YOU can’t be in Australia and not catch the Australian Open. Sports editor Leon Saw gives you a quick round up of events as we head into the finals – last chance to witness some Grand Slam tennis in person!
If there’s any consolation for being in Melbourne for the duration of the harsh Australian summer, it is being able to catch the Australian Open Grand Slam tennis event at Melbourne Park.
The Australian Open isn’t any ordinary tennis tournament. It is one of four major tennis events (the others being the French Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open) of the season, and the first to be played. The tournament also currently boasts a prize pool of AU$30,000,000, the most for such an event, and has attracted top-ranked tennis players from around the world.
Since the first Australian Open in 1905, these modern-day gladiators have descended upon the tournament grounds to cross racquets in captivating contests of endurance, strength, and wills, and this year hasn’t been any different.
The Men’s Singles
The 2013 Australian Open is now in its final stage, and the Men’s Singles defending champion, Novak Djokovic, is in the running to become a four-time Australian Open champion.
The only hitch on the Serbian’s route to the final came in the form of Swiss player, Stanislas Wawrinka, who went close to defeating him in a pulsating five-set encounter, which at five hours and two minute, ranks among the longest tennis matches.
Despite the ordeal, Djokovic recovered brilliantly to dispatch Czech player, Tomas Berdych, and Spaniard, David Ferrer, in the quarterfinals and semifinals respectively, relatively easily.
His opponent in the final on Sunday, January 27, will be determined at the conclusion of today’s semifinal match between the winner of 17 Grand Slam singles titles, Rodger Federer, and last year’s US Open champion, Andy Murray.
The Women’s Singles
Also defending her singles title is Belarusian Victoria Azaranka, as she faces China’s first Grand Slam winner Li Na, in the Women’s Singles final tomorrow. Li Na arguably had tougher preliminary matches, having to defeat last year’s Wimbledon finalist Agnieszka Radwanska in the quarterfinals, and then last year’s finalist Maria Sharapova, in the semifinals. But the 2011 French Open Women’s Singles champion should still prove more than a match for the defending champion.
While there are no Australians left in the Singles events, locals have plenty to cheer about with the country being generously represented in the Doubles events. The Australian pair of Ash Barty and Casey Dellacqua will face off against the Italians Roberta Vinci and Sara Errani for the Women’s Doubles title later today, and locals Jarmila Gajdosova and Matthew Ebden will play the team of Denis Istomin and Yaroslava Shvedova this afternoon for a place in the Mixed Doubles Final on Sunday.
For more information about the Australian Open, visit the Australian Open website.