Australian Open 2012: Top Half of Women's Draw Analysed
This year's Australian Open has already been an intriguing one. The women's draw especially is littered with interesting matches in the upcoming rounds. In this article I will be reviewing and previewing the top half of the women's draw. I will also be making predictions on the upcoming rounds and predicting the finalist on this side of the draw.
The First Round
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The top half of the women's draw was quite low on shocks in the first round, with only three out of the 16 seeded players losing. Safarova, Pennetta and Wickmayer were the losers, bowing out to McHale, Bratchikova and Voskoboeva respectively.
High seeds in the half, Wozniacki, Azarenka and Li Na came through with only eight dropped games between them in impressive first round showings.
No. 8 seed Agnieszka Radwanska was forced to three sets by Mattek Sands but would eventually come through.
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Just like the first round, there would only be another three seeded players to lose. Schiavone, Peng and Cetkovska would lose in straight sets to Oprandi, Benesova and Barthel.
Only three of the second round matches would go to three sets, with Niculescu, McHale and Hantuchova all prevailing.
Everyone else would get through rather easily with the most impressive coming from Azarenka, Clijsters and Medina Garrigues all dropping only one game.
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It would be a push to describe any of today's results as a shock. All the bigger seeds won and in the game between two the unseeded players the favourite won.
Radwanska, Clijsters and Jankovic were the stars of the round, with each dispatching their opponent with minimal fuss.
Li Na will be happy that her opponent had to retire, thus she only played three games and will be rested ahead of her fourth round tie.
Predicting the Fourth Round
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There has been some intriguing matchups created for the fourth round.
Wozniacki has been playing some good tennis but Jankovic is a former No. 1 and looked excellent against McHale. Wozniacki will be too much to handle and will win in straight sets.
Clijsters against Li Na is such a good tie. Both are capable of winning this tournament if they reach top form. Kim takes a close three-set game.
Azarenka is up against the only unseeded player left, Benesova, and one of the form players with only eight games dropped in three matches. Azarenka is playing wonderfully and will take this with ease.
Goerges vs. Radwanska is probably the most intriguing tie for me. Both are highly-rated young players who with a bit of luck could go far in a Grand Slam this year. This is a difficult pick but will go with Goerges prevailing in an epic showdown.
Who Will Reach the Final
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With eight very good players, the tournament will really heat up at the quarter final stage with some brilliant matchups to be made.
I think the first quarter will be No. 1 against the current champion in Wozniacki vs. Clijsters. I feel in this match Wozniacki will be forced to crumble under the pressure and Kim will win in straight sets or a relatively easy third set.
The other semi is likely to be between Azarenka and the winner of Goerges v Radwanska. It will be an intriguing match between two young stars. I just think Azarenka is looking like the form player of the draw and will take it in straight sets.
If I am correct, the semifinal will then be between Azarenka and Clijsters. As I've said before, Azarenka is the form player, but Clijsters has the know-how and experience. Personally I will go for the youth and drive of Azarenka to beat Clijsters, getting her to her first Grand Slam final.