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SYDNEY TENNIS

G'day Cobber! As they might say in Australia at the 'Sydney International' Tennis Tournament currently in-play. Although a minor contest compared to next week's 'Australian Open', the first Grand Slam of 2019, this tournament has still attracted some of the World's elite tennis players, including Top 50 players Sam Querrey and Gilles Simon. American Querrey played against Frenchman Simon in the Second Round at Sydney. Both are talented and  experienced , Simon being a Quarter Finalist at 'Wimbledon' in 2015. Six foot eight inches tall Querrey is famed for his massive serves and plentiful aces. So, this looked like a full -on match up. Both held serve in the early part of the opening set, Simon being tested more  by being taken to Deuce. He smashed off great forehand returns with gusto, at high speed. As the score reached 3-3, Querrey had already hit four aces in twenty minutes. Then in the eighth game the American missed two costly shots and double-faulted giving Simon an ideal first break of serve. At 5-3 up the Frenchman now served for the first set. But in a twist, Querrey fought back with supreme backhand winners, and broke back. The set was now back on even keel. At this level of competition a player has only to make a few small mistakes to pay a high price, and for the complexion of the contest to change completely. Querrey followed up the break by holding serve courtesy of his seventh ace. Further, he continued upping the ante by playing winners deep into the tennis court, setting up another Break Point opportunity. Simon hd to fight for his skin with higher speed serves and better- placed returns.. He determinedly succeeded in holding serve. A Tie Break looked imminent, and sure enough was played. Simon started impressively with two sharply angled winners, and quickly went into the lead by 3 points. Obviously Querrey would hit back , predictably with massive serves, and he thundered his ninth ace down the line.He's a dangerous foe who can never be discounted even when trailing behind. After a rare, lengthy twenty-one stroke rally Simon shot ahead for his first Set Point chance. He won the set with an outstanding forehand winner. Querry served first in the second set, holding serve with more huge aces combined with aggressive smashes. He broke Simon's serve early on. Simon reacted with some gorgeous forehand volleys, and by serving his third ace. By now, Querrey had served thirteen aces! Again the second set went to a Tie Break, which Querrey won as Simon's focus dropped temporarily. Onto the third set which would decide the match. Simon manouvred cleverly to break serve once, which was enough to win him both  the set and match.

 

Australia's own 'home girl' Ashleigh Barty crushed World Number One Romania's Simona Halep at the same tournament. The rising star Aussie beat Halep in two straight sets 6-4, 6-4 in a victory billed as' The Barty Party!' It was the biggest win of her career to date. World number 7 seed Czech Petra Kvitova was also competing at Sydney, and she dispatched the tricky Chinese Su-Wei Hsieh to reach her fourth Quarter Final here. Kvitova has won at Wimbledon twice, and next faces former World Number One and Sydney International defending Champion Germany's Angelique Kerber. In the match against Hsieh, who won at the 'Hiroshima' Tennis Tournament in 2018, Kvitova demonstrated her Champion calibre by holding serve under pressure from Hsieh's sliced serves and difficult returns. The Czech then broke serve, herself, and led 3-0 after just seven minutes. Her formidable forehands and high velocity serves are the main weapons in her artillery against opponents. She served two aces in quick succession. Hsieh sneaked in a few drop shot winners,  and even broke serve as Kvitova served for the set. This is what makes Hsieh a fearsome foe: her ever- changing strategies and tenacity. The score was now level at 5-5, and after a long battle a Tie Break was played. Kvitova quickly dominated with great winners, scoring first blood to go  ahead by 3 points. Hsieh couldn't compete at the same level, and Kvitova won the Tie Break and first set. In the second set Kvitova lost no time in breaking serve with a beautiful backhand sliced winner followed by a tremendous forehand drive winner. Hsieh was even forced into the splits position  (!) in her efforts to defend, but she still lost the match.

 

ELLE.

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