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Australian Open Women’s Draw Down to Final 8

Posted on January 24, 2011 by Pete South

Caroline Wozniacki is flying high so far at the 2011 Australian Open.

There are clear favorites in each of the Australian Open women’s quarterfinals. It is hard to make strong winning cases for any of the underdogs and punters should be confident in backing the top three seeds to reach the last four, as they did in the last slam at the US Open.

Caroline Wozniacki and Kim Clijsters were two of those three who progressed into the semifinals at Flushing Meadows and they are deservedly strong favorites against Francesca Schiavone and Agnieszka Radwanksa.

Schiavone surely left too much on court in her record-breaking win over Svetlana Kuznetsova in round four, especially as Wozniacki has gradually improved in this event. She peaked too early in New York but seems to be coping with the pressure of top seeding better in Melbourne.

Clijsters was not at her dominant best against Ekaterina Makarova in round four, making 15 unforced errors in a first set that was decided by a tie break. Her inexperienced opponent fell away in the second set, but the number three seed is vulnerable against the top players if she delivers the same level of performance in the latter rounds.

Radwanksa might not be able to capitalize. Her comeback against Peng Shuai in round four was impressive, saving two match points in the process, but the 12th seed is short of preparation and unlikely to push Clijsters too hard, a fact reflected in the tennis odds.

Ninth seed Li Na reached the semi finals in Melbourne last year and she should have no trouble in seeing off 30th seed Andrea Petkovic. Li could easily upset Wozniacki in the semi finals and is a very serious contender for the title.

The final quarter final perhaps provides the biggest chance of an upset. Graceful left hander Petra Kvitova has played some of the best tennis in the tournament so far, easing past home favorite and fifth seed Sam Stosur in straight sets in round three.

Vera Zvonareva has been nearly as impressive in reaching this stage and is making a habit of reaching the latter stages in slams. She should edge this one in three sets to set up an interesting clash with Clijsters in the semi finals that is too close to call.

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