Caroline Wozniacki finally became a Grand Slam Champion after an epic three sets victory over Simona Halep. The Dane needed a tie-break to take the first set in a battle that would also determine who would become World number 1. Halep got a break early in the second set to force a decider winning the second set 6-3 playing some exceptional tennis.
It was Wozniacki who this time would prevail in the end however. She needed a medical time out at 4-3 down which she afterwards said gave her chance to re-focus and then reeled off three games in a row to take the title 6-4. The 27 year old has had a string of finals losses on the WTA tour over the last year, but finally gets over the line in the big one. For Halep, surely a Grand Slam of her own is not far away, but it was not to be this time.
Mens Singles Final
Roger Federer was taken all the way to a deciding set by Marin Cilic but in the end claimed his 20th Grand Slam title. Cilic started poorly with Federer taking the first set 6-2. Cilic settled in the second to force a tie break and got himself back in contention winning it to level the score. Federer got the only break in the third in the sixth game and went on to take the third set 6-3.
Federer got a break early in the fourth and had a point for a double break as he began to look like he was cruising to the title. But Cilic fought right back, saving the break point and then breaking Federer in the next game. In an incredible spell Cilic broke again eventually taking Set 4 by 6-3 to force a decider. The final set proved a letdown after the promise of what had gone before. Federer broke twice to take the final set easily 6-1 as the effort of the Croat finally took it’s toll.
The legend of Federer continues. 20 Grand Slams and plenty of evidence there could be more to come yet from this top class athlete.
AT THE PERTH STADIUM, PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIA
England 259 (47.4) (Root 62Tye 5-46)
Australia 247 (48.2) (Stoinis 87Curran 5-35)
ENGLANDWIN BY 12 RUNS
ENGLANDWIN THE SERIES 4-1
England finished the one day series in Australia with a closely fought win in Perth in the first game played at the new Perth Stadium. Joe Root top scored for England with 62 with Andrew Tye taking 5 wickets for the Australians to restrict England to 259, bowling them all out and denying them and extra 14 balls as a result.
The game then kept swinging. Australia got off to a great start and looked like they were heading for the win When Tom Curran’s bowling had top scorer Marcus Stoinis caught by Adil Rahid for 87 the home side were 187-4. Four quick wickets however swung the game back the other way putting England in control at 203-8
Tim Paine who saw Australia home in the last game nearly did it again. His 34 put the Aussies back in it but Curran bowled him to take the final wicket with Australia 12 runs short to ensure England end the series on a high. Curran took 5 Wickets in the end which proved the difference in this game, Australia’s batting was not good enough over the series as a whole and this win will be a big boost to England looking ahead to next years One Day World Cup.
4TH ODI AT THE ADELAIDE OVAL, ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA, AUSTRALIA
England 196 (44.5) (Woakes 78Cummins 4-24)
Australia 197-7 (37) (Head 96Rashid 3-49)
AUSTRALIAWIN BY 3 WICKETS
ENGLANDLEAD THE SERIES 3-1
Australia finally got a win on the board taking full advantage of excellent conditions for bowling in Adelaide. England got off to a dire start and at one stage were 8-5 and Australia threatened to totally annihilate the whole England batting line up. Chris Woakes saved the position with 78 including 5 sixes as the lower order managed to get the score to 196 before being bowled all out. Pat Cummins took four wickets with Josh Hazlewood and Andrew Tye splitting the other with 3 wickets each in an excellent bowling performance.
Australian opener Travis Head got the home side off to a good enough start despite wickets falling at the other end. end eventually fell just short of his century on 96. Australia had enough overs to get the runs, the only question was could England bowl them all out for an unlikely win as Head’s wicket was the sixth to fall. Tim Payne hit 25 Not Out to ensure Australia got home as England only took one more wicket before the hosts got to the target and claim victory.
Adil Rashid’s 3 wickets had helped make for some nervy moments for the Australians along the way, but they got their ‘Australia Day’ victory England have already won the series with one more game in Perth and the final Australia v England international at the WACA before the new stadium out west is built.
3RD ODI AT THE SCG, SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA
England 302/6 (50) (Buttler 100* Woakes 53*)
Australia 286/6 (50) (Finch 62 Stoinis 56 Marsh 55)
ENGLAND WIN BY 16 RUNS
ENGLAND LEAD THE SERIES 3-0
England showed they have batting strength in depth to turn around a poor start to claim a series victory against Australia in Sydney. The visitors were struggling at 189-6 and a competitive total was looking unlikely. However a partnership of 113 between Jos Buttler and Chris Woakes got ensured England got above 300 to post 302. Buttler got his century off the last ball of the innings. His 100 Not Out included four sixes, Woakes ended on 53 Not Out.
With a good total on the board England’s bowlers remained disciplined. Aaron Finch again top scored for Australia but was out for 62 when he was given out leg before wicket to Adil Rashid’s bowling. For Australia to win someone else would need to set up and get a big score. While there were decent contributions from Macus Stoinis (56) and Mitchell Marsh (55) nobody could go on and get a big century. With key wickets falling at important moments Australia fell behind the run rate and in the end they were 16 runs short of the target.
There are two more contests to go but the win means England have already won the series and can now try and pursue a whitewash. What a turnaround from the Test Series where Australia won 4-0 to the one day series with England 3-0 up.
Former World number 1 Angelique Kerber sent out a message she is ready for the Australian Open winning her first WTA Title since the US Open in 2016 with suggestions she is getting back to her best. She defeated home favourite Ashleigh Barty with a break in each set to take the title in Syndey 6-4 6-4. She beat Lucie Safarova and Venus Williams on her way to the final having her best week in a long time. With Serena Williams out of the Australian Open, Kerber must have a good chance to take another Grand Slam in this form
In the other WTA event this week in Hobart, Tasmania, Belgian Elise Mertens took back to back titles beating Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu in a rain affected final. The Romanian was in her first WTA final having beaten Alize Cornet to get here, but in the end Mertens experience was the difference as she held it together better as the players were taken off court four times during the contest. Mertens won the deciding set 6-3 to become the first player to win in Hobart twice in it’s 25 year history.
MOON OF LIBERTY WTA TENNIS RESULTS
Sydney International Final
AT THE NEW SOUTH WALES TENNIS CENTRE, SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA
Heading into the US Open next week, Australia and New Zealand were the venues for this week ATP Tour events. In Auckland Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain took his second title in three years at the venue defeating Juan Martin Del Potro. Agut raced through the first set 6-1 but Del Potro hit back to take it to a decider. The key break came at 5-5 giving Agut the advantage and chance to serve for the match. He had to save a break point but held his nerve to save it and then serve it out to claim the title.
In Sydney it was the battle of the youngsters as 18 year old home favourite Alex de Minaur in his first ATP Title, took on the rising star from Russia, 21 year old Daniil Medvedev. The Australian got off to a stunning start taking the first set 6-1 but the experience of Medvedev slowly took over. The Russian broke in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead and served out to level. Medvedev then took a double break to lead 4-0 in the decider. The Aussie showed great resilience to fight back, recover both breaks and get the score back to 5-5. de Minaur could not sustain it though, at this point Medvedev broke once more and this time he served it out to take the title after two hours of top class tennis.
MOON OF LIBERTY ATP TOUR TENNIS RESULTS
Auckland Open Final
AT THE ASB TENNIS CENTRE, AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND
Roberto Bautista Agut (Spain) Beat Juan Martin Del Potro (Argentina)
Australia 304-8 (50) (Finch 107 Stoinis 60 M Marsh 50)
England 308-5 (48.5) (Roy 180 Root 91*)
ENGLANDWIN BY 5 WICKETS
ENGLANDLEAD THE SERIES 1-0
England put their test disaster behind them to remind the world they are a serious force in the one day game. Australia batted first with Aaron Finch getting a century (107) supported by Marcus Stoinis (60) and Mitchell Marsh (50) as the hosts posted 304. Opener Jason Roy set about the chase hitting 5 sixes in his brilliant 180 to put England right in contention. Joe Root backed it up with 91 Not Out to lead the visitors home with 7 balls to spare. It’s clear the One Day series will be much more for a contest than the Ashes was and the Barmy Army finally have a win to cheer.