espnW Photos of the Year 2012

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Serena Williams

Photograph By Matthias Hauer/USA TODAY Sports

Serena Williams slipped in the fourth round of the Australian Open, the year's first major, losing to Russia's Ekaterina Makarova. "I know that I can play a hundred times better than I did this whole tournament," Williams said. She went on to prove it, capturing the titles at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open and the gold medal at the London Olympics.