Ahead of the 2018 Australian Open’s official draw, FOX Sports Asia softens the blow of Serena Williams’ absence with twelve of her best Grand Slam matches!
Even before the first Grand Slam of the year gets underway, the Australian Open has already been rocked by a number of high profile withdrawals.
So far, UK’s Andy Murray, Japan’s Kei Nishikori and Belarus’ Victoria Azarenka has confirmed that they would not be gracing the Rod Laver Arena this year.
But none will disappoint the fans more than the absence of tournament darling, Serena Williams!
The 36-year-old American pulled out after suffering defeat to reigning French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko in an exhibition match recently. Serena was making her return to the courts after giving birth to daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian four months ago.
The only woman on the Forbes‘ 2017 list of Top 100 highest paid athletes said in a statement that she wasn’t physically competitive enough to go all the way in Melbourne.
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 5, 2018
Nonetheless, we pay tribute to Serena by highlighting twelve Grand Slam matches where she totally crush it!
1998 Australian Open First Round
Making her debut Grand Slam appearance, a 16-year-old Serena Williams more than held her own against six-seeded Irina Spirlea to win 6-7 (5), 6-3, 6-1.
However, the first meeting ever between the Williams in the next round saw Serena being bested by her slightly older, and more experienced, sister Venus.
1999 US Open Final
Essentially Serena’s coming-of-age party; the 17-year-old’s seventh Grand Slam appearance saw her pull off the a huge upset over top-seeded, and five-time Grand Slam champion, Martina Hingis 6-3, 7-6 (4) at Flushing Meadow.
Besides being her first major title, Serena’s US Open win meant that she was the first Williams sister to win a Grand Slam!
2002 Wimbledon Final
Going into finals as the underdog, Serena showed grit to see off Venus, the two-time defending champion. She stormed to a 7-6 (4), 6-3 victory.
The five-time WTA Tour Championship singles winner also made the No. 1 ranking for the first time – a position that she has held for a total of 319 weeks!
2003 Australian Open Final
Before meeting in last year Australian Open, the two Williams sister previously met in the competition’s 2003 finals.
The younger Williams sister persevered to win 7-6 (4), 3-6, 6-4 and completed her first “Serena Slam” (holding all four major titles) for the first time in her career.
Proving that it was no fluke, Serena repeated the feat again in 2014-15.
2007 Australian Open Final
Reeling from persistent injuries and being out of the Top 100, Serena had to dig deep to avenge her 2004 Wimbledon final loss to top seed Maria Sharapova. The four-time Olympic gold medallist won the title in a 6-1, 6-2 match with 28 winners and only eleven unforced errors!
In doing so, Serena ended her two-year Grand Slam drought and became the first unseeded player since 1978 to win the Australian Open.
2010 Australian Open Final
Despite losing to Justine Henin in three straight majors prior to this, Serena dished out cold revenge on the Belgian at the Rod Laver Arena winning 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.
Nonetheless, the win brought the three-time Laureus Sportswoman of the Year recipient her twelfth major title and saw her levelled with the legendary Billie Jean King.
2012 Wimbledon Final
Cited as one of the most rewarding wins of her career, Serena ended her two-year major drought with her fifth Wimbledon win in a 6-1, 5-7, 6-2 triumph over Agnieszka Radwanska.
The UNICEF International Goodwill Ambassador‘s tennis career had been in jeopardy after being plagued by medical problems (pulmonary embolism and a foot injury) since her 2010 Wimbledon win.
2012 US Open Final
Made to work throughout, Serena put on a thriller of a final against then-world No. 1, and reigning Australian Open champion, Victoria Azarenka in a closely-contested 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 win.
The pair would meet again in the 2013 finals with the Miami Dolphins owner boasting a 17-3 record against Azarenka.
2013 French Open Final
Though it was the first major finals between the World No. 1 and No. 2 in nearly a decade, Serena left no doubt who was really the top dog in tennis with an inspired 6-4, 6-4 win over Maria Sharapova at Roland Garros.
By capturing her second French Open title, the Chief Sporting Officer for Aston Martin completed her career Grand Slam for the second time!
2014 US Open Final
Without dropping a single set on her way to the finals, Serena put the cherry on the top of her 2014 US Open showing with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over pal Caroline Wozniacki.
Not only did she secure her sixth US Open crown, the American was joined by tennis royalty Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert in her eighteenth Grand Slam celebrations!
Serena paid tribute to the US tournament, “It is a pleasure to win my first Grand Slam here and then this No. 18, so I’m really emotional. I couldn’t ask to do it at a better place.”
2015 Wimbledon Final
A routine 6-4, 6-4 grass court final victory in the 2015 finals over Garbine Muguruza meant a sixth Wimbledon title for Serena as well as her second career “Serena Slam”.
What made this win extra special was the fact that this performance came off the heels of her epic French Open win over Lucie Safarova in which the On the Line author rallied from a set down four times!
2017 Australian Open Finals
Despite being eight weeks pregnant at the time, Serena ruthlessly dispatched Venus 6-4, 6-4 in last year Australian Open finals. It was the first time the two siblings met in a Grand Slam finals since 2003.
By winning her seventh Australian Open title, Serena effectively regained her No. 1 ranking. The 36-year-old currently holds the Open Era record for most Grand Slam wins with 23 singles titles!
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