First Grand Slam of the Year: The Australian Open

Kasey Lynch and Miranda Mauro (K&M) are out to prove that sports aren't just for the male gender. Every week we will be giving you updates on what's going on in the sports world as well as our own perspective on sports-related topics. "Two Girls and Some Sports" is taking the sports column to the next level. And yes, we know what we're talking about.

Fast Facts

Last year Serena Williams, who most of you know even if you have never watched a game of tennis in your entire life, won the Australia Open women’s title, and Novak Djokovic snatched the men’s title. The first Australian Open was played in 1905. It was originally called, ‘The Australian Championships.’ It was not until the year 1927 when the Australian Open got the name it has today. Melbourne, Australia is the permanent home to the Australian Open. It's categorized by a few unique elements that make it unlike any other Grand Slam in the series. Athletes play on hard tennis courts in the middle of the Australian summer. Because of this, the Open features many stadiums with retractable roofs to shield the players and loyal fans from the scorching heat or else they would all be little puddles baking in a continental sized oven. 

Courtesy: Australia Open

Breakdown of the Sport

For those who do not understand the scoring or rules for the sport of tennis, I will explain them to you here.  

• There are two different brackets for Grand Slam tournaments. The winners of each bracket at the end play each other in the finals.

• Scoring: Tennis scoring system is a bit more complicated than most. The individual games scoring goes from love (0), fifteen (15), thirty (30), forty (40), and sometimes deuce (when both players are tied at 40). When the score is tied at deuce, you may see “Ad” next to a player’s name. This denotes that player has an advantage over the other. The advantage is one point so they are closer to winning the set or match because you have to win by two.

 The phrase “Game, Set, Match” directly applies: You have to get to six games to win the first set, then you move on to the second set and the same rules apply. The only difference between men's and women's matches is women play best two out of three and men play best three out of five in respect to sets.

• The Four Grand Slams: The Australian Open, U.S. Open, Wimbledon and Roland Garros (French Open). The U.S. Open is the only Grand Slam that uses a tie-breaker in the last set to avoid playing until a competitor wins by two sets. All other slams let the match go until someone has a two set advantage over the other – this can last for hours on end and in 2010 it did.

• The longest match of all time: Played between American John Isner and Frenchman Nicolas Mahut in 2010 at Wimbledon. The score was 6,4; 3,6; 6,7; 7,6 going into the fifth set. These men played one match for 11 hours and five minutes! They suspended play twice due to lack of sunlight so they resumed the next morning. Isner won the last set 70 games to 68! 

Men’s Singles Recap

This year, some of the most recognizable names in the sport of tennis lost in the first few rounds. Rafael Nadal, a well-known player from Spain, lost to another Spaniard named Fernando Verdasco on day two of the Open. As expected, the top four in the men’s singles were in it until the very end. Those top four are: Novak Djokovic (1), Andy Murray (2), Roger Federer (3) and Stan Wawrinka (4). Wawrinka fell off in the last round before the quarterfinals. Federer and Djokovic met in the semifinals on their side of bracket play while Murray met an opponent named Milos Raonic (13) in his bracket.

Personally, I wish Raonic won because watching Murray play drives me crazy. To draw a pretty little line for you, if you’re not quite picking up what I’m putting down, Murray played Raonic in the semifinals while Djokovic played Federer. Djokovic and Murray made it through to the finals where they played a simple three set match where Djokovic dominated. The score was 6,1; 7,6; 7,6. Don’t be fooled by Murray’s straight face, he is always a jackas* like that. He’ll learn to be nicer on television someday, I hope.

Courtesy: Bleacher Report

Women’s Recap

The top five players on the women’s side when entering into the Australian Open were Serena Williams (1), Simona Halep (2), Garbine Muguruza (3), Agnieszka Radwanska (4) and Maria Sharapova (5). (You get used to the long names after a while even though you may never be able to pronounce them correctly.) Serena Williams is about the most muscular woman I have ever seen in my entire life. I also tend to question her outfit choices for every single tournament she plays in. Exhibit A is what she wore this year at the Open (pictured below). 

Courtesy: Glamour

She looks like the most athletic bumblebee I have ever seen. Why a crop top? Why neon yellow? So many unanswered questions. Normal outfits for the Open can be seen on Sharapova and almost everyone else. Key word to that phrase: ALMOST. Some people wear some weird stuff at every tournament. Looking at outfits is half the fun of watching the Grand Slams. 

Courtesy: K Pop Starz

The number two seed Halep was knocked out in the first round of the Open. Sharapova, Williams and Radwanska were all on the same side of the bracket making a lot of interesting and exciting matches happen in earlier rounds. Sharapova and Williams have met a total of 19 times including when they met in the quarterfinals of this year's Australian Open. Williams has won 15 out of the last 19 times they have played each other. Although Serena Williams is a dominating force in every Grand Slam she plays in, I still love Maria Sharapova; she plays hard and always with class, regardless of the outcome of the match.

Another top five match-up occurred between Williams and Radwanska in the semi-finals. Again, Williams kicked Radwanska right off the court winning the match 6,0 6,4. You would think that Serena would have the title in the bag to repeat her experience at the Open from last year, but don’t jump to conclusions so quickly. Angelique Kerber, ranked number seven in the tournament, sailed through her side of the bracket only showing some difficulty in a match when she played number 14 seed Victoria Azarenka. Kerber is from Germany and is now seen as one of the most consistent tennis players in the game today. She came into the limelight in 2011 during the US Open semifinals. Ever since then she has been ranked amongst some of the most renowned players in the world. Kerber faces Williams in the finals of this year's Australian Open and she breaks all the predictions people had about the outcome of this match. She kicks Williams' bumblebee butt off the court with the scores 6,4; 3,6; 6,4. 

Murray should ask Serena how to be a courteous loser. Props to Serena for showing ultimate sportsmanship. 

Courtesy: NBC

Winners

Novak Djokovic takes the men’s singles title as expected. Angelique Kerber beats number one seed Serena Williams and takes the Australian Open by storm.

Next stop on the Grand Slam tour is Roland Garros played in Paris, France. The first round of this tournament begins May 22, 2016!