January 19, 2019
Simona Halep will play Serena Williams on Monday after an emphatic victory over her sister, Venus.
It’s a fascinating match-up that will tell us whether or not Serena is capable of winning another major at the Australian Open.
Meanwhile some comical moments in Melbourne left two of the world’s greatest players somewhat taken aback.
Despite sunny daylight, the organisers decided to switch on the floodlights during the match between Novak Djokovic and Denis Shapovalov.
Apparently the move was designed to create sharper TV images. But Djokovic wasn’t amused at all.
He complained in vain to the tournament referee and dropped a set while distracted. Novak still won in the end 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 6-0.
Roger Federer was stopped in his tracks – but not out on court.
He wasn’t wearing his photo ID down in the corridors on practice day.
Despite being one of the most famous people on the planet, Federer was halted by an officious security man.
To his credit, he didn’t blurt out the obvious words: ‘But I’m Roger Federer.’
Instead it was left to a member of his team, complete with the necessary ID, to point out the obvious.
‘I know,’ the official seemed to say with a smile. Rules are still rules Roger. Naughty boy.
From farce to stand-up comedy, supplied once again by the charismatic Sascha Zverev after another straight sets victory.
‘No one notices the muscle I’ve put on,’ he told the Melbourne fans.’I still get called the Skinny Guy. I’ve been called The Asparagus too.
‘When Rafa puts on his sleeveless top, it is intimidating. If I did it, people would laugh.’
They’re already laughing, Sascha. They’re laughing with you. Absolutely brilliant.
Back to the serious stuff. Venus Williams called Halep ‘flawless’ after the Romanian broke her six times on the way to a 6-2, 6-3 victory.
But Halep was determined to pay tribute to Serena before their big showdown, created when Williams defeated the tearful Ukrainian teenager, Dayana Yastremska, 6-2, 6-1.
Simona explained: ‘To be number one in the world and to be the best player in the world, it’s a little bit different.
‘I’m number one but she is for sure the best player in the world because she has won so many Slams.’
We’ll soon see who is best. And Serena is looking forward to finding out too.
‘I haven’t played the world number one since I came back, I think, so yeah, it’ll be good,’ Serena promised.