We’re coming to you later than expected because we’ve just finished an absolute classic. The World No1, Simona Halep, was supposed to have a straightforward game against Lauren Davis, ranked 50th in the world. But it turned into an epic. It broke the record for the longest women’s match at Melbourne Park in terms of games played, finally ending 15-13 in favour of Halep in the third. But Davis was… incredible. Played the game of her life. Was on the back foot so many times, facing down break points and match points, and kept coming back with screaming winners. Amazing court coverage, a huge backhand, and then finding forehand winners down the line as well, and attacking the net in between times. Halep was pushed to her absolute limit, and saved some match points herself to hang in there. For a time the momentum was with Davis, but then she’d played so hard that a couple of her toenails started tearing off one foot, and after she had those patched up she couldn’t quite move with the same confidence. Eventually, eventually, Halep was able to wear her down. But find some footage of that match, read the reports, because it is well worth your time. A beauty, one of the great matches, and tribute to both players.
It’s Barty time! Everybody get ready, as Ashleigh tries to make the fourth round for the first time in a singles major. The Australian No1, the WTA No17, she’s the new excitement story of Australian tennis at 21 years of age. She’s made the doubles finals at all four Slam tournaments, but now she’s finding her way in singles. Of course, she’ll always belong first and foremost in a Brisbane Heat shirt for me, after we covered her brief career in WBBL cricket a couple of southern summers ago, but she’s back to the game she played first now.
For fans of Naomi Osaka, we’ll do our best, but this blog definitely has a Barty-first leaning. Sorry, it’s just the way things go.