2011 Australian Open: now or never for Sam Stosur?

The No.5 seed in Melbourne, Sam Stosur will enter the event as Australia’s best hope and only seeded player.
It has been 28 years since the Australian Open was won by homegrown talent, not since unseeded Chris O’Neil surprised everybody for her one and only career title at the Open in 1978.
A former world number one in doubles, she was sidelined for about 9 months in 2007-2008 with the debilitating career-threatening Lyme’s disease. She recovered to regain her place in the top 30 in 2009 and since then she seems to have some kind of a second, more successful career.

Sam had a standout 2010 season, reaching the finals at Roland Garros and the Masters’ semifinals, and cracking the top 5. She is now a real threat in the Grand Slam tournaments.
Her 2011 season is quite caotic so far as she suffered two second round losses in Brisbane (lost to Jarmila Groth) and Sydney (lost to Svetlana Kuznetsova). She could face Zvonareva in quarter final and Clijsters in semies. But her biggest challenge will be to deal with the pressure.

Let’s have a look at the other contenders:

Caroline Wozniacki
She’s probably the player (apart from Stosur) with the most pressure on her shoulder as she has to prove she can finally win a Slam.
Her best result Down Under was a fourth round last year, so nothing impressive, but she proved her game is effective on hard courts, as she reached the final at Flushing Meadows in 2009 and the semies last year.
Wozniacki has a tough half of the draw with 5 previous Grand Slam champions (Venus Williams, Francesca Schiavone, Justine Henin, Maria Sharapova and Svetlana Kutznetsova).

Vera Zvonareva
Vera Zvonareva made the finals of Wimbledon and the US Open and ended a stellar 2010 season ranked No.2 behind Wozniacki.

Kim Clijsters
The 3-time US Open champion is the clear favorite of this tournament: hard courts is her best surface and she loves Australia (everybody remembers her love affair with Lleyton Hewitt some years ago). In the absence of Serena Williams, Kim is without a doubt the woman to beat.

Venus Williams
Tough to believe she once was an unbeatable and feared number one player. Her last Slam victory outside of Wimbledon was the 2001 US Open.
Venus ended 2010 ranked fifth in singles, the first time she ended a year in the top five since 2002, while playing only nine tournaments.

Justine Henin
Finalist in Melbourne last year (lost to Serena Williams), Justine didn’t play for the most part of the season, due to an elbow injury. She probably won’t be fit enough to capture the title but could do some damages in the draw.

Maria Sharapova
On paper, she could be a contender, but it’s a such a long time since she’s had good Slam results.
In August 2010, Maria Sharapova was once again named the world’s highest-paid female athlete by Forbes magazine, earning $24.5 million. It’s time her tennis result match her marketability.

These are the possible quarterfinal matches:

[1] C.Wozniacki vs [15] M.Bartoli
[11] J.Henin vs [6] F.Schiavone
[4] V.Williams vs [14] M.Sharapova
[9] N.Li vs [8] V.Azarenka

[7] J.Jankovic vs [12] A.Radwanska
[13] N.Petrova vs [3] K.Clijsters
[5] S.Stosur vs [10] S.Peer
[16] A.Pavlyuchenkova vs [2] V.Zvonareva

What will be Stosur's performance at this year's Australian Open?

  • R4 (67%, 2 Votes)
  • QF (33%, 1 Votes)
  • Winner (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Runner-up (0%, 0 Votes)
  • SF (0%, 0 Votes)
  • R3 (0%, 0 Votes)
  • R2 (0%, 0 Votes)
  • R1 (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 3

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Who will win the 2011 Australian Open?

  • Kim Clijsters (51%, 21 Votes)
  • Caroline Wozniacki (22%, 9 Votes)
  • Vera Zvonareva (10%, 4 Votes)
  • Other (10%, 4 Votes)
  • Sam Stosur (2%, 1 Votes)
  • Justine Henin (2%, 1 Votes)
  • Maria Sharapova (2%, 1 Votes)
  • Venus Williams (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 41

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