AT A GLANCE

Centre Daily Times - - Sports -

SITE

Mel­bourne Park (hard court)

SCHED­ULE

The 14-day tour­na­ment be­gins Mon­day (Sun­day EST). The women’s sin­gles fi­nal is Saturday, Jan. 26; the men’s sin­gles fi­nal is Sun­day, Jan. 27. Like the U.S. Open, there are separate day and night ses­sions.

PRIZE MONEY

A tour­na­ment-record to­tal of about $45 mil­lion, with about $3 mil­lion each to the men’s and women’s sin­gles cham­pi­ons.

2018 SIN­GLES CHAM­PI­ONS

Roger Fed­erer of Switzer­land and Caro­line Woz­ni­acki of Den­mark

LAST YEAR

Fed­erer beat 2014 U.S. Open cham­pion Marin Cilic 6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 for a se­cond con­sec­u­tive ti­tle in Mel­bourne and sixth over­all. The vic­tory also lifted Fed­erer’s men’s-record Grand Slam tro­phy haul to 20. Woz­ni­acki edged Si­mona Halep 7-6 (2), 3-6, 6-4 to fi­nally grab her first ma­jor cham­pi­onship. Woz­ni­acki had lost in two pre­vi­ous Grand Slam fi­nals, as well as ex­it­ing in the semi­fi­nals four other times.

SHE’S BACK

Ser­ena Wil­liams re­turns after miss­ing the Aus­tralian Open a year ago; she gave birth to her daugh­ter, Olympia, on Sept. 1, 2017, then dealt with health com­pli­ca­tions from child­birth and did not re­turn to Grand Slam play un­til the French Open last May.

WHAT’S NEW

For the first time, the Aus­tralian Open will have fi­nal-set tiebreak­ers for men’s matches that reach a fifth set and women’s matches that go to a third set. The tour­na­ment joins Wim­ble­don in elim­i­nat­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of nev­erend­ing fi­nal sets; pre­vi­ously the U.S. Open was the only ma­jor with a last-set tiebreaker. The tiebreaker in Aus­tralia will come at 6-all and will be won by which­ever player is the first to 10 points, ahead by at least two

KEY STATIS­TIC

24: Mar­garet Court’s all-time mark for most Grand Slam sin­gles ti­tles, one more than Wil­liams’ haul, which stands as the record for the pro­fes­sional era.

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