'The stars aligned for me' - Ajaz Patel proud to join elite 10-wicket haul club

By Sports Desk December 04, 2021

Related items

  • Australian Open: Collins swats Swiatek aside to reach first grand slam final Australian Open: Collins swats Swiatek aside to reach first grand slam final

    Danielle Collins will face home favourite Ash Barty in her first grand slam final at the Australian Open after dispatching Iga Swiatek in straight sets.

    Playing in only her second major semi-final at the age of 28, an assured Collins rose to the occasion to win 6-4 6-1 in dominant fashion on Rod Laver Arena.

    The 27th seed from the United States was beaten by Petra Kvitova in the last four of the first grand slam of the year at Melbourne Park three years ago, but she was not to be denied on this occasion.

    Swiatek was unable to become the first Polish woman to reach the final of this tournament, struggling with her serve from the start as her bid to win a second grand slam title came to a halt and Collins booked a showdown with world number one Barty on Saturday.

    Collins capitalised on a shaky start from the 2020 French Open champion, breaking when the seventh seed sprayed a forehand long after double-faulting in a poor first service game.

    An aggressive Collins was a double-break up at 3-0 after her out-of-sorts opponent drilled a backhand wide, but Swiatek sprung into life, winning back-to-back games to reduce the deficit to 4-2.

    Swiatek trailed 5-2 after being broken for a third time as she struggled with her second serve and although Collins failed to serve out the set at the first attempt, she made no mistake second time around after firing down two aces.

    The Florida native was in the zone, staying on her feet during changeovers, and she struck another blow by breaking in the first game of the second set with a cross-court backhand winner.

    Swiatek's frustration mounted as her service woes continued, Collins near flawless with her backhand a potent weapon as she broke again to lead 3-0.

    The ice-cool world number 30 showed not a hint of nerves, finishing off the job with another break after earning two match points with a glorious forehand winner and forcing a backhand error from Swiatek to move into the final.

    DATA SLAM: Imperious Collins a class apart as Swiatek is let down by her serve

    While Collins was at her very best in a brilliant performance, Swiatek looked like she did not know what had hit her.

    Swiatek won only three of the 21 points behind her tentative second serve after landing only 60 per cent of her first serves in, and the 20-year-old fell into the trap of feeding Collins' dangerous backhand far too often.

    WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

    Collins – 27/13
    Swiatek – 12/13

    ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

    Collins – 7/4
    Swiatek – 1/4

    BREAK POINTS WON

    Collins – 6/10
    Swiatek – 2/3

  • Australia coach Langer gets Hall of Fame honour Australia coach Langer gets Hall of Fame honour

    Australia coach Justin Langer has been honoured with an induction into the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame.

    Langer, along with former Australia women's captain Raelee Thompson, was announced as an inductee on Thursday by the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame Committee, together with Cricket Australia (CA) and the Australian Cricketers' Association (ACA).

    Former opening batsman Langer has been Australia's coach since May 2018, and has overseen two Ashes series, including the 4-0 thrashing of England over the past two months.

    However, he seems set to leave his post at the expiration of his contract in June.

    Langer made his Test debut for Australia in 1993 and went on to accumulate 7,696 runs at an average of 45.27 and a strike rate of 54.22 across 182 innings.

    His highest score in the longest format was 250, while he scored 23 centuries in total.

    Thompson, meanwhile, is seen as one of the pioneers of women's cricket. She played 16 Tests and 23 ODIs for Australia between 1972 and 1985 and was captain on four occasions and is the oldest player to have taken a maiden five-for in Test cricket when she did so at the age of 39 years and 175 days.

    "Honouring inductees to the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame is an important and special moment for the sport," said Nick Hockley, chief executive of CA. 

    "Justin and Raelee are extremely deserving inductees and it is wonderful to acknowledge and celebrate the immense achievements and contributions of these legends of our game.

    "Justin has had a tremendous impact on Australian cricket, both at the top of the order alongside Matthew Hayden, as a coach of Western Australia and more recently as head coach of the Australian men's team.

    "Raelee has been a leader and champion of cricket as a sport for women and girls through an incredible period of evolution, both as a proud player and captain of her country and continuing that passion towards ensuring that the game continues to progress and flourish for future generations."

    Langer and Thompson are the 58th and 59th inductees into the Hall of Fame.

  • Australian Open: Barty moves into final as fairy tale remains alive in Melbourne Australian Open: Barty moves into final as fairy tale remains alive in Melbourne

    Ash Barty continued her fairy-tale run at the Australian Open, crushing Madison Keys to become the first local woman to reach the singles final in 42 years.

    The two-time grand slam champion continued her impressive form at Melbourne Park with a 6-1 6-3 victory over Keys on Rod Laver Arena on Thursday.

    Barty, the world number one, became the first Australian woman to reach the singles final at the tournament since Wendy Turnbull in 1980.

    She can become the first to win the title since Chris O'Neil in 1978 when she faces either Danielle Collins or Iga Swiatek in Saturday's final, which she will undoubtedly start as favourite.

    Barty has dropped just 21 games on her way to the decider and the reigning Wimbledon champion was again ruthless against Keys, who lost her fourth grand slam semi-final in five such appearances.

    The 25-year-old Barty settled well and broke the Keys serve in the opening game.

    A powerful forehand created the opportunity before she delivered a cross-court winner off that wing to convert following a Keys drop shot.

    Barty only made two first serves in her opening two service games yet did not lose a point.

    Spurred on by a hopeful and enthusiastic home crowd, Barty's variety and depth – plus nine unforced errors in five games from Keys – helped her race into a 4-1 lead.

    Keys finally won a point against the Barty serve in the sixth game, the Australian forced to save a break point before sealing the opening set in 26 minutes courtesy of a forehand return winner down the line.

    The first real signs of nerves from Barty came in the fifth game of the second set, but she dug out a tough hold for 3-2.

    Keys had settled, but Barty grabbed the break she was after in the sixth game with back-to-back forehand winners.

    Barty looked calm throughout and that did not change as she served out the match in style, booking a spot in the final with a forehand winner.

    DATA SLAM: Brilliant Barty on verge of ending Aussie wait

    Barty has already ended one long wait – an Australian reaching the women's singles final at Melbourne Park.

    She is a win away from ending another by becoming the first Australian winner of the men's or women's singles title in 44 years.

    WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS
    Barty – 20/13
    Keys – 8/24

    ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS
    Barty – 5/0
    Keys – 1/1

    BREAK POINTS WON
    Barty – 4/6
    Keys – 0/2

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.