Category Archives: Tennis

Double Fault – Tennis Legends (Boris Becker) – By Jack Maleham

It is often said in sport that if you are good enough, then you are old enough. That was certainly the case for German tennis star Boris Becker.

He was just 17 years old when he burst onto the tennis scene by becoming the youngest ever Wimbledon champion in 1985.

From then on Becker did not look back. He successfully defended his Wimbledon title the following year, beating the world number one Ivan Lendl in straight sets. An impressive feat, and more was to follow.

After going without a Grand Slam in 1987 and 1988, Becker enjoyed arguably his most successful tennis season in 1989. This was the first and only season in which Becker picked up two of the four Grand Slams. He won a third Wimbledon title before going on to claim the US Open, again defeating Lendl in the final.

Becker also helped West Germany lift the Davis Cup in this season by defeating Andre Agassi in the semifinal. He went on to be named Player of The Year by the ATP Tour.

However it was to be a one and a half year wait for Becker’s next major success. After failing to defend his Wimbledon title – losing in a five set thriller to Stefan Edberg – and his US Open title, Becker went into the 1991 Australian Open in determined mood.

Becker claimed his first Australian Open title, again defeating Lendl in the final. This was a special victory for Becker as it was the first and only time he would claim the world number one ranking, something that eluded the German for much of his career. He held number one for 12 weeks, but never managed to finish a season as the top ranked player.

A mid career slump was to follow. Off court issues meant that Becker would not win a major in the years 1992,1993,1994 or 1995. However in 1995, Becker reached his seventh Wimbledon final, although he was beaten in four sets by Pete Sampras.

There was one final major success left for Becker. In 1996 he claimed his final Grand Slam title by defeating Michael Chang in the final of the Australian Open.

By 1997 Becker was no longer at the top of his game. He reached the quarter-finals of Wimbledon but was defeated by Sampras. After this defeat, Becker vowed that he would never play at Wimbledon again.

He did however return to SW19 for one last time in 1999 but he was defeated in the fourth round.

Having won 49 career singles titles including six Grand Slam victories, Becker is certainly one of the legends of tennis.

 

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Double Fault – Aus Open Review – By Jack Maleham

After an enthralling two weeks the Australian Open has come to an end.

Novak Djokovic and Victoria Azarenka both successfully defended their titles and won the first Grand Slam of the 2013 tennis calender.

After a epic fourth round tie against Stanislas Wawrinka, Djokovic overcame tricky opponents in Tomas Berdych and David Ferrer in the quarter-finals and semi-finals to set up a mouthwatering final against Andy Murray.

Murray had beaten 17 time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer in the semi-finals and took the first set of the final. However after missing break points in the second set Djokovic hit back square the match up at one set all.

After that Djokovic was clinical. He played some magnificent tennis and took the third and fourth sets 6-3 and 6-2 respectively.

This is Djokovic’s fourth Australian Open and also his third in concession. This makes the Serb the first man in 46 years to win three successive titles in Melbourne.

As for Andy Murray despite being beaten in the final, he can take solace from the fact that he has now reached three successive Grand Slam finals. Djokovic-Murray is fast becoming one of the great tennis rivalries.

As for Azarenka she defeated sixth seed Li Na in three sets in the women’s final. The Belarusian beat rising star Sloane Stephens in the semi-finals after the American surprisingly knocked out Serena Williams in the last eight.

Li was in the final thanks to a semi-final win over the in-form Maria Sharapova. She took the first set 6-4 but Azarenka came back strong to win the next two sets. It is the second Australian Open title in a row for the world number one.

So both world number ones and both defending champions took the titles at the Australian Open but can they dominate the Grand Slams this year? Or will the chasing pack such as Murray, Federer, Sharapova and Williams fight back and claim Slams themselves.

You can keep up to date with all the action at The Sporting Week throughout the year.

 

 

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Murray to Face Djokovic

Great Britain’s Andy Murray will face Serbian and world number one Novak Djokovic tomorrow in a clash of the top two in the Australian Open Grand Slam final.

Murray, who claimed his maiden grand slam title at the US open last year, has made it to the final for the second year running.

If Murray can win tomorrow, he will become the first man to ever follow-up his maiden win with another straight after.

Yet for Murray, his greatest ambition could come from becoming a multi-time slam winner in the modern era, and put himself up with the greats of Rafael Nadal, Djokovic, and the greatest of them all Roger Federer

Djokovic, who defeated Murray last year and has won the title for the last two years, could become the first person since Roy Emerson to win the trophy three times in a row.

The pair have played 17 times in professional tennis, with Djokovic holding a ten to seven advantage. However when it comes to finals, Murray has the better of the seven game ration, having won four.

Crucially he defeated Djokovic in the last final they played at Flushing Meadows.

Murray’s road to final has been perfect, playing the minimum number of sets required up to the semi final as he disposed of challengers before taking out Federer in an epic five sets on friday.

Djokovic faced tough competition from Stanislas Wawrinka but has himself produced unbelievable tennis when it matters.

The game is live on BBC 1 tomorrow morning, coverage starting from 08:15 (GMT)

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Double Fault – Australian Open Week 1 Review – By Jack Maleham

It’s been an enthralling first week at the Australian Open with plenty of excellent tennis on show and some shocks along the way.

Defending champion Novak Djokovic has made his way into his 15th consecutive Grand Slam quarter-final. The Serbian number one saw off Paul-Henri Mathieu, Ryan Harrison and Radek Stepanek in straight set victories before overcoming 15th seed Stanislas Wawrinka in an epic five-hour match.

Djokovic was 6-1, 5-2 down in the match before fighting his way back to win 1-6 7-5 6-4 6-7 (5-7) 12-10.

The world number one will now face fifth seed Tomas Berdych in the quarter-finals. The Czech has made his way to the quarter-finals with relative ease having not yet dropped a set.

It will be a stern test for Djokovic especially after such a long and draining match against Wawrinka. However Djokovic is an incredible athlete and goes into the match as favourite.

Roger Federer has also reached the quarter-final stage having also not lost a single set. The Swiss had to overcome tricky encounters with home favourite Bernard Tomic and 13th seed Milos Raonic to set up a quarter-final showdown with Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The seventh seed defeated fellow countryman Richard Gasquet in the fourth round.

Britain’s Andy Murray has made his way to the quarter-finals with minimal fuss too. The world number three has won all of his four matches in straight sets including a comprehensive victory over 14th seed Gilles Simon.

Murray will face Jérémy Chardy in the quarter-finals. Chardy caused arguably the upset of the tournament so far when he saw off sixth seed Juan Martin del Potro in five sets in the third round. Although on paper it looks like Murray has the easiest quarter final opponent, Chardy will provide a tough test for the Scot.

The other quarter-final sees an all Spanish affair as fourth seed David Ferrer takes on 10th seed Nicholas Almagro.

Leading the way in the women’s draw is Russian star Maria Sharapova. The world number two has reached the quarter-finals with complete ease, dropping just five games in the process. She passed through the first two rounds without dropping a single game and beat Venus Williams en-route to the last eight.

Sharapova will face fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova in the quarter-finals after she caused a big upset by beating Angelique Kerber in the fourth round.

World number three Serena Williams has also made it through the first four rounds. Having only dropped eight games the American is well on her way to reaching a third Grand Slam final in a row. She will face Sloane Stephens in the quarter finals.

If Williams defeats Stephens then she could set up a blockbuster semi final match with world number one Victoria Azarenka. The Belarusian has made it to the quarter finals by dropping just one set which came against Jamie Hampton.

The defending champion faces a resurgent Svetlana Kuznetsova in the quarter finals after the Russian defeated 10th seed Caroline Wozniacki.

The other quarter-final sees world number four Agnieszka Radwanska face Li Na.

There have been upsets aplenty in the women’s draw. British starlet Laura Robson stunned former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in the second round by beating the Czech in three sets.

World number nine Samantha Stosur also fell in round two. She was beaten by Chinese world number 40 Zheng Jie while 2012 French Open finalist Sara Errani was knocked out in the first round by Carla Suarez Navarro.

Men’s Singles Quarter-Finals

Novak Djokovic (1) v Tomas Berdych (5)

David Ferrer (4) v Nicholas Almagro (10)

Jérémy Chardy v Andy Murray (3)

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (7) v Roger Federer (2)

Women’s Singles Quarter-Finals

Victoria Azarenka (1) v Svetlana Kuznetsova

Serena Williams (3) v Sloane Stephens (29)

Li Na (6) v Agnieszka Radwanska (4)

Ekaterina Makarova (19) v Maria Sharapova (2)

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Double Fault – Australian Open Preview – By Jack Maleham

The first Grand Slam of the season gets under way this week in Melbourne as the Australian Open takes centre stage.

In terms of the men’s game most peoples favourite going into the tournament will be world number one and defending champion Novak Djokovic. The Serbian has claimed the title in Melbourne three times in his career already and has a favourable draw.

He cannot meet Roger Federer or Andy Murray until the final and so looks a good bet for the crown. Murray is the second favourite for the title after he finally broke his Grand Slam duct at the US Open last year.

His form is good going into the tournament having won the Brisbane Open and he will look to claim his second successive Grand Slam title as well as attempting to claim the number one ranking.

He is likely to face Federer in the semi-finals but with his game constantly improving you wouldn’t bet against the Scot.

Whilst he isn’t one of the two favourites it would be foolish to write off Federer. The Swiss, who has won 17 Grand Slam titles in his career, may be advancing in years but he still has the capability to win Grand Slams as we saw at last years Wimbledon.

He does however have arguably the toughest draw of the three favourites. To get to the final he could possibly have to get past home favourite Bernard Tomic, rising Canadian star Milos Raonic, Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga as well as Murray.

Whilst it is likely that one of the ‘big three’ will take the crown, an outside bet could be Juan Martin del Potro. The Argentine has won the US Open in the past as well as a bronze medal at London 2012 and is now back to full fitness after suffering various injuries in the past.

Del Potro sits in Murray’s quarter and will provide a stern test for the Scot after reaching the semi-final of the ATP Tour Finals last November.

Serena Williams is most peoples favourite in the women’s game after a blistering end to last season saw her win Wimbledon, the US Open and a gold medal at the Olympic games.

Despite sitting at number three in the world rankings on her day Williams is simply unplayable as her strength enables her to dictate points against her opponents. She could be in for a third consecutive Grand Slam title.

Defending champion Victoria Azarenka will be hoping to retain the title in Melbourne and goes into the tournament as second favourite to Williams.

The world number one, won her first ever Grand Slam in Melbourne twelve months ago and it is a favourable surface for the Belarusian. She is likely to meet Williams in what could be a blockbuster of a semi-final but may have to get past Sara Errani or former world number one Caroline Wozniacki in the quarter finals.

Maria Sharapova has also got to be considered a major contender for the title in Melbourne. The Russian world number two has won four Grand Slam titles in her career, including the Australian Open in 2008. If she is on top form she will be very difficult to beat and could go all the way.

Outsiders for the women’s title include 2012 Wimbledon finalist Agnieszka Radwanska, 2011 Australian Open finalist Li Na and 2012 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.

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No Christmas Break

While other European countries have Christmas breaks in their sporting calendar, England prepares for the festive period of sport.

The football fixtures are notoriously brilliant for springing up some superb crackers and this year is no different with big games for the top sides.

Manchester United have to face Newcastle United and West Bromwich Albion in quick succession in two tricky games as they look to enter the New Year at the top of the tree.

Other title contenders and current champions Manchester City face Stoke City and they as well as Chelsea have to face inform Norwich City in the winter series of games.

Good runs for Arsenal, Everton, Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool will propel the sides up the table and make their second half of the season much easier.

At the bottom, there are crucial games for Queens Park Rangers, Reading and Southampton as they try to get a roll going before the transfer market opens.

Yet it is not just football that continues its period. In athletics, the Indoor Championships, both National and International take place in the opening three months of the year, and with form a priority, competitions are quickly coming up.

Regional events take place in January, along with the coveted  UK series against the best in Europe and USA and are great places to get qualifying times and that winning mentality.

Winter Sports are inevitably reaching the middle of their fixture lists and with key championships in 2013, it is important to make a move and keep form, rather than presents, on the mind.

The darts world championship continues through the Christmas break too, and with the cricket coming to an end, and the Australian Open tennis around the corner, the festive period is action packed once more.

You will be able to catch all the action, as well as all the winter sport here at The Sporting week throughout the festive period.

 

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Sports Personality of the Year Shortlist

This years Sports personality of the year is one of the most eagerly anticipated ever.

After an amazing 2012, the following 12 stars have made the shortlist for this years award:

Bradley Wiggins – Tour De France winner and also Olympic time trial gold medalist. Recently broke a few ribs on a bike ride in training but 2012 was a great year for the team sky rider.

Ben Ainslie – Olympic Gold medalist for the fourth time in the sailing, and flag bearer at the London 2012 closing ceremony.

Ellie Simmonds – Won even more Olympic golds as she cemented herself as GB’s queen in the pool. at only 17 years of age, the best could sill be yet to come for Simmonds

Jessica Ennis – Olympic heptathlon gold medalist, as well as breaking the world record in Gotzis earlier in the year.

Sir Chris Hoy – Six time Olympic gold medalist with his gold at the Olympics. Looking to become a second time winner of the trophy.

Rory McIlory – World number One, money leader on both the PGA and European tours and a major winner.

Nicola Adams- The first ever female Olympic Boxing champion, an iconic moment for British female sport.

David Wier – Winner of four gold medals at the Paralympic games, and has a dominance in the sport unrivaled by anyone else in any other sport right now.

Mo Farah – Double Olympic champion in the 5000m and 10,000m with some of the greatest ever moments in Olympic history.

Andy Murray – Finally ended that long wait for a British grand slam winner, as well as taking a gold medal at London and a silver in the mixed doubles

Sarah Storey – 11th gold medal at the London Paralympics made her the most decorated British Olympian ever.

Katherine Grainger – Finally won that rowing gold medal that had eluded her so far, after a moments last Olympic cycle.

The 12 nominations above have all had amazing 2012’s and the winner this year will fully deserve the prize.

Sports Personality of the year will take place on December 16th at the Excel centre in London, live from 7.30pm

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Czech’s take Davis Cup Crown

The Czech Republic won the Davis Cup this weekend as they defeated the Spanish in a hard-fought encounter.

In the 100th Davis Cup competition, Radek Stepanek was the hero as he won the final rubber game to give the Czechs a 3-2 victory.

The Spanish were without their best player Rafael Nadal for most of this year, and in his place was Nicolas Almagro, 11th in the world.

He however is not in the same league as Nadal and was overpowered by the underdog Stepanek who won 6-4 7-6 3-6 6-3

Earlier in the competition Tomas Berdych had lost to Spaniard David Ferrer to make the scores 2-2 going into the decider.

Berdych had however played and won in the singles on Friday and the doubles on Saturday so his loss was not for the want of trying.

The victory is the Republics first victory as an independent state and means that for the first time a nation holds the Davis, Fed and Hopman Cups at the same time.

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Federer and Djokovic Battle it Out

Two tennis greats battle it out tonight as the 2012 season ends at the ATP Tour Finals live from the 02 arena.

The greatest Tennis player, and defending champion Roger Federer will play five time grand slam winner and current Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic.

The pair have undoubtedly been the best players this season, with only Rafael Nadal, whose season was cut short due to injury and US Open champion Andy Murray anywhere near them.

Djokovic has had an easy road to the final winning all four of his games in commanding style, easily dispatching of Murray in the group and Juan Martin del Potro last night.

Federer has been less impressive in qualifying but he raised his game last night to dispose of Murray and show once more why he is such a great champion.

Whoever wins tonight will deservedly be able to call themselves the player of the year. For the first time in many seasons, there have been chops and changes at the top of the rankings, and four different grand slam winners.

Murray is the only player who has claimed two titles, the Olympics counting as one, in one of the best years for tennis as the top four became an even stronger unit.

As the curtain comes down on 2012, tennis fans will be hoping that this era can continue for years to come.

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Weekend Round Up

This weekend has seen some thrilling action already in the world of sport, so lets take a look back at some of the highlights.

In football, Arsenal drew an amazing game with Fulham 3-3, Manchester United came back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 at Aston Villa and Manchester City won 2-1 at home to Tottenham Hotspur with a late Edin Dzeko goal.

Moto GP’s final Grand Prix was won by Dani Pedrosa who took advantage of a massive crash for world champion Jorge Lorenzo in Valencia.

Two time world champion Casey Stoner finished third in his final GP race as he retires from the sport.

In Rugby Union, England demolished Fiji 54-12, Ireland fell to a second-half comeback from South Africa and France beat Australia 33-6 for their first win over them in seven years.

Elsewhere GB men’s ice hockey team moved into the final of their qualifying tournament to make it into the Winter Olympics after beating Japan, and Andy Murray will face Roger Federer for a place in the ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 arena.

Rory McIlroy claimed the race to Dubai money list prize after he finished third in Shanghai, adding to his PGA tour money list winner crown too.

In athletics, The IAAF Cross Country permit races began today as the same time all national cross country competition leagues hotted up as the trials for the GB team take place at the end of the month.

Tonight, there is also action as Chelsea face Liverpool in the Premier League and England’s rugby league side play France in their autumn international final.

You can catch more sports news here at The Sporting Week throughout the week as we give you the best sports news by young writers.

 

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