The Week Ahead: Ladies Australian Open Preview
While this quarter is a potential Wozniacki/Li match-up, Clisters roams in what is otherwise a very attractive looking quarter for the big names. Amazingly, Kim falls on Nails’ side, meaning they could meet in the fourth round in a rematch of last years final. That is the closest they could have been, due to seeding. As of right now, the edge has to go to Nails who has looked fantastic in Sydney. Kim is fighting injuries and her inconsistency may do her in, despite her game matching up well. Regardless, if that does happen, it will be mandatory evening (or middle of the night) viewing.
A quarterfinal finish, at the least, is a must for Caro. She has an incredibly favourable draw and should cruise to the fourth round. There she will likely meet Jankovic or Safarova and should move through.
Predicted Quarterfinal: Wozniacki vs. Li
If there’s a quarter serving up a ton of fantastic first and second round matches, this has to be it. Wickmayer/Voskoboeva, Rezai/Peng, Azarenka/Watson and numerous other match-ups happening the rounds to follow. The Sydney final will give us a preview of the potential quarterfinal battle, Azarenka/Radwanska, which is a difficult match to call.
Surely Azarenka has to be the massive favourite for this quarter. A resurgent Pennetta may prove tricky in the fourth round, but should be beatable with where Azarenka’s game is right now. Despite what should be some fantastic matches…
Predicted Quarterfinal: Azarenka vs. Radwanska
This quarter is incredibly packed and even more difficult to predict. The fourth rounds would be Serena/Zvonareva and Lisicki/Sharapova. Other big names lurk around the corner with Kanepi (3r Zvonareva), Kuznetsova (3r Lisicki) and Cibulkova and Marino who could play in the second round for the chance to play Serena.
At the same time, it’s difficult to know how players like Zvonareva (who bounced early in Sydney and Lisicki and Serena (injuries) are feeling right now. In other words, though it might seem difficult for some of the lower ranked players to squeeze through, the opportunity may be there.
Due to Serena winning this tournament the last time she was here combined with her fitness level, it is difficult to rule out her chances in this quarter.
Predicted Quarterfinal: Williams vs. Lisicki
This quarter features what should be Kvitova/Stosur, but a match that is highly unlikely, in my opinion. Stosur struggles at home and typically early in the season. Kvitova has asthma problems and the brutal Aussie heat does her no favours (thanks Ana!).
With that in mind, this may be the weakest overall quarter of the draw which could help see the big names through. Look for Bartoli, in Stosur’s section, to get on a roll and make some noise.
Predicted Quarterfinal: Bartoli vs. Kvitova
Predicted Semifinals: Wozniacki vs. Azarenka, Williams vs. Bartoli
Predicted Final: Azarenka vs. Williams
Predicted Champion: Serena Williams
Boring? Maybe. But this is a tournament that Serena loves and after missing out her chance to defend it?… Scary times, people.