Serena Williams back at world number one after Australian Open win.

Australian Open winner Serena Williams replaced Angelique Kerber as world number one in the latest WTA rankings released on Monday.

 

The American moved up one place courtesy of her victory in Melbourne where she got the better of sister Venus 6-4, 6-4 in the final on Saturday for a record 23rd Grand Slam title.

 

Kerber’s defence of her Australian Open crown ended with a last 16 loss to Coco Vandeweghe with the German now down to second and her American nemesis up 15 rungs to 20th.

Melbourne quarter-finalist Karolina Pliskova climbs two spots to third.

 

WTA rankings on Monday, January 30

 

1. Serena Williams (USA) 7.780 pts (+1)

2. Angelique Kerber (GER) 7.115 (-1)

3. Karolina Pliskova (CZE) 5.270 (+2)

4. Simona Halep (ROM) 5.073

5. Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) 4.985 (+1)

6. Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) 4.915 (-3)

7. Garbine Muguruza (ESP) 4.720

8. Svetlana Kuznetsova (RUS) 3.915 (+2)

10. Johanna Konta (GBR) 3.705 (-1)

11. Venus Williams (USA) 3.530 (+6)

12. Petra Kvitova (CZE) 3.415 (-1)

13. Elina Svitolina (UKR) 2.955

14. Carla Suarez (ESP) 2.625 (-2)

15. Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) 2.347

16. Elena Vesnina (RUS) 2.357 (+2)

17. Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (CZE) 2.295 (-1)

18. Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) 2.295 (+2)

19. Victoria Azarenka (BLR) 2.161 (-5)

20. Coco Vandeweghe (USA) 2.136 (+15)

Rafael Nadal Sets Australian Open final Clash With Roger Federer

Rafael Nadal makes it into his 21st Grand Slam title as he rolls back and beat Grigor Dimitrov 6-3 5-7 7-6 6-7. Nadal will face Roger Federer, who beat Stan Wawrinka 7-6 6-3 1-6 4-6 6-3 on Thursday, in a much-anticipated Grand Slam final on Sunday. Nadal is contesting for his 14th Grand Slam title. Nadal made it into the semis by thrashing Milos Raonic 6-4, 7-6 (9/7), 6-4 in two hours 44 minutes and for Dimitrov. Dimitrov, who beat David Goffin 6-3 6-2 6-4 to make it into his second Grand Slam semi-final, became the first Bulgarian player in men or women to make it into a final of a Grand Slam. Nadal is bidding to win his second Australian Open title and become the first man in the Open Era and only the third man in history, to win each of the four Grand Slam titles twice. With his victory the Spaniard is projected to rise to six in next week’s ATP rankings.

 

Federer through to Australian Open final after 5-set thriller against Wawrinka

Roger Federer edged a five-set thriller against his fellow Swiss and close friend Stan Wawrinka at the Australian Open on Thursday to become the oldest Grand Slam finalist in 43 years.

The 17-time Grand Slam champion saw off the world number four 7-5, 6-3, 1-6, 4-6, 6-3 in three hours and five minutes and will face either Rafael Nadal or Grigor Dimitrov in Sunday’s final.

It will be 35-year-old Federer’s sixth Australian final and 28th Grand Slam decider in total, and caps a marvellous comeback after the second half of last season was ruined by a knee injury.

The four-time Australian Open champion becomes the oldest man to reach a Grand Slam final since Australia’s Ken Rosewall (39 years 310 days) at the 1974 US Open.

In an enthralling contest, Federer won the opening two sets before Wawrinka clawed back to take the semi-final into a fifth, only for Federer to prevail with a service break in the sixth game.

“Yes, it is real now. I can talk about playing in finals for the first time,” Federer said on court.

“I have been dodging that bullet for the last few days now talking about the next round and the next round but this is the last one.

“So I will leave it all out here in Australia and (even) if I cannot walk for another five months, I will give it all I have.”

Wawrinka, who beat Nadal in the 2014 Australian Open final, was bidding to reach his fourth Grand Slam final and his second in Melbourne.

– Racquet smash –
The two Swiss jockeyed in the opening games with Federer having three break points in Wawrinka’s second service game and Wawrinka getting two break points, but all were saved.

Wawrinka had another break point saved in the 11th game but he paid for a netted forehand in his next service game to drop the opening set in 50 minutes.

Wawrinka netted a backhand on break point in the sixth game of the second set and angrily smashed his smash in reaction, receiving a code violation warning from the chair umpire.

The match turned quickly for Wawrinka as Federer raced to a two sets lead after holding three set points.

Wawrinka left the court for a medical timeout and returned to the court with tape around his right knee.

But Wawrinka hit back with two breaks to take the third set in just 26 minutes as Federer became loose, giving his Swiss friend the chance to play his way back into the contest.

Wawrinka broke again in the opening game of the fourth set with a beautiful backhand return winner, but Federer broke straight back.

Wawrinka earned three break points in the ninth game with some splendid groundstrokes and on his third break point he rifled a forehand cross-court winner to break, and then served out for a fifth set.

But Wawrinka cracked with a poor service game and a double-fault on double break point gave Federer a crucial 4-2 advantage.

Federer held his two remaining service games to win on the first of his three match points.

Rafael Nadal: ‘Humble gladiator’ to Teach the Secrets of His Tennis Success

His on-court persona is all gladiator aggression — bulging biceps, pumping fists, and ferocious forehands.

But is this the real Rafael Nadal?
You’ll find a different picture if you visit a small town on a sun-kissed Mediterranean island.
“Mallorca and Manacor is my life,” Nadal tells CNN’s Open Court show. “This is where I have all the people that I really love — family, friends, everybody.
“The island is just amazing and I love the sea. I love the calm. Here I can find all these things.”
While other tennis stars such as Novak Djokovic and Victoria Azarenka make their base in the glamorous surrounds of places like Monaco, Nadal escapes the glare of the world media’s attention by returning to his tranquil birthplace.
And now he’s inviting a new generation of players to share that experience, with the launch of his tennis academy in Manacor.
Roger Federer (right) helped Nadal open his academy in Manacor on October 19, 2016.
“I don’t know if it’s going to be my last academy, but for me the most important thing is to build the first one here,” Nadal added as he unveiled an accompanying new sports center ahead of Wednesday’s main opening — where his great rival Roger Federer was the star guest. 
“It’s where I live, where I’m going to live, and it’s the only chance to really be involved with the project. Having the academy here, I’m here every day so I can see, I can be close to the kids, I can be close to the coaches. I can really enjoy all the process.”
Source: CNN.COM

Nadal Confirms Participation In Rio Olympics Despite Injury And Zika Concerns

Rafael Nadal has confirmed that he will represent Spain at the Olympic Games in Rio, despite injury concerns.

Nadal's participation has boosted the Tennis Olympics committee.
Nadal’s participation has boosted the Tennis Olympics committee.

World number five Nadal spent a lengthy period after his practice session on centre court discussing his plans with the team doctor and team captain Conchita Martinez.

The 14-time Grand Slam winner has committed himself to playing singles, doubles and mixed doubles at the Games, despite worries over whether or not his left wrist injury will survive the gruelling challenges ahead.

He is scheduled to play doubles with Marc Lopez and mixed doubles with French Open champion Garbine Muguruza.”Yesterday (Monday) and today (Tuesday) have been my strongest training in two months and the wrist has not gotten worse,” he added.

Nadal admitted that his best medal chance may be in the doubles where the burden is shared.”It’s true that in doubles, I might go better, but you never know,” he said.”I will do everything possible to make my role the best and bring something positive for Spain.”

Nadal’s decision to play in all three events was a major boost for the organisers who on Tuesday saw world number four Stan Wawrinka pull out with a back injury.Wawrinka was replaced in the draw by big-serving Australian Sam Groth.

Nadal is due to carry his country’s flag at Friday’s opening ceremony in Rio.

‘You Must Be Banned For Taking Drugs’ – Rafael Nadal & Andy Murray Tell Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova’s male colleagues Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray have come hard on the tennis star saying she must be punished and banned from the sport, after she admitted on Monday to failing a drug test in the last Australian Open.

The Russian athlete is set to be provisionally banned from Tennis on Saturday, but the extent of the ban is yet to be unclear, with any suspension above two years effectively ending her career.

But Rafael Nadal who says he has used stem-cell therapy and blood thinning in the past to speed his injury recovery says she must be banned from the sport while Britain’s number one Tennis player Andy Murray says she must be banned for using performance enhancing drugs while also criticizing her racket sponsor, HEADS, for standing by Sharapova.

14-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal said:

“I am a completely clean guy. I have never had the temptation of doing something wrong. I believe in the sport and the values of the sport. The sport is an example for society. It is an example for the kids and if I am doing something that goes against that, I will be lying to myself, not lying to my opponents.” “I have been open all my career,” he said. “I never tried to hide nothing that I did. I did PRP and then I did stem cells. The first time with PRP it worked fantastic and the second time it was bad. I had to stop playing tennis for seven months. With stem cells, I used it two times on my knees and it worked very well. I am not doing, never did, and never going to do something wrong.” “It’s terrible because the sport must be clean and must look clean. It is difficult to imagine that something like this can happen, but mistakes happen. She should be punished. I want to believe it is a mistake for Maria. She didn’t want to do it. But obviously it is negligence. She must pay for it.”

Andy Murray said:

“Clearly if you are taking performance-enhancing drugs and you fail a drugs test, you have to get suspended. I think since 1 January there have been 55 different athletes who have failed tests for meldonium. I find it strange that there’s a prescription drug used for heart conditions and so many athletes competing at the top level of their sport would have that condition. That sounds a bit off to me.”

Andy Murray also criticized HEAD, who also manufacture his racket, for standing by Sharapova and saying they will extend her contract despite other sponsors Nike, Tag Heuer and Porsche severing their relationship with the tennis star.

“I think it’s a strange stance given everything that’s happened the last few days. I don’t really know what else to say on that, but that’s not something I believe. I think at this stage it’s important really to get hold of the facts and let things play out, like more information coming out before making a decision to extend the contract like that, in my view. I personally wouldn’t have responded like that.”

Serena Williams Talks Racism In Tennis

She’s won 21 Grand Slam singles titles, with only four losses in 25 appearances in the finals yet her rival Maria Sharapova ranked higher than her on the Forbes list despite ranking lower than her professionally. Serena Williams covers this weeks New York Times mag & speaks candidly about it

Serena tells the NYT:

“If they want to market someone who is white and blond, that’s their choice. I have a lot of partners who are very happy to work with me. I can’t sit here and say I should be higher on the list because I have won more.

I’m happy for her, because she worked hard, too. There is enough at the table for everyone. We have to be thankful, and we also have to be positive about it so the next black person can be No. 1 on that list. Maybe it was not meant to be me. Maybe it’s meant to be the next person to be amazing, and I’m just opening the door. Zina Garrison, Althea Gibson, Arthur Ashe and Venus opened so many doors for me. I’m just opening the next door for the next person.”

Serena Williams Stuns In Cream Dress At Wimbledon Champions’ Dinner

Wimbledon women’s 2015 winner, Serena Williams dazzle in a show-stopping gown at the Champions’ Dinner tonight with jewels embellished across her front, the gown hung tightly showing off her incredible figure, as she walked the red carpet at the Guidlhall in London.

The tennis ace took the 2015 title with a straight-sets win over Garbine Muguruza.

Venus Williams Fined $3,000 For Skipping Media Rituals In Paris

Venus Williams has been sanctioned to the tune of $3,000 (£1,900) by tournament organisers for aborting a mandatory news conference following her first-round exit at the French Open.

Williams, seeded 15th at the Roland Garros this year, refused to show up at the post-game media briefing after suffering a 7-6 (7-5) 6-1 defeat at the hands of fellow American Sloane Stephens in the first round.

It is the second time 34-year-old’s will suffer opening defeats at the clay tournament in the last three years.

Herself and younger sibling, Serena, also received a fine of $4,000 at Wimbledon in 2010 for not appearing at a press conference after defeat in the doubles.

Venus Williams Groans During Her 1st Round Defeat by Sloane Stephens. Image: Sports Today.

Venus instead opted to issue a statement after failing to show up at the press conference on Monday.

She said: “When you arrive at any tournament you hope you will have a chance to work your way into the event, but I didn’t have that opportunity,” the statement said. “She just played better than me today.”

The nine-time Grand Slam winner is not scheduled for any competition until this year’s Wimbledon, which starts on 29 June.

Andy Murray Falls To Novak Djokovic Again In Miami Open Final

Andy Murray was unable to end his losing run against Novak Djokovic, as the world No 1 walked off with a second successive Miami Open title after a fierce tussle on Sunday.

The Briton had lost his last six matches against Djokovic and it looked to be going against him again when he dropped the opening set at Crandon Park on a tie-break. Third seed Murray battled back valiantly to snatch the second set and take the match into a decider, only for his game to desert him as Djokovic claimed a 7-6 (7-3), 4-6, 6-0 victory after almost three hours on court.

Murray was looking to wrestle back the title he won in 2013 and applied pressure from the start, earning his first break point in the opening game but he wasted it with a forehand into the net. However, another opportunity came along on Djokovic’s next service game and this time Murray moved up a gear, forcing his opponent out wide before finishing him off with an overhead smash.

The advantage was wiped out immediately, though, with Murray firing long to gift the Serb a break back.

Murray refused to give in and his persistence, helped by some well-struck balls, paid off in the seventh game when an error from Djokovic once more put Murray a break up. Yet again he was unable to defend his advantage as Djokovic snatched the break back, and the pair continued to slog it out to eventually usher in the tie-break. This time Murray’s game let him down badly, as two poor forehands and a pair of sloppy shots into the net allowed Djokovic to wrap up the set with remarkable ease.

It had taken well over an hour to decide the opener and it was no surprise energy levels dropped in the second as the heat began to take its toll.

Murray nevertheless found something in reserve to fight off two break points in the third game before squandering one of his own on Djokovic’s serve as the set threatened to reach an impasse.

Frustration crept in for both players at times as they fought to gain the upper hand but there was still plenty to keep the crowd entertained despite the obvious fatigue on court. And it was Murray who seized the chance as the match passed the two-hour mark.

With Djokovic serving to stay in the set, two errors from the Serbian followed by a lovely forehand down the line from his opponent set Murray up with three set points. And he hammered home his advantage with a fierce backhand return to take the match into a final set.

It looked like Murray held the edge but his momentum quickly went at the start of the third, with Djokovic breaking twice to drain the last dregs of energy from his opponent. It proved a disappointing climax to an enthralling match, with Murray broken again before Djokovic served out successfully for his fifth Miami title.

Serena Williams To Face Maria Sharapova In Australian Open final

Serena Williams will face Maria Sharapova in the Australian Open final after the pair won their semi-finals in straight sets in Melbourne.

World number two Sharapova won an all-Russian contest against Ekaterina Makarova 6-3 6-2.

Williams, the top seed, converted her ninth match point to beat fellow American Madison Keys 7-6 (7-5) 6-2.

Britain’s Andy Murray takes on Czech Tomas Berdych in the first men’s semi-final at 08:30 GMT.

Williams, 33, capped a fine performance with a dramatic ending as she saw seven match points slip by at 5-1, before converting her ninth with an ace and a scream in the following game.

Keys, 19, matched Williams for power but not always control as the 18-time Grand Slam champion edged a tight match over one hour and 24 minutes.

The world number one, a five-time champion in Australia, recovered from 3-0 down to force a tie-break and clinched it with a big serve.

Maria Sharapova

A fired-up Williams bounced up and down in delight at the baseline, and powered on with a break at the start of the second as she began to dominate the Keys second serve.

Williams flipped a brilliant forehand winner around the net post on her way to breaking again at 4-1 and eventually closed out after that gripping seventh game.

Sharapova, the 2008 champion, had earlier needed one hour and 27 minutes to beat 10th seed Makarova for the sixth time in six meetings.

The 27-year-old coped well on serve after saving two break points in a testing 10-minute opening service game, easing into a 4-1 lead.

Makarova, 26, hinted at a comeback when she broke for 4-3 but Sharapova responded immediately and served out the set after 48 minutes.

When she hammered away a backhand for the double break at 3-0 in the second, there was no way back for Makarova