Brody Sodon, Staff Writer
Earlier this month, Melbourne hosted the Annual Australian Open. Due to complications caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the attendance for the event was just over 130,000 – about one-eighth of the typical turnout for the tournament. While the event has traditionally been held in January, it was postponed until February this year due to changes in qualification.
For the first time in the history of the tournament, qualifying events were held outside of Australia due to international COVID-19 restrictions. As such, the qualifying event was split into two tournaments taking place in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates. Another first for the tournament, the Australian Open used electronic line calls instead of line judges. Electronic line calls will likely be used throughout the rest of the Majors.
In the Men’s singles bracket, Serbian favorite Novak Djokovic proved victorious over the #4 seeded Russian, Daniil Medvedev. Djokovic seemed to have met his equal against the #8 seeded German, Alexander Zverev, in the quarterfinals, as Zverev won the first set 7-6 and played well against Djokovic in the next three sets. In the end, Djokovic rallied to win all three sets. He then went on to win out through the semifinals, and ultimately won in the finals. While he lost some games, Djokovic won every set he played except his first one against Zverev.
The Women’s singles saw #22 seeded American, Jennifer Brady, defeated by Naomi Osaka of Japan, who was seeded at #3. Osaka and Brady had very different paths to the finals. As Osaka went undefeated, Brady dropped a set to both fellow American Jessica Pegula in the quarterfinals and the Czechian Karolína Muchová in the semifinals, while losing both games to Osaka in the finals.
The winners of the Men’s doubles were Croatian Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek of Slovakia who bested American Rajeev Ram and British Joe Salisbury. Salisbury and Ram posted the #5 seed in the tournament and won every set leading into the finals while losing both sets in their finals match against Dodig and Polasek, who dropped a set in each of their last two matches leading into their match with Salisbury and Ram.
The women’s doubles saw the Czechian duo of Barbora Krejčíková and Kateřina Siniaková bested by Elise Mertens of Germany and Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus. Easily the most top-loaded finals in the tournament, #3 seeded Krejčíková and Siniaková fell to the #2 seeded duo of Mertens and Sabalenka by a score of 6-2 in their first set and 6-3 in their second.
The mixed doubles final match saw Rajeev Ram and Barbora Krejčíková (losers of the men’s and women’s doubles tournaments, respectively) earn a finals win as they defeated Australians Samantha Stosur and Matthew Ebden. The only seeded team to qualify for the finals bracket, Ram and Krejčíková won the tournament outright, with Krejčíková having successfully defended her title, albeit with a new partner.