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Australian Open 2012

Djokovic, Azarenka Win Singles Titles

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Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal at the 2012 Australian Open

Winner Novak Djokovic and runner-up Rafael Nadal at the 2012 Australian Open

© Quinn Rooney / Getty Images

Djokovic Retains His Australian Open Crown
Azarenka Is New Australian Open Women's Singles Champion

The way to the championships:

The 2012 Australian Open, the first of the world's four Grand Slam tennis tournaments during the year, opened on January 16 in Melbourne at Melbourne Park with first round matches starting at 11am, Australian eastern daylight saving time.

Four seeded men's singles players and three women's singles players lost their first round matches on Day 1.

Defending champions

The 2011 Australian Open singles champions were Novak Djokovic (Serbia) in men's tennis and Kim Clijsters (Belgium) in the women's events.

Particularly for Australians, a major focus of the 2012 event was Australian women's singles tennis player Samantha Stosur who had won the women's singles title in the US Open on September 11, 2011, defeating American Serena Williams in straight sets. In the 2010 French Open at Roland Garros, Stosur reached the final in a Grand Slam tournament for the first time but lost to Italy's Francesca Schiavone.

Stosur is the first Australian female Grand Slam champion since Evonne Goolagong (now Evonne Goolagong Cawley) won her second Wimbledon title in 1980.

She is also the first Australian woman to have won the US Open women's singles title since Margaret Court (now Margaret Court Smith) won it in 1973.

Lead-up matches in Brisbane

At lead-up matches to the Australian Open, defending Australian Open women's singles champion Kim Clijsters was forced to withdraw due to injury at the Brisbane International on January 6. She was leading 7-6, 1-3 against Daniela Hantuchova (Slovakia) when she called it quits with what was reported to be a hip injury.

Earlier at the Brisbane International, five-time Australian Open women's singles champion Serena Williams (USA) also withdrew due to injury.

The question was whether Clijsters and Williams would be fit and ready for the Australian Open.

Sam Stosur stumbles

In her lead-up preparations for the Australian Open, US Open women's singles champion and Australia's big hope in women's tennis Samantha Stosur lost her second-round match at the Brisbane International to Iveta Benesova (Czech Republic) on January 4.

Moving on to the Sydney International, Stosur lost her first round match against Francesca Schiavone (Italy) at Sydney Olympic Park on January 9, a week away from the start of the Australian Open.

First day casualties

Seeded men's singles players to lose on Day 1 were Fernando Verdasco (22), Spain, 2009 semi-finalist who lost to unseeded Australian Bernard Tomic; Juan Monaco (25), Argentina; Ivan Ljubicic (28), Croatia; Jurgen Melzer (31), Austria. Among the women's singles players, Flavia Penneta (19), Italy; Lucie Safarova (24), Czech Republic; and Yanina Wickmayer (28), Belgium, lost on Day 1.

Stosur crashes out of tournament

In her first round match on Day 2 of the Australian Open, unseeded romanian player Sorana Cirstea took out Samantha Stosur, 7-6, 6-3.

Top seeded players

Thirty-two players each in the men's and women's singles fields were seeded in this year's competition.

The top 20 seeds:

Men

  1. Novak Djokovic (Serbia) - won the men's singles title
  2. Rafael Nadal (Spain) - lost to Novak Djokovic (Serbia) in the men's singles final
  3. Roger Federer (Switzerland) - lost to Rafael Nadal (Spain) in the semifinals
  4. Andy Murray (UK) - lost to Novak Djokovic (Serbia) in the semifinals
  5. David Ferrer (Spain) - lost to Novak Djokovic (Serbia) in the quarterfinals
  6. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (France) - lost to Kei Nishikori (Japan) in Round 4
  7. Tomas Berdych (Czech Republic) - lost to Rafael Nadal (Spain) in the quarterfinals
  8. Mardy Fish (USA) - lost to Alejandro Falla (Colombia) in Round 2
  9. Janko Tipsarevic (Serbia) - lost to Richard Gasquet (France) in Round 3
  10. Nicolas Almagro (Spain) - lost to Tomas Berdych (Czech Republic) in Round 4
  11. Juan Martin Del Potro (Argentina) - lost to Roger Federer (Switzerland) in the quarterfinals
  12. Gilles Simon (France) - lost to Julien Benneteau (France) in Round 2
  13. Alexandr Dolgopolov (Ukraine) - lost to Bernard Tomic (Australia) in Round 3
  14. Gael Monfils (France) - lost to Mikhail Kukushkin (Kazakhstan)in Round 3
  15. Andy Roddick (USA) - lost to Lleyton Hewitt (Australia) in Round 2; Roddick was two sets down when he retired after the third set due to injury said to have been sustained in the second set.
  16. John Isner (USA) - lost to Feliciano Lopez (Spain) in Round 3
  17. Richard Gasquet (France) - lost to David Ferrer (Spain) in Round 4
  18. Feliciano Lopez (Spain) - lost to Rafael Nadal (Spain) in Round 4
  19. Viktor Troicki (Serbia) - lost to Mikhail Kukushkin (Kazakhstan) in Round 2
  20. Florian Mayer (Germany) - withdrew from the competition

Women

  1. Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark) - lost to Kim Clijsters (Belgium) in the quarterfinals
  2. Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic) - lost to Maria Sharapova (Russia) in the semifinals
  3. Victoria Azarenka (Belarus) - won the women's singles final
  4. Maria Sharapova (Russia) - lost to Victoria Azarenka (Belarus) in the women's singles final
  5. Na Li (China) - lost to Kim Clijsters (Belgium) in Round 4
  6. Samantha Stosur (Australia) - lost to Sorana Cirstea (Romania) in Round 1
  7. Vera Zvonareva (Russia) - lost to Ekaterina Makarova (Russia) in Round 3
  8. Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland) - lost to Victoria Azarenka (Belarus) in the quarterfinals
  9. Marion Bartoli (France) - lost to Jie Zheng (China) in Round 3
  10. Francesca Schiavone (Italy) - lost to Romina Oprandi (Italy) in Round 2
  11. Kim Clijsters (Belgium) - lost to Victoria Azarenka (Belarus) i the semifinals
  12. Serena Williams (USA) - lost to Ekaterina Marakova (Russia) in Round 4
  13. Jelena Jankovic (Serbia) - lost to Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark) in Round 4
  14. Sabine Lisicki (Germany) - lost to Maria Sharapova (Russia) in Round 4
  15. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Russia) - lost to Vania King (USA) in Round 2
  16. Shuai Peng (China) - lost to Iveta Benesova (Czech Republic) in Round 2
  17. Dominika Cibulkova (Slovakia) - lost to Greta Arn (Hungary)
  18. Svetlana Kuznetsova (Russia) - lost to Sabine Lisicki (Germany) in Round 3
  19. Flavia Pennetta (Italy) - lost to Nina Bratchikova (Russia) in Round 1
  20. Daniela Hantuchova (Slovakia) - lost to Kim Clijsters (Belgium) in Round 3

The world's Grand Slams

The four Grand Slam tournaments are the Australian Open, French Open at Roland Garros, Wimbledon and US Open.

Only one, Australian tennis player Rod Laver, has won the men's singles Grand Slam — winning all four tournaments in one calendar year — twice.

The only other men's tennis player to win all four Grand Slam tournaments in one year is Don Budge (US) in 1938.

Australian women's tennis player Margaret Court won the women's singles Grand Slam in 1970. The only other women's Grand Slam winners are Maureen Connolly Brinker (US) in 1953 and Steffi Graf (Germany) in 1988. Court, Brinker and Graf achieved the Grand Slam by winning all four major tournaments in one calendar year.

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