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Rupert Wyman 30th Jan 2009 - 0:47

A Cold War final in the Australian heat

The searing heat in Melbourne could well be cooled with the Cold War match-up of Russia's Dinara Safina against American Serena Williams in the women's Australian Open final.

Number three seed Safina is quite rightly the underdog at odds of 21/10 for the final as her opponent and second-seed Serena has the pedigree of previous Grand Slam success as well as a 5-1 historical advantage over the Russian.

Serena is priced at 4/11 to win her fourth Australian Open singles title and her tenth Grand Slam singles title. All three of Serena's Aussie Open titles have come in the last three odd years (2003, 2005 and 2007) so the trend would indicate a Serena win.

Not only is the Australian Open up for grabs but the final is literally winner-takes-all as whoever emerges victorious will be the new world number one.

Serena has of course been rated as the best female player before but, if successful in the final, it would be Safina's first stint as number one.

It would also be the first time in history that a brother and sister have been world number one, after Safina's brother Marat Safin was world number one on the ATP Tour back in 2001.

The final will be Safina's second Grand Slam final after she reached the French Open final last year before losing in straight sets to Ana Ivanovic.

Both Safina and Serena have not been overly impressive at times in progressing through to the final but that will not matter one bit to the players as it is they who will be contesting the final on Saturday morning.

Nevertheless Safina and Serena won their semi-finals in straight sets defeating Russians Vera Zvonareva and Elena Dementieva respectively.

In Safina's case she was the underdog against her fellow countrywoman but it looks a step too far this time around against Serena and the Russian will have to wait a bit longer to win her first Grand Slam title.

For a bit of extra value it would be wise to back Serena to win by two sets to one at odds of 13/5. A straight sets victory for Serena is an even money shot but Safina should have enough about her to win a set.

Whatever happens this year's women's Australian Open final promises to be a cracker and don't forget you can watch all the action live on your PC via our betliveTV service.

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