It’s not every day that a tennis Grand Slam starts way behind schedule. However, the 2020 edition of the Australian Open had to start at a later date than the scheduled one because of the fires in the country. A few days after the ATP Cup and here we are, with tennis stars battling for the first Grand Slam of the year.
The Australian Open, just like any other tournament has served up its own fair share of surprises and unforgettable moments. In the women’s category, one name has been on everyone’s lips. 15-year old Cori Gauff started her tournament in grand fashion, defeating Venus Williams and Naomi Osaka in the first and third rounds respectively.
Her journey through this tournament described the WTA category of this year’s Australian Open. From Serena Williams to Sloane Stephens, 32-year old Maria Sharapova and Aryna Sabalenka, the upsets have come very thick and very fast.
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Of the ladies that remain, Ashleigh Barty remains one of the contenders to go all the way. She is ranked No. 1 in the world in singles by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) and is the second Australian WTA singles No. 1 after fellow Indigenous Australian player Evonne Goolagong Cawley.
As of the time of writing, Cori Gauff was already winning her fourth round game, in a bid to secure a quarter-final spot. She will have to battle the likes of Simona Halep and Angelique Kerber as she chases a first-ever Grand Slam title.
It’s been tighter to predict in the men’s category as most of the top-ranked players scaled through the first three rounds. Nadal did it without dropping a set. Novak Djokovic scaled through also, dropping just one set. Despite Roger Federer needing a great escape in the third round, the Swiss player qualified for the fourth round. Fabio Fognini, Dominic Thiem and Nick Kyrgios are all still in the mix, not forgetting Alexander Zverev.
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Sunday and Monday will witness the fight amongst these greats, for quarter-final ticket. And of all the clashes, one to look out for is the game between Rafael Nadal and Nick Kyrgios. Although both men are 23 places apart on the ATP rankings, there’s plenty of history between them.
In the last seven meetings between both men, Nadal has only been able to win four, with the Australian bad boy winning three. With odds of 5 to win, Kyrgios is still an outsider in this clash. However, who’s to say we cannot witness another upset.
In the coming week, there’s plenty of fierce action to look out for. Men and women will contest in the quarter-final, semi-final and final games of this year’s Australian Open. Which names will be lifting the trophies high in both categories?
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