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Age not just a number as Super Serena marches on

Age not just a number as Super Serena marches on

By Melanie Burton

MELBOURNE, Jan 23 (REUTERS) It was back in 2003 that Serena Williams first stamped her name on Australian Open history, the then 21-year-old taking down sister Venus to bring home her first title on the blue courts of Melbourne Park. Fourteen years on, the American is gunning for her 23rd grand slam title, and, at 35, is now among the oldest players left in the draw having fought off 16th seed Czech Barbora Strycova over two sets today. Venus, at 36 the oldest player in the women's draw, is also through to the last eight in her record 73rd grand slam and Serena pondered whether it was a youthful outlook that had kept the pair at the top of the game for so long. "I think it's impressive. I think in general people our age aren't really playing at a top level, so it's definitely impressive," she said. "Venus and I are mentally eight and nine, so that's why we're probably able to play a little better." The world number two wore down the 30-year-old Czech in muggy, uncomfortable midday heat on Rod Laver Arena in a game that saw her notorious serve come in fits and starts. Even while Serena conceded the display was "probably not my best day," and that she could "play better," the six-times Australian Open champion has yet to drop a set at the tournament. Strycova said that, despite the advancing years, Serena was still the dominant force in women's tennis. "I feel like everything depends on Serena," she said. "If she has a good day, you don't have a chance. Everything depends on her, what's her day, if she feels well, also if her body feels well. I feel she plays same as before. Yeah, it's tough." Williams is now the top ranked player left in the draw, after compatriot Coco Vanderweghe made short work of world number one Angelique Kerber yesterday. A 23rd grand slam title would vault Williams back to the top of the rankings and next in line to test her mettle against the modern queen of Melbourne Park is Britain's Johanna Konta. The ninth seed, who has never played Williams, was 11-years-old and living in the Sydney suburbs when Serena won her maiden Australian Open title. "She's one of the players still playing who I looked up to as a young girl wanting to be a tennis professional player," Konta said. "It's an incredible honour and I will cherish every monent out there." REUTERS AKC NS1340

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22 Mar 2018 | 9:08 AM

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England all out for 58 after Boult, Southee wreak havoc

22 Mar 2018 | 9:06 AM

AUCKLAND, Mar 22 (Reuters) England were all out for 58 runs in just over 90 minutes of the first test against New Zealand on Thursday, with the tourists narrowly avoiding their record lowest score in a test innings.

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Boult rips through England, tourists on 23-8

22 Mar 2018 | 7:45 AM

AUCKLAND, Mar 22 (Reuters) New Zealand's Trent Boult ripped through England's top-order to reduce the visitors to 23 for eight inside the first hour of the day-night first test at Eden Park on Thursday.

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Mattek-Sands loses on comeback but earns warm applause

22 Mar 2018 | 4:49 AM

Undated, Mar 22 (Reuters) Bethanie Mattek-Sands's comeback ended in a 6-2 7-5 loss to Alize Cornet in the Miami Open first round on Wednesday but the American wildcard walked off court to applause which she was unable to do the last time she played.

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Man United apply to establish professional women's team

22 Mar 2018 | 4:47 AM

LONDON, Mar 22 (Reuters) Manchester United have applied to the Football Association to establish a professional team in the second tier of the Women's Super League, the Premier League club announced on Wednesday.

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