Sunday, 31 January 2016

Djokovic 6 Aus Opens

For the fourth time in six years Novak Djokovic was to meet Andy Murray in the final of the Australian Open.  Andy was hoping desperately for a debut triumph at the event and his first major title since 2013 Wimbledon.  Novak was wanting a sixth Aus Open which would make it 11 majors and three in succession after his 2015 Wimbledon and US Open successes.

Andy struggled to reach the final after Raonic appeared to have his measure in the semi final before succumbing to injury, while Novak whipped Federer for two sets before finishing him off in four.

However what was done is history, and the final of 2016 would create its own excitement.  Djokovic should win, his game similar to Murray's, but better where it counts. The ease of victory not as clear as many would have you believe though,  and this could well go the full distance.

Djokovic won the toss and served first. Murray returned the second serve long and 15-0. Forehand winner and 30-0. Netted error and forehand error from Djokovic and 30-30.  Backhand netted by Djokovic and break point.  Awesome backhand crosscourt winner from Djokovic saved the break point. Both players hit long and still deuce.  Djokovic held ultimately for 1-0.

0-15 after Murray netted.  Djokovic long for 15-15.  Great return forced error and 15-30.  Netted Murray forehand and two break points.  Double fault and the break, 2-0 Djokovic.  Drop shot special from Djokovic and 15-0.  Forehand return netted and 30-0.  Off forehand winner and 40-0. Game for Djokovic and 3-0.  

Djokovic forehand long and Murray 15-0. Murray forehand into the Dandenongs and 15-15.  Murray netting a groundstroke and then another and two break points.  A long forehand and a second break, Djokovic ahead 4-0.  Murray backhand long, forehand wide 30-0 Djokovic. Ace for 40-0.  Backhand wide by Djokovic and 40-15.  Backhand winner behind Murray for the game and 5-0.

Surprisingly meek performance from Murray so far.  A quick reversal of form needed.

Error from Murray and 0-15.  Big serve and 15-15.  Murray forehand wide 15-30.  Ace for 30-30.  Forehand crosscourt winner from Murray and game point. Murray on the board and 5-1 Djokovic. Backhand down the line winner from Djokovic and 15-0.  Murray forehand winner and 15-15.  Murray forehand wide and 30-15.  Backhand long from Djokovic and 30-30.  Murray better now.  Djokovic forehand winner and set point.  Murray backhand return winner and deuce.  Murray backhand wide and a second set point.  Forehand from Serbia in the net and deuce.  Off forehand winner from the same nation and third set point.  Return into the net and the first set won by Djokovic 6-1.

Murray served first in the second set and led 15-0.  30-0 with Djokovic backhand wide.  Djokovic forehand volley winner and 30-15.  Murray backhand netted and 30-30.  Return wide and game point. Game to Murray and the lead 1-0.  Murray wide and 15-0 Djokovic. Volley put away by Djokovic and 30-0.  40-0 with Murray meeting the net.  Long by Djokovic and 40-15.  Serve held and 1-1.

Double fault and Murray down 0-15.  30-15 with a Djokovic netted backhand.  30-30 with Murray doing likewise.  Ace for game point.  Murray forced into error by Djokovic forehand and deuce.  Lucky net cord for Murray and game point once more.  Deuce with another Murray date with the net.  Awesome backhand from the Eastern Suburbs by Djokovic for break point. Saved by big Murray serve.  Another break point.  Bad shot by Djokovic and saved.  Third chance. Overhead by Murray and deuce. Fourth try. Ace to save that one.  Game point. Ace for service hold and Murray led 2-1.

Backhand wide by Djokovic and 0-15.  Murray return error and 15-15. Ace and 30-15.  Return long and 40-15.  Quick game for 2-2.  Serve backhand combo for 15-0 Murray. Backhand long by Djokovic and 30-0. Backhand netted for 30-15.  Ace for 40-15.  Forehand crosscourt winner by Murray for 3-2.

15-0 with Murray netting a forehand.  Return forced an error and 15-15.  Forehand netted by Djokovic and 15-30.  Murray well wide and 30-30.  Game point with Murray netting.  Dieuce.  Game point luckily after Murray missed a volley.  Deuce with a wild Djokovic backhand.  Murray long and another chance for Djokovic to level.  Finally a Serbian backhand forced the error and games were 3-3.

Double fault for Murray and 0-15.  Ace and 15-15. Murray to 30-15 with forehand winner.  30-30 Murray finding the net. Backhand in the net by Murray and break point.  Murray hit long and there was the break.  4-3 Djokovic. Ace for 15-0 Djokovic.  15-15 with the net halting Djokovic's progress.  Murray winner and 15-30.  Murray error and 30-30.  Break point with Djokovic netting a forehand.  Backhand winner from Murray for break back and 4-4.

30-15 Murray. 30-30 with Murray long.  Forehand return forced Murray error and break point.  Deuce with service winner.  A point each and deuce again.  Ace for game point.  Deuce once more.  Forehand long by Murray and break point.  Backhand forced error from Djokovic and deuce.  Backhand winner from Murray and game point.  Serve held and 5-4 Murray.

0-15 Djokovic. 15-15 with Djokovic forehand smash winner.  15-30 Djokovic in the net.  30-30 Murray in the net.  40-30 again Murray netting.  Serve held 5-5.  Backhand Murray winner 15-0.  Forehand Murray winner 30-0.  Backhand long from Djokovic 40-0. Forehand wide from Murray 40-15.  Forehand winner from Djokovic 40-30.  Murray backhand wide and deuce.  Backhand winner from Djokovic and break point.  Murray backhand long and the break, Djokovic leading 6-5.

Djokovic serving for the set.  15-0, Murray in the net.  15-15, Djokovic long.  30-15 Murray long.  Double fault and 30-30.  Double fault and break point.  Saved with Murray netting a backhand.  Set point with a long Murray backhand.  Set to Djokovic with yet another Murray visit to the net 7-5.

Two sets to love to Djokovic, although for much of the second he looked to be matched by Murray especially in extended rallies.  However, chances when available are taken by champions and usually at the right time and that is what happened with Djokovic.

Murray served first in the third set and was immediately in trouble at 15-30.  An overhead into the net by him gave Djokovic two break points.  One saved with a wayward Serbian backhand.  A sparkling Djokovic running backhand winner down the line sealed the break and he led 1-0.
A Murray shot long and Djokovic was at 15-0.  A stunning backhand forced an error and it was 30-0.  A seriously good lob and 40-0.  A love game and 2-0.  

Murray 15-0 with forehand. 15-15 with Djokovic forcing an error with his backhand.  15-30 with Murray in the net.  Big serve forcing long return and 30-30.  Game point after Djokovic met the net with his forehand.  Serve held and 2-1 Djokovic.

0-15 Djokovic 15-15 after a forehand crosscourt winner from Djokovic. Forehand Serbian smash winner and 30-15.  Djokovic long and 30-30.  Break back point after Djokovic hit the net.  Saved with a wild Murray forehand miss.  Service winner and game point. Serve held for 3-1 Djokovic. 
15-0 Murray 15-15 with Murray pushing a backhand wide.  Djokovic forehand wide and 30-15.  Forehand clean winner from Djokovic and 30-30.  Backhand netted by Djokovic and game point.  Serve held and 3-2 Djokovic.

Murray volley winner and 0-15 Djokovic. 15-15 with Murray backhand pushed wide.  Murray backhand long and 30-15.  30-30 following Djokovic in the net.  Break point with Djokovic forced into error.  Serve forehand combo to the rescue.  Overhead winner from Murray and break point.  Djokovic long and break back 3-3.

Murray 15-0.  15-15 with Murray finding net.  30-15 Djokovic long.  Forehand winner by Murray 40-15 
Game over and 4-3 Murray.  Pressure back on Djokovic.  15-0 with Murray error.  A Murray volley winner and 15-15.  The net found a Murray forehand and 30-15.  Double fault and 30-30. Better serves and game won for 4-4.

Magic Djokovic backhand caused error and 0-15 on Murray serve. Forehand volley winner from Murray and 15-15.  30-15 with strong serve down middle.  Serve well held and 5-4 Murray.  15-0 Djokovic with Murray encountering the net again. 30-0 with forehand smash winner.  40-15 with Murray forehand long. Games were 5-5 with serve held.

Murray 15-0 on serve. 15-15 Murray netting a forehand. Backhand winner from Murray and 30-15. Service winner for 40-15.  Another for 6-5 Murray.  Djokovic 15-0 with an off forehand winner. Another forehand winner and 30-0.  Ace for 40-0.  Forehand wide and 40-15.  Murray backhand volley winner and 40-30.  Serve held and 6-6 tie break.

Murray double fault and 0-1.  Djokovic ace and 2-0.  Murray netted and 3-0 Djokovic.  Backhand winner from Murray 1-3.  Double fault Murray 1-4 Big serve Djokovic 5-1. End change.  Murray backhand wide 6-1 Djokovic.  Five match points.  Ace by Murray 2-6.  Backhand long by Djokovic 6-3.  
Ace for the match.

Novak Djokovic was just too good for a much more competitive Andy Murray after set one, and he won the match in straight sets:

6-1 7-5 7-6 (3)

6 Aus Opens and 11 Majors as the roll continues for the best player in the world.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Angie Kerber stuns Serena for AusOpen16

On paper the 2016 Aus Ooen women's singles final appeared a mismatch, as most clashes featuring Serena Williams do.  However first time GS singles tournament finalist Angie Kerber had performed especially well and her effort against two time winner Vika Azarenka must have given her a confidence with which to enter the final, rather than the normal trepidation associated with a Serena meeting.

Serena and GS success is amazing, but less surprising as time goes by.  The 2015 US Open was a blip in proceedings, and a warning to all other players on tour.  Not gonna happen again !  

Players that lose to Serena in finals at grand slam level tend to not come back again for another crack at the great one.  Since and including the 2008 US Open she has won 13 GS titles and of those, there have been 11 defeated opponents.  Only Sharapova and Azarenka have lost twice to her in finals in that period.  Incredible statistic.  And Angie could be number 12.  I can't see any logical reason why Serena will lose, other than a complete reversal of her form or an injury.  Anything Kerber has in the way of weapons is more than covered by the power and pace of Williams.  Her first set exhibition against an in form Radwanska in the semis was clear evidence of that.

Serena served first and immediately had a love game with first serves the key, attacking from the start.
Angie served and won the first point with a Serena return long. The next point saw Serena forcing an error and 15-15.  Double fault and 15-30.  Serena sprayed her backhand and 30-30. An ace gave Angie game point and she proceeded to hold serve for 1-1.

Serena missed a forehand wide but a sizzling backhand winner and 15-15.  An awesome backhand crosscourt winner from Angie and 15-30. Serena netted a backhand and the first break points were Angie's.  A long backhand from the champ donated the service break and Angie led 2-1 in a surprise beginning to the final.

Serena hit a volley long and Angie led 15-0.  A forehand crosscourt drew an error and 15-15.  A poor forehand was way long from Serena and 30-15, and the next one found the net.  Angie led 40-30 after a stunning Serena return winner. Game to Angie with an overhead winner. 3-1 the lead.  Serena was forced into error thanks to a backhand from Angie. 0-30 with a wide Serena forehand.  Finally a backhand winner and 15-30.  Another backhand winner and it seemed the facsimile had been replaced with the real thing just arriving at the court from her hotel.  Deuce following a forehand Serena mistake.  Drop shot perfection and game point.  Big serve and the top seed trailed 2-3.

Could the actual Serena break back after her late appearance had cost her dearly in the first few games ?  0-15 Forehand wide from Angie.  Backhand winner from Germany and 15-15. Serena forehand wide and 30-15.  A typical Serena forehand winner behind Angie and 30-30.  Game point following a netted shot from Serena.  Backhand return too much and deuce.  Serena attacking throughput the rally and eventually Angie hit long.  Serena converted the break point with a brutal forehand return winner.  3-3.

Forehand into the net by Angie and Serena had 15-0.  Double fault for 15-15.  Fine forehand deep from Angie forced an error and 15-30.  Great rally and forehand netted by Angie. 30-30. Break point after a wild backhand went into the MCG.  An even wilder volley and Serena was broken again giving Angie a 4-3 advantage.  Serena needed a spark.  A poor backhand netted by her wasn't it.  Maybe the slashing backhand return winner was. The forehand error was typical of tonight's performance so far and another one gave Angie 40-15.  A terrible backhand by a messy top seed and Angie was ahead 5-3.

Serena hit another forehand way long and had 0-15.  A forehand winner down the line winner 15-15.  A backhand winner for 30-15.  Serena was noisy now.  A return long and game points.  40-30 as Serena hit long again.  Serve held and Angie led 5-4 to serve for the set.  Certainly not in the script.

15-0 after another unforced Serena error.  Finding the net again twice Serena was facing three set points.  The set was Angie Kerber's 6-4 and thoughts were flooding back to Serena's last loss in a final.  That was in 2011 to Sam Stosur and Angie is a higher credentialed opponent so Serena's task to fight back would be very tough.

Serena served first in set two and had 15-15.  A drive volley and 30-15.  Angie hit long and 40-15.  A forehand winner and Serena led 1-0.  A forehand crosscourt winner from Serena and 0-15.  Big service winner and 15-15.  Serena done at the net and 30-15.  Volley put away by Serena and 30-30.  Ace for game point.  Serve held and 1-1.  Return long and Serena 15-0.  Forehand smash winner 30-0. Backhand winner by Angie 30-15. Serena sent one long 30-30.  Forehand winner by Serena and game point.  Backhand winner and serve held.  2-1 Serena.

Angie serving and double fault 0-15.  Forehand netted by Angie 0-30.  Double fault and three break points.  One saved with forehand winner.  Serena netted a backhand.  Angie hit a backhand long and the break arrived.  3-1 Serena.  A wonderful forehand pass by Angie and 0-15.  A Serena forehand long and 0-30.  Serena forced the error with a solid backhand and an ace gave her 30-30.  Good serving allowed the service hold and a 4-1 lead for the top seed.

A backhand long and 0-15 for Angie.  A forehand forced the Serena error and 15-15.  Ace for 30-15.  Stunning backhand down the line winner from Serena for 30-30.  Serena netted for game point.  Serve held and 4-2 Serena.  Angie netted a forehand and Serena had 15-0. Nice forehand in the corner for 30-0. Ace for 40-0.  Double fault and 40-15.  Backhand long by Serena and 40-30.  Excellent volley and Serena led 5-2.

0-30 for Angie after an attacking rally from Serena finally forced the error.  Netted backhand from Serena and 15-30.  Netted return and then an ace 40-30.  A forehand winner from Angie and 3-5. Serena serving for the set.

15-0 with a forehand winner by the top seed. Double fault and 15-15.  Ace and 30-15.  Return well long and two set points.  Netted forehand from Angie and the set was won.
Serena Williams tied things taking set two 6-3 but Angie would be serving first in the decider.

Angie hit a winner and led 15-0. Service winner for 40-0.  Forehand sizzler from Serena for 40-15.  Forehand down the line winner for the game and 1-0 Angie.  Forehand long and Serena was down 0-15.  Backhand trouble for Serena at the net and 0-30. A forehand winner by Angie for three break points.  Applauded by Serena.  Another forehand down the line and the break was hers.  2-0 Angie.  Angie 0-15 after a netted shot.  0-30 after Angie found the net again.  Ace for 15-30.  Two break points after Serena's return forced error.  One saved.  Another awesome return and the break back straight away.  2-1 Angie.

Forehand crosscourt winner by Angie just brilliant and 0-15.  Backhand winner from Serena and 15-15. Wonderful forehand winner from Serena for 30-15.  Tennis great and Serena's backhand winner and big ace sealing the game for 2-2.  Angie 15-0 with Serena into the net.  30-0 after the same result. Forehand magic from the top seed and 30-15.  Crosscourt forehand winner from Serena and 30-30.  Backhand out from Serena and game point. Serve held and 3-2 Angie.

Ground stroke wide from Serena and 0-15.  Forehand winner behind Angie and 15-15.  Serena cleaned up at the net again 15-30.  Danger time as Serena finds the net with forehand.  Two break points.  Great rally and Serena won the point with a forehand volley put away.  One break point saved. Ace and deuce.  Break point again with Angie's forehand winner.  Deuce with a Serena backhand gem.  Ace for game point.  Drop shot winner by Angie and deuce.  Double fault and break point #5.  Saved with a netted. Angie shot.  Game point with another netted shot from the 7th seed.  Deuce once more with a repeat drop shot winner from Angie.  Double fault and break point chance yet again.  Serena hit long and the break came.  Angie led 4-2 with serve to come.

15-0 with Serena forehand long.  Another one long and 30-0.  Ace and 40-0.  Game and 5-2 Angie.  Serena needing to hold to stay in the match.  Double fault and 0-15 Serena.  Backhand beautiful from Serena and 15-15.  Forehand volley winner and 30-15.  Netted backhand by Serena and 30-30.  Ace for 40-30.  Game to Serena and 5-3 Angie.

Serving for the title.  0-15 after Angie's forehand went long.  Forehand wide and 0-30.  Serena's backhand went long and 15-30.  Serena hit a magic crosscourt forehand winner for 15-40 and two break points. One saved by a Serena netted backhand.  Forehand long and the break back for a 5-4 lead to Angie.  A lifeline for Serena. 0-15 with a backhand into the net.  0-30 with the net the enemy again.  Ace for 15-30.  Awesome backhand crosscourt winner from Serena for 30-30.  Serena with a backhand winner for game point. Great return forced the error and deuce.  Netted forehand from Serena and match point.  Serena hit long and the upset was complete.

Angelique Kerber defeated Serena Williams 6-4 3-6 6-4 to win the 2016 Australian Open Women's Singles title, her first Grand Slam title in her first major final.  Serena lost only her fifth major final from twenty six appearances and this was her first defeat in a Melbourne Park final.

Kerber was a revelation the way she took it to the world number one and to have Serena challenged in that way was great for women's tennis.

Friday, 29 January 2016

Murray in five over Raonic

Second seed Andy Murray had played well all tournament to reach this semi final and Milos Raonic had been the breath of fresh air that men's tennis needs, beating Stan Wawrinka in the fourth round en route to tonight's clash with Murray.  The winner would be decided largely on which weapon prevailed - the huge Raonic serve or the renowned Murray return.  I believe that Raonic had done enough to upset Murray and present something different for Djokovic to face in The final.

Murray served first.  Raonic drew first blood with a forehand crosscourt winner and then a forehand volley winner. 0-30.  Double fault and three break points.  Backhand winner and break straight away for the 13th seed.  1-0 Raonic.  Forehand wide by Raonic 0-15.  Another even wider 0-30.  Missed all three first serves and the off forehand was wide.  Three break points.  The first saved with big serve.  The second saved with a forehand winner.  Deuce with another big serve.  Forehand winner and game point.  Serve volley winner and Raonic led 2-0.

Backhand wide from Raonic and Murray had 30-0.  An ace and 40-15.  A netted return and Murray was on the board but behind 1-2.  Raonic smashed an attempted lob for 15-0. A backhand volley for 30-0.  A backhand forced a Murray error and 40-0.  A netted forehand from Raonic 40-15.  Ace sealed the game and Raonic led 3-1.

Raonic backhand  hit the net 15-0.  Murray ace for 30-0. 40-0 with another netted backhand from Raonic. Sensational running backhand winner down the line from Murray and he trailed 2-3.  Forehand winner from Raonic and he led 15-0.   Big serve and 30-0.  Another and the return way out 40-0.  Game easily to Raonic 4-2.

Backhand long from Raonic and Murray had 15-0 Murray hit a backhand long as well and 15-15.  Netted forehand from Raonic 30-15.  Forehand forcing Murray error 30-30.  And again for break point. Great forehand winner from Murray and deuce.  Fine serving from Murray to dig himself out of deeper trouble and be 3-4 but still down a break.

Ace from Raonic for 15-0. Forehand wide and 15-15.  Body serve and 30-15. Forehand netted by Raonic 30-30.  Return long by Murray 40-30.  Serve volley success and 5-3 Raonic.  Murray served to stay in the set and was 30-0.  A forehand pushed wide and 30-15.  A drop shot surprised Raonic and gave Murray game points.  He held, Raonic led 5-4 and would serve for the first set.

Ace for 15-0.  An attempted drop shot by Murray failed and 30-0.  Double fault and 30-15.  Huge serve to the body produced a long return and two set points, one saved with an errant backhand from the Canadian.  An ace clinched the first set for Raonic 6-4.

Murray pushed a forehand wide and lost the first point on his serve before Raonic netted a backhand.  15-15 in the opening of set two. An ace for 40-15 and serve held well, Murray leading 1-0.  Raonic was 15-0 after a big serve.  An ace for 30-0. Backhand netted and 30-15.  Repeat for 30-30. Great return and Raonic's forehand went wide for break point.  A forehand winner from Canada saved it. A superb Raonic backhand volley won a great rally and he survived for 1-1.  

Murray backhand winner and 15-0.  A drop shot from Scotland was reached by Raonic and he hit a winner for 30-15.  Murray held serve and led 2-1.  A Murray netted backhand and 15-15 on Raonic's serve.  Ace for 30-15.  Service winner and 40-15.  Smart volleying and serve held for 2-2.  

Murray served and a double fault didn't help 0-15.  A Raonic backhand was wide and 15-15.  A beautiful backhand winner down the line by the second seed gave him 30-15. Another Murray backhand was pushed wide for 40-30 but he held for 3-2. Forehand volley by Raonic for 15-0.  Volley error and 15-15.  Forehand winner behind huge serve and 30-15.  Murray did well to pressure Raonic into error and 30-30. Another poor backhand wide from Raonic and break point.  Saved with Murray finding the net.  Fine overhead winner by Raonic and game point. Double fault and deuce.  Murray hit a forehand long and then a great volley from Raonic sealed the game and 3-3.

Two big serves from Murray and he led 30-0.  He held to love and moved ahead 4-3.  Return by Murray netted and 15-0.  Another shot long for 30-0.  A top lob winner from Murray and 30-15.  Raonic levelled easily 4-4.

A great forehand crosscourt from Raonic drew the error and 0-15 on the Murray serve.  A backhand from Murray went wide and 15-30.  A fine forehand crosscourt winner by Murray and 30-30. Poor backhand into the net by Raonic and game point. Murray held and led 5-4.  Raonic messed up a half volley and it was 15-15.  A wide backhand from Raonic and at 15-30 he was under pressure.  A calm volley winner and 30-30.  An outstanding rally concluded by an off forehand of the highest quality from Raonic and it was game point.  Saved with a Canadian forehand mistake.  A super backhand volley winner and another game point to Raonic.  Serve held for 5-5.

Wonderful tennis at the net and Murray won out to lead 15-0.  40-0 with a Raonic backhand miss.  Love game and Murray led 6-5, a tie break likely.  A forehand winner and Raonic led 15-0.  A brutal forehand and Murray couldn't control his shot 30-15.  Double fault and 30-30.  A Murray forehand rifled crosscourt gave him set point.  A quality return pressed Raonic into finding the net after a serve volley attempt, and out of nowhere the set was Murray's 7-5.  One set apiece.

Murray with the momentum served first and a backhand volley winner gave him 40-0.  The love game put him in the early lead 1-0.  Murray found the net and Raonic had 15-0. An ace and 40-0.  Another love game and 1-1.  Murray was now serving well and hardly having any trouble holding at all.  He led 2-1 with the third love game in succession. 

30-0 after a strong Raonic forehand. Serve held and four games without a point against serve.  2-2.   Yet again no way a point was looking like being won by receiver and Murray was ahead 3-2.  Twenty points in a row with the serve.

Raonic 15-15.  Forehand put away by Raonic and 30-15.  Ace and 40-15.  Another ace and 3-3.  Murray lost the first point on his serve.  Raonic hit a poor return and it was 15-15.  Ace from Murray 30-15.  A second overhead required by Raonic and 30-30. Forehand uncontrolled return and game point. Murray ahead 4-3.

Ace from Raonic 30-0.  Forehand winner 40-0.  Love game and 4-4.  Terrific point from Raonic and Murray trailed on serve 0-15.  0-30 after Murray netted.  Serve helped draw an error and 15-30.  A forehand was angled nicely by Murray and he had 30-30. A netted backhand by Raonic let Murray off the hook.  A reflex volley for the game and Murray led 5-4.

Raonic raced through his service game to level at 5-5.  A forehand crosscourt by Raonic forced a Murray error and 0-15. A netted forehand by Murray and 0-30.  A second serve ace incredibly and 15-30. A wicked drop shot and 30-30.  A great serve and 40-30.  Deuce following another net experience for Murray.  Murray missed badly wide and break point for Raonic. Saved with Raonic's backhand finding the net.  A great Murray forehand crosscourt winner and game point. Serve held and 6-5 Murray.

Double fault and 0-15.  Murray missed wide and 15-15.  A Raonic backhand shocker and 15-30.  Murray forehand out and 30-30.  Game point after a wide Murray backhand. Raonic sealed the game with a backhand winner clubbed down the line. 6-6.

Tie break.  A super return from Raonic and forcing a Murray error 1-0 Raonic with a break.  Volley error and 1-1 back on serve.  Forehand slashing return winner from Raonic and 3-1 with break again.  4-2 Raonic at end change and a serve to come.  5-2 with Raonic overhead on the line.  Ace from Murray 3-5.  Errant return and 5-4 to Raonic with two serves to come.  Netted backhand from Murray and 6-4 with two set points.  An ace delivered the set to Raonic.  7-6 and 7 points to 4 in the tie break

Raonic led two sets to one.

Raonic served first in set four.  30-0. Superb forehand volley and 40-0. Love game and 1-0 Raonic.  Murray served well and he had 40-0.  Serve held and 1-1.  A Murray running backhand pass was not enough to stop the Raonic roll and he led 2-1, the serve rock solid.

A winner from Raonic and Murray down 0-15 but Murray came back strongly to level at 2-2, helped by Canadian unforced errors.  Raonic aced Murray for 30-0.  Perfectly played point finished with a forehand volley and 40-0.  Murray charged the net and forced an error 40-30.  Raonic still held for 3-2.

Murray hit one of the shots of the night with a backhand pass from way out of court for 30-0.  40-0 following one off the frame from Raonic.  Serve held and 3-3.  Deep shot from Murray forced a mistake from Raonic, then an unforced error from the Canadian made it 0-30.  Three break points for Murray with a Raonic wide forehand.  A netted forehand from Raonic and the service break.  Murray ahead with the break 4-3.

A forehand winner from Raonic and Murray had 30-15.  A wild backhand from the same racquet and 40-15.  Murray inexplicably hit a forehand long and 40-30. A backhand from Murray was also poor and deuce arrived.  Break point with Murray's netted forehand.  A great forehand volley saved the break point. Game point after Raonic found the net.  Deuce with a long Murray backhand. Forehand crosscourt winner from Murray and another forehand winner after that for a 5-3 lead.

forehand winner from Raonic gave him 40-15, before a double fault tightened things at 40-30. Deuce came following a loose forehand.  Set point to Murray as a clearly hampered Raonic was seemingly succumbing to an upper leg injury, the running backhand passing shot a beauty nevertheless. Saved with Murray's backhand missing wide.  Ace for game point. Backhand long by Raonic and deuce.  Another ace and game point once more. A brilliant clutch volley was enough to hold serve and force Murray to serve for the set, leading now 5-4.

A stunning forehand crosscourt winner from Raonic and 0-15.  Raonic backhand wide and 15-15.  Murray netted backhand 15-30.  Awesome point by Raonic won ultimately by an overhead and two break points as a result.  One saved by a Murray volley winner.  Deuce with a return into the net.  Good serving by Murray and set point.  Set to Murray 6-4 and two sets all.

Raonic served first in the final set and double faulted on first point.  A netted backhand and he was down 0-30. Forehand winner from the 13th seed helped 15-30.  Netted forehand and two break points for Murray.  Double fault and break of serve.  Murray led 1-0.  Injury was sadly a major factor in changing the course of this match.

Murray up 30-0 with help of net cord.  Easy hold and 2-0 to the second seed.  Raonic suffered yet another net cord against him 0-15.  Sharp volley and 30-15.  40-15 after a marvellous rally.  Backhand error from Raonic and 40-30.  Deuce with long forehand.  Murray's forehand forced error and break point.  Saved with overhead winner.  Backhand wide and another break point.  Double break occurred and Murray led 3-0.  The match was as good as over now with one fully fit player on the court.  A great pity with Raonic so close and having to surrender much of his power due his leg injury.  

Murray consolidated his position easily and led 4-0.  Down again 0-30 this wouldn't last much longer for Raonic.  Two more break points.  One saved.  And the second.  Brave and quality tennis gave Raonic game point a few times and he saved more break points  In spite of the Raonic injury restriction which allowed the Scot that many more options, the Canadian held serve to trail 1-4 and keep Murray on court for some time longer.  Novak would be happy with that as he rested.

Murray served again.  0-15 became 30-15 as Raonic was moved around the court at Murray's wishes.  Game points available and only one needed. 5-1 Murray.

Raonic served again bravely and had 30-0. Murray hit a backhand forcing an error and 30-15.  Game to Raonic for 2-5 forcing Murray to serve for the match.

15-0 with a Raonic error.  Ace for 30-0.  Great volley by Murray for three match points.  Forehand winner for the match.

Andy Murray defeated an unluckily injury affected Milos Raonic 4-6 7-5 6-7 6-4 6-2

Another Aus Open final for the Scot and the for the fourth time of the five attempts at a title it will be against Novak Djokovic.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Novak sweeps Roger aside

The first mens semi final was a dream match up between the world number one Novak Djokovic and the 3rd seed Roger Federer.  9 Aus Open titles between the two of them and 44 times they had met previously for 22 wins each.  14 times they'd played each other at GS level, with 8-6 in Djokovic's favour, including the Wimbledon and US Ooen finals from last year.  Hard to pick a winner but Djokovic by a breath.

Federer surprisingly elected to receive serve after winning the toss and so Djokovic began things.  

An ace for 15-0.  Federer netted a forehand and 30-0.  A backhand down the line winner and 40-0. A return netted and Djokovic led 1-0.  Federer began with a forehand winner.  A Swiss backhand error and then a forehand long and 15-30.  Another backhand in the net saw Federer down two break points, Djokovic pinning him to the back of the court. A Federer forehand wide and Djokovic led 2-0.

A backhand return winner and Federer had Djokovic 0-15. An ace for 15-15.  Continuing to pressure the Swiss backhand the top seed drew another error wide from the third seed and had 30-15. Then a forehand wide from Federer for two game points.  An attacking backhand from Federer was given a down the line forehand pass reply from Djokovic who consolidated the break for 3-0.

Federer was quickly to 40-0 including an ace and two return errors.  He held to love which would have settled him to some degree.  3-1 Djokovic.  The top seed forced an error with a forehand crosscourt and another netted shot from Federer gave Djokovic 30-0. Federer rifled a forehand return winner down the line for 40-15 and 40-30 arrived with a Djokovic backhand finding the net.  Serve was held and Djokovic ahead still with a break 4-1.

0-30 after two Federer forehands long.  A superb overhead from Federer and 15-30.  A wild backhand miss from Federer and two break points.  Federer's forehand found the net and Djokovic led 5-1.
Serving for the set, Djokovic lost the first point with his forehand finding net.  15-15 after Federer's backhand did the same. A scintillating forehand pass from Djokovic and 30-15.  Two set points after a return error.  One saved with a splendid backhand volley from Federer.  A big serve was too much to prevent the error and Djokovic had the set in quick time 6-1.  More than impressive.

Federer had 15-15 after an amazing backhand return winner from Djokovic. A fine drop shot from Federer and 30-30.  Break point saved with an off forehand winner, then another off forehand forced a Djokovic error.  A backhand wide from Djokovic and Federer held serve leading 1-0.  Djokovic passed Federer with a forehand for 15-0.  An ace for 30-0. Another and 40-0.  A backhand winner for 1-1.

Federer forced into forehand error on his forehand side then backhand side and down 0-30.  Djokovic almost unplayable as another forehand pass created three break points.  A Federer forehand long and the break gave Djokovic a 2-1 advantage. Federer forced a backhand error and had 0-15 on the Djokovic serve.  Federer gave an unforced error back and 15-15. More errors from the Swiss racquet and two game points.  40-30 with a smart backhand from Federer at the net. Strong serve and 3-1 Djokovic.

15-0 Federer with good serve.  Great rally and awesome backhand by Djokovic to win it 15-15.  Federer backhand long and 15-30.  Djokovic backhand too much and two break points.  Federer hit the net and down two breaks 1-4.  This was certainly unexpected but underscored how dominant Djokovic is on the men's tour.

Djokovic's backhand winner closed out a quality rally 30-0.  He then missed a forehand 30-15. Federer netted a backhand 40-15.  And another to give the game to Djokovic 5-1.  Double fault from Federer and 0-15.  Djokovic long and 15-15.  Wonderful point and great overhead from Federer for 30-15.  Serve backhand combo and 40-30.  Djokovic backhand pass for deuce.  Djokovic forced a Federer error and set point.  Saved with the second of two smashes.  Another set point with a Serbian forehand down the line winner.  Saved with good serving. Serve eventually held and Djokovic would serve for the set at 5-2.  

Federer forehand wide and 15-0.  Forehand return long 30-0. Backhand long 40-0.  Three set points.  Federer missed again and Djokovic won the set 6-2.  He led 6-1 6-2 and Federer needed something extremely special to turn this around.

Federer began set three with an ace.  A fine Djokovic return drew an error, the Federer committed one of his own. 15-30.  Federer's forehand winner made it 30-30.  Serve held for 1-0.  A great volley from Federer and 15-15 a poor forehand from Switzerland and 30-15.  Backhand wide and 40-15. Backhand winner by Federer matched by Djokovic ace and 1-1.

30-0 Federer after two forehand winners off good serves.  40-15 after serve forcing error.  Forehand winner and game to Federer, leading 2-1. Much more convincing early in this set.  30-0 Djokovic, his serve still solid.  An ace for three game points.  Love game and 2-2. 

30-0 Federer whose first serve % was lifting.  Djokovic still pressing and 30-30 with Federer errors.  An exquisite forehand crosscourt pass gave a break point to Djokovic.  Saved well with an overhead winner by Federer after two clutch volleys.  Swiss forehand winner and game point.  Serve held and Federer ahead 3-2.

15-0 Djokovic after Federer netted.  Double fault and 15-15, Federer circling.  A backhand down the line forced an error from Djokovic.  Federer attacking the net with a series of volleys won the point after Djokovic eventually fell into error.  Two break points for Federer, his first for the night.  A big serve down the middle forced an error and one break point saved.  A Federer forehand long and deuce.  A backhand out of court by Djokovic and another break point.  Saved with an errant Swiss forehand.  Game point with a netted forehand from Federer.  Deuce after a wicked Federer drop shot.  Ace for game point.  A forehand return surprised Djokovic into error and deuce.  Big serve and game point once more.  A stunning backhand return winner and deuce.  An amazing run from Federer to reach a Djokovic drop shot and hit a forehand crosscourt winner.  Break point again.  Federer's backhand hammered Djokovic into an error and the break finally came. The third seed led 4-2.

15-15 with a Federer down the line forehand winner.  15-30 with a Federer forehand long.  Ace from Federer for 30-30.  Forehand clean winner down the line for 40-30.  Serve held and Federer had 5-2 lead.  Djokovic 15-0 as he served to stay in the set.  Federer backhand winner and 15-15.  Ace for Djokovic and 40-15.  5-3 Federer and serving to rake it to a fourth set.

Backhand winner by Federer and 15-0.  Backhand netted off the same racquet 15-15. Return netted and 30-15.  Backhand winner for Djokovic 30-30.  Return long and set point.  Forehand crosscourt forcing error and deuce.  Forehand down the line winner from Federer.  Another set point. Saved by Swiss error.  Timely big serve and another set point. The set was Federer's 6-3 and the match was alive.

Djokovic served first in the fourth set.  A net cord won Federer the opening point. 0-30 with Djokovic hitting the net.  A backhand from Federer found the net and 15-30.  A Federer forehand also netted for 30-30.  A forehand return failed the net test and game point for Djokovic.  He held for 1-0.  Federer served and 15-15 became 30-15 after an ace. 30-30 after Federer hit the net with a backhand.  Ace for game point. Federer held for 1-1.

Djokovic 15-0 after another effective serve.  30-15 with a Djokovic backhand pushed wide.  Comfortable hold and 2-1 for Djokovic. Ace for Federer 15-0.  A great forehand crosscourt winner by Federer and 30-0.  Serve held to love and 2-2.

Djokovic hit a forehand wide and had 15-15 on his serve.  Picking on Federer's backhand again, the error was drawn and although he was taken to 40-30, an ace sealed the game and Djokovic led 3-2.  A backhand winner from Djokovic had Federer at 0-15.  Good serving made it 30-15.  A brilliant return levelled it at 30-30 before a long shot gave Federer game point.  Serve held and 3-3.

Djokovic hit long and 15-15 on his serve.  A sharp Serbian forehand volley and 30-15.  Good serving and game to Djokovic for a 4-3 advantage.  Federer served and the first point was won with a fantastic forehand crosscourt pass from Djokovic for 0-15.  A backhand crosscourt winner was dazzling from the world's best as he stepped it up in a real attempt to grab a break. 0-30.  A return netted on second serve and 15-30.  Federer won an unbelievable point with all sorts of scrambling finished off with a spectacular backhand down the line winner and 30-30.  A lucky net cord for Djokovic helped him pass Federer at the net with a forehand and create a break point.  A brutal off forehand return was all too much for Federer and the break was complete.  

Djokovic was ahead 5-3 and about to serve for a place in his sixth Aus Ooen final.

A Federer return long and 15-0.  Another forehand long 30-0.  A netted return and three match points.  A backhand from Federer hitting the net and Djokovic won in four sets 6-1 6-2 3-6 6-3.

Djokovic was dominant and it looked likely that he may embarass the great Federer.  Thankfully Roger was able to lift his game enough to grab a set, even with Novak playing at such a level.   It would be a foolish person to believe that anyone could prevent the top seed winning a sixth title if he repeated this type of tennis on Sunday. 

Kerber into first GS final

Angilique Kerber was rapt to finally manage a win over Vika Azarenka and in such an important match as a GS semi. Her opponent is not as highly credentialed as Vika but 47th ranked Johanna Konta deserved respect coming into the second semi final or Angie could find herself on the next plane out of here.  The winner would have the reward of her first GS Final, and Serena as the opponent.

Konta served first and nervously found herself at 0-40 with unforced errors.  A couple of winners and she fought back to deuce before another break point was converted and the serve was lost, Kerber leading 1-0.  Kerber saved a break point before holding and games were 2-0.  

A Konta forehand winner was insufficient to prevent a 15-40 scoreline and unforced errors produced a second break of the British serve, Kerber's lead now 3-0.  The fourth game saw Kerber's forehand break down and on the second break point Konta hit a forehand smash winner to break serve and trail 1-3.

An ace and winners from both sides and Konta held serve with ease, closing to 2-3.  Games were 3-3 following another run of unforced Kerber errors on her serve.  

The players both held their next service games easily and the score was 4-4.  A double fault from Konta failed to stop her holding serve and leading 5-4, forcing Kerber to hold and stay in the set.  This she did, forcing Konta into error on the final two points for 5-5.

A Konta double fault and 0-30.  An unforced error and two break points.  Another unforced error on the second of the break points and the serve was lost.  6-5 to Kerber and serving for the set.

A love game from Kerber, sealed with a forehand winner and she had the first set 7-5.

First game of set two and Kerber took control, the forehand winners setting up three break points, the second converted for a 1-0 lead.  Kerber served a double fault and was down a break point.  An ace fixed that and the game was won for a 2-0 advantage.  

Konta held serve, a backhand winner the highlight before a love game consolidated Kerber's lead 3-1. Unforced errors, mainly off her backhand, cost Konta dearly in the next two games where she lost serve, broken on the second break point, and then could only win a single point on the Kerber serve.  Angie led 5-1 and was almost into the final.

Konta held easily for 2-5 and Kerber had the chance to serve for the match.

Forehand winner by Konta and a backhand winner in reply by Kerber 15-15.  Backhand long by Konta 30-15.  Backhand crosscourt winner by Konta 30-30. Service winner and match point.  Backhand return long and the match was over.

Angie Kerber defeated Johanna Konta 7-5 6-2 and now had Serena Williams in the final to battle.

Serena untouchable

The first women's semi featured top seed Serena Williams against fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska. Aga was in perhaps the best form of her career while Serena was doing whatever she pleased.  Hard to see how the American could lose if she played to anywhere near her capability.
The roof on Rod Laver Arena was closed because of bad weather so this would effectively be an indoor semi final.

Aga served first and received a monstering.  A series of clean winners including a backhand to win the game and break the serve was a sign that Serena needed no time to settle into this match.  Her own service game continued her bright start with overhead and forehand winners to move to 2-0.  Aga was rendered helpless. A forehand crosscourt winner was just one of a barrage of shots from the Williwams arsenal that achieved a second break and a 3-0 lead.  Phenomenal start, but this was Serena so why should we be astonished ?

Serena serve volleyed and 15-0.  A forehand volley put away 30-0.  Aga's forehand winner received huge applause and with a Serena forehand pushed wide it was 30-30. A forehand winner from Serena and game point.  It was 4-0 and seemingly no stopping the top seed.

Forehand return error from Serena and 15 0.  Forehand winner from Serena 15-15. Return winner for 15-30. Forehand winner and two more break points. Radwanska found the net and trailed 5-0.  Winner off the backhand this time for 15-0 Serena.  Forehand volley 30-0.  Service winner 40-0.  Three set points.  Forehand put away for the set 6-0.  Eighteen clean winners outstanding.  Radwanska was a virtual spectator.

Could there be a let down and a chance for Aga to actually enter this match or would the steam train Serena just roll on ?  For the sake of tennis one hoped that set two would be competitive.  

Aga opened the second set with a forehand winner giving her game point.  A Serena netted return and Aga led 1-0.  A missed forehand wide and 0-15 Serena.  An off forehand winner for 15-15.  A backhand netted and 15-30.  An Aga return wide for 30-30 Ace for game point.  Forehand put away and 1-1.

Double fault and 0-15 for Aga.  Backhand wide and 0-30.  Serena backhand netted.  15-30.  Backhand into net from Aga and two break points.  Forehand winner at net by Serena and the break for 2-1.  Ace and 15-0 Williams.  Double fault and 30-15.  Backhand by Aga in net 40-15.  Serena won the game and was in front 3-1.

Netted return and Aga led 15-0.  Another two Serena shots in the net and 40-0.  An overhead winner from Serena and 40-15.  Aga held for 2-3.  Wild error from Serena and 0-15.  0-30 after Serena continued her love affair with the net.  A forehand put away by Serena and 15-30.  Two break points after a netted forehand from Serena. An ace saved one.  The break came with another Serena rendezvous with the net. 3-3.

A backhand winner from Serena and 0-15 Aga.  A great rally won by a Radwanska backhand volley 15-15. A stunning return winner for 15-30.  A return long and 30-30.  Forehand smash after a great volley by Serena and break point.  Saved.  Game point after forced Serena error.  Backhand down the line winner from Serena and deuce again.  Wonderful rally and great winner by Radwanska for game point.  Double fault and another deuce.  Good serve drawing an error.  Game point once more.  Aga led 4-3.
Fine comeback from Aga who was seemingly down and out 0-6 and a break.  She was pressing Serena and forcing her into error.  She could feasibly win the set, but Serena can do anything as we know.

An overhead winner then an ace gave Serena 30-0.  A wild backhand and 30-15.  Ace for two game points. Forehand winner for 4-4.

Serena found the net and Aga led 15-0.  Backhand return winner 15-15.  Forehand return out 30-15.  Return netted 40-15.  Aga forehand long 40-30.  Slashing backhand return winner from Serena and deuce.  Forehand winner and break point for Serena. The break was hers and she had 5-4 and would serve for a spot in another Aus Open final.

Ace for 15-0.  Another one for 30-0.  A third and three match points,  A forehand winner and Serena was through 6-0 6-4.

Hard to imagine Serena losing from here.  The first set was the most complete I've seen for many a time.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Raonic a threat

Excitement was certain in the last men's quarter final simply because Gael Monfils was one of the players.  He can do things on the tennis court that others can't and importantly this year his output is more than 15 % entertainment 85 % tennis.  He has played seriously good matches and yes the exit of Nadal has been of assistance for those in this half of the draw, but four successive wins is still a tough ask to reach a quarter final.

Milos Raonic has not lost since he arrived in Australia, defeating Federer in the Brisbane final and knocking out the other Swiss top five player Wawrinka en route to this match.  His serve is frightening when on song.

Raonic served first and it was a huge ace.  Make that two.  A long return from Monfils and three game points.  One was lost but he held comfortably for 1-0.  A forehand down the line winner gave Monfils 15-0.  Gael whinged like Andy Murray about the screen and had it turned off.  15-15 after a wayward forehand from Monfils.  A forehand return winner from Raonic and 15-30.  Good serving saved Monfils and 1-1.

15-15 after a Raonic ace.  A forehand down the line forced Monfils into error and 30-15.  Game to Raonic who led 2-1.  Monfils out rallied Raonic to lead 15-0. Then a volley winner for 30-0. Double fault for 40-30.  Deuce with a long French backhand.  Another double fault and break point.  Raonic forcing Monfils to play the backhand continually eventually drew the error and the serve was broken.  Raonic led 3-1.

30-15 Raonic after finding the net.  A winning forehand then ace and the lead was 4-1.  Ace from Monfils for 30-0.  Two clean French winners and he held for 2-4.  Big serve and 30-15 Raonic.  An easy hold for 5-2.

15-0 Monfils.  A forehand long and 15-15.  A great forehand by Monfils forcing error and 30-15.  Good serving and 5-3 to Raonic.  A serve forehand combo for 15-0 Raonic.  A fine forehand from Monfils drew an error from Raonic, but the forehand winner from Raonic made it 30-15. An ace created two set points. One was saved.  And the second also when Raonic found the net.  An ace at 227 km/h and another set point. Wasted with a long Raonic forehand.  A sharp volley for a fourth set point. A big ace sealed the deal and Raonic won the first set 6-3.

Only a forehand winner from Raonic interrupted a solid service game from Monfils to open the second set.  40-0 quickly for Raonic.  Easy hold for 1-1.  15-0 for Monfils with net skills on display.  Big serving for a love game and Monfils led 2-1.

15-0 Raonic with a forehand winner.  A Monfils backhand winner and 15-15.  A fine return by Monfils and 30-30. A huge second serve and game point.  Another and Raonic levelled 2-2.  Monfils hit a forehand down the line for 15-15.  A double fault found Monfils at 15-40.  One break point was saved as was the second.  An ace gave Monfils game point while another sealed the game to leave him in front 3-2.

Raonic serving.  Double fault and 0-15. A forehand netted by the 13th seed and 0-30.  A backhand in the net from Monfils and 15-30.  A loose Canadian forehand netted and two break points for Monfils.  A wide forehand and the break for Monfils who led 4-2.

30-0 Monfils with an ace. Double fault and 30-15.  Serve held for 5-2. Ace to Raonic 15-0. Double fault and 15-15.  40-15 with French errors.  Game to Raonic and Monfils to serve for the set at 5-3.

0-30 with a forcing backhand from Raonic.  Ace helped things. Another one and 30-30.  Forehand set up a volley winner and break point for Raonic.  Ace saved it. A great point set up by a shot played on his knees gave Monfils set point.  A fine serve and the set was with France 6-3.  A set apiece.

Set three and an overhead winner for Raonic and 15-0.  A service winner and 40-0.  Monfils with a forehand crosscourt winner brought it back to 40-15.  Raonic held for 1-0.  An athletic overhead winner from Monfils and it was 15-15 on his serve. A forehand down the line forced a Monfils error and 15-30.  An off forehand forced another French error and two break points arrived.  The break came and Raonic led 2-0.  

A wild shot from Monfils and 15-0 Raonic. A good Monfils lob produced an error and 15-15.  A delightful forehand winner from Canada for 30-15 and a forehand volley winner 40-15.  Raonic won the  game to lead 3-0.  Monfils 30-0. An ace for 40-0.  A love game and on the board trailing 1-3.  Excellent volley winner by Raonic and then an off forehand winner for 30-0.  A fine rally finished off with a Raonic overhead. 40-0.  Double fault 40-15.  A netted forehand and 40-30.  Service winner and game for a scoreline of 4-1 to Raonic.

Monfils 30-0 after Raonic was left at the net waitIng for a barrage to come.  30-30 after loose Monfils shots.  A volley winner from Monfils and a backhand reply by Raonic and deuce.  A forehand killer from Raonic and break point.  Saved.  Serve held and Raonic ahead 4-2.

30-0 Raonic with huge serving. Monfils with a forehand return winner and 30-15.  A Canadian forehand clinched the game and a 5-2 lead.  0-30 and Monfils in trouble.  15-30 with a big serve.  Great net play from Monfils and 30-30.  A top forehand from Raonic and set point.  Saved by a forehand from Monfils.  A forehand return wide and game point to Monfils.  He held serve and Raonic led 5-3 with serve to come.

0-15 Raonic with a forehand going long. A forehand winner and 15-15.  Monfils into the net and 30-15. Two set points after forcing the error.  The set was won by Raonic 6-3 and he led two sets to one.

Monfils served first in set four and held to love leading 1-0.  Raonic 40-0 with serve going well.  Game over and 1-1.  Monfils aces for 40-0.  A love game again for 2-1.  Raonic was hitting the ball so hard and making it hard for Monfils to combat.  Easy hold for 2-2.  

A super backhand from Raonic and 15-30 on Monfils serve.  A netted forehand from Raonic and 30-30.  Another great Raonic backhand pass and deuce.  Double fault and break point.  Volley winner by Raonic sealed the break and the lead 3-2.

Big serve Raonic and 30-0.  Forehand winner and 40-0.  Ace for a third love game on service and the lead 4-2.  15-15 on the Monfils serve. An ace and and return error from Raonic and 40-15.  Serve held for 3-4.  

Double fault and 0-30 for Raonic.  Forehand forcing the Monfils error and 15-30.  Service killer for 30-30.  Break point with Raonic forehand wide.  Brilliant forehand saved the break point.  A forced error from Monfils and game point.  Serve held and 5-3. 

30-0 Monfils. Service winner for 40-0.  Wild error and 40-15.  Serve held and Raonic led 5-4 serving for the match.

Return into the net 15-0 Raonic.  15-15 with Raonic finding the net.  Service winner and 30-15.  Return into the net and two match points. Forehand down the line winner is the shot that won it.

Milos Raonic defeated Gael Monfils 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-4. He will face Andy Murray in the semi final and must have a good chance, especially if his serve stands up.

Murray too strong for Ferrer

Andy Murray has been runner up in the Aus Open four times and if he is to go one better needs to overcome the consistent number eight seed David Ferrer.  For the experienced Spaniard he would have to break a streak of losses against Murray if he hoped to reach another Aus Open semi final.

Murray has been in fine form all through the tournament and should have too many weapons for Ferrer but needs to be wary especially because of the mess Ferrer made of Isner.

Murray netted a backhand and Ferrer won the opening point on the Murray serve.  Ferrer gave an error back, in fact two, and it was 30-15.  30-30 after the net was found again. A Murray forehand was the first winner and deuce came with a Scottish forehand wide. A backhand forehand volley combo followed by a winning forehand by Murray saw him lead 1-0.

40-30 to Ferrer with a fine Murray point win at the net ultimately.  Ferrer held and 1-1.  Backhand netted by Ferrer 15-0.  Backhand return winner 15-15.  Backhand volley winner Murray 30-15. Murray held for 2-1.

Quickly to 40-0 for Ferrer.  Stumbling with mistakes to 40-30.  Deuce now.  Break point with another bad miss.  The break came and Murray accepted the kind gift to lead 3-1.  Murray had 30-15 and more errors than good tennis.  Another mistake and 40-15.  Net trouble for Murray and 40-30.  Double fault and deuce.  An overhead winner from Murray and game point.  Serve held and 4-1 Murray.

30-15 for Ferrer.  Murray netted and 40-15.  Serve held and 4-2 Murray.  30-0 and a poor miss from Ferrer on a second serve. 40-15 and the tennis not hitting any great heights yet.  Murray held for 5-2.
Forehand winner for Ferrer 15-0. Netted forehand by Murray 30-0.  Lucky net cord ultimately led to a winning point for Murray and then a volley winner from the second seed 30-30.  Set point for Murray saved by a Ferrer forehand forcing error.  Game Ferrer and 5-3 Murray serving for the set.

0-15 with Murray backhand long.  Service winner 15-15.  Extraordinary rally where shots were reached that shouldn't have been and Murray just missed a forehand and faced 15-30.  Two break points when Murray hit a backhand wide.  One saved with a solid serve causing error.  Then an ace and deuce. Set point with a third great serve.  Murray dug himself out of trouble to take the first set 6-3.

Ferrer overcame the disappointment of dropping the first set by holding serve and then breaking Murray to lead 2-0.  Ferrer netted a forehand and it was 40-15 on his serve. A forehand winner won the game for Ferrer and he led 3-0.

30-15 for Murray became 40-15 with a ground stroke long from Ferrer. Double fault and 40-30.  Game in the end for 1-3. Ferrer had 30-0 but great retrieval from Murray and an overhead from Ferrer missed. 30-15. A beautiful pass from Ferrer and two game points.  Murray had Ferrer on a string before putting away a volley 40-30. Deuce after Ferrer found the net.  A wonderful stretch volley from Ferrer and game point.  Serve held and 4-1 Ferrer.

Murray raced through his service game to love and trailed 2-4 and just a single break.  Ferrer served and was down 0-15 with a self inflicted error.  Murray's backhand winner had Ferrer down 0-30.  Three break points with Ferrer unable to handle the Murray return.  One saved with a pathetic netted backhand from Murray. A wild forehand by Ferrer hit into the Western Suburbs cost him his serve and Murray saw 3-4 on the scoreboard with his serve to come.

Double fault from Murray and 15-15.  An error from the second seed and 15-30.  An error ridden game and 40-30.  Deuce with a shocking drop shot from Murray.  Break point for Ferrer after another unforced mistake. A terrific forehand winner saved Murray.  At last a decent shot.  He held and games were 4-4.

0-15 on the Ferrer serve.  15-30 with a backhand from Murray down the line.  Two break points after a Ferrer miss.  One saved with a Murray mistake.  The second disappeared with Murray into the net.  A backhand volley winner took Ferrer to 5-4.

Murray had 0-15.  A backhand out away made it 15-15.  Ace timely for 30-15.  30-30 and critical point.  Murray found the net and set point for Ferrer.  Ace saved it.  Murray held for 5-5.  

A drop shot lob combo won the point for Ferrer and he led 30-15.  Another lob winner for 40-15.  A backhand volley won the game for Ferrer and he led 6-5.  Murray rushed the net and rushed the Ferrer shot 15-0.  Big serving and 30-0.  Ferrer down the line and 30-15.  40-15 and tie break near.

Tie break here.  Ferrer 1-0 on serve.  Ace for Murray and 1-1.  Murray missed wildly with backhand volley and Ferrer led 2-1 with break.  Ferrer with second overhead for winner and 3-1.  Murray's backhand was wide and 4-1 to Ferrer.  Murray's serve drew an error and he was down 2-4 at end change.  3-4 with serve forehand combo from Murray.  Backhand from Murray wide after longest rally of the match 5-3.  Murray won after coming into net and broke back to 4-5.  A netted backhand from Ferrer and 5-5.  A forehand volley winner from Ferrer and he had set point.  Murray pushed one wide and Ferrer won the tie break 7-5 and the set 7-6. He also raised the decibels of his irritating grunting to record levels.  One set all.

Set three began with two comfortable service holds, the second by Ferrer full of errors by both players.  
Murray's forehand assisted him to 2-1 and then to trouble the Ferrer serve, which was under threat after he double faulted to set up two break points.  Murray won the game to lead 3-1.

Down 0-30 Murray's forehand winners took him to 30-30 but a double fault gave Ferrer a break point which was saved. Another double fault presented another break point which was saved by a Murray forehand.  Eventually the forehand won the game and Murray led 4-1.

Murray set up chances in the sixth game with his damaging forehand but unforced errors allowed Ferrer to escape and games were 2-4.  Murray held serve with ease and was only a game away from a two sets to one lead.

An unforced error from Ferrer gave Murray set point which was saved, but a winner from the Scot presented a second set point and this one was used.  Murray took the third set 6-2 and was in a commanding position two sets to one in front.

In set four, Murray's forehand closed out a service game for him to lead 1-0, then Ferrer from 30-30 was forced into error twice an d lost his serve to trail 2-0.  Murray had a double fault and unforced errors dog his next service game and the break back occurred.  Ferrer trailed 1-2.
More Scottish unforced errors enabled Ferrer to level at 2-2 before Murray incorporated two aces into a game which gave him a 3-2 lead.

From 30-30 Ferrer committed two unforced errors and was broken, giving Murray the 4-2 advantage.  A double fault from Murray gave a break point to Ferrer but winners helped him survive and lead 5-2.

Ferrer held serve and Murray led 5-3, serving for the match.

Losing the opening point, Murray steadied and won the next four to defeat Ferrer 
6-3 6-7 6-2 6-3.

He would play either Monfils or Raonic in the semis.

Konta into semis for Britain

The final quarter final for the women was the unexpected one.  Joanna Konta from Great Britain, ranked 47, against Zhang Shuai from China, ranked 133.  Those rankings will improve markedly whatever the results from here.

Hard to pick a winner but Konta has the more impressive results in her CV so for the record she is the one selected to earn a semi final berth against Kerber.

Zhang served first and was up 30-0.  A forcing backhand drew the error from Konta and 40-0. Zhang held for 1-0.  A good serve for 15-0 Konta.  30-0 after Zhang found the net. An ace for 1-1.  
With her second break point, Konta broke the Zhang serve, forcing errors on the final two points. Konta led 2-1.

A couple of winning forehands and an ace saw Konta consolidate and lead 3-1.  Zhang held serve with her backhand helping, and Konta was impressive, her forehand dominant as she extended her lead to 4-2.

A love game on Zhang's serve including Konta winners and a Zhang double fault brought another break and 5-2 for Konta.  When serving for the set Konta struggled, with four deuces, and on her second break point double faulted but still led 5-3.

Zhang had her forehand working well and held serve to draw to 4-5 and Konta served again for the set.  Once more Zhang created a break point but a Konta ace dismissed that and eventually another ace and a service winner gave her the game and set 6-4.

In set two,  Konta created break point in the first game with a forehand winner and broke serve with a winning backhand.  Zhang came back strongly and Konta's double fault created two break back points.  An ace saved one, but an error cost her and games were one each.

Konta completely outplayed Zhang after that disappointment and won the remaining five games of the match, including breaking the Zhang serve a further three times.

Joanna Konta defeated Zhang Shuai 6-4 6-1 and will play Angelique Kerber in a semi final.

Although losing easily, Zhang had a terrific tournament, making the quarters having never won a match before at GS level.  And she had to win through qualifying to even make the main draw.

Kerber upsets Azarenka

Day 10 and the remaining quarter finals.  First up was the third women's quarter final between 7th seed Angelique Kerber and 14th seed Vika Azarenka.  The two last played as recently as in the Brisbane final a matter of weeks ago.  Vika won easily and it was the sixth win out of the six times they had met.

So Angie needed something special to upset one of the two most in form players of the tournament.

Vika served first.  Two Vika backhands wide and 0-30.  A forehand just as wide and three break points. A final forehand wide and Kerber had the break to lead 1-0. Azarenka had missed all her shots on the same side and Angie had been rock solid in each of the rallies, a couple which were lengthy.

A backhand pass from Kerber received a backhand return winner in reply from Azarenka for 15-15.  A forehand from Vika produced a Kerber error but a netted error from Azarenka made it 30-30.  A winning Vika  backhand created a break point which was saved.  Angie held serve and led 2-0.

Azarenka's backhand found the net. Her forehand set up a volley winner and 15-15.  A backhand down the line was more like Azarenka form and she led 30-15.  A forehand from Kerber forced an error and it was break point. Saved by a serve backhand combination.  A forehand return winner and another break point.  Saved by backhand winner crosscourt. A brilliant forehand by Kerber to end a superb rally set up a third break chance.  A double fault and to everyone's amazement, Azarenka trailed 3-0 and two service breaks.

A winning forehand down the line by Kerber and later a forehand crosscourt winner gave her 30-15.  An ace and another forehand crosscourt winner assisted Kerber to a 4-0 advantage.  Azarenka was way out of contention for the set and her inconsistency continued 0-30 with errors flowing off her racquet. 15-30 became 30-30 with a rare Kerber netted shot.  Another netted return and an error from Kerber generously put Azarenka on the board and Kerber led 4-1.

The opening two points to Azarenka on Kerber's serve gave her a little hope.  15-40 after an effective Azarenka backhand.  The first break point saved after a long rally.  One break back, sealed with a drop shot and Kerber's lead trimmed to 4-2.  Azarenka now more confident and at 40-0 almost ready to attack the Kerber serve again.  However 40-30 with a Kerber winner and Azarenka error.  Deuce with a poor Azarenka overhead.  A strong forehand forced a Kerber error and eventually it was Azarenka's game, her third in a row, trailing now 3-4.

A double fault then ground shot long put Kerber at 0-30.  Another wide shot from Kerber and two break points for Azarenka.  One saved with a ripping German forehand.  A big serve and it was deuce. A great rally won by Kerber and game point.  Deuce again.  Ace for another game point.  Excellent touch at the net by Azarenka and deuce.  Wild and long by Vika for game point.  Deuce once more.  Ace timely for Kerber.  Deuce.  Backhand sensational by Kerber.  And a long Azarenka backhand gave Kerber the game to lead 5-3.

0-30 and danger for Azarenka.  A netted backhand by her and three set points.  One saved with an ace. Good net play saved a second.  The third saved with all court tennis.  Deuce.  Game point with the type of tennis we associate with Azarenka.  Set point again after Kerber stepped up.  Set taken after Azarenka fell back into error once more.

Angie Kerber led Vika Azarenka 6-3 in a big surprise.

Vika, visibly angry and audibly screaming her unhappiness, broke the Kerber serve straight away in set two to lead 1-0.  An easy hold consolidated the break and 2-0 was the advantage.  

Kerber with a forehand down the line led 30-0 but a backhand even better from Azarenka and 30-15. A stunning Kerber backhand sealed the game and she trailed 1-2.  Kerber forced an Azarenka error and then a self inflicted mistake from Kerber made it 15-15. Wonderful Azarenka backhand gave her two game points, one saved with a great backhand from Kerber.  Azarenka held for 3-1.

A Kerber forehand winner made it 15-15.  15-30 was a cause of concern for Angie.  30-30 with a forehand winner, and game point with an ace.  Serve held for 2-3.  Double fault from Azarenka and she had 15-15.  Forehand backhand forehand winner combination by Azarenka and 30-30  Kerber put away a winner and had break point.  Forehand volley from the top shelf by Vika to save the break point.  Another chance for Kerber from a surprise Azarenka mistake.  Saved.  Azarenka won a long and quality rally and subsequently the game for a 4-2 lead.

15-0 to Kerber following a clean winner.  A change up from Azarenka with a forehand winner and 30-30. Another in the same spot and break point.  Forcing Kerber to hit wide Azarenka claimed the break and now was serving for the set at 5-2.

30-0 quickly and a backhand crosscourt winner brought up three set points.  One saved.  And a second with a brilliant forehand return.  Deuce with a forehand blasted winner from Kerber.  A backhand screamer from Kerber and break point.  A double fault and Azarenka now led 5-3.  Incredible effort from Angie.  15-15 on the next Kerber serve.  A super backhand from Azarenka and a great response from Kerber with a marvellous forehand then a backhand to lead 40-30.  5-4 Azarenka and she would try to serve for the set a second time.

15-0 following an Angie error.  30-15 after an exchange of mistakes.  Two set points now for Azarenka.  One saved through a Vika error.  An Angie backhand winner and it was deuce.  Break point with a Vika backhand pushed wide.  The break came with an Angie forehand winner.  5-5.  Extraordinary.

30-15 for Angie.  Two game points after Vika's backhand sailed long. Angie 6-5 and a game from the semis.  Forehand winner from Vika 15-0.  Forehand winner from Angie in reply 15-15.  Vika hitting long for 15-30.  Backhand winner down the line from Vika for 30-30.  Forehand wide from Vika and match point for Angie.  A super cross court forehand does the job.

Angie Kerber defeated Vika Azarenka for the first time in a huge surprise 6-3 7-5.  Saving all those set points with incredible winning tennis shots was jaw dropping stuff and if that can be delivered in the semi final there is nothing to stop Angie from appearing in the final this year.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Novak in three over Nishikori

Novak Djokovic is the world's best male tennis player and because of one match there are some who are raising doubts about him.  Dangerous to do that.  His loss to Nishikori in the 2014 US Ooen semis has been raised as a reason for concern, but that was then and the 2015 year has occurred since.  Djokovic was near invincible and made the final every time he played bar the first tournament of the year.  Nishikori struggled to repeat his 2014 year.

So take a breath and analyse this match based on the respective assets of both players, and not what happened with Gilles Simon.  That is history. 

Still, this quarter final should be exciting. The two players have similar game styles and the rallies will create great shot making.  It may require more than three sets but I believe that Djokovic should prevail as he is the better player and knows how to win regularly at this stage of big tournaments.

Djokovic served first and an ace to begin.  A backhand winner down the line 15-15.  15-30 with a forehand wide by Djokovic.  Body serve was too good and 30-30.  Djokovic held for 1-0. Backhand winner and drop shot from Nishikori and 40-0.  1-1.

Splendid serving from Djokovic including two serve groundstroke combinations 2-1.  30-15 with ace included from Nishikori. 40-30 with a good serve.  A netted Nishikori forehand and deuce. He held for 2-2.  Backhand error from Djokovic and 0-15. Service winner for 30-15.  A serve forcing error and a forehand winner helped Djokovic to 3-2.

Forehand winner from Japan 15-0. 40-30 after poor drop shot.  Deuce after forehand wide.  Break point after netting a forehand.  Double fault and the break for Djokovic after Nishikori led 40-0.  4-2 the top seed.

30-0 and an ace for 40-0.  Forehand winner and Djokovic led 5-2. Great backhand at the net by Nishikori for 15-0. Forehand volley winner and 40-0.  Held to love and 5-3 Djokovic.  Double fault from Djokovic 0-15. Backhand netted 0-30. Second serve ace for 30-30. Set point with the Nishikori error. Another long shot from Japan and the set to Djokovic 6-3.

A big miss from Djokovic and 15-0 Nishikori in game one of set two. 15-30 after two Japanese mistakes. Break points now.  A forehand wide from Nishikori and the early break for Djokovic who led 1-0.  Double fault by Djokovic and 15-15. 30-30 and a chance for Nishikori.  A backhand crosscourt winner by Nishikori and break point.  Nishikori missed wide and deuce.  Another miss even wider and game point for Djokovic.  Good angles by Nishikori and forcing the long shot by Djokovic for deuce.  The next game point was saved with a Japanese forehand pass.  A bad miss wide by Djokovic and break point.  A great serve saved that one.  Game point arrived again and a forehand winner by Djokovic took him to 2-0.

0-15 with a Nishikori forehand long.  Another one long and 0-30.  A third even longer and three break points.  One saved via a Djokovic mistake. An ace saved a second. The third vanished with a clever volley.  An ace for game point.  Nishikori escaped and held serve but trailed 1-2.

15-30 with a forehand return winner from Nishikori.  40-30 with errors from Japan.  
Djokovic held for 3-1.  0-15 with Nishikori netting a forehand.  15-30 following a forehand error from Djokovic.  A backhand pass set up break points for Djokovic and he only needed one.  The top seed led 4-1 with a double break.

Service winner by Djokovic for 15-0.  Ace for 40-0. Love game and 5-1 Djokovic.  Nishikori missing just about everything now.  Two great serves helped him to 30-15.  A drop shot won a point set up with his ground strokes.  He held for 2-5 but Djokovic would serve for the set.

Djokovic 15-0 forcing an error with his forehand.  Nishikori's forehand winner and a Djokovic mistake made it 15-30.  30-30 after a backhand long from Nishikori.  A forehand winner from Nishikori created a break point.  A big second serve and forehand saved it.  A second break chance arrived and Nishikori returned a second serve long.  The third break chance disappeared with a first serve and follow up play.  Set point finally came.  A big serve won the day.

Djokovic won set two 6-2 and led two sets to love.  Nishikori went from the court for medical treatment.

The commentators had been shamelessly barracking hard for Nishikori all match, as they had for Federer all tournament.  They had talked Djokovic down any chance they could.  I cannot understand why they won't give him credit for his achievements both on and off the court with the same passion they do with Federer. It is easy to warm to Novak; some just don't wish to.
Set three and 30-40 with another Nishikori unforced error.  Saved by a Djokovic mistake.  The serve was held and Nishikori led 1-0. 15-15 with a netted shot from Djokovic.  15-30 after a poor drop shot from the top seed.  Break point after Nishikori forced a Djokovic forehand long.  A big serve saved him.  A second break point arrived.  This one was converted and Nishikori led 2-0.

15-30 with Nishikori hitting long.  Two break back points with a netted shot from the seventh seed.  Nishikori found the net yet again and Djokovic had broken back straight away.  2-1 Nishikori.

Djokovic again in strife at 0-40, a Nishikori winner converting the first of the break points and leading 3-1. Djokovic won the first two points of the next Nishikori serve, and then the third with a shot long.  Another Japanese shot long saw the serve broken and Nishikori led 3-2.  Three successive breaks of serve and four out of five this set.

A Djokovic ace for 15-0.  A wild return and 30-0.  A ripped forehand return from Nishikori and 30-15. A Djokovic controlled rally was entertaining and ended with him winning it plus the game to level at 3-3. 

A good serve from Nishikori set up an easy winner for 15-0.  40-15 with attacking play and a forehand winner.  Djokovic clawed back to deuce after the longest rally of the match.  A magic forehand on the line from Djokovic set up break point, saved by an ace.  Another fine serve enabled a pass behind Djokovic.  Then an amazing backhand pass by Djokovic brought it back to deuce,  Break point once more after a Japanese error. Another mistake from Nishikori saw Djokovic lead 4-3 with serve to come.

15-15 following a winner from Nishikori.  Another great forehand from Djokovic had him at 30-15.  Two game points thanks to a Nishikori error wide.  Djokovic led 5-3 and just a game away from the semis.

Nishikori double faulted and faced 30-30.  Showing great poise he put an overhead away then won the game, forcing Djokovic to serve for the set and match at 5-4.

A solid first serve set up the first point and 30-0 came with a smooth down the line shot.  Three match points arrived.  One was saved with a wide Djokovic backhand.  A second saved when the top seed found the net.  A brilliant backhand won the match.

Novak Djokovic won 6-3 6-2 6-4 and Roger Federer would have the opponent he feared most in the semi finals.

Federer into semis

Roger Federer has a good record over Tomas Berdych but the Swiss third seed has lost to the Czech sixth seed in their last two meetings at Grand Slam level.  However that is just statistics and those matches were a few years ago.  I don't think Tomas will make it three in a row but he will cause more trouble for Roger than others have this tournament.

Federer served first and a forehand winner gave him 30-0.  A rare double fault and 30-15. Federer won easily for 1-0.  Tomas was beaten at the net and trailed 0-15. A big serve and 15-15.  No problems as Federer couldn't counter the serve for the remainder of the game 1-1.

15-15 with a good return from Berdych.  15-40 following a Federer mistake and a Berdych winner.  The first break point was saved but not the second with Federer unable to handle a Berdych forehand.
Berdych led 2-1.  Double fault and 0-30.  15-30 with a powerful serve.  A winning forehand provided Federer with two break back points.  One saved with a Swiss backhand in the net.  A Berdych error cost him the game and games were back on serve 2-2.

A Federer forehand long and 0-15.  A good string of serves and 3-2 Federer. A strong forehand from Berdych for 15-15.  A smash winner and 30-15.  An ace for 40-30.  Double fault nullified the ace. A netted backhand from Federer was bettered by his forehand winner and it was deuce again.  Game point once more thanks to a. Swiss mistake. Double fault yet again.  Ace for another game point and a slice of luck for Federer brings deuce again.  Ace once more.  Deuce once more.  Federer backhand into net once more.  Wild overhead miss from Federer and game to Berdych at long last. 3-3.

15-15 after the net was met by Federer again.  A Berdych mistake and 30-15.  40-15 following a Swiss forehand winner.  4-3 Federer.  Berdych and his big serve was able to level at 4-4 and the critical stage of the set had been reached.

A great return then a great serve 15-15.  Two more fine serves from Federer, and a third had him a game from the set. 5-4.  30-30 and tight for Berdych.  Set point with a lucky net cord on return of serve playing its part.
Saved well by Berdych. A heavy forehand caused Federer's error and another forehand won the game and games were 5-5.

30-15 with winner from Federer.  Two game points.  One saved with down the line winner.  Game to Federer and 6-5.  30-0 for Berdych. An ace for 40-0.  A Czech error and 40-15, but a Swiss error took us to a tie break.

1-0 Federer with a forehand winner.  A poor shot from Berdych and Federer had the mini break.  2-1 Federer after a big Berdych serve. 4-1 after Federer finds the line.  4-2 at change of ends.

Brilliant off forehand from Berdych for 3-4.  6-3 and three set points for Federer.  An awesome forehand pass by Berdych saved one.  A careless shot by him gave the set to Federer 7-6, seven points to four in the tie break.

Berdych's two aces weren't enough to save a break point as Federer's backhand winner broke the sixth seed and Switzerland led 1-0 in set two.  Federer tossed in a couple of volley winners as he increased his lead to 2-0.  

Federer took Berdych to deuce courtesy of forehand winners but a forehand error gave the game to Berdych and Federer led 2-1.  He then led 3-1 with serve and forehand on song.  Both held strongly for Federer to lead 4-2 and then Federer broke once more hitting a forehand winner on the single break point provided.  Leading 5-2 the third seed would serve for a two set lead.

Two forehand winners and a service winner were highlights of the game which Federer won to take the second set 6-2 and lead Berdych by two sets to love.

Instead of crying like a baby and giving the match away, Berdych held serve to love and broke the Federer serve with the second break point to lead 2-0 in the third set.  Then it fell apart.  From 30-15 Berdych hit unforced errors and a double fault to be broken back.  Then Federer served a love game and it was 2-2.

Berdych held comfortably for 3-2 but failed to convert either of two break points and Federer escaped to level at 3-3.  Both held easily for 4-4.

Berdych was down 0-40 but fought back to have game point which he lost this time and once again before Federer raised a break point following a clean winner.  An unforced error from Berdych and the break was Federer's.  5-4 and serving for a semi final spot.

Four clean winners and Federer had won.  7-6 6-2 6-4  He would play Djokovic or Nishikori in the semi finals.

Serena's 18th in a row over Maria

Having not lost to Sharapova since 2004 Serena was not in the mood to break that run in today's quarter final and her form coming in suggested nothing would change.

Serena served first and was a little loose at 15-40, unforced errors setting up break points for Maria. The break came and Maria led 1-0. Maria survived a double fault to lead 2-0.  Early on Maria was the better shot maker, but an ace and another big serve gave her game point.  It was saved.  Not the next game point though and Maria led 2-1.

An awesome forehand return from Serena and 15-15.  Double fault and 30-30.  Another one and break point.  A wide backhand from Maria and games back on serve 2-2.  An ace for 30-0 Serena.  Another ace for 40-15.  Williams led after holding serve 3-2.

Double fault 15-15.  Despite that, Serena's errors gifted the game to Sharapova and games were 3-3.  A forehand winner from Maria and 0-15 for Serena.  A great backhand return from Maria and 30-30.  Answered with a huge ace at 202 km/h. Another service winner down the middle and 4-3 to Serena.

Maria in strife at 0-30.  Double fault and three break points.  Serena netted a return but still two left.  A better serve and another missed return.  An ace and deuce.  Maria had game point with a great recovery.  A winner and 4-4.

Serena's disappointment manifested itself into a huge winner for 15-0.  Sharapova replied with a huge backhand winner down the line.  Double fault and 15-30.  Big serve and 30-30.  Great combination for 40-30.  Sharapova played a terrific point running Serena all over the court and it was deuce.  Double fault and break point.  Ace fixed that. Poor backhand and another chance for Maria.  Well saved by a serve forehand combo.  Ace for game point.  Deuce again with Serena finding the net. A forehand hit behind Maria won the point and an ace down the middle won the game for 5-4 Serena.

Wonderful backhand from Serena for 0-15.  A stunning backhand return winner and 0-30.  30-30 with netted returns.  Maria won a close rally for game point.  A lucky net cord for Serena and deuce.  Awesome forehand return forced the Maria error and set point.  Second serve was great and netted return brought it back to deuce.  A delightful forehand return and another set point.  The net again and Serena would not be pleased with that poor shot.  A third set point was available thanks to a Maria mistake.  Yet again a good second serve and the net found once more.  Serena forced a Maria error and the fourth set point. This time she made sure moving to the net and putting away a forehand.

Serena Williams was a set to the good 6-4, but not as convincing as she could be.

Serena quickly to 40-0 and she led 1-0 in the second set. Serena defended well and Maria made the error 0-15.  A fabulous forehand from Maria and 15-15.  One just as good from Serena and 15-30.  30-30 and Maria competing well in the rallies.  Game point with another forehand winner.  Serena making it difficult and deuce.  A netted Maria backhand and break point.  Serena again hit a winner behind Maria to break the Russian serve and lead 2-0.

A huge service winner signified the mood of Serena and another big delivery gave her 30-0.  Three game points after a desperate but worthless charge to the net by Maria. And an ace opened a big gap of 3-0 for Serena, although only one break ahead.

A slashing Serena forehand winner crosscourt and Maria was 15-30 down. Double fault and two break points.  A long forehand from Maria and Serena was completely in charge 4-0 with two breaks.  The serve forehand combo working again, followed by an ace and 30-0 for Serena.  A double fault was unnecessary as was the unforced error. 30-30. An angry forehand winner was the response to the error.  Maria was still trying hard and forced another Serena mistake.  Deuce was changed to game point with a serve forehand success.  An ace confirmed a 5-0 advantage for the top seed.

A long backhand cost Maria the first point 0-15. A good serve and 15-15.  A netted forehand from Maria and 15-30.  30-30 with a decent serve again.  A forehand winner and game point for Maria. An ace for her first game in the set.  5-1 Serena.

An ace for 15-15.  A serve set up the winner and 30-15.  30-30 and Maria was hoping for a break.  A terrific forehand winner from Maria gave her break point and it was saved.  She was given another chance with a wayward Serena shot. Again Maria hit long.  Serena steadied and forced an error from the Russian racquet setting up match point.  It was converted.

Serena Williams defeated Maria Sharapova 6-4 6-1 (18th time in succession) and advanced to another semi final, this one against Aga Radwanska.