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Australian Open Preview: Serena favourite in all-Williams final

2017-01-27
A preview of the women’s singles final at the Australian Open between Serena and Venus Williams on Saturday.

Venus Williams is the 41/10 underdog to claim family bragging rights with victory over her sister Serena in the Australian Open women’s singles final on Saturday.

Venus and Serena will meet for the 28th time this weekend and in their ninth major final as the game's most successful siblings do battle for the first grand slam title of the year.

The stakes are high for Serena, who stands just one win away from an Open era record 23rd grand slam title, moving her clear of Steffi Graf and one short of Margaret Court's all-time best 24.

For Venus, the title match is her first at a major tournament in eight years and, at 36, makes her the oldest woman to reach a grand slam final since a 37-year-old Martina Navratilova at Wimbledon in 1994.

Serena is the clear 9/50 favourite, however. She has won seven of their last eight match-ups and has been ruthless so far in Melbourne, yet to drop a set and poised to claim her seventh Australian Open crown. She is 8/13 to win in straight sets again this weekend.

“When I'm playing on the court with her, I think I'm playing the best competitor in the game,” Venus said. “But I don't think I'm chump change either. I can compete against any odds. No matter what, I get out there and I compete.

“So it's two players who really, really can compete - then also they can play tennis. It won't be an easy match. I know that it won't be easy. You have to control yourself, then you also have to hopefully put your opponent in a box. This opponent is your sister, and she's super awesome. It's wonderful.”

Three of their last five meetings have gone to a third set and Venus can be backed at 33/25 to win at least one set, while a third set to be needed is 2/1.

Venus showed her stamina by coming from a set down to beat the in-form Coco Vandeweghe 6-7 (3/7) 6-2 6-3 on Thursday, while Serena enjoyed an altogether more comfortable passage as she beat surprise semi-finalist Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 6-2 6-1.

“It is definitely, 100 per cent, the best-case scenario that I could have ever dreamt of,” Serena said on facing her sister. “I don't need any motivation to win. I just need to step out on the court.”