2011 Australian Open: Sabine Lisicki and Other Hotties To Emerge This Year

Gregory LanzenbergCorrespondent IJanuary 26, 2011

2011 Australian Open: Sabine Lisicki and Other Hotties To Emerge This Year

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    1997 marked a breakthrough in Women's tennis. It was the first time many people heard the name Anna Kournikova, when she reached the semifinals at Wimbledon, and therefore television ratings for Women's tennis improved.

    Since then many other athletes followed her footsteps with much better results.
    Players such as Maria Sharapova, Anastasia Myskina, Ana Ivanovic, or Caroline Wozniacki are not only good looking, but they also claimed  great results like Grand Slam wins.
    Of course the  Dane, who is yet to win a major, hit the World number one spot at the end of last year.

    As the Australian Open is about to finish we thought it would be the moment to evaluate the up and coming stars, who are going to make headlines this year.

Sorana Cirstea (ROU)

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    Sorana Cirstea is only 20 years old, but has already won 12 tennis tournaments, including 3 WTA events.
    The Romanian is now around the 100 mark, whereas in 2009 she reached the French Open quarter-finals by beating players like Caroline Wozniacki. But she made far too many changes and she hesitated too much on her shot choices, preventing her from building a solid game.
    However, make no mistake she is blessed with such a strong striking quality and will be able to reach the top ten when she finds the right coach.

Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS)

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    Some who have trouble remembering names will have a hard time with this one.  You might want to practice the name several times a day.
    In fact Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova can rely on a complete game.
    Serve, forehand, backhand: she can use each shot like a weapon.

    Ambitious and confident in her own abilities,  the 19-year-old  needs to prepare herself, physically and regarding her game, as a contender for Grand Slams titles.
    If she does so, the World number 18 from Moscow could surprise us all in 2011.

Andrea Petkovic (GER)

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    The German is one of the most amazing character you would find on the tour.
    The current World number 33 already knows she wants to get involved in Politics in her country, which is very unusual today in Women's tennis.

    Elsewhere,  the 23-year-old has improved over the past two seasons.
    Her fitness, the physical battle she forces her opponents to go through and her great first serve are outstanding weapons. If she really wants to progress further she will have to find some serenity on court because her emotions have a tendency to take over when it comes to the end of a match.

    Petkovic's second serve will also need to be improved, like the variety of her game, which can be sometimes a bit too easy to read.

Yanina Wickmayer (BEL)

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    Wickmayer is improving  in the shadow of Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin.
    It's unfortunate the medias are not talking of her more often.
    Some might remember the Belgian reach the US Open semifinals in 2009.
    In fact she had an amazing run in 2009, but struggled last year.
    However, the current World number 24 remains a very special player.
    Extraordinary athletic, with the temperament of a champion and unbeatable determination, she could do well in 2011.
    If she succeeds in advancing her game to add some diversity to her shots selection, especially in the picking of zones, she'll become a threat for the top players.

Petra Kvitova (CZE)

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    Like Pavlychenkova, the young 20-year-old  has a complete game and believes in herself.
    The World number 28 can rely on a complete game.
    Some might remember the Czech showed her talent at Wimbledon last year when she reached the semifinals against Serena Williams.
    When the Fulnek resident is in full flight, she's overwhelming. Her huge first serve and her flat shots played early make her a really tough player to handle.
    Kvitova has already become a dangerous player on a regular basis.

Alexandra Dulgheru (ROU)

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    The Romanian is slowly but surely making a name for herself on the tour.
    With a very discrete and not too spectacular style, she still occupies 30th spot in the WTA rankings.
    This tremendously fit player is a terrific fighter and possesses a lot of abilities when it comes to set a game plan. Nobody is safe when confronted by her but she lacks offensive weapons,
    The serve needs to be improve  a lot.
    Real thought has to be given to her career or she'll remain a good top 50 player.

Sabine Lisicki (GER)

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    The tall blonde's breakthrough year was 2008. In her first tournament Lisicki caused a sensation by defeating Dinara Safina - who was at the top of her game at that time -  in the Australian Open first round. Virtually unknown, the German youngster suddenly came into the limelight and although she only reached the third round, Lisicki had made her mark.

    The 21-year-old's serve is the most effective one on the tour, along with the one of the Williams sisters.
    Then it should not have been shocking  to witness in 2009 the young German make even more headlines not only by defeating Venus Williams on the clay court of Charleston, N.C. in the round of 16, but also by winning the tournament defeating Caroline Wozniacki in the final.

    On the same year she reached the quarterfinals of a major for the first time at Wimbledon and was close to reach the top 20 spot in the standings.

    But then she got injured in the 2nd round of the US Open, which forced her to drop outside the top 100.
    Lisicki had a difficult year in 2010, but she is slowly but surely climbing back in the standings.
    Watch out for her to make her move when Wimbledon comes around.

Julia Goerges (GER)

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    The 22-year-old has beaten Ana Ivanovic, Sam Stosur and Dinara Safina in recent tournaments, which proves she has the potential for being a top ten player.
    The German claimed her first WTA title last summer at Bad Gastain (AUT) and reached last fall final in Luxembourg.
    The World number 38 has an agressive game.
    Like Lisicki and Sharapova, Goerges main assets are her serve and her forehand.
    The Hannover resident needs to work hard on her footwork her backhand in order to be able to contest in the last stages of the majors.

Bojana Jovanovski (SRB)

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    The 19-year-old is the current  Serbian number 3 player in the World, behind Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic.
    The interesting story is that she already beat her compatriot Jankovic at last year's China Open.
    Jovanovski has great mental strengths and a good forehand.
    She's a big fighter, which will help her win many hard matches in her career.
    As soon she will have improved her movements she will be a top ten contender.
    Jovanovski has the potential for becoming a better player than Jankovic and Ivanovic.
    Expect her to play well in the US Open Series next summer.

Jarmila Groth (AUS)

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    The 23-year-old is a prolific talent who could threaten the best players in the world with just a few minor adjustments to her game.
    The Slovakia native is determined to crack the top 15 this year and has an excellent chance because she has few points to defend from the second half of last year when injured.
    The World number 34 can hit winners from any corner of the court with the return of serve and the backhand.

    Groth likes to play on hard courts but has never beaten a top-20 player, which is why she struggles so much.
    Jarmila has to work on her mental strengths, starting by playing more big tournaments (like Indian Wells, or Key Biscayne), which will force her to play the top seeds and beat them.