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.
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.
Phil Taylor took another title in Australia winning the Melbourne Open Title by beating Scotsman Peter Wright. After blitzing home favourite Simon Whitlock in the Semi-Final Taylor went in odds on but after five holds of throw to start, it was Wright who struck first, Taylor missed double 19 with Wright on 81 and he took it out to earn the first break of throw and a 4-2 lead.
Taylor then hit back with a series of power legs to take six of the next seven legs and an 8-5 lead. Wright held in the next then hit a double-double finish with two double 18’s to break back and then hold to level at 8-8. Wright would not take another leg though, Taylor broke again then took out a 112 finish in leg 18 to take a 10-8 lead and go one away.
Wright was beaten at this point and Taylor broke again to take the match 11-8. Taylor has only lost once in Australia in a happy hunting ground. He will try and double up next week and make it an Australian Double as the tour heads out west to Perth.
Castleford Tigers shot to the top of Super League with a 12 try demolition of Leeds. Greg Eden and Greg Minkin both got hat tricks as the Tigers ran out 66-10 winners. After a mixed start Hull hit their stride running up a 48-8 win at Huddersfield. Marc Sneyd controlled the game as he got a hat trick of tries and scored a total of 28 points. Mason Caton-Brown got both of Wakefield’s tries as they scored their first win of the season in a 16-12 upset at Langtree Park against ST Helens.
Rock solid defense was the foundation for Champions Wigan. Anthony Gelling went over twice in a 20-0 shut out of Leigh. Salford came from behind to heap more misery on Warrington. The Wolves last years Grand Finalists sit at the bottom of the table as Junior Sa’u got two of four tries for Salford in their 24-14 win. Finally it was all square in Perpingnon as Catalan and Widnes drew 14-14. Rhys Hanbury’s late score capped Widnes comeback from 14-0 down.
The NRL kicked off with Champions Cronulla going down to defeat against Brisbane. Jordan Kahu got a try and 12 points in the Broncos 26-18 win. Two tries n the firs six minutes from Cheyes Blair and Suniasi Vunivalu was enough for Melbourne despite not scoring again in the rest of the game to take a 12-6 win over Canterbury in the rain. Mitchell Moses was the general for Western Suburbs with a try and 14 points as the Tigers won a comfortable 34-18 victory over South Sydney. Joel Thompson got a hat trick and Gareth Widdop got two tries and a total of 22 points as St George/Illawarra thrashed Penrith scoring seven tries.
North Queensland scored a surprise 20-16 win in golden point overtime with Gavin Cooper getting the winning score. Latrell Mitchell got a hat trick for Sydney City as they eased past Gold Coast 32-18. The New Zealand Warriors got off to a winning start beating last years bottom side Newcastle in a tight game by 26-22. David Fusitu’a got a first half hat trick for the Warriors but two tries from Nathan Ross brought Newcastle level. The winning score seven minutes from time came from Ryan Hoffman. The round ended with Parramatta beating Manly 20-12. Clint Gutherson scored one of the Eels three tries and collected a total of 12 points.
Serena Williams is the most successful woman in the modern era surpassing Steffi Graf to claim her 23rd major grand slam title. Despite her sister Venus playing as well as she has in some time to reach this final she was no match for her older sister’s power and speed. A break in each set was enough was Serena to claim her seventh Australian title, itself a record. How many more can she win? On this form in which she has won the title without dropping a set, there could be plenty more to come yet.
Federer claims 5th Melbourne title winning epic battle of the old masters
The fall of the likes of Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray opened the way for two old rivals and masters of the game to meet once again in a grand slam final. The contest between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal did not disappoint. The first two sets were shared but it looked like Federer had taken control powering through the third set 6-1. The Spaniard was not done however. Federer made errors in the fourth game to let Nadal back in and he took advantage to break and lead 3-1 in the fourth. He served it out to take the fourth set 6-3 and ensure the crowd got the decider they wished for. Nadal continued the momentum, breaking in the first game of the final set to take the advantage. However Federer kept going and had break point in each of the next three service games of Nadal, at the third attempt he took one to get the score back to 3-3.
After winning his next service game Federer then broke again to lead 5-3 and just one game away. Nadal kept fighting taking a 15-40 lead with two chances to break back. An ace and a stunning forehand winner allowed Federer to save both. Federer then had a Championship point saved but earned a second one. He then looked to hit a winner tight to the line to win it, Nadal challenged, the crowd waited, Hawkeye deemed the ball in and finally the Swiss had his 18th Grand Slam title. A fitting contest for a battle of this importance between to old masters we may never see again.
Kohli and Jadhav set up India in monster run chase
India completed a huge chase of 350 to take the first ODI against England in Pune. England may have thought they had a winning score on the board with Jason Roy Joe Root and Ben Stokes all making half centuries. However the fact nobody went on to make a hundred ultimately left them short. In reply Virat Kohli hit his 27th ODI hundred with 5 sixes and Kedar Jadhav hit 120 scoring his half century off only 29 balls to put India in contention. England did not take enough wickets and Handik Pandya with 40 not out was there at the end to finish off what Kohli and Jadhav had set up, hitting a six to win it with 11 balls to spare and continue India’s run as England are yet to beat India at any level on tour so far.
Pakistan have made a fist of their ODI series against Australia with victory in Melbourne. Australia never had enough on the board with only Steve Smith getting a half century in a total of 220. Mohammad Hafeez played the key knock of 72 to keep Pakistan ahead of the run chase and they got home with 14 balls to spare. The first win in a contest of any sort for Pakistan on this tour which will be a confidence boost for the rest of this series.
1st Innings centuries from Steve Smith and Peter Handscomb set the tone for Australia to take a 1-0 lead against Pakistan at the Gabba. Superb bowling spells from Jackson Bird and Josh Hazlewood then ensured Pakistan collapsed to 142 all out and despite a spirited fight in the 2nd innings including a century from Sharfraz Ahmed, They fell just 39 runs short of an incredible comeback and what would have been a record final inning total.
Smith and Warner put Pakistan’s bowling to the sword
Despite scoring over 400 in their first innings and a double century from Azhar Ali, Pakistan could not stop the power of Australia as Steve Smith (165 not out) continued his brilliant for to hit another century aided by David Warner (144) and Mitchel Starc (83) as the Aussies hit 624. Starc then delivered with the ball with four wickets to help bowl Pakistan out for a mere 163 to take a 2-0 lead and a win by an innings and 19 runs.