Australian Open: First week memories

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Venus Williams of the US reacts during a news conference after losing her match. (REUTERS)
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Switzerland's Roger Federer celebrates beating France's Richard Gasquet in their men's singles third round match on day six of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 20. (AFP)
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Belarus' Aryna Sabalenka reacts during their women's singles first round match against Australia's Ashleigh Barty on day two of the Australian Open. (AFP)
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Serbia's Novak Djokovic reacts against Spain's Albert Ramos-Vinolas during their men's singles third round match on day six of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on January 20, 2018. (AFP)
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Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine rests during a break in her match against Elina Svitolina of Ukraine. (REUTERS)
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Simona Halep of Romania reacts during her match against Lauren Davis of the US. (REUTERS)
Updated 21 January 2018
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Australian Open: First week memories

As the Australian Open enters its second week, Arab News look back at the memories from week one in Melbourne:

Day 1
Monday, Jan. 15
Venus Williams, Sloane Stephens and CoCo. Vandeweghe — all semifinalists at least at the 2017 US Open — led a string of seeds sent tumbling out. Men’s eighth seed Jack Sock soon joined them in a calamitous day for American players with only three of the 15 in action progressing. With Venus departing, it became the first time since 1997 that no Williams sister made the second round, with Serena not playing after giving birth to her first child.

Day 2
Tuesday, Jan. 16
Consummate media performer Roger Federer urges his fellow professionals to act themselves and not like “robots” with the press to keep tennis interesting for the sporting public. With some of the greats of the modern game in their twilight years, he understands the need for more players to step up, and open up. “I would like to see more players just being really themselves in front of the press, being more relaxed about it, not worrying so much about making mistakes. You’d rather see that than robots left, right and center,” he said. The Swiss great said he always tried to “give it a little bit something extra” during his interviews to keep everyone happy.

Day 3
Wednesday, Jan. 17
The ear-busting grunting and screeching of rising Belarusian star Aryna Sabalenka grates on the center court crowd in her match against Aussie favorite Ashleigh Barty, with fans mocking the 19-year-old, earning a rebuke from the umpire. Long a divisive issue in tennis, Twitter lit up the following day with many calling for more to be done stamp out the racket. The women’s governing body, the WTA, said grunting “is a natural part of the game,” although it did acknowledge fan concerns. “Excessive grunting is being addressed through a commitment to an ongoing educational outreach,” it added, whatever that means.

Day 4
Thursday, Jan. 18
Melbourne’s notoriously fickle weather dished up a day of 40 degrees Celsius and it played havoc. Novak Djokovic and Gael Monfils copped some of the worst of the scorching conditions in an afternoon match. The Serb called it “brutal” on court while Monfils complained he was suffering heatstroke. Caroline Garcia said her feet were on fire, but ice queen Maria Sharapova said she “loved summertime.” No matches were called off with the weather not considered severe enough to enforce the tournament heat policy.

Day 5
Friday, Jan. 19
Fifteen-year-old sensation Marta Kostyuk was the youngest woman into the Australian Open third round since “Swiss Miss” Martina Hingis in 1996, but her fairytale unraveled against fourth seed Elina Svitolina. She lost 6-2, 6-2 and was seen sobbing on her mum’s shoulder. Despite the loss, she relished the “free” tennis lesson from her fellow Ukrainian. “I had the chances, but because I thought, like, she is incredible, she’s a god, I cannot do anything against her, that’s the problem.” Kindly Svitolina predicted Kostyuk had a big future ahead.

Day 6
Saturday, Jan. 20
World No. 1 Simona Halep said she was “almost dead” after one of the longest Australian Open women’s matches ever. “I never played a third set so long. I’m almost dead,” said the Romanian after finally edging across the finish line 4-6, 6-4, 15-13 against Lauren Davis in 3hr 44min. “My muscles are gone. I don’t feel my ankle any more.” The longest match at Melbourne Park was in 2011 when Francesca Schiavone of Italy beat Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4, 1-6, 16-14 in 4 hours 44 minutes.


Pacquiao dominates in retaining title against Broner

Updated 20 January 2019
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Pacquiao dominates in retaining title against Broner

  • It's not known if Pacquiao’s dominating win over Adrien Broner gets him a rematch with Floyd Mayweather
  • There were no knockdowns, but Pacquiao landed the heavier punches

LAS VEGAS: Manny Pacquiao showed Saturday night he’s still got plenty of fight for a fighter on the wrong side of 40.
Whether Pacquiao’s dominating win over Adrien Broner gets him a rematch with Floyd Mayweather, though, is a question that will have to be answered another night.
With Mayweather watching from ringside, Pacquiao showed flashes of his old speed in winning a unanimous 12-round decision over Broner to easily defend his piece of the welterweight title. It was the 61st win of a remarkable career in which Pacquiao has won titles in eight weight classes.
Fighting for the first time at the age of 40, the senator from the Philippines won a lopsided decision that was never in doubt before a crowd that roared at every punch he landed. The decision was never in doubt, but Pacquiao pressed the fight into the later rounds as he tried unsuccessfully to score a knockout.
Two judges favored Pacquiao by a 116-112 score, while the third had it 117-111. The AP scored it a shutout 120-108 for Pacquiao.
There were no knockdowns, but Pacquiao landed the heavier punches — and lots of them. He caught Broner in the seventh and ninth rounds with big left hands that sent him backward, while Broner spent most of the fight looking for one big counter that never came.
Pacquiao, whose pro career stretches back 24 years, showed he still has the speed that carried him over his spectacular career. He also displayed some power, though he was never able to drop Broner.