Star-Studded Australian Open Championships: Serena – Sharapova, Djokovic -Murray

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The star-studded Australian Open championships – No. 1 seed Serena Williams vs. No. 2 Maria Sharapova for the women’s title and No. 1 Novak Djokovic vs. No. 6 Andy Murray for the men’s crown – will air late tonight and tomorrow night, respectively, on ESPN at 3 a.m. ET (midnight PT) with an encore presentation each morning at 9 a.m. on ESPN2. 

Tonight, Chris Fowler and Chrissie Evert – with Mary Joe Fernandez courtside at Rod Laver Arena – will call the women’s championship, the 19th meeting between future two Hall of Famers who each own a career Grand Slam – top-seeded Serena Williams and No.2 Maria Sharapova.  The 33-year old American has five titles down under among the 18 Majors on her resume; the 27-year old Russian captured the 2008 title in Melbourne and seeks her sixth Major trophy.  To do so, Sharapova will have to find an answer to Williams’ dominance in their rivalry – 15 straight wins and a 16-2 all-time record head-to-head (2-1 in Major finals, the one being quite memorable – Sharapova winning the 2004 Wimbledon championship).  Chris McKendry will host the telecast, joined at ESPN’s set in Melbourne by Pam Shriver.  Brad Gilbert and Darren Cahill will also contribute and Tom Rinaldi will interview the players.

Fun Facts:

·         Serena Williams is 5-0 in Australian Open finals and 18-4 in Major championships

·         Maria Sharapova is 1-2 in Australian Open finals and 5-4 in Major championships.

·         ESPN’s Chrissie Evert was 2-4 in Australian Open finals, having reached the final all six times she competed.  For her career, she holds an 18-16 mark in Major championships and is tied with Williams and Martina Navratilova with 18 Major championships.  They trail only Margaret Court (24), Steffi Graf (22) and Helen Wills Moody (19) in the sport’s history.

A day later, ESPN’s 31st Australian Open will conclude with the men’s championship late Saturday night at 3 a.m. ET (midnight PT) with top-seeded Novak Djokovic seeking his eighth career Major (7-7 in finals) and fifth Australian Open crown playing No. 6 Andy Murray.  Born just seven days apart, the 27-year olds have met 23 times (four in Major finals), with the Serb holding a 15-8 advantage, including 2-0 in Australian Open finals where Djokovic is 4-0 overall and Murray 0-3.  The Brit does have two Major titles – US Open (2012) and Wimbledon (2013) and an overall record of 2-5 in Major finals.  Fowler will call the match with Patrick McEnroe in the booth and Cahill courtside.  On the set, McKendry will be teamed with Gilbert; Rinaldi will interview the competitors.

All the action on ESPN and ESPN2 is also available through WatchESPN online at WatchESPN.com, on smartphones and tablets via the award-winning WatchESPN app, and streamed on televisions through Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox 360 and Xbox One to more than 75 million households nationwide via an affiliated video or internet provider. 

Championships on ESPN3

Tonight at 9 p.m. preceding the women’s final, ESPN3 will present live the Australian Open Girls and Boys Championships.  No. 14 Katie Swan of Great Britain will play Tereza Mihalikova of Slovakia followed by a match between top-seeded Roman Safiullin of Russia and No. 7 Seong-chan Hong of Korea.

Following the women’s title match, ESPN3 will show live the Men’s Doubles Championship.  It will be a battle of Italy vs. France as Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini square off against Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut. Neither duo was seeded and none of the four has previously won a Major title.

A day later, preceding Djokovic-Murray, at midnight (Saturday at 9 p.m. PT) ESPN3 will show live the Mixed Doubles Championship:  Hall of Famer Martina Hingis of Switzerland teams with doubles legend Leander Paes of India (No. 7 seed) and will battle the duo of Kristina Mladenovic (France) and Canada’s Daniel Nestor, the No. 3 seed.

ESPN – All Four Majors, All In One Place

Tennis has been part of ESPN since its first week on the air, providing numerous memorable moments, but it has never been as important as today, with the addition of exclusivity at the US Open.  That event joined the lineup in 2009, giving ESPN all four Grand Slam events, something no other U.S. network has ever done, let alone in one year. ESPN has presented the Australian Open since 1984, the French Open since 2002 (plus 1986 – 1993), and Wimbledon since 2003, with exclusivity added in a 12-year agreement that started in 2012.  In addition, ESPN3 delivers an unmatched multi-screen presentation of the sport’s four majors, all ATP 1000 and 500 tournaments, WTA Premier Events and season-ending championships for both tours.  

AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2015

(For these charts, all times are Eastern, and each day “begins” at 6 a.m. ET.

Therefore, the listing Sat., Jan. 31, at 3 a.m. ET is actually very late on Saturday night.)

Date

Time (ET)

Event

Network

 

Fri, Jan 30

9 p.m.

Boys and Girls Championships

ESPN3

LIVE

 

3 a.m.

Women’s Championship No. 1 Serena Williams vs. No. 2 Maria Sharapova

ESPN

LIVE

 

5:30 a.m.

Men’s Doubles Championship Bolelli/Fognini vs. Herbert/Mahut

ESPN3

LIVE

Sat, Jan 31

9 a.m.

Women’s Championship No. 1 Serena Williams vs. No. 2 Maria Sharapova

ESPN2

Encore

 

Midnight

Mixed Doubles Championship No. 7 Hingis/Paes vs. No. 3 Mladenovic/Nestor

ESPN3

LIVE

 

3 a.m.

Men’s Championship No. 1 Novak Djokovic vs. No. 6 Andy Murray

ESPN

LIVE

Sun, Feb 1

9 a.m.

Men’s Championship No. 1 Novak Djokovic vs. No. 6 Andy Murray

ESPN2

Encore

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