Originally written on Tennis Grand Stand  |  Last updated 11/17/14

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 29: Venus Williams of the USA plays a forehand in her Women's doubles final match with Serena Williams of the United States of America against Cara Black of Zimbabwe and Liezel Huber of the USA during day twelve of the 2010 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 29, 2010 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Venus Williams wins on Day 1 of the 2013 Australian Open By David Kane When marketing tennis, it’s rarely about how well the game is played. To appeal to an audience broader than diehards, the question of “who’s playing” can be equally if not more important. Notorious for its shocking upsets and unheralded finalists, the WTA has struggled to corral its biggest names onto the back ends of its best tournaments. With the tour’s stars going through injuries and inconsistency (even unretirements), tournaments instead began relying on “matches worthy of a final” that in reality occurred days, sometimes weeks before the championship match. Venus/Clijsters. Henin/Sharapova. Azarenka/Serena. All are marquee match-ups that took place before a Slam’s prestigious second week. Of late, the women’s side has formed its own “Big Four,” but those cracking early match-ups still exist thanks to a most uncommon denominator in Venus Williams, who could play No. 2 seed (and kindred spirit) Maria Sharapov...
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