Mondays with Bob Greene
Australian Open (First Week)
Mischa Zverev beat top-seeded Andy Murray 7-5 5-7 6-2 6-4
CoCo Vandeweghe beat top-seeded Angelique Kerber 6-2 6-3
Denis Istomin beat second-seeded Novak Djokovic 7-6 (8) 5-7 2-6 7-6 (5) 6-4
Mirjana Lucic-Baroni beat third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska 6-3 6-2
Shelby Rogers beat fourth-seeded Simona Halep 6-3 6-1
Roger Federer beat fifth-seeded Kei Nishikori 6-7 (4) 64 6-1 4-6 63
Ekaterina Makarova beat sixth-seeded Dominika Cibulkova 6-2 6-7 (3) 6-3
Dan Evans beat seventh-seeded Marin Cilic 3-6 7-5 6-3 6-3
Anastasia Pavlyunchenkova beat eighth-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-3 6-3
Roger Federer beat 10th-seeded Tomas Berdych 6-2 6-4 6-4
Sorana Cirstea beat 10th-seeded Carla Suárez Navarro 7-6 (1) 6-3
“Honestly, I don’t know, it was like I was in a little coma, I just served and volleyed my way through. ‘Honestly there were a few points where I don/t know how I pulled it off.” – Mischa Zverev, after upsetting top-ranked Andy Murray.
“I’ve had tough losses in my career in the past. I’ve come back from them. This is a tough one. I’m sure I’ll come back OK.” – Andy Murray, after losing to Mischa Zverev.
“I didn’t expect to be doing what I’m doing now and what I did on the court. I like the way I am playing. I feel just tired. I am not thinking, ‘I just beat the World Number 2.’” – Denis Istomin, after beating defending champion Novak Djokovic.
“No doubt he was a better player in the clutch moments. He stepped it up, played aggressive. Served very well, very precise. There’s not much I could do. Of course I was not pleased with my performance overall, but I have to congratulate my opponent today.” – Novak Djokovic, following his loss to Denis Istomin.
“This match is what I will, after my career, remember. If it was easy match or I lost easily, I wouldn’t remember it. But this one I will definitely remember forever.” – Ivo Karlovic, who pounded out 75 aces and rallied from two sets down to beat Horacio Zeballos in the first round, taking the fifth set 22-20.
“Last year I came here and didn’t even win a match, and here I am now.” – CoCo Vandeweghe, after defeating defending champion and top-seeded Angelique Kerber.
“I missed a lot and I make a lot of unforced errors. So this was not my normal game.” Angelique Kerber.
“It was crazy. So it’s been a bit insane. But it’s a tennis match, anything can happen. In the third set, I felt like Jelena was in total control of the game, but it’s never done until you shake the hand.” – Svetlana Kuznetsova, after beating Jelena Jankovic 6-4 5-7 9-7.
“I have had some tough draws in the slams, so I’m kind of used to that, playing the seeds and playing big matches right off the bat. But it’s always fun. You know you’re going to play on a good court. You know you’re going to get the atmosphere. It can be tough sometimes to play on the outer courts, not too much going on.” – Shelby Rogers, after her 6-3 6-1 win over fourth-seeded Simona Halep.
“This loss is just the one that I will think about few days, I will have in my head. I really felt, you know, that at 3-all and the second or third advantage, I had the match under control. But I didn’t take my chances.” – Dominika Cibulkova, following her loss to Ekaterina Makarova.
“I feel like I’m very weird and they are completely normal, which is not a good sign.” – Naomi Osaka,
No defending champion made it to the second week of the Australian Open. None. Nada. Zip. Zero. Gone are the world’s number one-ranked players – Andy Murray and Angelique Kerber – as well as last year’s singles champions – Kerber and Novak Djokovic – as play ended the first seven days. But the carnage didn’t end there. The 2016 men’s doubles winners – Jamie Murray and Bruno Soares – fell in the opening round. And although the defending women’s doubles champions – Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza – split up, neither one was around by the beginning of Week 2, Hingis falling in the second round, Mirza lasting until the third. Elena Vesnina didn’t attempt to duplicate her mixed doubles title, while her partner last year, Soares, withdrew before his second-round match this time around.
Only four seeded players reached the second week in the women’s singles. Five seeded men made it through the opening week.
Playing attacking tennis, Mischa Zverev stunned the world’s number one player, keeping Andy Murray from winning his first Australian Open title. It was the first time the 29-year-old Zverev had been past the third round in a Grand Slam tournament. “I believed in myself,” Zverev said. “I believed in my game. I believed that playing serve and volley against him and slicing a lot, trying to destroy his rhythm, was going to work, which it did in the end.” Zverev won 65 of his 118 points at the net as he went on the attack at every chance, forcing the issue. The German left-hander was in control from the start, “It was definitely the best match of my life,” Zverev said. “Not only because it was a best-of-five set match, it was at a slam. It was just incredible.”
Novak Djokovic’s dream of a record-breaking seven Australian Open titles turned into a second-round nightmare, thanks to Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan. Ranked 117th in the world and in the main draw of the year’s first Grand Slam tournament because he won a wild card, Istomin gave a glimpse of what was to come when he staved off six break points in a 16-minute opening game. And although Djokovic took a 2-1 lead in sets, it was Istomin who grabbed the last two sets to pull off the huge upset. The loss ended Djokovic’s 15-match Australian Open winning streak and was only the second time the second-seeded Serb had lost to a player ranked outside the Top 100 in the past seven years. “All the credit to Denis for playing amazing,” Djokovic said. “He deserved to win.”
This is the first time since 2002 that the top two seeded men at the Australia Open have been eliminated before the quarterfinals. The last time it happened at a Grand Slam tournament was in 2004 at the French Open.
Angelique Kerber got no respect from CoCo Vandeweghe. The American ripped off the final five games to send the top-ranked Kerber crashing out of the Australian Open in a fourth-round shocker. “I believe this is my first number one win, so I’ll take that,” Vandeweghe said. “I had to trust my game to beat her and I did.” Playing attacking tennis, Vandeweghe hit 30 winners, including six aces, to knock out the defending champion. After Vandeweghe wrapped up the opening set, Kerber broke her opponent to begin second set. But a series of uncharacteristic Kerber errors and Vandeweghe’s attacking style proved to be too much for the German left-hander. “I make a lot of mistakes,” Kerber said. “I think that was not my game I play normally.”
Blame it all on Shelby Rogers. The unseeded American started the first-week rash of upsets by knocking off fourth-seeded Simona Halep. “I can stay out there longer,” Rogers said after her 6-3 6-1 first-round win. After missing last year’s Australian Open, Rogers reached the quarterfinals of the French Open with wins over Karolina Pliskova and Petra Kvitova. “The biggest thing I took away from that was just that I can compete with the top players in the world and I’m good enough,” Rogers said.
Ekaterina Makarova was leading by a set and 4-0 when Dominika Cibulkova won five straight games. But, after taking a medical timeout for an injured right elbow in the third set, Makarova finally prevailed, stopping the sixth-seeded Cibulkova 6-2 6-7 (3) 6-3. “An amazing fight. I got, to be honest, a bit tight at 4-0 in the second set,” Makarova admitted. “I want to enjoy my win today. It’s my first over Dominika, and she’s a great player.”
Mirjana Lucic-Baroni set a record by winning her opening round match at the Australian Open. The 34-year-old Croatian had not won an Australian Open match since her debut at the tournament in 1998. The 19-year gap in between match wins at a Grand Slam tournament broke the record set by Kimiko Date-Krum, who went 17 years between match wins at Wimbledon. Lucic-Baroni was 15 when she won the first two tournaments she entered. Her best major finish was at Wimbledon in 1999 when she reached the semifinals.
At the age of 37, Ivo Karlovic seems to be playing some of the best tennis of his career. The 6-foot-11 (2.11m) Croatian blasted 75 aces as he fought back from two sets down to beat Horacio Zeballos 6-7 (6) 3-6 7-5 6-2 22-20 in a first-round match that lasted five hours, 14 minutes. It was the second longest match in time in Australian Open history, falling 38 minutes short of Novak Djokovic’s win over Rafael Nadal in the 2012 final. But the 84 games the two played smashed the Australian Open record since the introduction of the tiebreak in 1972, surpassing the 83 games played by Andy Roddick and Younes El Aynaoui in 2003. His 75 aces bettered the old Australian Open mark of 51 set by Joachim Johansson in 2005, but was three shy of the 78 Karlovic struck in a Davis Cup match in 2009. “I was just trying to hang in there, just point by point,” Karlovic said. (As the fifth set wore on) actually I was thinking about that other match: (John) Isner versus (Nicolas) Mahut (at Wimbledon in 2010, which Isner won 70-68 in the fifth set). I was hoping, a little bit, it could go that long so I could also have that record.”
SAVING MATCH POINTS
Lucie Safarova won her first-round match, but it wasn’t easy. The Czech saved nine match points before edging Belgium’s Yanina Wickmayer 3-6 7-6 (7) 6-1. She struck winners on the first seven match points she faced, five while serving at 5-6 in the second set. She also forced Wickmayer into a backhand error on the ninth match point. “As long as I win it feels great,” Safarova said. “I can only imagine how Yanina is feeling. That’s the tough part about tennis. One player is always happy and the other is sad.”
Samantha Stosur can’t win for losing. The 2011 US Open champion lost to Heather Watson in the opening round of her country’s Grand Slam tournament 6-3 3-6 6-0, Stosur’s ninth straight match loss. Her last win came in the first round of last year’s US Open.
Tomas Berdych is going home instead of staying around Melbourne and playing Davis Cup for the Czech Republic. The 10th-ranked Czech helped his country win the international team trophy title in 2012 and 2013. Now, he wants to focus on the ATP World Tour and his ranking.
Colin Fleming, who made his mark in doubles, is retiring from the ATP World Tour after becoming the national coach for Tennis Scotland. The 32-year-old Fleming reached 18 finals on the ATP World Tour, winning eight. He also teamed with Jocelyn Rae to win the mixed doubles gold medal at the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Fleming reached a career-high ranking of 17th in the world in 2013.
SKIPPING DAVIS CUP
The best team in American Davis Cup history is calling it quits. Brothers Bob and Mike Bryan are retiring from Davis Cup play after 14 years of representing the United States. “We’ve been blessed to play for two amazing captains, Patrick McEnroe and Jim Courier, and we are extremely grateful for their leadership and trust,” the twins announced on their Instagram account. The brothers have the most victories by any doubles team in U.S. Davis Cup history, going 24-5, including 4-0 in 2007 when the Americans won the title. The Bryan brothers beat Nicolay Davydenko and Igor Andreev in the doubles to clinch the final against Russia.
Researchers at the London School of Marketing say Roger Federer was the world’s most marketable sports person in 2016. The Swiss superstar earned nearly USD $60.7 million in sponsorships and endorsements, although underwent knee surgery and missed playing half the year. Finishing second was National Basketball Association star Lebron James, followed by golfers Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods. Also in the top 10 were tennis players Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal.
St. Petersburg: http://wta.formulatx.com/en/
TOURNAMENTS THIS WEEK
Australian Open, Melbourne, Australia, hard (second week)
$100,000 Open de Rennes, Rennes, France, hard
Australian Open, Melbourne, Australia, hard (second week)
TOURNAMENTS NEXT WEEK
$125,000 RBC Tennis Championships of Dallas, Dallas, Texas, USA, hard
$710,900 St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy, St. Petersburg, Russia, hard
$226,760 Taiwan Open, Taipei, Taiwan, hard
$100,000 Dow Tennis Classic, Midland, Michigan, USA, hard
Argentina vs. Italy at Buenos Aires, Argentina, clay
Germany vs. Belgium at Frankfurt, Germany, hard
Australia vs. Czech Republic at Melbourne, Australia, hard
United States vs. Switzerland at Birmingham, Alabama, USA, hard
Japan vs. France at Tokyo, Japan, hard
Canada vs. Great Britain at Toronto, Ontario, Canada, hard
Serbia vs. Russia at Nis, Serbia, hard
Croatia vs. Spain at Osijek, Croatia, hard
Group I – First Round
Americas Zone: Ecuador vs. Peru at Guayaquil, Ecuador; Dominican Republic vs. Chile at Santo Domino, Dominican Republic, hard
Asia/Oceania Zone: Chinese Taipei vs. China at Kaohsiung, Taiwan, hard; Korea vs. Uzbekistan at Gimcheon, Korea, hard; India vs. New Zealand at Pune, India, hard
Europe/Africa Zone: Bosnia/Herzegovina vs. Poland at Zenica, Bosnia/Herzegovina, hard; Belarus vs. Romania at Minsk, Belarus, hard; Portugal vs. Israel at Lisbon, Portugal, clay
Group I – Second Round
Europe/Africa Zone: Slovakia vs. Hungary at Bratislava, Slovakia, hard
Group 2 – First Round
Americas Zone: Paraguay vs. Barbados at Asuncion, Paraguay, clay; Guatemala vs. Mexico at Guatemala, Guatemala, hard; El Salvador vs. Bolivia at San Salvador, El Salvador, hard Venezuela vs. Bahamas at Doral, Florida, USA, hard
Asia/Oceania Zone: Pakistan vs. Iran at Islamabad, Pakistan, hard; Vietnam vs. Hong Kong-China at Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, hard; Philippines vs. Indonesia at Manila, Philippines, clay; Kuwait vs. Thailand at Meshref, Kuwait, hard
Europe/Africa Zone: Tunisia vs. Sweden in Tunis, Tunisia, hard; Cyprus vs. Turkey in Nicosia, Cyprus, hard; Lithuania vs. Madagascar in Siauliai, Lithuania, hard; Georgia vs. Finland in Tbilisi, Georgia, carpet; Latvia vs. Norway at Jelgava, Latvia, hard; Denmark vs. Morocco in Aarhus, Denmark, carpet; South Africa ccs. Estonia in Centurion, South Africa, hard; Slovenia vs. Monaco in Maribor, Slovenia, hard