Kim Clijsters qualified for her second Australian Open final (she lost to Henin in 2004) with a straight sets win over world number 2 Vera Zvonareva in semifinals. It will be her eight Grand Slam final overall.

Kim stated that this final will most likely be her last competitive match in Australia, and that 2011 will be her last full year on tour, in order to have a second child.

Clijster’s road to the final

Round Opponent Score
R1 Dinara Safina 6-0, 6-0
R2 Carla Suarez Navarro 6-1, 6-3
R3 Alize Cornet 7-6, 6-3
R4 Ekaterina Makarova 7-6, 6-2
QF Agnieszka Radwanska 6-3, 7-6
SF Vera Zvonareva 6-3, 6-3

With her win over world number one Caroline Wozniacki, Na Li became the first Chinese player to reach a Grand Slam final.
Li is also the oldest Melbourne Park finalist since 33-year-old Chris Evert lost to Steffi Graf in 1988.

Li’s road to the final

Round Opponent Score
R1 Sofia Arvidsson 6-1, 7-5
R2 Evgeniya Rodina 6-3, 6-2
R3 Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 6-2, 6-1
R4 Victoria Azarenka 6-3, 6-3
QF Andrea Petkovic 6-2, 6-4
SF Caroline Wozniacki 3-6, 7-5, 6-3

Clijsters leads their head to head 4 to 2 (see below) and she’s obviously the big favorite. But Li won their last encounter in Sydney 2 weeks ago.

Year Tournament Surface Winner Score in final
2006 Sydney Hard Clijsters 6-3 6-1
2006 Wimbledon Grass Clijsters 6-4 7-5
2007 Sydney Hard Clijsters 6-1 1-6 7-5
2007 Miami Hard Li 4-6 6-4 6-2
2009 US Open Hard Clijsters 6-2 6-4
2011 Sydney Hard Li 7-6(3) 6-3

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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Caroline Wozniacki, Francesca Schiavone, Victoria Azarenka and Na Li roll into fourth round with straight sets wins. Maria Sharapova had to fight 3 close sets to win over Julia Goerges.
Venus was forced to retire from her her third round encounter against Andrea Petkovic after just six minutes.
The only semi surprise today was Kuznetsova‘s win over Henin.

All the favorites who were playing today (Federer, Djokovic, Berdych, Roddick, Verdasco) are also through to the fourth round in the men’s draw.

Stat of the day: 57
Today four-time champion Roger Federer overtook Stefan Edberg, as the player who has won the most Australian Open matches (57).
Well, Stefan still holds the record for the number of matches won by playing SERVE AND VOLLEY. Remember what it is Federer?

Match of the day: Svetlana Kuznetsova defeats Justine Henin
For me Kuznetsova has always been some kind of a female Marat Safin: an extremely talented underachiever. She was 2-16 before her third round match against Henin, but this time she dominated with her powerful groundstrokes and overcame her nerves to knock the 7-time Grand Slam champion out of the tournament in a 6-4, 7-6 (8) victory.

Matches to follow on day 6:
Samantha Stosur(AUS)[5] vs. Petra Kvitova(CZE)[25]
Rafael Nadal(ESP)[1] vs. Bernard Tomic(AUS)
Flavia Pennetta(ITA)[22] vs. Shahar Peer(ISR)[10]
John Isner(USA)[20] vs. Marin Cilic(CRO)[15]

2011 Australian Open: Caroline Wozniacki adidas outfit

2011 Australian Open: Caroline Wozniacki adidas outfit

2011 Australian Open: Caroline Wozniacki adidas outfit

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).

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From now on, a new series of posts: Tennis Buzz, the week in review, with all the latest tennis news and a preview of next week action.

This week’s biggest news was of course Elena Dementieva‘s retirement.
She announced her retirement following a 6-4, 6-2 loss to French Open champion Francesca Schiavone at the WTA Championships in Doha.
The 29-year-old Russian reached two Grand Slam finals, won the singles gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 16 WTA singles titles.

An offensive baseline player with powerful groundstrokes, she was able to play well on any surface. Her biggest weaknesses were her serve and her inability to win big matches. She will now and forever be a candidate for the title of Best Player Never to Win a Major.
She will be truly missed for her class, her work ethic and also her smile. Thanks Elena and all the best for the future.
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