Sport

Rusty Nadal struggles in loss to Gasquet in exhibition match

Rusty Nadal struggles in loss to Gasquet in exhibition match

He must now win three sudden-death qualifying matches this week to secure his Open entry for a 10th straight year."I'm not going to say anything (about not getting a wildcard)", he told reporters after his first appearance of the year at the Kooyong Classic exhibition, where he lost to Japan's world number 169 Yoshihito Nishioka in straight sets. His 2017 comeback could be inspiration for the likes of Djokovic, who has won the Australian title a record six times but has been sidelined since Wimbledon with a right elbow injury.

ESPN analyst and former world No. 1 Chris Evert said Federer's experience and smooth style of play, which has left him relatively injury-free, set him apart from the field.

Now, under new rules by the International Tennis Federation (ITF), any Grand Slam player who withdraws after 1200 local time yesterday before the tournament draw will still receive 50 percent of first round prize money. Dominican journeyman Victor Estrella Burgos is a comfortable first-round task on paper, with sixth-seeded 2017 Wimbledon finalist Marin Cilic or Nadal's 10th-seeded countryman Pablo Carreno Busta tipped to be his first serious test in the quarterfinals.

Young gun Zverev had little luck in his first Australian Open draw as a top five seed with either Wawrinka, who plays Ricardas Berankis, or Novak Djokovic potentially standing in his path in the quarter-finals.

Five women - Caroline Wozniacki, Garbine Muguruza, Elina Svitolina, Karolina Pliskova and Jelena Ostapenko - have a shot at dethroning Halep and top the WTA rankings.




Nadal's five-set defeat to Federer previous year will go down as a true epic between two sporting greats, but the longest grand slam final in the Open era belongs to Djokovic and Nadal, who battled for five hours and 53 minutes in 2012. In recent years women's tennis has become incredibly unpredictable, with there being at least ten serious contenders for every grand slam.

Grigor Dimitrov, a semifinalist here past year, is seeded third and six-time champion Novak Djokovic - coming back from a six-month injury layoff - is 14th.

The prospect of Federer reaching 20 Grand Slam titles appeared to be a distant dream at the start of 2017, but now he's just one away from that unprecedented total. "I was feeling fine, it was a bit tough at the beginning because the court is a little bit faster compared to Doha where I was last week. I'm excited about it and I've got a few days to practice".

The first Grand Slam of the year is just around the corner - but who can threaten the usual suspects in the Australian Open men's singles?

"I played better than I thought might happen [on Wednesday] and most importantly I played without pain". Referring to the final set of the thriller, which he won 6-3, he said: "It was an fantastic final, an wonderful moment for me in my life and it's great to be back here", as quoted by the Express.


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