Mendoza: Creeps here as upset ax hits Aussie Open

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By Al S. Mendoza

All Write

Monday, January 20, 2014


AFTER Petra Kvitova, the 2011 Wimbledon champion and seeded No. 6, was given the boot last week by Luksika Kumkhum, the 20-year-old unseeded Thai, I thought that was it.

No more upset ax felling a heavyweight in the ongoing Australian Open in Melbourne. I was wrong.

As often happens, predictions, if not expectations, go awry at times, if not most of the time. And so one came. And another.

Serena Williams, unbeaten in 25 matches with only four defeats blemishing her 2013 record, bowed to Ana Ivanovic in a Sunday Shocker Theater.

The loss ended Serena’s dream of matching the record 18 Grand Slams wins shared by American Chris Evert and Czech-turned-American Martina Navaratilova.

The No. 1-seeded Serena was also deflected by Ivanovic in her bid for a sixth Australian Open crown.

“I think Ana just played a really good match,” said Serena after her 6-4, 3-6, 3-6 loss to the Serbian. “She did what it takes to win.”

“Serena’s such a great player,” said Ana, 26. “Going on to the court today, I really just tried to give my best.”

Then yesterday, Maria Sharapova, also trying to give it her best shot, couldn’t sustain the momentum of a first-set victory and lost to Dominika Cibulkova.

Shocker after shocker after shocker and Sharapova, No. 3, allowed the 20th-ranked Cibulkova to run away with a 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 victory to advance to the quarterfinals of a tournament played in a land not known to yield major upsets.

Melbourne, the charming Australian frontier I favor over Adelaide (I was there in 1985) and Sydney (2000 Olympics), is one of my favorites. I was there thrice already and thrice I enjoyed my dinner at its famed Chinatown, a must-visit both for the first-time visitor and regular guests. A city of quaint, old architecture reminiscent of vintage British heritage, Melbourne, site of the 1956 Olympic Games, is a sports haven not famous for monumental upsets.

But at the rate the heavyweights have been falling by the wayside—the men’s side has yet to be hit though by major reversals—will it be different this time?

I’m having the creeps right now.

(alsol47@yahoo.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 21, 2014.

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