Roger Federer, Serena Williams: Champions of Australian Open 2010

4th AO Win, 16th Grand Slam

Number one seeds in the world, Roger Federer and Serena Williams, proved that they are still unbeatable in Australian Open 2010.

Serena Williams achieved her fifth AO title by outlasting comeback Belgian and former number one, Justine Henin in three (6-4, 3-6, 6-2) while Roger Federer took another straight sets win over crowd favorite and seed fifth in the world, Andy Murray (6-3, 6-4, 7-6).

I saw these two matches in TV and my personal evaluation is: All Good.

Why Serena Win?

1.) Serena capitalized on her powerful serves from the very beginning. In fact, she won the first point with an ace and closed out the deciding set with two aces in a game.

2.) Serena was also aggressive in her groundstrokes. Whenever she finds an opening, she immediately fired a winner with her big forehand. Although her backhand slice was not as good as Justine’s, she remained to stay calm during the most important situations in the game.

Fifth AO Win, 12th Grand Slam

3.) I wanted Justine Henin to win this dream match. Her second set win over the defending champion was amazing. She finished a lot of points with winners. No doubt, Justine’s big weapon was her backhand slice but it’s a mystery for me why there’s sudden shift of momentum in the third set.

As I see it, Justine accidentally lost her rhythm after 2-2. She continued to commit errors. Her serves went very weak and Serena Williams simply zooms inside the picture and dominate.

4.) I adored Serena’s staying power. She had a near-loss-experience with Victoria Azarenka and Li Na during the quarters and semis yet her positive attitude helped her survived those tests and win AO two years in a row.

She also won women doubles with Venus against world doubles number Cara Black and Liezel Huber.

Why Andy Murray Loss?

1.) The playing style of Andy Murray throughout the match was too defensive. I don’t know what’s the matter with him but his attacking methods were not as powerful as he did in the quarterfinals with Rafael Nadal.

2.) Andy Murray has a hard time breaking Federer’s serve. His break point conversions only clocks at two out of eight occasions.

3.) It’s already a known fact Roger Federer is the King of Today’s Tennis. His serves, groundstroke-winners and smashes were precise, fast and remarkably unbelievable. I salute his aggression throughout the match but during the third set at 2-5, Andy Murray had clearly his chances but didn’t take it. Federer held serve, broke Murray again and win a tight tiebreaker.

4.) Yes, the tiebreaker was nerve-cracking but I was still hesitant with Andy Murray’s defensive baseline play. He could go towards the net and finish a point but, he did not do it. He rallies superbly, runs fast left and right but most of the time,  just waiting for Federer’s mistakes.

5.) Perhaps, Andy Murray was not in his comfort zone during this match. He had his great moments. He produced aces during the heat of the game, in fact there are ten of them. The exchanged rallies between these two were awesome and long. Andy Murray regularly kept the ball in play but the lack of consistent and aggressive shots failed him. Just 29 winners to 36 unforced errors and he committed 4 double faults.

Interesting Triumphs

Last year, it was Fernando Verdasco of Spain who surprised the Arena as he reached his first Grand Slam Semifinals, defeating Stepanek, Murray, Tsonga along the way before falling to compatriot Rafael Nadal.

This year, there’s no need to doubt. Marin Cilic is the dark horse in mens singles. First round until the semis, this young and tall Croatian outplayed the big names in the circuit.

  • Straight sets over Fabrice Santoro of France; 7-5, 7-5, 6-3
  • Five sets over Bernard Tomic of Australia: 6-7, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2, 6-4
  • Four sets over Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland: 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3
  • Five sets over Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina: 5-7, 6-4, 7-5, 5-7, 6-3
  • Five sets over Andy Roddick of USA: 7-6, 6-3, 3-6, 2-6, 6-3

Cilic also won the first set during his encounter with finalist Andy Murray but the popular British fought back very hard and ended the match in four.

Although loss, Cilic has still risen to his all time ranking at number 10 (February 1, 2010).

“I mean, he was the same after he lost two sets as when he won two sets. I think that will definitely serve him well over the course of his career. I feel like, you know, there’s a lot to like about him. He just goes about his business, does it the right way, and seems like a very hard worker. You know, like you said, he doesn’t give you any encouragement, like the feeling you’re on top of him, even though I probably was for a little while.”

Andy Roddick on Marin Cilic after the quarterfinals.

“He keeps it together real well. Unlike a lot of the young guys who are very emotionally up and down, he doesn’t beat on his chest, he stays the course, he’s very deliberate, he hits the ball very well. Doesn’t give an inch on the baseline. He literally sets up shop right behind the baseline and isn’t going to be moved.”

On womens side, Maria Kirilenko was the silent but triumphant competitor. She came into this grand slam unseeded. Kirilenko managed to reach the semifinals in doubles with Agnieszka Radwanska. She’s a quarterfinalist in singles.

  • First round over Maria Sharapova of Russia: 7-6, 3-6, 6-4
  • Second round over Yvonne Meusburger of Austria: 6-3, 6-1
  • Third round over Roberta Vinci of Italy: 7-5, 7-6
  • Fourth round over Dinara Safina of Russia: 5-4 (retired)

Kirilenko only fell short against China’s Jie Zheng (Zheng who defeated the alluring Serbian and former world number one Ana Ivanovic in the third round of Wimbledon 2008).

Kirilenko only won four games with 18 winners and 2 aces and committed 22 unforced errors to Zheng’s nine. Zheng became the first Chinese into the AO semis along with Li Na.

Predictable/ Unpredictable Upsets

1. Unpredictable first round exit for Robin Soderling. The Swedish who stopped Rafael Nadal’s reign in Roland Garros 2009, was ousted in five after a remarkable first-two-sets. 

2. Venus Williams did not reach semifinals. I wanted her to win this whole thing but it seems like she loss her momentum against Li Na during the second and third set in quarterfinals.

3. I expected Ana Ivanovic to go farther, perhaps in the fourth round or quarterfinals but here we go again, she couldn’t win back-to-back match in a Grand Slam. Ivanovic fell to Gisela Dulko in three during the second round yet, I appreciate her courage to win three games in a row while 1-5 down in the deciding. Get well soon AI!

4. Kim Clijsters was thrashed by Nadia Petrova in the third round (0-6, 1-6).

5. The next American big star, Sam Querrey, was ousted in the first round while his compatriot John Isner cruised into fourth round.

6. Fernando Verdasco committed 20 double faults during the fourth round vs. Nikolay Davydenko.

7. Dinara Safina, AO 2009 finalist, was ousted in the fourth round but still number two in the world in the new rankings (February 1, 2010). Quite a mystery!

8. Novak Djokovic back-to-back QF loss at Australian Open (2009-2010). Good thing this time, he didn’t retire and finished a five setter against Jo Tsonga.

Now I seem to understand why can’t Nole win another Grand Slam.

He regularly felt sick after four consecutive matches. Flashing back, AO and Wimbledon 2009, Nole reached quarterfinals but fell to A-Rod and Tommy Haas respectively. Nole seemed to love Flushing Meadows. He reached the last four for three consecutive times but regularly outplayed by Roger Federer.

To think, the Slam-Draw is also tough for Nole. He is always drawn for a semi-potential clash with Federer and it’s impossible to win against a tennis magician without feeling confident.

Good luck Nole 🙂 Looking forward for another slam under your name, if possible the French Open.

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