smile borrowed from some 1950s American TV ad for washing powder. She talks like the suburban mum she is when not wired up to the international tennis circuit and has a perspective on her sport that is disconcertingly normal.
She has retired once, to have a baby, and, at 27, she is about to do so again (retire, that is), at the end of this season.
That is why she is not drowning in the hype that attends her eighth grand slam final and Li Na’s first at the Australian Open today. If Li wins, we are led to believe Chinese tennis will emerge from its chrysalis and a grand new era of the women’s game will be upon us before long.
Li, who also has a sense of proportion, questions the impact victory would have on her homeland, mainly because of the suspicion with which her rise has been viewed since she threw off the constraints of the state system.
When it comes down to it, this is a tennis match, albeit a grand one. “Aussie Kim” has always had a place reserved in local hearts and is annually repatriated, one benefit of her liaison years ago with Lleyton Hewitt. Li is their exotic new flower.
Although she lives in New Jersey with her American basketballing husband and likes to shop “in Antwerp, New York and London”, Clijsters remains determinedly Belgian. Asked about the global significance of today’s match, she skips around the subject with all the polite neutrality she can muster.
“I think it’ll open a lot of doors for tennis in that part of the world,” she said of the prospect of Li becoming the first Chinese player to win a grand slam, “but obviously I’m not Chinese, as you can see, probably. It’s hard for me to comment, because I don’t know much about the culture, how they look at sports, how they live.”
If this sound staggeringly disconnected for someone who uses aeroplanes like most people use buses, Clijsters means no offence. For all that she is a well-rounded homebody, the tennis circuit is still her bubble. What goes on outside her immediate experience remains peripheral to her working day – and China is not on her radar.
Asked if the retirement this week of Justine Henin through injury preyed on her mind in her own comeback, Clijsters said: “I had injuries before, so I knew that could be part of the second career as well. It’s not just all the beautiful things that I thought of when I started again.
“I took it very slowly, to get back into shape after the pregnancy. There were some injuries here and there that you wish would not happen because they put you off schedule.
“But injuries are possible with any athlete. Look at [Rafa] Nadal. It can happen with any athlete, even if they’re 100% in shape. So it’s just your mindset.
“I know this is probably going to be my last full season on the tour, though, and then we’ll see. It’s nice that I’m in this spot, to play for the title. It’s a great feeling to have, [especially] knowing that I’m not going to be able to come here for five more years.”
That has been the length of her commitment to the tournament, and she has profited from the investment with an audience that love her and a title she treasures. Clijsters gives the impression some times that it is just about the way it should be, no more, no less.
Paolo will be here from around 8am.
In the meantime here’s Kevin Mitchell’s assessment of Novak Djokovic’s victory over Roger Federer in the other men’s semi-final yesterday.
While a grand slam final without Roger Federer or Rafael Nadal requires no asterisk, it does lend itself to the growing suspicion that the next generation has arrived at the summit of world tennis sooner than was envisaged before this Australian Open. It did not take a leap in the dark a fortnight ago to suggest a Nadal-Federer clash was the most likely final. As it stands, we may wait some time to see them contest a title again.
Convention dictates that the hunting pack cannot salivate over the carcass in public – and any rush to indulge in obituary writing would be insultingly premature. Still, Novak Djokovic, in the heady moments after his comprehensive 7-6, 7-5, 6-4 win over Federer in the first semi-final, took no comfort from the absence of the two players widely regarded as the best of all time.
Andy Murray, the world No5, and the seventh seed, David Ferrer, who play the second semi-final tomorrow, represent significant threats of their own, Djokovic pointed out. “[They] are two players who have been on top of men’s tennis for a couple years already,” he said. “It doesn’t really matter [Federer and Nadal are out].”
It may take the rest of us a while to adjust to this new perspective but, clearly, the players have already been contemplating regime change. It has been a tumultuous couple of days in the power shift of men’s tennis. Djokovic was devastating in beating up Federer in three sets and three hours to reach his fourth grand slam final, far more than Ferrer was when accounting for the stricken Nadal the night before.
Djokovic, Murray and Robin Soderling are at the head of the new charge; their challenge is to sustain it, and on the evidence of this tournament, they are well placed to do so. Federer, despite his protestations to the contrary, increasingly looks beatable.
He bridled, as he might, at suggestions that this was the beginning of the end of an era, or even the end of the beginning. But this is the first time since 2003 that he has gone four slams without winning one. He very nearly went out in the second round to Gilles Simon and, when the quality soared, his resistance dipped further.
Whatever the mood and form Djokovic is in, Murray will need to look somewhere near as good against Ferrer in the second semi-final today to reach his third slam final. “You would make Murray a slight favourite,” Djokovic said tonight, “but Ferrer has been showing maybe his best tennis on hard-courts lately.”
Murray has been playing as well as at any time since he lost to Federer in the final last year – and he was brutal in overpowering Ferrer at the World Tour Finals in London in November. Here he has overcome a variety of styles the past fortnight and dropped just a single set, to the impressive young Ukrainian Alexandr Dolgopolovyesterday.
He said of Ferrer, whom he knows well: “He gets good depth on the ball, good penetration, and that’s why he had such a great match against Rafa. He took a lot of chances, which came off. He will chase everything down, so I’ll have to be patient and mix up my game.”
The man of the tournament so far, though, is Djokovic. “Novak was the better player tonight,” Federer conceded. “You’ve got to accept that and move on.” But to where?
He talks brightly of the future. The Swiss is fit and still only 29. He will not suddenly become an ordinary player. He may yet regain his No1 ranking, although he has a mountainous task to displace Nadal.
“It’s not the end in any way,” he said. “It’s a start for many other tournaments after this. Sure, it’s disappointing and it hurts in the moment itself. I wish I could have won here again for the fifth time, but it wasn’t possible.”
For much of the match it was highly unlikely. Federer might have won the first set but resorted to passivity in the tie-break against an opponent who plainly was up for a fight.
The second set was pivotal. Trailing 2-1 and 30-40 on Djokovic’s serve, Federer found inspiration in a stray feather that got entangled in the net. By the time it had been removed, Djokovic’s concentration strayed and Federer broke him, taking eight points in a row to go 5-2 up.
That ought to have sealed his comeback. A set all and anything was possible. But he could not do it. Djokovic steeled himself to the task, his hitting direct and frighteningly good. By the time he had recovered to take the set, Federer’s energy levels had plummeted. The third was intermittently competitive but Federer again could not capitalise on a break and Djokovic was too strong going to the line.
A couple of days before the start of the championship, Djokovic said this about Murray’s chances of winning a grand slam: “I want him to win, definitely, and the next chance he has I am sure he’s going to take.”
The Serbian world No3, now the odds-on favourite to win this title, knows that Murray’s next opportunity could arrive in the final against him on Rod Laver Arena on Sunday.
Even a couple of days ago, Murray may have preferred Djokovic as an opponent; he will not say, but it would not surprise if he imagined a more straightforward route to his destiny was through Nadal in the semis and Federer in the final. Change is not far away.
While there are a few remaining quarterfinal matches that still need to be played in order to determine the approaching pairings for this weekend’s men’s and women’s semifinal and final rounds, a couple of semifinal pairings are already set in both fields – and no matter what happens in the remaining quarterfinal matches – avid online tennis betting enthusiasts will undoubtedly have a multitude of great chances to cash in with winning wagers as the 2011 Aussie Open heads into its final two rounds.
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First, let’s take a look at the pairings that have already been set on both, the ATP and WTA Tours.
In one men’s semifinal pairing, World No. 2 Roger Federer will square off against World No. 3, Novak Djokovic – and although Federer was the Futures Odds favorite to win this year’s Aussie Open, he is by no means a shoo-in to beat the streaking Djokovic.
ATP Aussie Semifinal Odds
Novak Djokovic +4.5 +175
Roger Federer -4.5 -125
Over 38.5 -135
Under 38.5 -105
Analysis: Djokovic beat Federer in the semis at the 2008 Australian Open en route to winning the first and only grand slam title of his career, so there is no doubt that the ‘Djoker’ is capable of beating Federer – or any other player on the face of the planet on any given day.
Still, I like the defending champion to pull out the four-set win against Djokovic and move another step closer to recording consecutive Aussie Open victories as he has clearly been helped by adding respected coach Paul Annacone to his usual, one-man team.
Federer is moving as well as he ever has f not better and I think the overriding factor in this match will be determination as Fed looks to take another step toward winning back his No. 1 ranking that Nadal wrested from him last season.
In two ATP semifinal matches that will take place over the next two days, avid tennis bettors can likely expect Andy Murray to beat up-and-coming youngster Alexandr Dolgopolov, but it may not be as easy as anyone thinks seeing as the 22-year-old Dolgopolov has already pulled off several huge upsets just to get here.
I like Dolgopov to cover the 7.5-game spread against the talented, but often mentally fragile Murray.
In the remaining Men’s quarterfinal match, Rafael Nadal will look to take down dogged fellow countryman David Ferrer in their all-Spaniard match – and as much as I’d like to see the big upset here, I can’t imagine Nadal losing here, even as a 6.5-game favorite.
Over on the women’s WTA side of things, one semifinal match is already set with World No. 11 Na Li looking like a very formidable challenger (favorite?) to take down World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki at the Australian Open for the second straight year.
Li has not dropped a single set in reaching the semis while Wozniacki had a major quarterfinal battle on her hands just in order to dispatch new World No. 4 Francesca Schiavone.
The Australian Open is getting closer and closer to the final now with the Quarter Finals finishing today and the first of two semi finals occuring tomorrow before the other semi final being played on Friday, the Men’s final will be played on Sunday.
The first semi-final will be played between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer while the second semi final will be played between David Ferrer and Andy Murray.
The Federer and Djokovic match will be a very exciting encounter and one not to miss with a stake in the final at place and with two of the top four players in the world, it is likely to be a very close encounter.
Novak Djokovic will head into his match with Federer very confident of beating the Swiss player as it is now a more open race for the title with Federer maybe not as clinical so far in the tournament than he has been in the past.
Federer though will look to get into the final and extend his record of winning the most major titles ever in the history of tennis, should he and Murray win it will be a replay of last years final, a final which Federer won.
The second semi final is between Andy Murray and David Ferrer. Many were shocked this morning as Spaniard Rafael Nadal was knocked out by his Davis Cup team mate David Ferrer, with Andy Murray now expecting a tough match against a very impressive Ferrer despite Nadal not being at his best today.
Andy Murray will head into his match very confident as he has hardly been pushed so far in the tournament and has only lost one set so far on his way to the semi’s.
David Ferrer will also be confident after beating Rafael Nadal in straight sets in the quarter finals.
No matter what the outcome, the semi finals will be very exciting and no doubt the final will be a very exciting encounter.