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Australian Open 2008

Sharapova, Djokovic Win Singles Titles

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Novak Djokovic ... Australian Open 2008 men's singles champion

Novak Djokovic ... Australian Open 2008 men's singles champion

Photo: Cameron Spencer / Getty Images

  • By the end of the fourth round of the Australian Open on January 21, 2008, 16 men's and women's singles players remained to contest the quarter-finals.
  • By Australia Day, January 26, in the women's singles final, last year's runner-up Maria Sharapova (Russia) emerged triumphant, defeating Ana Ivanovic (Serbia), 7-5, 6-3.
  • On January 27, third seed Novak Djokovic (Serbia) defeated unseeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (France), 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6, to win the men's singles title.

The quarter-finalists on January 21 were:

Men: Roger Federer (Switzerland) v James Blake (USA); Novak Djokovic (Serbia) v David Ferrer (Spain); Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (France) v Mikhail Youzhny (Russia); and Jarkko Nieminen (Finland) v Rafael Nadal (Spain).

Women: Justine Henin (Belgium) v Maria Sharapova (Russia); Jelena Jankovic (Serbia) v Serena Williams (USA); Venus Williams (USA) v Ana Ivanovic (Serbia); and Daniela Hantuchova (Slovakia) v Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland).

In the men's singles semi-finals, world No 1 Roger Federer succumbed to No 3 seed Novak Djokovic (Serbia) and was to meet unseeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (France) in the final.

It is interesting to note that in the 2007 US Open, Djokovic lost to Federer in the final.

Fresh from her triumph at the Hopman Cup in Perth, American tennis superstar Serena Williams entered the 2008 Australian Open in Melbourne as defending women's singles champion, having won in 2007 over top-seeded Russian player Maria Sharapova.

At the Hopman Cup, the US team comprising Williams and Mardy Fish, won over Serbia by clinching the mixed doubles final on January 4.

Earlier, Williams won the women's singles final when injured Serbian player Jelena Jankovic forfeited her Hopman Cup match.

The 2007 Open

Because of poor performance prior to the 2007 Australian Open, Williams had been ranked No 81 in world women's tennis and was the comeback queen at the Melbourne matches.

Expected to offer stiff competition to Williams in 2008 was women's tennis world No 1 Belgian player and No 1 seed Justine Henin who did not compete in the 2007 Australian Open.

Also in the mix were 2003 Australian Open champion and No 5 seed Sharapova and French ace and 2006 Australian Open champion Amelie Mauresmo (No 18).

(On January 18, Mauresmo lost to unseeded Australian Casey Dellacqua who, in a previous match also defeated Swiss player and No 15 seed Patty Schnyder. Dellacqua lost to No 3 seed Jelena Jankovic in the fourth round on January 20. Jankovic met Serena Williams in the quarter finals.)

Serena Williams, who won the Australian Open in 2007, 2005 and 2003, was No 7 seed in 2008.

Her run to the 2008 women's singles title ended in the early afternoon of January 22, Melbourne time, when she lost in straight sets to Jelena Jankovic.

No 1 seed Justine Henin was herself eliminated when she lost to No 5 seed Maria Sharapova in the quarter-finals.

Sharapova went on to defeat Ana Ivanovic in the final.

Men's singles

Australian Open defending champion in the men's singles was world No 1 Roger Federer of Switzerland.

Federer was Australian Open men's singles champion in 2007, 2006 and 2004.

Top seeded players

The first 20 seeded singles players for the 2008 Australian Open were:

Men

  1. Roger Federer (Switzerland)
  2. Rafael Nadal (Spain)
  3. Novak Djokovic (Serbia)
  4. Nikolay Davydenko (Russia)
  5. David Ferrer (Spain)
  6. Andy Roddick (USA)
  7. Fernando Gonzalez (Chile)
  8. Richard Gasquet (France)
  9. Andy Murray (United Kingdom)
  10. David Nalbandian (Argentina)
  11. Tommy Robredo (Spain)
  12. James Blake (USA)
  13. Tomas Berdych (Czech Republic)
  14. Mikhail Youzhny (Russia)
  15. Marcos Baghdatis (Cyprus)
  16. Carlos Moya (Spain)
  17. Ivan Ljubicic (Croatia)
  18. Juan Ignacio Chela (Argentina)
  19. Lleyton Hewitt (Australia)
  20. Ivo Karlovic (Croatia)

Women

  1. Justine Henin (Belgium)
  2. Svetlana Kuznetsova (Russia)
  3. Jelena Jankovic (Serbia)
  4. Ana Ivanovic (Serbia)
  5. Maria Sharapova (Russia)
  6. Anna Chakvetadze (Russia)
  7. Serena Williams (USA)
  8. Venus Williams (USA)
  9. Daniela Hantuchova (Slovakia)
  10. Marion Bartoli (France)
  11. Elena Dementieva (Russia)
  12. Nicole Vaidisova (Czech Republic)
  13. Tatiana Golovin (France)
  14. Nadia Petrova (Russia)
  15. Patty Schnyder (Switzerland)
  16. Dinara Safina (Russia)
  17. Shahar Peer (Israel)
  18. Amelie Mauresmo (France)
  19. Sybille Bammer (Austria)
  20. Agnes Szavay (Hungary)

Grand Slam tennis

The Australian Open, the first of the world's four Grand Slam tennis tournaments during the year, opened at Melbourne Park on January 14, 2008.

The Australian Open reached its climax on January 27 with the men's singles championship match. The women's singles final was held on January 26.

The four Grand Slam tournaments are the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and US Open. Only one, Australian tennis player Rod Laver, has won the Grand Slam — winning all four tournaments in one year — twice.

Next page: Singles Quarter-Finals

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