It’s new and exciting for Andy Murray and Angelique Kerber, entering a Grand Slam tournament with the No. 1 in front of their names.Both reached the top of the rankings for the first time near the end of 2016, ending long reigns by Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams.And so they’ll open their Australian Open campaigns on Rod Laver Arena on day one – both against Ukrainians.Murray, a five-time runner-up, opens his pursuit of a first Australian title against Illya Marchenko in the last-day match on the main show court. Kerber opens the night session against Lesia Tsurenko. She’ll be followed on court by Roger Federer, who is returning from six months on the sidelines.The ‘one-round-at-a-time’ clichÈ is well worn in tennis. For Kerber, though, it’s pertinent. Seeded seventh last year, the left-handed German had to save a match point in the first round against Misaki Doi. Spurred on by that, she went on to beat Serena Williams in the final and claim her first Grand Slam title. She added a second major at the US Open and ascended to the No. 1 ranking.”I think this point where I was match point down, that was the important point for my career,” Kerber said yesterday, speaking of her first-round escape against Doi. “You never know (if) I lost the match, what would have happened.”WITHOUT PRESSUREIt gave her the freedom to play without pressure, and that made all the difference.”When I’m looking back, I was feeling that I got a second chance to stay in the tournament,” she said. “I was playing since then without expectation … just enjoying everything.”Kerber can hang on to the top ranking by reaching to the final here, but she’s already feeling there’s more to defend than her title.”It’s a new challenge for me, for sure,” she said, but we are starting from zero here. I have to be ready from the first round again.”I will try to not put too much expectation and pressure on myself. I mean, I will try to do it like last year – that was the way I had my success.”Record-chasing, six-time champions Djokovic and Williams, seeded No. 2 and anchoring the bottom half of the men’s and women’s draws, won’t be in action until day two. Djokovic is aiming to be the first man to win seven Australian titles. Serena Williams is chasing an Open-era record 23rd major title.
LATEST STORIES Instead, the cheers came from the Gilas Pilipinas bench and behind it, as the Nationals battled back from a 17-point deficit to stay a step ahead of Japan—owner of a stunning 70-56 upset over Iran earlier in the day in Tokyo—in the footrace for the No. 3 spot in their group.“It was weird, in a way,” the 6-foot-9 beanpole told the Inquirer in Filipino. “Normally, we’d be energized by the crowd with (plays like that).FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSJapeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for GinebraSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back ChrissThe Philippines, scolded by Fiba for a brawl with Australia during their qualifying match last July, was penalized with a closed-door home game against Qatar.“It was surreal,” coach Yeng Guiao told the Inquirer. Tim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crown In all his years of coaching in the PBA, Guiao had always thought of the so-called “sixth man” of the popular Ginebra team as the Kings’ psychological crutch. But as the Philippines tried to assemble rally after rally in an abysmal first half, Guiao finally understood the concept as something more tangible.“At some point when we were down, we were looking for something to grab and hold on to, something that a loud crowd would have given us,” said Guiao.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Japeth Aguilar embraces role, gets rewarded with Finals MVP plum Japeth Aguilar has played a lot of games with Barangay Ginebra and he knows one thing to be certain: When the Japeth riseth, he bringeth the house down.But the house stayed still Monday evening, when Aguilar anchored a scorching Philippines fight-back in the second half of a 92-81 victory over Qatar in their Fiba World Cup qualifying showdown at a sealed-off Smart Araneta Coliseum.ADVERTISEMENT Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil Allen Durham still determined to help Meralco win 1st PBA title Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award View comments MOST READ Phivolcs: Slim probability of Taal Volcano caldera eruption Cards, altas score; Maroons cry foul Gov’t to employ 6,000 displaced by Taal Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew