Here's to all those who swore by their mother's names that Maria Sharapova, not Serena Williams, was the reason last year's Australian Open final ratings were so high. Perhaps we'll never know. But this year, the final between Maria and Ana Ivanovic, dubbed the Battle of the Beauties, lost out to cricket.
GUTS tops glamour - at least in the Australian Open tennis women's final television ratings stakes.
An average of 931,000 fans across the five Channel 7 metropolitan markets tuned in to watch circuit beauty Maria Sharapova down her equally striking opponent Ana Ivanovic 7-5, 6-3, in the Grand Slam final last Saturday.
It was a 33.89 per cent drop from last year when 1.24 million viewers hung on every ball between former world No. 1 Serena Williams and Sharapova, with the former easily triumphing in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2.
Insiders suggest tuning in was a way for fans to show their respect for the then unseeded Williams, who whipped Sharapova off the court in little more than an hour.
At the time Williams, who also took home the Melbourne crown in 2003 and 2005, had been sidelined for most of 2006.
It was at the Australian Open where she proved she was back to form, making a phenomenal 28 winners against just 11 unforced errors.
A Seven spokeswoman said the women's final results were down but overall the Grand Slam tournament ratings were up by 11 per cent.
" It's also worth bearing in mind that this (the women's final) was up against the cricket on Nine whereas in 2007 it was not," she said.