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The 2014 Australian Open

Game, set and match for big time tennis fans Down Under!  The Australian Open was primed and ready to crown this year’s champion.  This is one of the sport’s premiere events, one of the Grand Slam tennis tournaments that only the best in the sport compete in and where only the top of the world’s competitor ranking can even play.  The winners become some of the best players in the world and improve their rankings.

2014-australian-open-day-14-20140126-111947-563The list of competitors is fierce this year.  Spectators were treated to surprising quarterfinal results when both the men’s and women’s defending champions were defeated.  Novak Djokovic was bested by Stanislas Wawrinka while former female champion Victoria Azarenka was beaten by Agnieszka Radwanska.  So no matter what, the next champion to be crowned will be different from last year.

The men’s singles went down this way.  Once the shock of the quarterfinals were over it was down to only four men lined up for the semis.  In the top ranked bracket we had #1 seed Rafael Nadal going against over achieving 6th seed Roger Federer where the two men battled it out.  Nadal dominated the match from the very beginning.

Federer is a four time winner of the Australian Open but was taken down in straight sets by Nadal, 7-6 (4), 6-3, 6-3.  The first set was close but once Nadal took it, he was off and running into the finals.  He is 7-0 against Federer in Grand Slam events when he takes the first set and is 137-0 in majors when winning the first two sets.  He now advances to his third Australian Open final to face the winner of the other semi match.

The other semi match was much closer between Stanislas Wawrinka and Tomas Berdych, where the 8th and 7th seeds respectively played in a serve-dominated match.  They finished 6-3, 6-7, (1-7), 7-6, (7-3), 7-6, (7-4).

Wawrinka and Nadal were set up to battle for the championship.  Remember that Wawrinka came into with massive momentum, having defeated the three time defending champion Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals.  He would continue his successful run into the finals against the powerful Nadal by beating him 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, roaring out to a lead early on and coming back to win in the end.  It was a tense, pulse-pounding final and end to a great tournament for Wawrinka, who became only the third Swiss player to win the Australian Open.

On the women side, things turned out like this.  Some low seeds made it very deep into the tournaments.  Eugenie Bouchard, the 30 seed, faced Li Na, the 4 seed, in one match up, where Li cruised to easy victory at 6-2, 6-4 and set her up to go into the final match with great momentum.  Dominika Cibulkov, the 20 seed, defeated Agieszka Radwanska, the 5 seed, 6-1, 6-2 to set up the final match with Li.

Li, in her third Australian Open final, beat the lower seeded Cibulkov in straight sets, 7-6 (3), 6-0.  Li became the oldest woman champion at 32 years of age.  Known for her cheery disposition and humor, she delighted the crowd with her post victory speech.  She joins a slew of incredible champions and proves age is not a hurdle in sports victories.

In the men’s doubles finals, Lukasz Kubot and Robert Lindstedt defeated Eric Butorac and Raven Klaasen, 6-3, 6-3.  On the women’s side, defending champions Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci successfully defended their title by winning 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 against Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina.

There were a lot of surprises this year but the tournament was very exciting for all the competitors and spectators present.  Most of the defending champions were taken down, often times by lower seeds, proving it doesn’t matter what happens before a tennis player steps on court, but rather how they play the day of the tourney.

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