US Open 2019: Williams sisters cruise through, Barty rallies

By Sports Desk August 26, 2019

Williams sisters Serena and Venus barely raised a sweat on day one of the US Open, while Ashleigh Barty dug deep to advance in New York.

Serena and Venus Williams lost three games between them as the American pair cruised through to the second round at Flushing Meadows on Monday.

Former world number one and French Open champion Barty survived a big scare, 2017 US Open runner-up Madison Keys eased into the next round but Angelique Kerber crashed out.

 

SERENA EXTENDS SHARAPOVA DOMINANCE

It was a ruthless performance from 23-time grand slam champion Serena Williams, who demolished Maria Sharapova 6-1 6-1.

Serena – who was at the centre of an infamous meltdown during last year's US Open final – made it 19 straight victories over five-time major winner Sharapova.

Fellow American Caty McNally is up next for Serena after easing past Timea Bacsinszky 6-4 6-1.

Two-time champion Venus Williams, meanwhile, routed Zheng Saisai 6-1 6-0 to extend her first-round record at the tournament to 21-0.

"I was happy with today, so I'm not going to ask for more," said Venus, who faces Elina Svitolina after the fifth seed defeated Whitney Osuigwe 6-1 7-5.

As for 10th seed Keys, she kicked off her campaign with a 7-5 6-0 victory over Misaki Doi after 63 minutes.

 

A MUCH-NEEDED AUSTRALIAN WIN

Australian sport was reeling on Sunday when Ben Stokes and the England cricket team produced a stunning fightback in the third Ashes Test.

And it briefly appeared fans Down Under were set for further pain when Aussie star Barty remarkably fell 5-0 behind to Zarina Diyas in the first set played at Arthur Ashe Stadium in the tournament.

But Barty – a former cricketer – rallied 1-6 6-3 6-2 to provide a much-needed boost, having herself taken in Australia's Headingley aberration.

"[England's performance] was pretty good. Credit where credit's due," she said. "Stokesy was incredible.

"I think we missed some opportunities and my whole team were glued to it. I have an English trainer, as well. He's had a fantastic 24 hours of feeding it to us and not letting us forget that result."

 

ADDED NERVES AMONG CZECH MATES

Karolina Pliskova came through two tie-breaks in an all-Czech clash packed with breaks to beat Tereza Martincova – and the third seed cheekily blamed her opponent's nationality for her nervy display.

"It was not perfect, but I'm through, so that's important," she said. "The first rounds they are always a little bit nervous, I would say, for most of the players.

"It doesn't help that you play somebody from your country, because then it adds some extra nerves, which maybe would not be there if she's from China or something."

Unable to respond as Pliskova did, Kerber was a big opening-day casualty, losing 7-5 0-6 6-4 to Kristina Mladenovic.

Meanwhile, Johanna Konta, who reached the last four at Roland Garros and the last eight at Wimbledon, was made to work for three sets by Daria Kasatkina, having appeared set for swift and stylish progress after taking the opener before prevailing 6-1 4-6 6-2.

Anastasija Sevastova consigned Eugenie Bouchard to a miserable 12th straight singles defeat, a run stretching back to February.

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    Roger Federer shrugged off questions about his high unforced error count after he survived a massive Australian Open scare from John Millman. 

    Federer appeared destined for a third-round exit when he fell behind 8-4 in the decisive match tie-break at the end of the fifth set.

    Millman had come from two sets to one down to move within two points of victory, but Federer rattled off six successive points to seal his 100th win at the Australian Open 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 4-6 7-6 (10-8) in four hours and three minutes.

    The 20-time grand slam champion prevailed despite hitting 82 unforced errors, 48 of them coming off the forehand side.

    Asked about that number in his post-match media conference, Federer replied: "I mean, honestly, nothing against the statistics people, but over a four-hour match you're going to hit unforced errors.

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    "You know me – I'm not going to hold back and just rally all the time. I will always try to make plays, and for that, I will miss some.

    "Of course, sometimes I wish I could have maybe hit a few more winners instead of unforced errors, but, you know, it shows how slow the courts can be, as well, you know, how many rallies get created, how he didn't serve and volley once.

    "I served and volleyed maybe what, 10 times? Five times? It's that crazy at these moments. When you can come in and you play serve and volley and, you know, volley errors don't count I don't think ever, and rally errors always count. So, there you go."

    Federer was effusive in his praise for Millman, who defeated the Swiss at the 2018 US Open.

    "I just think he's just so, so tough from the baseline. He's got sort of good speed on the backhand, on the forehand," added Federer when asked why Millman is such a tough opponent.

    "The way he hits it makes it, for me, unsure if I should pull the trigger or I shouldn't. Is it there to be hit or not? Every time I get a ball, I'm in two ways, because I have the option to do that with my game, but then he covers the court very well.

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    "That's his credit. He's a great player. He's got great attitude, and that's why I mumbled something to him at the net just saying, 'I have so much respect for you, and it's such a pity, I'm so sorry, but well played', and all that stuff, because I really feel that way for John."

  • Australian Open 2020: Tsitsipas felt 'punched in the face' after Raonic shock Australian Open 2020: Tsitsipas felt 'punched in the face' after Raonic shock

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    The Greek was beaten in straight sets and managed not a single break point against the relentless power and precision of the Raonic serve.

    Roger Federer ensured his 100th match win at Melbourne Park was among his most memorable as he survived a gruelling five-set encounter with John Millman.

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    RAONIC LEAVES TSITSIPAS REELING AS DJOKOVIC MARCHES ON

    There was a shock for sixth seed Tsitsipas, who simply had no answer to the serve and forehand of Raonic in a 7-5 6-4 7-6 (7-2) defeat.

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    Djokovic described the victory as "one of the best serving matches I've had lately" and credited coach Goran Ivanisevic after firing in 17 aces and dropping just eight points on serve to reach the second week in Melbourne for the 12th time.

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    TON UP FOR FEDERER AFTER TIE-BREAK TURNAROUND

    Federer's 100th win at the Australian Open was secured at 0048 local time after a marathon encounter with Millman.

    The 38-year-old triumphed 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 4-6 7-6 (10-8) after four hours and three minutes of brutal tennis against the Australian, who beat him at the US Open two years ago.

    Federer fought back from a set down to lead but, after Millman forced a decider, momentum seemed to have swung his way in front of a crowd for once not overwhelmingly backing the Swiss great.

    Millman led 3-0 and 8-4 in the final-set tie-break, but Federer rallied from the brink to earn the first match point and promptly took advantage when a Millman volley offered him a routine passing shot.

    "Oh God, it was tough," Federer told Jim Courier on court after the match. "Thank God it was a match tie-break, otherwise I would have lost this one."

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    He committed 14 unforced errors in the opener, and a double fault followed by a wayward forehand gifted Millman the early lead.

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    Another unforced error gave Millman the initiative in the decider and, though he gave the break back and squandered a pair of break points at 3-3, the home hope appeared on course to repeat his 2018 achievement in the tie-break.

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