As has been the case so many times throughout the course of the Australian Open in 2012, there is egg on my face. Just days ago, I was talking about how Kim Clijsters was on an unstoppable mission. After her match against Caroline Wozniacki, I was convinced that no one was going to be able to emphatically put a halt to the ball of fire that was the 11th-ranked Clijsters.
Then Clijsters met Victoria Azarenka, who was on quite a run of her own. The difference?
Clijsters' win count over ranked opponents was notched at three, while Azarenka's was only at one. Let's be honest, Azarenka's road to the semifinals was much, MUCH easier than Clijsters'. Still, we now know who emerged victorious.
In an impressive showing, Azarenka bested Clijsters 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 last night in Melbourne. Early on in the match, it seemed that this would be a pretty even contest, which it pretty much was for most of it. It seemed that Azarenka was too much quickness for Clijsters to handle.
What I thought would be the turning point was Clijsters' 6-1 second set win. From then on, I figured Azarenka had worn out, and would not recover to come back and take Clijsters down.
If I was Bobby Boucher's mama, the correct response here would be, "Well folks—mama's wrong again!"
Yes, one more time, I proved to be completely worthless in terms of the philosophy of this tournament. Azarenka not only came back from that second set defeat stronger, but MUCH stronger. She broke Clijsters' serve three times, and those three turned out to make a massive difference.
It was a disappointing ending to what is likely to be Clijsters' last appearance in the Aussie Open. My hope was that the seasoned veteran from Belgium would win in her final appearance.
Of course, let's not cheapen her appearance—she had quite an impressive run, defeating strong opponents in Li Na and Caroline Wozniacki.
In the end, though, Azarenka came out on top and will be the one facing Maria Sharapova for not only the Aussie Open title, but also for the world's number one ranking. It will be a good match—and sure as hell a loud one.