Thursday, February 5, 2009

Australian Open 2009

Men’s Singles
The World No.1 Rafael Nadal of Spain won the 2009 Australian Open Men’s Singles Tennis Championship with an enthralling 7-5, 3-6, 7-6, 3-6, 6-2 victory over Roger Federer in Melbourne (Australia) on February 1, 2009, denying the Swiss a chance to win a record-equalling 14th Grand Slam title. Nadal became the first Spaniard to win the Australian Open and chalked up his fifth straight victory over Federer, including the 2008 French Open and Wimbledon finals.
It was an incredible effort from the left-hander Nadal, who played nearly 10 hours of tennis in three days. The victory took the 22-year-old’s Grand Slam tally to six and left him needing only to win the US Open to complete the full set while reducing Federer to tears. Federer remains on 13 Grand Slams, one behind American Pete Sampras, and with an enduring mental block against Nadal who has now defeated him in their last three Grand Slam finals.
Can there be anything crueler in sport than the disintegration of a true champion, the dissipation of a veritable great? Or indeed, can there be anything more breathtaking than the incarnation of the next legend, the new hero? This final match witnessed both and one is not sure who received a greater ovation: the vanquished or the conqueror?
The 2009 final was magical rallies, unbelievable angels and heart-breaking winners. It almost looked like two superheroes, two gods relay, were engaged in mortal combat. At the end, Nadal came out victorious.
Women’s Singles
American Serena Williams is back being numero uno in the world after a dominating victory over third-seeded Russian Dinara Safina that gave her a fourth Australian Open trophy and 10th Grand Slam singles title on January 31, 2009. The 27-year-old Williams reclaimed the World No.1 title from the Serb Jelena Jankovic.
Williams routed the 22-year-old Safina 6-0, 6-3 in 59 minutes. It was among the most lopsided Australian Open women’s finals ever. Williams Still remains far away from the women’s record for Grand Slam singles titles. Margaret Court Smith had 24 and German Steffi Graf 22, with Martina Navratilova among the others she would have to pass.
It was Williams’ second overwhelming victory in a final in Melbourne, where she kept alive her record of winning in odd-numbered years since 2003. Coming into the 2007 tournament unseeded after being plagued by injuries the year before, she defeated top-seeded Maria Sharapova of Russia 6-1, 6-2. Williams is the fifth woman to win four or more Australian titles, with her previous victories coming in 2003, 2005 and 2007. By making the singles and doubles finals, she already had become the all-time leading money winner in women’s sports.
It was Williams’ 20th overall Grand Slam title. She has also won two mixed doubles championships.
Men’s Doubles
American brothers Bob and Mike Bryan won their seventh Grand Slam doubles title when they bounced back to defeat the third-seeded Indo-Bahamian pair of Mahesh Bhupathi and Mark Knowles 2-6, 7-5, 6-0 in the final on January 31, 2009. The Americans looked headed for defeat when Bhupathi and Knowles raced through the first set. But after the Bryans won the hard-fought second, it was plain sailing in the third round.
Women’s Doubles
Serena and Venus Williams won their eighth Grand Slam doubles title in Melbourne when they defeated Ai Sugiyama of Japan and Daniela Hantuchova of Slovakia 6-3, 6-3 for the women’s doubles title on January 30, 2009. Serena and Venus, who also won the Australian Open women’s doubles titles in 2001 and 2003, kept intact their record of never having lost a doubles final at a Grand Slam.
The two sisters are now tied with Virginia Ruano Pascual and Paola Suarez as the third most successful Grand Slam women’s team in the Open era, behind Martina Navratilova and Pam Shriver with 21 and Gigi Fernandez and Natasha Zvereva with 14.
Mixed Doubles
India’s Mahesh Bhupathi and the 22-year-old Sania Mirza registered their first Grand Slam title together, crushing Andy Ram of Israel and French-woman Natalie Dechy in straight sets in the mixed doubles final of the Australian Open on February 1, 2009. The Indian wild card pair proved too good for the Israeli-French duo, outclassing them 6-3, 6-3.
The win also gave the 34-year-old Bhupathi his 11th Grand Slam title—seventh in mixed doubles. This was also Bhupathi’s second mixed doubles title in the Australian Open, following his 2006 victory with Swiss Martina Hingis.
For Sania, it was her maiden Grand Slam title. She is also the first Indian woman to win Grand Slam title, she was earlier junior singles champion at the Wimbledon.
Junior Singles
The 16-year-old Delhi boy Yuki Bhambri scripted history by becoming the first Indian to win the Australian Open junior singles crown with an emphatic straight-sets win over Alexandros-Ferdinandos Georgoudas of Germany on January 31, 2009. Top-seeded Yuki swept aside unseeded Georgousdas 6-3, 6-1 to pocket his first Grand Slam singles title, becoming the fourth Indian to do so in the process.
The other Indians in the elite club are Ramanathan Krishnan (1954 Junior Wimbledon Champion), his son Ramesh Krishnan (1979 Wimbledon and French Open Junior Champion) and Leander Paes (1990 Junior Wimbledon and 1991 Junior US Open Champion).
This victory put Yuki in a long list of former Australian Open Junior Champions, who have made it big in the men’s circuit, including Andy Roddick, Marcos Baghdatis and Gael Monfils.
The 2009 Australian Open junior girls’ title was annexed by Ksenia Pervak on January 31,2009. She thrashed Laura Robson 6-3, 6-1 in the final.

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