Australian Open 2020: The best Opta facts ahead of the year's first grand slam

By Sports Desk January 19, 2020

The 108th edition of the Australian Open begins on Monday as the world's best tennis players battle it out at the first grand slam of 2020.

Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka will return to defend the titles they won last year, adding to the event's storied history.

The pair will face stiff competition from stacked fields in the men's and women's draw as a host of players seek glory in Melbourne.

To whet your appetite for the forthcoming feast of tennis, here is a selection of the best Opta facts related to the Australian Open.

 

- The last three years have seen the 12 women's grand slam tournaments being won by 10 different players; only Simona Halep and Osaka have won twice in that span.

- Djokovic won his seventh Australian Open title in 2019, the most of any male player in the history of the tournament. He has won the event every time he has reached the semi-finals.

- Of the last 14 editions of the Australian Open, 12 have been won by either Djokovic (7) or Roger Federer (5) – Rafael Nadal (2009) and Stan Wawrinka (2014) are the only other winners in that period.

- Victoria Azarenka (2012, 2013), Serena Williams (2009, 2010) and Jennifer Capriati (2001, 2002) are the only women to have won successive titles at the Australian Open since 2000.

- Federer won his sixth Australian Open title in 2018, 14 years after his first win at the event; no player has won multiple Australian Open titles over a longer period in the Open Era. It is his last win in a grand slam tournament to date.

- Since 2005 only Williams (2010, 2015) and Azarenka (2013) have won the title at the Australian Open as the number one ranked player in the world.

- Williams has not won any of the last 11 grand slams, with her last victory coming at the Australian Open in 2017 when she was pregnant – this is the American's longest span without a major title.

- Petra Kvitova lost in the final of the Australian Open last year, the only time she went further than the quarter-finals in her last 19 grand slam appearances, since winning Wimbledon in 2014.

- Either Nadal or Andy Murray has been the runner-up in nine of the last 10 Australian Open men's finals, Murray losing five times and Nadal four. Marin Cilic in 2018 is the only other player to lose an Australian Open final in that span.

- The last time an Australian made it to the men's final at the Australian Open was Lleyton Hewitt in 2005 and the last Australian to win the title was Mark Edmondson in 1976 (against fellow Australian John Newcombe).

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    Stefanos Tsitsipas sealed a stunning defence of his Open 13 Marseille title as he crushed the hopes of Felix Auger-Aliassime.

    The brilliant Greek has endured a rocky start to 2020 but put a run of early-tournament defeats behind him with another success in the south of France, beating Canadian Auger-Aliassime 6-3 6-4 in the final.

    It means that for the second yet in a row, Tsitsipas has run through the Marseille draw without dropping a set, while for Auger-Aliassime the wait for a first ATP singles trophy goes on.

    This setback makes it five defeats in five finals for the 19-year-old Canadian, including a loss to Gael Monfils in Rotterdam last weekend.

    Tsitsipas was highly impressive and the 21-year-old roared in delight when Auger-Aliassime ripped a forehand over the baseline on match point.

    The trophy presentation became a charming love-in between two of the stars of the new generation in the men's game.

    Addressing Auger-Aliassime, who held a 2-1 lead in their head-to-head before this clash, Tsitsipas said: "It's great to be fighting on the court against you.

    "I feel like you make me a better a player. And I hope I make you that too.

    "I would like to congratulate you on a great week. Someone had to win the title - it was a very close match.

    "I've been following you, even when you've not been playing the same tournaments as me.

    "Keep putting in the extra work and I'm sure you can achieve a lot of things in the future which will be very good for our sport and for the younger generations."

    It was a fifth tour title for Tsitsipas, and it seems only a matter of time before Auger-Aliassime begins carrying off the big trophies.

    These two could contest many more finals in the years ahead.

    Auger-Aliassime said: "We've known each other since juniors. It's getting tougher and tougher to play you - we're equal now - two wins each - so it's a great rivalry and a great fight every time against you, but congrats for this one."

  • Mager continues Rio run, Nishioka into Delray Beach final as rain wreaks havoc Mager continues Rio run, Nishioka into Delray Beach final as rain wreaks havoc

    Gianluca Mager upset Dominic Thiem and then moved within reach of a maiden ATP Tour final as rain continued to impact the Rio Open.

    Down a set when forced off on Friday, top seed Thiem failed to stave off a quarter-final loss once play resumed on Saturday.

    Italian qualifier Mager turned his overnight advantage into a 7-6 (7-4) 7-5 victory before again taking to the court later in the day for his semi-final.

    The 25-year-old's opponent, lucky loser Attila Balazs, earlier beat Pedro Martinez 2-6 6-4 6-2 but was left clinging onto a place in the tournament when the rain returned, the Hungarian trailing 7-6 (7-4) 3-3 against Mager.

    The winner will likely face Cristian Garin in the final after the Chilean third seed opened up a 6-4 4-4 lead over Borna Coric in the other postponed semi-final.

    Poor conditions also interrupted the Delray Beach Open, where Milos Raonic was unable to get underway against Reilly Opelka.

    The big servers had their semi-final rescheduled for Sunday and will compete for a spot in the decider against Yoshihito Nishioka, who battled from a set down to defeat Ugo Humbert 1-6 6-4 6-0.

    Nishioka has reached the final despite dropping the opener in three of his four matches at the ATP 250 event.

    "After the first set I just figured out how to play against him and just kept trying to do it and then it worked," he said, as quoted by the ATP Tour.

    "If I lose the first set it's okay, I just figure out how he's going to play, how I have to play against him and then from the second set I say, 'Okay, let's do it this way.'"

  • Tsitsipas to defend Marseille title against Auger-Aliassime in final Tsitsipas to defend Marseille title against Auger-Aliassime in final

    Felix Auger-Aliassime is into a second successive ATP Tour final after seeing off Gilles Simon in straight sets in the Open 13 Marseille semi-final and he will face defending champion Stefanos Tsitsipas for the title.

    Second seed Tsitsipas was in impressive form as he dispatched Alexander Bublik in the day's first match, running out 7-5 6-3 victor to reach the final of the tournament for a second year in a row.

    The Greek continued his run of not dropping a set at the competition since a first-round defeat to Nicolas Mahut two years ago, racking up a 14th successive win in Marseille.

    Tsitsipas was particularly devastating on his own serve in the second set, dropping just a single point, and he was delighted to be able to keep Bublik under control.

    "I tried to stay in the match as much as possible and play each point individually," he said, according to quotes on the ATP Tour website. "I know he can be [Bublik] quite unexpected.

    "You don't know what to expect. I didn't know what to expect from today's opponent. I am really happy with myself that I found a balance and I didn't panic when things got tight.

    "That is a great attitude that I put out on the court. It keeps getting better and better."

    Auger-Aliassime will be hoping to go one better than he did in Rotterdam last week, having lost in the final of that event to Gael Monfils.

    The Canadian did not have it all his own way against Simon, who eliminated top second Daniil Medvedev in the last round, but Auger-Aliassime showed admirable resilience to claim a double break in the first set after losing his own serve early on.

    Simon took the second set to a tie-break, but he rarely appeared to be in the conversation at that stage, with Auger-Aliassime eventually winning 7-5 7-6 (7-2).

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