Australian Open: Day three review
Australian Open: Day three review
GREGOR DIMITORV (3) STAYING: The Bulgarian was pushed all the way in five sets before finally beating No. 186-ranked Mackenzie McDonald, who had never won a tour-level match before qualifying for the Australian Open, 4-6, 6-2, 6-4, 0-6, 8-6. Dimitrov is highly fancied but will have to improve a lot if he is to go all the way.
NICK KYRGIOS (17) STAYING: The explosive Aussie was always in control of his match against Viktor Troicki 7-5, 6-4, 7-6. We are only two matches in but there is a focus about the home hope that he has rarely shown before. He has all the talent in the world, could this be his year?
MARIN CILIC (6) STAYING: Last year’s Wimbledon finalist was in dominant form as he downed Joao Sousa 6-1, 7-5, 6-2. It was the kind of big-serving showing that if the Croatian can repeat and repeat should see him go deep in Melbourne.
JO-WILFRED TSONGA () STAYING: The Frenchman rallied from 5-2 in the fifth set to overcome rising star Denis Shapovalov 3-6, 6-3, 1-6, 7-6, 7-5 in an absorbing three-hour, 37-minute contest. He will now face Kyrgios in the next round in what promises to be a fascinating clash.
ELINA SVITOLINA (4) STAYING: The Ukrainian rallied to reach the third round with a gutsy 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 win over Katerina Siniakova. Svitolina was 0 for 6 on break-point chances in the first set, but recovered to break Siniakova six times over the rest of the match.
JELENA OSTAPENKO (7) STAYING: The French Open champion is through to the third round having seen off the challenge of Duan Yingying 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 on the Margaret Court Arena. The Latvian is definitely one to watch the longer the tournament goes on.
JULIA GOERGES (12) PACKING HER BAGS: The German was on a 15-match unbeaten streak and strongly tipped to do well in Melbourne. But she leaves trophyleess in week one having been beaten 6-4, 6-3 by world No.42 Alize Cornet.
Morata misses out on Spain World Cup squad
MADRID: Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata was left out of Spain’s World Cup squad, announced on Monday.
Morata paid the price for a disappointing debut season in the Premier League as Spain coach Julen Lopetegui picked Iago Aspas and Rodrigo Moreno up front, along with Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa.
“The decision is always difficult because of the talent of the players we have,” Lopetegui said.
“We have opted for three other players who had different assets and including four players up front was not something we wanted to do.”
Two more Chelsea players also missed out as Marcos Alonso and Cesc Fabregas were not included in the 23-man group.
Morata’s absence was the stand-out decision, however, even if it was not an entirely surprising one given the 25-year-old’s dramatic dip in form.
After scoring seven goals in his first seven games for Chelsea, a back injury seemed to affect his confidence. Morata has scored only three times in 22 games since the turn of the year.
“I’ve talked to the players I had to talk to,” Lopetegui said. “I’m not going to name anybody, but there are players who had to find out from me that they were not going to be on the list.”
In contrast, Aspas and Moreno have been in excellent form for Celta Vigo and Valencia respectively, with Aspas the top Spanish scorer in La Liga on 22 goals.
Costa is expected to start when Spain open up against Portugal in Group B on June 15 but Aspas, with his speed and direct running, remains an attractive option.
Alonso only made his debut in a friendly against Argentina in March and lost out to Arsenal’s Nacho Monreal. Fabregas fell behind Spain’s impressive wealth of options in midfield, which will include Sergio Busquets, Saul Niguez, Koke, Thiago Alcantara, Andres Iniesta, David Silva, Isco, Marco Asensio and Lucas Vazquez.
Manchester United’s David de Gea was included as expected, along with fellow goalkeepers Pepe Reina and Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta did make it in, as did Monreal. Dani Carvajal, Alvaro Odriozola, Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Nacho and Jordi Alba complete Spain’s group of defenders.
“I’ve had several doubts, making a list of 23 is very difficult,” Lopetegui said. “But we have decided this was the most balanced decision and the one we think will help us most at the World Cup.”