Saturday, January 31, 2015

Serena Beats Sharapova 16th Straight Time, Wins Australian Open (with Updated Grand Slam/Age Chart)

Serena Williams defeated Maria Sharapova, 6-3, 7-6, in the Australian Open final, giving Williams her 19th Grand Slam singles title and 16th straight win over Sharapova in their head-to-head rivalry.

Back in 2013, on the eve of the French Open women's singles final (which Williams won, to increase her winning streak at the time to 31 matches), I created a chart of Grand Slam singles titles by age for several women's greats of the modern era: Serena and Venus Williams, Steffi Graf, Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, Billie Jean King, and Margaret Court. The point I wanted to illustrate was that Williams appeared to be holding her own in Grand Slam tournaments beyond the age at which other greats began falling off.

Below, I have updated the chart. Williams's success in her thirties has continued, with her just-achieved Australian Open title being her third Grand Slam trophy beyond the 2013 French Open. You may click on the chart to enlarge it.

(I also corrected the ages for a few of Martina Navratilova's Grand Slam titles. Because the Australian Open has shifted in the past between November-December at the end of the year and January at the beginning of the year, seeing the year associated with the Australian Open is ambiguous at first glance. Examining the dates of each year's Australian Open during Navratilova's career, relative to her birthday, yielded some slight modifications as reflected above.)

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