As the action reaches Day 11 at the Australian open, we are left with the crème de la crème of tennis fighting out for the trophy.
The Australian Open is on the top of the wish list for Ash Barty. She wants to win the grand slam for her home fans and make Australia proud. The last time an Australian woman won down under was in 1978. Barty was up against Sofia Kenin from USA. The first set was intense as both players held serve to take it to the tiebreaker. Barty had two set points at 6-4 but could not convert and Kenin grabbed the advantage and won the first set. The world number one started the second set aggressively and raced to. 3-1 lead but she could not serve out the set at 5-4 and let Kenin grab the initiative again. The American won 3 consecutive games to win the match and stormed into her first grand slam final.
The other semifinal pitted Simona Halep against Garbine Muguruza. On the hottest day of the tournament, both players entertained the capacity crowd with some breathtaking tennis in the first set. Halep, like Barty, had couple of set points in the tiebreak but could not convert and handed the advantage to the Spaniard. Both players looked exhausted at the start of the second set. Halep looked to be playing slightly better than Muguruza given the conditions but again squandered two set points. Muguruza was able to close out the match with a couple of service breaks. So the finale everyone was anticipating will not happen this year but given the performances from Kenin and Muguruza, we can expect a cracker of a final.
Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic had completely different paths to the semi finals. While Federer laboured through his matches against Millman and Sandgren, Djokovic was gliding through his side of the draw. The Serb looked in great touch and it was no easy task for anyone to beat him. The big question of the day was “Does Federer have enough in the tank to go the distance agains the super fit and relaxed Djokovic?” Quashing all the doubts, Federer cane charging out of the blocks, breaking Djokovic twice to take a 4-1 lead and had 3 more chances to go 5-1 up. That’s when the match turned. Djokovic started wearing down Federer with his trademark groundstrokes and it was clearly visible that Federer wanted to end the rallies faster. The Swiss could not muster the first serve when he needed it the most and once the first set reached the tiebreaker, there was no question who was going to win it. The second set started in the same fashion and Federer, struggling with his serve through out, got broken at 4-5 and lost the set. Federer tried his best to put on a fight in the 3rd but it was just a monumental task. Djokovic got the decisive break and made it to his 8th Australian Open final. He later acknowledged Federer for his commitment to play through injury.