Garbine Muguruza Defeats Simona Halep to Reach First Australian Open Final

Garbine Muguruzais one win away from her third Grand Slamtitle…

In a battle of former World No. 1 players, the 26-year-old Spanish-Venezuelan tennis playerbeat No. 4 seed Simona Halepin straight sets on Thursday to reach the Australian Openfinal for the first time.

Garbine Muguruza

Muguruza’s 7-6 (8), 7-5 victory sends her to the title match against 14th-seeded Sofia Keninof the United States. Kenin beat No. 1 Ash Barty7-6 (6), 7-5.

Muguruza, unseeded at Melbourne Park, fended off four set points in the opener of her semifinal and wound up defeating Halep in a matchup of players who’ve won Wimbledonand the French Openbut not the Australian Open.

It was a streaky contest: Muguruza led 5-3 in the first set before Halep took 15 of 17 points to earn a pair of set points. Muguruza then took seven consecutive points. And so on, until Halep put a shot in the net to relinquish that set, then smashed her racket and sat on the sideline, shaking her head.

“I wasn’t thinking I was down,” Muguruza said. “You keep going.”Muguruza may have won the French Open in 2016 and Wimbledon in 2017, but she came to Melbourne Park as an unseeded player at a Grand Slam tournament for the first time in six years.

Garbine Muguruza Reaches First-Ever Australian Open Semifinals

Garbine Muguruzais back in a Grand Slamsemifinal…

The 26-year-old Spanish-Venezuelan tennis player and former world No. 1 defeated No. 30 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 7-5, 6-3 to reach the semifinals at the Australian Open for the first time in her career.

Garbine Muguruza

Muguruza, a two-time Grand Slam champion, took a little more than 1 1/2 hours to eliminate Pavlyuchenkova, with both players struggling with their serves with the sun shining brightly at one end. 

It’s Muruguza’s first spot in a Grand Slamsemifinal since Roland Garrosin ’18.

After struggling for form following her 2017 Wimbledontriumph, Muguruza has looked like a player reborn at Melbourne Parksince reuniting with former coach Conchita Martinez.

Last November, Muguruza climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, and got away from it all. She didn’t want to dwell on two relatively barren seasons since her Wimbledon win in 2017.

Her time on the mountain was “definitely was a life-changing experience,” Murgurza said, although she couldn’t explain how because it’s too complicated in a tournament environment.

“But it definitely had an impact on me, not as a tennis player, but just in general,” she said. “Being through such a tough challenge, I think, yeah, did many things inside of me.”

She’ll next face Simona Halep, both have already won at Wimbledon and the French Openand have been ranked No. 1, and are bidding for their first Grand Slam title on a hard court.

Conchita Martinez Elected to International Tennis Hall of Fame

Conchita Martinezhas earned her placed among tennis’ greats…

The 47-year-old Spanish former professional tennis player has been elected to the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

Conchita Martinez



The Class of 2020 was announced Tuesday at the Australian Open, where Martinez and fellow honoree Goran Ivanisevic are coaching players who reached the quarterfinals.

Martinez, a baseliner, was the first Spanish player to win the women’s singles title at Wimbledon, where she beat Martina Navratilovain the 1994 final. 

Martínez was also the singles runner-up at the 1998 Australian Open and the 2000 French Open. She reached a highest world ranking of No. 2 in October 1995 and finished the season in the Top 10 for nine years. Martínez won 33 singles and 13 doubles titles during her 18-year career, as well as three Olympic medals.

The induction ceremony will be July 18 in Newport, Rhode Island, where the Hall is located.

Ivanisevic helps coach Novak Djokovic, while Martinez works with Garbine Muguruza.

Rafael Nadal to Take Part in ‘Rally for Relief’ Charity Event to Raise Funds for Australian Bushfire Relief

Rafael Nadalis ready to swing his racquet for a good cause…

The 33-year-old Spanish professional tennis player, currently ranked No. 1 in the world, will take part in a charity event ahead of the Australian Open that will have a new air quality policy as organizers grapple with issues related to the bushfire crisis.

Rafael Nadal

Tennis Australia chief Craig Tiley announced on Wednesday that the Rally for Relief will be held onRod Laver Arena on the evening of January 15 with proceeds going to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal.

Nadal will take part alongside Roger FedererSerena WilliamsNick KyrgiosNaomi OsakaCaroline Wozniaki and Stefanos Tsitsipas.

“For a period of about two-and-a-half hours we’re going to be showcasing the game, but also coming together as a community to play our part in the relief effort,” Tiley said

“I’m really proud of the playing group because the number of calls and emails I’ve got with everyone stepping forward and either giving money or making themselves available.

“The format is going to be pretty cool … it’s going to be a combination of fun and seriousness.

“We’ll see some doubles, we’ll see some singles, some target hitting and opportunities to raise more money on the night.

“We’ll see the players having a lot of fun.”

Tickets are available from Ticketmaster with all proceeds going to bushfire disaster relief charities.

Tiley also confirmed the Open will go ahead as scheduled with an air quality policy in place after concerns had been raised about the potential for smoke from bushfires burning in Victoria’s east to affect the health of players and fans.

“This is a new experience for not only us but across the world in this sport,” Tiley said.

“But we lead the world with the extreme heat policy and we expect to do the same around air quality.

“We do have three stadiums with roofs so play will always continue.

“But what will be new is that we will have some real-time (air quality) monitoring on-site … and we’ll use that analysis to make some decisions around the safety and well-being of players and fans.

“… I think the players understand that this is not something that we can do anything about and they’ve been gracious and very cooperative.

“They want to play.”

Rafael Nadal Outlasts Daniil Medvedev to Win U.S. Open & Claim 19th Grand Slam Title

Rafael Nadalis back in the winner’s circle at the US Open

The 33-year-old Spanish tennis star survived a late surge from Daniil Medvedev to win the men’s title at Flushing Meadows and earn his 19th Grand Slam trophy.

Rafael Nadal

Nadal’s latest Grand Slam went from inevitable to suddenly in doubt in a thrill-a-minute final.

What had all the makings of a crowning morphed into a real contest Sunday thanks to Medvedev, a man a decade younger and appearing in his first major title match. Down by two sets and a break, Medvedev shifted styles, upped his level against a rattled Nadal — and even received an unexpected boost from Arthur Ashe Stadium spectators.

Truly tested for the only time in the tournament, the No. 2-seeded Nadal managed to stop Medvedev’s surge and hold off his historic comeback bid, pulling out a 7-5, 6-3, 5-7, 4-6, 6-4 victory in 4 hours, 50 minutes of highlight-worthy action and Broadway-worthy drama to collect his fourth championship at Flushing Meadows.

“An amazing final. Seems that I had, more or less, the match under control,” said Nadal, who covered his face with his hands while crying when arena video boards showed clips from each of his Slam triumphs. “One of the most emotional nights of my tennis career.”

Now at 19 majors — a total Medvedev called “outrageous” — Nadal is merely one away from rival Roger Federer‘s record for a man.

Add the Spaniard’s haul in New York to his 12 titles at the French Open, two at Wimbledon and one at the Australian Open, and the 20-19 gap between Federer and Nadal is the closest it’s been in 15 years. Federer led 1-0 after his breakthrough triumph at the All England Clubin 2004, and he had four by the time Nadal got his first, at Roland Garrosin 2005.

Federer, who lost in the quarterfinals at the US Open, is 38, while Nadal is 33 — making him the oldest male champion at Flushing Meadows since 1970. He’s also the first man to win five majors after turning 30.

Nadal says he wants to finish his career at No. 1 in the Grand Slam standings — ahead of Federer and Novak Djokovic, in third place currently with 16 — but also insists he won’t base his happiness on how it all shakes out in the end.

This particular match ended the way he wanted it to. The journey just took more detours 

Alex de Minaur Defeats Kei Nishikori at US Open to Reach Fourth Round at a Grand Slam for First Time

It’s a major first for Alex de Minaur

The 20-year-old Uruguayan & Spanish Australian tennis player upset No. 7 seed Kei Nishikori to book his spot in the fourth round at the US Open.

Alex de Minaur

de Minaur, currently ranked No. 36 in the world, moved into the second week of a Grand Slam for the first time in his career, advancing to the Round of 16 at Flushing Meadows with the 6-2, 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 win. 

The victory carries extra significance for de Minaur, who snapped an 0-11 record against Top 10 opponents. He defeated Nishikori in two hours and 48 minutes.

“The crowd support was amazing,” De Minaur, who claimed his maiden ATP Tour title at the Sydney International in January, said after the match. “I had a bit of a thrill last year against [Marin] Cilic. Was two-sets-to-love up again and I’m glad I could finally get the win.”

In search of a second straight appearance at the Next Gen ATP Finals, de Minaur is looking to build on his third-place standing in the ATP Race To Milan

He’ll next face Grigor Dimitrovon Sunday.

de Minaur had previously reached the third round at Wimbledon and the Australian Open.

Rafael Nadal Dispatches Stefanos Tsitsipas to Reach Australian Open Final

Rafael Nadal has punched his ticket to the finals at the Australian Open.

The 32-year-old Spanish tennis star made quick work of 20-year-old Stefanos Tsitsipas in Thursday’s semifinal, cruising to a 6-2, 6-4, 6-0 to earn his fifth trip to the finals in Melbourne.

Rafael Nadal

Nadal hit 28 winners and never faced a break point until the final game in dispatching the Greek phenom in one hour, 46 minutes on a sweltering night.

“It was a great match, and it’s been a great tournament,” said Nadal, who won the Australian Open in 2009. 

“I’ve played well every day. After a lot of months without playing, it’s probably this court, this crowd, that is giving me that unbelievable energy.”

Nadal pounced on Tsitipas from the jump, breaking him twice in the opener. The Spaniard served notice early that Tsitsipas, who ousted Roger Federerfrom the tournament, wasn’t going to repeat that feat.

“It felt like a different dimension of tennis completely,” Tsitsipas said. “He gives you no rhythm. He plays just a different game style than the rest of the players. He has this, I don’t know, talent that no other player has. I’ve never seen a player have this. He makes you play bad.”

Nadal awaits Friday’s other semifinal between world No. 1 Novak Djokovic and first-time Grand Slam semifinalist Lucas Pouilleto find out who his opponent will be on Sunday.

Alex de Minaur Named the ATP World Tour’s Newcomer of the Year

He may be new to the ATP World Tour, but Alex de Minaur is definitely getting notices…

The 19-year-old Spanish & Uruguyan-Australian tennis playerhas been named the ATP World Tour Newcomer of the Year, sharing year-end honors with Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

Alex de Minaur

de Minaur earned the honors after a stunning breakout season, climbing from No 208 to 31st in the rankings.

He’s all but guaranteed an Australian Open seeding after last year winning his way into the tournament through the wildcard playoff.

The baseliner’s effort to reach the final of the Next Gen ATP Finals decider is yet another milestone for de Minaur.

His progress this year has been so sustained, he has claimed a career-high ranking on 15 separate occasions.

As semifinalist and finalist in Brisbane and Sydney, respectively, in January, de Minaur became the first 19-year-old to reach successive ATP semifinals since Rafael Nadal in 2005. Nadal achieved the feat at Monte Carlo and Barcelona.

de Minaur and Ashleigh Barty are expected to fight out the Newcombe Medal later this month from John Millman and Jason Kubler.

Djokovic was voted by ATP peers as Comeback Player of the Year, overcoming elbow surgery to return to No 1.

Djokovic’s coach Marian Vajda is Coach of the Year after returning to the Serb’s camp as part of an incredible rebuild.

Nadal was chosen by his fellow players as recipient of the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award.

Federer was voted Fans’ Favorite for the 16th successive year.

Mike Bryan and Jack Sock were voted Doubles Fans’ Favorites.

Stefanos Tsitsipas claimed Most Improved Player of the Year honors.

Oliver Marachand Mate Pavic secured the ATP world No 1 Doubles Team Award, while Spain’s Tommy Robredo earned the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award.

Garbine Muguruza to Play This Year’s Hopman Cup

Garbine Muguruza is ready to take on the world…

The 24-year-old Spanish-Venezuelan tennis player and compatriot David Ferrer will represent Spain in the Hopman Cup mixed teams event in late December.

Garbine Muguruza

The eight-country tournament is scheduled from December 29 to January 5 on indoor hard courts at Perth Arena. It’s used by the players as a tuneup event for the Australian Open, which begins on January 14 in Melbourne.

Serena Williams and Roger Federer have also committed to play, while former Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber and Alexander Zverev will represent Germany.

Frances Tiafoe will be Williams’ partner for the United States, while Belinda Bencic will again represent Switzerland with Federer to defend the title they won in January over Kerber and Zverev in the final.

Williams and Federer are scheduled to play mixed doubles against each other when the U.S. meets Switzerland on January 1.

Hopman Cup Teams:
Australia: Matthew Ebden and Ashleigh Barty
France: Lucas Pouille and Alize Cornet
Germany: Alexander Zverev and Angelique Kerber
Britain: Cameron Norrie and Katie Boulter
Greece: Stefanos Tsitsipas and Maria Sakkari
Spain: David Ferrer and Garbine Muguruza
Switzerland: Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic
United States: Frances Tiafoe and Serena Williams

Monica Puig Stuns Caroline Wozniacki in Straight Sets to Reach the Wuhan Open Quarterfinals

Monica Puig has done it again…

The 25-year-old Puerto Rican tennis player stunned No.2 seed Caroline Wozniacki for the second time this year in the third round of the Wuhan Open, pounding her way into the quarterfinals with a 7-6 (10), 7-5 win in two hours and 24 minutes.

Monica Puig

Though Puig had trailed Wozniacki 2-3 in the overall head-to-head before today, she had scored a memorable upset in their most recent meeting, coming from a bagel set down to defeat the Australian Openchampion 0-6, 6-4, 6-4 in the second round of the Miami Open. Puig also came into today’s match in strong form, having won 13 of her past 16 matches – including a semifinal showing in New Haven and a quarterfinal berth in Québec City.

“I feel like we’ve played each other several times now,” Puig said. “I think Wozniacki is maybe one of the only players I’ve played so frequently against on the tour. We definitely have had our fair share of battles throughout the times that we’ve played.

“We both know each other’s game very well… I just had to try to stay focused and be really aggressive on those certain key points that I wasn’t today at some times, but I was happy I was able to get it out.”

With the win, Puig, who scored 37 winners during the match, has progressed to the first Premier 5 quarterfinal of her career.

“That’s the one thing I’m trying to work on with my team as much as possible: no matter what’s going on in the match, just continue like if nothing ever happened,” Puig said of seeing several match points come and go. “That’s not always easy, especially in moments where you want to really pull your hair out.

“Honestly, on the match points that I had, I thought she played really aggressive. She really took it to me. But whenever I lost those points, would go back and go, ‘There’s another point to play, still tennis left to be played. Don’t get caught up in that one point because that one point, either you’re going to let it dictate the rest of the match or you’re going to put it in the past and move forward.’”

In the quarterfinals, Puig – who sealed the fifth consecutive Centre Court match in which the lower-ranked player emerged the victor in Wuhan today – will face home favorite Wang Qiangin an all-unseeded battle.

“I don’t think I’ve played [Wang] in a tournament, but we have practiced against each other,” Puig said. “She’s a very nice girl. I have a lot of respect for her, especially with what she’s been doing in the past couple weeks. She won last week in Guangzhou.

“Just practicing with her, she hits a big ball. She can do whatever she wants with the ball if you give her the opportunity. She’s definitely going to be a tough test for me, especially her playing at home, she’s going to have the home-court advantage.

“I’m just looking forward to getting out there and continuing to play. I’m having a lot of fun right now. Tomorrow is my birthday, but I just want to enjoy it as much as possible.”