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Former champion Kerber rues hard quarantine after early exit
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Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 8, 2021 Germany’s Angelique Kerber in action during her first round match against Bernarda Pera of the U.S. REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake MELBOURNE – Former champion Angelique Kerber made an early exit from the Australian Open on Monday and said spending two weeks in hard quarantine ahead of the Grand Slam had contributed to her first-round loss. The German former world number one was one of 72 players who were unable to leave their rooms to train during quarantine after passengers on their flights to Melbourne tested positive for COVID-19. Her opponent Bernarda Pera was not among that cohort and the American ousted the 2016 Australian Open champion 6-0 6-4 in little more than an hour on the first morning of the tournament. “Of course, you feel it if you are not the hitting ball for two weeks and you are not in the rhythm,” Kerber told reporters after her earliest exit from Melbourne Park for six years. “I was really trying to staying positive and doing the best out of the two-week situation but you feel it, especially if you play one of the first matches in a Grand Slam … against an opponent who didn’t stay in the hard lockdown.” Kerber congratulated Australia on its success in containing the new coronavirus and said she had enjoyed playing in front of fans again, however briefly. The 33-year-old thought, however, that she might have reconsidered the long trip to Australia if she had known she would have to remain locked in her room for 14 days. “When I look back, of course I was not planning the two weeks in hard quarantine,” she added. “I don’t know, maybe if I knew that before to stay really two weeks in the hard quarantine without hitting a ball, maybe I would think twice about that.” For more news about the novel coronavirus click here. What you need to know about Coronavirus. For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150. The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link . Read Next Don't miss out on the latest news and information. Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000. For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.
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Djokovic serves up masterclass on favorite court
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Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 8, 2021 Serbia’s Novak Djokovic celebrates winning his first round match against France’s Jeremy Chardy REUTERS/Loren Elliott MELBOURNE – Novak Djokovic got back to doing what he does best on Monday when he steamrollered Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 6-3 6-1 6-2 on Rod Laver Arena in the opening round of the Australian Open. Having come through two weeks of quarantine in Adelaide, and a brief but damaging spat with his hosts about the strict isolation conditions placed on competitors in Melbourne, the world number one let his tennis do the talking as he eased to a 297th Grand Slam victory. Djokovic has won eight of his 17 major titles on Melbourne Park’s main showcourt and, even with a smaller crowd than usual, the Serbian looked very much at home on the distinctive blue surface. “There’s an ongoing love affair with me and this court,” he said to cheers from the fans. “I’ve been lucky to have so much success on this court and hopefully it will continue for many years. It makes my heart full to see so many people in the stadium. This is the most people I’ve seen on a tennis court in 12 months. Thank you.” .@DjokerNole, the floor is yours 💙#AO2021 | #AusOpen pic.twitter.com/SqWLhhQghQ — #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) February 8, 2021 Chardy had never taken a set off his opponent in 13 previous matches and with Djokovic landing three quarters of his first serves, the Frenchman was unable to muster a single break point. With Djokovic finding the corners with his ranging strokes to rattle up 41 winners, Chardy’s small victories were the occasions when he battled back to hold his serve. Djokovic brought a definitive end to the one-sided contest with back-to-back aces after 91 minutes and will next play American world number 64 Frances Tiafoe in the second round. The Serbian said he felt he played a “flawless” match. “Especially on my service games I was very dominant,” he said. “I went very quick through my service games. “Just overall I think every shot that I executed tonight was really good and on a high level. I’m very pleased with the way I opened up the Australian Open. “On days like this where you feel very comfortable, of course, you try to relax and do few more other things.” For more news about the novel coronavirus click here. What you need to know about Coronavirus. For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150. The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link . Read Next Don't miss out on the latest news and information. Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000. For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.
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Kyrgios brings the noise to subdued ‘People’s Court’
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Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 8, 2021 Australia’s Nick Kyrgios during his first round match against Portugal’s Frederico Ferreira Silva REUTERS/Jaimi Joy MELBOURNE – Nick Kyrgios did his best to create his own atmosphere in a subdued John Cain Arena on Monday as he cruised into the second round of the Australian Open with a 6-4 6-4 6-4 victory over qualifier Frederico Ferreira Silva. The Australian can usually expect a febrile atmosphere when he plays on his favorite court, but a local coronavirus outbreak and unseasonably cold weather kept many punters away. Those who did turn up were treated to some vintage Kyrgios moments – a racket thrown across the court, a few choice words toward his box and a few more at the umpire as well as a trademark “tweener”. Scattered fans in the open air stadium, at best a quarter full, wore puffer jackets and blankets, clearly backing the home favorite with occasional cheers and fist bumps. “Honestly it was pretty average. I haven’t played a Grand Slam match in over a year. I was very nervous walking out here and I knew I wouldn’t be able to play my best game,” Kyrgios said after the match. “I was very fortunate that COVID didn’t affect me or my family. I used it as a massive reset and I’m just glad to be back out here.” Kyrgios, who fronted GQ magazine Australia’s digital cover, is undergoing a rebrand after he put in place new management and looked to reform his bad boy image. His public support for communities hit hard by Australia’s horrendous bushfires last year endeared him to a wider audience than fans of the game. Kyrgios certainly played to the local view of top tennis players being divas when he called world number one Novak Djokovic a “tool” when the Serbian, under Australia’s 14-day quarantine, requested houses with tennis courts for players to see out their isolation. The 25-year-old Australian has always had plenty of tennis talent and the world number 47 had far too much for his Portuguese opponent, who was once a rival in the junior ranks but was making his Grand Slam main draw singles debut. Kyrgios next plays French 29th seed Ugo Humbert — almost certainly on what he calls the “People’s Court” — as he looks to at least match his run to the quarter-finals here in 2015. For more news about the novel coronavirus click here. What you need to know about Coronavirus. For more information on COVID-19, call the DOH Hotline: (02) 86517800 local 1149/1150. The Inquirer Foundation supports our healthcare frontliners and is still accepting cash donations to be deposited at Banco de Oro (BDO) current account #007960018860 or donate through PayMaya using this link . Read Next Don't miss out on the latest news and information. Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000. For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.
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Andreescu in tears after winning return from long layoff
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Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 8, 2021 Canada’s Bianca Andreescu in action during her first round match against Romania’s Mihaela Buzarnescu REUTERS/Jaimi Joy Former US Open champion Bianca Andreescu cried the night before her much-anticipated return from a year-plus injury and then again burst into tears Monday after a tough victory in the Australian Open. The eighth seed was forced to save three break points in the seventh game of the deciding set before prevailing 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 against Romanian Mihaela Buzarnescu in two hours and two minutes. She capped her comeback in style with a 27th winner as she wiped away tears to complete an emotional 24 hours for the Canadian. “Last night I did cry, and I’m not afraid to say that because everyone cries sometimes,” she said. “But it’s a good release for me because in my head, all I was thinking about were the last 15 months and how tough they were, and they were tough for many reasons. “It wasn’t necessarily easy, but I got through them. “I have amazing people around me that help me along the way, and I have to thank them for that because I wouldn’t be able to do it without them.” Andreescu was set to make her comeback as top seed in the warm-up Grampians Trophy, but pulled out as a precautionary measure after spending 14 days in hard lockdown after arriving in Australia. She had not played a competitive match since suffering a left knee injury at the WTA Finals in October 2019, halting her rapid rise after a stunning straight-sets victory over Serena Williams in the final at Flushing Meadows that year. The 20-year-old turned to meditation to help her cope with the long layoff. “I’ve been doing really well with just staying in the present moment,” she said. “I think that was a key factor of why I won today. “To me it’s kind of embedded in myself somehow. “I was just super happy on the court and grateful to be back.” Andreescu plays Hsieh Su-wei of Taiwan in the second round. Read Next Don't miss out on the latest news and information. Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000. For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.
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Racquet-smashing Zverev grinds down Giron
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FILE – Germany’s Alexander Zverev reacts as he plays against Italy’s Jannik Sinner during their men’s singles fourth round tennis match on Day 8 of The Roland Garros 2020 French Open tennis tournament in Paris on October 4, 2020. (Photo by Anne-Christine POUJOULAT / AFP) Sixth seed Alexander Zverev mangled a racquet in frustration as he was made to dig deep against Marcos Giron before reaching the Australian Open second round Monday. The German, a semifinalist last year who is gunning for a maiden Grand Slam title, lost a tight first set against the 73rd-ranked American before grinding to a 6-7 (8/10), 7-6 (7/5), 6-3, 6-2 win. It was a tougher assignment than expected with Zverev smashing his racquet in anger during the second set before regaining his composure. “He played incredible. He had me on the ropes, particularly in the second set tie-break,” said Zverev, who is into round two for a fifth straight year. “I was just happy to get through. Playing the first round of a Grand Slam is never easy. My body felt a little fatigued, I was a little tired.” He will meet either Japan’s Taro Daniel or American qualifier Maxime Gressy next. The 23-year-old came into the tournament having beaten world number 12 Denis Shapovalov in the ATP Cup last week while pushing top-ranked Novak Djokovic deep into a third set, before being beaten by fourth-ranked Daniil Medvedev. He is looking to become the youngest Grand Slam singles champion since Djokovic won the title at Melbourne Park in 2011. Read Next Don't miss out on the latest news and information. Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000. For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.
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‘Vintage’ Serena impresses in Australian Open romp
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FILE PHOTO: Tennis – Yarra Valley Classic – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 5, 2021 Serena Williams of the U.S. in action during her quarter final match against Danielle Rose Collins of the U.S. REUTERS/Loren Elliott An aggressive Serena Williams started her quest Monday for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title by thrashing Laura Siegemund on day one of the Australian Open. The 39-year-old, playing an unparalleled 100th match at the tournament, looked sharp and smashed 16 winners in the 6-1, 6-1 romp in 56 minutes. “This was a good start, it was vintage Serena,” she said. Williams, wearing a striking multi-colored, one-legged catsuit, was broken in the opening game but hit back immediately and kept her foot on the pedal in a one-sided contest. She showed no ill-effects of a shoulder injury that ruled her out of the semifinals of the warm-up Yarra Valley Classic. Williams has also been battling a lingering Achilles injury first sustained at last year’s US Open, but has been in strong form so far in Melbourne. The American, seeded 10th in her 20th Australian Open, needs one more major to equal Margaret Court’s record Grand Slam tally. She has not added to her glittering collection since beating her sister Venus in the Australian Open final in 2017 when she was pregnant with daughter Olympia. Williams, the seven-time Australian Open champion, will play Serbia’s Nina Stojanovic in the second round. Read Next Don't miss out on the latest news and information. Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000. For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.
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Fil-Aussie Lizette Cabrera faces world No. 2 Simona Halep in Australian Open
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FILE – Lizette Cabrera of Australia returns a shot to Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan in the third round qualifying for to the US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 23, 2019 in New York City. Matthew Stockman/Getty Images/AFP MANILA, Philippines — Facing a tall order, Filipino-Australian Lizette Cabrera goes for a major upset against world number two Simona Halep of Romania in the first round of the Australian Open Monday at Rod Laver Arena. A wildcard entry, Cabrera, born to Filipino parents at Townsville, Australia, is making her fourth appearance in Melbourne. She has been competing in Grand Slams since 2017 but has yet to get past the opening round. Halep, meanwhile, made the semifinals last year before losing to Spanish star Garbine Muguruza. The former world number one, who ruled the 2019 Wimbledon and 2018 French Open, aims to add an Australian Open title to her Grand Slam collection. The 23-year-old Cabrera, whose father Ronnie is from Pampanga and mother Dolly is from Basilan, is ranked at 140 in the WTA. Cabrera, who is also set to compete in the women’s doubles event, has five ITF singles titles under her belt. Her highest ranking was at 119 in February of last year. Read Next Don't miss out on the latest news and information. Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000. For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.
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