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Australian Open 2012: Women's Draw Analysis

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caroline_wozniacki4The women's draw on this occasion isn't quite the living definition of chaos that it has sometimes resembled in the recent past, but while a narrative and a rivalry have emerged it isn't a two horse race by means. Top ranked Caroline Wozniacki faces the considerable threat of rising star Petra Kvitova in a budding WTA rivalry. This year the two faced off in the Hopman Cup – Kvitova edged her rival in a tight contest. It set up the fantastic chase to the top ranking with less than 300 points between the two. Set to gate crash their party are defending champion Kim Clijsters, finalist Li Na and world No.3 Victoria Azarenka. The latter duo contested the final in Sydney while Clijsters has shown a wonderful ability to pull out her best even after a long layoff. With several potential threats led by former champions Sharapova & Serena, home favourite Sam Stosur and the dangerous Zvonareva, Bartoli, Pavlyuchenkova & Lisicki out to prove a point there is much to look forward to in the coming fortnight.

Quarter 1:

The first quarter is a superb one throwing up a whole set of enticing matchups. Caroline Wozniacki opens against Rodionova and faces little threat in the initial rounds. A prospective 4th round encounter against her predecessor Jelena Jankovic then looms large - the first of many tests that the Dane will have to face if she is to break her slam duck. And that is just the top part of this quarter. In the bottom half, Kim Clijsters opens against a qualifier and faces a prospective third rounder against popular Hantuchova. If she navigates this route, a rematch of last year’s final could ensue against Li Na.

Quarterfinal: Wozniacki v Clijsters

Semifinalist: Clijsters

Quarter 2:

Victoria Azarenka could scarcely have hoped for a more straightforward passage into the quarterfinals with Shuai Peng (16) the highest seed she need face. The quarterfinal will not be a walkover though as she faces the output of a bottom half chockfull of spoilers. In form Radwanska and Francesca Schiavone are a prospective 4th round rounder assuming neither Julia Goerges nor Wickmayer gatecrash their party. Indian fans will look forward to Sania Mirza’s progress as she opens against Bulgarian Pironkova.

Quarterfinal: Azarenka v Schiavone

Semifinalist: Azarenka

Quarter 3:

Quarter 3 is another open quarter waiting for some one to seize it and make it through. What is more likely is a series of tense, scrapping contests as Sharapova, Kuznetsova, Serena and Zvonareva all fancy their chances. Throw in in-form Kanepi, feisty Cibulkova and the dangerous Lisicki and one has recipe for excitement. Sharapova opens against the giant killer Dulko while Serena plays Austrian Paszek.

Quarterfinal: Lisicki v Zvonareva

Semifinalist: Lisicki

Quarter 4:

Petra Kvitova opens her quarter against journeywoman Vera Dushevina before going on to negotiate trickier waters in the form of Kirilenko in round 3 and either Ivanovic or more likely Pavlyuchenkova in round 4. Potentially standing in her way to a semifinal will be the victor of another blockbuster 4th rounder – home favourite Sam Stosur and unorthodox Marion Bartoli. The Aussie opens her campaign against former up and comer Sorana Cirstea and may need to negotiate a fading Petrova later in the third round.

Quarterfinal: Kvitova v Bartoli

Semifinalist: Kvitova

Predictions:

Semifinal 1: Clijsters v Azarenka

Semifinal 2: Kvitova v Lisicki

Final: Azarenka v Kvitova

For TheSportsCampus' detailed Mens Draw Analysis click here

Photograph Copyright: Karl Norling