Brisbane International Day 1 - 2
Groth Dethrones Defending Champion Hewitt in Brisbane Opener
brisbaneinternational.com.au: January 6 2015 Brisbane, Australia – Sam Groth has brought an early end to Lleyton Hewitt’s Brisbane International title defence, making light work of the former world No.1 with a stunning straight-sets victory on Tuesday night.
Groth tore through his Davis Cup teammate in just 58 minutes, winning 6-3 6-2 to move through to the second round of the season-opening tournament. The match lived up to its billing as a contrast of styles, with Groth’s near-unstoppable serve too much to handle for Hewitt, who is usually an excellent counterpuncher from the baseline.
Groth, the holder of the world record for the fastest serve recorded, dished up 14 aces compared to just one from Hewitt, who was bullied around the court in surprising fashion. Three of those aces came in the first game of the match as the late-bloomer from Narrandera in country NSW took firm control early in the piece. Serving for the first set, Groth survived two break points to draw first blood at Pat Rafter Arena.
He carried the momentum into the second, giving up just 15 points to Hewitt and requiring just one match point to wrap it up – although he did need a challenge to secure the victory. Groth, ranked world No.85 to Hewitt’s No.84, will now face Poland’s Lukasz Kubot in the second round and will fancy his chances after announcing his arrival with a powerful performance. It is a disappointing exit for Hewitt, 34, after his stunning win over Roger Federer in last year’s Brisbane International final.
Sharapova Crushes Shvedova in 2nd Rd
brisbaneinternational.com.au: January 6 2015 Brisbane, Australia – Top seed Maria Sharapova opened her 2015 season in a flurry on Pat Rafter Arena Tuesday night, thumping Kazakhstan’s Yaroslava Shvedova 6-0 6-1 at the Brisbane International. The Russian stormed through the first set of the second-round encounter without dropping a game after just 23 minutes and led 3-0 in the second set with a double bagel looking ominous for former world No.25 Shvedova.
Buoyed on by a crowd getting behind the underdog, she finally stemmed the flow of games, holding serve to get on the board for 1-3, drawing a roar of approval and a grin as she fist pumped the air above. Sharapova fought off two break points in the following game to ease the threat of any second-set comeback, going on to break for 5-1 after a lengthy struggle on the Shvedova serve before sealing it after 1h 03 mins.
With her last competitive match coming at a WTA Finals event in Singapore at the end of October, the five-time grand slam winner was more than pleased with her opening round showing. There would be no repeat performance of Shvedova’s round one Brisbane International match, where the 27-year-old came back from a 0-6 first set to upset Sabine Lisicki in three. Sharapova will play the winner of Mirjana Lucic-Baroni or Spanish sixth-seed Carla Suarez-Navarro in the quarterfinal.
Pliskova Ousts Azarenka in Opener
brisbaneinternational.com.au: January 5 2015 Brisbane, Australia - Former world No.1 Victoria Azarenka has bombed out in a dramatic three-hour-plus epic against aggressive Czech, Karolina Pliskova, on Pat Rafter Arena on Monday night. The Belarusian, on the comeback from a foot injury, served for the match at 6-4 5-4 before the tall 22-year-old mounted her stunning fightback.
She would save a match point in the second-set tiebreak and clawed back a break of serve in the decider to deny last year’s runner-up 4-6 7-6(7) 6-4 after 3h 13mins. Both players went toe-to-toe in some cracking groundstroke rallies, with neither keen to surrender their position on top of the baseline.
On the return from a foot injury, it seemed fitting that Azarenka began her season at the venue where she played her last tour final. The tennis gods weren’t kind to the former world No.1 last year, with the lower leg complaint playing havoc with her progress for the majority of the season. She missed a total of five months of the tour and was absent for seven of the first 16 events. Needless to say, defending rankings points from a 2013 that netted an Australian Open title and success at Doha and Cincinnati proved impossible and as a result her ranking slid from world No.2 to No.32 by year’s end.
Wildcard Australian Jarmila Gajdosova has survived a banana-peel moment to book a second-round showdown with Serbian No.2 seed Ana Ivanovic as more Brisbane International seeds fell on Monday. Half of the eight women’s seeds are now out after Slovak Dominika Cibulkova (No.4) was upset by American teenager Madison Keys 7-5 6-2 in the first round and No.8 Garbine Muguruza of Spain withdrew with an ankle injury on Monday. However, Gajdosova took another positive step on the comeback trail by downing China’s Shuai Zhang 6-4 6-1.
Meanwhile Gajdosova’s fellow Australian, world No.231 qualifier Daria Gavrilova shocked American Alison Riske – a player ranked 88 places higher – in the first round. Gavrilova will next meet Angelique Kerber after the German third seed downed Caroline Garcia of France 6-4 6-3.
Brisbane Int'l Women’s Singles Second Round Tuesday Jan 6
1-Maria Sharapova beat Yaroslava Shvedova 6-0, 6-1
7-Carla Suarez Navarro beat Mirjana Lucic 5-7, 6-3, 6-4
Alla Kudryavtseva beat Karolina Pliskova 4-6, 6-3, 6-3
Brisbane Int'l Women’s Singles Monday Jan 5
R2: Elina Svitolina beat Ajla Tomljanovic 6-3 6-2
R2: 3-Angelique Kerber beat Daria Gavrilova 6-3, 7-5
R2: Varvara Lepchenko beat Madison Keys 6-4, 6-4
R1: Madison Brengle beat Lesia Tsurenko 7-6(8) 6-3
R1: Mirjana Lucic vs. Christina McHale 6-3, 6-0 final
R1: Karolina Pliskova beat Victoria Azarenka 4-6, 7-6(7), 6-4
R1: 3-Angelique Kerber beat Caroline Garcia 6-4, 6-3