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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– Nadal cruises to final with a straight sets win over Mikhail Youzhny.

World number one Rafael Nadal was just too good for Youzhny. After two defeats in semifinals the past two years (he lost to Andy Murray in 2008 and to Juan Martin Del Potro in 2009), the 24 year old Spaniard advanced to his first US Open final. With a win tonight, Nadal would become the seventh man in tennis history to complete a career Grand Slam.

– Djokovic stuns Federer in a five set thriller

Novak Djokovic saved 2 match points a 4-5 in the fifth, and after a grueling 3h 44 min match, he defeated Roger Federer to prevent the Nadal-Federer final everyone was hoping for.

To be honest, I was just closing my eyes and hitting forehands as fast as I can on match point. If it goes in, it goes in. If it goes out, just another loss to Federer in the U.S. Open. I managed to come back. I was very lucky.

– Kim Clijsters’ love story with New York continues

Kim Clijsters dismantled Vera Zvonareva 6-2 6-1 to win her third US Open trophy. She became the first woman to retain her title since Venus Williams in 2001.

Clijsters won her 21st consecutive match here and her third title in her past three tries. Zvonareva, as predicted, lost her nerve.
Kim:

A little bit of experience definitely helps. I told her it’s tough. It took me six or seven finals before I finally got one. ‘Vera, keep it going. It will happen.

Defending champion Kim Clijsters cruised through the quarters but had to battle in quarters against French Open runner-up Sam Stosur and in semies against Venus Williams, to advance to the final. Winner in 2005 and 2008, it will be her third straight final at Flushing Meadows.

Round Opponent Score
R1 Greta Arn 6-0, 7-5
R2 Sally Peers 6-2, 6-1
R3 Petra Kvitova(27) 6-3, 6-0
R4 Ana Ivanovic 6-2, 6-1
QF Sam Stosur(5) 6-4, 5-7, 6-3
SF Venus Williams(3) 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-4

Even though Clijsters is the favorite, the Russian has been impressive so far: she hasn’t lost a set and beat number one seed Caroline Wozniacki in spectacular fashion. It will Vera‘s second Grand Slam final in a row as she reached the final at Wimbledon (she lost to Serena Williams)

Round Opponent Score
R1 Zuzana Kucova 6-2, 6-1
R2 Sabine Lisicki 6-1, 7-6(5)
R3 Alexandra Dulgheru(25) 6-2, 7-6(2)
R4 Andrea Petkovic 6-1, 6-2
QF Kaia Kanepi(31) 6-3, 7-5
SF Caroline Wozniacki(1) 6-4, 6-3

Kim leads their head to head 5 to 2, but Vera won their last two matches this year at Wimbledon and Montreal, each time in 3 disputed sets.

Year Tournament Surface Winner Score in final
2002 US Open Hard Clijsters 1-6, 7-5, 6-4
2006 Eastbourne Grass Clijsters 3-0 ret
2006 Wimbledon Grass Clijsters 7-5, 6–3
2006 Stanford Hard Clijsters 6–2, 3-6, 6-1
2006 Hasselt Hard Clijsters 6-4, 3-6, 6-4
2010 Wimbledon Grass Zvonareva 3-6, 6-4, 6-2
2010 Montreal Hard Nadal 2-6, 6-3, 6-2

The key of this final, like often in women’s tennis, will be the mental: the winner will be the mentally stronger player.

Who wil win? Please vote:

Who will win?

  • Kim Clijsters (42%, 10 Votes)
  • Venus Williams (21%, 5 Votes)
  • Other (13%, 3 Votes)
  • Caroline Wozniacki (8%, 2 Votes)
  • Sam Stosur (8%, 2 Votes)
  • Svetlana Kuznetsova (4%, 1 Votes)
  • Elena Dementieva (4%, 1 Votes)
  • Jelena Jankovic (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Francesca Schivaone (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Vera Zvonareva (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 24

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Upset of the day: Stanislas Wawrinka defeats Andy Murray
Wawrinka pulled out the biggest upset of this year’s US Open so far: he bounced 2008 US Open runner-up in 4 sets. Murray still can’t win when it really counts.

Match of the day: Sam Stosur defeats Elena Dementieva
Without a doubt one of the best matches of the tournament so far. They battled until 1:37 am, they both had match points, but in the end, the Australian prevailed 6-3 2-6 7-6.

Quote of the day: Tracy Austin about Sam Stosur and Elena Dementieva:

I think they’re hitting harder than the guys in the first match.

US player of the day: Venus Williams
Venus beat 7-6 (7-3), 6-3 and qualified for her 10th US Open quarterfinal (in 12 trips to Flushing Meadows). Her next opponent: 2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone.

Stat of the day: 1
There will be at least one spanish player in semifinals as only Spaniards remain in the top quarter of the men’s singles draw: Rafael Nadal, Feliciano Lopez, David Ferrer and Fernando Verdasco. Tommy Robredo and Albert Montanes also qualified for fourth round.

Pic of the day: Kim Clijsters
Just impressive: Kim won her 18th straight match at the US Open Sunday, defeating Ana Ivanovic, 6-2, 6-1, to advance to the quarterfinals. Ivanovic never looked like a former number one and was completely outplayed.

Matches to follow on day 8
Fish vs Djokovic
Wozniacki vs Sharapova

Kim Clijsters, Venus Williams, Sam Stosur and Elena Dementieva storm into fourth round.

– On the men’s side, Gilles Simon beat 29th seed Kohlschreiber in 5 sets and will meet world number one Rafael Nadal in the third round. Andy Murray, John Isner, Sam Querrey and David Nalbandian also advanced to round 3.

US player of the day: Ryan Harrison
He wasted 3 match points in the the fifth of his second round match against Stakhovsky, but for many experts, Harrison is hope for future of U.S. tennis.

Stat of the day: 9
For those who still think that Spanish players are only clay court specialists, 9 men players from Spain qualified for the third round: Nadal, Lopez, Ferrer, Gimeno-Traver, Verdasco, Almagro, Robredo, Montanes, Ferrero.

Player of the day: Venus Williams
With her 6-2 6-1 win over Mandy Minella, Venus reached the fourth round for the 12th time in 12 trips to Flushing Meadows. She won the tournament in 2000 and 2001 and was the runner-up in 1997 and 2002.

Matches to follow on day 6:
Paul-Henri Mathieu(FRA) vs. Roger Federer(SUI)[2]
James Blake(USA) vs. Novak Djokovic(SRB)[3]
Svetlana Kuznetsova(RUS)[11] vs. Maria Kirilenko(RUS)[23]