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Wednesday, Feb 26th

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American superstar Serena Williams reaffirmed her status as a true legend of tennis by winning her 19th career Grand Slam title at the Australian Open today, beating a competitive Maria Sharapova 6-3, 7-6 (5) in the Final.

Serena came into today's Women's Final having won 15 matches in a row against her Russian opponent and it was quite clear right from the onset that Maria had no new game plan up her sleeve to challenge her more illustrious opponent.

Serena broke Maria's serve in the opening game of the match and that advantage was enough for her to take the opening set. A rain delay and a coughing fit did little to dampen Serena's spirit as she broke serve a second time to open up a 5-2 lead, before Sharapova started to show some signs of life in the contest by breaking Serena's serve as she attempted to close out the first set.

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World no.1 and 4-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic battled his way into the Final once again here at Melbourne Park, getting the better of defending champion Stanislas Wawrinka in five well contested sets.

The match failed to live up to the drama and excitement of two previous classics that the duo have enacted at the Australian Open, wherein the final set went to 12-10 and 9-7, however, what it did provide was plenty of entertainment for fans at Rod Laver Arena.

After a scrappy opening where two prize fighters were sending out feelers, Djokovic raised his game towards the end of the first set, earning a couple of set points on the Wawrinka serve. Djokovic failed to take advantage of the opportunities, and Wawrinka fired a couple of aces to hold serve. Djokovic though took control of the tiebreak at the end of the set, racing to a 5-0 lead en route to winning it rather comfortably 7-1.

Wawrinka played patchy tennis over the next three sets, interspersing tons of unforced errors with some brilliantly crafted points. The Swiss star took the second set 6-3, but quickly fell 3-0 behind in the third. Another round of erratic play allowed the defending champion to break back, only for Djokovic to seal the set in the 10th game courtesy of another break.

The match continued to ebb and flow off either racquet and it was Wawrinka who produced the goods in the fourth set to send this match into a deciding fifth.

An epic opening game of the final set saw Djokovic emerge triumphant, and the Serb stepped on the accelerator as Wawrinka disintegrated. The Swiss appeared to be struggling physically as the match ventured forward, and failed to win a game as Djokovic booked his place in Sunday's final on the back of a 7-6 (1), 3-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 win.

Looking ahead to his final showdown with Andy Murray, Djokovic said, "He's (Andy) been playing some great tennis these couple weeks. From my side, it's going to be necessary to perform at my best and play the best match of the tournament if I want to win. Obviously it's finals. There's no clear favorite. But as you mentioned, the record I have in finals against him here in Australia, we played couple times, can serve maybe as a slight mental edge. But not much. I don't think he's going to feel that on the court. I'm sure he's going to be very motivated to win his first title here. I'm going to, of course, give my best that that doesn't happen."

Djokovic has had Murray's number in recent meetings between the two, having won 7 of the last 8, and given that he is unbeaten in Australian Open finals, and Murray has lost each of his three, history certainly favours the world no.1. Neither player though will pay little heed to the record books as they chase Grand Slam glory on Sunday.

Final Score:

Novak Djokovic d. Stan Wawrinka 7-6 (1), 3-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-0


Indian tennis fans were denied a guaranteed winner in the Australian Open Mixed Doubles with the top seeded team of Bruno Soares and Sania Mirza throwing away a substantial lead in the deciding match tiebreak to lose to defending champions Daniel Nestor and Kristina Mladenovic 3-6, 6-2, [10-8] in a thrilling contest.

Earlier in the day, veteran Davis Cupper Leader Paes booked his spot in the Final, partnering Swiss superstar Martina Hingis to a 7-5, 6-4 triumph against the unseeded duo of Su-Wei Hsieh and Pablo Cuevas.

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Scotland's Andy Murray booked his spot in a fourth Australian Open final this evening with a well earned 6-7(6), 6-0, 6-3, 7-5 win against Nadal's conqueror Tomas Berdych.

Murray struggled to hit top form in the opening set, but came perilously close to winning it despite that, before a loose forehand into the net at 6-7 in the tiebreak saw his Czech opponent draw first blood.

However, what transpired over the next hour was a complete turnaround as Murray raced through the second set in barely half an hour, winning it 6-0, before opening up a comfortable lead in the third, which he eventually took 6-3.

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The top two ladies of women's tennis set up a dream showdown at the Australian Open Final as Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova booked their spots in Saturday's finale at Melbourne Park with routine wins in their respective semi-final encounters today.

Both women were taking on compatriots, with Sharapova going up against fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova in the first semi. Neither player was at their best as they produced 55 unforced errors between them, but Sharapova's penchant for being able to play the big points better made all the difference as she broke Makarova four times to record a 6-3, 6-2 win.

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The Williams sisters were denied a popular reunion in the semi-finals of the Australian Open today. While world no.1 Serena Williams kept up her end of the bargain by racing past Dominika Cibulkova for the loss of just 4 games, elder sister Venus failed to replicate the feat, going down in three hard fought sets to American upstart Madison Keys 6-3, 4-6, 6-4.

Serena Williams might have had no trouble on court during her 6-2, 6-2 demolition of 11th seed Cibulkova, but the American legend is struggling with a virus that appears to have spread through the locker room over the last few days.

Williams shared that he was nowhere near her best physically, but that did little to hamper her performance on court as she produced 31 winners to rout Cibulkova in just over an hour.

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Fans of Czech star Tomas Berdych will certainly believe that it has been a long time coming, and the 7th seeded ended one of the longest running losing streaks in the history of tennis, beating 2009 Australian Open champion Rafael Nadal at the 18th attempt to advance to the semi-finals at Melbourne Park.

Nadal's 17-0 record against Berdych was tied at the top of the longest running winning streaks between two players alongside Ivan Lendl's domination of Jimmy Connors and Tim Mayotte in the 1980s, and Bjorn Borg's decimation of Vitas Gerulaitis in the 1970s. However, Berdych avoided the ignominy of becoming the first player to go 18-0 against a particular opponent by hammering Nadal in straight sets 6-2, 6-0, 7-6 (5) in today's quarter-final.

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