Australian Open: Top 10 Women's Champions of the Open Era

Van Sias@@Van_SiasContributor IIIJanuary 14, 2012

Australian Open: Top 10 Women's Champions of the Open Era

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    Since 1969, the first time the event featured amateurs and professionals competing against each other, the Australian Open has been won by some of the greatest female tennis players in the history of the game.

    Serena Williams, Margaret Court and others have won multiple championships or made a handful of finals.

    Following is a look at the 10 greatest women champions of the tournament in the era of the Australian Open.

10. Hana Mandlikova

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    In the 1980s, it was pretty hard for any female player to win a Grand Slam if you weren't Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova or Steffi Graf.

    Mandlikova stepped up and won four of them, including two at the Australian. The talented shot-maker from Czechoslovakia was the last female champion to win the event when it was still played on grass.

9. Jennifer Capriati

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    In 2000, former teen phenom Capriati advanced to the semis of the Australian, a good showing and proof that she still had some top-level tennis left in her.

    The following year, she shook up the world by capturing her first major over Martina Hingis in the finals. And perhaps more shockingly, Capriati successfully defended her title the following year—further justifying the promise of her early years.

8. Chris Evert

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    Evert is one of the most accomplished Grand Slam titlists in history. While most of her wins came at the French Open, she didn't fare too poorly at the Australian. She won the title twice and made four other finals, including a runner-up finish when the tournament was played on Rebound Ace in 1988.

7. Martina Navratilova

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    It's only natural that Navratilova would have won multiple singles titles when the event was played on grass. She won the tournament three times (1981, 1983 and 1985) and made the finals three other times.

    As can also be expected, she stood out in doubles there, winning the women's event eight times. She tacked on her first mixed doubles title in 2003—as a 46-year-old!

6. Martina Hingis

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    The "Swiss Miss" kicked off a Grand Slam season for the ages at the Australian in '97, winning the title there and three of four majors overall that season.

    Hingis won the next two Aussies, then made the final another three consecutive years. She also won four doubles titles—three of them in the same years she grabbed the singles crown.

5. Monica Seles

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    At one point, it seemed that Seles couldn't lose a match at the Australian Open. She took the title three times in a row in the early 1990s.

    Then she was forced off the court due to a tragic stabbing for more than two years. Upon her first trip back to Australia, though, she picked up where she left off and added a fourth crown.

4. Steffi Graf

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    Graf kicked off her "Golden Slam" year of 1988 by winning her first Australian Open, which was also the first time the tournament was held on Rebound Ace.

    She won the title the following two years and then took it again in 1994. In 1993, "Fraulein Forehand" finished in second place to Monica Seles.

3. Evonne Goolagong Cawley

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    One of the most graceful and talented shot-makers of all time, the Australian Goolagong Cawley finally captured her home Slam for the first time in 1974 after finishing runner-up for three years in a row.

    She went on to win it again in 1975, '76 and '77. Goolagong Cawley also won the doubles title five times.

2. Margaret Court

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    Court was another player who found her home Slam to her liking: The Australian won the women's singles title four times in the Open Era to go along with the seven titles she won during the amateur period.

    She also dominated in the doubles and mixed doubles events over both time periods.

1. Serena Williams

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    In 2003, Williams won the Australian to complete her "Serena Slam," four Grand Slam titles in a row over the course of two seasons.

    Williams has added four more singles triumphs at the tournament, earning the most titles in the Open Era. Not only that, but Williams has won the doubles four times, all with big sister Venus.