ROGER FEDERER CRUISES INTO LAST 16 OF AUSSIE OPEN, SHARAPOVA CRASHES OUT

We are well into the Australian Open and there is still no sign that the dominant forces in the game are about to be overturned anytime soon, Federer, Djokovic and Nadal are still unconquerable and you wonder if the youngsters of the new generation are focused enough.

Roger Federer is through to the fourth round without dropping a set. Novak Djokovic, playing his first event since Wimbledon, is alongside him despite modelling a new serve and needing treatment for lower back stiffness.

Unless there was a seismic upset when Rafael Nadal was due to play diminutive Argentinian Diego Schwartzmann earlier today, then the second week was going to have something of a familiar look it, in terms of big names propping up the draw.

The No 2 seed was in supreme form to continue his dominance over the Frenchman
Fderer returns a backhand to Richard Gasquet in his 4th round clash.

 

One fresher face in the quarter finals will be that of either Britain’s Kyle Edmund or Italy’s Andreas Seppi, who were also due to square off in this morning’s day session.

Otherwise there is a business-as-usual feel, with the expectation that the big names will again be there at the end. The current status quo was only made worse by the demise of world No 4 Alex Zverev, who was supposedly the member of the younger generation most nailed on to challenge the old guard.

Zverev’s distinctly modest Grand Slam record continued when he lamely petered out to a 5-7 7-6 2-6 6-3 6-0 defeat by Hyeon Chung. Remarkably, the young German has never beaten a top fifty player at a Major.

The 21 year-old Korean is another promising youngster, who will now face Djokovic after the Serb came through in straight sets against the No 21 seed, Albert Ramos-Vinolas, who was capable of winning only eight games.

Afterwards Chung commented: ‘If I play Novak again, I’m just happy to share the court with Novak.’

Meanwhile Glamour girl Maria Sharapova was resoundingly sent packing from the Australian Open.

Hours before the 30-year-old Russian was dumped out in just 64 minutes by the resurgent Angelique Kerber, one of Serena Williams’ many fans on Twitter posted lightheartedly that she might be siding with Sharapova in this much-anticipated third round match.

Williams, who has been active on social media lately, went to the trouble of a reply with a simple emoji of a blank face, which told you where her loyalties lay.

It was a sobering night for Sharapova as her hopes of a triumphant Slam return were dashed
A dejected looking Sharapova

 

By the time Sharapova plays in her next Grand Slam, the French Open, it is likely Williams will be back from her maternity leave and hunting a 24th major title. The chance to win one in her absence seems to have come and gone for the moment.

Prior to this encounter the Russian spoke of it being a good test for where she is, so a cursory 6-1 6-3 defeat does not tell an uplifting story.

She broke back from 0-2 down in the second set and had a break point to get ahead, but otherwise the door was slammed shut by a very impressive and aggressive performance from the German.

Kerber has good memories here from 2016, when she pulled off a remarkable win in the final against Williams. For Sharapova the tournament two years ago represented other things, for it was here that she gave a urine sample which proved positive for Meldonium. But that’s History now and The russian was more than accepting of her defeat.

” Angelique was stronger today and i can’t argue with that, ill just have to go back and get better”

 

Sharapova congratulates Kerber on her 6-1 6-3 victory in Melbourne on Saturday night

 

She has had her Injury worries marked by a fifteen-month absence, followed by a hip injury which kept her out of Wimbledon – and she has probably not played enough matches yet to recapture her former heights.

One problem has been staying healthy when having to play a volume of matches in a short space of time. That is why Grand Slams, with a rest day in between, in some ways offers her the best chance of getting some serious momentum going.

As it is, since coming back halfway through Stuttgart’s Porsche Grand Prix in April — where she hardly endeard herself to other players — she has missed Wimbledon, made the last-16 of the US Open and now the third round here.

Sharapova pledged that her appetite for working to get back to the top is undimmed, saying: ‘ I usually look forward to resting in the first week of November, so I’ve got a long way to go until then. If I’m looking for rest at this point in the season, there’s something wrong.

 

 

excerpts from dailymail

 

 

 

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