Serena blows huge lead at Aussie Open

By Ricardo Chambers January 23, 2019
Serena Williams congratulates Karolina Pliskova at the net after losing at the Australia Open semi-final. Serena Williams congratulates Karolina Pliskova at the net after losing at the Australia Open semi-final.

Serena Williams was one point from the Australian Open semifinals when she lost her footing and the match slipped away.

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    Roger Federer and Alexander Zverev put Team Europe into a 3-1 lead against Team World in the Laver Cup after claiming victory in the doubles.

    Heading into the first doubles match of the tournament leading 2-1, Europe extended their advantage as two of their heavyweights held off a fight back from Jack Sock and Canadian Denis Shapovalov.

    A break of serve in the fourth game handed Federer and Zverev a chance they did not need a second invitation to grasp, going on to win the first set 6-3, wrapping it up in 37 minutes.

    Set two looked to be heading Europe's way in similarly simple fashion when the North American duo lost their serve in game one before passing up six break points. However, they finally fought back to draw level at 4-4.

    But with Federer and Zverev hanging on by their fingertips, Sock and his partner squandered six set points, with Shapovalov then double-faulting to hand a break to the men in blue.

    Europe took full advantage, Federer – playing in front of a buoyant home crowd in Geneva – serving out the match.

    Stefanos Tsitsipas' hard-fought victory had nosed Europe ahead in the final singles match of the opening day of the showpiece team event.

    The Greek triumphed 6-2 1-6 10-7 over Taylor Fritz in a thrilling contest, after Sock's win against world number 11 Fabio Fognini had cancelled out Dominic Thiem's earlier victory.

    Tsitsipas was rallied on by the rest of Europe's players, including Rafael Nadal, who had strapping on his left hand – the Spaniard having honoured his commitment to play in the tournament despite his exertions in the US Open.

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  • Stosur secures first final berth in two years Stosur secures first final berth in two years

    Sam Stosur has the chance to land her first WTA title since 2017 when she takes on Sofia Kenin in the final of the Guangzhou International Women's Open on Saturday.

    The Australian, the 2011 US Open champion, hit back to see off Viktorija Golubic 2-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-1 on Friday and advance to her first title match since Strasbourg in 2017.

    "I just tried to hang in there and find a way to start playing a bit better," said Stosur, who will return next week to the world's top 100 as a result of her run in China.

    "She's very tough to play against so I'm just happy to get through. 

    "This is where everyone wants to be, so to now make it to the final, I'm really happy and I'll give it my best shot on Saturday."

    Third-seeded American Kenin also required three sets to battle past Anna Blinkova 7-6 (7-2) 4-6 6-1.

    In Seoul, second seed Ekaterina Alexandrova overcame being a break down in the deciding set to beat Kristie Ahn 6-7 (0-7) 6-4 6-4.

    The big-serving Russian, who fired down 22 aces, will meet fourth seed Magda Linette in the semi-finals. Linette was an impressive 6-2 6-3 victor over Kirsten Flipkens.

    The other last-four clash pits Karolina Muchova against Wang Yafan.

    Muchova beat Priscilla Hon 6-3 6-3 while Wang dropped just four games in easing past Paula Badosa.

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