MELBOURNE, Feb 10 (Reuters) – Australia paceman Josh Hazlewood has played down India’s 106-run drubbing in a World Cup warm-up against the co-hosts on Sunday, saying it was a matter of time before the champions clicked.
Australia dominated India in batting, bowling and fielding in the Adelaide match to bolster their status as favourites to win the global showpiece which starts on Saturday.
MELBOURNE (Reuters) – With strong hosts expected to challenge, a highly-fancied South Africa facing their demons and a sprawling format certain to generate criticism, the cricket World Cup’s return to Australia and New Zealand is a case of deja vu in many ways.
Since the trans-Tasman neighbours first co-hosted in 1992, the one-day game’s global showpiece has morphed into a commercial behemoth and a television event followed by millions around the world.
MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Andy Murray blamed Novak Djokovic’s “cramping” in their Australian Open final on Sunday for throwing him off his game but that could hardly explain the meltdown that saw the Scot lose 12 of the last 13 games.
After levelling at one-set apiece, Murray led 2-0 in the third but collapsed to lose the match 7-6(5) 6-7(4) 6-3 6-0 under the lights of Rod Laver Arena, his fourth defeat in Australian Open finals and third to Djokovic.
MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Novak Djokovic was one set away from his fifth Australian Open title after taking a 7-6(5) 6-7(4) 6-3 lead against Andy Murray on Sunday.
Sixth seed Murray crumbled in the eighth game of the third set, handing Djokovic three break points and then double-faulting to give the Serb a 5-3 lead.
MELBOURNE (Reuters) – A sickly Serena Williams gave Maria Sharapova another serving of grand slam heartbreak on Saturday to win the Australian Open and bolster her claims to be the all-time greatest player with her 19th major title.
Though wheezing, coughing and forced off court to be sick during a rain-break, Williams’s serve stayed in the rudest of health and her athleticism astonished in a nerve-shredding 6-3 7-6(5) victory under the lights of Rod Laver Arena.
MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Maria Sharapova’s dreams of a sixth grand slam title were ended by Serena Williams and her wrecking ball serve in the Australian Open final on Saturday, but the Russian was adamant she would some day have the American’s measure.
Though gallant in defeat, her 6-3 7-6(5) loss under the lights of Rod Laver Arena was her 16th in succession to the American great, a decade-long record of pain and frustration.
MELBOURNE (Reuters) – A solemn Novak Djokovic will look for positives from his previous clashes at Melbourne Park after playing arguably his worst match of the tournament in edging a mentally “dead” Stan Wawrinka in five sets on Friday.
The top-seeded Serb blew hot and cold in the 7-6(1) 3-6 6-4 4-6 6-0 semi-final victory, squandering a winning position in the fourth set and being fortunate that the defending champion was also out-of-sorts on a cool and breezy night at Rod Laver Arena.
MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Top seed Novak Djokovic ended Stan Wawrinka’s title defence on Friday with another five-set clash to book a third final showdown with Andy Murray at the Australian Open.
Though not quite the level of their thrilling marathons at the last two tournaments, the grinding 7-6(1) 3-6 6-4 4-6 6-0 win under the lights of Rod Laver Arena was riven by tension until the final one-sided set.
MELBOURNE (Reuters) – One of the few players with the game to trouble Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova’s decade-long losing streak to the American great is one of the more curious anomalies in women’s tennis.
Sharapova was a 17-year-old sensation when she last beat Williams at the title-decider of her debut at the season-ending Tour Finals in 2004.
MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Tomas Berdych blamed “one bad set” for his defeat by Andy Murray at the Australian Open on Thursday when his dreams of a maiden grand slam title were again crushed at the semi-final stage.
The Czech seventh seed played some brilliant tennis to edge Murray in a marathon first set but was on the back foot thereafter to lose 6-7 (6) 6-0 6-3 7-5 on a chilly night at Rod Laver Arena.