Winners & Scores
Scorching heat accompanied the two weeks of the 2009 Australian Tennis Open in Melbourne and took its toll on a number of the players (notably Djokovic #3). The cast of winners had a very familiar ring to it — the seeders clearly did a good job. In the Doubles, the American siblings were indomitable. One of the things that has become apparent is the online branding of the players. I have added links to each of the player’s sites. The classiest site award goes to Roger. The least classy to Serena (which still to-date oddly hasn’t been updated on her victories). Players without their own sites, I have pasted the wikipedia site.
Roger Federer (2) succumbed to Rafa Nadal (1) in their 19th professional encounter. It was their first match together in Melbourne and the first time with Nadal as the #1 seed. And Nadal proved his #1 status and resilience, winning 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-2, his second 5 setter in a row. It was a 4h23 match with plenty of momentum swings — Federer actually won one more point than Nadal (174 vs 173). The record between them is now 13-6 in Rafa’s favour – 5-2 to Nadal in grand slam finals. This victory is Nadal’s first Grand Slam on hard court. Meanwhile, even though the final was a great match, the standout match on the men’s side was the semifinal between the 2 Spaniards, where Nadal trumped a resourceful and never-say-die Fernando Verdasco (14) by a score of 6-7 (4), 6-4, 7-6 (2), 6-7 (1), 6-4. Nadal had not dropped a set in this tournament before the record 5-hour 14-minute semi-final marathon.
Women’s Singles final:
Serena Williams (2) was in blistering form as she annihilated the, up till then, dominant Dinara Safina (3) by a telling 6-0, 6-3 score. Williams took on the armada of Russian players in the last 3 rounds, defeating sequentially Svetlana Kuznetsova (in 3 sets), Elena Dementieva and then Safina. This year’s victory continues the odd-year cycle that has accompanied Serena in Melbourne. She also won in 2003, 2005 and 2007.
Men’s Doubles Final:
The Bryan twins won their third Australian Open doubles crown after several close-fought encounters. In the Finals, they beat third seeded Mahesh Bhupathi (IND) and Mark Knowles (BAH) 6-2, 5-7, 6-0. Bhupathi had appeared in the Australian Men’s Double Final exactly ten years ago (and was on the losing end, too). Mike and Bob Bryan (2) beat the fourth-seeded Lukas Dlouhy (CZE) and Leander Paes (IND) 6-3, 6-3 fairly soundly in the semi-finals, after having had two tight and all-American encounters, Mardy Fish and John Isner 7-5, 7-6 (6) and previously Bobby Reynolds and Rajeev Ram 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-3. This is the Bryan’s 7th Grand Slam Title; they won the Australian Open doubles in 2006 and 2007 (with a quarter-final exit in 2008).
Women’s Doubles Final:
The Williams sisters, seeded 10th, powered through the Women’s Doubles — a very international field — to claim their 3rd Australian Open title and their 8th Grand Slam Doubles title together, beating Daniela Hantuchova and Ai Sugiyama (9th seed) 6-3, 6-3. Like the Bryan brothers, Serena and Venus (own site here) dropped just one set along the way to the final. Serena’s prior Women’s Doubles victories also have come only on odd years (2001 and 2003).
Mahesh Bhupathi joined with Sania Mirza (IND) to claim the Mixed Title, beating Dechy (FR) and Ram (ISR) 6-3 6-1. That’s the seventh mixed doubles Grand Slam title for Mahesh.
In the only adult final featuring Australians, John Fitzgerald and Mansour Bahrami were handed the Legends Doubles Final title after the retirement of Henri Leconte (FR) and the other Aussie, Mark Philippoussis.
All in all, despite some ethnic violence that marred one day, the Australian Open 2009 was yet another memorable and exciting tournament…