Friday, January 03, 2014

2014 AUS OPEN: Serena-Azarenka, Venus-Ivanovic In Warm-Up Finals

The 2014 Australian Open starts on January 13, 2014 in Melbourne. The Asia-Pacific hard court season is in full-swing and Venus Williams and Serena Williams are playing well. Venus will face Ana Ivanovic in the final of the 2014 ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand. Serena will face Victoria Azarenka in the final of the 2014 Brisbane International. She beat Maria Sharapova in a surprisingly tight straight set match 6-2 7-6(7) for the 14th consecutive time since 2005.

Serena in the final of the warm-up to the Australian is not surprising because she reached 13 WTA tour finals in her 78-4 season last year and has not lost a WTA tour level match since August 2013 (to Azarenka, in a 3rd set tiebreak in the finals of the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati, which I included at #4 on my Top 10 list of best women's tennis matches of 2013).

However, that Venus is in the final is quite surprising since she last reached a final when she won her 44th career title in October 2012 in Luxembourg. The head-to-head between Ivanovic and Venus is 8-1 in favor of Venus, so I would give her a very good shot to start of 2014 with a title.
Serena leads Vika 13-3 in their career head-to-head but the two split their four meetings last year, with Vika being the only person to beat Serena twice in several years.

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