After the Apia Sydney International Open I travel to Melbourne for the Australian Open. While most players compete at the Melbourne Open this week, I’ve decided skip this event and practice at the Australian Open venue. My coach Dennis van Scheppingen arrives 8 days before the Australian Open starts, so we can prepare for the first grand slam of the year.
Last years we had crazy hot weather, what we are used to in Aussie summer. This year it is a bit different. Most of the practice sessions in the morning we have to cancel because of rain. I apologize to my coach for laughing at him when he swept the court dry and it started raining again 1 minute later ;-) Luckily Melbourne is known to be the city where you can have four seasons in a day. So fall in the morning, but also summer in the afternoon. So plenty of time to practice in the afternoon and it was a great prep for the Australian Open.
On the 25th of january we have the draw ceremony at Margaret Court Arena. My first opponent is Lucy Shuker. The tournament starts two days later. The start of the match is a bit rusty, but I take the first set 7-5. With this first set under my belt, I start to better. And I take the second set 6-2.
In the semi final I play against country woman Marjolein Buis, who took out world number 4 Jordanne Whiley in a close three set match. When we enter the court the clouds are coming in. We start the match but at 2-0 it starts raining. We have to leave the court and are able to get back on after 2 hours. I don’t have a great start after the rain break and Marjolein levels to 2-2. After that I step it up and don’t lose another game, to take the first set 6-2. And the second set I can keep my level up and take it with the same numbers, 6-2. My first grand slam final of the year!
In doubles Aniek and I play Lucy Shuker and Jordanne Whiley in the semi final. A crazy match! It goes up and down. We are down 1-3 in the third set, but are able to turn the match around one more time. After over 3 hours of play we eventually win the match 7-6 4-6 6-3.
On friday Aniek and I are supposed to play the final of doubles against Kamiji/Buis but rain won’t let us. They reschedule the match to saturday, so we play the singles final first and the doubles final after.
In the final I play against my doubles partner Aniek van Koot. We have played many times against each other and it’s going to be another good fight. I take a 2-0 lead, but Aniek levels at 2-2. After that I put some more pressure on Aniek and take another lead. I take the first set 6-3. In the second set I’m able to keep doing what I was doing in the first set. On 5-2 I have my first championship point, but Aniek is fighting back. At 5-3 I have my second championship point, but Aniek also takes this game and levels to 5-5. The next game is mine, and at 6-5 I’m taking my fourth match point to win the title. So happy to have retained my Australian Open title. It means so much to me!!
After that Aniek and I have to play the doubles final together. It is not ideal to play two finals on one day and it shows that we have played a match already. We are both a little fatigued and not playing our best tennis. Kamiji/Buis take advantage, not giving a lot of free points and we lose 6-2 6-2.