Let's admit it: the Australian Open is the ugly step-child of the Grand Slams. It's played in January before people really start paying attention to tennis. It doesn't have its own distinctive surface. And the matches are in the middle of the night.â†µ
But quite a bit of history has been made Down Under the past fortnight. After struggling for the first set and a half against Nikolay Davydenko, Roger Federer played his usual sublime tennis to advance to his record 23rd straight Grand Slam semifinal. For some perspective, the second-best such streak is just 10 semifinals (courtesy of Ivan Lendl). Yes, this is the Joe-DiMaggio-hits-streak of tennis.
On the women's side, two Chinese women, Zheng Lie and Li Na, both made the semifinals, marking only the second and third times that a Chinese woman has made it that far in a Slam (Lie made the semis of the 2008 Wimbledon). Globalization and all!â†µ
Is this enough reason to stay up to watch the Aussie Open? No, probably not. Just consider this your tennis public service announcement.â†µ
(H/T Busted Racquet)