This is one of the few weekends every year that I get up in the middle of the night to watch sports, but have done so annually when Australian Open organizers moved their men’s and women’s finals to the night session.
On Saturday morning (TSN, 1:30 a.m.), the world number one Victoria Azarenka of Belarus takes on 2011 French Open champion and world number six Li Na of China. Azarenka, who is also the defending champion, defeated American sensation Sloane Stephens 6-1, 6-4 in a controversial semi-final while Na beat Maria Sharapova 6-2, 6-2. A couple of notes here. First, it has been amazing the number of times I have heard from ESPN the last two weeks projecting a Serena Williams/Maria Sharapova semi-final. Second, the crowd will probably be supporting Na after Azarenka took a questionably lengthy timeout in her win over Stephens on Thursday.
In the men’s final, world number one Novak Djokovic of Serbia will take on world number three Andy Murray of Great Britain (Sunday, 1:30 a.m.). Djokovic is no question the fresher of the two. He steamrolled past David Ferrer of Spain 6-2, 6-2, 6-1 on Thursday, while Murray needed four and a half hours to beat Roger Federer in five grueling sets on a fewer day of rest. Djokovic beat Murray in the 2011 Australian Open title 6-4, 6-2, 6-3 and is looking for his third straight Australian Open Championship.