I’m still left in awe of the headlines coming out of the Australian Open. Took some time to clear out my PVR so I’m all set to record the Olympics, but having scanned through almost every match covered by TSN/ESPN, wanted to share some of my favourite highlights:
- Serena claws back to beat Azarenka – While I enjoyed the final, this was the match that confirm who would make it to the final. Had Serena succumbed to being down 4-6, 0-4 to the Belarussian, surely Vicki would have made it to her first final. Somehow Serena found the will to win this one 4-6, 7-5, 6-2 in a thrilling match that Victoria didn’t necessarily deserve to lose. I knew Serena was in-form during the Stosur match, but this was the one that confirmed that she would blast her way into the final.
- Roger Federer destroys Andy Murray in the Final – Federer served hot crow to all of his doubters regarding his form and whether or not he could reclaim this title. Andy Murray was the one in tears this year as she went out in straight sets in his second career Grand Slam final.
- Three Set Women’s Final. There has not been a 3-set Women’s final in Melbourne since Serena Williams beat Lindsay Davenport, 2-6, 6-3, 6-0 in the 2005 Final. I believe there has not been a 3-set Women’s final in the slams since 2006 Wimbledon overall, Amelie’s last major win. I thoroughly enjoyed this match. There was great shotmaking, serving, long rallies and great tactics from both players. It was great to see Serena win this one, heavily wrapped up with two trophies under her belt, and retaining her #1 ranking.
- Justine sizzles, Kim Fizzles – Justine survived a 2R test from Elena Dementieva, beating her in straights and telling the world that she’s back and poised to make a run for the title. Though she fell short to Serena, who proved to be more steady and powerful than her own retooled game, expect Justine to find her form around the French as she prepares to make a run for her first Wimbledon title. Kim’s stunning loss to Petrova proves that she’s still human, but will need to find consistency if she is to factor in the other slams.
- Who will learn the most from this open? Two chinese women make the semi-finals of a major for the first time (Li Na, Zheng Jie). Former grand slam champions, Andy Roddick and Novak Djokovic failed to make it past the quarters to factor in here. Ana Ivanovic is in decline and today’s loss in Fed Cup is going to do more damage on her psyche than prove that she is still a top player. Maria Sharapova falling to compatriot Maria Kirilenko in the first round proves that preparation and match play matters at the big events. I expect one of the folks that I have named here will make noise in 2010 off the heels of their experiences at this first slam of the year.