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Serena eyes sixth coronation at Melbourne Park

By Ian Ransom MELBOURNE (Reuters) - If players, pundits and bookmakers are to be believed, Serena Williams has already sewn up her sixth Australian Open title and the other 127 women in the draw may as well pick up their racquets and head home. Riding a 22-match winning streak, the American juggernaut arrives in Melbourne Park fit, fresh and ravenous for more grand slam success at a tournament where injuries and illness have robbed her of yet more silverware in the past three years.

Tennis: Dominant Williams guns for 18th major title

Serena Williams is gunning to match Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova by winning an 18th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open, with her blistering form suggesting she can reach the milestone. The world number one cemented her dominance of the sport with 11 titles last year, including the US and French Opens. And she picked up where she left off by winning the Brisbane International on Saturday, beating reigning Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka in the final, with her powerful serve proving the difference.

Tennis: Serena Williams wins Brisbane International

World number one Serena Williams won the season-opening Brisbane International tennis tournament when she beat second seed Victoria Azarenka on Saturday. Williams won a close first set then edged Azarenka in the second to win 6-4, 7-5 in 98 minutes. acd/st

Tennis: Serena Williams wins Brisbane International

World number one Serena Williams stamped herself as favourite for the Australian Open when she beat Victoria Azarenka in the final of the Brisbane International on Saturday. In what could be a dress rehearsal for the Melbourne decider, Williams won a close first set then edged Azarenka in the second to win 6-4, 7-5 in 98 minutes. Williams, the defending champion in Brisbane, just shaded Azarenka throughout, with her powerful serve proving the main difference between the world's two top players.

Sharapova survives scare to set up Serena semi

By Ciaran Baynes BRISBANE (Reuters) - Maria Sharapova rallied to beat Kaia Kanepi on Thursday and next faces Serena Williams in the Brisbane International semi-finals knowing she must dramatically improve to end a run of 13 straight defeats against her nemesis. World number one Williams comfortably ousted Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova 6-3 6-3 in 61 minutes, winning the first set without losing a point on serve - a feat the American had not achieved since she was a junior.

Tennis: Serena tested in season opener

World number one Serena Williams opened her 2014 season with a hard-fought 6-4, 6-4 win over Germany's Andrea Petkovic in the second round of the Brisbane International on Tuesday. Williams, who was given a bye in the first round, was pushed hard by the unseeded Petkovic in front of a packed crowd at Pat Rafter Arena. The American mixed the good with the bad, making 36 unforced errors but hitting 35 winners in the 98-minute encounter.

Federer, Serena looking to get on a roll in Brisbane

By Nick Mulvenney (Reuters) - Roger Federer and Serena Williams had contrasting 2013 seasons but both kick off their new campaigns at the Brisbane International this week showing no signs just yet of calling time on their illustrious careers. Born just a month apart and each with 17 grand slam singles titles to their name, Federer and Williams could justifiably claim to be the best tennis players of their generation, if not of all time.

Tennis: Fighting Serena sounds warning on winning form

World number one Serena Williams says a fierce competitive streak keeps her motivated despite a decade of dominance, warning competitors Sunday that she is determined to extend her sparkling 2013 form. Speaking in Brisbane where she will be defending the title she won earlier this year, Williams said she had kept her off-season to a minimum to avoid any impact on her momentum. Williams had only four losses in a stellar 2013, a year that included her 16th and 17th Grand Slams at Roland Garros and the US Open.

Tennis: Fighting Serena sounds warning on winning form

World number one Serena Williams says a fierce competitive streak keeps her motivated despite a decade of dominance, warning competitors Sunday that she is determined to extend her sparkling 2013 form. Speaking in Brisbane where she will be defending the title she won earlier this year, Williams said she had kept her off-season to a minimum to avoid any impact on her momentum. Williams had only four losses in a stellar 2013, a year that included her 16th and 17th Grand Slams at Roland Garros and the US Open.

Tennis: Azarenka breezes past Serena in Thailand

World number two Victoria Azarenka battled back from an injury-plagued season to defeat top-ranked Serena Williams 7-5, 6-3 in Thailand on Saturday. The Belarusian 24-year-old is hoping her victory at the exhibition match in Thailand will set the stage for a strong performance at the upcoming Australian Open. "It's a great warm up before going to compete and start the year," she told reporters in the seaside resort of Hua Hin. "It's always really fun because we take each other to the limit."
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