The happy grand slam of Asia Pacific
The women’s event at the just-concluded Australian Open gave justification to the branding of the Melbourne super show as the Grand Slam of Asia and Pacific. The women’s singles title went to Japan’s Naomi Osaka, while Samantha Stosur of Australia and Shuai Zhang of China won the women’s doubles title.
The last former women’s champion from Australia was Chris O’Neill, who defeated Betsy Nagelsen in the 1978 finals, while the last Men’s champion was Mark Edmonson in 1976. The last Australians who won the Men’s Doubles were Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodridge in 1997. Todd paired Sweden’s Jonas Bjorkman to win the doubles in 2001.
The Australian Open also affirmed that the best servers do not always win matches. Milos Raonic topped the list with 132 aces in five matches but the American Reilly Opelka who came second achieved a higher average with a total 107 aces in just two matches. Fittingly the women’s champion, Osaka topped the list among the women with 59 aces in seven matches while her semi-final opponent, Karolina Pliskova came second with 37 in six matches.
Serena Williams was third with 33 aces in five matches. Among the men, Novak Djokovic was 16th with 45 aces in seven matches, while Rafael Nadal did not come in among the top 20. Romania’s Marius Copil and America’s Venus Williams fired the fastest serves delivered respectively.
South Africa’s Kevin Anderson, the world number six and tournament fifth seed, lost in the second round to America’s Frances Tiafoe 4/6, 6/4, 6/4, 7/5.
Nigerian-American, Michael Mmoh lost in the first round while Whitney Osuigwe received a wildcard but lost in the first round.In the junior girls’ event, Burundi’s Nahimana Sada was seeded 14th and lost in the first round to Australia’s Poulos Annerly. However, she teamed with Japan’s Moyuka Uchljlma to reach the quarterfinals where they lost to titlists, Natsumi Kawaguchi of Japan and Adrienne Nagy of Hungary 6/2, 7/6 (2).
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