Tag Archives: Wozniacki

A look at women’s tennis and the Wimbledon ladies’ semi-finals

29 Jun

Tennis is perhaps the sole sport in which the women are as highly rated as the men. On-court, equal pay has been a feature for several years. Off-court, Maria Sharapova, speculated to be the highest earning sportswoman in the world, out earns most professional men’s tennis players, with only a select few such as the Federer’s and Nadal’s of the world, ranking ahead of her in the money stakes.

In recent years and amid a lack of dominant players, the women’s game has come under great scrutiny for its revolving door of world number ones and grand slam champions. Ana Ivanovic, Jelena Jankovic, Serena Williams, Dinara Safina, Caroline Wozniacki and Kim Clijsters have all held the top ranking over the past few years. Of the six, only three have won major titles with Clijsters and Williams being multiple grand slam winners. Ivanovic, who won the French Open title in 2009 in addition to attaining the ranking, has since suffered a major downturn in her career and is now ranked outside of the top 10. Safina and Jankovic have also slumped since being number one, with the only player ranked number one and not holding a grand slam title yet to drop out of the top 10 being the current number one, Caroline Wozniacki.

Tough questions

Wozniacki has been ranked number one for a total of 39 weeks which for interests’ sake is more weeks than Clijsters, Venus Williams and Maria Sharapova have managed to hold the ranking. All this while she is yet to win a grand slam title while the other three have won several. The young Dane is continually asked about the credibility of her reign at the top of the rankings; her early losses at the French Open and Wimbledon have undoubtedly not helped the cause. It is however an unavoidable situation.

The WTA (The governing body of women’s tennis.) compiles the rankings. While the rankings rate the grand slam tournaments as those of greatest importance, and rightly so, it also includes the performances of players at several other tournaments of various levels. Obviously in order to motivate players to participate in tournaments on tour all year – and to not just turn up for grand slams, as the Williams’ sisters and even Clijsters have been guilty of in recent years – it is imperative the WTA hands out ranking points for tournaments below the grand slam level. The continued success of the sport depends on television rights and fans coming out to watch the top women in the world battle it out for titles in every city in the world, not just those lucky enough to play host to one of the majors. As a result the ranking system really can’t be altered to afford the grand slam winners the top ranking too. It must go to the player who most consistently plays the best tennis on tour. Right now, the distinction is Caroline Wozniacki’s; she is therefore the rightful number one player in the world.

Legacy and/or ambassador

Unless she really starts winning the Polish-born Dane is hardly likely to be remembered in the same light as a Steffi Graf, Martina Hingis or countless other dual number ones and grand slam titlists. It seems a tad unfair to expect her to play as few tournaments as the Williams’ and Clijsters, just to grant them an equal opportunity to be number one. While the reasons for their absence from the tour have been valid, it has definitely been detrimental to the sport.

In the interim it has been players like Wozniacki, Ivanovic, Jankovic, Vera Zvonareva, Li Na and Victoria Azarenka that have carried the sport. They have served as ambassadors for the game when their sometimes more illustrious competitors have only showed up for the majors. It is these players that ought to be given credit for the continued success of women’s tennis as a full time career. Sure, winning a grand slam makes for great headlines, but hosting and broadcasting tournaments is where the money comes from – and we all know money makes the world go round. The women’s draw at Wimbledon has consisted of some stellar tennis.

Women’s tennis has become increasingly less appealing with low level of play and numerous upsets becoming the norm. Despite not lacking in upsets, the play of the eventual quarter-and semi-finalists at Wimbledon this year has often overshadowed the men’s tournament with its brilliance. The competitive nature of the encounters between the women has begun to capture the audience’s attention, and could make women’s tennis impressive again.

Semi-Final 1: Maria Sharapova vs. Sabine Lisicki

The draw has been rewarding to players performing at an incredibly high level, as opposed to those who don’t completely suck. Six of the eight quarter-finalists played great tennis in the round of eight, with Dominika Cibulkova’s level dropping off against Sharapova after she beat Julia Goerges and Wozniacki in her two previous matches in stunning display. Sharapova was in devastating form, leading to her attaining favourite status to win the tournament. She plays Sabine Lisicki in the semis after she was the victor over Marion Bartoli, who defeated the defending champion in the fourth round, in the quarter-finals. Lisicki is the first German to reach the semi-finals at Wimbledon since Graf.

Both players have excellent grass court pedigree with titles on the surface to the credit of both ladies. Sharapova’s 2004 Wimbledon titles is of course the most prolific of these, but Lisicki’s current 10-match winning streak on the surface is an indicator of how dangerous she could be to Sharapova’s favourite status. Both ladies thoroughly deserve their spots in the semi-finals. The match is likely to be decided by Sharapova’s service. Her ability to land a high percentage of first serves ought to guarantee her progress to the finals at Wimbledon for the first time since her winning run in 2004. If her first serve is less than excellent, Lisicki will look to step in on the second serve and put Sharapova under pressure on her service games. This tactic combined with the German’s ability to go toe-to-toe with Sharapova in the pace of hitting, could see the younger woman walking away with the win.

The winner: Sharapova in three.

Semi-Final 2: Victoria Azarenka vs. Petra Kvitova

Kvitova is back in the semis after her breakthrough performance at Wimbledon last year. Her movement through the draw has gone largely unnoticed with the mainstream press paying her little attention. Tennis insiders and dedicated fans have been tracking her closely with her being tagged a dark horse to win the title prior to the tournament starting. As such, her success at Wimbledon is unlikely to come as too big a surprise. She has been solid in her performances thus far, dropping a set for the first time against the woman who expelled Venus Williams from the draw, Tsvetana Pironkova. Kvitova nevertheless held her nerve to dump hard-hitting Pironkova from the draw, despite her excellent play in periods of their quarter-final match.

Her semi-final opponent is a fellow Eastern-European, Victoria Azarenka. Azarenka finally broke her quarter-final hoodoo by reaching the semi-finals at a grand slam for the first time in five quarter-final appearances. She achieved this by completely overpowering her opponent, Tamira Paszek. It was unfortunate to note that the questions around Azarenka’s mental strength are still valid – she struggled quite a bit to serve out the first set. She is unlikely to get as many opportunities against her Czech opponent in the semis. If she fails to take them she will be unable to reach her first major final at Wimbledon in 2011. Since both ladies have been hitting the ball in incredible fashion, the mental resolve of Azarenka could very well prove to be the deciding factor in the match. If the match goes to a third set, Kvitova ought to be superior.

The winner: Azarenka in straights.

The women’s tennis at this tournament has been of an incredible standard – all four semi-finalists have been hitting the ball in fantastic fashion and clearly deserve to be contesting a Wimbledon semi-final. Hopefully the final three matches of the tournament will be competitive encounters of high quality and entertainment value. Share your picks by commenting below.

Finally I include a clip of an amazing around the post winner hit by Victoria Azarenka in her match against Tamira Paszek.

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Wimbledon: A review of the ladies’ draw

19 Jun

 

Reviewing and discussing likely winners of a major tennis tournament is a hazardous business. On the men’s side it is close to impossible to pick a winner among the top three, with Andy Murray further complicating matters. At least there is some security in picking the semi-finalists in the men’s draw. On the women’s side – no such luxury exists. Essentially the entire top 10 and additionally the Williams sisters have a fair shot at the title going into Wimbledon 2011. To determine who will be the woman to make it through the draw and walk away with the title is hardly a science set in stone. My point, read this as a summary of the draw – not so much a guidebook on betting.

Wimbledon 2011 sees the return of two of the greatest tennis players of the current era. Both Venus and Serena will be playing for the first time following long layoffs from the sport, with Serena recovering from a near death health scare. While Serena hasn’t played in close to a year, she was merited with a top 8 seeding, due to her performance at Wimbledon in the past, which includes her being the defending champion. Venus is also seeded 10 spots higher than her WTA ranking, likely also via her Wimbledon history. While their ability to challenge the current crop of top ranked players has been questioned in the last few days, it is unlikely that they will be undone by an inability to compete with the top ranked players. I think it far more likely they will succumb to the pressure of playing as many matches consecutively as required in a grand slam. If either fails to progress late into the second week of tennis, it’ll surely be due to a lack of match fitness.

While these two stalwarts return, Kim Clijsters has been forced to take yet another leave of absence from the tennis world due to injury. She leaves the draw devoid of any inform veterans of tennis, which means the draw is incredibly open, with hordes of players being capable of putting in good runs at the Championships in 2011.

Quarter-Final 1: Caroline Wozniacki vs. Maria Sharapova

Like most of the other top seeds Caroline Wozniacki and Maria Sharapova have fairly straightforward draws through the first few rounds at the Championships. Wozniacki’s sternest test prior to the quarter finals ought to be a fourth round match against young-up-and-comer, Julia Georges. The young German, who has not made it past the second round at Wimbledon before, will have to put in her best performance yet in order to have a shot at taking out the world number one. Her lack of grass court prowess favours Wozniacki to win with relative ease. Wozniacki’s primary challenger in this quarter of the draw is Maria Sharapova.

The Russian is one of only two women that have managed a title win at Wimbledon over the course of the last 11 years in which the Williams have shared the remaining nine titles between them. Prior to her facing Wozniacki in the round of 8, she will likely have to defeat Peng Shuai, a Chinese player, who plays double fisted on either side, hitting the ball very flat in a manner optimal for grass. Should Sharapova be the victor in this likely third round match, she will come up against tenth seeded, Sam Stosur in the fourth round. Stosur is a renowned doubles player, with two appearances in the finals of the women’s doubles at Wimbledon. In addition her fast paced serve means that she will be a significant threat to Sharapova’s success in the draw. Sharapova has however been in as fine a form as ever, and her recent semi-final run at the French Open, a tournament in which conditions aren’t well suited to her playing style, would have given her the confidence she needs to progress fairly easily though the first week of matches at Wimbledon. While I anticipate the likely Stosur-Sharapova match up to be competitive encounter, Sharapova should by all accounts walk away the winner.

Quarter-final 2: Li Na vs. Serena Williams

While Li Na was slowly progressing through the French Open draw, I continually expected her to fall at the next hurdle, but frequently predicted she’d be the player to watch at Wimbledon. The Chinese player surprised me with her win on the clay courts of Roland Garros, but I for one will not be surprised to see her go far at the grass court major. This has after all been the location at which glimpses of her true potential has been seen over the years with her reaching the quarter-finals at Wimbledon in 2006 already, some 5 years prior to her final run at the Australian Open. On paper Li Na’s draw seems fairly simple through the first few rounds, with Bethanie Mattek-Sands, currently famous for her tennis ball dress, her likely opponent in the third round. Li Na being the superior player ought to win and face either Agnieszka Radwanska or Ana Ivanovic in the fourth round. The match between Radwanska and Ivanovic could potentially be one of the best matches of the first week at Wimbledon. According to the rankings, and recent form Radwanska should have the edge, but if Ivanovic’s serve is on (as it rarely is these days) she has every opportunity to beat the former junior Wimbledon champion. Either way, Li Na ought to beat the victor of that match with relative comfort in the fourth round.

In the other part of this quarter, Serena is the player seeded to progress to quarter-finals. She could however find herself in quite a competitive encounter against Marion Bartoli in the round of 16. The woman from France has previously reached the finals at Wimbledon, and won at Eastbourne in the lead up to the Championships this year, indicating a high level of skill on the grass courts. Serena is of course far more accomplished on grass, but considering her lack of match play, and Bartoli’s good form over the past few months which included a run to the semi-finals at the French Open, indicate that she could potentially upset the defending champion. I fully expect this to be closely contested three set encounter, which logic and knowledge of tennis history indicates ought to be edged by Williams. As such the quarter-final in this part of the draw is likely to be played out between Serena Williams and Li Na.

French Open Champion, Li Na, seen here during her successful Roland Garros campaign, will likely have to overcome Serena Williams in order to reach the semi-finals at Wimbledon. Credit: Dana Anders (DANA)

Quarter-final 3: Andrea Petkovic vs. Victoria Azarenka

While Francesca Schiavone is seeded to reach the quarters ahead of Andrea Petkovic, I think the younger player has a great opportunity to knock the major winner out at this stage of the tournament. While Schiavone’s flat one handed backhand will be employed to full effect, the rest of her game is slightly ill-suited to the grass. In addition Petkovic’s forceful game will be able to exploit the Schiavone flaws optimally. As such I predict Petkovic will reach the quarters by virtue of a win over the play of Schiavone.

Andrea Petkovic, seen playing a volley during a match at the French Open, will likely have to overcome Francesca Schiavone and Victoria Azarenka, should she make the semis at Wimbledon. Credit: Dana Anders (DANA)

The top seeded player in this quarter of the draw is the ever temperamental Victoria Azarenka. I fully expected her to overcome the deficiencies in her mental resolve at the French Open. I was however disappointed, and she has yet to live up to her talent at a major. Hopefully her potential will be realized soon, a semi-final or final run at this year’s Championships could go a long way to cementing her status as a top 5 player. Her path to the quarter-finals is perhaps more difficult than those of the other top four players. In order to progress she will likely have to beat Daniela Hantuchova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in consecutive matches. Both players exceeded expectations with their play at Roland Garros, and Hantuchova has followed up that display with a win over Venus Williams at Eastbourne this week. Clearly Azarenka will require all her focus and a high level of play to upend the Slovak’s good form of late. Pavlyuchenkova, whose steady rise in the rankings over the past few years has gone relatively undocumented should also provide a high quality match against the winner of the third round encounter between Hantuchova and Azarenka. All-in-all if Azarenka is at her best (and not held back by the injuries of which reports have been surfacing) she ought to prevail and reach the quarter finals.

Quarter final 4: Petra Kwitova vs. Vera Zvonareva

The 1/8 in which Petra Kwitova is the top seed is somewhat lacking in high calibre potential matchups with Yanina Wickmayer, Roberta Vinci and Svetlana Kuznetsova being the other seeds in this section. Kwitova thus has the opportunity to reach the quarter-finals with relative ease.

Petra Kwitova, pictured serving at the French Open, has a fairly easy route until the quarter-finals, where she is likely to face Victoria Azarenka, in what is sure to be a fiercely contested battle for a semi-final spot. Credit: Dana Anders (DANA)

In stark contrast the other 1/8 of this section is probably the most competitive of the entire draw with 2nd seed, Vera Zvonareva and 5-time champion Venus Williams both being in this section, in addition to Jelena Jankovic and Tsvetana Pironkova, a 2010 Wimbledon semi-finalist also contained in this section. Pironkova is likely to fall to Zvonareva, with the winner going on to face the victor of the expected Jankovic-Williams encounter. While Jankovic’s superior head-to-head record against Venus seems to suggest that she’ll be the victor, it’ll be a bad move to bet against Venus who has been the best player at Wimbledon over the last decade. I do however think that with her lack of match fitness she’s unlikely to win two tough matches consecutively. It’s my opinion that the winner of this match will succumb to the top ranked Russian, Zvonareva in the subsequent match.

Jelena Jankovic, pictured at the French Open, will in all likelihood have to defeat Venus Williams and Vera Zvonareva in consecutive matches to reach the quarter-finals at The Championships. Credit: Dana Anders (DANA)

To recap, my predicted quarter-final pairings are Caroline Wozniacki vs. Maria Sharapova, Li Na vs. Serena Williams, Andrea Petkovic vs. Victoria Azarenka and Petra Kwitova vs. Vera Zvonareva.

Semi-final 1: (Caroline Wozniacki vs. Maria Sharapova) vs. Li Na

Should the likely fourth round encounter between Serena and Bartoli be as tough a match as I expect, I doubt that Serena will be able to maintain a high enough level of play in the match following to beat Li Na, who is most likely to be her opponent. As such I expect Li Na to reach the semis at Wimbledon for the first time in her career. Picking her semi-final opponent is the most difficult task of this analysis. Wozniacki is after all the top ranked player in the world; her motivation seems heightened prior to Wimbledon starting. At the same time she seems relaxed, going as far as to provide comedy by crashing Novak Djokovic’s press conference on Saturday. These are all possible signs of a good (read: semi’s or better) run at Wimbledon. Sharapova has however been in excellent form of late; Wimbledon truly is the optimal hunting ground for her style of play. As a result picking a winner from this match is a momentous task with the winner likely to have a very good shot at winning the title at the end of the fortnight. If forced to pick I would probably go with Sharapova on the basis of her experience and frequently cited never-say-die-attitude. Either way, this could potentially be the best match of the tournament; it’ll certainly be one I won’t miss.

Semi-final 2: Victoria Azarenka vs. Vera Zvonareva

Azarenka is currently the superior player to Kwitova. Should she be consistent and play at her regular level throughout this match, she ought to win with relative ease. In the other quarter-final, I expect Zvonareva to prevail. If she beat Serena which is likely a prerequisite for her to reach this stage of the tournament, it is likely that she will be very confident coming into this match. As a result she is likely to reach the semis.

So the semi-finalist according to the logic employed in this discussion will be (Caroline Wozniacki vs. Maria Sharapova) vs. Li Na and Victoria Azarenka vs. Vera Zvonareva.

I know I’m cheating by leaving both Wozniacki and Sharapova on the list. I do this due to the fact that the winner of that match is in an excellent position to reach the finals, with either being highly capable of beating the French Open champion, particularly following the confidence inspiring victory, which the winner of the match between Sharapova-Wozniacki would carry into the encounter with Na. In the other half, Zvonareva and Azarenka will be very closely matched should they meet up in the semi-finals. If history is any indicator it seems the winner of this match will be the one with greatest mental steel. Going out on a limb I’d say this will be Azarenka.

Final:  (Caroline Wozniacki vs. Maria Sharapova) vs. Victoria Azarenka

(Side note: Wouldn’t it be a great story if the two close friends, Azarenka and Wozniacki played in the final?) The final ought to make for a great match, with the superior experience of Wozniacki or Sharapova probably proving to be the difference against the Belarusian player who is still frequently affected by her wandering mind, and nervy moments. As a result the winner of the Sharapova-Wozniacki quarter-final is the most likely title winner at the Championship in 2011.

Who do you think will win?

 

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Analysis Of Women’s Draw At Roland Garros 2.0

27 May

This seems to be the grand slam of upsets, particularly on the women’s side the so-called title contenders been losing early at an alarming rate. As most tennis fans will know, today took this trend to new heights; top seed, Caroline Wozniacki and defending finalist, Sam Stosur are out of the Paris tournament after losing to non top 10 players, Daniela Hantuchova and Gisela Dulko respectively. These losses and the several other seeds that have already lost has led to this genuinely being the most open grand slam I have ever followed. Since the draw has opened up in a manner which I (and most others I’m sure) failed to predict, I figured a re-analysis of the women’s draw is in order.

Quarter Final 1: Sam Stosur vs Caro Wozniacki

This quarter will go according to the seedings. While Svetlana Kuznetsova is the most likely player to prevent this quarter final from happening, I reckon the odds are in favour of Wozniacki reaching the semi’s by virtue of beating Stosur in the quarter’s.

Clearly my earlier prediction for the first quarter will not be realized. Switching on the TV to find Caroline Wozniacki a set down initially surprised me quite a bit; once I thought about it for 30 seconds I realized that the signs that Wozniacki was cracking under the extreme pressure she is under had already begun to show the previous round, by her resorting to minor gamesmanship to throw her opponent off. In addition Daniela Hantuchova is consistently a tough competitor and has plenty of experience whereas Wozniacki is trying to prove to everyone that she is capable of a grand slam win. As soon as the match started she was behind score wise; she came across as unsure, and utterly incapable of turning the match around. Knowing that she would have to face a barrage of question about the validity of her number 1 ranking the minute she came off court, couldn’t have helped either.

Stosur lost today due to a slightly lacklustre performance, contrasted by an exceptionally high energy display by her opponent, Gisela Dulko. Dulko held up a banner after the match dedicating her win to her twin nephews/nieces; (genders?) clearly she was out here to win today. Stosur just wasn’t. While I didn’t make mention of her in my previous article, I expected Julia Georges to do better than she has, particularly considering her form in the clay swing in the lead up to the French. Svetlana Kuznetsova is now a good bet to reach the semi-final, she ought to beat both Daniela Hantuchova and Marion Bartoli, who I think will progress over Gisela Dulko in the fourth round.

Quarter Final 1: Svetlana Kuznetsova vs Marion Bartoli

Quarter Final 2: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs Jelena Jankovic

In this quarter, an interesting 3rd round encounter between Zvonareva and Nadia Petrova looms. A few years ago, Petrova was my favourite to win the French Open. While she doesn’t have the form or consistency, her clay court pedigree is still notable. I don’t think either of them will make the quarter final though. Pavlyuchenkova is capable of beating both, and overdue on a good run at a major. I don’t think anyone in Jankovic’s 1/8 will bother her too much.

In this bracket of the draw my quarter final prediction still has a hope of surviving. Both Pavlyuchenkova and Jankovic have made quiet but convincing progress through the draw, in order to make it to the quarters they will have to go through a very capable clay court players in Francesca Schiavone and Vera Zvonareva. I stick with my assessment that Pavlyuchenkova (copy-and-paste) is overdue on a good run at a major, and expect her to overcome number three seed  Zvonareva. Schiavone versus Jankovic is bound to be a slugfest of note between two players brilliantly suited to clay. Do note that I was completely off about Petrova putting in a successful run – she bowed out in the first round to Anastasia Rodionova.

Quarter Final 2: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs Jelena Jankovic

Quarter Final 3: Petra Kwitova vs Ana Ivanovic

Kwitova has quite a difficult section of the draw to get through. The little Chinese Zheng Jie in the 2nd, Dominika Cibulkova in the 3rd and either Na Li or Sorana Cirstea in the 4th, it won’t be easy. I think she has the self belief to do it however. In the other section, the smart money would be on Victoria Azarenka getting through. Maybe I am just too much of an Ana Ivanovic fan, or maybe I’m right when I say Ivanovic will beat Azarenka, via her superior experience and Azarenka’s inconsistency, but my money is on Ivanovic making it through this part of the draw.

This 3rd round matches on this side of the draw (Quarter Final 3 and 4) have not yet been played, and considering the upsets of today’s 3rd round matches I think I am taking quite a risk by attempting to predict how it will play out but nevertheless… A major error in judgement was made by me, assuming that Ivanovic would come even close to reliving her French Open glory of the past. I still think Kwitova will make it through to the quarters, but I think Azarenka, who has been in spectacular form will progress to the semis from this part of the bracket. I am particularly curious about this section of the draw, I think it might just contain the eventual winner.

Quarter Final 3: Petra Kwitova vs Victoria Azarenka

Quarter Final 4: Maria Sharapova vs Kim Clijsters

Simply no one in this quarter can challenge these two veterans for skill or experience.

So apparently they can be challenged, Sharapova despite her upset scare in the previous round ought to progress to the quarter finals. With Clijsters out Sharapova’s opponent is likely to be the creator of the Petkorazzi dance, Andrea Petkovic. Before the quarter final I look forward to the likely clash between Agnieszka Radwanska and Maria Sharapova in the 4th round. In the same round it seems likely that Petkovic will come up against the well liked Maria Kirilenko. Both these matches ought to be won by the players I indicated, but not before their lower ranked opponents provide them with a substantial and likely good to watch challenge.

Quarter Final 4: Maria Sharapova vs Andrea Petkovic

So to recap my new-and-improved quarter final predictions are – Svetlana Kuznetsova vs Marion Bartoli, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova vs Jelena Jankovic, Petra Kwitova vs Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova vs Andrea Petkovic.

Semi Final 1: Svetlana Kuznetsova vs Jelena Jankovic

Predicting this half has been incredibly difficult. I think the players are on a very even keel, and although this makes it difficult to predict, it does mean that the matches will be tightly competed which is likely to lead to a few excellent matches. As already mentioned I think Kuznetsova should proceed to the semi over the less experienced Bartoli. She has won her matches in the tournament thus far quite convincingly, in she were to continue in that vein, she has the opportunity to progress easily through the much weakened draw. Jankovic too has been in good form and can capitalise on being in an easy section. On their form during the clay court season, I would have to pick Jankovic as the finalist from this half of the draw.

Semi Final 2: Victoria Azarenka vs Maria Sharapova

Azarenka has been the only top ranked player to be in even semi decent form thus far at Roland Garros. In the previous round, she annihilated her French opponent, Pauline Parmentier. As such, she ought to come through an encounter with yet another young gun, Petra Kwitova. In the semi final she she should come up against by now tour veteran, Sharapova. With her experience and absolute steely mentality she should make the semi finals. It would take one heck of a performance by Azarenka to beat Sharapova in the semi final,  this has all the potential to be the best match of the women’s draw in 2011. Women’s tennis desperately needs Azarenka to win the tournament, to prevent the WTA rankings from losing the last bit of credibility which remains after Wozniacki’s loss today. However the experience and motivation of Sharapova will in all likelihood be the winner.

Final: Jelena Jankovic vs Maria Sharapova

Sharapova’s superior shot making ability and yet again her experience and self belief ought to give her the edge over Jankovic. Watch for the “cow on ice” to complete her career grand slam at the end of the fortnight.

Again, please comment with your own picks, and share on twitter, facebook or stumbleupon if you like the blog entry. Vote for your winner in the poll below. Note that I’ve only included the top 5 ranked players remaining in the draw.

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