Brisbane International Finals
Federer Posts 1000 Career Win in Capturing Brisbane Title; Edges Raonic in Final
brisbaneinternational.com.au: January 11 2015 Brisbane, Australia – There were 1000 reasons why top seed Roger Federer wanted to win the Brisbane International men’s final on Sunday night. But it seems there are few excuses for the Swiss great if he does not add to his staggering 17 grand slam tally at the Australian Open judging by the world No.2’s triumph in the Brisbane decider.
Federer, 33, remarkably registered career win No.1000 by claiming his maiden Brisbane title – the 83rd of his career – by holding out world No.8 Milos Raonic of Canada 6-4 6-7 (2) 6-4 on Pat Rafter Arena. Federer was awarded the winner’s Roy Emerson Trophy by the 12-time grand slam winner himself before receiving a special memento from the great Rod Laver to celebrate his 1000th win.
Only two men, American Jimmy Connors (1253) and Czech great Ivan Lendl (1071), have claimed more than 1000 victories in ATP Tour history. Federer appeared to be a marked man ahead of the year’s opening grand slam after third seed Raonic backed fellow young gun Kei Nishikori’s call that the days of the Big Four – Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray – were numbered in 2015.
World No.5 Nishikori tipped the likes of himself, reigning US Open champ Marin Cilic, big-serving Raonic and Grigor Dimitrov to take the next step in 2015. And it was an argument that appeared to gain momentum after Djokovic and Nadal suffered surprise losses this week at the Qatar Open in Doha. However, Federer has done his best to silence the critics by holding out the likes of fourth seed Dimitrov and third seed Raonic on his way to clinching Brisbane glory.
Federer dug deep to remain on track to extend his stunning Australian Open success. Apart from his four grand slams Down Under, the Swiss great has made at least the semifinal round at Melbourne Park every year since 2004. Federer bounced back from a rollercoaster Brisbane second round win over Australian wildcard and world No.153 John Millman by conceding just five games in two matches before Raonic’s challenge.
While Federer’s win was an ideal tonic ahead of the Australian Open, it also avenged his shock 2014 Brisbane final loss to former world No.1 Lleyton Hewitt. Sunday’s success means Federer has triumphed in 29 cities around the world in his stellar career. Federer broke in the third game before clinching the first set in just 31 minutes. And it seemed all over when the Swiss master broke again in the opening game of the second before Raonic found another gear.
The big-hitting Canadian broke back in the fourth game before forcing a tiebreak which he went on to dominate 7-2, taking seven points in a row. Federer finally ground down Raonic, breaking him in the 10th game of the third to clinch the decider in 2h 13mins. It was still a gutsy effort from Raonic, 24, who became the first Canadian to finish the year in the top 10 after a breakthrough 2014 in which he made the Wimbledon semifinals and French Open quarterfinals.
Sharapova Claims Brisbane Crown, Denies Ivanovic in 3-Set Final
brisbaneinternational.com.au: January 11 2015 Brisbane, Australia – : Top seed Maria Sharapova has made the perfect start to her Australian Open preparation by downing fellow former world No.1 Ana Ivanovic to claim the Brisbane International women’s single title.
World No.2 Sharapova sounded a warning ahead of the opening grand slam event of the year when she overcame early resistance to overpower the Serbian 6-7(4) 6-3 6-3 to claim her 34th career title on Saturday. Later, five-time grand slam singles and nine-time grand slam doubles champion Martina Hingis made it a successful Brisbane debut capturing the women’s double title with Sabine Lisicki.
The Swiss-German duo came from a break down in the second set to hold off the French-Slovenian partnernship and No.4 seeds Caroline Garcia and Katerina Srebotnik 6-2 7-5. It is another shot in the arm for Sharapova ahead of another assault on the Australian Open, which she won in 2008, beating Ivanovic in the final.
But it was more pain for second seed Ivanovic, in more ways than one. Nursing an abdominal complaint that forced her to withdraw from her Brisbane doubles quarterfinal this week, world No.7 Ivanovic called for a 10-minute time-out with a trainer after conceding set point in the second with a double fault.
The Brisbane International final marked the first time the pair had met Down Under since the 2008 Australian Open final. Five-time grand slam champion Sharapova, 27, extended her head-to-head record against Ivanovic to 10-4. It ensured she extended her remarkable habit of winning at least one title a year since 2003. Sharapova had dropped just nine games in her three Brisbane matches to get to her 56th WTA final. And she looked set to maintain that dominance by racing to a 3-1 first set lead.
However, Ivanovic broke back in the seventh as Sharapova’s service game fell apart. The Russian endured seven double faults, 27 unforced errors and registered a lousy first serve percentage of 38 per cent as Ivanovic held her nerve to clinch the first set in just over an hour. But Sharapova still jumped to a 3-1 lead in the second as her first-serve radar returned.
She went on to clinch it in 48 minutes as Ivanovic called for her trainer. True to form, Sharapova again led 3-1 in the third before the pair exchanged breaks in four straight games with Ivanovic saving two match points. But the Russian finally held her nerve – and serve – to close out the match in more than two and a half hours on Pat Rafter Arena.