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Before the 2013 Australian Open

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Lead-up Tournaments
Serena Williams ... 2013 Brisbane International champion and five-time Australian Open winner

Serena Williams ... 2013 Brisbane International champion and five-time Australian Open winner

© Cameron Spencer / Getty Images

In the weeks leading to the start of the 2013 Australian Open on January 14, various tennis tournaments were held in several cities in Australia where players not only prepared for the big Melbourne Grand Slam event but also vied for trophies and substantial prizemoney.

Among these were the Hopman Cup which opened on December 29 in Perth and finished in the wee hours of the morning of January 6; the Brisbane International started on December 30 and closed on January 6; and the Sydney International took place from January 6 to 12.

Other pre-Australian Open events were the Hobart International from January 4 to 12 in Tasmania and the Kooyong Classic from January 9 to 12 in Mebourne.

  • At the Hopman Cup

World No 1 men's singles player and 2011 and 2012 Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic lost to Australia's Bernard Tomic in straight sets on January 2. Serbians Djokovic and Ana Ivanovic, with 7 out of 9 matches won, saw Serbia in the January 5 final against Spain, represented by Fernando Verdasco and Anabel Medina Garrigues, also with 7 out of 9 matches won. Men's singles, women's singles and mixed doubles matches were played in the Hopman Cup final.

Djokovic defeated Verdasco, 6-3, 7-5, then Medina Garrigues defeated Ivanovic in a three-setter, 6-4, 6-7, 6-2, leaving Serbia and Spain in a 1-1 tie. In the subsequent mixed doubles match, Medina Garrigues/Verdasco triumphed over Ivanovic/Djokovic, 6-4, 7-5, with Spain winning the Hopman Cup.

  • At the Brisbane International

On January 4, Australian Open women's champion Victoria Azarenka was to meet five-time Australian Open champion (2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010) Serena Williams (USA) in the women's singles semifinal but had to withdraw due to a reported right big toe injury, leaving Williams to contest the final. Azarenka said she hoped to be fit for the Australian Open.

Fighting it out for the Brisbane International women's singles title on January 5 were Williams, ranked No 3 in the world in women's tennis, and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Russia), ranked No 36. Williams defeated Pavlyuchenkova, 6-2, 6-1, to clinch the Brisbane International women's singles title.

In the men's singles final world No 3 men's player Andy Murray (UK) defeated No 48 men's player Grigor Dimitrov (Bulgaria), 7-6, 6-4, on January 6.

  • At the Sydney International

While seven of the world's top 10 women's singles players were to play in the Sydney International, there was none of the world's top 10 men's players with the withdrawal of No 8 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (France) and No 10 Richard Gasquet (France).

Of the women's top players, Petra Kvitova, ranked No 8, was eliminated in the first round, losing to Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova (No 15) on January 6.

Top ranked women's player in the Sydney International is Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland) ranked world No 4, followed by top 10 players Angelique Kerber (Germany), Sara Errani (Italy), Li Na (China), Samantha Stosur (Australia) and Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark) among those remaining in the competition after Day 1.

Aussie hope and top 10 player Sam Stosur, who was eliminated in the first round of the Brisbane International, suffered the same fate at the Sydney International, losing her first round match, this time to China's Jie Cheng, in a three-setter on January 7.

In the women's singles final on January 11, Agnieszka Radwanska defeated 14th-ranked Dominika Cibulkova (Slovakia), 6-0, 6-0.

In the men's singles final on January 12, Australia's Bernard Tomic, ranked No 52 in the world, defeated No 37-ranked South African Kevin Anderson, 6-3, 6-7, 6-3. It was the Australian's first career title.

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