MELBOURNE, Australia - When it comes to Grand Slam finals experience, Maria Sharapova will have the advantage when she takes on Victoria Azarenka for the Australian Open title on Saturday. The Russian has been in five of them, winning three.
Meanwhile, Azarenka will be competing in her first. She will have her work cut out with her in dealing with that added pressure based on recent history, as just two of the last 10 players competing in their first major final were victorious - and one of those was playing a fellow first-time finalist. However, the last first-time major finalist, Petra Kvitova, showed no sign of nerves in her triumph over - coincidentally enough - Sharapova at Wimbledon last year.
"I worked hard to be in this situation, so why stress about it? I'm just going to go out there and try to do my best," said Azarenka when asked about playing in her first Slam final.
Here is a rundown of results for recent first-time Grand Slam finalists:
|'07 French Open||Ana Ivanovic||l. Henin|
|'07 Wimbledon||Marion Bartoli||l. V.Williams|
|'08 French Open||Dinara Safina||l. Ivanovic|
|'08 US Open||Jelena Jankovic||l. S.Williams|
|'09 US Open||Caroline Wozniacki||l. Clijsters|
|'10 French Open||Francesca Schiavone||d. Stosur|
|'10 French Open||Samantha Stosur||l. Schiavone|
|'10 Wimbledon||Vera Zvonareva||l. S.Williams|
|'11 Australian Open||Li Na||l. Clijsters|
|'11 Wimbledon||Petra Kvitova||d. Sharapova|
Notes: The record for all Open Era first-time Slam finalists is 24-44 (35.3%) ... The longest losing streak for first-time major finalists was nine in the early '70s.