Alexa

Likhovtseva, Nestor win first mixed doubles Grand Slam at Australian Open

Likhovtseva, Nestor win first mixed doubles Grand Slam at Australian Open

Elena Likhovtseva won her second Grand Slam mixed doubles title on Sunday when she combined with Daniel Nestor to beat Belorussians Max Mirnyi and Victoria Azarenka in straight sets at the Australian Open.
Russian Likhovtseva and Nestor, from Canada, were down a break in the second set after winning the first before they rallied, breaking back in the fifth game en route to a 6-4, 6-4 win.
"We played a tough team," Nestor said. "They seem to be winning all your matches pretty easily. We were a little bit worried about that, but we stuck to our game and we executed well."
It was the first win in three Grand Slam finals appearances for the unseeded pair, who were runners up in the Australian and French Opens last year.
Nestor won the 2002 Australian Open and 2004 U.S. Open men's doubles titles, both with Mark Knowles of the Bahamas. Likhovtseva won the 2002 Wimbledon mixed doubles title with India's Mahesh Bhupathi.
Mirnyi was playing his second doubles final in as many days, and had his second loss. He and Sweden's Jonas Bjorkman lost to American twins Mike and Bob Bryan in the men's final on Saturday.
The wild-card pair of Azarenka, who is 17 and beginning her career, and Mirnyi, who at 29 is a tour veteran, beat top-seeded Americans Bob Bryan and Lisa Raymond and fourth-seeded pair of Bjorkman and Italian Francesca Schiavone to reach the final.
Likhovtseva, 31, said she had considered retirement at the end of last year, but was now glad she didn't.
"I've been on the tour for a long time, and I just decided that I should start doing something different," said the Russian, who turned professional in 1992. "But then I thought, if I still enjoy it ... I should maybe go another year."
___
TWO FOR ONE: Rod Laver says Roger Federer is playing well enough to win all four majors this season. And the Australian great reckons that it is doubly difficult for Federer to complete a season Grand Slam than it was for him in 1962 and 1969.
Laver, the only player to have twice won all four majors in a single season, was at the Australian Open this week on a visit from the United States, his longtime residence.
In media interviews, Laver has noted that Federer is only in the middle of his career but is on track to become the sport's best player of all time.
"The best way to beat him would be to hit him over the head with a racket," Laver joked in The Sunday Age newspaper.
"Roger could win the Grand Slam if he keeps playing the way he is," Laver said. "And if he does that, it will equate to the two Grand Slams that I won because standards are much higher these days."
Laver was speaking on the eve of Federer's 10th Grand Slam title win, and the first of 2007. Federer beat Chile's Fernando Gonzalez 7-6 (2), 6-4, 6-4.
___
UMPIRE FIRST: Sandra de Jenken became the first woman to officiate a men's Grand Slam final on Sunday at the Australian Open, and had to deal with a rare tense moment with eventual winner Roger Federer.
The Swiss star had a brief exchange with de Jenken, of France, after she ordered him to play a let following a successful challenge on a call using the new video instant replay at Rod Laver Arena.
Federer's rival Fernando Gonzalez appeared to play a shot before the serve was called out, and would likely have lost the point. After the call was overturned, de Jenken told Federer, "I'll give him the benefit of the doubt."
Federer briefly walked toward the chair and said, "He was waiting for the call? That's not fair." He then turned around and resumed the match, eventually winning 7-6 (2), 6-4, 6-4.
De Jenken is one of fewer than 10 officials who are employed as professional chair umpires by the International Tennis Federation. She received a round of applause from the capacity crowd at Sunday's final when Tennis Australia President Geoff Pollard noted her achievement at the presentation ceremony.
___
THE WIMBLEDON OLYMPICS: There's Wimbledon, and then there's the "Wimbledon Olympics."
Roger Federer says one of his goals is the compete at the London Olympic Games in 2012, during which he will reach the ripe age of 31.
The Swiss star, who at age 25 won his 10th major on Sunday at the Australian Open, said he has no plans to retire _ which comes as no surprise but may nevertheless worry his rivals.
"I hope to play at least until the Wimbledon Olympics in 2012," Federer said. "That's a really big target for me."
The idea of six more years of facing Federer may appear daunting to his rivals, and that's fine with him
"If I were another player, I would be amazed a little bit to see always the same guy winning," Federer said, recalling watching Australia's Lleyton Hewitt, who topped the rankings in 2001 and 2002.
"I remember ... when I was coming up ... thinking, nobody's going to beat Lleyton. He's just going to always be there," Federer said. "I guess that's a little bit how other players see me as well. I hope (so) at least."
___
FRUITS OF VICTORY: Brydan Klein secured himself a trip to Belgium with Australia's Davis Cup team by winning the men's junior Australian Open title, and will be Lleyton Hewitt's training partner for the Feb. 9-11 match.
Australia captain John Fitzgerald asked Klein to join the Davis Cup team after the 17-year-old from Perth, Western Australia, defeated second-seeded Jonathan Eysseric of France 6-2, 4-6, 6-1 in Saturday's final.
The unseeded Klein beat five seeded players to win the title, including No. 1 Martin Klizan of Slovakia in the third round.
"It still hasn't really sunk in yet. It's an unbelievable feeling," Klein said.


Updated : 2021-04-16 19:21 GMT+08:00