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Alex De Minaur’s breakthrough run on clay at the 2024 Roland Garros has come to an end this morning after he was defeated by World No.5 German Alexander Zverev in straight sets (6-4, 7-6 with 7-5 tie & 6-4). 

This was De Minaur’s 2nd grand slam quarter-finals appearance since the 2020 US Open with Zverev now off to another major semi-final on tomorrow v Casper Ruud from Norway, who got the walk over berth by default following Novak Djokovic’s withdrawal due to a knee injury.

Despite the knockout last 8 elimination, this is the best De Minaur has produced on-court having got away with an easy start in the first two rounds followed by some really good fightbacks that led to some terrific upsets along the way including Jan Lennard-Struff and Daniil Medvedev – even though he was a set down from the beginning. We saw some of his terrific class when he was so close earlier on and also during the 2nd set in a bid to turn things around but unfortunately just not quiet enough as we hoped for where he was out & done after the 3rd set.

Let’s hope he can keep on going on top of his Roland Garros breakthrough by being in the second week all the time that could hopefully see him challenge in the semis and even the singles finals sooner rather than later. It would mean a lot to the tennis world and the Aussie sporting fans once he comes back at Melbourne Park for the next Australian Open edition in January.

Looking at Zverev, he’s the one that holds the cards who knows a lot about this surface more than De Minaur. He worked his way really well one at a time before the German was able to speed his way towards the finish line with little to no strings attached. We all know how good he is having played in a bunch of knockout grand slam matches before including the last three Roland Garros editions. But he’s never won a Final before as Zverev only made it once back in 2020 at the US Open where he lost to the now retired Austrian Dominic Thiem in a long five-set contest.

With Djokovic now out due to injury, is he really the next man to be known as The King of Clay? Time will tell soon enough. We also don’t forget that he was the defending Olympic Tennis gold medalist too during the COVID-postponed Tokyo 2020 Summer Games three years ago.

Now the women’s singles semi-finals will take place later tonight and into the early hours of Friday morning at midnight and the same will follow with the men’s singles semi-finals on Friday night and early Saturday morning. It all takes place at the one & only Court Phillipe Chatrier arena.

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As we all know that Nine and also its subsidiary paid streaming partner Stan Sport is currently your home of Grand Slam Tennis in Australia showing all four tournaments throughout the year. Don’t get me wrong, the coverage has always been great when they first decided to switch over from cricket back in late 2018 that worked really well as they will continue to get better in the years ahead after successfully renewing the Australian Open rights for another five years until 2029.

But what viewers noticed that some days when most of the Roland Garros were held up by wet weather & even so when the whole day’s play went back to normal, it seems the free-to-air telecasts have unexpectedly finished a few hours early rather than approx. 4.30am as originally scheduled. Although they would be happy to stick around a bit longer now, especially when something interesting happens where one will go on until the match is over but then they would rather leave right away to return to normal programming. We also didn’t know that Brett Phillips was there after all during some of the overnight action last week but not very often before the bad weather changed everything despite not being named on Nine’s press releases.

Given the lack of interest amongst Aussie sports and tennis fans here when most of the world’s top stars regularly do so well other than Alex De Minaur, it seems they would go with covering just 1-2 early matches including the knockout singles ties except the all-important Finals for the whole length rather than showing all of them going into the early morning hours like they did in the last few years. I guess when the US Open comes around later this year even without Brett is that maybe they should show some early matches only involving an Aussie live and then have all the night sessions ready during the morning with their own broadcast team rather than miss the early sessions altogether if that’s the way to keep airing this from here.

It would’ve also been better if they put some on 9Go for the overnight action and just take the whole world feed’s coverage when it comes to the early round matches & then do the same for 9Gem during the later knockout ties. Last year’s Davis Cup Finals isn’t the first time we saw without the network’s own broadcast commentary by relaying the world feed. But unfortunately, that won’t work that much either & that’s probably where they’re going given Nine isn’t throwing away all the other grand slams anytime soon thanks to Stan Sport, who continues to showcase all of the grand slams uninterrupted and also ad-free with a whole lot of on-demand viewing like replays, etc. so at least they can get most of the money back.

We all love watching the Australian Open every year with Wimbledon being another big sporting event going into next month since it’s been popular amongst the free-to-air flavour for so long. But what about Roland Garros and US Open? Not so much during a very different time of the year that isn’t January when most other people are busy watching Footy at the same time.

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It’s been a while but grand slam tennis is back for the 2nd tourney out of 4 this year at the Roland Garros in Paris, France, that is going to take over 15 days beginning this Sunday. So a bit similar to what we’ve had back in January for the Australian Open at Melbourne Park in order to give more time for the matches to finish early after a few overnight 5-setters last year.

There will be 1-2 changes coming at Nine where they will only have four people onboard of former doubles champion and Tipping Point Australia host Todd Woodbridge (Host & Co-Commentator), former World No.4 Jelena Dokic, ex-player and 2011 US Open champion Sam Stosur & versatile sports announcer who does some NRL for the network Brenton Speed. 

Looks like there will be no Roz Kelly since she will be focusing on the Olympics come July and also wants to be a bit more flexible other than presenting the Friday-Saturday Sydney sports news and the newly rebranded Wide World of Sports Sunday show & no Brett Phillips either for the overnight/early morning host shift. It seems they will relay the world feed coverage for the 2nd half day’s action instead of having Phillips staying up except the both singles finals (Nine will continue to have it on its own), having seen it all along at the 2023 Davis Cup Finals week in Spain where Australia fell short once again to Italy.

And on Stan Sport (subscription required to stream for $25 a month), their whole lots of content including on-demand replays & mini match highlights will continue to come straight from the world feed. They will also continue to run their own daily review show in the mornings from Nine’s Sydney studios with Host Chris Stubbs (who continues to do freelance despite Stan losing the SpeedSeries rights back to Seven) and ex-Tennis player Wally Masur. So that’s that over the next 15 days across Nine and Stan as all eyes on 11th ranked Alex De Minaur and maybe Jordan Thompson (currently World No.37) to hopefully make a breakthrough & have an extended crack in the last eight like Ash Barty did back in 2019 on the courts of clay.

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It’s been an excellent two days from the Australian Billie Jean King Cup team who were too good for Mexico in Brisbane as they became the first team to lock into November’s 12-team Playoff finals that will take place in Seville, Spain. We thought Mexico had the upper hand in the opening singles tie thanks to a great opening set spell by Giuliana Olmos before Arina Rodionova turned herself around with a 1-1 all lead going into the decider before she quickly completed an amazing comeback that lasted just over the two hour mark 3-6, 6-3 and 6-1. Then Daria Saville finished off Friday quicksmart in under an an hour against Marcela Zacarias 6-1, 6-1 where the Aussies only need one more tie to wrap up this five-tie contest.

Come Saturday today, enter 18-year-old Taylah Preston from Perth into the fray against Zacarias once again thanks to team captain Sam Stosur. Although it’s heartbreaking to hear the opponent having to suffer an injury as hope this isn’t too series, but Preston has stood out really well also in straight sets (6-1, 6-1). With that being said, there was no need for another singles tie since Australia already won this qualifier so a finals doubles tie was brought forward as Saville played once again alongside Ellen Perez v Maria Navarro and Jessica Hinjosa Gomez. Great to see Mexico add some spice earlier on but this was a match Australia wanted to make the most out of as if they’re playing in the Finals week today with another straight sets win 6-3, 6-1.

The only blow we’ve learnt from this two-day qualifier that Storm Hunter hurt her achilles earlier this week and unfortunately she won’t be playing at the Paris Olympics later this year. She’s so good in the doubles with Matt Ebden earlier this year in the United Cup while going as far as the 3rd round at the Australian Open including a fairytale 2nd round United Cup semi-final revenge win v Laura Siegemund before she was run down from 1-0 up by Barbora Krejcikova from Czech Republic. For Saville, she still has a long way to go having now been the best ranked Australian women’s singles player recently as a great run on clay at Roland Garros next month or a Wimbledon breakthrough will back up her goal of returning Top 20. And lastly, here’s hoping we have our next grand slam star in Taylah Preston after the now-retired Ash Barty who attended the game inside the hospitality box with her baby son and former player Casey Dellacqua. She had a brilliant game as said against the experienced Zacarias, having known a bit more about Mexico well after she made it all the way to the Final two months ago in the Mexican WTA 125 tournament before she fell short to USA’s McCartney Kessler despite holding a close opening set lead. Look out for her in the years ahead who has amazing potential to win lots of trophies including grand slams. For now, Roll out the next grand slam on the Tennis calendar come late next month to early June for the Roland Garros (French Open) in Paris, France.

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How good was that men’s singles final to wrap up a long 15 days of the 2024 Australian Open at Melbourne Park when we thought Daniil Medvedev (Russia) was just one set away in his 3rd attempt here after a great start with the 2-0 lead v Jannik Sinner (Italy). However, Sinner won back to deny him not just a straight sets attempt but he also brought himself up into a 5th set decider at 2-2 all before the Italian quickly nailed down the seasoned grand slam finalist that secured him his first grand slam trophy towards the end in his first grand slam final. The final score lasted nearly four hours at 3-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-4 & 6-3.

Commiserations to Medvedev with the loss yet again who had a brilliant early form to get himself ahead of the match & he thought this would be breakthrough at last to take home his 2nd grand slam trophy since the 2021 US Open as Novak Djokovic cannot defend his title after his unexpected semis loss the other day v Sinner. Despite some close executions to try and shut down Sinner in his tracks whilst leading, he unfortunately lost his way that led to the 4th and 5th sets being activated including the top spot before Medvedev eventually ran out of huff and puff where he had to settle 2nd best in the end to a young and energetic elite challenger right there in Sinner. He will be 28 soon next month but the Russian will need to move on now and improve his other grand slam records at the Roland Garros and Wimbledon later this year which isn’t the same and hopefully that would help him come back & go one better for the fourth possible finals attempt next time in 2025.

Meanwhile, Sinner is having the best form of his life after he came off a semi-final breakthrough at Wimbledon last year while he played a key role with Italy’s Davis Cup win a few months later as the team trophy wouldn’t have happened without his outstanding tennis IQ and physicality that would’ve gone to Serbia or Australia. Now he might have struggled earlier on despite a great start but his long-form game began to click in the third set at 0-2 and he too has got the set or two back from Medvedev, who was never close to Championship Point himself at all, before he overtook the Russian for the lead the first time & Sinner has unleashed so fast he too didn’t hesitate so much to pull off such an unbelievable comeback from behind to now standing on top of Melbourne Park with the Norman Brookes Memorial Cup. It’s his moment tonight and he too deserves that breakthrough as what’s next for him now? He will look to win more grand slams from here by leading the line in Tennis’s next generation of grand slam superstars ahead of Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz just like the 2020s Roger Federer v Rafa Nadal.

The 2024 Australian Open Tennis tournament is now over where we had an awesome 15 days rather than 14 days as well as long spell showdowns, some upset moments that changed the course of the draw and a few first time finalists that includes one first time winner now in the men’s draw named Jannik Sinner. And shout out to some of the Aussies who did so well on home soil such as Alex De Minaur (men’s singles 4th round), Storm Hunter (women’s singles 3rd round) and Matt Ebden (men’s doubles title win last night with Rohan Bopanna). There is plenty of Tennis to look forward throughout the year with the next grand slam of 2024 coming up at the Roland Garros in Paris, France that will begin on Sunday 26th May-9th June.

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The 2024 Australian Open Women’s singles final is now done and dusted with one more match to go for tonight’s men’s singles final before the 15-day competition is over between Jannik Sinner v Daniil Medvedev as Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka is your champion once again after she got the job done without having to drop a set against Qinwen Zheng with the win at Rod Laver Arena. Sabalenka had an amazing performance all around & commiserations to Zheng who gained a little here & there as of late but then the standard was just too much for her to catch up in the end. The final score was 3-6 & 2-6 being done in almost 90 minutes of play. This is Sabalenka’s 2nd straight Australian Open trophy & although she will still be World No.2 behind Iga Swiatek, the search is now on to win the other majors after falling short at the 2023 US Open to Coco Gauff (USA).

First of all, Zheng finally got the ball rolling from behind where she did her best to hold back Sabalenka following a poor start of the match. If she did give herself some time with the early headstart, then she would be in a fair shot to try and bring home another Australian Open trophy for China since Li Na last did that just 10 years ago. But she still could not exploit all of Sabalenka’s weaknesses where Zheng fell way behind as the game does on despite denying her a few Championship points when Zheng unfortunately did not have the chance to bridge her best 2nd half form & finish things off her way in defeat. She had a great last few months of Tennis as Zheng is age 22 with loads of potential to fulfill at World No.7 in the singles rankings.

Meanwhile, it’s been another amazing win from the Belarusian who is now a 2 x Australian Open women’s singles champion this time without having to lose a set and also without too much fuss v Zheng unlike Elina Rybakina last year. She was so quick to get off the mark which was huge so she can take her time to bridge the other half form while Zheng showed a bit of fightback here & there, but Sabalenka didn’t need to throw her game away and that is exactly she has done to bring home another grand slam major with the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup to her silverware cabinet. As said, the game is on for Sabalenka to win both another grand slam title or two or even three where she always fell short other than some usual good performances from the 1st round to the knockout stages as well as being the World No.1 singles player again off Swiatek.

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Yesterday’s Australian Open men’s singles semi-final day was huge where one of the best and legendary grand slam champs was out of the main event by surprise by a rising star, while a seasoned finalist will hopefully get his hands on another grand slam title v a first time challenger for Norman Brookes Challenge Cup come tomorrow night at Rod Laver Arena. But for now, the women’s final will be decided tonight between Aryna Sabalenka (Belarus) v Qinwen Zheng (China).

Jannik Sinner stunned Novak Djokovic from the beginning where he was too good with an easy 2-1 lead. Although the Serbian might have got one back at the tiebreak, but then it proved to be such a tall order to crawl back when Sinner at last has dethroned the veteran in the end with the win. Novak has been an top player as always but yesterday wasn’t his day when he wasn’t equipped to handle Sinner mightily on-court that cost him big time before he was finally caught up as he won’t be able to defend his crown and will have to wait until 2025 to get it back. On the other hand, Sinner has been simply outstanding where he will now be on course to hopefully win his first grand slam title at age 22. He was so quick to get off the mark before he took his time to expose the long-form skillsets of Djokovic, having been denied a straight sets route but eventually got away towards the finish line at last in the fourth set. He made it to the Wimbledon semi-final last year as well as winning the Davis Cup for Italy, what’s next? The Australian Open Final. Let’s see if he can go all the way tomorrow night.

Meanwhile, 2 x AO semi finalist Alexander Zverev also fired off really well with a 2-0 lead v Daniil Medvedev. However, Medvedev turned himself around in the toughest of the challenges where he won back-to-back tiebreaker sets before he completed an incredible turnaround at the 5th & final set decider for the win after 4 hours & 18 minutes. Zverev thought he had it at one stage but lost his way against a resurgent Medvedev during the second half there. He’s had an amazing summer here that began with the United Cup win including a mighty doubles effort straight after playing singles for the best of his country (Team Germany) before he continues to shine up in the main draw up until this point & unfortunately he just could not pull off v such a opponent who has been to handful of finals more than him. And last but not least, it’s 3 x AO finalist Danill Medvedev from Russia where might had struggled earlier on despite a great start. But he never gave up as the game goes on where Medvedev turned out to be the better player than Zverev when it comes with the long-form game from two escaping tiebreakers to an unbelievable finish for the win. It’s been a long time coming since he first won the 2021 US Open where he defeated Djokovic in straight sets as he won’t be facing him this time like it was two years ago here that went past 1am but he will instead v first-time finalist in Jannik Sinner in the hope of finally winning one as the next AO champ at RLA.

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Time flies so fast but the Australian Open women’s semi finals night was all done as tomorrow’s last two challengers line-up is now set for the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Trophy at Rod Laver Arena. Coco Gauff fell short both ways earlier on but defending champion Aryna Sabalanka didn’t lose her game at all by booking herself in another Final by in straight sets (6-7 with 2-7 tiebreak & 4-6). Then it was a battle for the first timers and same thing happened to Dayana Yastremska with the early pace form as that 2nd semi match was dominated by China’s Quinwen Zheng also in straight sets (4-6 & 4-6). Now the men’s semi-finals will roll out throughout today with Novak Djokovic v Jannik Sinner in the afternoon followed by Daniil Medvedev v Alexander Zverev at night.

Looks like Gauff has almost got it after a poor start she closed herself in towards the opening set. But not so fast when she just could not hold stop a patient Sabalenka in her tracks before Gauff was unable to bring a 3rd set decider also after falling short again in the 2nd set. She will get better with experience as this is her 2nd grand slam knockout finals match & the first outside USA. Sabalanka on the other hand will get another chance to hopefully take home the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Trophy for the second time tomorrow night on what has been a tremendous win last night the opponent she lost at the US Open Final a few months ago. She was outstanding all along where Sabalanka fired off comfortably before she eventually found her opponent’s weaknesses while Gauff caught up as the game goes on & then tricks her during each and every stage, which is exactly she wants to do to set the benchmark for AO title win No.2 v Zheng.

Speaking of Zheng, the 21-year-old Chinese player will now be playing in first grand slam final as Li Na has last done so here back in 2014 with the big win v Lucie Safarova. She simply found a way to get the ball rolling to win the other half form that Yastremska couldn’t do after a slow start before Zheng didn’t hesitate to lose her game where she found the finish line first for the win. And Yastremska’s time is now over after a great fairytale run from the bottom up prior to this at Melbourne Park, having got a strong build up base to get off the mark including an improved 2nd set performance. But unfortunately, she wasn’t quite close as she hoped for when it comes to the execution, which is a key area she has struggled v Zheng. Let’s hope she can continue to inspire more with a consistent last 16/8 run from here.

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It was a huge day of Tennis yesterday on what has been a great end to the 2nd half of the Austtalian Open Quarter-Final matches at Rod Laver Arena with back-to-back long spells for the men while there’s some first time breakthrough moments ahead of tonight’s semi-finals in the women’s singles draw followed by a day of the men’s portion on Australia Day Friday.

First of all, Hubert Hurkacz never gave up without a fight including some incredible fight backs to stay in this match. However, Daniil Medvedev has found the great escape just exactly a minute before the four hour mark. The Pole had a great record over the last two years here but this was his 2nd finals match since the 2021 Wimbledon semi-final as he looks to kick on from here in the next grand slam showings as a regular last 16-8 contender. Plus, Alexander Zverev has eliminated 2nd seed Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz by surprise where he got the job done following an unreal 1st half performance with the 3-1 set win. Didn’t see that coming when the 2 x grand slam champion was the favourite to win this one but not only he fired off poorly but was so far behind for the majority despite some good shots in the latter stages. It remains to be seen if Zverev can find a way to beat Medvedev & have the best shot of being in the Final again since the 2020 US Open where he lost to Austrian Dominic Thiem.

Meanwhile in the women, the rising star 19-year-old Linda Noskova’s time was over at the hands of Dayana Yastremska in straight sets. The Czech got a great start to kick things off including the restart but struggled to bridge the other half unfortunately where Yastremska got the upper hand. From Qualifier to now Top 4, she is now one step away from Saturday’s final where beating Zhang & then maybe taking home the trophy would be a fairytale ending from the bottom up to reaching the highest levels in this draw like Emma Raducanu did in the 2021 US Open. And 12th seed Qinwen Zheng from China has overcame a tight 1st set loss on what been a great comeback win v Anna Kalinskaya. Kalinskaya wasn’t bad on her first grand slam knockout match after some highlight wins v Sloane Stephens & 26th seed Italian Jasmine Paolini beforehand with a close 1st set lead. But unfortunately she could not stay ahead & hang in there a bit longer whilst leading up front when Zheng closed in from behind to see her eliminated from the last 8. Zheng is coming off the back end of last year as a first time finalist at the US Open where he could face Aryna Sabalenka again but this time for the final if she can get the job done tonight.

Tonight’s matches Coco Gauff v Aryna Sabalanka again having last met at the US Open Final a few months ago before Yastremska takes on Zhang where one of them will advance on centre stage this Saturday. For Friday, it will be Novak Djokovic v Jannik Sinner followed by Medvedev & Zverev as all three have yet to win a AO trophy here except Novak.

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The rest of last night during the opening day Australian Open Quarter-Finals other than the three hour, three set women’s match was massive that began with a four set showdown followed by back-to-back straight sets successions as we head into the other half last 8 matches later today & tonight at Rod Laver Arena. Taylor Fritz went so close before he won the 2nd set on what has been a great 1st half effort but Novak Djokovic still holds the court all along to book his place in the semi-final while Jannik Sinner got around Andrey Rublev in the closest of matches & he too has done in straight sets going into Friday as Djokovic’s next opponent. Plus, it’s going to be Coco Gauff v Aryna Sabalenka again this time in the semi after Sabalenka was too good for Barbora Krejcikova.

For Fritz, he had amazing display that pushed Djokovic to the limit earlier on where he was oh so close in the first set followed by a 2nd set win at last to share the lead at 1-1. But just couldn’t kick on when it comes to the 2nd half form unfortunately and that’s where Djokovic eventually caught him out in the end as he had another great finals run here. As for Djokovic, he had some early setbacks against an early finals challenger despite having the early lead. He was able to respond really well like an seasoned champion though for the majority that got him over the line first and the Djoker is ready to take on a challenger who is tipped to win a grand slam trophy sooner rather than later in Italian Jannik Sinner.

Meanwhile, Rublev’s time is over as always where he has still yet to play past the Quarter-Finals after he broke the hearts of Alex De Minaur the other day in the fourth round. He wasn’t bad at the start where he had some great challenges to keep it up with his opponent. But just didn’t have the execution needed to stop Sinner in his tracks unfortunately despite being so close earlier on. On the other hand, Sinner is having the form of his life right now ahead of his 2nd grand slam semi-final after Wimbledon last year this Friday. He had a wonderful start while he never gave up and was being patient the whole way through to win all three sets to become Djokovic’s next opponent, which should be a cracker to watch. A young rising star v an experienced grand slam champ is something Sinner won’t want to hide & show he can live up to his potential at 22 after a great 2nd half of 2023 that includes the Davis Cup title win for Italy.

And looking back at the 2nd Quarter-Final women’s singles game, that was one was so quick in contrast to what we saw between Coco Gauff & Marta Kostyuk earlier in the afternoon. Krejcikova knows how to get the ball rolling but wasn’t consistent unfortunately where she just could not keep it up with Sabalenka for the overall lead. She hasn’t been bad in her last few AO appearances but needs to kick on from here, having had a great 2021 season with her French Open title as well as another Quarter-Final in the US Open before there not much else since then. Sabalenka on the other hand has been so dominant to meet all ends of the court including the other half bridge in particular that blew Krejcikova away. But she has a tough match-up ahead tomorrow night against someone who defeated her in the US Open Final a few months ago named Coco Gauff. She has gone through a series of easy challenges so far up until this next match, but she is the reigning champion here & have been a regular finals competitor throughout last year as Sabalenka won’t take Gauff lightly in order to try & take another grand slam title, which is the same Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup.

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