Australian Open Schedule 2014: Start Date For Grand Slam First Major Of Tennis Season January 13 With Serena Williams

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Jan 05, 2014 11:30 PM EST
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Serena Williams of the U.S.
Serena Williams of the U.S. holds up the Brisbane International women's singles trophy after defeating Victoria Azarenka of Belarus (L) as she walks off the court in Brisbane, January 4, 2014."

The Australian Open schedule kicks off on January 13 and that starts the first grand slam of the season for the ATP and WTA and Novak Djokovic and Victoria Azarenka come in as reigning champions, while US Open winners Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams are 2014 tournament winners already coming in from Brisbane and Qatar and things get started up next week down under from Melbourne.

Djokovic won against Nadal two years ago in one of the best Grand Slam finals ever, while Djokovic kept his crown against Andy Murray after that and now he will have the chance for a fourth straight major title. Azarenka comes in after losing to Williams and now Serena is 14-3 against her in their careers and that could be a preview for the finals in the grand slam and the way Nadal has played since coming back next year means it could be a repeat of the 2012 finals and if it is even half as good as that, it will be a great match and Nadal comes in hot after barely losing on hard courts last year and winning the final major of 2013. Williams had one of the best seasons of her career and only lost four times in 82 matches and now Roger Federer lost to Lleyton Hewitt and he won for the first time since 2010 and comes in with Williams as Brisbane International champions and that gives them some momentum from the tuneup heading into the major.

Hewitt and Federer have played a number of times and now the Australian has some momentum heading into the Open along with Williams and Nadal and this year could continue her dominance on the women's tour after she won another match over Maria Sharapova in the semis. Federer was broken multiple times in the finals at Brisbane and Williams was dominant in her match and now Nadal has the chance to win another major against Djokovic or Federer as the Australian Open begins.

Check here for the Australian Open schedule from ESPN.

Here is a look at the match from Reutrs.com and Federer now heads into the Australian Open with some momentum after not winning a major last year and even though he lost tow Lleyton Hewitt he got to the finals and Hewitt has his first title in some time heading into the first grand slam of the year. Roger Federer's hopes of starting the year with a long-overdue title ended in failure on Sunday when the Swiss was beaten by local hero Lleyton Hewitt in the Brisbane International final.

The 17-times grand slam champion, who won the last of his 77 titles last June, was beaten 6-1 4-6 6-3 by a typically gutsy Hewitt who ended a more than three-year title drought.

World number six Federer, who had led their rivalry 18-8 before the final, looked to have turned the match his way after recovering from a slow start but Hewitt showed responded to claim the title in a little over two hours.

"To beat possibly the greatest player in the final means a lot," Hewitt said. "It's not an easy tournament to win.

"In the first set I was seeing the ball like a football. Didn't really matter where he served I was on it."

Federer had seven break points in the third set but failed to convert any of them as Hewitt ended a 15-match losing run against his fellow 32-year-old.

Despite the disappointment Federer remained hopeful for this month's Australian Open.

"I was able to sort of serve better overall, more consistent this week than I have in a long time - so that's very good," Federer, who had not dropped serve before the final, said.

"I definitely needed a little bit more confidence to play well and hopefully win the tournament and so forth.

"I have a clear idea what I need to work on and I have a clear idea where my mind and body is at."

Federer can scarcely have opened a match in worse touch.

He hit 22 unforced errors in the first set, lost three service games and performed a complete air-shot off one attempted backhand service return.

"I was really struggling with all sorts of rhythm," Federer said. "I wouldn't say I was serving poorly, but it was just a tough set for me. I was put on the back foot very often."

Hewitt did not lose a point on his first serve in the opening set, making just three unforced errors as he took command with his trademark precision.

Federer improved markedly in the second set, coming back from 0-40 down to capture the Australian's serve in the ninth game and then served out to love to take the set.

Despite Hewitt's serve being far more consistently under threat in the third set he secured the only break in the fourth game when Federer hit a forehand wide.

Then, showing the resolve that made him a two-time major winner, the Australian held firm to secure his first ATP title in Australia since winning in Sydney in 2005.
(Reuters)

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