2012 YEAR IN REVIEW

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  • '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.

  • Cameroon 'gave everything' in defeat
    Cameroon 'gave everything' in defeat

    Cameroon coach Volker Finke insisted his team had given everything despite a 1-0 defeat to the Ivory Coast on Wednesday which saw them eliminated from the Africa Cup of Nations at the group stage. A solitary first-half goal by Max-Alain Gradel did for the Indomitable Lions, who bow out without winning a match in Group D, having previously drawn 1-1 with both Mali and Guinea. "I think really the Ivory Coast took advantage of a little mistake we made in the first half to score the goal," said Finke.

  • Tennis-Murray answers coaching questions by reaching final

    * Murray reaches first grand slam final in 18 months * Sixth seed to meet either Djokovic or Wawrinka for title (adds details) By Greg Stutchbury MELBOURNE, Jan 29 (Reuters) - With all the off-court chatter focusing on the influence of his ex-coach and present coach, Andy Murray sent out an emphatic message by reaching his fourth Australian Open final on Thursday. The Briton recovered from a blistering start by Tomas Berdych to reach the title decider with a 6-7(6) 6-0 6-3 7-5 victory that should silence those who questioned his decision to appoint Amelie Mauresmo as his coach. It was a brave choice from her to do it and hopefully I can repay her in a few days (because) I think we have shown that women are very good coaches," added Murray, who now awaits the winner of Friday's second semi-final between world number one Novak Djokovic and champion Stan Wawrinka. The build-up to the semi-final against Berdych had also been peppered with extra tension after the Czech appointed Dani Vallverdu -- a former member of Murray's coaching team -- as his coach last month.

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