Two-time Grand Slam Winner
Rod Laver’s court. It is here that history is made and the most important matches of the Australian Open are held. Who is Rod Laver? Tennis fans have probably heard this name, and have seen and continue to see him in the stands of the arena named after him. But few have seen Mr. Laver with their own eyes, and he is rightfully considered one of the best tennis players of all time. Suffice it to say that he is the only player to have won a full-fledged Grand Slam twice. This happened for the first time in 1962, and in 1969, already in the era of the Open Era, he repeated his success. In total, he won 200 titles – a record figure among all players.
Of course, there are those who try to belittle Laver’s merits a little. Say, in his time there was not such a competition, but would he be able to achieve the same heights now? Comparing tennis players of different generations is an eternal dispute that can never be resolved. We will never know how Roger Federer would have played in the 60s and Rod Laver today. This does not negate the fact that Laver is one of the strongest players ever to take a racket in his hands. Not only one of the main courts of the world is named after him, but also the tournament – the Laver Cup. So far, only the first drawing has passed, but there is every reason to believe that this competition will become very prestigious and honorable.
In the meantime, the best matches of the Australian Open continue to play at Rod Laver’s arena. Behind the second circle, which, like the first, presented many surprises. A pleasant one is the victory of Katerina Bondarenko over Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, the 15th seeded tournament. Anastasia in the first round almost lost to another Ukrainian, Katerina Kozlova, but played a double break in the third set. This time the Russian woman could not oppose anything to another Katerina – 2: 6, 3: 6. For Bondarenko, this is the third exit in the 1/16 finals, but she has not yet been able to take the next step. Magdalena Rybarikova is not an easy opponent, but quite passable.
The first Ukrainian derby in the third round
The organizers made the schedule in such a way that all three Ukrainian girls played on Wednesday first launch. Not only was it an uncomfortable night time, but I also had to tear myself apart to see everything. There were reasons to expect that Elina Svitolina, one of the main favorites, would win easily, but she faced unexpected difficulties with Katezhina Sinyakova. The Czech is a young and promising star, but still at this stage of her career she is no match for the 4th racket of the world. Elina made a lot of mistakes in the first game, but then she was able to pull herself together. I must say that Sinyakova was obviously worried about something in the second half of the meeting, and she was no longer playing at full strength, but Svitolina also improved after a slow start.
“Although in the second or third sets the score was 6: 2, 6: 1, it felt like it was 7: 6 in the third or 8: 6. Today it was very difficult for me. I didn’t feel good, I didn’t concentrate on the right things. For several days I have been in this state, trying to recover and be ready for every match. Before the start of the tournament, I had problems and it was a big question whether I would go to court for a first round match. Tomorrow I have a day of rest, so I will try to recover “, – Svitolina said after the victory over Sinyakova with a score of 4: 6, 6: 2, 6: 1.
In the third round she will meet with Marta Kostiuk – for the first time at this stage of the Grand Slam tournament a Ukrainian derby will be held. Martha never ceases to delight journalists and fans around the world. She defeated Australian Olivia Rogovoska – 6: 3, 7: 5. The Ukrainian woman did not show her best tennis, both girls made a lot of mistakes, but we need to make allowances for difficult weather conditions. In the end, the 15-year-old Ukrainian got nervous, which is understandable, but she was able to apply for the match and win, taking into account the qualifications, for the fifth victory in Melbourne. Kostyuk became the youngest participant in the third round on the “Helmet” since Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, who achieved this success at the 1997 US Open. And at the Australian Open, no one reached the third round at the age of 15, 22 – then Martina Hingis distinguished himself.
“In the next round, I’ll just have fun. I will probably play on the big court again, but I will try to show my best tennis. I know a little how Elina plays, but I haven’t gone into details yet ”, – said Kostyuk after the match with Rogovskaya. All that remains is to wish two Ukrainian women to show bright tennis in a face-to-face confrontation.
Shuvey shocked Mugurusu
Ukrainian athletes are holding a wonderful tournament, the same can be said about Estonians. Kaya Kanepi and Anette Kontaveit reached the third round. If Anette is likely to have a tough match with Elena Ostapenko, then Kanepi is still going well in the tournament and may well beat Carla Suarez-Navarro. If Kontaveit also creates a sensation, then the Estonian derby will take place in the fourth round. The Ukrainian representation could have increased to four people, but Lesya Tsurenko, having taken the first batch from Agnieszka Radwanska, still lost 6: 2, 5: 7, 3: 6. The polka won a strong-willed victory in the second match, while she failed to show good tennis. Usually tenacious Radwanska made a lot of mistakes, but Lesya could not take full advantage of this. Next, Agnieszka will meet with Xie Shuwei, and here we come to the main surprise of the second round. Garbinier Mugurusa was ranked 3rd, but withdrew from the first two tournaments due to a thigh injury. It turned out that they could not really recover. Showing rather faded tennis, she lost with a score of 6: 7 (1: 7), 4: 6. For 32-year-old Shuwei, this victory was the largest in her career. Prior to that, she won only one match against top 10 tennis players (1-15) and two against top 20 tennis players (2-29).
The second seeded Caroline Wozniacki almost lost. Croatian Yana Fett was leading in the third set 5: 1, 40:15, but missed a double matchball and lost six games in a row in total! Undoubtedly, this is one of the brightest “comebacks” in recent years, only the salvation with 0: 5 can be cooler. Caroline just stopped making mistakes, and Fett squeezed a little. When she failed to realize a double matchball, the Croatian became even more nervous and made mistakes, and Wozniacki had already grabbed her opponent with an iron grip and still moved on. She will be followed by a match with Kiki Bertens. Speaking of salvation from 0: 5. Daria Gavrilova led 5: 0 in the first set and had eight (!!!) set points in different games, but missed all of them and lost the game to Alice Mertens 5: 7. In the second set, the Belgian was also stronger. Note that the match began at midnight local time, since the previous meetings were very long. Among the other women’s results, let us single out the unexpected defeat of Julia Görges: she won three titles in a row and 15 matches, but lost to the “client” Alize Korne, whom she had never lost before (5-0). Another unexpected result: the defeat of the 9th seeded Johanna Conta from the “lucky loser” Bernarda Pera.
In men, Alexander Dolgopolov is surprisingly stable: with a score of 7: 6, 6: 3, 6: 4 he defeated Haider-Maurer in the first round, with the same score he beat Matthew Ebden in the second round, only the tie score differs. break. Next, Alexander will have a game with Diego Schwartzman. On hard, Dolgopolov has every opportunity to beat the Argentine, and in the fourth round a meeting with Rafael Nadal looms. The Spaniard won his match easily, Federer also won in three sets, and Grigor Dimitrov defeated American qualifier Mackenzie MacDonald in only five games – 8: 6 in the decisive game. In one of the most interesting matches of the second round, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, losing 2: 5 in the fifth set, still beat Denis Shapovalov and went to Nick Kyrios. Another marathon was held by Ivo Karlovich and Yuichi Sugita. Croat, of course, is no stranger to playing such long meetings. He performed 53 aces (for the sixth time in his career) and beat the Japanese. And for the second time in his career, Dominic Tim escaped from 0-2 in games: he won a super-wrestling victory over Denis Kudla.
Novak Djokovic and Gael Monfils played a bright and strange match. The tennis players played in the hottest, about 40 degrees. Djokovic looked very pale in the first set, but then Monfils essentially stopped playing. He did not hide the fact that it is very difficult for him to just be on the court in such heat. Several times the Frenchman called the doctor and showed with all kind that he would be removed, if not now, then in a couple of minutes. He finished the match, but Djokovic was stronger than him for the 15th time, although there are questions about his tennis. Stan Wawrinka was already playing in the evening, so there is no need to make allowances for the heat. It is obvious that the Swiss has not fully recovered yet. He managed to take just seven games from Tennis Sandgren. In a very high-quality match, Juan Martin del Potro beat Karen Khachanov in four stubborn sets. Both struck a lot of punches right through (mostly from the right), and also got a lot of aces: Khachanov won one of the games with aces alone. And yet del Potro went further, who will then meet with Tomas Berdykh.