Li Na boosts Asia Wimbledon Interest

Li Na French Open Winner

Li Na French Open Winner

The 2011 Wimbledon Championship is set to a smash hit amongst sport fans across Asia on ESPN STAR Sports’ platforms and networks, with tennis fans eagerly anticipating Li Na repeating her landmark French Open victory at the 125th edition of The Championships. [Read more…]

Li Na wins French Open

Li Na makes French Open history

Li Na makes French Open history

Li Na not only achieved a personal dream in winning the French Open, she made history for the nation of China when winning on Saturday in Paris.

Li beat defending champion Francesca Schiavone of Italy, 6-4, 7-6 (0) to take the women’s title at Roland Garros, becoming the first Chinese player to win a Grand Slam singles trophy. [Read more…]

Men rankings before French Open 2011

Rafael Nadal - Spain

Rafael Nadal - Spain

Men’s rankings

ATP singles rankings as of Monday 23 May 2011:

1. Rafael Nadal (Spa)

2. Novak Djokovic (Ser)

3. Roger Federer (Swi)

4. Andy Murray (GB)

5. Robin Soderling (Swe)

6. Tomas Berdych (Cze)

7. David Ferrer (Spa)

8. Juergen Melzer (Aut)

9. Gael Monfils (Fra)

10. Mardy Fish (US)

11. Andy Roddick (US)

12. Nicolas Almagro (Spa)

13. Mikhail Youzhny (Rus)

14. Stanislas Wawrinka (Swi)

15. Victor Troicki (Ser)

16. Richard Gasquet (Fra)

17. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (Fra)

18. Gilles Simon (Fra)

19. Florian Mayer (Ger)

20. Fernando Verdasco (Spa)

Djokovic moves on up

Novak Djokovic proved he is a real threat for the world number one spot with victory over Rafael Nadal in the BNP Paribas Open final in Indian Wells.

Djokovic beats Nadal

Djokovic beats Nadal

The Serbian, who guaranteed the number two ranking by defeating Roger Federer in the semis, beat Nadal 4-6 6-3 6-2 in two hours and 25 minutes.

Djokovic, who won the Australian Open in January, remains unbeaten in 2011 following his 18th victory of the year.

He moved up to second in the rankings – behind Nadal – on Monday.

And after defeating the Spaniard in a final for the first time in six attempts, he will surely have his sights set on overhauling him for top spot soon.

Sunday’s final was a pulsating encounter from the outset, with the feeling of a Grand Slam clash, and both men were keen to stamp their authority as early as possible.

Nadal had the first chance at 2-2, 0-40, but four break points went begging as he appeared to get edgy at the key moments, before he finally converted his fifth oppportunity.

Djokovic, bristling with intent, hit back straight away with a spectacular backhand cross-court winner and a forehand up the line to make it 3-3, only to then slip behind again with the first really loose game of the day.

Nadal was able to keep Djokovic at bay as he served out the set and it was now a question of whether the Serbian, who had not suffered a defeat since losing to Federer in London four months ago, had the energy to come back.

The second set was a desperately tight and tense affair, with both men producing spectacular winners and plenty of errors under pressure too, but it was Djokovic who edged it with two breaks to Nadal’s one.

The Spaniard’s serve let him down as he made just 25% of first serves and, despite hitting back immediately after slipping 4-2 behind, Djokovic made it three successive breaks and then levelled the match in a gripping ninth game.

History suggested that Nadal would be the stronger in the closing stages but he began the decider with a poor game, finding the net with a smash and hooking a forehand wide to drop serve again.

If Nadal was wilting, Djokovic was getting stronger by the minute, and he swept into the net to angle away a confident forehand volley for 2-0 before the pressure told once again on Nadal’s serve and he was broken for a fourth time in succession.

With Djokovic in this mood, a double break proved an impregnable lead, and he showed no sign of the nerves that once afflicted him at key moments as he saw out the match with another confident service game to love.

“I want to congratulate Rafa on a great tournament,” Djokovic said afterwards. “He had to lose but he has started off the year very well.

“It’s always a pleasure to play you. For me, you are the greatest player ever and a good friend so I wish you good luck.”

Nadal responded: “You started the season fantastic so all the best for the rest of the season. Well done. I lost today but I lost to one of the greatest.”

Wimbledon in 3D

The climax of this year’s Wimbledon Championships will be broadcast live in 3D to selected cinemas around the world for the first time, it has been announced.

Wimbledon Open Championship

Wimbledon Open Championship

The All England Club, which organises the tennis grand slam, has struck a “multi-year” deal with Sony to air the men’s semi-finals as well as the finals in both the men’s and women’s tournaments.

The 3D coverage will be produced in partnership with the BBC, the host broadcaster of the tournament, and will also be offered to international broadcasters. Sony will also work with theatrical distribution partner SuperVision Media to take the action into cinemas.

“Wimbledon is renowned for its heritage and sense of tradition,” said All England Club CEO Ian Ritchie, who said the deal would be particularly useful for engaging younger audiences. “At the same time we are always looking for ways to improve the presentation of The Championships by successfully blending that tradition with innovation.”

Sony Europe president Fujio Nishida added: “With the Live 3D Wimbledon experience available in hundreds of 3D cinemas across the world, many more people will be able to enjoy one of the world’s most iconic sporting events as though they were actually at Wimbledon.”

Novak Djokovic wins Australia Open 2011

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic claimed his second Grand Slam title at the Australian Open Sunday with a dominant display which thwarted Andy Murray’s bid to become Britain’s first male major-winner in 75 years.

The Serbian world number three controlled the final on a warm Melbourne evening, winning 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 for his second Australian title, after also triumphing in 2008.

It was the first major final without Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer for three years, as Djokovic proved superior to the listless fifth seed and afterwards stripped down to his shorts in celebration.

But the disappointing Murray suffered further heartbreak and is now yet to win a set in three Grand Slam finals.

Murray was bidding to become the first British man to win a Grand Slam since Fred Perry in 1936, and the first from the country to win the Australian Open since 1934.

But he was never in the hunt as his game fell away in the second set and Djokovic ramped up the pressure to take the final in straight sets in 2hr 39 min.

It was Djokovic’s second successive Grand Slam final after losing to Nadal in last year’s US Open decider.

Symbolically, the last time Djokovic finished runner-up at the 2007 US Open, he went on to win the title at the Australian Open the following year against Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Djokovic and Murray are close friends from their junior playing days and it was their first meeting at a Grand Slam with the Serb now leading 5-3 in their matches.

Despite the triumph Djokovic will remain the world number three behind Nadal and Federer when the new ATP rankings are published on Monday.

It was another bitter experience for Murray in the majors after going down in straight sets to Federer in last year’s Australian final and at the 2007 US Open.

Kim Clijsters wins Australian Open 2011

Kim Clijsters Australia Open

Kim Clijsters Australia Open

Kim Clijsters won her second straight Grand Slam title and the fourth of her career, struggling early before beating Li Na 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 Saturday in the Australian Open final.

The result ended the outstanding run of Li, who became the first Chinese player to reach a Grand Slam singles final.

Li appeared to become upset with some of the Chinese spectators in the crowd in the third set, and asked the chair umpire to intervene. She later complained about the flashes from photographers at centre court.

U.S. Open champion Clijsters’ win came in her likely last appearance at Melbourne Park, she said that 2011 could be her last full year on the tour.