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January 26, 2018

Sports Weekend: Australia Day Edition

This weekend the Australian Open comes to a crescendo.  The Australian Open is a tennis tournament held annually over the last fortnight of January in Melbourne, Australia. First held in 1905, the tournament is chronologically the first of the four Grand Slam tennis events of the year – the other three being the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. It features men's and women's singles; men's, women's and mixed doubles and junior's championships; as well as wheelchair, legends and exhibition events. Prior to 1988 the tournament had been played on grass courts, but since then two types of hardcourt surfaces have been used at Melbourne Park – green coloured Rebound Ace up to 2007 and, afterwards, blue Plexicushion.  The Australian Open typically has high attendances, rivaling and occasionally exceeding the US Open. The tournament holds the record for the highest attendance at a Grand Slam event. It was the first Grand Slam tournament to feature indoor play during wet weather or extreme heat with its three primary courts, the Rod Laver Arena, Hisense Arena and the refurbished Margaret Court Arena equipped with retractable roofs.

Today the men's doubles are being contested, with a finals match between Austraian Oliver Marach and Croatian Mate Pavić on  one couple, versus Colombians Robert Farah and Juan Cabal.  The Colombians have not yet lost a single set in this tournament, despite a controversial call in their match against Australians Sam Groth and Lleyton Hewitt,  so they are the couple to beat.  The men's singles finals will be held Sunday, but time differences being what they are, it will still be Saturday in some locales for readers of this space.  In the finals, Swiss Roger Federer will contend with Croatian Marin Čilić.  Roger Federer will be seeking his 20th Grand Slam title in his 30th major final, and has not yet lost a set in this tournament.  This is his seventh appearance in an Australian Open final, setting a new record.   Marin Cilic, has been gathering steam, winning close matches by force rather than by luck, and he'll be looking to win his second Slam.  In his play against Federer he is 1-8, but he did best Rafael Nadal in this tournament. 

The Ashes Series concluding in International Cricket, England and Australia turned toward the one day international matches.  Although performing dismally in the Ashes series, the English have surged in the ODI set of five games, winning 3 so far to Australia's 1.  So, the hosts have no way of coming out victorious in the ODI series, even should they win the Australia Day weekend match this Sunday in Adelaide.  Players representing both nations are looking forward to some much needed rest. 

In PGA Tour Golf, Tiger Woods has qualified for the final rounds of a PGA Tournament for the first time since 2015.  He was on his last hole in Friday’s second round of the Farmers Insurance Open, a tournament he’s won a record seven times. But this time around, in his first tournament on the PGA Tour in a year and just his second in over two  years, the former world number one ranked players in the world  overcame the odds to make the cut.  He begins final round play 10 shots behind of the pace-setting lead of Ryan Palmer.  Play continues today at the Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla, California overlooking the Pacific Ocean near San Diego.  

1 comment:

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