Rafa Nadal became the first player, who just punched his ticket, for the men’s singles final on Sunday night. He was brilliant as always with the strong start that gave himself time to build a decent lead at 2-0, he was challenged on a few occasions when Matteo Berrettini fought back in the 3rd set but used the early 1st half momentum to his advantage & wrapped this up in three sets accrued out of four at Rod Laver Arena. Well done to the Spaniard as he’s looking to add Grand Slam title No.21 plus his 2nd championship here on Australian soil.
And Berrettini would be gutted to lose out to Rafa with the semi-final loss, like the fight he displayed in the 3rd set where it gave some renewed momentum following a 1-2 lead. However, a poor start gave Berretini too many gaps to fill having climbed back a couple of games late before Rafa comfortably crossed the finish line. He just couldn’t be on the same page as his opponent for the entire time, in which it’s one thing how his 2nd half momentum was cut short after the 3rd set with little patience being afforded to stay in the game.
All eyes on the 2nd semi-final tie at the same venue shortly with Stefanos Tsitsipas from Greece v Russian Daniil Medvedev battling it out for the 2nd and last final ticket.
The 1st of two players confirmed for the 2nd semi-final spot goes to Stefanos Tsitsipas from Greece, he just defeated 11th seed Italian Jannik Sinner in straight sets (3-6, 4-6, 2-6) at Rod Laver Arena.
Sinner left Melbourne Park with his highest result so far at the Australian Open in the Final 8, he made up some lost time and won back some games as Sinner doesn’t take Tsitsipas lightly with plenty of tough duels. However, a poor start combined with a huge gap behind Tsitsipas left Sinner no time to execute & stay in contention, when he couldn’t level 1-1 after the 2nd set before he was quickly eliminated. He’s 20 years old though so Sinner has time to improve & win a Grand Slam in the future, having defeated fellow future champion Alex De Minaur prior to the Quarter-Final two days ago in the 4th Round.
And speaking of next-generation Grand Slam stars & champions, Tsitsipas is through to the Australian Open semis once again which will be his third occasion & Melbournians do love him. He simply was unbelievable where he built that early headstart, extended his lead as this tie goes while he overcame a series of competitive battles before Tsitsipas comfortably found the homestretch in just over two hours.
All eyes on the 4th and last Quarter-Final tie with Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime v Daniil Medvedev from Russia, where one of them will race towards that 2nd and final semi-final ticket v Tsitsipas on Friday night.
What an easy win where Ash Barty has just wrapped this up in just one hour & one minute through straight sets at Rod Laver Arena v 30th seed Italian Camila Giorgi, she will now face American Amanda Anisimova, who just upset reigning Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka, for Round 4 on Sunday.
Final Score: 6-2, 6-3
There are no problems whatsoever from Barty, who fired off and built a very easy lead, now she may be a bit challenged along the way where Giorgi fought back a game or two but she always showed plenty of firepower that reflected her easy spell tonight.
And Giorgi gutted with the loss after being eliminated in Round 3, she won a couple of games & did her best to rescue this game having been on the same page as Barty after the break, however, she was way behind when it comes to the overall lead and just couldn’t catch up through the end of both sets.
Just saw an entertaining four-hour showdown at Rod Laver Arena where Matteo Berrettini took the first two sets before Carlos Alcaraz came out of nowhere and tied a 2-2 lead that went to a 5th set decider, but it’s Berrettini, who rejuvenated himself, during the best of ten tiebreaks & came out on top with three sets pocketed out of the best of five.
Final Score: 2-6, 6-7 via 3-7 tiebreaker, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7 via 5-10 tiebreaker
Well done to Berrettini with the hard-fought win as he will face Pablo Carreno Busta from Spain for Round 4, it wasn’t hard for the Italian to get the ground running when he was close to wrap up the game at the first attempt in straight sets. Although he had some tough moments where he lost the next two sets that included a fall along the way, but he later backed up his early lead advantage that gave him enough time to escape & prevented Alcaraz from plotting an upset.
And unlucky with the 3rd Round elimination from Alcaraz, who has plenty of potential of becoming the next Grand Slam superstar, at just 18 years old, having made it to the US Open Quarter-Final last year & sure this close loss will help him bounce back next time. Like the way how he stopped Berrettini from an early finish in the 3rd set & began to catch up with a 2-2 lead, he almost pulled off an upset, unfortunately, Alcarez just ran out of fire via the deciding tiebreak that saw Berrettini as the winner instead.
Hats off to Miomir Kecmanovic from Serbia, who just eliminated 25th seed Italian Lorenzo Sonego, as he advances into the 4th Round of the 2022 Australian Open which will be his first time & face either Frenchman Gael Monfils or Cristian Garin from Chile.
Final Score: 6-4, 6-7 via 8-10 tiebreaker, 6-2, 7-5
Unlucky from Sonego with the loss there, he had to fight back during these tough battles against Kecmanovic when the Italian tied 1-1 via the tiebreak. However, Sonego lost his shape having fallen behind for the majority where he had a few missed opportunities to execute & get ahead of Kecmanovic before it was too late.
And Kecmanovic had a ball against one of the Top 25 seeds in this year’s Australian Open draw, the Serbian fired off well that gave him the upper hand after the opening set. Although he narrowly lost the 2nd set spell via a close battle through the tiebreak, but Kecmanovic is class all-round with a super easy 3rd set followed by the 4th set which was enough to confirm his breakthrough win.
What a comeback for Australia last night at Ken Rosewall Arena in the ATP Cup that began with James Duckworth’s withdrawal from a hip issue where they threw Max Purcell at the deep end, he at least fired off with a point & fought back some points after the break but just couldn’t handle Jannik Sinner who wrapped it up easily in the 1st singles tie especially when competing against a 10th ranked player from Italy.
Score: 6-1, 6-3 to Sinner.
Purcell may be disappointed tonight with a huge loss v Sinner but he has the home crowd’s backing every time he won a couple of points and go a long way, let’s hope he stays that way if he gets to play again in the next few days with Russia to come on Wednesday.
Then we look at Matteo Berrettini v Alex De Minaur in the 2nd singles tie with De Minaur up and running ahead in the 1st set, although that next battle may be tougher after the break but he never gave up having held Berrettini almost a game away from match point to a magnificent comeback via tiebreaker in straight sets.
Score: 3-6 & 6-7 with 4-7 tiebreaker to De Minaur.
And we finished last night in the lone doubles game as John Peers & Luke Saville are on a roll where they led comfortably at the start & got the job done off Italy’s Matteo Berrettini & Simone Bolelli after a wild 2nd set battle that went down the wire.
Score: 3-6 & 5-7 to Peers & Saville.
Not only Australia go 2-1 up against Italy in the best of three ties but they topped Group B, can they fend off Russia on Wednesday & make their way to the semis through France after that on Friday? Time will tell as this will hopefully be their year to shine in 2022 ATP Cup.
Fabio Fognini and Alex De Minaur went side by side to kick off this game at Margaret Court Arena. So things went steady between the two. Fognini was the first player to pull the lead away from De Minaur past the halfway mark. De Minaur did close the lead to Fognini 4-5.
But De Minaur just did not have enough time to sort out his conversion play. After a slow first half run where he would like to fix up after the break. As Fognini wins Stage 1 6-4. Nothing much has changed going into Stage 2. Where Fognini still just ahead of De Minaur in a bid to tie two straight mini wins. De Minaur on the other hand reported a lack of feel in the 1st & 2nd half play. And it has been a frustrating night so far for De Minaur. With Fognini once again firing on all corners for the Stage 2 win 6-3. The 33 year old Italian just needs one more stage win to set up a fourth round showdown.
Nothing much unfortunately changed without the control of De Minaur. When the Australian No.1 seed alone searched all night on ways to hold down Fognini. The solutions were not there when Fognini pulled off another big lead away off De Minaur. Progress at last was finally made when De Minaur began to fight back. Where Fognini made two double faults at the first match point attempt. As well as unable to get over the net during the 2nd time of asking. But it was still a big enough lead from Fognini to close out the win. The final score was done just over two hours of play at 6-4, 6-3, 6-4.
Bugger for De Minaur who tied his best result of Round 3 twice here from 2019 & 2021. There is fightback and courage at last. But just left it so late until the last minute. Where he was struggling with the fire off & conversion play mightly. And that kind of little to no momentum will leave him isolated. With time eventually ran out against him to repair the Stage 1 & 2 losses. De Minaur though should take those weaknesses & come back better next time.
While Fognini has dominated this game all night to connect the 1st & 2nd half performances. And marry up all three stage victories in straight sets. Where he turned this Round 3 tonight into his 4th round ticket. He will now meet Spainard Rafael Nadal who just beat Cameron Norrie from England. Norrie was originally from South Africa & used to fly with New Zealand colours. The other game scores are 7-5, 6-2 & 7-5. Well there is no Aussies now in the Men’s singles section now. But Ash Barty is still the lone Aussie in the women’s singles where she will face Shelby Rogers from USA.
Day 6 now done at the Australian Open and the first of the five days at least without fans. We are missing the fan crowd/atmosphere & the Jim Courier post-game interviews. Just like NASCAR on NBC refused to have a theme song last year with nobody. But the organisers have to follow the strict Government rules. So we do not get sick. We cannot wait for Day 7 though tomorrow on Valentines Day. Before the finals week begins in the next few days.
It has been a very close 1st stage for both Daniil Medevev & Matteo Berretini. Medevev may have jumped ahead with the early fire off going into the halfway point 3-1. But Berretini did not give up without a fight. When he gave Medevev some pressure with a few deuces beforehand. Before Medevev broke free past the Italian in the end.
Not only Medevev had to face a few deuces against him to get past him unscathed. The Russian also eventually found some conversions to win the 1st set 6-4. Good game so far for both players. But for Berrettini his match is not over yet. When he was on par with Medevev at the start and began to hold him off a bit. Just unable to find the middle ground to fend him off after a 1st set loss.
Berrettini desperately scrambled to save this 2nd stage set with the initlal lead 1-0. So that possible win can help himself dominate the tiebreaker. And put this series 1-1 for Italy into a decider via the doubles tie for the ATP Cup trophy. But Berrettini unfortunately could not keep up the same momentum as it was in Stage 1.
When Medevev dominated the 2nd set fair and square with a big margin ahead of Berrettini. The Italian may have earned another late point himself 2-5. Where he denied Russia with the 2 championship points at the first attempt. But it is Medevev who got the job done 6-2, 6-2 that sealed not just the series win 2-0. But also the ATP Cup Title for Russia. With the 3rd & final game in the doubles to spare.
This game was done in 1 hour, 20 min & 10 seconds as per Rolex time clock at Rod Laver Arena. What a game from Medevev who came up against Berrettini. Not only he was able to just close down the Italian at the start towards a comfortable lead halfway. The Russian found a bridge to execute these conversions in both sets.
While Berrettini thought he was on the same page as Medevev in the 1st half of Stage 1. It does not mean that he was a bad player overall. But the lack of consistency prevented Berrettini from executing this game at large. With just two points earned in the 2nd set. Despite denying Medevev these championship points at the first attempt. Where Italy forced to settle for a runner-up place behind Russia for the ATP Cup trophy.
Well the post-game ceremonies have already taken place here with Todd Woodbridge as the MC. So the 3rd and final game in the doubles might not have gone ahead. After we saw the three-match series decided beforehand. But what a week it has been of the 2021 ATP Cup. As we now turn our attention to the Grand Slam tomorrow.
The wait is now over with the best of three series in the main ATP Cup final is underway. It was going to occur sometime last night. But the unexpected day off on Thursday after a positive COVID test from a hotel quarantine worker changed things. When the center of attention focuses on both Italy and Russia at Rod Laver Arena.
Andrey Rublev fired off well with the conversions needed to move ahead of Fabio Fognini for Russia. Where Rublev was well ahead by the initial halfway stage 3-0. Before he wrapped up the early lead without too much hassle 6-1. Fognini on the other hand unable to find the feel he wanted firsthand for Italy. The consolation point was there when Fognini catched up a bit halfway. But it was way too late by that stage to bounce back. When he lost the 1st set to Rublev.
Both Rublev & Fognini went side by side when play resumed at the start of Stage 2. But Rublev pulled off the same momentum as it was from the 1st set. With a healthy lead within the halfway mark before he got the job done for Russia 6-1, 6-2. As his team lead the ATP Cup final in the best of three 1-0. With the 2nd singles match set to begin immediately. When Daniil Medevev take on Matteo Berrettini.
Rublev performed outstanding for the whole time with his conversion skillet. And he will need support from Medevev to get the job done for Russia in the 2nd singles tie. As Russia is one game away from winning this tournament. Even if it means one game early ahead of the doubles. They would want to go into the 3rd tie without any pressure. Does not matter if Russia wrap up the final 2-1 or 3-0.
Fognini on the other hand did improve a bit this time after a poor 1st stage showing. But he still lack the strengths that Rublev demonstrated. So Fognini at least catch midway in the 2nd stage. And give Italy hope towards going into a tiebreaker for the doubles tie. It is now up for Berrettini to compensate the 1st singles loss for Italy. In a way to tie 1-1 apiece himself if he wants to guide Italy to a first ATP Cup title.
It has been such a close and entertaining semi final so far. Between Italy & Spain in the ATP Cup. When Fabio Fognini fired off well with the first set lead 6-2. Before Pablo Carreno Busta bounced back in the 2nd stage 6-1. But Fognini came out of nowhere during the tiebreaker 6-4. And gave Italy a headstart in this series 1-0.
Now the tables have turned to the 2nd singles game. Italy will swap Fognini for Matteo Berrettini. While Roberto Bautista Agut comes on for Spain. As Italy will just need one more win before the final. Or Spain need a lifeline here. Before taking it into a decider via the doubles after this.
Berrettini & Bautista Agut went side by side with 1-1 apiece. But Berrettini led the way when he began to break away from Bautista Agut, 4-2. Before he was able to win the opening stage 6-3 for Italy. While Bautista Agut unable to find the middle ground this time. Unlike the group stage portion to catch up towards his opponent.
There was a little extended break after the 1st set. When Bautista Agut called for a physio. Before play came back to begin the second stage. The Spaniard did benefit from the treatment with the early start. And desperately scrambled to fend off Berrettini for the whole time. Having gone into the halfway mark lead. So he can give himself a reprieve for Spain.
Bautista Agut unfortunately begin to lose some ground. After he was tied 5-5 by Berrettini. Before he was crashed out of the semi-finals. Even with one more series game left in the doubles for Spain. As Matteo Berrettini comes out on top with 6-3, 7-6. That helped Berrettini send Italy to the main final v Russia. Where they also wrapped the series early 2-0 v Germany.
Daniil Medvedev def. Alex Zverev 3-6, 6-3, 7-6. Having overcome a first stage loss for Russia. Before putting themselves in the driving seat towards a main final meet up. Roberto Bautista Agut played well with some courage in the 2nd. As he played very well so far for Spain. Even when Rafa Nadal was not there. But not enough at the semis to compensate a poor start in the first stage. The doubles will go ahead as normal. Before looking at the main event tomorrow, Italy v Russia.