Australian Open: The women in Melbourne
The women stole the show by giving the world of tennis a new champion in Melbourne Park, for the much awaited turnover of titlists in the game.
A new name was inscribed on the women’s trophy for the second year in a row. Sofia Kenin’s path to the title was strewn with a catalogue of upsets in which all the bookmakers’ picks fell throughout the tournament.
Serena Williams arrived in Melbourne after her victory in Auckland New Zealand and with the singular goal of a record-tying 24th Grand Slam title that has eluded her.
She dedicated the Auckland trophy to her daughter as it was her first title after giving birth to Olympia. Serena was the eighth seed and seemed relaxed as she raced through the first two rounds before losing to China’s Qiang Wang in three sets.
In the first week, other losers in the third round were Madison Keys, Belinda Bencic, second-seeded Karolina Pliskova and third-seeded Naomi Osaka who was stunned by Coco Gauff. Garbine Muguruza dispatched the fifth-seeded Elina Svitolina in the third round and the ninth-seeded Kiki Bertens in the fourth round.
In the second week, top-seeded Ashleigh Barty defeated seventh-seeded Petra Kvitova in the quarter-finals, leaving her and Simona Halep the top seeds vying for the title. Muguruza got a number of net-cord points at critical moments to defeat Halep in the semi-finals, while Sofia Kenin shocked the host country by sending out Barty 7/6; 7/5.
In that fateful match, Barty and Kenin wore the green and blue outfits of the same clothing sponsor.
En route to the finals, Muguruza overcame a 0-6 first set to defeat American Shelby Rogers in the first round. Barty was the only top-ten player beaten by Kenin after she halted Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur in the quarter-finals after sending out Coco Gauff in the previous round.
The curtain came down on the playing career of Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki after she lost to Ons Jabeur 7/5; 3/6; 7/5 in the third round match on Rod Laver Arena. However, Venus Williams’ first round loss to Coco Gauff on Margaret Court Arena generated the question: “could it be her swan song?”
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