Australian Open 2019 awards: Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka reign supreme as Andy Murray displays bravery in Melbourne

Stefanos Tsitsipas emerged as the next big star in tennis, whilst Serena Williams suffered one of the biggest collapses of her career 

Paul Newman
Melbourne
Monday 28 January 2019 09:36
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Naomi Osaka: Winning the Australian Open is a dream come true

The dust has settled at Melbourne Park with Novak Djokovic and Naomi Osaka triumphing in the singles and both are now top of the world rankings.

The tournament may have seen the last of Andy Murray after his marathon match against Roberto Bautista Agut.

Now attention will turn to the build-up for Paris and the French Open, where Rafael Nadal will hope to bounce back.

Here are Paul Newman’s awards from Down Under.

Match of the tournament: Karolina Pliskova’s comeback against Serena Williams in the quarter-finals. Williams led 5-1 in the deciding set before failing to convert four match points and losing six games in a row as Pliskova won 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 to reach the semi-finals for the first time. Williams, who suffered an ankle injury towards the end, suffered her biggest collapse in 20 years competing at Grand Slam level.

Shot of the tournament: Dan Evans’ backhand winner against Jurij Rodionov in the second round of qualifying was described by Andy Roddick on Twitter as one of the best shots he had ever seen. Rodionov appeared to have hit a winner down the middle as Evans moved to his right, but the Briton somehow twisted his body round and connected with a backhand that flew past his bewildered opponent.

Bravest performance: Andy Murray battling back to take Roberto Bautista Agut to five sets in the first round before losing 6-4, 6-4, 6-7, 6-7, 6-2. Murray was in so much pain from his injured hip that he had to delay his flight home by a day.

Best comeback: Filip Krajinovic won only four games in losing the first two sets to Marco Cecchinato but went on to beat the Italian 4-6, 0-6, 6-1, 7-6, 6-4.

Sun sets over Melbourne Park

Biggest win: Maria Sharapova beat Harriet Dart 6-0, 6-0 in the Briton’s first match in the main draw of a Grand Slam tournament away from Wimbledon.

Best newcomer: Stefanos Tsitsipas, who beat Roger Federer, confirmed his emergence as a star of the future, while Frances Tiafoe and Alex de Minaur also enhanced their reputations. In the women’s game there is no more exciting prospect than 17-year-old Amanda Anisimova, who beat Aryna Sabalenka, one of the favourites for the title.

Biggest disappointment: Alexander Zverev’s struggles in Grand Slam tournaments continued when he was beaten 6-1, 6-1, 7-6 by Milos Raonic. The Nitto ATP Finals champion has one quarter-final to show from his 15 appearances in Grand Slam tournaments.

Andy Murray waves goodbye

Oldest winner in town: Ivo Karlovic, aged 39, became the oldest winner of a men’s singles match at the Australian Open for more than 40 years when he beat 21-year-old Hubert Hurkacz in the first round. Karlovic was eventually beaten in five sets by Kei Nishikori

Best tantrum: Pablo Carreno Busta after losing to Kei Nishikori in a five-hour marathon. Carreno Busta led 8-5 in the tie-break at the end of the final set but after a dispute with the umpire lost the next five points and the match. Before leaving the stadium the Spaniard hurled his racket bag across the court in anger and screamed in anger at the umpire.

Best British performance: Although Johanna Konta was beaten 6-4, 6-7, 7-5 by Garbine Muguruza, the British No 1 played some of her best tennis for nearly two years.

Serbia's Novak Djokovic speaks during the presentation ceremony

Biggest British disappointment: Kyle Edmund’s straight-sets loss to Tomas Berdych in the first round. The Briton reached the semi-finals last year. but meeting Berdych, who was returning after a six-month break because of injury, always looked like a tough draw.

Biggest bore: Bernard Tomic, whose outspoken comments are becoming all too predictable. In his latest tirade, following his loss to Marin Cilic, Tomic criticised Lleyton Hewitt, his Davis Cup captain, saying that “no one likes him any more”.

Most premature celebration: Britain’s Katie Boulter thought she had beaten Ekaterina Makarova when she got to seven points in their tie-break at the end of the third set, having forgotten that new first-to-10-points tie-breaks were in operation at the end of deciding sets. Boulter eventually won the tie-break 10-6.

Naomi Osaka of Japan poses for photos in the locker room

Tallest match: Have two players ever had a greater combined height than Reilly Opelka (6ft 11in) and John Isner (6ft 10in), who met in the first round? Opelka won as Isner suffered his first loss at a Grand Slam tournament to a fellow American.

Quote of the tournament: “Do you have to?” (Ivan Lendl after it was announced at a lunch honouring Pat Cash, the 1987 Wimbledon champion, that the last point of his final – against Lendl – would be shown on a big screen)

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