2014 Australian Open Melbourne WTA Women's Singles Tennis Results (Sports - WTA Tennis)


  WTA Jan 13-25: Australian Open

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n1 S Williams, n2 V Azarenka
n3 Na Li, n4 M Sharapova
n5 A Radwanska, n6 P Kvitova
n7 S Errani, n8 J Jankovic
n9 A Kerber, n10 C Wozniacki
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#21 Dominika Cibulkova
5'3" 121lb RH 2H-BH

#4 Na Li
5'7" 143lb RH 2H-BH

2nd Grand Slam Title
9th WTA Singles Title

photo: Aussie Margaret Smith Court won 62 Grand Slam titles during her career, 24 of them in singles, including 11 Australian national titles.       On Saturday at Melbourne, in the final of the 2014 Australian Open, the 2011 French Open champion (and 2013 & 2011 Australian Open finalist), 31 year old 4th seeded #4 (career high: #3) Na Li from Wuhan, Hubei, China, won her 2nd Grand Slam title by defeating the 2013 champion at Stanford, 24 year old 20th seeded #21 (career high: #12) Dominika Cibulkova from Bratislava, Slovakia, 7-6(3), 6-0 (photo shown).

    Na struck 34 winners (including 2 aces) with 30 unforced errors (including 3 double faults) while scoring on 5 of the 10 break points she reached against Dominika and totaling 75 points.

    Dominika hit only 11 winners (no aces), with 28 errors (7 DFs), while converting 2 of her 3 break points against Na and totaling 58 points. match stats

    Oncourt after the match, Na thanked her entire team, joked about her husband (who was in the stands laughing), and thanked her agent, Max Eisenbud of IMG, for "making me rich."

    In her postmatch interview, Na said: "[At the] beginning of the match I think both of us were tight, nervous. Also like I don't think I had a very good first serve... But I was really happy. I tried to do the best on the court, to hang in there to see all what I can do on the court...
    "After you win a very tight first set, you think, 'Okay, already one set in the pocket.' Like feeling one foot already touching the trophy. So of course if you have one set in pocket, second set you can play more aggressive, attack her." postmatch interview

    Dominika said: "After she won the first two games [of the 2nd set]... she was more relaxed and she was going for her shots. After it was impossible for me to do something and be aggressive because she was just really, really playing well...
    "[The difference was that Na] was the one who was dictating the game. Today I can only regret that my serve was not really there. Maybe because I felt not a little nervous, but my serve wasn't working. Then she could push me from the first balls, and I was under pressure all the times. Sometimes I catch myself running one meter behind the baseline. That's not how I play. This is why she was better." postmatch interview

    Na now leads Domi 5-0 in career matches. Their previous meeting was in 2013 on Deco-Turf hardcourt in the quarterfinals at Toronto, when Na defeated Dominika 7-6(1), 6-2.

    Na is now 2-2 in Grand Slam finals and 9-11 in WTA singles finals. Na also won the title at Shenzhen earlier this month, and has a 12-0 WTA singles match record this season.

    Dominika was playing in her first Grand Slam final; she is now 4-6 in WTA singles finals. Domi has a 9-2 WTA singles match record this season.

    Sunday men's final: s8 Stanislas Wawrinka SUI d s1 Rafael Nadal ESP 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3

click for 2014 women's singles draw in the video frame

  2014 Major Skirmishes, Top Half

4th Round:
n14 s14 Ana Ivanovic SRB d n1 s1 Serena Williams USA 4-6, 6-3, 6-3
n4 s4 Na Li CHN d n23 s22 Ekaterina Makarova RUS 6-2, 6-0
n29 s28 Flavia Pennetta ITA d n9 s9 Angelique Kerber GER 6-1, 4-6, 7-5
n31 s30 Eugenie Bouchard CAN d n125 wc Casey Dellacqua AUS 6(5)-7, 6-2, 6-0

n4 s4 Na Li CHN d n29 s28 Flavia Pennetta ITA 6-2, 6-2
n31 s30 Eugenie Bouchard CAN d n14 s14 Ana Ivanovic SRB 5-7, 7-5, 6-2

n4 s4 Na Li CHN d n31 s30 Eugenie Bouchard CAN 6-2, 6-4

  2014 Major Skirmishes, Bottom Half

4th Round:
n2 s2 Victoria Azarenka BLR d n13 s13 Sloane Stephens USA 6-3, 6-2
n21 s20 Dominika Cibulkova SVK d n3 s3 Maria Sharapova RUS 3-6, 6-4, 6-1
n5 s5 Agnieszka Radwanska POL d n58 Garbine Muguruza ESP 6-1, 6-3
*n11 s11 Simona Halep ROU d n8 s8 Jelena Jankovic SRB 6-4, 2-6, 6-0

n5 s5 Agnieszka Radwanska POL d n2 s2 Victoria Azarenka BLR 6-1, 5-7, 6-0
n21 s20 Dominika Cibulkova SVK d n11 s11 Simona Halep ROU 6-3, 6-0

n21 s20 Dominika Cibulkova SVK d n5 s5 Agnieszka Radwanska POL 6-1, 6-2

    2014 prize money amounts are shown below in Australian dollars. As of January 10, 2014, one Australian dollar equals about $0.90 US.

WTA SCOREBOARD: The Australian Open at Melbourne
The Wimbledon Centre Court scoreboard at match point during the 1977 ladies singles semifinal as Virginia Wade defeated Chris Evert, and advanced to defeat Betty Stove in the final, becoming the last British woman to win the singles title at Wimbledon-- a portion of a photo from Virginia's book Courting Triumph, click for book excerpts
s=seed, n=rank, *=upset, LL=lucky loser
ranks are for the previous week
How do players get into the "draw"?

Australian Open,  Melbourne, Australia

tourney time:
       = GMT +11 hours
       = US ET +16 hours
       = US PT +19 hours

Australia News

    The Australian Open has 32 seeds, with no 1st-round byes.
    There are 12 qualifiers and 8 wild cards in the main draw. Qualifying finals are on Saturday.

Melbourne Park   click for broader view venue: guide - maps
Latitude: -37.821497 Longitude: 144.978772

2014: 2012 & 2013 tourney champion Victoria Azarenka, 2003, '05, '07, '09 & '10 Australian Open champ Serena Williams, Venus Williams, and row 2:
2008 AO champion Maria Sharapova were among players practicing prior to the tourney (well, Vika is actually shown trying out a new bat on Kid's Day)...
In other pre-tourney action, Laura Robson rounded up the usual 'Roo, while 15 year old rookie Sara Tomic met the unusual crocodile...
Australian Open, 1st Rd, Mon-Tue 11am
loser: AUD$30,000, 10 points
n1 s1 Serena Williams USA d n153 wc Ashleigh Barty AUS 6-2, 6-4 Mon

Serena driving a backhand

    Serena said: "It was a little tricky out there. It's good to get through that match. She could be a potentially dangerous opponent. She's really good. So I'm just really happy to finish that one." WTA story

n2 s2 Victoria Azarenka BLR d n90 Johanna Larsson SWE 7-6(2), 6-2 Tue

Johanna and Vika launching flying forehands

    Johanna served for the 1st set twice, at 5-4 and at 6-5, but Vika broke Johanna both times.

    Victoria said: "[Johanna] played really well. I can't say I was surprised by that, but she really went for her shots today. With these conditions, the ball bounces a lot higher, which suits her. It took me a little bit of time to adapt and find my range and my hitting zone. But she's really a very talented player." WTA story

n3 s3 Maria Sharapova RUS d n48 Bethanie Mattek-Sands USA 6-3, 6-4 Tue

Maria's forehand drive

    Maria missed the most of the 2nd half of last season due to a right shoulder injury.

    Maria said: "I was happy just to play out there today, despite the heat (high: 107°F) or anything. I've been out of the game for a while, so I was just happy to be back in that Grand Slam atmosphere." WTA story

n4 s4 Na Li CHN d n239 q Ana Konjuh CRO 6-2, 6-0 Mon

Na driving a forehand

n5 s5 Agnieszka Radwanska POL d n109 Yulia Putintseva KAZ 6-0, 5-7, 6-2 Tue

Agnieszka volleying a backhand

*n87 Luksika Kumkhum THA d n6 s6 Petra Kvitova CZE 6-2, 1-6, 6-4 Mon

Luksika after match point

    Luksika said: "I'm really excited. I had nothing to lose and I just tried my best. That's it."

    Petra said: "I didn't play well. I didn't play my game... I think Luksika played the crosscourt angles really well."

*n73 Julia Goerges GER d n7 s7 Sara Errani ITA 6-3, 6-2 Mon

Julia ready to slice a backhand

    Julia said: "I played well from beginning to end. This is what I've been working for and hopefully I can stay as consistent as I was today throughout the tournament and throughout the year."

n8 s8 Jelena Jankovic SRB d n88 Misaki Doi JPN 6-1, 6-2 Tue

Jelena driving a forehand

n9 s9 Angelique Kerber GER d n265 wc Jarmila Gajdosova AUS 6-3, 0-6, 6-2 Mon

Angelique's backhand drive

n10 s10 Caroline Wozniacki DEN d n72 Lourdes Dominguez Lino ESP 6-0, 6-2 Tue

Caro driving a forehand

    About the 107°F temps, Caroline said: "The first set I managed to keep my head cool. Every time in the changeovers, ice bags, ice towels, everything - then in the second set I could feel they were starting to heat up even more." WTA story

n11 s11 Simona Halep ROU d n118 q Katarzyna Piter POL 6-0, 6-1 Tue
*n49 Jie Zheng CHN d n12 s12 Roberta Vinci ITA 6-4, 6-3 Mon

Jie after winning a point

n13 s13 Sloane Stephens USA d n80 Yaroslava Shvedova KAZ 7-6(1), 6-3 Tue

Sloane's backhand drive

    Sloane said: "It was a little rusty start. But I didn't panic, which is good. You know, I just kind of got it back together and played some good tennis after that." WTA story

n14 s14 Ana Ivanovic SRB d n94 Kiki Bertens NED 6-4, 6-4 Mon

Ana driving a backhand

n15 s15 Sabine Lisicki GER d n110 Mirjana Lucic-Baroni CRO 6-2, 6-1 Mon

Sabine following a forehand

n16 s16 Carla Suarez Navarro ESP d n71 Vania King USA 6-3, 6-2 Tue
n17 s17 Samantha Stosur AUS d n37 Klara Zakopalova CZE 6-3, 6-4 Mon

Samantha's forehand drive

    Samantha, who lost to Klara in the Hobart semfinals on Friday, trailed 1-4 in the 2nd set. Samantha said: "I knew [Klara] was going to hit some winners and she was going to play some really good points. I also knew if I didn't have a shot and I kind of stayed in there, used my slice—I didn't think she liked too much in Hobart—then I was going to be able to get myself back in the point even if I was down." WTA story

n19 s18 Kirsten Flipkens BEL d n46 Laura Robson GBR 6-3, 6-0 Mon
*n45 Elina Svitolina UKR d n20 s19 Svetlana Kuznetsova RUS 6-2, 6-3 Tue
n21 s20 Dominika Cibulkova SVK d n41 Francesca Schiavone ITA 6-3, 6-4 Tue

Domi's backhand drive

*n50 Marina Erakovic NZL d n22 s21 Sorana Cirstea ROU 6-2, 7-6(6) Tue
n23 s22 Ekaterina Makarova RUS d n38 Venus Williams USA 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 Mon

Kate and Venus driving backhands

    Venus said: "[Ekaterina] played really well, and I think my level was just a little bit too up and down." WTA story

*n55 Alison Riske USA d n24 s23 Elena Vesnina RUS 6-2, 6-2 Mon
*n58 Garbine Muguruza ESP d n25 s24 Kaia Kanepi EST 6-2, 2-6, 6-2 Tue
n26 s25 Alize Cornet FRA d n64 Polona Hercog SLO 1-0 retired Tue
n27 s26 Lucie Safarova CZE d n89 Julia Glushko ISR 7-5, 3-6, 6-1 Mon
n29 s28 Flavia Pennetta ITA d n59 Alexandra Cadantu ROU 6-0, 6-2 Mon

Flavia driving a backhand

n30 s29 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova RUS d n95 Teliana Pereira BRA 7-6(7), 6-4 Tue
n31 s30 Eugenie Bouchard CAN d n431 wc Hao Chen Tang CHN 7-5, 6-1 Mon

Genie watching her serve fly

n32 s31 Daniela Hantuchova SVK d n120 q Heather Watson GBR 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 Mon

Daniela delivering a backhand

n33 s32 Magdalena Rybarikova SVK d n40 Andrea Petkovic GER 6-2, 6-3 Tue
n34 s33 Bojana Jovanovski SRB d n70 Jana Cepelova SVK 6(1)-7, 6-1,, 6-3 Tue

Bojana's backhand drive

n35 Mona Barthel GER d n51 Shuai Zhang CHN 7-6(4), 6-3 Mon

Mona driving a forehand

n36 Madison Keys USA d n84 Patricia Mayr-Achleitner AUT 6-2, 6(8)-7, 9-7 Mon
*n74 Kurumi Nara JPN d n39 Shuai Peng CHN 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 Tue

Kurumi driving a forehand

n42 Karin Knapp ITA d n62 Paula Ormaechea ARG 6-4, 6-2 Tue
n44 Stefanie Voegele SUI d n54 Kristina Mladenovic FRA 7-5, 7-5 Tue

Stefanie ready to slice a backhand

n47 Yvonne Meusburger AUT d n78 Chanelle Scheepers RSA 7-6(3), 6-4 Mon
n52 Varvara Lepchenko USA d n96 Lesia Tsurenko UKR 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 Tue
n53 Annika Beck GER d n108 Petra Martic CRO 6-0, 6-0 Mon
n56 Ayumi Morita JPN d n100 Nadiya Kichenok UKR 6-2, 7-6(5) Tue

Ayumi's 2-handed forehand

n57 Monica Puig PUR d n126 q Anna Tatishvili GEO 6-2, 6-4 Mon
n60 Monica Niculescu ROU d n77 Shahar Peer ISR 6-4, 6-1 Mon
n61 Yanina Wickmayer BEL d n92 Dinah Pfizenmaier GER 7-6(3), 6-3 Mon
n65 Christina McHale USA d n232 sr88 Yung-Jan Chan TPE 7-5, 6-4 Tue

Christina driving a forehand

n66 Galina Voskoboeva KAZ d n129 q Irina-Camelia Begu ROU 7-5, 4-6, 7-5 Tue
n67 Lauren Davis USA d n196 wc Sachia Vickery USA 6-3, 6-3 Mon

Lauren's forehand drive

n68 Karolina Pliskova CZE d n251 wc Pauline Parmentier FRA 6-0, 6-1 Mon
*n186 q Belinda Bencic SUI d n69 Kimiko Date-Krumm JPN 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 Mon
n75 Ajla Tomljanovic CRO d n117 Tadeja Majeric SLO 3-6, 7-6(1), 6-4 Tue
*n160 q Alla Kudryavtseva RUS d n76 Caroline Garcia FRA 6-2, 7-6(7) Mon
*n107 Tsvetana Pironkova BUL d n79 Silvia Soler-Espinosa ESP 6-3, 6-2 Mon

Tsvetana driving a forehand

n82 Anna Schmiedlova SVK d n86 Timea Babos HUN 4-6, 6-4, 7-5 Tue
n83 Barbora Zahlavova Strycova CZE d n85 Su-Wei Hsieh TPE 6-1, 4-6, 6-1 Tue
n91 Olga Govortsova BLR d n190 q Ying-Ying Duan CHN 6-0, 7-6(6) Tue
*n143 q Lucie Hradecka CZE d n93 Donna Vekic CRO 6-3, 6-1 Mon
n97 Camila Giorgi ITA d n234 wc Storm Sanders AUS 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 Tue
n98 Virginie Razzano FRA d n112 Alison Van Uytvanck BEL 7-6(3), 7-6(3) Mon
*n141 LL Irina Falconi USA d n99 Anabel Medina Garrigues ESP 6-3, 6-1 Mon
*n104 Vesna Dolonc SRB d n101 Lara Arruabarrena ESP 2-6, 6-2, 6-4 Mon
*n176 wc Olivia Rogowska AUS d n102 Mariana Duque-Marino COL 6-3, 6-3 Tue
n105 Mandy Minella LUX d n207 q Carina Witthoeft GER 6-1, 6-4 Tue
n125 wc Casey Dellacqua AUS d nNR sr15 Vera Zvonareva RUS 6-2, 6-2 Mon
n163 q Zarina Diyas KAZ d n172 q Katerina Siniakova CZE 6-2, 6-4 Tue

Australian Open, 2nd Rd, Wed-Thu 11am
loser: AUD$50,000, 70 points
Thursday: AO heat rule: play suspended on outer courts til 6pm+... & RAIN DELAY
n1 s1 Serena Williams USA d n104 Vesna Dolonc SRB 6-1, 6-2 Wed

Serena serving

    Serena said: I think [Vesna] plays very solid. I don't think I had ever played her before. It's tough to go in front of an opponent you don't really know. You don't know what to expect, you don't know what to do. My coach kind of knew her game a bit.
    "She was actually a really good player. She hit a lot of deep shots and she was extremely fast. I definitely saw why she proceeded into the second round of the Australian Open."

    The temperature in Melbourne on Wednesday reached 106°F. Serena said: "I was happy just to get that win under my belt and have a chance to go to the next round. I think it was tough conditions out there. I think it keeps getting hotter and hotter. Every day is really hot. So it wasn't the plan, but it just so happened like that, and I'm happy to get through." WTA story

n2 s2 Victoria Azarenka BLR d n83 B Zahlavova Strycova CZE 6-1, 6-4 Thu

Vika driving a forehand

    Barbora made 30 trips to the net during the match. Victoria said: "There was a moment when I think I just dropped my intensity a little bit and was watching [Barbora] a little bit too much. She obviously played amazing defense today, getting a lot of balls back. But I'm glad I could just turn it around in the end and get back to how I was playing in the first set...
    "She's a very tricky player and can do a lot of things. I felt like she was really brave out there. She even came to the net with a second serve. She went for her shots. Sometimes it was surprising, but I realized I just had to be alert on every point because you don't know what's coming." WTA story

n3 s3 Maria Sharapova RUS d n42 Karin Knapp ITA 6-3, 4-6, 10-8 Thu

Maria following a backhand

    With temperatures reaching 107°F., the Australian Open heat rule was invoked during the 3rd set. The rule requires that the roofs be closed over Rod Laver and Hisense Arenas, and play on the outside courts be suspended until temperatures cooled off in the evening.

    Maria and Karin were playing in Rod Laver Arena. But the heat rule states that the current set must be completed before the roof can be closed. So the ladies had to play the entire 3 hour and 28 minute match in the heat.

    Maria said: "There's no way of getting around the fact that the conditions were extremely difficult, and have been like that the last few days. But you're really just trying to get through the match in the best possible way... I thought [Karin] played really great tennis as the match went on." WTA story

n4 s4 Na Li CHN d n186 q Belinda Bencic SUI 6-0, 7-6(5) Wed

Na serving

    Na said: "[Belinda] played very well. I think she gave me a very tough time at the end of the second set. But I was really happy that in the end I could use my experience and win the match." WTA story

n5 s5 Agnieszka Radwanska POL d n91 Olga Govortsova BLR 6-0, 7-5 Thu

Agnieszka's backhand drive

    Agnieszka said: "I started really well today. I think then she tried to play more aggressive in the second set, I stepped backwards and suddenly I was a break down. But I'm just very happy that I could manage to win that second set and finish the match." WTA story

n8 s8 Jelena Jankovic SRB d n56 Ayumi Morita JPN 6-2, 6-0 Thu

Jelena following a backhand

n9 s9 Angelique Kerber GER d n160 q Alla Kudryavtseva RUS 6-4, 6-2 Wed

Angelique driving a forehand

n10 s10 Caroline Wozniacki DEN d n65 Christina McHale USA 6-0, 1-6, 6-2 Thu

Caro driving a backhand

    Caroline said: "I started off really well. I put the pressure on [Christina], took the ball early, and I served really well. The second set I built up quite a few opportunities and possibilities. But I just started missing a little bit more and she started going on a roll.
    "In the third set I just tried to fight for every point and I think my fighting spirit today pulled me through in the end." WTA story

n11 s11 Simona Halep ROU d n52 Varvara Lepchenko USA 4-6, 6-0, 6-1 Thu
n13 s13 Sloane Stephens USA d n75 Ajla Tomljanovic CRO 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 Thu

Sloane reaching for a forehand

    Starting early in the 2nd set, Sloane won 7 consecutive games to lead 3-6, 6-2, 3-0. Then rain stopped play, after which Ajla won the next 5 games. Then Sloane finished the match by winning the last four games.

    Sloane said: "I like to keep it interesting. Obviously I don't like to sleep because I like going home super late. I do my best. Sometimes it's in a roundabout way, but I get there in the end. That's good."

n14 s14 Ana Ivanovic SRB d n53 Annika Beck GER 6-1, 6-2 Wed

Ana following a backhand

    About playing Samantha Stosur in the 3rd round, Ana said: "No secret it's going to be a tough match. I had two tough matches last year against Sam. I lost one, won one. She's a tough player with a very strong game. I have to raise my level." WTA story

*n60 Monica Niculescu ROU d n15 s15 Sabine Lisicki GER 2-6, 6-2, 6-2 Wed

Monica driving a backhand

n16 s16 Carla Suarez Navarro ESP d n66 Galina Voskoboeva KAZ 7-6(2), 3-6, 8-6 Thu
n17 s17 Samantha Stosur AUS d n107 Tsvetana Pironkova BUL 6-2, 6-0 Wed

Samantha after match point

    About playing Ana Ivanovic in the 3rd round, Samantha said: "Last two tournaments last year we played, [Ana] won one, I won one. Couple three-setters in there. I'm looking forward to it. I'm happy to be in the third round. I want to keep going."

*n125 wc Casey Dellacqua AUS d n19 s18 Kirsten Flipkens BEL 6-3, 6-0 Wed

Casey serving

n21 s20 Dominika Cibulkova SVK d n44 Stefanie Voegele SUI 6-0, 6-1 Thu
n23 s22 Ekaterina Makarova RUS d n141 LL Irina Falconi USA 6-0, 7-5 Wed

Ekaterina's backhand drive

n26 s25 Alize Cornet FRA d n97 Camila Giorgi ITA 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 Thu
n27 s26 Lucie Safarova CZE d n143 q Lucie Hradecka CZE 6(4)-7, 6-3, 6-0 Wed

Lucie driving a backhand

n29 s28 Flavia Pennetta ITA d n57 Monica Puig PUR 6-3, 6-4 Wed

Flavia serving

n30 s29 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova RUS d n105 Mandy Minella LUX 6-2, 6-2 Thu
n31 s30 Eugenie Bouchard CAN d n98 Virginie Razzano FRA 6-2, 7-6(10) Wed

Genie following her serve

    About the tiebreaker, Genie said: "I was just in the moment, just trying to go for it. [Virginie] played some really good points on my match points too. It was a little back and forth. I felt overall I didn't play as well as I know I can. But, even if it's a bit ugly, you still have to fight and try your best. Yeah, I'm happy I pulled it through."

n32 s31 Daniela Hantuchova SVK d n68 Karolina Pliskova CZE 6-3, 3-6, 12-10 Wed

Daniela driving a forehand

*n74 Kurumi Nara JPN d n33 s32 Magdalena Rybarikova SVK 6-4, 6-3 Thu

Kurumi serving

*n47 Yvonne Meusburger AUT d n34 s33 Bojana Jovanovski 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 Thu
n35 Mona Barthel GER d n87 Luksika Kumkhum THA 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 Wed
*n49 Jie Zheng CHN d n36 Madison Keys USA 7-6(5), 1-6, 7-5 Wed

Jie's forehand drive

n45 Elina Svitolina UKR d n176 wc Olivia Rogowska AUS 6-4, 7-5 Thu
*n163 q Zarina Diyas KAZ d n50 Marina Erakovic NZL 6-4, 6-0 Thu
n55 Alison Riske USA d n61 Yanina Wickmayer BEL 6-1, 6-1 Wed
n58 Garbine Muguruza ESP d n82 Anna Schmiedlova SVK 6-3, 6-3 Thu
n67 Lauren Davis USA d n73 Julia Goerges GER 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 Wed

Lauren ready to swat a forehand

Australian Open, 3rd Rd, Fri-Sat
loser: AUD$75,000, 130 points
n1 s1 Serena Williams USA d n32 s31 Daniela Hantuchova SVK 6-3, 6-3 Fri

Serena driving a forehand, and Daniela chasing one

    Serena won despite hitting only 11 winners with 18 unforced errors. Serena said: "I wasn't fully on today, so I was just trying to see if I could just go for it and how far out they were going to be. But I feel good to have gotten through that one. The conditions were tough out there." WTA story

n2 s2 Victoria Azarenka BLR d n47 Yvonne Meusburger AUT 6-1, 6-0 Sat

Victoria driving a backhand

    Vika said: "I felt that I was doing what I wanted to do. I think the beginning had quite a few long rallies, but I took advantage of that and raised my level. I'm quite happy with that. It was just a good performance, I think. And that I could maintain that throughout the match, that was important for me." WTA story

n3 s3 Maria Sharapova RUS d n26 s25 Alize Cornet FRA 6-1, 7-6(6) Sat

Maria serving, Alize driving a backhand, Maria following one, and Alize congratulating Maria after match point

    Maria struck 35 winners, with the same number of unforced errors.

    Maria said: "It was quite tough in the end today. [Alize] had a set point and a chance to level the match out. And I probably wouldn't want to go to a third set. So I was happy that I was able to finish it off in two... There are definitely things I'm going to have to improve and do better moving forward, because it's only going to get tougher, but I'm happy I took my chances out there today." WTA story

    About her 4th round opponent, Dominika Cibulkova, Maria said: "[Dominika is] a great retriever of the ball... She plays a lot of top players extremely well... I'll have to be ready. I'm expecting a tough one in the next round."

n4 s4 Na Li CHN d n27 s26 Lucie Safarova CZE 1-6, 7-6(2), 6-3 Fri

Lucie and Na driving backhands

    Na said: "I lost the first set pretty easily, pretty fast, and I was thinking that if I continued like that, I would go home. There was no other choice but to change something very quickly. [Lucie] wasn't giving me much time. So I just tried to play the ball back into the court, run, and see if I got any chances." WTA story

n5 s5 Agnieszka Radwanska POL d n30 s29 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova RUS 5-7, 6-2, 6-2 Sat

Agnieszka's backhand drive

    Aga said: "I was very happy I could come back in the second set. Of course the first set was pretty close. I think I just slowed down a little bit at the end of the first set. But I was thinking that I had to keep playing my game in the second set, and it got a little bit easier from there."

n8 s8 Jelena Jankovic SRB d n74 Kurumi Nara JPN 6-4, 7-5 Sat

Jelena volleying a forehand, Kurumi driving a backhand, and Kurumi congratulating Jelena after match point

n9 s9 Angelique Kerber GER d n55 Alison Riske USA 6-3, 6-4 Fri

Angelique driving a forehand

*n58 Garbine Muguruza ESP d n10 s10 Caroline Wozniacki DEN 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 Sat

Garbine serving, Caroline driving a backhand, Garbine launching a forehand on the run, and after match point

    It was the third career win over a top 10 opponent (and second win against Caro) for Garbine, who missed the second half of last season after ankle surgery.

    Garbine said: "I know Caroline is a great player and a great fighter. I was really prepared for a big fight today. The key was to be strong mentally, especially in the third set, because we were both playing so well. To be strong and to just keep fighting was what made the difference for me...

    "It's a great win... It's amazing to win on center court against a top 10 player like Caro. So I'm really happy now." WTA story

    Caroline said: "I thought [Garbine] played some great tennis. She's definitely a good player. She has beaten good players before. She's on a roll right now. I think we'll be seeing a lot of her in the future, definitely."

n11 s11 Simona Halep ROU d n163 q Zarina Diyas KAZ 6-1, 6-4 Sat

Simona and Zarina driving forehand and backhand

n13 s13 Sloane Stephens USA d n45 Elina Svitolina UKR 7-5, 6-4 Sat

Sloane volleying a forehand

    Sloane said: "I was playing pretty well at the beginning, but it was definitely tricky because the wind was blowing really hard on one side and not really on the other side. It was a little bit rough out there, but after I got my rhythm and found what I wanted to do, it was easier."

n14 s14 Ana Ivanovic SRB d n17 s17 Samantha Stosur AUS 6(8)-7, 6-4, 6-2 Fri

Samantha swatting a forehand, Ana volleying a backhand, and after match point

    Ana said: "I thought it was a great quality match today. I'm just really happy after losing the first set to still stay composed, and play some good tennis and win. It was very exciting match I think for everyone. It was such a high level of tennis from the first moment on. The crowd was really into it. I got into it, too, and I enjoyed it." WTA story

*n21 s20 Dominika Cibulkova SVK d n16 s16 C Suarez Navarro ESP 6-1, 6-0 Sat

Domi after match point

n23 s22 Ekaterina Makarova RUS d n60 Monica Niculescu ROU 6-4, 6-4 Fri

Ekaterina's forehand drive

    It is the fourth consecutive year that Ekaterina has reached the 4th round of the Australian Open. In 2012 and 2013 she reached the quarterfinals (where she lost to Maria Sharapova both times).

n29 s28 Flavia Pennetta ITA d n35 Mona Barthel GER 6-1, 7-5 Fri

Flavia after match point

n31 s30 Eugenie Bouchard CAN d n67 Lauren Davis USA 6-2, 6-2 Fri

Genie after match point

*n125 wc Casey Dellacqua AUS d n49 Jie Zheng CHN 6-2, 6-4 Fri

Jie while being treated for heat illness late in the match, and Casey after match point

Australian Open, 4th Rd, Sun-Mon 11am
loser: AUD$135,000, 240 points
*n14 s14 Ana Ivanovic SRB d n1 s1 Serena Williams USA 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 Sun

Serena and Ana driving forehands, and Ana after match point

    Ana defeated Serena's sister Venus in the Auckland final two weeks ago.

    Ana said: "I kept thinking and going back to that match against Venus. I felt in Auckland Venus was serving a lot faster than Serena today, and that definitely gave me confidence for today's win." WTA story

    Serena was slowed by a back injury which she incurred in practice before her 3rd round win over Daniela Hantuchova.

    Serena said: "I definitely didn't feel myself going into the match today. I made a tremendous amount of errors, shots I missed I normally don't miss, that I haven't missed since the '80s. I'm just not used to missing those shots. She made some great shots, and I just made way, way, a lot of unforced errors... It wasn't the best, but it was all Ana today. I thought she played really well."

n2 s2 Victoria Azarenka BLR d n13 s13 Sloane Stephens USA 6-3, 6-2

Victoria about to swat a forehand, Sloane fielding one, and Vika's backhand drive

    Victoria said: "I'm happy with the way I played. We were very competitive. I know Sloane is a great player, a very tough fighter, and she was holding serve really well. I felt like I had a few chances but she came back strong, so it was important to stay in that zone and try to create another opportunity. I felt I was able to do that." WTA story

    Sloane said: "We had some long rallies and some long games, and I didn't convert on some of my break points or opportunities. It could have gone either way, but I just didn't win some big points."

*n21 s20 Dominika Cibulkova SVK d n3 s3 Maria Sharapova RUS 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 Mon

Dominika driving a backhand, Maria following one, Domi delivering a forehand, and after match point

    The win leveled Domi's record against Maria at 3-3. Sharapova also lost to Cibulkova in the quarterfinals at Roland Garros in 2009.

    Dominika said: "I had beaten [Maria] at a Grand Slam before. I had done it before. She knows me and how I play, but I also knew that she knew it would be a tough match. I was prepared to give 100% on the court today." WTA story

    Maria took a medical time out between the 2nd and 3rd sets, but her right shoulder, which kept her offcourt the second half of last season, is not troubling her.

    Maria gave credit to Dominika. Maria said: "I have a bit of a strain in the hip area, the trainer told me, but those aches and pains are expected when you spend a long time on the court, and you just have to play through it. I haven't been playing the best tennis of this tournament, but I found ways to win the last two matches. I tried to do that again today, but [Dominika] played extremely well."

n4 s4 Na Li CHN d n23 s22 Ekaterina Makarova RUS 6-2, 6-0

Na and Kate driving backhand and forehand, and Na after winning a point

    Na said: "After the tough match two days ago I practiced a lot, because I think I really made my coach Carlos [Rodriguez] sad with that match. I could tell he was really unhappy. Even yesterday I knew if I didn't do something well he would be upset. So I tried a lot yesterday in practice and also in the match today. I think I made him a bit happier today." WTA story

n5 s5 Agnieszka Radwanska POL d n58 Garbine Muguruza ESP 6-1, 6-3 Mon

Agnieszka serving, Garbine driving a forehand, and Aga after match point

    Aga said: "[Garbine] was playing such good tennis from the first point to the last one. Really aggressive. I think as the match went on she started making some more mistakes but I still needed to concentrate 100%. Overall, I'm happy to close a match like that in two sets." WTA story

*n11 s11 Simona Halep ROU d n8 s8 Jelena Jankovic SRB 6-4, 2-6, 6-0

Simona driving a forehand, Jelena delivering one on the run, and JJ congratulating Simona after match point

    The win put Simona into her first Grand Slam quarterfinal.

    Simona said: "[Jelena] played really well in the second set. I was a little bit tired after the first set—my energy was very down—but I was ready to play the third set. I was just telling myself I had nothing to lose. It was my chance to fight for every point and for the match, and for my dream. It was my dream before starting this year to play the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam." WTA story

*n29 s28 Flavia Pennetta ITA d n9 s9 Angelique Kerber GER 6-1, 4-6, 7-5 Sun

Angelique and Flavia launching forehands on the fly, and Flavia telling former WTA #7 Barbara Schett all about it after the match

    Flavia said: "I think the first set was perfect. I was really aggressive. Everything was working pretty good. My serve, my return, everything was perfect.
    "In the second set I was waiting a little bit more and she started to play much better. Of course, it's normal. I had a few chances in the second set and didn't make it.
    "And then in the third it was a little bit up and down for both of us. I served for the match at 5-3 and played really badly, I have to say. But I just tried to keep going and tried to be aggressive, and in the end it was working pretty well." WTA story

n31 s30 Eugenie Bouchard CAN d n125 wc Casey Dellacqua AUS 6(5)-7, 6-2, 6-0 Sun

Genie serving, Casey and Genie driving backhands, and Genie after match point

    Genie said: "I felt the first set was a bit shaky. I feel like I still served well in the first, but I made too many unforced errors and wasn't being aggressive enough. In the second and third sets I really stepped in more and really controlled the points out there. And that worked really well for me." WTA story

    About playing Ana Ivanovic in the quarterfinals, Genie said: "[Ana] beat Serena so she's playing really well. I'm looking forward to a really tough battle. We're in the quarters now; she deserves to be there. No one's going to give it to me now."

Australian Open, QFs, Tue-Wed 11am
loser: AUD$270,000, 430 points
*n5 s5 Agnieszka Radwanska POL d n2 s2 Victoria Azarenka BLR 6-1, 5-7, 6-0 Wed

Agnieszka driving a backhand, Victoria fielding a forehand, and Aga after match point

    Aga struck 23 winners (including 1 ace) with only 15 unforced errors (including 1 double fault). Vika hit 33 winners (no aces), but with 47 errors (5 DFs). match stats

    Agnieszka said: "I really had nothing to lose. [Victoria] was defending the title, not me. I was really trying to play my best tennis, go for every shot I could. I'm just very happy because I really was playing great tennis." postmatch interview

    The win raised Agnieszka's career record against Victoria to 4-12. Vika had defeated Aga in their last 7 meetings, and the last 5 were in straight sets.

    Victoria said: "The first set and the third set, I think there was just too many mistakes and too many easy mistakes on important moments... Of course, [Agnieszka] was passing amazing today and getting to every ball. I just didn't have the focus on finishing the point so accurate. That definitely changed the momentum. She really took advantage of that. It was hard to come back. My game wasn't there today... But she definitely played really well." postmatch interview

n4 s4 Na Li CHN d n29 s28 Flavia Pennetta ITA 6-2, 6-2 Tue

Flavia serving, Na driving a backhand, and Flavia congratulating Na after match point

    Na said: "I knew [Flavia] was a tough opponent because I played her four times. Every time was tough. I don't know what happened today. Maybe I just play so well. Or maybe I try to prepare for the match [better] before I come to the court." postmatch interview

    Flavia said: "I would have liked to play a little bit better today... "It was perfect for [Na]. Since the first ball, I think she played really well today. She's improved her game a lot. She's more consistent with the forehand, and her serve is working really well. She was making no mistakes at all today." WTA story

n21 s20 Dominika Cibulkova SVK d n11 s11 Simona Halep ROU 6-3, 6-0 Wed

Simona serving, Domi launching a forehand on the run, and after match point

    Dominika said: "I'm really glad with the way I played, especially with the way I handled it mentally. It was a big win against Maria [Sharapova in round 4]... I walked on the court with the confident that I can do it again today. I was so focusing what I have to do, to do the right things. That was all what I wanted to do, and of course enjoy my tennis again." postmatch interview

    Simona said: "I couldn't play today. I had emotions, big emotions, and I couldn't manage this. Before the match I was very nervous and I didn't feel the ball at all. I couldn't move my body and I couldn't play. But [Dominika] played really well today, and she hits all the balls very strong and she moves really well." WTA story

*n31 s30 Eugenie Bouchard CAN d n14 s14 Ana Ivanovic SRB 5-7, 7-5, 6-2 Tue

Ana driving a forehand, Genie about to smash one, and after match point

    The win put Genie into her first Grand Slam semifinal—and the first for any Canadian woman since 1984, when Carling Basset-Seguso reached the semis of the US Open.

    Genie said: "I played [Ana] once last year. I feel like she's playing at a much higher level right now. I know she won a tournament earlier this year, and she was playing really well. So I just had to stay with her and try to control the point a little more.
    "Having lost the first set, I just tried to focus on what I had to do during the point to try to win, really try to keep pressing her and moving forward. That's what kept me really calm, and I felt like my game kind of got better as the match went on. I just needed to relax a little bit and keep playing my game." WTA story

    Ana was slowed by injuries, but made no excuses. Ana said: "I was battling with my right leg since the beginning of the tournament. Then the left one came on today. Despite all that, I was still on court. I was doing my best. Today [Genie] was the better player...
    "In the third set she really was strong and played well, played well big points. She was aggressive. She was pushing me back, instead of me stepping in. That's where I sort of felt the match was turning. She's definitely brave. She's young. She has nothing to lose. I think she's a very great player with a bright future." postmatch interview

Australian Open, SFs, Thu 1:30pm+
loser: AUD$540,000, 780 points
n4 s4 Na Li CHN d n31 s30 Eugenie Bouchard CAN 6-2, 6-4

Na and Genie driving backhands, Na volleying a forehand, and after match point

    Na struck 35 winners (including 4 aces) with only 23 unforced errors (including 5 double faults). Genie hit only 10 winners (2 aces), with 14 errors (2 DFs). match stats

    Na said: "Beginning of the match I played very well. Second set was a little bit tight because I was feeling, "one set in target..." Like feeling one foot already in the final. But I think [Genie played] well today... for sure she can be a very good player." postmatch interview

    Genie said: "I think [Na] played really well. You have to give her credit. All of her groundstrokes were like a foot from the baseline and she was very consistent. Even her serves were really solid. I felt like she didn't give me much breathing space, much room to do what I want to do on the court. I tried to put pressure, but she just played too good at moments." postmatch interview

    About playing Dominika Cibulkova in the final, Na said: "I think [Dominika] has pretty fast legs on the court. Also she is a hitter. We play pretty similarly. So, tough match. Another challenge."

n21 s20 Dominika Cibulkova SVK d n5 s5 Agnieszka Radwanska POL 6-1, 6-2

Dominika serving, Aga following a backhand, Domi driving a forehand, and after match point

    Domi struck 21 winners (no aces) with 20 unforced errors (including 2 double faults) while scoring on 6 of the 9 break points she reached against Aga and totaling 63 points. Agnieszka hit only 12 winners (2 aces), with 24 errors (2 DFs), while converting only 1 of her 9 break points against Domi and totaling 40 points. match stats

    Dominika said: "Since the first point till the last point of the match I was just trying to do the right things... Of course it was not easy when I was up in the second set. The thought started to come that I could win, the result and everything. I have to say, I was 100% ready for it and I was just doing what I had to do. That's why I won. It wasn't easy, because against [Agnieszka] you have to earn every point, you have to do the right thing, and that's what I did." postmatch interview

    Agnieszka said: "I feel like [I was] in slow motion today. I had a couple tough matches, especially yesterday. I think I was not fresh enough... I think [Dominika] is having one of the best tournaments that she's played in her career. Well, good for her." postmatch interview

    About playing Li Na in the final, Dominika said: "It's going to be final of the Grand Slam, so it's going to be a pretty big match. In the end of the Grand Slam, everything counts. So I think it's going to be fight for every ball. It's going to be my first final, so I will just try to enjoy it. I'm really looking forward for the match."

Australian Open, Final, Sat cRL 7:30pm
loser: AUD$1,325,000, 1300 points
winner: AUD$2,650,000, 2000 pts
n4 s4 Na Li CHN d n21 s20 Dominika Cibulkova SVK 7-6(3), 6-0 Sat

Dominika serving, Na driving a backhand, Domi reaching for a forehand, Na delivering another backhand,
Na serving, Domi following a forehand, Na launching another backhand, and after match point

Australian Open, Doubles Final, Friday cRL 4pm
losers' prize: AUD$260,000
winners' prize: AUD$520,000
s1 Sara Errani & Roberta Vinci d s3 Elena Vesnina & Ekaterina Makarova 6-4, 3-6, 7-5

Australian Open, Mixed Doubles Final, Sun cRL 4pm
losers: AUD$67,500; winners: AUD$135,500
Kristina Mladenovic FRA & Daniel Nestor CAN d s6 Sania Mirza IND & Horia Tecau ROU 6-3, 6-2

Australian Open, Junior Girls Final, Sat
s4 Elizaveta Kulichkova RUS d Jana Fett CRO 6-2, 6-1

Australian Open, Junior Girls' Doubles Final, Fri
s1 Anhelina Kalinina UKR & Elizaveta Kulichkova RUS d s2 Katie Boulter GBR & Ivana Jorovic SRB 6-4, 6-2

Australian Open, Qualifying Finals, Sat Jan 11 12:30pm
qualifier gets 40 points;   losers' prizes:    q1 AUD$3,600 2pts     q2 AUD$7,200 20pts     q3 AUD$14,400 30pts
n118 Katarzyna Piter POL d n128 Claire Feuerstein FRA 4-6, 6-2, 6-3
n120 Heather Watson GBR d n141 Irina Falconi USA 6-4, 7-6(1)
n190 Ying-Ying Duan CHN d n123 Vera Dushevina RUS 3-6, 6-4, 6-4
n126 Anna Tatishvili GEO d n184 Risa Ozaki JPN 6(4)-7, 7-5, 6-2
n129 Irina-Camelia Begu ROU d n147 Madison Brengle USA 6-3, 5-7, 6-1
*n186 Belinda Bencic SUI d n134 Marta Sirotkina RUS 6-2, 6-4
n143 Lucie Hradecka CZE d n209 Renata Voracova CZE 6-4, 7-6(5)
*n207 Carina Witthoeft GER d n158 Alize Lim FRA 1-6, 6-4, 6-3
n160 Alla Kudryavtseva RUS d n169 Danka Kovinic MNE 7-6(4), 6-1
n163 Zarina Diyas KAZ d n213 Stephanie Dubois CAN 7-5, 6-3
*n172 Katerina Siniakova CZE d n165 Victoria Duval USA 6-2, 6-3
*n239 Ana Konjuh CRO d n187 Olga Savchuk UKR 6-0, 6-3

Australian Open, Withdrawals, Non-entries
n18 Maria Kirilenko RUS knee injury
n43 Urszula Radwanska POL
n63 Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor ESP
n81 Romina Oprandi SUI
n103 Nadia Petrova RUS mother passed away
nNRsr67 Iveta (Benesova) Melzer CZE

The 64 doubles teams, arranged in drawsheet order; teams in red have been eliminated:
s1 Sara Errani ITA & Roberta Vinci ITA
Mona Barthel GER & Megan Moulton-Levy USA r1
Sally Peers AUS & Viktorija Rajicic AUS r1
Kaia Kanepi EST & Renata Voracova CZE r2
Monique Adamczak AUS & Olivia Rogowska AUS r3
Darija Jurak CRO & Andreja Klepac SLO r1
Naiktha Bains AUS & Olivia Tjandramulia AUS r1
s14 Julia Goerges GER & B.Zahlavova Strycova CZE r2
s11 Anna-Lena Groenefeld GER & Mirjana Lucic-Baroni CRO r2
Azra Hadzic AUS & Jessica Moore AUS r1
Eugenie Bouchard CAN & Vera Dushevina RUS r3
Valeria Solovyeva RUS & Elina Svitolina UKR r1
Monica Niculescu ROU & Klara Zakopalova CZE r2
Irina-Camelia Begu ROU & Sorana Cirstea ROU r1
Tammi Patterson AUS & Arina Rodionova AUS r1
s6 Cara Black ZIM & Sania Mirza IND QF
s4 Kveta Peschke CZE & Katarina Srebotnik SLO SF
Alexandra Cadantu ROU & Simona Halep ROU r1
Olga Govortsova BLR & Christina McHale USA r1
Katarzyna Piter POL & Alicja Rosolska POL r2
Shuko Aoyama JPN & Misaki Doi JPN r1
Varvara Lepchenko USA & Raluca Olaru ROU r2
Tamarine Tanasugarn THA & Saisai Zheng CHN r1
s13 Hao-Ching Chan TPE & Liezel Huber USA r3
s9 Alla Kudryavtseva RUS & Anastasia Rodionova AUS r1
Jarmila Gajdosova AUS & Ajla Tomljanovic CRO QF
Olga Savchuk UKR & Lesia Tsurenko UKR r1
Annika Beck GER & Andrea Petkovic GER r2
Dominika Cibulkova SVK & Yanina Wickmayer BEL r1
Timea Babos HUN & Petra Martic CRO r3
Alexandra Panova RUS & Karolina Pliskova CZE r1
s5 Ashleigh Barty AUS & Casey Dellacqua AUS r2
s7 Andrea Hlavackova CZE & Lucie Safarova CZE QF
Kimiko Date-Krumm JPN & Shuai Zhang CHN r1
Bojana Jovanovski SRB & Donna Vekic CRO r1
A.Medina Garrigues ESP & Yaroslava Shvedova KAZ r2
Xinyun Han CHN & Miki Miyamura JPN r1
Madison Keys USA & Alison Riske USA r3
Aleksandrina Naydenova BUL & Teliana Pereira BRA r1
s12 Kristina Mladenovic FRA & Flavia Pennetta ITA r2
s15 Daniela Hantuchova SVK & Lisa Raymond USA r3
Mandy Minella LUX & Chanelle Scheepers RSA r1
Jelena Dokic AUS & Storm Sanders AUS r1
Magdalena Rybarikova SVK & Stefanie Voegele SUI r2
Jelena Jankovic SRB & Karin Knapp ITA r2
A.Pavlyuchenkova RUS & Vera Zvonareva RUS r1
Lauren Davis USA & Lourdes Dominguez Lino ESP r1
s3 Ekaterina Makarova RUS & Elena Vesnina RUS F
s8 Raquel Kops-Jones USA & Abigail Spears USA SF
Chia-Jung Chuang TPE & Liga Dekmeijere LAT r1
Garbine Muguruza ESP & Arantxa Parra Santonja ESP r2
Sharon Fichman CAN & Monica Puig PUR r1
Svetlana Kuznetsova RUS & Samantha Stosur AUS r2
Irina Buryachok UKR & Oksana Kalashnikova GEO r1
Alize Cornet FRA & Caroline Garcia FRA r3
s10 Marina Erakovic NZL & Jie Zheng CHN r1
s16 Vania King USA & Galina Voskoboeva KAZ r2
Sandra Klemenschits AUT & Yvonne Meusburger AUT r1
Kiki Bertens NED & Kirsten Flipkens BEL r1
Lucie Hradecka CZE & Michaella Krajicek NED r3
Yung-Jan Chan TPE & Janette Husarova SVK r1
Shahar Peer ISR & Silvia Soler-Espinosa ESP QF
Eva Hrdinova CZE & Paula Ormaechea ARG r1
s2 Su-Wei Hsieh TPE & Shuai Peng CHN r2
doubles withdrawals: Venus Williams USA & Serena Williams USA, Francesca Schiavone ITA & Carla Suarez Navarro ESP

    (May 30, 2007) The Rebound Ace courts used since 1988 for the Australian Open and the events leading up to it will be replaced, beginning in 2008, by a less cushioned surface created by the US company Plexipave, called Plexicushion, which will be installed by Aussie company William Loud. WTA story

from Hard Courts by John Feinstein (pages 47-50):

    Because of the travel involved, the Australian had always been number four on the Grand Slam ladder. But it had been a solid number four. In 1974 Jimmy Connors won his first Grand Slam Title there. That same year, Evonne Goolagong beat Chris Evert in the women's final. A year later, the finals were Newcombe over Connors, and Goolagong over Martina Navratilova.
    But it was getting tougher and tougher to get the players to make the trip to Australia around the Christmas holidays, which was when the tournament was held. Guarantees were beginning to push player income so high that the top players saw no reason to make the trip. Bjorn Borg never played the Australian after 1974. Connors hasn't been back since 1975. Evert didn't go for six straight years after her loss to Goolagong, and Navratilova skipped four years after her loss to Goolagong.
    The tournament deteriorated quickly. Kooyong, the venerable Melbourne tennis club where the tournament was held, was a badly outdated facility. It was overcrowded and the grass was not in good shape. In fact, many players complained that on one side of center court you were actually running uphill to get to the net.
    In 1978 Chris O'Neil beat Betsy Nagelsen in the women's final. The next year Barbara Jordan beat Sharon Walsh. None of these four players ever came close to a Grand Slam final again...

    Philippe Chatrier, the ITF president, was extremely concerned about what he saw in Australia. He had fallen in love with the country on his first trip there as a young sportswriter in 1956. Chatrier knew that the Australian had become a Grand Slam in name only. Brian Tobin, the president of Tennis Australia, knew that, too.

    ...The women had upgraded their half of the tournament in the early eighties by splitting from the men. Chatrier and Tobin together convinced the Men's Tennis Council [the MTC, which controlled men's pro tennis before the ATP] to move the tournament to the last week in November. That helped a little. Then came the matter of talking the women into going back to the old two-week format.
    "The women weren't too keen on that," Tobin said. "By 1980 the top women like Chrissie and Martina were coming here again and they were doing quite well on their own. But we knew to be a true Grand Slam again, we had to be a two-week tournament."
    There were still major problems. Not only was Kooyong an awful facility for a major championship, it was costing Tennis Australia $1 million a year to rent. A new facility was desperately needed, but that would cost, according to estimates, $40 million. Tennis Australia just didn't have that kind of money.

    ...Sitting at his desk one morning, Tobin saw a small story in the paper, which noted that the government of Victoria--the state in which Melbourne is located--was looking for a site to build a new entertainment center. Tobin called John Cain, the premier of Victoria, and asked for a meeting. Perhaps there was some way for the government and Tennis Australia to build a facility together.
    Cain was interested but there was an obvious problem. Grand Slam tennis tournaments were played outdoors; most entertainment events were staged indoors. It was Cain who came up with the solution. "Why not build it with a roof that opens?" he suggested.
    The rest, as they say, is history.
    The land chosen to build the National Tennis Center was Flinders Park... only five minutes from the heart of Melbourne... ground was broken early in 1986. (The projected cost... was about $70 million. Before it was done, the cost was more than $100 million.)

    ...They studied the other three Grand Slam facilities to try to figure out how to build the best possible venue... "We studied the U.S. Open site in order to see what not to do," Tobin said, laughing. They also proposed another date change to the MTC, asking that the tournament be moved to mid-January...

    The MTC approved the calendar change. The last Australian Open at Kooyong was played in January 1987, and when the tennis world arrived in Melbourne the following January, it was clear that the Australian had arrived as a Grand Slam. The stadium seated fifteen thousand, with excellent sight lines everywhere. Most of the seats were in the shade, which helped even on the days when the heat was most unbearable. The women's final that year was completed with the roof closed, when it started to rain after the match had begun. The locker rooms were the roomiest in the world. The walkways were wide, and there were two ministadiums that served as courts 1 and 2. Chatrier called it "the tennis stadium of the twenty-first century."
    With the new dates, everyone came to play. Steffi Graf started her Grand Slam by beating Chris Evert in the women's final... In 1990, Channel 7 would be on the air for about 120 hours during the two-week tournament.
    Most of the country would be watching most of the time.

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