S WILLIAMS (US) v D SAFINA (Rus)
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1010: Well, that's your lot for this morning. It may have been a disappointing spectacle as a match but it was another fantastic display by Serena. Join us tomorrow at 0830 GMT for Roger v Rafa, got a feeling that might be a bit closer.
"Thank you guys so much. I thank my mom for hanging in there with me the first week was tough but we got through it. My Dad, who I know who's watching right now. Dinara will have a great future - she is hitting so hard I just had to go for broke against her. Thanks for putting on a great show for women's tennis. Thank Venus for hitting with me this morning and winning the doubles. Thanks to my whole box."
1003:Safina: "Not much to say as I didn't spend one hour on the court. Serena Williams played just too good today - I was just the ball boy on the court today. My team... thanks to my coach - thank you for coming and supporting me. All of the fans that have supported me, sorry for disappointing you today but I hope next year I will come and I will try and do better. Hopefully I will see you all next year - there's not much to say."
0957: Safina is now having a good laugh with Serena as the ceremony gets under way, finally, which is nice to see.
0955: "Congratulations to Williams on another Grand Slam triumph but she was hardly tested and I'd say she won this tournament in 2nd gear. Shame and i think its the last time the organisers will give the women's final the prime-time slot on a Saturday."
From sublimesuperspur on 606
0952: Safina is in absolute floods of tears in her chair, which is a shame. An official is doing her best to cheer her up. Serena is busying herself putting some jewellery on.
0948: "It's a remarkable performance of a championship quality and no-one can take that away from her. It's not Serena's fault that the opposition wasn't up to her standard, its just sad for me that there aren't enough good players to challenge the very best."
Times correspondent Neil Harmanon 5 Live sports extra
Serena 6-3 Safina
Serena clenches her fist when she fires an ace down the middle for 30-0. Moments later it's match point and when Safina misses with a drop shot. Serena drops to her knees to celebrate a 10th Grand Slam title. Whatever the merits of the match itself, a fantastic effort from the American.
Serena 5-3 Safina
The crowd roars as Safina thumps way a forehand winner for 15-15 - I'm guessing they want a bit more than 52 minutes for their money. Safina then plays an actual, real-life air shot, for 15-30 and you have to feel sorry for her. She picks herself up with a beautifully angled backhand winner and a fantastic forehand, before Serena plays a screamer of a return for deuce. The Russian comes through and Serena must serve for the title.
Serena 5-2 Safina
"VK**KJWKEJ!!!ASD!!***" screams Safina, or something similar. Some presumably industrial Russian comes out as Safina makes another error and she then takes out her frustration with a belting backhand winner. Serena... remains serene... and holds superbly to 15.
Serena 4-2 Safina
That's more like it - Safina holds comfortably and just about remains alive and kicking.
0932: "Piers, can we have a flag arrow for Yuki Bhambri's fantastic win in the boys' singles?"
From silverplumes on 606
- I'm afraid we haven't got an Indian flag yet (although in my absence earlier this week someone made a Norwegian one - extraordinary) but it's on the list.
Serena 4-1 Safina
Safina is disintegrating here. Serena holds in no time and... not much else to say really. I'll give Serena an arrow.
Serena 3-1 Safina
A double fault followed by a forehand error provokes the first bit of gentle racquet abuse from Safina, although it's fairly tame. The rally of the match follows at 30-30, with Safina dominating and Serena doing brilliantly to stay in it until the Russian puts away a mid-court backhand. A magnificent forehand return gives Serena break point and Safins... double faults. A few claps but more groans from the crowd.
Serena 2-1 Safina
Serena leans back and swipes away a clean cross-court forehand winner into the corner - an amazing shot and it gives her a love game.
Serena 1-1 Safina
Serena guides a forehand volley over the gaping, empty court in front of her and into the tram lines at 0-15, and then sticks her tongue out in disgust. Still, the American earns two break-back points and although Safina saves the first with an ace, a backhand error then gives up the game. I'd forgotten, we now have international arrows....
Serena 0-1 Safina
Serena sprays a backhand wide and suddenly finds herself 30-40 down. Safina steps in and smacks a backhand return straight past the American and we may have a match at last.
0910: "I think Serena is absolutely certainly the best player in the world since Justine Henin retired. You feel sympathy for Safina - who wants to be shown up like this in a Grand Slam final?"
Times correspondent Neil Harmanon 5 Live sports extra
Serena 6-0 Safina
Safina sticks a forehand over the baseline to open the game and finishes it with another in the net. The set is over in 22 minutes, and it should be said that Serena is playing very well. Even so...
0908: "Anyone for a bagel? Could be two at this rate."
From readie111 on 606
Serena 5-0 Safina
Quick as a flash Serena holds to love, and a murmur goes around the stadium as the spectators ponder whether they will have time to take in a movie or go to dinner afterwards. Probably both.
0905: "We're on opposite sides of the fence, Piers. Come on, Serena!"
From shivfan on 606
- I should make it clear I've got no favourites here, I'd just like to see a competitive match.
Serena 4-0 Safina
Wallop. Safina gets a net cord at 15-30 that gently lobs the ball up right in front of Serena. The crowd sink into their seats and I duck even though I'm on the other side of the planet. Serena duly thunders a forehand past the Russian and goes on to break again.
0900: "I find the post match ones odd too (see 0837), right on the court as if they were dissecting the game, not fair on players i think, big crowd and all."
From anon via text on 81111
Serena 3-0 Safina
I think it's fair to say that Serena is not grappling with any early nerves. She hammers a forehand winner down the line for 40-0 and Safina then bunts a backhand well over the baseline. This could be swift and brutal.
Serena 2-0 Safina
Things are looking a bit dicey for Safina at 30-30 but to her credit she comes through a tight rally with a clean forehand winner into the corner. Unfortunately, she then throws in her second double fault of the game. A fine cross-court backhand winner follows but Serena pounds away with a couple of huge forehands and double fault number three hands over the game.
It may have been bad news for Britain in the girls' singles final overnight but you can rely on Peter Norfolk, who won his third Australian Wheelchair Tennis Open quad singles title with a 7-6 (7-5) 6-1 victory over world number one David Wagner of the United States. The win means Norfolk will replace Wagner at the top of the rankings next week.
Serena 1-0 Safina
The three-time champion opens with a comfortable hold to 30, although she does throw in a couple of loose groundstrokes.
0845: The knock-up is done and dusted and it's very much even stevens so far, I'd say. "For stand-out, unforgettable moments in the women's event I'm struggling beyond the performances of Jelena Dokic," says Times correspondent Neil Harman on 5 Live sports extra.
0841: "I didnt get a wink of sleep last night and thats even with a paul mckenna hypnotism cd! Must i play a 5 setter each day?! I want a refund! Still the tennis is on which makes me a tad less grumpy.
From Matt, Croydon, via text on 81111
- I thought that was from Rafa for a moment there.
0837: The players are making their way through the tunnel, which means it's time for our daily tennis version of Frost/Nixon. "I'm looking forward, this is going to be my third final this year and hopefully it's going to be the lucky one," says Safina. "I'm just going to enjoy myself," counters Serena. Does anyone else think it's time to knock these pre-match 'interviews' on the head?
0834: "This match will not be a sell-out, far from it. There are banks and banks of empty green seats - maybe 2,000 - and frankly that is pathetic for a Grand Slam final."
Jonathan Overend on 5 Live sports extra
0830: Apparently his name is Pete Murray. Lovely stuff. Time for Advance Australia Fair...
0827: "Life is short and you're a flower." So sings a presumably famous-in-Australia bearded gentleman on Rod Laver Arena. Hang on, he's singing another one.... Meanwhile, the crowd files into the stadium as the start time approaches.
0823: If you didn't know already, Britain's very own Laura Robson lost out (was cruelly robbed) in the girls' singles final to Ksenia Pervak (nearly three years older) overnight, but there are no sour grapes to be found here. As the youngest player in the draw it was another sterling effort from the Wimbledon junior champ. We'll save the open-top bus parade for another day.
Robson loses Aussie Open final
0815: Morning, let's hope you woke up this morning feeling more like Roger Federer than Rafael Nadal i.e. rested and relaxed, not sore and aching. You can be sure that Serena Williams and Dinara Safina will be in top shape for the women's final, with the American going for her 10th Grand Slam title and the Russian chasing her first.
The pair have met six times, with Serena holding a commanding 5-1 lead, so is there any chance of Dinara matching big brother Marat and becoming an Aussie Open champion? And if so, will people like me stop continually bringing up her moody sibling?