Williams upset in Australian Open, Djokovic wins third straight
Published: Sunday, January 27, 2013
Updated: Monday, January 28, 2013 08:01
For the first time in 16 years all four No. 1 seeds won the Grand Slam titles of The 2013 Australian Open. The tournament had many surprises, upsets, injuries and racquet breaking moments that have made history these past two weeks.
One of the most stunning upsets of the tournament was 19-year-old Sloane Stephens win over her tennis idol Serena Williams.
Williams the winner of five Australian Open titles, suffered through a back injury in the second set. Stephens took this to her advantage moving Williams all over the court and winning key points at the net.
Stephens currently ranked No. 25 played a steady game, while Williams a veteran player, was clearly affected by the teenagers ability to match her every stroke. Williams fell apart and committed three unforced errors to lose the match.
Stephens, who referred to Williams as her “tennis god” at last year’s tournament, became an instant celebrity in the span of two hours and 13 minutes as she rolled into the her first semifinals of a Grand Slam tournament.
Stephens went on to meet world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka in the semifinal. Azarenka atop of the rankings and dominating the tournament thus far took the first set 6-1. Stephens full of confidence was not ready to leave without a fight, Azarenka started to wobble, and with two double faults in a row she lost her serve. The tables turned once again when Azarenka broke Stephens serve leaving her four points away from winning. But she couldn’t close out the match, with five match points Azarenka choked.
The set now 5-4, Azarenka called for a trainer because she could not breathe. She took a nine-minute medical timeout just as Stephens was about to serve to stay in the match. Within minutes after, Azarenka takes the match for a place in the finals.
The medical timeout became the most controversial topic of the tournament, as Azarenka’s on court interview was misunderstood.
“I almost did the choke of the year right now” she said “At 5-3 having so many chances and I couldn’t close it out. I was a bit overwhelmed realizing I was one step away from the final. Nerves got into me, for sure.”
Social media websites went wild, was she really injured or was it blatant gamesmanship?
Azarenka later stated she was “literally choking” and could not breathe due to a rib and back problem she had been fighting for days now. She apologized for the misunderstanding and went on to face Na Li in the final.
Na Li shattered one of the tournament favorites, Maria Sharapova in what has been said to be her best match in a year and a half. She crushed Sharapova 6-2 6-2 for a place in the finals.
Li never allowed the free-swinging Russian to gain a grip in the match, consistently attacking her taller opponent with well-placed serves, huge returns and forceful groundstrokes. She executed on big points and broke Sharapova five times.
The drama continued in the final that came down to defending champion Azarenka and No. 6 Li. The off court drama surrounding Azarenka was the least of everyone’s problems, the match had three interruptions, two medical timeouts and a 10 minute firework break to celebrate the annual Australian Day.
Li took the first set 6-4. Azarenka adjusted and lifted her game in the second set, breaking Li twice and gaining a 3-0 lead. Azarenka was in control of the match, moving Li from side to side, in a change of directions Li twisted her ankle falling to the ground and receiving a medical timeout. Azarenka took the second set 6-4.
Following the firework show Li once again went over on the same injured ankle and hit her head on the ground.
After receiving another medical timeout, Azarenka broke Li once again to take the match and become the eighth woman to win back-to-back Australian Open titles.
The men’s side had little to no drama in comparison to the women, but they did have their share of upsets and surprises.
Starting with Rafael Nadal being absent in the tournament to the several nail bitter five set matches.
Stanslas Wawrinka, No. 15 met world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in round four, the match was a marathon battle to earn a place in the quarterfinals. Djokovic fought hard and long against a pumped up Swiss who dictated the majority of the match, but fell short in fifth set at 1:41 a.m.
Defending champion Djokovic took the match (1-6,7-5,6-4,6-7,12-10) after a grueling five hours and two minutes.
On the other side of the draw it was expected that No. 2 Roger Federer and No. 3 Andy Murray would meet in the semifinal.