Australian Open day 13 highlights:
Day 12 Headlines:
-Andy Murray defeated 2016 upstart Milos Raonic in five hard-fought sets 4-6, 7-5, 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-2. As expected, Raonic came out firing and used his big serve to dictate play. Murray fought hard and managed to secure a break in the second set to take it 7-5. The third set ended in a tiebreak after no breaks of serve, and Murray managed to pull away in the final two sets, almost winning the fifth in a bagel.
Murray will make his fifth trip to the Australian Open final on Sunday, meeting Novak Djokovic for the fourth time in a Melbourne championship. If Djokovic’s semifinal against Federer is any indication of the state of his game, then Murray will have a significant challenge before him. He will need to play a near-perfect match if he hopes to lift the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup in Laver Arena.
-Top seeds Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza won the women’s doubles championship, defeating Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka in straight sets by a score of 7-6(1), 6-3. Hingis and Mirza were 2015’s most dominant women’s doubles team and this newest Slam championship bodes well for their partnership in 2016. In fact, this win marked win marked their 35th in a row as a team. Look for them in the finals of the three remaining Grand Slams.
Day 13 Marquee Matches
Serena Williams (1) vs Angelique Kerber (7)
Let’s not beat around the bush: Serena has been in prime form and (yet again) has not been challenged on her road to the final in Melbourne. It would take a career day from Kerber for her to have the chance to beat Serena. Containing Serena’s power will be first priority for Kerber—if Serena gets off to a fast start, the match could get away from Kerber quickly. Getting a foot in the door on a Serena service game will also be key for Kerber to stay in the match—Serena has won over eighty percent of her first serve points this tournament. All that Serena needs to do is to continue to play the way that she has, and she can expect to tie Steffi Graf for second on the all-time Grand Slam list at 22.
Prediction: Serena in straight sets
Jamie Murray/Bruno Soares (7) vs Daniel Nestor/Radek Stepanek
Nestor, one of the best doubles players in history, and Stepanek, a former top-10 player turned doubles specialist, each have an Australian Open title to their names. In contrast, this match marks the first Australian Open final that Murray and Soares have competed in. All four players are solid doubles specialists, so look for solid net play and returning in this match. Murray and Soares have youth on their side—Nestor is 43 and Stepanek is 37—but age tends to matter less in doubles, a competition that requires players to cover half the court and is easier on the body. Murray has reached several Grand Slam finals in men’s doubles—including two last year—but has yet to win. He should play an inspired match.
Prediction: Murray/Soares in three