Australian Open 2014: Stars Who Will Shine on Day 11

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Australian Open 2014: Stars Who Will Shine on Day 11
Presse Sports-USA TODAY Sports

The 2014 Australian Open has featured several major upsets thus far, and the focus has shifted to which stars will shine on Day 11.

With top players like Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams and Andy Murray all eliminated from contention, the path to a Grand Slam victory just got exponentially easier for the remaining competitors.

Here is all the vital viewing information for Day 11’s action and a breakdown of the stars who will steal the show.

 

Where: Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia

When (local): Thursday, Jan. 23, at 11 a.m. 

When (U.S.): Wednesday, Jan. 22, at 7 p.m. ET

Watch: ESPN2, Tennis Channel

Live Stream: WatchESPN

Draws: Men'sWomen's 

 

Stanislas Wawrinka

Michael Dodge/Getty Images

All eyes will be on the semifinal match between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on Day 12, but the men’s matchup on Day 11 will pit the red-hot No. 8 seed Stanislas Wawrinka against No. 7 seed Tomas Berdych.

This unlikely semifinal meeting won’t garner the mainstream attention it deserves, but this is the stage Wawrinka needs to prove that he belongs in the conversation as one of the best men’s players in the world.

While some players would be nervous making it this far, Wawrinka took to Twitter to share his confidence:

After beating Andrey Golubev and Alejandro Falla in the first and second round, respectively, Wawrinka was awarded a walkover victory over No. 28 seed Vasek Pospisil. He followed up the hot start by beating Tommy Robredo in the fourth round.

The dream run looked to be over as Wawrinka drew Djokovic in the quarterfinals, but a steady serve and elite speed along the baseline helped the Swiss star upset the No. 2 seed, winning in a five-set thriller, 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 3-6, 9-7.

Berdych deserves credit for his run to the semifinals—he had to beat No. 3 seed David Ferrer to make it this far—but the elite play of Wawrinka through the first five rounds makes him the favorite to win on Day 11.

Prediction: Wawrinka defeats Berdych, 6-3, 6-4, 4-6, 6-1

 

Li Na

Renee McKay/Getty Images

With No. 1 seed Williams and No. 2 seed Victoria Azarenka both eliminated from contention, No. 4 seed Li Na is the best female player left in the tournament, and her path to an Australian Open championship has gotten much easier.

Na has been playing well, but it is because she has has been putting in the work, according to the Australian Open’s official Twitter account:

Na has admittedly not faced the best competition thus far. While she has defeated three ranked opponents, the challenger with the highest seed was No. 22 Ekaterina Makarova in the fourth round.

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Instead of the competition getting tougher with each passing victory, Na beat No. 28 seed Flavia Pennetta in the quarterfinals and now faces No. 30 seed Eugenie Bouchard in the semifinals for a chance to play in the finals of the Grand Slam.

Na made the finals of the Australian Open in two of the last three seasons. With two-time defending champion Victoria Azarenka eliminated from the tournament, 2014 is Na’s perfect chance to take home her second-career major win.

Prediction: Na defeats Bouchard, 6-1, 6-1.

 

Stats and scores via AusOpen.com.

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