Aus Open Week 1: Highlights, tweets & stand-out stars

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Venus Williams has been one of the best players on show in Melbourne this week, and now enters the last eight with optimism.

After a first week of highs and lows at the Australian Open, we take a look at our favourite moments from Melbourne. 

Best match
Grigor Dimitrov v Marcos Baghdatis

For a moment there, it felt like 2006 at Melbourne Park as the Cypriots rocked Show Court 3 supporting their man Baghdatis, who mysteriously found some of the form that saw him finish as runner-up nine years ago here in Australia. A combined 93 winners from both players and an impressive 72 per cent success rate at the net from Dimitrov, who made 58 trips up front, made for an electric five-set contest, which the Bulgarian eventually won.

Best player
Venus Williams

Factor in everything from Venus’ illness to her age to the fact that she hadn’t made a grand slam second week in three years and the American is without a doubt the player of the week. Add to that her fightback against Camila Giorgi and all we can do is bow down to the amazing Venus.

Least expected resurrection
Julia Goerges

Those who have been following the German will know how three back-to-back grand slam wins are quite the achievement from Goerges, who hadn’t reached this stage at a major in two years. She lost in the last 16 to Ekaterina Makarova but it’s fair to say the German is on her way back.

Best point
Andreas Seppi’s match point v Roger Federer

What better way to claim an upset over Roger Federer than with a deceptive passing shot that tricked the Swiss and landed smack in the corner? Definitely a week one highlight.

Biggest flop
Roger Federer

While Seppi is a very solid player, Federer’s shock loss to the Italian came out of nowhere, especially as the No2 seed had dropped just one set against his opponent in their previous 10 meetings. Not to mention Federer came to Melbourne off a title win in Brisbane and was one of the favourites for the title. It was certainly unexpected to not see Federer make the second week.

Luckiest break
Feliciano Lopez

In his first round, Lopez was on his way out of the tournament when Denis Kudla was serving for the match at 6-5 in the final set. The Spaniard somehow saved three match points and eventually won 10-8 in the fifth. In round two, Lopez was down 4-6, 4-6, 0-4 against Adrian Mannarino before the Frenchman started getting cramps in his torso muscles. Lopez saved a match point at 5-3, took the third set and his opponent retired down 0-4 in the fourth. He’s now in the last 16. Doesn’t get luckier than that!

Most inspiring
Madison Brengle

The unheralded American almost didn’t make the Open having removed a cancerous spot from her leg just a few months ago. She needed five weeks to recover and got the all clear to travel just before the Australian summer swing began. She won 11 out of 13 matches between Hobart (where she made the final) and Brisbane, beat No13 seed in the first round in Melbourne and is now in the second week of a slam for the first time in her career. Just wow!

Best blooper
Rafa’s bug encounter in press

Australia and bugs go hand in hand but you wouldn’t necessarily expect a huge one flying past you inside a press conference room. Do yourself a favour and check out Rafael Nadal’s video of his showdown with a bug in his last presser.

Most eloquent
Kevin Anderson on Channel 7 commentators 

The South African No14 seed couldn’t have said it better when he criticised Channel 7 commentators for saying they had never heard of Tim Smyczek, who stretched Nadal to five sets in the second round. He said it was their job to know who he was and that they had a duty to educate audiences and promote the players who don’t necessarily get to play on the big stage regularly.

Best sportsmanship
Tim Smyczek

It’s been almost a week but people are still talking about Smyczek’s classy moment at the end of his match with Nadal when he asked the umpire to let the world No3 re-hit a first serve, after a spectator interrupted him. The American was so matter of fact about it later. “It was the right thing to do,” he stated.

Best tweet
Andy Murray

A random tweet from Murray the morning after Nadal cramped and almost threw up during his clash against Smyczek in round two.

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