Australian Open 2012: Power Ranking Top Women in the Tourney
It's finally here, the 2012 Australian Open is under way down in Melbourne.
The Women's tournament looks wide open this year and should throw up some fascinating match ups throughout the fortnight at Melbourne Park.
Defending champion Kim Clijsters will be determined to defend her title and prove her greatness as one of the best women to ever play the game.
Last year's finalist Li Na will find it tough to replicate her run, perhaps without the surprise factor this year.
World number two Petra Kvitova is the favourite at 3/1, but how do the rest of the field stack up with these players in the power rankings.
Lets take a look...
10. Maria Sharapova, Russia
Maria Sharapova is currently the world number four and is coming off a decent year in 2011.
The Russian seemed to be back to her best as she reached the semi-final of the French Open, a personal best, and also the final of Wimbledon.
The 24-year-old is a former winner at Melbourne Park is 2008.
9. Serena Williams, USA
Nobody has won more Australian Open titles since 1968 than Serena Williams.
The 30-year-old won at Melbourne Park in 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2010.
She is currently world number 12 but everybody knows she is capable of turning it on at the grand slams.
8. Kaia Kanepi, Estonia
Kaia Kanepi could be the dark horse in this tournament.
The Estonian has started the year in fine form by winning the Brisbane International, beating Daniela Hantuchova in the final.
The world number 27 naturally leads the 2012 money list.
7. Li Na, China
Li Na was the finalist at the 2011 Australian Open and she is capable of going one better this year.
The 29-year-old then went on to win the French Open in her best ever year as a professional.
Currently world number six, she'll have to negotiate a tough quarter of the draw against Caroline Wozniacki and Kim Clijsters.
6. Kim Clijsters, Belgium
Kim Clijsters is the defending champion and will be determined to prove it was no fluke.
After the 2011 Australian Open she couldn't get past the second round of the other three grand slams.
The world number 14 didn't begin the year too well with a loss to Ana Ivanovic in the second round at Brisbane.
5. Petra Kvitova, Czech Republic
Petra Kvitova is a phenomenal talent at just 21 years old.
The Czech won Wimbledon last year and made a decent run to the quarter-finals before falling to Vera Zvonareva at the 2011 Australian Open.
The world number two is the favourite for the tournament, but I feel she might not be able to take on that burden at such a young age.
4. Vera Zvonareva, Russia
Vera Zvonareva must be considered one of the favourites for the championship in Melbourne.
The Russian world number seven has made it to the semi-final twice, including last year, and will be hotly tipped to emerge from the quarter of the draw that includes Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams.
She has a great record in Melbourne and the number seven seed could be a bit of an outsider.
3. Samantha Stosur, Australia
Samantha Stosur should be feeling very confident about claiming her home championship this year.
Stosur, world number five, had a breakout year in 2011 and is in great form due to ending 2011 by winning the US Open.
The 27-year-old Aussie will have home support and has a kind draw with only Petra Kvitova to negotiate of any sort of substance from her quarter.
2. Caroline Wozniacki, Denmark
Caroline Wozniacki is the world number one, but there is always going to be that mental block due to never winning a grand slam before in her career.
Once she claims that first title, she will be a very dangerous player, but without that ruthless streak I feel she is a bit vulnerable.
The 21-year-old still has plenty of time to fulfil her potential and the 2012 Australian Open could be where she breaks her duck with a semi-final run last year proving she enjoys her tennis here.
1. Victoria Azarenka, Belarus
Victoria Azarenka is the woman who leads my power rankings for the 2012 Australian Open.
The Belorussian is the world number three and claimed her first title already, 2012 Apia International Sydney, to enter the first grand slam of the year in red hot form.
She beat several top quality opponents too, dispatching Jelena Jankovic, Marion Bartoli, Agnieszka Radwańska and Li Na.
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