Men and women’s defending champions have once again reached the finals of Australian Open at Melbourne Park on Thursday. Joining them is Germany’s Angelique Kerber. Serbia’s 5-time champion Novak Djokovic was awesome against third-seeded Roger Federer as he advanced to his sixth Australian Open final. Six-time Australian Open Champion Serena Williams was no less dominant in dropping just 4 games in her 64-minute straight sets victory over Poland’s Agnieszka Radwanska. As for Kerber, she stopped the dream run of Great Britain’s Johanna Konta with a powerful display in the other women’s singles semifinal. The remaining semifinal berth in the singles will be decided on Friday, when Britain’s Andy Murray takes on Canada’s Milos Raonic. India’s Sania Mirza reached another semifinal, when she combined with Croatia’s Ivan Dodig in mixed doubles to beat defending champions Martina Hingis and Leander Paes.
Novak Djokovic played scintillating tennis against Swiss maestro Roger Federer in Thursday’s men’s singles semifinal. It was power tennis in the most murderous fashion as the Serb lost just 3 games before cruising to a 2-set lead in just 54 minutes. After Wimbledon and the US Open, it was the third time that Djokovic has beaten Federer. Federer made a comeback in the third set but that was the only resistance from the Swiss. Djokovic assumed control again as he finished the match with a 6-1 6-2 3-6 6-3 victory. 15 years ago, when Andre Agassi defeated a much younger Roger Federer, the Swiss was restricted to a mere 3 games in the first two sets. Now Djokovic has done exactly that. The contest was widely expected to be a close affair but Djokovic packed too much ammunition in his tennis arsenal. In the final on Sunday, Djokovic will either face Britain’s Andy Murray or Canada’s Milos Raonic. The Serb is a heavy favorite to retain his Australian Open crown with his record against Murray being immaculate. He has beaten the Scot in the final on three previous occasions, including last year’s four-set victory at Melbourne.
Serena Williams also played a devastating game against the Polish no.4 seed Agnieszka Radwanska. The American didn’t allow any chance to Radwanska in first set and handed her a bagel. Radwanska attempted to comeback in the second set but the dominant Serena refused to relent. After breaking the Pole early for a 2-1 advantage, Serena faltered once and allowed Radwanska to break back. That brought the score to 3-3 and then the Pole led 4-3. Thereafter, Serena began producing winners yet again and Radwanska just stood there dumbfounded. Serena broke Radwanska yet again to take a 5-4 lead before serving out for a 6-0, 6-4 victory in an hour and 4 minutes.
Serena’s opponent in the final will be Germany’s Angelique Kerber. In the other women’s semifinal later in the day, the German stopped the fairytale run of Britain’s Johanna Konta with a straight sets victory. It is Kerber’s first appearance in a Grand Slam final tournament although she has been under the top-10 for a long time. In the first round on January 19, Kerber was down a match point against Japan’s Misaki Doi but she survived. In the quarterfinal two days ago, the German defeated Victoria Azarenka for the first time in their six meetings earlier. Konta and Kerber were equally matched in first set and the only time Kerber found herself in trouble was when she served at 4-5 to stay in the set. But the German not only held her serve but broke Konta in 11th game before taking the first set at 7-5. The second set was easier for Kerber as she broke Konta in the opening game and again in the fifth. Only a formality remained as Kerber took the match at 7-5, 6-2 in an hour and 22 minutes.
In a mixed doubles quarterfinal match, the no.1 seeds India’s Sania Mirza and Croatia’s Ivan Dodig defeated defending champions Leander Paes of India/Martina Hingis of Switzerland 7-6, 6-3. For a place in the final, Sania/Dodig will need to beat Russian Elena Vesnina/Brazilian Bruno Soares. The match between Sania/Dodig and Hingis/Paes held an interest for Indian fans, who saw Sania and her partner playing against another Indian and Sania’s women’s doubles partner Martina Hingis. The defending champions started off well by breaking Sania/Dodig early but the no.1 seeds broke back and wrested the advantage in the tiebreak. Sania/Dodig played better tennis in the second set and closed out the match in an hour and 10 minutes.