By JOHN PYE
AP Sports Writer
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) - Women to watch at the Australian Open, which begins Monday:
2012 Match Record: 69-10
2012 Singles Titles: 6
Career Singles Titles: 14
Major Titles: 1 _ Australian Open ('12)
Last 5 Australian Opens: `12-Won Championship, `11-Lost in 4th Round, `10-Quarterfinals, `09-4th, `08-3rd
Topspin: Won her first major title in January at the Australian Open, with a comprehensive 6-3, 6-0 defeat of Maria Sharapova in her first trip to a major final. ... Her 26-match winning streak was the longest at the start of a season since 1997. ... She was beaten in the fourth round at the French Open and then lost to Serena Williams in the semifinals at Wimbledon and the final at the U.S. Open. ... Says she's focused on defending her Australian title rather than being the woman who can end Serena Williams' recent dominating run. ... "I try to look at what can I do to win those titles, not to see who I can stop from winning those titles." ... Has lost 11 of 12 matches against Williams, and withdrew from their semifinal at the Brisbane International last week after having part of the nail on her right big toe removed.
2012 Match Record: 60-11
2012 Singles Titles: 3
Career Singles Titles: 27
Major Titles: 4 _ Wimbledon ('04), U.S. Open ('06), Australian Open ('08), French Open ('12)
Last 5 Australian Opens: `12-Final, 11-4th, `10-1st, `09-Did Not Play, `08-W
Topspin: Made a return at No. 1 for four weeks in the WTA rankings after completing a career Grand Slam by winning first French Open title in June. ... Her fourth major title represented a return to the top after struggling to adjust following surgery on her right shoulder in late 2008. ... Has reached the semifinals or better in five of her last seven trips to Melbourne Park, although her run to the final in 2012 was her first time past the fourth round since winning the title here. ... Besides her three titles last season, she was a runner-up in six tournaments including the London Olympics and the season-ending championships. ... Withdrew from the Brisbane International with an injured right collarbone, but expects to be OK for Melbourne.
Country: United States
2012 Match Record: 58-4
2012 Singles Titles: 7
Career Singles Titles: 47
Major Titles: 15 _ U.S. Open ('99, `02, `08, `12), Wimbledon ('02, `03, `09, `10, `12), Australian Open ('03, `05, `07, `09, `10), French Open ('02)
Last 5 Australian Opens: `12-4th, `11-DNP, `10-W, `09-W, `08-QF
Topspin: Rebounded from her shocking exit at the French Open _ her only first-round loss ever at a Grand Slam _ to win Wimbledon and the London Olympic gold medals in singles and doubles (with sister Venus), and won the U.S. Open and season-ending championships singles titles. ... Extended her run to 35 wins in 36 matches by winning the Brisbane International title last week. ... Her U.S. Open victory made her the first player since 2002 (when she won three in a row) to win back-to-back Grand Slam titles in the same calendar year. ... Finished the year with the best winning percentage (.935) on the tour, helped by her 31-1 win-loss record after the French Open. ... Defeated the No. 1-ranked player four times in 2012, beating Azarenka at Madrid, the Olympics, the U.S. Open and at the WTA Championships. ... Asked if it's possible to win all four majors this season, Serena says: "I think for me, absolutely."
2012 Match Record: 59-19
2012 Singles Titles: 3
Career Singles Titles: 12
Major Titles: 0 _ Best: F, at Wimbledon ('12)
Last 5 Australian Opens: `12-QF, `11-QF, `10-3rd, `09-1st, `08-QF
Topspin: Never had advanced beyond a Grand Slam quarterfinal until last year at Wimbledon, where she reached the final before losing in three sets to Serena Williams. ... She was the first player from Poland to reach a major final in the Open era, and the first to beat a No. 1-ranked player. ... Six of her first eight losses in 2012 came against Azarenka, including the quarterfinals at the Australian Open. ... Finished the year with nine wins against top-10 players, behind only Azarenka, Williams and Sharapova. Started the year with a title in Auckland and followed it up with a victory in Sydney.
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