One factoid jumps out of the results from this 2018 Australian Open.
There have been some long matches.
A victim of that reality is last Aussie woman standing, Ash Barty, who was rather-unceremoniously dismissed by Japan’s Naomi Osaka, 6 -4, 6 – 2. Bonus Bets no longer able to be promoted.
Straight sets, obviously, did not require a lot of time, but Barty had originally been scheduled to play the third match of the day in Rod laver Arena, but a preceding match between Simona Halep and Lauren Davis took almost four hours to conclude.
Tournament officials made the decision to shunt Barty and Osaka to Margaret Court Arena, out of concern that if Barty and Osaka took part in an extended slugfest, the Rod Laver court would not be available for Roger Federer until after midnight.
Given Federer’s run through the AO, where he has yet to lose a set, he would have been done by half past twelve, but there would have been few to witness, either at the court or on television.
Expressing the typical Japanese penchant for perfectionism, Osaka said after the match, “Of course, I am happy. Winning this match is one of my goals … but it’s not like I have won the tournament. I am not satisfied yet.”
If she wins the AO, which is a jumbo-sized if, she will probably utter words to the effect of being happy to win the AO, but not truly happy until she wins the French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.
Barty was supplying plenty of drama in the AO. She won after going down a set in her first two matches, but playing against Osaka, the world number 72, her fortunes did not continue.
Tennis commentator Rennae Stubbs felt that the change from the laver to the Court arena gave Osaka an edge, since Barty’s first two wins had been in Laver, but that is a little like saying the Brisbane Lions have an advantage so long as they do not play outside the confines of The Gabba.
Barty expressed the view that the court change did not have an impact, which is the opinion we support.