© Ella Ling

Victoria Azarenka - trophy

Notes from Melbourne - day thirteen


Our highlights reel of all the action from the thirteenth day of the 2012 Australian Open.

Performance of the day
Victoria Azarenka. For two games, it looked like the occasion of her first grand slam final might be too much for the Belarusian. But two games was all it lasted, the youngster winning 12 of the next 13 games to hand Maria Sharapova an absolute schooling and win her first slam.

All the talk had been about the noise level of the match and not the tennis, and, although it was loud, it was also a masterful display from Azarenka, who completely overwhelmed the Siberian from the back of the court, winning 42 points to Sharapova’s 22 from the baseline.

The unforced error count proved to be the major difference though, Azarenka limiting hers to just 12 to 14 winners, whereas the Russian sprayed 30 unforced errors to 14 winners.

Becoming the new world number one, Azarenka is the fifth different female grand slam champion, but the first number one to hold a slam since Serena Williams was in the top spot.

What’s next for her, one wonders. An extended stay as number one? More majors? Lots, one would wager. But let this one sink in first.

Magnanimous in defeat
Maria Sharapova. She could not have given a better speech as the losing finalist. Close to having a Federer ‘it’s killing me’ moment, she thanked her opponent, and pretty much everyone else. Another final, certainly, another title? Maybe not.

Cameo appearance
Martina Hingis, whose white dress caused such a sensation as she presented the Daphne Akhurst Trophy that she was trending on twitter.

The upset
Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek d. Bob and Mike Bryan 7-6, 6-2
With the Bryan brothers chasing a record, and Bob’s baby arriving any moment, it was not thought likely that Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek would be able to spoil the party. But the Indian and Czech combination were a step ahead of the twins from the start, scorching through the tie-break, and the second set two. It completes a career grand slam of titles for Paes, the pair jumping around like five-year-olds as they celebrated their title.

One to watch
Taylor Townsend. The 15-year-old American, who favours a bow on the top of her head, is built like a mini Serena Williams, and plays rather like her too. Upsetting Russian fourth seed Yulia Putintseva to claim the girls’ singles title, Townsend also doubled up by winning the girls’ doubles too.

Another year older
There was good news too for Luke Saville, who wore the grumpiest face you’ve ever seen when he lost in the boys’ singles final here last year, but recovered to claim the Wimbledon title, and now his home slam as well. The junior world number one, Saville will now be attempting to make his way in the senior circuit.

The Quadfather once again
Peter Norfolk, who continues to defy both his age and lack of use of three limbs, won his fifth Australian Open title, defeating world number one David Wagner 4-6, 6-4, 6-2. Norfolk, who won gold in Beijing, has his sights on gold at London 2012.

Quotes of the day
“After the win, I couldn’t understand what’s happening.”
Women’s singles champion Victoria Azarenka

“I think maybe I just kind of overdid it.”
Maria Sharapova on having a bad day at the office.

Overhear of the day
“Is hashtag one word?”
The modern journalist

One day to go…
After last night’s late semifinal, which had some scribes (British) up working until 5am, there is a very real sense of light at the end of a black hole among the world’s tennis press. There’s only so long you can spend in a room with no light that makes you hungry all the time. Or maybe that’s just me.

Come back tomorrow for…
The last two matches of Australian Open 2012

Elena Vesnina and Leander Paes v Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Horia Tecau

Novak Djokovic v Rafael Nadal

We’re nearly there…

  • http://twitter.com/rossmbrown Ross Brown

    Re. Williams no.1 comment – Kim Clijsters was no.1 last February while reigning champion of US & Australian Opens.