Top five greatest Australian Open women’s finals
The Australian Open always gets the season up and running in style, so join us for a look at the best women’s finals.
1982 – Chris Evert defeats Martina Navratilova 6-3, 2-6, 6-3
The prolific duo were meeting for a sixth time in a Slam final, and a second year running at the Australian Open. Evert did not play in Melbourne between 1974 and 1981, reaching the final on her return but losing to Navratilova there.
The Melbourne Major remained the only Slam title that 12-time Major champion Evert was yet to claim. Navratilova was a three-time Slam winner, her most recent title being in Australia in 1981.
Evert exacted her revenge this time around to complete her Career Grand Slam. Starting in 1981, the Australian Open was won by either Navratilova or Evert each year until 1985, with Evert claiming two titles and Navratilova three in that time.
They met in the final once more in 1985, Navratilova coming out the victor that day.
1993 – Monica Seles defeats Steffi Graf 4-6, 6-3, 6-2
1993 saw the Australian Open in the throws of a duopoly between Seles and Graf. Graf had won three consecutive titles from 1988-90, while Seles won in 1991 and 1992.
Seles, seeded first, stormed through to the quarter-finals without dropping a set and never surrendering more than two games in a set. Graf was not quite as dominant to begin with, but still won her first four matches in straight sets. Seles was pushed to three sets by Julie Halard of France in the quarters before ousting third seed Gabriela Sabatini 6-1, 6-2 to reach the final.
Second seeded Graf continued her perfect run by downing Jennifer Capriati and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in straight sets also. Now, Seles and Graf would meet for the fourth time in a Slam final, and a third time in four Major events. Seles had won at Roland Garros in 1990 and 1992, but Graf had come out the victor in their most recent Slam final battle at Wimbledon that year.
And the German carried that confidence into the match, claiming the opening set. But Seles dug deep to turn the tie around and complete the three-peat of Australian Open triumphs, her eighth Slam title.
Graf won the title in 1994, ensuring either she or Seles won in Melbourne every year between 1988 and 1994.
2003 – Serena Williams defeats Venus Williams 7-6 (7-4), 3-6, 6-4
moving into the 21st century the Williams sisters began to dominate the women’s game. The two had already faced off in Slam finals four times before 2003, at the US Open in 2001 and 2002, then Roland Garros and Wimbledon in 2002 also.
Venus won in New York in 2001, but Serena had claimed the next three titles. 2003 was a maiden Australian Open final appearance for both women. After Lindsay Davenport won in 2000 and Capriati did in 2001 and 2002, an American woman was guaranteed to win in Melbourne for a fourth consecutive year.
Venus breezed through all the way to the final without dropping a set, while Serena had to come through three-setters in her first round and semi-final matches, the latter against fourth seed Kim Clijsters.
So it was top seed Serena against second seed Venus. A narrow opening set decided by a tiebreak set the tone for a tight final, with Serena eventually extending her run of Slam final victories over Venus to four in a row, a fifth Major title and a Career Grand Slam clincher.
2010 – Serena Williams defeats Justine Henin 6-4, 3-6, 6-2
Seven years later and Serena had claimed six more Slam titles, including three in Melbourne, to sit on a tally of 11. Henin had herself claimed seven Majors, including one at the 2004 Australian Open, defeating fellow Belgian Kim Clijsters then.
Henin had retired in May 2008 before returning at the end of 2009 having missed seven Slam tournaments. Entered in 2010 as a wildcard, she dusted off the cobwebs to reach a 12th career Slam final and third in Australia.
Serena blitzed through to the championship match for the loss of just one set in her quarter-final match-up with seventh seed Victoria Azarenka. While the Belgian comeback talent put up a good fight, world number one Serena was just too strong as she triumphed in three sets, her 12th Slam title, fifth in Melbourne and second consecutively after winning in 2009.
Henin competed in three more Slams and one in Australia in 2011 before retiring from the sport for a second time.
2019 – Naomi Osaka defeats Petra Kvitova 7-6 (7-2), 3-6, 6-4
The Japanese star had burst onto the scene by winning the 2018 US Open in a controversial final which saw Serena Williams penalised to the point of losing a game. Meanwhile, two-time Wimbledon champion Kvitova had not been beyond the quarter-finals at a Slam since clinching her second title on the grass in 2014.
Osaka did not have the easiest route through, winning just three of her first six matches in straight sets and being pushed to a decider in the third round by Su-wei Hsieh, in the fourth round by Anastasija Sevastova and in the sei-finals by Karolina Pliskova.
Kvitova proved far more efficient, winning through to the final without dropping a set. An opening set tiebreak set the stage for a tight final, with Osaka persevering to come out on top for her second Slam title.
With the victory the 22-year-old became the first woman since Jennifer Capriati in 2001 to win her first two Slam titles back to back.
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