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Wednesday, Feb 26th

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Three time Australian Open runner-up Andy Murray will be hoping to be fourth time lucky at Melbourne Park this year, and the Briton kicked off his campaign in style today with a routine 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (3) win over Indian qualifier Yuki Bhambri in the first round.

Young Bhambri, the lowest ranked player in the men's draw at 317, wasn't really in the same league as the two time Grand Slam winner, Murray, but did produce some memorable tennis to ensure that his Grand Slam debut wasn't anything he would forget in a hurry.

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Tennis fans have been deprived of watching Rafael Nadal for the better part of the last 6 months, and the former world no.1 certainly looked keen to make up for lost time as he powered his way into the second round of the Australian Open this morning, easing past a potentially tricky opponent in Russian veteran Mikhail Youzhny.

Drawing Youzhny in the first round is usually far from ideal for a seeded player, but Nadal (sporting shorter shorts!) wasn't really challenged by the 32 year old Moscowite, who is now ranked just on the edge of the top 50. Nadal made short work of his opponent, producing a routine 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 win.

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Early round upsets are part and parcel of every single Grand Slam, and why should the Australian Open be any different. Czech qualifier Lucie Hradecka provided the shock of the early morning at Melbourne Park today, sending Serbian heart throb Ana Ivanovic crashing out in the opening round in just under an hour and a half.

It looked like a routine outing early on for the no.5 seed as Ivanovic raced through the opening set of her match against Hradecka, 6-1, however, the 29 year old Czech veteran rebounded in amazing fashion to take the next two sets 6-3, 6-2 to send Ivanovic packing.

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Reigning US Open champion Marin Cilic has announced his withdrawal from the 2015 Australian Open due to a shoulder injury.

The 26 year old, who hasn't played any tennis since featuring in the inaugural edition of the International Premier Tennis League, announced his decision through his personal website.

Cilic is quoted as having said, "I am really disappointed to announce that I had to withdraw from the Australian Open. Right shoulder injury, that hampers me for some time now and forced me to withdraw from the ATP event in Brisbane, is improving day by day, but I still don't feel fit enough to be able to compete at the highest level."

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In a tournament of upsets Stanislas Wawrinka pulled off the biggest one of all on the final day in Melbourne defeating Rafael Nadal in an astonishing finale to the Australian Open. ‘Stan the Man’ ousted the World No.1 6-3, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 to emerge victorious for the first time in his career. Rafael Nadal was clearly hobbled mid-match with a back injury, but that cannot take any credit away from Wawrinka. Stanislas overcame the pressures of his first slam final, bossed Rafa in the early stages, struggled through a lapse when Nadal was clearly struggling physically, before scaling that ultimate mental peak to emerge triumphant in a slam final and finally beat Nadal for the first time to boot. The win meant that Wawrinka became the first man since Sergi Bruguera at Roland Garros in 1993 to beat the top two seeds enroute to the title and the first to beat both Djokovic & Nadal in a slam. He also streaked past the Maestro Roger Federer to move upto third place in the ATP rankings.

Nadal might have finished runner up today, but came out a winner in so many ways as he fought through a debilitating injury issue to somehow make a match out of what could easily have turned into a farce. He was gracious as usual in his speech congratulating Stan while referring to his own bad luck with his back. Wawrinka who became the first outside of the ‘Big Four’ since Del Potro in 2009 to win a slam, was understated in his celebration but was effusive in his praise for his beaten opponent. The Swiss No.1 conquered many mental demons today which leaves him with many positives to take forward through the rest of the year.

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In a tournament of upsets, Li Na brought a streak of stability as she defeated Dominika Cibulkova 7/6(3) 6/0 in an engaging final to capture her maiden Australian Open championships. It was third time lucky for the 4th seed as she overcame the pressure of a final, the pressures of being favourite and indeed the pressures brought by a gutsy fight from the Slovak in the first set before overwhelming her opponent in the second half as she won her her second slam following her maiden victory in Roland Garros in 2011. The Chinese woman who became the first Asian to win here received her trophy from the legendary Chris Evert. Obviously thrilled with winning she gave an entertaining speech on the podium congratulating her opponent and thanking her support especially new coach Carlos Rodriguez who of course had guided Justine Henin to multiple successes in the past.

Cibulkova, “The Pocket Rocket” was Slovakia’s first grand slam finalist and put up a typically energetic display earning the appreciation of the fans, but in the end came up short, excuse the pun, against an opponent who had a tad too much game & experience on the day. The Slovak spoke well through her tears congratulating Li for her superb display and also saying how much she had enjoyed her two weeks here.

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On Monday at the Australian Open, Eugenie Bouchard became the second Canadian in history to reach the singles semifinals of a Grand Slam, matching the performance of Carling Bassett at the U.S. Open in 1984.

Bouchard, seeded no. 30 in the tournament, took on Serbian Ana Ivanovic, who upset World No. 1 Serena Williams in the Round of 16. Even though she lost the first set, Bouchard continued to battle and play aggressively, a strategy that ultimately paid dividends as she came out on top 5-7, 7-5, 6-2. In victory, the 19-year-old Canadian hit 47 winners compared to 34 for her opponent and she was able to break Ivanovic’s serve seven times in the match. She remained calm and focused until she converted her first match point.

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