Maria Sharapova

Grand slam winner Maria Sharapova will be a prominent representative of the Russian Olympic team at the London Olympics.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Maria Sharapova of Russia drinks water during the practice session ahead of the 2012 London Olympic Games at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Olympics - Previews - Day - 1
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Maria Sharapova of Russia drinks water during the practice session ahead of the 2012 London Olympic Games at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 27: Maria Sharapova of the Russia Olympic tennis team carries her country's flag during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
2012 Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 27: Maria Sharapova of the Russia Olympic tennis team carries her country's flag during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 27: Maria Sharapova of the Russia Olympic tennis team carries her country's flag during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
2012 Olympic Games - Opening Ceremony
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 27: Maria Sharapova of the Russia Olympic tennis team carries her country's flag during the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Maria Sharapova of Russia plays a forehand during the practice session ahead of the 2012 London Olympic Games at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Olympics - Previews - Day - 1
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Maria Sharapova of Russia plays a forehand during the practice session ahead of the 2012 London Olympic Games at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Maria Sharapova of Russia smiles during the practice session ahead of the 2012 London Olympic Games at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Olympics - Previews - Day - 1
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Maria Sharapova of Russia smiles during the practice session ahead of the 2012 London Olympic Games at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Maria Sharapova of Russia serves during the practice session ahead of the 2012 London Olympic Games at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Olympics - Previews - Day - 1
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Maria Sharapova of Russia serves during the practice session ahead of the 2012 London Olympic Games at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Maria Sharapova of Russia plays a backhand during the practice session ahead of the 2012 London Olympic Games at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Olympics - Previews - Day - 1
LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 26: Maria Sharapova of Russia plays a backhand during the practice session ahead of the 2012 London Olympic Games at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon on July 26, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Maria Sharapova at ESPYs
Maria Sharapova at ESPYs
Maria Sharapova at ESPYs
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 29: Maria Sharapova of Russia returns the ball during her Ladies' singles third round match against Su-Wei Hsieh of Taipei on day five of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on June 29, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
The Championships - Wimbledon 2012: Day Five
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 29: Maria Sharapova of Russia returns the ball during her Ladies' singles third round match against Su-Wei Hsieh of Taipei on day five of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on June 29, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 09: French Open women's champion Maria Sharapova of Russia poses with the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen near the Eiffel Tower after her victory earlier in the day in the women's singles final against Sara Errani of Italy during day 14 of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 9, 2012 in Paris, France. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
French Open Women's Champion Maria Sharapova Of Russia Poses Getty Images
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 09: French Open women's champion Maria Sharapova of Russia poses with the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen near the Eiffel Tower after her victory earlier in the day in the women's singles final against Sara Errani of Italy during day 14 of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 9, 2012 in Paris, France. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Russia's Maria Sharapova poses with her trophy in the clockrooms after winning against Italy's Sara Errani the Women's Singles final tennis match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium, on June 9, 2012 in Paris. AFP PHOTO / POOL SINDY THOMASSINDY THOMAS/AFP/GettyImages
Russia's Maria Sharapova Poses AFP/Getty Images
Russia's Maria Sharapova poses with her trophy in the clockrooms after winning against Italy's Sara Errani the Women's Singles final tennis match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium, on June 9, 2012 in Paris. AFP PHOTO / POOL SINDY THOMASSINDY THOMAS/AFP/GettyImages
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 09: Maria Sharapova of Russia plays a backhand in the women's singles final against Sara Errani of Italy during day 14 of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 9, 2012 in Paris, France. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Maria Sharapova Of Russia Plays Getty Images
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 09: Maria Sharapova of Russia plays a backhand in the women's singles final against Sara Errani of Italy during day 14 of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 9, 2012 in Paris, France. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 09: Maria Sharapova of Russia kisses the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen after the women's singles final against Sara Errani of Italy during day 14 of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 9, 2012 in Paris, France. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Maria Sharapova Of Russia Kisses Getty Images
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 09: Maria Sharapova of Russia kisses the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen after the women's singles final against Sara Errani of Italy during day 14 of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 9, 2012 in Paris, France. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 09: Maria Sharapova of Russia celebrates with the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen in her changing room after her women's singles final against Sara Errani of Italy during day 14 of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 9, 2012 in Paris, France. (Photo by Sindy Thomas - Pool/Getty Images)
Maria Sharapova Of Russia Celebrates Getty Images
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 09: Maria Sharapova of Russia celebrates with the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen in her changing room after her women's singles final against Sara Errani of Italy during day 14 of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 9, 2012 in Paris, France. (Photo by Sindy Thomas - Pool/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 09: Maria Sharapova of Russia is sprayed with champagne by her physical trainer Juan Reque (L) and her hitting partner Cecil Mamiit (R) as she makes her way to her changing room after her women's singles final against Sara Errani of Italy during day 14 of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 9, 2012 in Paris, France. (Photo by Sindy Thomas - Pool/Getty Images)
Maria Sharapova Of Russia Is Sprayed With Champagne By Her Physical Trainer Juan Reque (L) And Her Hitting Partner Getty Images
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 09: Maria Sharapova of Russia is sprayed with champagne by her physical trainer Juan Reque (L) and her hitting partner Cecil Mamiit (R) as she makes her way to her changing room after her women's singles final against Sara Errani of Italy during day 14 of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 9, 2012 in Paris, France. (Photo by Sindy Thomas - Pool/Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 09: Maria Sharapova of Russia plays a backhand in the women's singles final against Sara Errani of Italy during day 14 of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 9, 2012 in Paris, France. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Maria Sharapova Of Russia Plays Getty Images
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 09: Maria Sharapova of Russia plays a backhand in the women's singles final against Sara Errani of Italy during day 14 of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 9, 2012 in Paris, France. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
TOPSHOTS Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova poses with her trophy in front the Eiffel tower on June 9, 2012 in Paris, after winning the Women's Singles final tennis match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium. AFP PHOTO / PATRICK KOVARIKPATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/GettyImages
TOPSHOTS Russian Tennis Player Maria Sharapova Poses With Her Trophy In Front The Eiffel Tower On June 9, 2012 In Paris, AFP/Getty Images
TOPSHOTS Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova poses with her trophy in front the Eiffel tower on June 9, 2012 in Paris, after winning the Women's Singles final tennis match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium. AFP PHOTO / PATRICK KOVARIKPATRICK KOVARIK/AFP/GettyImages
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 09: Maria Sharapova of Russia celebrates with the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen in the women's singles final against Sara Errani of Italy during day 14 of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 9, 2012 in Paris, France. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Maria Sharapova Of Russia Celebrates With The Coupe Suzanne Lenglen In The Women's Singles Final Against Sara Errani Getty Images
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 09: Maria Sharapova of Russia celebrates with the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen in the women's singles final against Sara Errani of Italy during day 14 of the French Open at Roland Garros on June 9, 2012 in Paris, France. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Here is what you missed overnight on day five at the Australian Open... Dimitrov march continues Third-seed Grigor Dimitrov advanced to the fourth round, beating Andrey Rublev 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the final match of the day session on Rod Laver Arena. After beating qualifiers in his first two matches, Dimitrov had a more difficult time against 30th-seed Rublev. Serving for the match, Dimitrov faced a break point before advancing on his first match point, clinching it with a winner off a Rublev drop shot. "These are the most important matches for me, when certain things are not working for me and I find a way," said Dimitrov. "He's a good player. He beat me at the US Open so I knew what to expect and what I had to do." Dimitrov will next play the winner of Friday night's match between Nick Kyrgios and 2008 finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Edmund keeps British hopes alive Kyle Edmund's path to the quarter-finals looked a relatively simple one after knocking out Kevin Anderson in the opening round in Melbourne, but he had to dig deep to see off Nikoloz Basilashvili in brutally hot conditions on Friday. Edmund showed tremendous levels of fitness and determination to recover from two sets to one down and beat his Georgian opponent 7-6, 3-6, 4-6, 6-0, 7-5. The Yorkshireman suffered a lull after appearing in control at a set and a break up but a 20-minute Basilashvili service game early in the fourth set, where he finally broke, turned the match in Edmund's favour with a swirling wind making life difficult for both players. Kyle Edmund is through to the fourth round in Melbourne Credit: getty images “During the whole of that fifth set the finish line seemed so far away,” said Edmund afterwards. “Physically at the end it was very demanding. When he hit that ball in the net, I was so relieved, because he just kept slugging it and it kept going in. Finally he missed it. “It's not easy. Towards the end the wind died down so there was no fresh air. It's not forgiving, you either get to the ball or you don't, you can't bluff it. It's tough but I knew it was tough for him too. If I'm hurting, he was going to be hurting. I just kept sticking with it. I knew if I just kept getting balls back, he wasn't going to like it.” Can't stand the heat The spotlight was again on searing temperatures in Melbourne on Friday as temperatures pushed past 40C on Friday. The tournament's extreme heat policy sees stadium roofs closed and outdoor matches suspended when the ambient temperature exceeds 40C and the wet bulb globe temperature index reading exceeds 32.5C, but organisers said the brutal conditions did not meet the thresholds. However, Alize Cornet said the policy could be endangering the safety of players after suffering dizzy spells during her third round match against Elise Mertens on Friday. Cornet slumped to the court after serving during the second set of her 7-5 6-4 defeat by Mertens at the Hisense Arena and needed a medical assessment before receiving an ice down. Alize Cornet found the heat too much to handle Credit: reuters "Playing at this time was probably the worst time of the day," she said. "I kind of felt that I could faint at any moment. "I think it could be dangerous, but I think that the fact the doctor came on the court and took my blood pressure and she was looking if I was feeling good enough to keep playing the match... They are very careful about that. "But still, you know, playing in this condition is of course very dangerous for the health of the player. The limit of not playing the match is really high, it's like it needs to be above 45 degrees and humidity. "I think this limit should be a little lower because playing in this condition is not nice for anyone. The crowd was in the shade but for the player it's incredibly tough." Vandeweghe pays the price You may remember Coco Vandeweghe landing herself in trouble back on the opening day of the tournament when she received a code violation for refusing to get off her chair until she had been delivered a banana after the end of the first set in her match against Timea Babos. CoCo Vandeweghe had gotten her first code violation earlier for time violation/civil disobedience: refusing to take court without eating a banana first. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/6Opg7xon2N— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 15, 2018 Vandeweghe went on to lose that match 7-6, 6-2, but on Friday she was handed the biggest penalty of this year's Australian Open when she was fined AUS$10,000 (£5,760) for screaming an obscenity at Babos. Vandeweghe said after the match that she was irritated by what she described as excessive celebrating by her Hungarian opponent during their match. End of the teen dream Fifteen-year-old Marta Kostyuk's run came to an end with a 6-2, 6-2 loss against fourth seed and fellow Ukrainian Elina Svitolina. Kostyuk's success, coming through qualifying and reaching the third round, had been one of the stories of this week but she found Svitolina too strong and too experienced in her debut on Rod Laver Arena. Kostyuk was given a wildcard into qualifying after winning the junior title 12 months ago and must now focus on working her way up the professional game from her current ranking of 521. Asked how much she learned, Kostyuk said: "A lot. How much do you have to pay Svitolina to have a one-hour lesson? I got it for free. "She's a great player, but what I learned is that you can play against everyone. I had the chances, but because I thought she is incredible, like she's a god, I cannot do anything against her, that's the problem." Beyond the Baseline | Read Charlie Eccleshares three-part series on the unseen side of professional tennis Celebrating in style Thursday saw 2016 Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber celebrate her 30th birthday with a second-round win over Donna Vekic. A day later, it was Petra Martic whose birthday went with a bang as she celebrated turning 27 with a 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 win over Luksika Kumkhum to advance to the fourth round at Melbourne Park. Match of the day The first match on Court Two saw a topsy-turvy affair between Kyle Edmund and Nikoloz Basilashvili, which saw the British No 2 battle through in five sets to win 7-6, 3-6, 4-6, 6-0, 7-5. Upset of the day Henri Kontinen and John Peers lifted the men's doubles title in Melbourne last year, but there will be no repeat success as the No 2 seeds were dumped out 6-4, 7-6 in the second round by Radu Albot and Chung Hyeon. Quote of the day "I’m young, it’s professional sport. It’s meant to hurt." Kyle Edmund makes light of the stifling hot temperatures on Friday. Stat of the day 20 minutes - The fourth set of Kyle Edmund's match against NikolozBasilashvili lasted 36 minutes, with 20 of them in just one single game that featured 36 points and 15 deuces. Shot of the day Courtesy of Kyle Edmund: .@kyle8edmund dropping it like it's hot ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/FeDJwmh7jx— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 19, 2018 Matches you don't want to miss tomorrow There is a veritable feast on offer on Saturday in Melbourne. The men's draw sees Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic take top billing against Richard Gasquet and Albert Ramos Vinolas respectively, while two potential future stars face off in Alexander Zverev and Chung Hyeon. Angelique Kerber against Maria Sharapova is the best match on the women's side.
Australian Open 2018: What you missed on day five - Grigor Dimitrov triumphs as the heat continues
Here is what you missed overnight on day five at the Australian Open... Dimitrov march continues Third-seed Grigor Dimitrov advanced to the fourth round, beating Andrey Rublev 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the final match of the day session on Rod Laver Arena. After beating qualifiers in his first two matches, Dimitrov had a more difficult time against 30th-seed Rublev. Serving for the match, Dimitrov faced a break point before advancing on his first match point, clinching it with a winner off a Rublev drop shot. "These are the most important matches for me, when certain things are not working for me and I find a way," said Dimitrov. "He's a good player. He beat me at the US Open so I knew what to expect and what I had to do." Dimitrov will next play the winner of Friday night's match between Nick Kyrgios and 2008 finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Edmund keeps British hopes alive Kyle Edmund's path to the quarter-finals looked a relatively simple one after knocking out Kevin Anderson in the opening round in Melbourne, but he had to dig deep to see off Nikoloz Basilashvili in brutally hot conditions on Friday. Edmund showed tremendous levels of fitness and determination to recover from two sets to one down and beat his Georgian opponent 7-6, 3-6, 4-6, 6-0, 7-5. The Yorkshireman suffered a lull after appearing in control at a set and a break up but a 20-minute Basilashvili service game early in the fourth set, where he finally broke, turned the match in Edmund's favour with a swirling wind making life difficult for both players. Kyle Edmund is through to the fourth round in Melbourne Credit: getty images “During the whole of that fifth set the finish line seemed so far away,” said Edmund afterwards. “Physically at the end it was very demanding. When he hit that ball in the net, I was so relieved, because he just kept slugging it and it kept going in. Finally he missed it. “It's not easy. Towards the end the wind died down so there was no fresh air. It's not forgiving, you either get to the ball or you don't, you can't bluff it. It's tough but I knew it was tough for him too. If I'm hurting, he was going to be hurting. I just kept sticking with it. I knew if I just kept getting balls back, he wasn't going to like it.” Can't stand the heat The spotlight was again on searing temperatures in Melbourne on Friday as temperatures pushed past 40C on Friday. The tournament's extreme heat policy sees stadium roofs closed and outdoor matches suspended when the ambient temperature exceeds 40C and the wet bulb globe temperature index reading exceeds 32.5C, but organisers said the brutal conditions did not meet the thresholds. However, Alize Cornet said the policy could be endangering the safety of players after suffering dizzy spells during her third round match against Elise Mertens on Friday. Cornet slumped to the court after serving during the second set of her 7-5 6-4 defeat by Mertens at the Hisense Arena and needed a medical assessment before receiving an ice down. Alize Cornet found the heat too much to handle Credit: reuters "Playing at this time was probably the worst time of the day," she said. "I kind of felt that I could faint at any moment. "I think it could be dangerous, but I think that the fact the doctor came on the court and took my blood pressure and she was looking if I was feeling good enough to keep playing the match... They are very careful about that. "But still, you know, playing in this condition is of course very dangerous for the health of the player. The limit of not playing the match is really high, it's like it needs to be above 45 degrees and humidity. "I think this limit should be a little lower because playing in this condition is not nice for anyone. The crowd was in the shade but for the player it's incredibly tough." Vandeweghe pays the price You may remember Coco Vandeweghe landing herself in trouble back on the opening day of the tournament when she received a code violation for refusing to get off her chair until she had been delivered a banana after the end of the first set in her match against Timea Babos. CoCo Vandeweghe had gotten her first code violation earlier for time violation/civil disobedience: refusing to take court without eating a banana first. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/6Opg7xon2N— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 15, 2018 Vandeweghe went on to lose that match 7-6, 6-2, but on Friday she was handed the biggest penalty of this year's Australian Open when she was fined AUS$10,000 (£5,760) for screaming an obscenity at Babos. Vandeweghe said after the match that she was irritated by what she described as excessive celebrating by her Hungarian opponent during their match. End of the teen dream Fifteen-year-old Marta Kostyuk's run came to an end with a 6-2, 6-2 loss against fourth seed and fellow Ukrainian Elina Svitolina. Kostyuk's success, coming through qualifying and reaching the third round, had been one of the stories of this week but she found Svitolina too strong and too experienced in her debut on Rod Laver Arena. Kostyuk was given a wildcard into qualifying after winning the junior title 12 months ago and must now focus on working her way up the professional game from her current ranking of 521. Asked how much she learned, Kostyuk said: "A lot. How much do you have to pay Svitolina to have a one-hour lesson? I got it for free. "She's a great player, but what I learned is that you can play against everyone. I had the chances, but because I thought she is incredible, like she's a god, I cannot do anything against her, that's the problem." Beyond the Baseline | Read Charlie Eccleshares three-part series on the unseen side of professional tennis Celebrating in style Thursday saw 2016 Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber celebrate her 30th birthday with a second-round win over Donna Vekic. A day later, it was Petra Martic whose birthday went with a bang as she celebrated turning 27 with a 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 win over Luksika Kumkhum to advance to the fourth round at Melbourne Park. Match of the day The first match on Court Two saw a topsy-turvy affair between Kyle Edmund and Nikoloz Basilashvili, which saw the British No 2 battle through in five sets to win 7-6, 3-6, 4-6, 6-0, 7-5. Upset of the day Henri Kontinen and John Peers lifted the men's doubles title in Melbourne last year, but there will be no repeat success as the No 2 seeds were dumped out 6-4, 7-6 in the second round by Radu Albot and Chung Hyeon. Quote of the day "I’m young, it’s professional sport. It’s meant to hurt." Kyle Edmund makes light of the stifling hot temperatures on Friday. Stat of the day 20 minutes - The fourth set of Kyle Edmund's match against NikolozBasilashvili lasted 36 minutes, with 20 of them in just one single game that featured 36 points and 15 deuces. Shot of the day Courtesy of Kyle Edmund: .@kyle8edmund dropping it like it's hot ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/FeDJwmh7jx— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 19, 2018 Matches you don't want to miss tomorrow There is a veritable feast on offer on Saturday in Melbourne. The men's draw sees Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic take top billing against Richard Gasquet and Albert Ramos Vinolas respectively, while two potential future stars face off in Alexander Zverev and Chung Hyeon. Angelique Kerber against Maria Sharapova is the best match on the women's side.
Here is what you missed overnight on day five at the Australian Open... Dimitrov march continues Third-seed Grigor Dimitrov advanced to the fourth round, beating Andrey Rublev 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the final match of the day session on Rod Laver Arena. After beating qualifiers in his first two matches, Dimitrov had a more difficult time against 30th-seed Rublev. Serving for the match, Dimitrov faced a break point before advancing on his first match point, clinching it with a winner off a Rublev drop shot. "These are the most important matches for me, when certain things are not working for me and I find a way," said Dimitrov. "He's a good player. He beat me at the US Open so I knew what to expect and what I had to do." Dimitrov will next play the winner of Friday night's match between Nick Kyrgios and 2008 finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Edmund keeps British hopes alive Kyle Edmund's path to the quarter-finals looked a relatively simple one after knocking out Kevin Anderson in the opening round in Melbourne, but he had to dig deep to see off Nikoloz Basilashvili in brutally hot conditions on Friday. Edmund showed tremendous levels of fitness and determination to recover from two sets to one down and beat his Georgian opponent 7-6, 3-6, 4-6, 6-0, 7-5. The Yorkshireman suffered a lull after appearing in control at a set and a break up but a 20-minute Basilashvili service game early in the fourth set, where he finally broke, turned the match in Edmund's favour with a swirling wind making life difficult for both players. Kyle Edmund is through to the fourth round in Melbourne Credit: getty images “During the whole of that fifth set the finish line seemed so far away,” said Edmund afterwards. “Physically at the end it was very demanding. When he hit that ball in the net, I was so relieved, because he just kept slugging it and it kept going in. Finally he missed it. “It's not easy. Towards the end the wind died down so there was no fresh air. It's not forgiving, you either get to the ball or you don't, you can't bluff it. It's tough but I knew it was tough for him too. If I'm hurting, he was going to be hurting. I just kept sticking with it. I knew if I just kept getting balls back, he wasn't going to like it.” Can't stand the heat The spotlight was again on searing temperatures in Melbourne on Friday as temperatures pushed past 40C on Friday. The tournament's extreme heat policy sees stadium roofs closed and outdoor matches suspended when the ambient temperature exceeds 40C and the wet bulb globe temperature index reading exceeds 32.5C, but organisers said the brutal conditions did not meet the thresholds. However, Alize Cornet said the policy could be endangering the safety of players after suffering dizzy spells during her third round match against Elise Mertens on Friday. Cornet slumped to the court after serving during the second set of her 7-5 6-4 defeat by Mertens at the Hisense Arena and needed a medical assessment before receiving an ice down. Alize Cornet found the heat too much to handle Credit: reuters "Playing at this time was probably the worst time of the day," she said. "I kind of felt that I could faint at any moment. "I think it could be dangerous, but I think that the fact the doctor came on the court and took my blood pressure and she was looking if I was feeling good enough to keep playing the match... They are very careful about that. "But still, you know, playing in this condition is of course very dangerous for the health of the player. The limit of not playing the match is really high, it's like it needs to be above 45 degrees and humidity. "I think this limit should be a little lower because playing in this condition is not nice for anyone. The crowd was in the shade but for the player it's incredibly tough." Vandeweghe pays the price You may remember Coco Vandeweghe landing herself in trouble back on the opening day of the tournament when she received a code violation for refusing to get off her chair until she had been delivered a banana after the end of the first set in her match against Timea Babos. CoCo Vandeweghe had gotten her first code violation earlier for time violation/civil disobedience: refusing to take court without eating a banana first. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/6Opg7xon2N— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 15, 2018 Vandeweghe went on to lose that match 7-6, 6-2, but on Friday she was handed the biggest penalty of this year's Australian Open when she was fined AUS$10,000 (£5,760) for screaming an obscenity at Babos. Vandeweghe said after the match that she was irritated by what she described as excessive celebrating by her Hungarian opponent during their match. End of the teen dream Fifteen-year-old Marta Kostyuk's run came to an end with a 6-2, 6-2 loss against fourth seed and fellow Ukrainian Elina Svitolina. Kostyuk's success, coming through qualifying and reaching the third round, had been one of the stories of this week but she found Svitolina too strong and too experienced in her debut on Rod Laver Arena. Kostyuk was given a wildcard into qualifying after winning the junior title 12 months ago and must now focus on working her way up the professional game from her current ranking of 521. Asked how much she learned, Kostyuk said: "A lot. How much do you have to pay Svitolina to have a one-hour lesson? I got it for free. "She's a great player, but what I learned is that you can play against everyone. I had the chances, but because I thought she is incredible, like she's a god, I cannot do anything against her, that's the problem." Beyond the Baseline | Read Charlie Eccleshares three-part series on the unseen side of professional tennis Celebrating in style Thursday saw 2016 Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber celebrate her 30th birthday with a second-round win over Donna Vekic. A day later, it was Petra Martic whose birthday went with a bang as she celebrated turning 27 with a 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 win over Luksika Kumkhum to advance to the fourth round at Melbourne Park. Match of the day The first match on Court Two saw a topsy-turvy affair between Kyle Edmund and Nikoloz Basilashvili, which saw the British No 2 battle through in five sets to win 7-6, 3-6, 4-6, 6-0, 7-5. Upset of the day Henri Kontinen and John Peers lifted the men's doubles title in Melbourne last year, but there will be no repeat success as the No 2 seeds were dumped out 6-4, 7-6 in the second round by Radu Albot and Chung Hyeon. Quote of the day "I’m young, it’s professional sport. It’s meant to hurt." Kyle Edmund makes light of the stifling hot temperatures on Friday. Stat of the day 20 minutes - The fourth set of Kyle Edmund's match against NikolozBasilashvili lasted 36 minutes, with 20 of them in just one single game that featured 36 points and 15 deuces. Shot of the day Courtesy of Kyle Edmund: .@kyle8edmund dropping it like it's hot ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/FeDJwmh7jx— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 19, 2018 Matches you don't want to miss tomorrow There is a veritable feast on offer on Saturday in Melbourne. The men's draw sees Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic take top billing against Richard Gasquet and Albert Ramos Vinolas respectively, while two potential future stars face off in Alexander Zverev and Chung Hyeon. Angelique Kerber against Maria Sharapova is the best match on the women's side.
Australian Open 2018: What you missed on day five - Grigor Dimitrov triumphs as the heat continues
Here is what you missed overnight on day five at the Australian Open... Dimitrov march continues Third-seed Grigor Dimitrov advanced to the fourth round, beating Andrey Rublev 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the final match of the day session on Rod Laver Arena. After beating qualifiers in his first two matches, Dimitrov had a more difficult time against 30th-seed Rublev. Serving for the match, Dimitrov faced a break point before advancing on his first match point, clinching it with a winner off a Rublev drop shot. "These are the most important matches for me, when certain things are not working for me and I find a way," said Dimitrov. "He's a good player. He beat me at the US Open so I knew what to expect and what I had to do." Dimitrov will next play the winner of Friday night's match between Nick Kyrgios and 2008 finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Edmund keeps British hopes alive Kyle Edmund's path to the quarter-finals looked a relatively simple one after knocking out Kevin Anderson in the opening round in Melbourne, but he had to dig deep to see off Nikoloz Basilashvili in brutally hot conditions on Friday. Edmund showed tremendous levels of fitness and determination to recover from two sets to one down and beat his Georgian opponent 7-6, 3-6, 4-6, 6-0, 7-5. The Yorkshireman suffered a lull after appearing in control at a set and a break up but a 20-minute Basilashvili service game early in the fourth set, where he finally broke, turned the match in Edmund's favour with a swirling wind making life difficult for both players. Kyle Edmund is through to the fourth round in Melbourne Credit: getty images “During the whole of that fifth set the finish line seemed so far away,” said Edmund afterwards. “Physically at the end it was very demanding. When he hit that ball in the net, I was so relieved, because he just kept slugging it and it kept going in. Finally he missed it. “It's not easy. Towards the end the wind died down so there was no fresh air. It's not forgiving, you either get to the ball or you don't, you can't bluff it. It's tough but I knew it was tough for him too. If I'm hurting, he was going to be hurting. I just kept sticking with it. I knew if I just kept getting balls back, he wasn't going to like it.” Can't stand the heat The spotlight was again on searing temperatures in Melbourne on Friday as temperatures pushed past 40C on Friday. The tournament's extreme heat policy sees stadium roofs closed and outdoor matches suspended when the ambient temperature exceeds 40C and the wet bulb globe temperature index reading exceeds 32.5C, but organisers said the brutal conditions did not meet the thresholds. However, Alize Cornet said the policy could be endangering the safety of players after suffering dizzy spells during her third round match against Elise Mertens on Friday. Cornet slumped to the court after serving during the second set of her 7-5 6-4 defeat by Mertens at the Hisense Arena and needed a medical assessment before receiving an ice down. Alize Cornet found the heat too much to handle Credit: reuters "Playing at this time was probably the worst time of the day," she said. "I kind of felt that I could faint at any moment. "I think it could be dangerous, but I think that the fact the doctor came on the court and took my blood pressure and she was looking if I was feeling good enough to keep playing the match... They are very careful about that. "But still, you know, playing in this condition is of course very dangerous for the health of the player. The limit of not playing the match is really high, it's like it needs to be above 45 degrees and humidity. "I think this limit should be a little lower because playing in this condition is not nice for anyone. The crowd was in the shade but for the player it's incredibly tough." Vandeweghe pays the price You may remember Coco Vandeweghe landing herself in trouble back on the opening day of the tournament when she received a code violation for refusing to get off her chair until she had been delivered a banana after the end of the first set in her match against Timea Babos. CoCo Vandeweghe had gotten her first code violation earlier for time violation/civil disobedience: refusing to take court without eating a banana first. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/6Opg7xon2N— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 15, 2018 Vandeweghe went on to lose that match 7-6, 6-2, but on Friday she was handed the biggest penalty of this year's Australian Open when she was fined AUS$10,000 (£5,760) for screaming an obscenity at Babos. Vandeweghe said after the match that she was irritated by what she described as excessive celebrating by her Hungarian opponent during their match. End of the teen dream Fifteen-year-old Marta Kostyuk's run came to an end with a 6-2, 6-2 loss against fourth seed and fellow Ukrainian Elina Svitolina. Kostyuk's success, coming through qualifying and reaching the third round, had been one of the stories of this week but she found Svitolina too strong and too experienced in her debut on Rod Laver Arena. Kostyuk was given a wildcard into qualifying after winning the junior title 12 months ago and must now focus on working her way up the professional game from her current ranking of 521. Asked how much she learned, Kostyuk said: "A lot. How much do you have to pay Svitolina to have a one-hour lesson? I got it for free. "She's a great player, but what I learned is that you can play against everyone. I had the chances, but because I thought she is incredible, like she's a god, I cannot do anything against her, that's the problem." Beyond the Baseline | Read Charlie Eccleshares three-part series on the unseen side of professional tennis Celebrating in style Thursday saw 2016 Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber celebrate her 30th birthday with a second-round win over Donna Vekic. A day later, it was Petra Martic whose birthday went with a bang as she celebrated turning 27 with a 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 win over Luksika Kumkhum to advance to the fourth round at Melbourne Park. Match of the day The first match on Court Two saw a topsy-turvy affair between Kyle Edmund and Nikoloz Basilashvili, which saw the British No 2 battle through in five sets to win 7-6, 3-6, 4-6, 6-0, 7-5. Upset of the day Henri Kontinen and John Peers lifted the men's doubles title in Melbourne last year, but there will be no repeat success as the No 2 seeds were dumped out 6-4, 7-6 in the second round by Radu Albot and Chung Hyeon. Quote of the day "I’m young, it’s professional sport. It’s meant to hurt." Kyle Edmund makes light of the stifling hot temperatures on Friday. Stat of the day 20 minutes - The fourth set of Kyle Edmund's match against NikolozBasilashvili lasted 36 minutes, with 20 of them in just one single game that featured 36 points and 15 deuces. Shot of the day Courtesy of Kyle Edmund: .@kyle8edmund dropping it like it's hot ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/FeDJwmh7jx— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 19, 2018 Matches you don't want to miss tomorrow There is a veritable feast on offer on Saturday in Melbourne. The men's draw sees Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic take top billing against Richard Gasquet and Albert Ramos Vinolas respectively, while two potential future stars face off in Alexander Zverev and Chung Hyeon. Angelique Kerber against Maria Sharapova is the best match on the women's side.
Here is what you missed overnight on day five at the Australian Open... Dimitrov march continues Third-seed Grigor Dimitrov advanced to the fourth round, beating Andrey Rublev 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the final match of the day session on Rod Laver Arena. After beating qualifiers in his first two matches, Dimitrov had a more difficult time against 30th-seed Rublev. Serving for the match, Dimitrov faced a break point before advancing on his first match point, clinching it with a winner off a Rublev drop shot. "These are the most important matches for me, when certain things are not working for me and I find a way," said Dimitrov. "He's a good player. He beat me at the US Open so I knew what to expect and what I had to do." Dimitrov will next play the winner of Friday night's match between Nick Kyrgios and 2008 finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Edmund keeps British hopes alive Kyle Edmund's path to the quarter-finals looked a relatively simple one after knocking out Kevin Anderson in the opening round in Melbourne, but he had to dig deep to see off Nikoloz Basilashvili in brutally hot conditions on Friday. Edmund showed tremendous levels of fitness and determination to recover from two sets to one down and beat his Georgian opponent 7-6, 3-6, 4-6, 6-0, 7-5. The Yorkshireman suffered a lull after appearing in control at a set and a break up but a 20-minute Basilashvili service game early in the fourth set, where he finally broke, turned the match in Edmund's favour with a swirling wind making life difficult for both players. Kyle Edmund is through to the fourth round in Melbourne Credit: getty images “During the whole of that fifth set the finish line seemed so far away,” said Edmund afterwards. “Physically at the end it was very demanding. When he hit that ball in the net, I was so relieved, because he just kept slugging it and it kept going in. Finally he missed it. “It's not easy. Towards the end the wind died down so there was no fresh air. It's not forgiving, you either get to the ball or you don't, you can't bluff it. It's tough but I knew it was tough for him too. If I'm hurting, he was going to be hurting. I just kept sticking with it. I knew if I just kept getting balls back, he wasn't going to like it.” Can't stand the heat The spotlight was again on searing temperatures in Melbourne on Friday as temperatures pushed past 40C on Friday. The tournament's extreme heat policy sees stadium roofs closed and outdoor matches suspended when the ambient temperature exceeds 40C and the wet bulb globe temperature index reading exceeds 32.5C, but organisers said the brutal conditions did not meet the thresholds. However, Alize Cornet said the policy could be endangering the safety of players after suffering dizzy spells during her third round match against Elise Mertens on Friday. Cornet slumped to the court after serving during the second set of her 7-5 6-4 defeat by Mertens at the Hisense Arena and needed a medical assessment before receiving an ice down. Alize Cornet found the heat too much to handle Credit: reuters "Playing at this time was probably the worst time of the day," she said. "I kind of felt that I could faint at any moment. "I think it could be dangerous, but I think that the fact the doctor came on the court and took my blood pressure and she was looking if I was feeling good enough to keep playing the match... They are very careful about that. "But still, you know, playing in this condition is of course very dangerous for the health of the player. The limit of not playing the match is really high, it's like it needs to be above 45 degrees and humidity. "I think this limit should be a little lower because playing in this condition is not nice for anyone. The crowd was in the shade but for the player it's incredibly tough." Vandeweghe pays the price You may remember Coco Vandeweghe landing herself in trouble back on the opening day of the tournament when she received a code violation for refusing to get off her chair until she had been delivered a banana after the end of the first set in her match against Timea Babos. CoCo Vandeweghe had gotten her first code violation earlier for time violation/civil disobedience: refusing to take court without eating a banana first. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/6Opg7xon2N— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 15, 2018 Vandeweghe went on to lose that match 7-6, 6-2, but on Friday she was handed the biggest penalty of this year's Australian Open when she was fined AUS$10,000 (£5,760) for screaming an obscenity at Babos. Vandeweghe said after the match that she was irritated by what she described as excessive celebrating by her Hungarian opponent during their match. End of the teen dream Fifteen-year-old Marta Kostyuk's run came to an end with a 6-2, 6-2 loss against fourth seed and fellow Ukrainian Elina Svitolina. Kostyuk's success, coming through qualifying and reaching the third round, had been one of the stories of this week but she found Svitolina too strong and too experienced in her debut on Rod Laver Arena. Kostyuk was given a wildcard into qualifying after winning the junior title 12 months ago and must now focus on working her way up the professional game from her current ranking of 521. Asked how much she learned, Kostyuk said: "A lot. How much do you have to pay Svitolina to have a one-hour lesson? I got it for free. "She's a great player, but what I learned is that you can play against everyone. I had the chances, but because I thought she is incredible, like she's a god, I cannot do anything against her, that's the problem." Beyond the Baseline | Read Charlie Eccleshares three-part series on the unseen side of professional tennis Celebrating in style Thursday saw 2016 Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber celebrate her 30th birthday with a second-round win over Donna Vekic. A day later, it was Petra Martic whose birthday went with a bang as she celebrated turning 27 with a 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 win over Luksika Kumkhum to advance to the fourth round at Melbourne Park. Match of the day The first match on Court Two saw a topsy-turvy affair between Kyle Edmund and Nikoloz Basilashvili, which saw the British No 2 battle through in five sets to win 7-6, 3-6, 4-6, 6-0, 7-5. Upset of the day Henri Kontinen and John Peers lifted the men's doubles title in Melbourne last year, but there will be no repeat success as the No 2 seeds were dumped out 6-4, 7-6 in the second round by Radu Albot and Chung Hyeon. Quote of the day "I’m young, it’s professional sport. It’s meant to hurt." Kyle Edmund makes light of the stifling hot temperatures on Friday. Stat of the day 20 minutes - The fourth set of Kyle Edmund's match against NikolozBasilashvili lasted 36 minutes, with 20 of them in just one single game that featured 36 points and 15 deuces. Shot of the day Courtesy of Kyle Edmund: .@kyle8edmund dropping it like it's hot ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/FeDJwmh7jx— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 19, 2018 Matches you don't want to miss tomorrow There is a veritable feast on offer on Saturday in Melbourne. The men's draw sees Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic take top billing against Richard Gasquet and Albert Ramos Vinolas respectively, while two potential future stars face off in Alexander Zverev and Chung Hyeon. Angelique Kerber against Maria Sharapova is the best match on the women's side.
Australian Open 2018: What you missed on day five - Grigor Dimitrov triumphs as the heat continues
Here is what you missed overnight on day five at the Australian Open... Dimitrov march continues Third-seed Grigor Dimitrov advanced to the fourth round, beating Andrey Rublev 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the final match of the day session on Rod Laver Arena. After beating qualifiers in his first two matches, Dimitrov had a more difficult time against 30th-seed Rublev. Serving for the match, Dimitrov faced a break point before advancing on his first match point, clinching it with a winner off a Rublev drop shot. "These are the most important matches for me, when certain things are not working for me and I find a way," said Dimitrov. "He's a good player. He beat me at the US Open so I knew what to expect and what I had to do." Dimitrov will next play the winner of Friday night's match between Nick Kyrgios and 2008 finalist Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Edmund keeps British hopes alive Kyle Edmund's path to the quarter-finals looked a relatively simple one after knocking out Kevin Anderson in the opening round in Melbourne, but he had to dig deep to see off Nikoloz Basilashvili in brutally hot conditions on Friday. Edmund showed tremendous levels of fitness and determination to recover from two sets to one down and beat his Georgian opponent 7-6, 3-6, 4-6, 6-0, 7-5. The Yorkshireman suffered a lull after appearing in control at a set and a break up but a 20-minute Basilashvili service game early in the fourth set, where he finally broke, turned the match in Edmund's favour with a swirling wind making life difficult for both players. Kyle Edmund is through to the fourth round in Melbourne Credit: getty images “During the whole of that fifth set the finish line seemed so far away,” said Edmund afterwards. “Physically at the end it was very demanding. When he hit that ball in the net, I was so relieved, because he just kept slugging it and it kept going in. Finally he missed it. “It's not easy. Towards the end the wind died down so there was no fresh air. It's not forgiving, you either get to the ball or you don't, you can't bluff it. It's tough but I knew it was tough for him too. If I'm hurting, he was going to be hurting. I just kept sticking with it. I knew if I just kept getting balls back, he wasn't going to like it.” Can't stand the heat The spotlight was again on searing temperatures in Melbourne on Friday as temperatures pushed past 40C on Friday. The tournament's extreme heat policy sees stadium roofs closed and outdoor matches suspended when the ambient temperature exceeds 40C and the wet bulb globe temperature index reading exceeds 32.5C, but organisers said the brutal conditions did not meet the thresholds. However, Alize Cornet said the policy could be endangering the safety of players after suffering dizzy spells during her third round match against Elise Mertens on Friday. Cornet slumped to the court after serving during the second set of her 7-5 6-4 defeat by Mertens at the Hisense Arena and needed a medical assessment before receiving an ice down. Alize Cornet found the heat too much to handle Credit: reuters "Playing at this time was probably the worst time of the day," she said. "I kind of felt that I could faint at any moment. "I think it could be dangerous, but I think that the fact the doctor came on the court and took my blood pressure and she was looking if I was feeling good enough to keep playing the match... They are very careful about that. "But still, you know, playing in this condition is of course very dangerous for the health of the player. The limit of not playing the match is really high, it's like it needs to be above 45 degrees and humidity. "I think this limit should be a little lower because playing in this condition is not nice for anyone. The crowd was in the shade but for the player it's incredibly tough." Vandeweghe pays the price You may remember Coco Vandeweghe landing herself in trouble back on the opening day of the tournament when she received a code violation for refusing to get off her chair until she had been delivered a banana after the end of the first set in her match against Timea Babos. CoCo Vandeweghe had gotten her first code violation earlier for time violation/civil disobedience: refusing to take court without eating a banana first. #AusOpenpic.twitter.com/6Opg7xon2N— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) January 15, 2018 Vandeweghe went on to lose that match 7-6, 6-2, but on Friday she was handed the biggest penalty of this year's Australian Open when she was fined AUS$10,000 (£5,760) for screaming an obscenity at Babos. Vandeweghe said after the match that she was irritated by what she described as excessive celebrating by her Hungarian opponent during their match. End of the teen dream Fifteen-year-old Marta Kostyuk's run came to an end with a 6-2, 6-2 loss against fourth seed and fellow Ukrainian Elina Svitolina. Kostyuk's success, coming through qualifying and reaching the third round, had been one of the stories of this week but she found Svitolina too strong and too experienced in her debut on Rod Laver Arena. Kostyuk was given a wildcard into qualifying after winning the junior title 12 months ago and must now focus on working her way up the professional game from her current ranking of 521. Asked how much she learned, Kostyuk said: "A lot. How much do you have to pay Svitolina to have a one-hour lesson? I got it for free. "She's a great player, but what I learned is that you can play against everyone. I had the chances, but because I thought she is incredible, like she's a god, I cannot do anything against her, that's the problem." Beyond the Baseline | Read Charlie Eccleshares three-part series on the unseen side of professional tennis Celebrating in style Thursday saw 2016 Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber celebrate her 30th birthday with a second-round win over Donna Vekic. A day later, it was Petra Martic whose birthday went with a bang as she celebrated turning 27 with a 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 win over Luksika Kumkhum to advance to the fourth round at Melbourne Park. Match of the day The first match on Court Two saw a topsy-turvy affair between Kyle Edmund and Nikoloz Basilashvili, which saw the British No 2 battle through in five sets to win 7-6, 3-6, 4-6, 6-0, 7-5. Upset of the day Henri Kontinen and John Peers lifted the men's doubles title in Melbourne last year, but there will be no repeat success as the No 2 seeds were dumped out 6-4, 7-6 in the second round by Radu Albot and Chung Hyeon. Quote of the day "I’m young, it’s professional sport. It’s meant to hurt." Kyle Edmund makes light of the stifling hot temperatures on Friday. Stat of the day 20 minutes - The fourth set of Kyle Edmund's match against NikolozBasilashvili lasted 36 minutes, with 20 of them in just one single game that featured 36 points and 15 deuces. Shot of the day Courtesy of Kyle Edmund: .@kyle8edmund dropping it like it's hot ��#AusOpenpic.twitter.com/FeDJwmh7jx— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 19, 2018 Matches you don't want to miss tomorrow There is a veritable feast on offer on Saturday in Melbourne. The men's draw sees Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic take top billing against Richard Gasquet and Albert Ramos Vinolas respectively, while two potential future stars face off in Alexander Zverev and Chung Hyeon. Angelique Kerber against Maria Sharapova is the best match on the women's side.
Russia's Maria Sharapova makes a forehand return to Latvia's Anastasija Sevastova during their second round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
WTA signs lucrative 10-year deal to move finals to China
Russia's Maria Sharapova makes a forehand return to Latvia's Anastasija Sevastova during their second round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
Russia's Maria Sharapova waves after defeating Latvia's Anastasija Sevastova in their second round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
WTA signs lucrative 10-year deal to move finals to China
Russia's Maria Sharapova waves after defeating Latvia's Anastasija Sevastova in their second round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
Russia's Maria Sharapova signs autographs after defeating Latvia's Anastasija Sevastova in their second round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
WTA signs lucrative 10-year deal to move finals to China
Russia's Maria Sharapova signs autographs after defeating Latvia's Anastasija Sevastova in their second round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
Russia's Maria Sharapova blows kisses to the crowd after winning over Latvia's Anastasija Sevastova in their second round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
WTA signs lucrative 10-year deal to move finals to China
Russia's Maria Sharapova blows kisses to the crowd after winning over Latvia's Anastasija Sevastova in their second round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
Mysterious gremlins can disrupt even the smoothest-running machine. That’s the lesson of Johanna Konta’s unhappy six months since her Wimbledon semi-final, which continued on Thursday with a shock defeat at the hand of world No. 123 Bernarda Pera. While Konta was surging up the rankings last summer, she must have thought she had cracked the code. The same woman who had spent her early 20s bumbling around far-flung Challenger events was suddenly mixing it with the world’s best. More than that, she was beating them. Caroline Wozniacki ran into a whirlwind in Miami. Simona Halep suffered a more incremental demise on Centre Court. But this is a quixotic sport, and Konta’s fortunes have turned since July, with only five wins from her last 14 matches. She still has the same ideal tennis physique – long stride, fast arm, strong core. What seems to have changed is the programming inside this formerly reliable appliance. Once Aleksandra Krunic had knocked Konta out of the US Open, and the sural nerve in her left foot had become a distraction, we saw the same old anxieties – the ones that held her back during those early years – rise up again like ghostly shades. The change of year, combined with a change of coach, seemed to have flushed out the worst of the impurities. Konta made an assertive start in Brisbane a couple of weeks ago, reaching the quarter-finals before a twinge in her right hip persuaded her to withdraw. And yet, like bugs in a computer programme, the doubts proved resilient. Net losses | Konta's horror run of results This match went Pera-shaped from the early stages. Konta’s average first-serve speed dropped from 103mph in her first-round victory over Madison Brengle to 97mph here. She didn’t manage a single ace. Meanwhile Pera was relishing her moment in the baking Melbourne sun. A 23-year-old Croatian who plays under the American flag, she is appearing in her first grand slam. And it was only when Margarita Gasparyan withdrew from the tournament - perhaps encouraged by the new rule that allows injured players to claim half their first-round prize-money without taking the court – that Pera came in as a “lucky loser”. “I think she played very inspired,” said Konta of her conqueror, who has a big lefty serve and a free-swinging ability to hit winners off the ground. “My serve definitely let me down a little bit today. And when I'm not serving the way I want to, I don't think I'm putting as much pressure on them in their service games, as well. Konta’s discomfort was especially evident in the closing stages of her 6-4, 7-5 defeat. Twice, she tumbled over inexplicably while chasing down balls on her backhand. Twice she went up for overheads – the second of them on Pera’s fifth match point – and shanked the ball off the frame. Add in the second serve that flew over the baseline without bouncing, and if felt like her central processing chip was malfunctioning in the heat. Konta was off colour during her defeat Credit: Getty Images These are all problems for Michael Joyce, the coach she hired in the off-season, to address. Joyce is best-known for the eight years he spent working with Maria Sharapova, and he says that he can see similarities between the two women. But what Konta does not share with Sharapova – not yet, anyway – is the imperturbability that has helped land five grand-slam titles to date. “You obviously look to keep improving your game and physicality through training,” said Konta. “But being match fit and having that feel about points and the way a match flows – that almost not-thinking-about-it belief in what you do – that comes with matches.” At least Konta should enjoy plentiful time on the match court in Tallinn in three weeks’ time, where Great Britain’s Fed Cup team are due to take on Estonia and Portugal in their group ties. A long weekend in the team environment, with no Ilie Nastase yelling sexist slurs, should act as a welcome tonic. In the other matches played on Thursday, two former grand-slam winners were eliminated by unheralded opponents. The reigning Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza departed from the women’s draw, after a surprise loss to world No. 88 Su-Wei Hsieh, while an underprepared Stan Wawrinka fell to world No. 86 Tennys Sandgren. Pera only qualified for the Aussie Open as a 'lucky loser' Credit: AFP In tennis politics, the WTA announced a ten-year deal for its annual Finals event to be held in Shenzhen, China. The annual prize-money fund will climb to just over £10m, outstripping the male equivalent in London, which stands at just under £6m. And both Martina Navratilova and Roger Federer – who beat Jan-Lennard Struff – have had their say on the wider prize-money debate that has overshadowed this Australian Open. Speaking to the BBC, Navratilova suggested that the players should be combining in an equal-opportunities union, and advised the men to stop chipping away at the concept of equal pay, saying “I thought we were done with that 10 years ago. That's done and dusted.” Meanwhile Federer told reporters that more work was needed to establish an equitable pay structure. “Players have to rally, get back together again, put in the effort,” he said. “It's a bit boring, to be honest, always having to ask for stuff. If you look at the revenue, the sharing process, it's not quite where it's supposed to be. But, look, you can't go from here to right there in a day.”
Anxieties of the past return to haunt Johanna Konta as she takes shock fall at Australian Open
Mysterious gremlins can disrupt even the smoothest-running machine. That’s the lesson of Johanna Konta’s unhappy six months since her Wimbledon semi-final, which continued on Thursday with a shock defeat at the hand of world No. 123 Bernarda Pera. While Konta was surging up the rankings last summer, she must have thought she had cracked the code. The same woman who had spent her early 20s bumbling around far-flung Challenger events was suddenly mixing it with the world’s best. More than that, she was beating them. Caroline Wozniacki ran into a whirlwind in Miami. Simona Halep suffered a more incremental demise on Centre Court. But this is a quixotic sport, and Konta’s fortunes have turned since July, with only five wins from her last 14 matches. She still has the same ideal tennis physique – long stride, fast arm, strong core. What seems to have changed is the programming inside this formerly reliable appliance. Once Aleksandra Krunic had knocked Konta out of the US Open, and the sural nerve in her left foot had become a distraction, we saw the same old anxieties – the ones that held her back during those early years – rise up again like ghostly shades. The change of year, combined with a change of coach, seemed to have flushed out the worst of the impurities. Konta made an assertive start in Brisbane a couple of weeks ago, reaching the quarter-finals before a twinge in her right hip persuaded her to withdraw. And yet, like bugs in a computer programme, the doubts proved resilient. Net losses | Konta's horror run of results This match went Pera-shaped from the early stages. Konta’s average first-serve speed dropped from 103mph in her first-round victory over Madison Brengle to 97mph here. She didn’t manage a single ace. Meanwhile Pera was relishing her moment in the baking Melbourne sun. A 23-year-old Croatian who plays under the American flag, she is appearing in her first grand slam. And it was only when Margarita Gasparyan withdrew from the tournament - perhaps encouraged by the new rule that allows injured players to claim half their first-round prize-money without taking the court – that Pera came in as a “lucky loser”. “I think she played very inspired,” said Konta of her conqueror, who has a big lefty serve and a free-swinging ability to hit winners off the ground. “My serve definitely let me down a little bit today. And when I'm not serving the way I want to, I don't think I'm putting as much pressure on them in their service games, as well. Konta’s discomfort was especially evident in the closing stages of her 6-4, 7-5 defeat. Twice, she tumbled over inexplicably while chasing down balls on her backhand. Twice she went up for overheads – the second of them on Pera’s fifth match point – and shanked the ball off the frame. Add in the second serve that flew over the baseline without bouncing, and if felt like her central processing chip was malfunctioning in the heat. Konta was off colour during her defeat Credit: Getty Images These are all problems for Michael Joyce, the coach she hired in the off-season, to address. Joyce is best-known for the eight years he spent working with Maria Sharapova, and he says that he can see similarities between the two women. But what Konta does not share with Sharapova – not yet, anyway – is the imperturbability that has helped land five grand-slam titles to date. “You obviously look to keep improving your game and physicality through training,” said Konta. “But being match fit and having that feel about points and the way a match flows – that almost not-thinking-about-it belief in what you do – that comes with matches.” At least Konta should enjoy plentiful time on the match court in Tallinn in three weeks’ time, where Great Britain’s Fed Cup team are due to take on Estonia and Portugal in their group ties. A long weekend in the team environment, with no Ilie Nastase yelling sexist slurs, should act as a welcome tonic. In the other matches played on Thursday, two former grand-slam winners were eliminated by unheralded opponents. The reigning Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza departed from the women’s draw, after a surprise loss to world No. 88 Su-Wei Hsieh, while an underprepared Stan Wawrinka fell to world No. 86 Tennys Sandgren. Pera only qualified for the Aussie Open as a 'lucky loser' Credit: AFP In tennis politics, the WTA announced a ten-year deal for its annual Finals event to be held in Shenzhen, China. The annual prize-money fund will climb to just over £10m, outstripping the male equivalent in London, which stands at just under £6m. And both Martina Navratilova and Roger Federer – who beat Jan-Lennard Struff – have had their say on the wider prize-money debate that has overshadowed this Australian Open. Speaking to the BBC, Navratilova suggested that the players should be combining in an equal-opportunities union, and advised the men to stop chipping away at the concept of equal pay, saying “I thought we were done with that 10 years ago. That's done and dusted.” Meanwhile Federer told reporters that more work was needed to establish an equitable pay structure. “Players have to rally, get back together again, put in the effort,” he said. “It's a bit boring, to be honest, always having to ask for stuff. If you look at the revenue, the sharing process, it's not quite where it's supposed to be. But, look, you can't go from here to right there in a day.”
Mysterious gremlins can disrupt even the smoothest-running machine. That’s the lesson of Johanna Konta’s unhappy six months since her Wimbledon semi-final, which continued on Thursday with a shock defeat at the hand of world No. 123 Bernarda Pera. While Konta was surging up the rankings last summer, she must have thought she had cracked the code. The same woman who had spent her early 20s bumbling around far-flung Challenger events was suddenly mixing it with the world’s best. More than that, she was beating them. Caroline Wozniacki ran into a whirlwind in Miami. Simona Halep suffered a more incremental demise on Centre Court. But this is a quixotic sport, and Konta’s fortunes have turned since July, with only five wins from her last 14 matches. She still has the same ideal tennis physique – long stride, fast arm, strong core. What seems to have changed is the programming inside this formerly reliable appliance. Once Aleksandra Krunic had knocked Konta out of the US Open, and the sural nerve in her left foot had become a distraction, we saw the same old anxieties – the ones that held her back during those early years – rise up again like ghostly shades. The change of year, combined with a change of coach, seemed to have flushed out the worst of the impurities. Konta made an assertive start in Brisbane a couple of weeks ago, reaching the quarter-finals before a twinge in her right hip persuaded her to withdraw. And yet, like bugs in a computer programme, the doubts proved resilient. Net losses | Konta's horror run of results This match went Pera-shaped from the early stages. Konta’s average first-serve speed dropped from 103mph in her first-round victory over Madison Brengle to 97mph here. She didn’t manage a single ace. Meanwhile Pera was relishing her moment in the baking Melbourne sun. A 23-year-old Croatian who plays under the American flag, she is appearing in her first grand slam. And it was only when Margarita Gasparyan withdrew from the tournament - perhaps encouraged by the new rule that allows injured players to claim half their first-round prize-money without taking the court – that Pera came in as a “lucky loser”. “I think she played very inspired,” said Konta of her conqueror, who has a big lefty serve and a free-swinging ability to hit winners off the ground. “My serve definitely let me down a little bit today. And when I'm not serving the way I want to, I don't think I'm putting as much pressure on them in their service games, as well. Konta’s discomfort was especially evident in the closing stages of her 6-4, 7-5 defeat. Twice, she tumbled over inexplicably while chasing down balls on her backhand. Twice she went up for overheads – the second of them on Pera’s fifth match point – and shanked the ball off the frame. Add in the second serve that flew over the baseline without bouncing, and if felt like her central processing chip was malfunctioning in the heat. Konta was off colour during her defeat Credit: Getty Images These are all problems for Michael Joyce, the coach she hired in the off-season, to address. Joyce is best-known for the eight years he spent working with Maria Sharapova, and he says that he can see similarities between the two women. But what Konta does not share with Sharapova – not yet, anyway – is the imperturbability that has helped land five grand-slam titles to date. “You obviously look to keep improving your game and physicality through training,” said Konta. “But being match fit and having that feel about points and the way a match flows – that almost not-thinking-about-it belief in what you do – that comes with matches.” At least Konta should enjoy plentiful time on the match court in Tallinn in three weeks’ time, where Great Britain’s Fed Cup team are due to take on Estonia and Portugal in their group ties. A long weekend in the team environment, with no Ilie Nastase yelling sexist slurs, should act as a welcome tonic. In the other matches played on Thursday, two former grand-slam winners were eliminated by unheralded opponents. The reigning Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza departed from the women’s draw, after a surprise loss to world No. 88 Su-Wei Hsieh, while an underprepared Stan Wawrinka fell to world No. 86 Tennys Sandgren. Pera only qualified for the Aussie Open as a 'lucky loser' Credit: AFP In tennis politics, the WTA announced a ten-year deal for its annual Finals event to be held in Shenzhen, China. The annual prize-money fund will climb to just over £10m, outstripping the male equivalent in London, which stands at just under £6m. And both Martina Navratilova and Roger Federer – who beat Jan-Lennard Struff – have had their say on the wider prize-money debate that has overshadowed this Australian Open. Speaking to the BBC, Navratilova suggested that the players should be combining in an equal-opportunities union, and advised the men to stop chipping away at the concept of equal pay, saying “I thought we were done with that 10 years ago. That's done and dusted.” Meanwhile Federer told reporters that more work was needed to establish an equitable pay structure. “Players have to rally, get back together again, put in the effort,” he said. “It's a bit boring, to be honest, always having to ask for stuff. If you look at the revenue, the sharing process, it's not quite where it's supposed to be. But, look, you can't go from here to right there in a day.”
Anxieties of the past return to haunt Johanna Konta as she takes shock fall at Australian Open
Mysterious gremlins can disrupt even the smoothest-running machine. That’s the lesson of Johanna Konta’s unhappy six months since her Wimbledon semi-final, which continued on Thursday with a shock defeat at the hand of world No. 123 Bernarda Pera. While Konta was surging up the rankings last summer, she must have thought she had cracked the code. The same woman who had spent her early 20s bumbling around far-flung Challenger events was suddenly mixing it with the world’s best. More than that, she was beating them. Caroline Wozniacki ran into a whirlwind in Miami. Simona Halep suffered a more incremental demise on Centre Court. But this is a quixotic sport, and Konta’s fortunes have turned since July, with only five wins from her last 14 matches. She still has the same ideal tennis physique – long stride, fast arm, strong core. What seems to have changed is the programming inside this formerly reliable appliance. Once Aleksandra Krunic had knocked Konta out of the US Open, and the sural nerve in her left foot had become a distraction, we saw the same old anxieties – the ones that held her back during those early years – rise up again like ghostly shades. The change of year, combined with a change of coach, seemed to have flushed out the worst of the impurities. Konta made an assertive start in Brisbane a couple of weeks ago, reaching the quarter-finals before a twinge in her right hip persuaded her to withdraw. And yet, like bugs in a computer programme, the doubts proved resilient. Net losses | Konta's horror run of results This match went Pera-shaped from the early stages. Konta’s average first-serve speed dropped from 103mph in her first-round victory over Madison Brengle to 97mph here. She didn’t manage a single ace. Meanwhile Pera was relishing her moment in the baking Melbourne sun. A 23-year-old Croatian who plays under the American flag, she is appearing in her first grand slam. And it was only when Margarita Gasparyan withdrew from the tournament - perhaps encouraged by the new rule that allows injured players to claim half their first-round prize-money without taking the court – that Pera came in as a “lucky loser”. “I think she played very inspired,” said Konta of her conqueror, who has a big lefty serve and a free-swinging ability to hit winners off the ground. “My serve definitely let me down a little bit today. And when I'm not serving the way I want to, I don't think I'm putting as much pressure on them in their service games, as well. Konta’s discomfort was especially evident in the closing stages of her 6-4, 7-5 defeat. Twice, she tumbled over inexplicably while chasing down balls on her backhand. Twice she went up for overheads – the second of them on Pera’s fifth match point – and shanked the ball off the frame. Add in the second serve that flew over the baseline without bouncing, and if felt like her central processing chip was malfunctioning in the heat. Konta was off colour during her defeat Credit: Getty Images These are all problems for Michael Joyce, the coach she hired in the off-season, to address. Joyce is best-known for the eight years he spent working with Maria Sharapova, and he says that he can see similarities between the two women. But what Konta does not share with Sharapova – not yet, anyway – is the imperturbability that has helped land five grand-slam titles to date. “You obviously look to keep improving your game and physicality through training,” said Konta. “But being match fit and having that feel about points and the way a match flows – that almost not-thinking-about-it belief in what you do – that comes with matches.” At least Konta should enjoy plentiful time on the match court in Tallinn in three weeks’ time, where Great Britain’s Fed Cup team are due to take on Estonia and Portugal in their group ties. A long weekend in the team environment, with no Ilie Nastase yelling sexist slurs, should act as a welcome tonic. In the other matches played on Thursday, two former grand-slam winners were eliminated by unheralded opponents. The reigning Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza departed from the women’s draw, after a surprise loss to world No. 88 Su-Wei Hsieh, while an underprepared Stan Wawrinka fell to world No. 86 Tennys Sandgren. Pera only qualified for the Aussie Open as a 'lucky loser' Credit: AFP In tennis politics, the WTA announced a ten-year deal for its annual Finals event to be held in Shenzhen, China. The annual prize-money fund will climb to just over £10m, outstripping the male equivalent in London, which stands at just under £6m. And both Martina Navratilova and Roger Federer – who beat Jan-Lennard Struff – have had their say on the wider prize-money debate that has overshadowed this Australian Open. Speaking to the BBC, Navratilova suggested that the players should be combining in an equal-opportunities union, and advised the men to stop chipping away at the concept of equal pay, saying “I thought we were done with that 10 years ago. That's done and dusted.” Meanwhile Federer told reporters that more work was needed to establish an equitable pay structure. “Players have to rally, get back together again, put in the effort,” he said. “It's a bit boring, to be honest, always having to ask for stuff. If you look at the revenue, the sharing process, it's not quite where it's supposed to be. But, look, you can't go from here to right there in a day.”
Mysterious gremlins can disrupt even the smoothest-running machine. That’s the lesson of Johanna Konta’s unhappy six months since her Wimbledon semi-final, which continued on Thursday with a shock defeat at the hand of world No. 123 Bernarda Pera. While Konta was surging up the rankings last summer, she must have thought she had cracked the code. The same woman who had spent her early 20s bumbling around far-flung Challenger events was suddenly mixing it with the world’s best. More than that, she was beating them. Caroline Wozniacki ran into a whirlwind in Miami. Simona Halep suffered a more incremental demise on Centre Court. But this is a quixotic sport, and Konta’s fortunes have turned since July, with only five wins from her last 14 matches. She still has the same ideal tennis physique – long stride, fast arm, strong core. What seems to have changed is the programming inside this formerly reliable appliance. Once Aleksandra Krunic had knocked Konta out of the US Open, and the sural nerve in her left foot had become a distraction, we saw the same old anxieties – the ones that held her back during those early years – rise up again like ghostly shades. The change of year, combined with a change of coach, seemed to have flushed out the worst of the impurities. Konta made an assertive start in Brisbane a couple of weeks ago, reaching the quarter-finals before a twinge in her right hip persuaded her to withdraw. And yet, like bugs in a computer programme, the doubts proved resilient. Net losses | Konta's horror run of results This match went Pera-shaped from the early stages. Konta’s average first-serve speed dropped from 103mph in her first-round victory over Madison Brengle to 97mph here. She didn’t manage a single ace. Meanwhile Pera was relishing her moment in the baking Melbourne sun. A 23-year-old Croatian who plays under the American flag, she is appearing in her first grand slam. And it was only when Margarita Gasparyan withdrew from the tournament - perhaps encouraged by the new rule that allows injured players to claim half their first-round prize-money without taking the court – that Pera came in as a “lucky loser”. “I think she played very inspired,” said Konta of her conqueror, who has a big lefty serve and a free-swinging ability to hit winners off the ground. “My serve definitely let me down a little bit today. And when I'm not serving the way I want to, I don't think I'm putting as much pressure on them in their service games, as well. Konta’s discomfort was especially evident in the closing stages of her 6-4, 7-5 defeat. Twice, she tumbled over inexplicably while chasing down balls on her backhand. Twice she went up for overheads – the second of them on Pera’s fifth match point – and shanked the ball off the frame. Add in the second serve that flew over the baseline without bouncing, and if felt like her central processing chip was malfunctioning in the heat. Konta was off colour during her defeat Credit: Getty Images These are all problems for Michael Joyce, the coach she hired in the off-season, to address. Joyce is best-known for the eight years he spent working with Maria Sharapova, and he says that he can see similarities between the two women. But what Konta does not share with Sharapova – not yet, anyway – is the imperturbability that has helped land five grand-slam titles to date. “You obviously look to keep improving your game and physicality through training,” said Konta. “But being match fit and having that feel about points and the way a match flows – that almost not-thinking-about-it belief in what you do – that comes with matches.” At least Konta should enjoy plentiful time on the match court in Tallinn in three weeks’ time, where Great Britain’s Fed Cup team are due to take on Estonia and Portugal in their group ties. A long weekend in the team environment, with no Ilie Nastase yelling sexist slurs, should act as a welcome tonic. In the other matches played on Thursday, two former grand-slam winners were eliminated by unheralded opponents. The reigning Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza departed from the women’s draw, after a surprise loss to world No. 88 Su-Wei Hsieh, while an underprepared Stan Wawrinka fell to world No. 86 Tennys Sandgren. Pera only qualified for the Aussie Open as a 'lucky loser' Credit: AFP In tennis politics, the WTA announced a ten-year deal for its annual Finals event to be held in Shenzhen, China. The annual prize-money fund will climb to just over £10m, outstripping the male equivalent in London, which stands at just under £6m. And both Martina Navratilova and Roger Federer – who beat Jan-Lennard Struff – have had their say on the wider prize-money debate that has overshadowed this Australian Open. Speaking to the BBC, Navratilova suggested that the players should be combining in an equal-opportunities union, and advised the men to stop chipping away at the concept of equal pay, saying “I thought we were done with that 10 years ago. That's done and dusted.” Meanwhile Federer told reporters that more work was needed to establish an equitable pay structure. “Players have to rally, get back together again, put in the effort,” he said. “It's a bit boring, to be honest, always having to ask for stuff. If you look at the revenue, the sharing process, it's not quite where it's supposed to be. But, look, you can't go from here to right there in a day.”
Anxieties of the past return to haunt Johanna Konta as she takes shock fall at Australian Open
Mysterious gremlins can disrupt even the smoothest-running machine. That’s the lesson of Johanna Konta’s unhappy six months since her Wimbledon semi-final, which continued on Thursday with a shock defeat at the hand of world No. 123 Bernarda Pera. While Konta was surging up the rankings last summer, she must have thought she had cracked the code. The same woman who had spent her early 20s bumbling around far-flung Challenger events was suddenly mixing it with the world’s best. More than that, she was beating them. Caroline Wozniacki ran into a whirlwind in Miami. Simona Halep suffered a more incremental demise on Centre Court. But this is a quixotic sport, and Konta’s fortunes have turned since July, with only five wins from her last 14 matches. She still has the same ideal tennis physique – long stride, fast arm, strong core. What seems to have changed is the programming inside this formerly reliable appliance. Once Aleksandra Krunic had knocked Konta out of the US Open, and the sural nerve in her left foot had become a distraction, we saw the same old anxieties – the ones that held her back during those early years – rise up again like ghostly shades. The change of year, combined with a change of coach, seemed to have flushed out the worst of the impurities. Konta made an assertive start in Brisbane a couple of weeks ago, reaching the quarter-finals before a twinge in her right hip persuaded her to withdraw. And yet, like bugs in a computer programme, the doubts proved resilient. Net losses | Konta's horror run of results This match went Pera-shaped from the early stages. Konta’s average first-serve speed dropped from 103mph in her first-round victory over Madison Brengle to 97mph here. She didn’t manage a single ace. Meanwhile Pera was relishing her moment in the baking Melbourne sun. A 23-year-old Croatian who plays under the American flag, she is appearing in her first grand slam. And it was only when Margarita Gasparyan withdrew from the tournament - perhaps encouraged by the new rule that allows injured players to claim half their first-round prize-money without taking the court – that Pera came in as a “lucky loser”. “I think she played very inspired,” said Konta of her conqueror, who has a big lefty serve and a free-swinging ability to hit winners off the ground. “My serve definitely let me down a little bit today. And when I'm not serving the way I want to, I don't think I'm putting as much pressure on them in their service games, as well. Konta’s discomfort was especially evident in the closing stages of her 6-4, 7-5 defeat. Twice, she tumbled over inexplicably while chasing down balls on her backhand. Twice she went up for overheads – the second of them on Pera’s fifth match point – and shanked the ball off the frame. Add in the second serve that flew over the baseline without bouncing, and if felt like her central processing chip was malfunctioning in the heat. Konta was off colour during her defeat Credit: Getty Images These are all problems for Michael Joyce, the coach she hired in the off-season, to address. Joyce is best-known for the eight years he spent working with Maria Sharapova, and he says that he can see similarities between the two women. But what Konta does not share with Sharapova – not yet, anyway – is the imperturbability that has helped land five grand-slam titles to date. “You obviously look to keep improving your game and physicality through training,” said Konta. “But being match fit and having that feel about points and the way a match flows – that almost not-thinking-about-it belief in what you do – that comes with matches.” At least Konta should enjoy plentiful time on the match court in Tallinn in three weeks’ time, where Great Britain’s Fed Cup team are due to take on Estonia and Portugal in their group ties. A long weekend in the team environment, with no Ilie Nastase yelling sexist slurs, should act as a welcome tonic. In the other matches played on Thursday, two former grand-slam winners were eliminated by unheralded opponents. The reigning Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza departed from the women’s draw, after a surprise loss to world No. 88 Su-Wei Hsieh, while an underprepared Stan Wawrinka fell to world No. 86 Tennys Sandgren. Pera only qualified for the Aussie Open as a 'lucky loser' Credit: AFP In tennis politics, the WTA announced a ten-year deal for its annual Finals event to be held in Shenzhen, China. The annual prize-money fund will climb to just over £10m, outstripping the male equivalent in London, which stands at just under £6m. And both Martina Navratilova and Roger Federer – who beat Jan-Lennard Struff – have had their say on the wider prize-money debate that has overshadowed this Australian Open. Speaking to the BBC, Navratilova suggested that the players should be combining in an equal-opportunities union, and advised the men to stop chipping away at the concept of equal pay, saying “I thought we were done with that 10 years ago. That's done and dusted.” Meanwhile Federer told reporters that more work was needed to establish an equitable pay structure. “Players have to rally, get back together again, put in the effort,” he said. “It's a bit boring, to be honest, always having to ask for stuff. If you look at the revenue, the sharing process, it's not quite where it's supposed to be. But, look, you can't go from here to right there in a day.”

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