Saturday, 7 January 2017

Lauren Davis 1st Title

Lauren Davis captured her first WTA title in Auckland following her decisive victory over Croatian teenager Ana Konjuh in the final today.  The 23 year old American, previously ranked 61, but now guaranteed to leap back into the top fifty, claimed the scalps of no less than four seeded players on her path to glory.
Giving away a significant height advantage, Davis dominated Konjuh's second serve, winning 64% of points once it was in play, and she broke the Croatian serve five times.
For her efforts, Konjuh will rise to a career high 36.

Overnight, Australian time, Andy Murray booked a finals appointment with Novak Djokovic in Doha, but the methods of arriving there were rather different.  Before Murray dispensed with Tomas Berdych in straight sets, as is usual with Berdych in semi finals, Djokovic dropped the opening set against unseeded Fernando Verdasco 6-4.  He then had to save three break points at 4-4 in the second set.  In the ensuing tie break, he led 2-1, then lost five straight points to be staring four match points in the face.  
Remarkably he drew level at 6 points apiece and appeared to have snatched the momentum away from the Spaniard.  Verdasco intervened, taking the next point off the second seed and be serving with a fifth match point.
Novak saved this one, and with that Verdasco had wasted his last opportunity to cause a major upset.  Djokovic won 4-6 7-6 (7) 6-3.

In Brisbane today, Kei Nishikori proved too efficient for Stan Wawrinka once the Swiss number one lost the first set in a tie break, despite creating the only three break points of the set.
Set two saw Nishikori tear the Swiss serve to pieces, breaking it twice, and winning more than half the points on it.

In a similar scoreline, Grigor Dimitrov caused a boil over, bundling top seed and defending champ Milos Raonic out of the tournament 7-6 6-2.
The first set was resolved in a tie break, after no service breaks were obtained, not even a break point created.  The first serve percentages were both around 50%.

Set two saw the first serve percentages change dramatically - Dimitrov could almost not miss, hitting the mark 81% of the time, while Raonic dropped to 42%.
The Bulgarian feasted on the Canadian second serve, winning 10 of the 14 times that it was required.
Subsequently, the set was won easily, and the semi final 7-6 (7) 6-2 to Dimitrov, whose form suggests he could very well win the final against Nishikori.

Tonight the women battle for the Brisbane title, and while Aliza Cornet has had a good tournament, there can be no denying that favouritism belongs to the brilliant Karolina Pliskova, who dismantled Elina Svitolina in ominous fashion last night.
Her serve was effortlessly glorious, and the winners just flowed off both wings.  At this particular stage, Pliskova is delivering the best tennis on the WTA Tour, and Melbourne Park should be ready for something special from last year's US Open runner-up in a week or so.

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