Sunday, January 31, 2010

Australian Open: The Finale

It was the top top players of the past decade who came out on top in the first Grand Slam of the new one. Both pushing 28, old in tennis, Serena Williams and Roger Federer added another Grand Slam trophy to their already legendary careers solidifying their standings amongst the greats of the game. For Serena, she gets #12 to tie with her idol Billie Jean King. For Federer who already had the all-time record of major wins, it was sweet #16 to distance himself from the rest of the men.

Federer was able to retake this title for his 4th Australian Open title after losing to Novak Djokovic in the semifinals in 2008 and to Rafael Nadal last year in a heartbreaking 5-set final that brought him to tears. This year he defeated British no. 1 Andy Murray in straight sets 6-3 6-4 7-6(11). This was Murray's second Grand Slam final, meeting Federer in the 2008 US Open where he also lost in straight sets. It was Murray's serve that let him down, making only 57% first serves in and winning only 51% of his second serves. Meanwhile, Federer was steady and focused throughout especially in the dramatic third set tiebreak where he was able to stave off 5 set points for Murray to take it to a fourth set.

This was the first time Serena has defended an Australian Open title having won four times prior in consecutive odd-numbered years. En route to her fifth Australian Open title, the most for a women in the Open Era, she defeated former champion Justine Henin who was making a comeback to the game after retiring two years ago. Henin showed her champion heart in the second set reeling off 20 of 22 points after losing the first set to take it to a deciding set. It was Serena, however, whose served was more potent and consistent throughout the match but especially in the final set, who took command winning the match 6-4 3-6 6-2. A day prior she also successfully defended the Women's Doubles title with her sister Venus Williams for their 11th Grand Slam doubles title. Another pair of American siblings won the Men's Doubles title as the Bryan Brothers took their 8th Grand Slam win.

But back to Serena and Roger who also both won last year at Wimbledon. What is there really left to say about the two reigning number one players in the world? Just that between the two of them they have 28 Grand Slams singles titles and they both show no sign of stopping any time soon. With these two on top and the others wanting and waiting to dethrone them, 2010 looks to be a memorable year in tennis.

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