2018 Australian Open: A Bag Full Of Surprises
This year’s Australian Open has been the bringer of many a surprise, even during the run-up to the competition. At first, when the queen of pro-tennis, Serena Williams, announced that competing was still very much on the cards, it came as a pleasant surprise to many. Then, the opposite happened; Williams announced that she would in fact not be playing this year due to her not being completely where she wanted to be fitness-wise. A less than pleasant surprise for fans who had been holding out until the very last, when the announcement was made.
As long as we’re on the topic of nasty surprises, consider Andy Murray. Everyone’s favourite Brit fully expected to be able to join in the fun at Melbourne Park but had to withdraw due to a troublesome hip that has kept him off the courts since Wimbledon of last summer.
Serena, Andy and all else considered, the biggest surprise of them all took centre-stage much later on.
Elina Svitolina: The Bookmakers’ Favourite
World no. 4 Elina Svitolina entered the Australian Open at the very top of bookmakers’ lists as the firm favourite for this year’s title. Had Svitolina pulled this off, and by anyone’s expectations she certainly could have, she would have left Melbourne Park the new world no. 1.
Were it not for an unseeded Belgian, winner of only two prior Grand Slam matches, called Elise Mertens, this may very well have happened. However, 1 hour and 13 minutes later, it didn’t and wouldn’t at all.
A soft-spoken Mertens stole the limelight on Tuesday by effectively outing the Ukrainian by securing the 6-4, 6-0 victory and blowing the battle for the women’s title right out of the water.
Svitolina Battles Hip Injury Throughout Tournament
For Svitolina it has been, quite understandably, a devastating loss. The Ukrainian revealed that she had been battling a latent hip injury since the start of the tournament, which only worsened during the match with Mertens.
Svitolina complimented Mertens, saying that the Belgian had played excellent tennis and that she (Svitolina) had been unable to match that.
As for Mertens, it’s clear that she plans to proceed in exactly the same matter-of-fact fashion that we have come to know so far. Speaking to the press after the match, Mertens seemed calm and collected, saying that she had nothing to lose and would continue to do her best. The rest remained to be seen.
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