Rod Laver Arena becomes the Shrieking Shack on Saturday night when the game's two loudest grunters, Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova, face off in the 2012 Australian Open final.
The No. 1 ranking will be on the line when the two women take the court at 3:30 a.m. ET on Saturday. It's Sharapova's fifth appearance in a final and Azarenka's first.
They have met six times before, each winning three times. Sharapova and Azarenka have never met in a Grand Slam, meaning this is the first time their 180+ combined decibals are reaching a worldwide audience.
Our friends at Channel 7 in Australia have a brief preview of the one thing everyone will be talking about tomorrow morning. (The report also catches up with Dylan Colaci, the 14-year-old ballboy who became an Internet sensation on Thursday when he used quick hands to catch a ball from Roger Federer.)
Sharapova's dig at Agnieszka Radwanska is so perfect. I understand why she doesn't show that side of herself more. Still, I wish she'd give more quotes like that instead of speaking in mindless cliches when talking to the press.
As for the tennis, however incorrect it may turn out to be, I usually have a feeling about how a match is going to go. In this one, I've got nothing.
People picking Sharapova are doing so because of her major final experience and big serve, neither of which served her well in the Wimbledon final last year. Azarenka has been tabbed as a potential major winner for years but never quite got over the hump. Despite Sharapova's toughness and will, I'm going with new blood over old.
Prediction: Azarenka in two.
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