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Williams routs Sharapova, wins eighth Grand Slam title
Yahoo Sports ^ | 1/26/2007 | John Pye

Posted on 01/26/2007 9:22:15 PM PST by jazzo

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) -- Serena Williams won her eighth and most improbable Grand Slam title, overwhelming top-seeded Maria Sharapova 6-1, 6-2 in the Australian Open on Saturday.

Only the second unseeded woman to win the Australian title in the Open era, Williams came into the tournament ranked No. 81 after spending most of last season on the sidelines because of a knee injury.

"I'm really enjoying this!" said Williams, who will jump to No. 14 next week.

It was her first title in 15 tournaments since winning the 2005 Australian Open, and the most dominating win in a completed championship match at Melbourne Park since Steffi Graf beat Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario 6-0, 6-2 in 1994.

Williams finished off Sharapova with a backhand winner, then threw her racket in the air and dropped onto her back on the court.

The 25-year-old American, also the 2003 champion, got up and skipped over to the side of the court, swapping high-fives with mother Oracene Price and other people in the stands before jogging back onto court with her arms up in triumph.

"I'd like to thank my mom. I was a bad student this fortnight," Williams said. "I yelled at her, said some things under my breath. But she just kept coming. I really appreciate it."

Williams dedicated the title to her half-sister, Yetunde Price, who was shot to death in 2003.

"Most of all I would like to dedicate this win to my sister, who's not here. Her name is Yetunde. I just love her so much," she said, her voice cracking. "I'll try not to get teary-eyed but I said a couple of days ago, if I win this it's going to be for her. So thanks Tunde."

Chris O'Neill, who was ranked No. 111 when she won the 1978 title, was the only other unseeded woman to win an Australian Open.

Sharapova had no answers to Williams' power in her worst loss in a Grand Slam tournament.

"You can never underestimate her as a performer. ... I know what she's capable of and she showed that today," said Sharapova, who will assume the No. 1 ranking from Justine Henin. "She has showed it many, many times.

Williams saved match points in her semifinal win over Sharapova here two years ago before beating Lindsay Davenport in the final.

Williams started aggressively and never relented in the kind of form that helped her dominate women's tennis as she completed the "Serena Slam" with four consecutive majors up to the 2003 Australian Open.

She held to open and then won 12 straight points after Sharapova had a game point in the next to jump to a 4-0 lead. Williams saved a break point in the fifth game before Sharapova held at love to make it 5-1.

Williams served out, taking the first set in 26 minutes on her second set point when Sharapova sent a backhand service return wide.

The American broke Sharapova's serve and resolve again to open the second set, then had consecutive double-faults to give the 19-year-old Russian a break point chance in the next game. In a manner typical of her determined performance Saturday, Williams fired an ace to save the break point and held on back-to-back errors by Sharapova.

Williams led 4-0 before Sharapova held again, avoiding the most lopsided women's final ever in the Australian Open.

Serving for the match, Williams fired two aces to earn triple match point, then finished it off in 1 hour, 3 minutes with the backhand winner.

With occasional showers and a strong wind outside, the roof was closed on packed Rod Laver Arena.

Williams missed nine tournaments immediately after losing in the third round at the Australian Open last year and played only 16 matches in 2006, when she slumped as low as No. 140 in the rankings.

Despite only having three matches at a low-key warmup tournament in Hobart, she had was fit enough to advance over five seeded players.

Her win over No. 5 Nadia Petrova in the third round was her first over a top-10 player since she won the 2005 tournament.

Sharapova came into the match on a 13-match winning streak in Grand Slams, having won the U.S. Open last September.

After winning her first-round match in three sets over Camille Pin of France, Sharapova didn't drop a set in five rounds before the final.

In the men's final Sunday, top-ranked Roger Federer is aiming for a 10th major title against Grand Slam final newcomer Fernando Gonzalez.

Gonzalez overpowered Tommy Haas 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 in the semifinals Friday, a night after Federer beat No. 6 Andy Roddick 6-4, 6-0, 6-2.

"He's the No. 1 player in the world by far. ... I lost many times with him," Gonzalez said. "But now I'm playing much better than the last time we played. And it's only one match. I'm going to give everything that I have to try to win my first Slam."

Gonzalez is 0-9 against Federer, who has won nine of his 10 major finals.

Federer's victory over Roddick put him into a seventh consecutive Grand Slam final, tying a record set in 1934 by Jack Crawford.


TOPICS: Sports
KEYWORDS: australian; tennis; williams
Congratulations, to a great champion. Welcome back!!!!
1 posted on 01/26/2007 9:22:17 PM PST by jazzo
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To: jazzo

6-1, 6-2. Ouch!


2 posted on 01/26/2007 9:26:52 PM PST by Reaganesque
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To: jazzo

Foot faults, errors... sounds like Serena psyched Sharapova out!


3 posted on 01/26/2007 9:36:28 PM PST by B-Chan (Catholic. Monarchist. Texan. Any questions?)
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To: Reaganesque

Did you see the picture of her on the NYTimes website? Not saying she is using steroids....but....well.....somebody should post the photo.....at the very least, she has been hitting the weights.....


4 posted on 01/26/2007 9:38:55 PM PST by There You Go Again
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To: jazzo

It was a major smack down!

Was rooting (sp?) for Serena all the way.


5 posted on 01/26/2007 9:41:20 PM PST by DB
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To: jazzo
I have to say I don't care for Sharapova playing for Russia while growing up and living here getting all the benefits she couldn't get there.
6 posted on 01/26/2007 9:48:30 PM PST by DB
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To: jazzo

7 posted on 01/26/2007 9:48:55 PM PST by There You Go Again
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To: There You Go Again

Did she break Babe Ruth's record tonight?


8 posted on 01/26/2007 9:51:34 PM PST by There You Go Again
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To: There You Go Again

For a woman who has been out of it for as long as she has and the injuries and the weight gain...she mopped the floor tonight.


9 posted on 01/26/2007 9:52:50 PM PST by My Favorite Headache ("Head-On...Apply Directly To The Forehead, Head-On...Apply Directly To The Forehead")
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To: jazzo
I saw the match live on ESPN2 and was amazed that Serena Williams played like Roger Federer in flattening the opposition. That was the most dominating performance I've seen in a tennis match in years.
10 posted on 01/26/2007 10:14:47 PM PST by RayChuang88
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To: There You Go Again

That's not who we want pictures of.


11 posted on 01/26/2007 10:31:58 PM PST by furquhart (Gingrich for President)
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To: DB

Yeah all the Russians do that. They move to Florida around the age of 12 to take advantage of year round training.


12 posted on 01/26/2007 10:36:16 PM PST by neb52
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To: furquhart

13 posted on 01/26/2007 10:49:08 PM PST by ConservativeStatement
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To: MassRepublicanFlyersFan

WOW!!!


14 posted on 01/26/2007 11:07:23 PM PST by rednesss
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To: There You Go Again

Where is drug testing in this sport?


15 posted on 01/26/2007 11:12:20 PM PST by jws3sticks (Hillary can take a very long walk on a very short pier, anytime, and the sooner the better!)
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To: rednesss

Game, set, match Sharapova.


16 posted on 01/26/2007 11:29:23 PM PST by ConservativeStatement
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To: There You Go Again

That picture makes one wonder if she isn't the modern-day Renee Richards.


17 posted on 01/27/2007 4:28:44 AM PST by edpc (The pen is mightier than the sword......until you fight someone.)
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To: RayChuang88; beyond the sea

Link to ESPN article

Here's a look at what the 25-year-old American accomplished in winning the year's first Grand Slam:

1 This was her first WTA Tour title -- and first appearance in a tournament final -- since she won the Australian Open in 2005.

2 The second player, joining Chris O'Neil in 1978, to win the Australian Open as an unseeded player.

3 Consecutive years the No. 1 seed has failed to win the Australian Open.

6 The number of seeded players Williams beat en route to winning the Australian Open: No. 27 Mara Santangelo; No. 5 Nadia Petrova; No. 11 Jelena Jankovic; No. 16 Shahar Peer; No. 10 Nicole Vaidisova; and No. 1 Maria Sharapova.


18 posted on 01/27/2007 4:47:05 AM PST by cloud8
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To: jazzo; beyond the sea


19 posted on 01/27/2007 4:55:45 AM PST by cloud8
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To: cloud8

Now that she has done it all in tennis, she should conquer the NFL next year.


20 posted on 01/27/2007 6:25:32 AM PST by tdscpa
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To: cloud8; jazzo; tdscpa; There You Go Again; DB; RayChuang88; jjbrouwer; Ernest_at_the_Beach; ...
I hear that after the final point, Serena fell down on her back in ecstasy ....... then got up and went straight to her mother and family at courtside and completely forgot to go to the net to do the perfectly customary thing in tennis with her opponent (maria in this case). Is that true??

If so..... Serena blew it.

I fell asleep before the match came on. Sounds like Maria took the choke as she is making a habit of doing at the end of important tournaments.

Well.......... you can't have everything.

;-)

21 posted on 01/27/2007 7:57:17 AM PST by beyond the sea ( All lies and jest, still the man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest)
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To: beyond the sea
Funny you should mention that because NO winner has actually "jumped the net" to shake hands with an opposing player since the middle 1980's.
22 posted on 01/27/2007 8:11:18 AM PST by RayChuang88
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To: RayChuang88
Funny you should mention that because NO winner has actually "jumped the net" to shake hands with an opposing player since the middle 1980's.

You really ought to get out more.

No one suggested that Serena should "jump the net".

LOL

Where do people learn how to read?

The etiquette of tennis for decades has been to immediately come to the net, embrace (or shake hands with) the opponent, and then go about being self-congratulatory.

Serena blew it.

Besides she couldn't have made it over the net anyhow.

;-)

23 posted on 01/27/2007 8:17:49 AM PST by beyond the sea ( All lies and jest, still the man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest)
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To: There You Go Again

Is that a picture of Wesley Snipes????? Do they test for steroids in tennis????


24 posted on 01/27/2007 11:27:53 AM PST by rednesss
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To: beyond the sea
Well...

That isn't what happened.

Yes after the winning point she threw her racket and briefly laid on the ground. But she quickly got up and went to the net and shook hands, hugged and kissed Sharapova on the cheek.

Then after briefly enjoying the moment she went to where her family was including her mom and high fived them without leaving the playing field.

Both players were gracious.

25 posted on 01/27/2007 2:44:22 PM PST by DB
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To: DB
I'm glad you cleared that up, DB.

I found it hard to believe that Serena blew off Maria at the net. It's good to hear that she did the right thing.

I always thought that she was a very nice girl. As I noted earlier, I did not see the match.

Be well .......... and thanks again. I'm very glad you told me that. I would not have liked to go through the next years having a poor impression of Serena.

26 posted on 01/27/2007 3:40:53 PM PST by beyond the sea ( All lies and jest, still the man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest)
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To: beyond the sea
I recorded the match. I had to go back and look at the end to be sure of the order of events because I couldn't remember. Serena like Agassi has grown up. Her cockiness has been tempered with age. I was glad to see her win.
27 posted on 01/27/2007 3:46:21 PM PST by DB
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To: DB
Yes she must have played so well.

You know what I wish, I wish the Gods of tennis would get together and give Maria Sharapova (and others) six month or a year to cut out all the screeching and grunting on the court. If I were playing against someone like that, I would consider it a major distraction.

I grew up in the 50's and 60's. No one had to make a sound when they hit the ball in tennis. Something should be done. All that noise is absurd and unneeded.

28 posted on 01/27/2007 3:52:40 PM PST by beyond the sea ( All lies and jest, still the man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest)
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To: DB; MassRepublicanFlyersFan
I have to say I don't care for Sharapova playing for Russia while growing up and living here getting all the benefits she couldn't get there.

See Post 13.

Sharapova is like Katerina Witt before the fall of the Berlin Wall. No matter what Katerina said or did, even if she came across as a dyed-in-the-wool Commie, a red-blooded American male would have overlooked everything except her looks. ;-)


29 posted on 01/27/2007 4:03:55 PM PST by Polybius
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To: jazzo

She's Baaaaack!!!!


30 posted on 01/27/2007 4:05:19 PM PST by dfwgator (The University of Florida - Championship U)
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