2012 YEAR IN REVIEW

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  • 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. ...

  • Serena and Sharapova's 'black heart' rivalry
    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.

  • Tennis-Djokovic edges Wawrinka to book final with Murray

    (Adds details, byline) By Ian Ransom MELBOURNE, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Top seed Novak Djokovic ended Stan Wawrinka's title defence on Friday with another five-set clash to book a third final showdown with Andy Murray at the Australian Open. Both players had their chances, with Djokovic fluffing his lines when 2-0 up and closing in on victory in the fourth set. Wawrinka clawed his way back, breaking the Serb and saving three break points with some brilliant play before roaring on to force a fifth set. Fourth seed Wawrinka had a chance to break Djokovic in the opening game of the decider, but blasted a backhand long.

  • Tennis-Williams bids to continue tyranny of Sharapova

    By Ian Ransom MELBOURNE, Jan 30 (Reuters) - One of the few players with the game to trouble Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova's decade-long losing streak to the American great is one of the more curious anomalies in women's tennis. Sharapova was a 17-year-old sensation when she last beat Williams at the title-decider of her debut at the season-ending Tour Finals in 2004. It has all been one-way traffic since with Williams notching 15 successive victories on all surfaces, a record that Sharapova has been reminded of, again and again, before her bid to break the streak in the Australian Open women's final on Saturday. "I go into matches where I've beaten opponents and I don't want to focus on that because I don't want to get overly confident going onto the court," Sharapova said on Friday.

  • Djokovic fights off Wawrinka to reach Australian Open final
    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.

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