The first Grand Slam of the tennis calendar kicks off later this month with the Australian Open down at Melbourne Park.
Caroline Wozniacki is the reigning women’s champion but it is the seven-time winner of this event, Serena Williams, who is the bookmakers’ favourite to be the Australian Open 2019 women’s winner, with current odds of 4/1.
Whether this year’s competition will produce another classic final remains to be seen or not, but here are five from recent memory that we thoroughly enjoyed:
2018: Caroline Wozniacki 7-6 3-6 6-4 Simona Halep
Last year’s Australian Open was up for grabs as Serena Williams didn’t participate following the birth of her child in September the previous year. The final was contested between the world’s top two players at the time, Simona Halep and Caroline Wozniacki.
In a classic encounter it was Wozniacki who upset the world number one in three sets that lasted two hours and 49 minutes, with the match finishing shortly before 10:30pm local time.
Caroline Wozniacki became the first Dane in men’s or women’s singles to win a Grand Slam in doing so.
2016: Angelique Kerber 6-4 3-6 6-4 Serena Williams
Germany’s Angelique Kerber took her first of three Grand Slams to date at the 2016 Australian Open with an upset victory over Serena Williams in the final.
Kerber beat future Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka 6-1 6-1 in the third round before seeing off Victoria Azarenka and Johanna Konta in straight sets in the quarter and semi-finals respectively.
Few gave Kerber a chance of beating Serena in the final, particularly after losing the second set, but she came through in the decider to become the first German of either sex to win a Grand Slam singles competition this millennium.
2004: Justine Henin-Hardenne 6-3 4-6 6-3 Kim Clijsters
Belgian Justine Henin-Hardenne took her first and only Australian Open crown with a dramatic 6-3 4-6 6-3 win over fellow countrywoman Kim Clijsters in 2004.
Henin-Hardenne looked set to win the final in straight sets with a set and 4-2 lead in the second before the world number two broke back, pulling off four straight games to take the match to a decider.
However, Clijsters couldn’t keep the momentum going as she fell 0-4 down in the third and final set. Justine Henin-Hardenne produced the goods at the right time to make it 3-0 in Grand Slam finals versus Clijsters, having also beat her fellow Belgian in the 2003 French Open and the 2003 US Open finals.
2003: Serena Williams 7-6 3-6 6-4 Venus Williams
2002 saw the Williams sisters’ rivalry swing in the favour of Serena for the first time. The 2003 Australian Open was also the fourth consecutive Grand Slam final that saw the two Williams sisters face each other.
Serena had beaten her sister in straight sets at the French Open, Wimbledon and US Open finals the previous year and completed the ‘Serena Slam’ with a three sets victory at Melbourne Park in 2003.
This would be Serena Williams’ fourth Grand Slam and her first in Australia. The future tennis Hall of Famer has won in Australia six times since and has 23 Grand Slams overall. To get to the final in 2003 she had to come from 1-5 down in the decider against Kim Clijsters in the semi-final before beating Venus in in the final.
1993: Monica Seles 4-6 6-3 6-2 Steffi Graf
Two-time defending Australian Open champion Monica Seles made it three in a row by coming from a set down to beat Steffi Graf in an historic final back in 1993.
Winning the first set 6-4 in the final, Graf hadn’t dropped a single set at the Australian Open that year, which included victories over Jennifer Capriati and Arantxa Sánchez Vicario in the quarter and semi-finals respectively.
However, the Yugoslavian fought back with an impressive display in the next two sets to take what would be her eighth of nine career Grand Slams.