AO 12 - Two for the Ro(a)d
Well, it's the day before the day in Melbourne.
But the day before just another in a long line of days in the career-long dance between Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova, or the one before a major disruption in the Force?
We'll soon find out, so I thought I'd put together an impromptu "History of the Series" in links form, as I've actually been able to chronicle -- sometimes with more words, sometimes with less -- every single one of the eighteen previous meetings between Serena and Maria:
2004 Miami 4th Rd. - Serena 6-4/6-3 ("A Broken Nail, Hotpants & a Title")
2004 Wimbledon Final - Sharapova 6-1/6-4 ("The Passion of the Supernova")
2004 WTA Chsp. Final - Sharapova 4-6/6-2/6-4 ("Oh, to be 17...and Backspin's Player of the Year")
2005 Australian Open SF - Serena 2-6/7-5/8-6 ("Melbourne's Soul Survivor")
2007 Australian Final - Serena 6-1/6-2 ("The Demolition Heard 'round the World")
2007 Miami 4th Rd. - Serena 6-1/6-1 ("It's Gotta Be the Earrings")
2008 Charleston QF - Serena 7-5/4-6/6-1 ("Shake It Up (Scrambled Backspin & Eggs)")
2010 Wimbledon 4th Rd. - Serena 7-6(9)/6-4 ("Wimbledon Day 7: "Some Nice Moments, But Nothing to Text Your Cousin About")
2011 Stanford QF - Serena 6-1/6-3 ("Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss?")
2012 Madrid QF - Serena 6-1/6-3 ("Ridiculatis Expectatious")
2012 Olympics Final - Serena 6-0/6-1 ("Dancing with Herself")
2012 WTA Chsp. Final - Serena 6-4/6-3 ("Awesome Punctuation.")
2013 Doha SF - Serena 6-3/6-2 ("V is for Viktory")
2013 Miami Final - Serena 4-6/6-3/6-0 ("Maria Tries But Fails to Hide the Daylight From the Sun")
2013 Madrid Final - Serena 6-1/6-4 ("Gracious, Madrid")
2013 Roland Garros Final - Serena 6-4/6-4 ("Serena Loves Paris in the Springtime, and Paris (finally) Loves Her Back")
2014 Brisbane SF - Serena 6-2/7-6(7) ("Act 1, Scene 1 (2014)")
2014 Miami SF - Serena 6-4/6-3 ("Serenativity Lite Stays Supreme in South Florida")
Meeting #19 could provide Williams with her nineteenth career slam win, or it could be the occasion for the potential "rebirth" of the Supernova. Either way, the twisty, twisted rivalry between arguably the two most celebrated, historically important figures (though the likes of Na, Venus & Justine would get quite a few votes, too) in women's tennis over the last fifteen years will get a new chapter. Or at least an additional sentence.
We shall see.
=DAY 12 NOTES=
...well, the women's singles draw in Melbourne finally has a day off, so I'm (mostly) going to take one, too, and go with an early post.
There are some matches of note on Day 12, though.
Bethanie Mattek-Sands', the only American other than Serena still in line to possibly walk away with a title at this Australian Open in the traditional disciplines (Quad WC #1 David Wagner is still alive in the singles and doubles, as well), will be trying to add another chapter to her comeback from hip surgery as she joins with Lucie Safarova to play the doubles final against Chan Yung-Jan & Zheng Jie. This is BMS' second straight final in '15, having won the Sydney title with Sania Mirza in Week 2.
Speaking of the Indian Princess, Mirza & Bruno Soares will take their U.S. Open mixed title-winning resume into today's semifinal against Kristina Mladenovic & Daniel Nestor, who are the reigning AO mixed champs (hmmm, it seems that I, like Stan Wawrinka, seem to prefer the "reigning champ" phrase over "defending champ"... it seems more substantial). Martina Hingis & Leander Paes will face Hsieh Su-Wei & Pablo Cuevas in the other semi.
Also today: the junior singles semifinals and doubles final (Waffle Greet Minnen is the only girl playing in both), as well as the wheelchair doubles final, as Yui Kamiji & Jordanne Whiley attempt to win their fifth consecutive slam title and defend their first major title.
Sooo today went well... Doubles final tomorrow pic.twitter.com/zvUOvwRiK9— jordanne whiley (@jordannejoyce92) January 29, 2015
The only major singles action is the men's semi between Novak Djokovic and Wawrinka, with the winner facing Andy Murray on Sunday in the Scot's fourth AO final in six years (he's 0-3 so far).
...DAY 12 LIKE #1: It's hard to get upset with Andy these days.
#MoreWomenInSport ?? goodnight??— Andy Murray (@andy_murray) January 29, 2015
.@andy_murray has just won over half the world's population.— Ben Rumsby (@ben_rumsby) January 29, 2015
...DAY 12 "And Caro is rooting for...?":
...DAY 12 WINNING-BY-ROMANTIC-ASSOCIATION:
Felice per voi!!!!!???????????? pic.twitter.com/hZhaPYPMWM— Flavia Pennetta (@flavia_pennetta) January 29, 2015
...DAY 12 "I hope she remembered to pack her hiking boots": she's going to really need them now. She's got quite a mountain to climb. Over ten years so far, and she's still not reached the peak.
...DAY 12 SOMETHING-YOU-LIKE-ME-PROBABLY-DIDN'T-KNOW:
I just met Kenny Rogers. Was maybe too excited and told him I always karaoke his songs. He asked me what one and I said Lucille! #Truefan— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) January 29, 2015
How many of you know Lucille by Kenny Rogers?? pic.twitter.com/6hiwgBio2v— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) January 29, 2015
...DAY 12 AND-DON'T-FORGET-HER: still the best lefty around...
...DAY 12 LIKE #2: Ah, memories. And look who's second from the right.
...DAY 12 LIKE #3: Amelie! Amelie! Amelie!
Can you imagine if Murray reached his first final at Roland Garros this spring?
...and, finally, well, what can you say?
¡¡Recargando las pilas!! -- Recharging my batteries!! pic.twitter.com/CRax7fiptH— Garbiñe Muguruza (@GarbiMuguruza) January 29, 2015
I totally get it right about now, Garbi.
=WOMEN'S SINGLES FINAL=
#1 Serena Williams/USA vs #2 Maria Sharapova/RUS
=MEN'S SINGLES SF=
#1 Novak Djokovic/SRB vs. #4 Stan Wawrinka/SUI
#6 Andy Murray/GBR def. #7 Tomas Berdych/CZE
=WOMEN'S DOUBLES FINAL=
Mattek-Sands/Safarova (USA/CZE) vs. #14 YJ.Chan/J.Zheng (TPE/CHN)
=MEN'S DOUBLES FINAL=
Bolelli/Fognini (ITA/ITA) vs. Herbert/Mahut (FRA/FRA)
=MIXED DOUBLES SF=
#1 Mirza/Soares (IND/BRA) vs. #3 Mladenovic/Nestor (FRA/CAN)
#7 Hingis/Paes (SUI/IND) vs. SW.Hsieh/Cuevas (TPE/URU)
=GIRLS SINGLES SF=
#14 Katie Swan/GBR vs. #5 Dalma Galfi/HUN
Greet Minnen/BEL vs. Tereza Mihalikova/SVK
=BOYS SINGLES SF=
#1 Roman Safiullin/RUS vs. Djurabeck Karimov/UZB
#7 Seong-chan Hong/KOR vs. #16 Akira Santillan/AUS
=GIRLS DOUBLES FINAL=
Hobnarski/Minnen (GER/BEL) vs. #2 Kolodziejova/Vondrousova (CZE/CZE)
=BOYS DOUBLES FINAL=
Delaney/Polmans (AUS/AUS) vs. #8 Hurkacz/Molcan (POL/SVK)
=WOMEN'S WC SINGLES FINAL=
#1 Yui Kamiji/JPN vs. Jiske Griffioen/NED
=MEN'S WC SINGLES FINAL=
#1 Shingo Kunieda/JPN vs. #2 Stephane Houdet/FRA
=WOMEN'S WC DOUBLES FINAL=
#1 Yui Kamiji/Jordanne Whiley (JPN/GBR) vs. #2 Jiske Griffioen/Aniek Van Koot (NED/NED)
=MEN'S WC DOUBLES FINAL=
#1 Shingo Kunieda/Stephane Houdet (JPN/FRA) vs. Gordon Reid/Gustavo Fernandez (GBR/ARG)
*#1 vs. #2 MATCH-UPS since 2006*
2006 Antwerp Final - #2 Amelie Mauresmo d. #1 Kim Clijsters
2008 Sydney Final - #1 Justine Henin d. #2 Svetlana Kuznetsova
2010 WTA Chsp. SF - #1 Caroline Wozniacki d. #2 Vera Zvonareva
2012 Indian Wells Final - #1 Victoria Azarenka d. #2 Maria Sharapova
2012 Stuttgart Final - #2 Maria Sharapova d. #1 Victoria Azarenka
2012 Beijing Final - #1 Victoria Azarenka d. #2 Maria Sharapova
2012 WTA Chsp. SF - #2 Maria Sharapova d. #1 Victoria Azarenka
2013 Doha Final - #1 Victoria Azarenka d. #2 Serena Williams
2013 Miami Final - #1 Serena Williams d. #2 Maria Sharapova
2013 Madrid Final - #1 Serena Williams d. #2 Maria Sharapova
2013 Roland Garros Final - #1 Serena Williams d. #2 Maria Sharapova
2013 Cincinnati Final - #2 Victoria Azarenka d. #1 Serena Williams
2013 U.S. Open - #1 Serena Williams d. #2 Victoria Azarenka
2014 Brisbane Final - #1 Serena Williams d. #2 Victoria Azarenka
2014 Miami Final - #1 Serena Williams d. #2 Li Na
2015 Australian Open Final - #1 Serena Williams vs. #2 Maria Sharapova
TOP QUALIFIER: Renata Voracova/CZE
TOP EARLY ROUND (1r-2r): #7 Genie Bouchard/CAN
TOP MIDDLE-ROUND (3r-QF): #2 Maria Sharapova/RUS
TOP LATE ROUND (SF-F): xx
TOP QUALIFYING MATCH: Q1 - Renata Voracova/CZE def. #17 Zhu Lin/CHN 5-7/7-6(5)/6-2 (saved MP in 2nd set)
TOP EARLY RD. MATCH (1r-2r): 2nd Rd. - #2 Maria Sharapova/RUS d. (Q) Alexandra Panova/RUS 6-1/4-6/7-5 (saved 2 MP)
TOP MIDDLE-RD. MATCH (3r-QF): 4th Rd. - Madison Keys/USA d. #4 Petra Kvitova/CZE 6-4/7-5
TOP LATE RD. MATCH (SF-F/Jr./Doub.): xx
TOP LAVER/MCA NIGHT MATCH: Nominee: 4th Rd. - Keys/USA d. #4 Kvitova/CZE 6-4/7-5
FIRST VICTORY: Julia Goerges/GER (def. #32 Bencic/SUI)
FIRST SEED OUT: #32 Belinda Bencic/SUI (lost 1st Rd. to Goerges/GER)
UPSET QUEENS: Germans
REVELATION LADIES: French
NATION OF POOR SOULS: China (year after Li wins title, 1-5 in 1st Round)
LAST QUALIFIER STANDING: Lucie Hradecka/CZE(3rd Rd.)
LAST WILD CARD STANDING: Chang Kai-Chen/TPE, Oceane Dodin/FRA & Irina Falconi/USA (all 2nd Rd.)
LAST AUSSIE STANDING: Casey Dellacqua, Jarmila Gajdosova, Samantha Stosur & Alja Tomljanovic (all 2nd Rd.)
Ms. OPPORTUNITY: Ekaterina Makarova/RUS
IT (??): [Madisons] Madison Keys/USA & Madison Brengle/USA
COMEBACK PLAYER: Victoria Azarenka/BLR
CRASH & BURN: #5 Ana Ivanovic/SRB (lost 1st Rd. vs. qualifier Hradecka/CZE; one of eight seeds to lose on Day 1)
ZOMBIE QUEEN: Maria Sharapova/RUS (2nd Rd.: saved 2 MP vs. Panova/RUS)
KIMIKO DATE-KRUMM VETERAN CUP (KDK CUP): Venus Williams/USA
LADY OF THE EVENING: Genie Bouchard/CAN (2-0 in night session matches on MCA, with her Army serenading her from the stands)
DOUBLES STAR: Nominees: Mirza/IND; Hingis/SUI; Mladenovic/FRA; Mattek-Sands/Safarova (USA/CZE); YJ.Chan/TPE; Kamiji/Whiley (JPN/GBR)
JUNIOR BREAKOUT: Nominee: K.Swan/GBR; D.Galfi/HUN; Minnen/BEL
All for Day 12. More tomorrow.