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A widely-held opinion among some of tennis’  finest writers and analysts is that 2013 could well be the most interesting ‘tennis year’ in close to a decade. The last few years have been spectacular, but at the same time have been predictable and very often, one-sided. With four different men's champions at the Grand Slams last year for the first time since 2003 and a number of players on the ‘verge’  of winning their first majors, this season promises to be an intriguing and open one, leaving tennis fans across the globe salivating in anticipation.

And so we start 2013 with the first Grand Slam of the year, the ‘happy slam’, the much-loved Australian Open. Sure, there have been a few tournaments played in the lead up to this Grand Slam, but once the Australian Open gets underway, there’s always that sense that tennis is back for the season.

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The top three seeds at the 2013 Australian Open are defending champion Victoria Azarenka, last year’s French Open champion Maria Sharapova and 2012’s golden girl Serena Williams. Azarenka began 2012 with a bang by making short work of Sharapova in straight sets at the Australian Open 6-3, 6-0. Sharapova slowly clawed her way back into form and won the French Open to complete a career Grand Slam. Serena lost in the first round at Roland Garros and the critics wrote her off. But she proved them wrong and how! She bounced back to win Wimbledon and the U.S Open taking a break in between to win a Gold Medal at the Olympics. She continued that blistering run of form into 2013 with a dominant performance at Brisbane. This clearly makes her the favourite at the event and the person to beat.

Now, that the draws have been announced let us get down to the brass tacks and analyse the women’s section more closely.

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The draw for the 101st edition of the Australian Open took place in Melbourne today and wasn't particularly kind to any of the top seeds. Defending men's champion and world no.1 Novak Djokovic will open his title defence against Frenchman Paul Henri Mathieu, and faces a possible quarter-final showdown against the no.5 seed Tomas Berdych. David Ferrer is the highest seed in Djokovic's half of the draw, meaning Roger Federer and Andy Murray were drawn in the same half of the draw once again.

Federer hardly has it easy either with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga drawn in his quarter, and a possible third round meeting with Aussie hotshot Bernard Tomic. Federer will open his campaign against Benoit Paire.

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The strongest ever women's field is set to battle it out at the Brisbane International in 2013, with eight of the top 10 women confirmed for the event.

The star-studded field is headlined by world No.1 Victoria Azarenka (BLR), the inaugural winner of the Brisbane International, and includes world No. 2 Maria Sharapova (RUS) world No.3 Serena Williams (USA), world No.5 Angelique Kerber (GER), world No.6 Sara Errani (ITA), world No.8 Petra Kvitova (CZE), world No.9 Samantha Stosur (AUS) and world No.10 Caroline Wozniacki (DEN).

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serena_williams_winsPre-tournament favourite Serena Williams beat Russian diva Maria Sharapova in straight sets, 6-4, 6-3 to end a perfect week in exemplary fashion to win the WTA Championships for a third time. The legendary American, a winner of 15 Grand Slam titles, had not dropped a set all week, and was once again in supreme form hammering 40 winners to cruise to a comfortable win.

The 31-year old American continued to show that age was no barrier to success on the WTA Tour as she ended the year with an incredible 7 titles including two Grand Slam triumphs at Wimbledon and the US Open, and an Olympic Gold Medal.

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williams_20111021There was a sense of inevitability in the air on Saturday at the WTA Championships in Istanbul as Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams booked a spot opposite each other in Sunday's Grand Finale. Williams, arguably one of the greatest women's tennis players of all time, demolished an exhausted Agnieszka Radwanska for the loss of just 3 games, while Sharapova dropped twice as many to world no.1 Victoria Azarenka in a match that was a bit closer than the one-sided scoreline suggests.

Serena Williams is not just the greatest tennis player of her generation, but perhaps may even be the greatest of all time. She gave ample demonstration of her hitting prowess, demolishing world no.4 Agnieszka Radwanska 6-2, 6-1 in a match that barely lasted an hour.

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Belarusian Victoria Azarenka will finish the 2012 season as the Women's Tennis Association's Year-End World No.1, presented by Dubai Duty Free, becoming the11th different player to finish a season at No.1 since the introduction of the computer rankings in November 1975.

Azarenka received the year-end No.1 trophy, presented by Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications at Dubai Duty Free Salah Tahlak, during an on-court presentation at the TEB BNP Paribas WTA ChampionshipsIstanbul.

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