Biggest one-sided rivalries in sport

Serena Williams beat Maria Sharapova for a 18th straight time yesterday. Photo / Getty
Serena Williams beat Maria Sharapova for a 18th straight time yesterday. Photo / Getty

Serena Williams marched into the Australia Open semifinals yesterday with her 18th consecutive victory over rival Maria Sharapova.

Dating back to their first clash in 2004, Williams has won 19 of the 21 contests and the Russian has forced three sets just three times in those 18 straight defeats.

It remains a rivalry because they are two of the best players in the world but it's certainly one-sided.

The Herald looks at other one-sided rivalries:

All Blacks v Wales/Ireland/Australia
The All Blacks are one of the most dominant teams in sport and as a result have many one-sided rivalries. Wales had the rub over the All Blacks in their first four meetings, winning three tests, but since their last win in 1953 Wales have lost their last 26 clashes against New Zealand.

Ireland have played the All Blacks 28 times and have failed to win each time. the best they have managed was a draw in 1973. The Wallabies and the All Blacks have had a great rivalry over the years, with brief periods of Australian dominance, but the ABs have held the Bledisloe Cup since 2003.

New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox
The Yankees have won 27 World Series titles, the Red Sox 8. That kind of says it all without saying a thing.

This rivalry is as much founded in myth and sensibility as it is results. Boston and New York have always had an intense rivalry as cities. Boston was the cradle of American civilisation; New York was the brash upstart. Over the years, Boston's influence waned while New York metastasised into the epicentre of the western world.

The baseball has played to type. Boston were the kings early, by 1918 they had won five titles to the New Yorkers 0, but the fateful selling of their star pitcher, Babe Ruth, to the pinstriped Yankees would change everything.

The next 86 years - The Curse of the Bambino [Ruth] Years - belonged to the Yankees. Ruth, now the greatest slugger the game had ever seen, led a Murderer's Row of hitters and the Yanks racked up World Series after Series.

By 2004, the Yankees had 26 titles, Boston still five.

The wild card playoff rule meant these two teams could now meet in the post-season. The Yankees came from nowhere to win Game 7 of the American League Championship Series in 2003 to extend the Curse and took a convincing 3-0 lead in 2004. Then everything changed. In four of the most dramatic playoff games in history, the Sox clawed back to win 4-3 and break the curse. They added more titles in 2007 and 2013.

Overall, the figures are surprisingly close. Over 2137 games, New York has won 1161, Boston 962 with 14 no results.

State of Origin
In 2005 after New South Wales won their third straight Origin series it would have been fair to call this a close rivalry as it put both states on 12 series wins each - with two drawn series. Since then it's been all Queensland.

The Maroons won eight straight from 2006 to 2013 taking their total of series wins to 20. From 1990 to 2005 there was a definite Blue tinge to the record books with the Cockroaches claiming 10 series in 16 years, and losing just four - but going on the last 10 years you'd be pushed to call this a rivalry with the Blues winning just one series.

LA Lakers v LA Clippers
The Clippers have for a long time played second fiddle to the Lakers who have been fortunate enough to trot out the likes of Magic Johnson, Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jerry West, James Worthy, Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant to name a few. While the Clippers have had the likes of Michael Olowokandi, Pooh Richardson, World B. Free who despite being memorable names are not exactly household.

The Lakers have won 98 of the 138 match-ups with 16 NBA titles. The Clippers have yet to reach the finals once but have had their number of the Lakers in recent years currently holding a record seven game win-streak.

Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson
When they're both firing, nothing on the PGA Tour is bigger, more entertaining or downright exhilarating than the rivalry between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. But it has also been incredibly one-sided.

Woods and Mickelson will undoubtedly go down as the best players in their era. Both have established themselves as such by winning major championships, but Woods has blown the rivalry out of the water.

Woods has won nearly twice as many PGA Tour events and nine more major championships than Mickelson, who picked up his fifth major title with a win at the British Open in 2013.

Woods completed the "Tiger Slam" by winning the Masters in 2001 with Mickelson playing beside him in the final pairing. They lit up the front nine together on Sunday at the 2009 Masters, but Angel Cabrera won the green jacket.

Tiger got Phil at Doral (Fla.) in 2005. Phil got Tiger at the Deutsche Bank Championship two years later. Phil got Tiger at Pebble Beach in 2011. Overall though, Mickelson got thumped.

Notre Dame and Navy
Notre Dame are one of the most iconic teams in American college football but because the college doesn't play in a conference and remain independent, they've lacked a decent rival who they play every year. Their one annual fixture is against Navy would makes them their biggest and only rival. However it's been very one-sided going back to their first meeting in 1927. In 89 match-ups Notre Dame have won a staggering 76.

Nadal and Federer
The two greatest players of all time? We'll save that debate for when they both retire but despite Roger Federer holding the record for grand slam wins with 17, it's fair to say Rafael Nadal has had his number for most of his career.

The pair have met 34 times all-time with the Spaniard leading 23-11. Nadal also holds a distinct edge at Grand Slams winning nine of their 11 matches, six of which have been in finals, with Federer winning two (Wimbledon 2006 and 2007) Nadal is 13-2 on clay while Federer only has the edge on indoor courts (5-1) and grass (2-1).

- NZ Herald

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