2012 YEAR IN REVIEW
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- Serena and Sharapova's 'black heart' rivalry
The bitter rivalry between Australian Open finalists Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova took root on the hallowed Wimbledon turf in 2004 and is still thriving more than a decade later -- both on and off the court. The problem was, the fairytale victory that catapulted her to global celebrity came at the expense of Serena Williams -- top seed at the time and hot favourite for a third straight Wimbledon title -- a result that the American has never forgotten. It has spurred her on to an overall record of 16-2 against Sharapova, with the Russian's last victory over the world number one coming more than a decade ago. Since 2005, the American's winning streak is 15-0, including straight sets wins over Sharapova in the Australian and French Open finals (2007 and 2013), as well as the gold medal match at the 2012 London Olympics.
- 'Surprised' Serena sets up dream Sharapova final
By Greg Stutchbury MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Serena Williams overcame feisty teenage challenger Madison Keys to set up a dream Australian Open final with Maria Sharapova on Thursday but seemed to be the only person surprised she had made it that far. The world number one had to battle against Keys, considered the heir apparent as the queen of American womens' tennis, before she eventually overcame the 19-year-old 7-6(5) 6-2 to set up the final against the Russian. Williams, a five times champion at Melbourne Park, however, felt she entered the tournament in a funk, having played badly at the Hopman Cup in Perth earlier this month and mindful she had crashed out to lower ranked players in the last three years. "I didn't expect to get to the finals of this tournament when I first got here because I wasn't playing great," she said after she made her first Melbourne Park final since 2010.
- Australian Open finalist Serena Williams
MELBOURNE, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Factbox on American Serena Williams, who will bid for her 19h grand slam title against Maria Sharapova at the Australian open on Saturday: Born in Michigan on September 26, 1981. (Age: 33) Seed: 1 GRAND SLAM CAREER: 18 - Australian Open (2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010); French Open (2002, 2013); Wimbledon (2002, 2003, 2009, 2010, 2012); U.S. Open (1999, 2002, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2014) * Williams is tied for fourth on the list of female grand slam title winners. ...
- Djokovic fights off Wawrinka to reach Australian Open final
World number one Novak Djokovic fought off defending champion Stan Wawrinka over five sets to reach his fifth Australian Open final on Friday, where he will meet Andy Murray. The clash was Djokovic's toughest match of the tournament and his serve was broken five times in a another titanic duel with the Swiss world number four. It was their fourth straight Grand Slam encounter to go to five sets with Djokovic winning three of them. He lost to Wawrinka in the quarter-finals at last year's Australian Open.
- McIlroy surges ahead in Dubai with flawless 64
By Bernie McGuire DUBAI (Reuters) - World number one Rory McIlroy stormed into a one-shot lead in the Dubai Desert Classic with a sparkling second-round 64 on Friday. McIlroy birdied his closing three holes to move to 14-under par as he seeks to win the Dubai title for a second time since breaking through to claim a first professional success in the 2009 tournament. Scotland’s Marc Warren stayed on target for a maiden Masters invitation and a fourth Tour title by shooting a 65 to sit in second place at 13 under par. Former U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell (65) and England’s Seve Benson (66) were a further shot back.