Photo: Ben Solomon
I admit that recently I have not been following the women's game as closely as the men's, and because there has been lack of consistency in the women's game, it is hard for me to make predictions, so this will be short and sweet.
Top Half of the Draw:
First let's talk Caroline Wozniacki. She just changed her racquet this year going from a Babolat to a Yonex, which is actually a fairly big deal. I think if she can make it past her first round match against Gisela Dulko, she should be able cruise to the 4th round where she'll get another test against Marion Bartoli. If she gets past this (which she should) then she has to face either Justine Henin, Sveltana Kuznetsova, or Francesca Schiavone in the quarter-finals, and I think her AO bid will end here. If she gets to the semi-finals, she will face a match-up with either Venus Williams, Victoria Azarenka or Li Na (probably Williams). I realize that there are a lot of "ifs" here. It's a tough draw, what can I say.
I think Justine Henin has a great chance of getting to the semi-finals. Along the way she'll have to defeat Kuznetsova in the 3rd round, and Schiavone in the 4th round, then face Wozniacki in the quarter-finals. I think all matches are going to be tough but doable for the Belgium.
Venus Williams will be smooth sailing until the 4th round where she'll potentially battle Maria Sharapova. (Can't wait) After that she'll face either Victoria Azarenka or Li Na in the quarter-finals. Her potential semi-finals match-ups could be Wozniacki, Henin, Kuznetsova or Schiavone.
While we are talking about Schiavone.......she will cruise until the 4th round where she'll meet the winner of the Henin/Kuznetsova match. I'd be shocked if she moved forward from there.
All in all, this is a pretty tough 1/2 of the draw. I'll put myself out there and say that we'll see Wozniacki vs Henin and Williams vs Azarenka in the quarter-finals, Williams vs Henin in the semi-finals with Henin making it to the finals.
Bottom half of the draw:
Vera Zvonareva should easily get to the quarter-finals where she'll likely play Samantha Stosur, and if Stosur brings her A-game here, I think Stosur will have the edge. If she makes it to the semi-finals she'll likely have a repeat of the US Open finals and face Kim Clijsters and we know how that ended......
In order for Kim Clijsters to get to the quarter-finals, she'll have to get past Ana Ivanovic in the 4th round. Recently Ana has been playing extremely well, but unfortunately in Hopman Cup she suffered an abdominal tear, therefore she won't be in top form and Kim should be able to pull this one out. In the quarter-finals she'll have a repeat of her recent Sydney semi-final match-up against Alisa Kleybanova. They both played some amazing tennis in that match, with Kim taking it in 3 sets. In the semi-finals she would face either Stosur or Zvonereva.
Sam Stosur should cruise to quarter-finals, where she will likely face Zvonareva. For her semi-final match she'll face either Clijsters or Kleybanova.
And last we have Jelena Jankovic who I don't think will make it past the 4th round where she will play Kleybanova. The end.
So, I think in this 1/2 of the draw we'll see Kleybanova vs Clijsters and Stosur vs Zvonareva in the quarter-finals, Clijsters vs Stosur in the semi-finals, and Stosur going all the way.
That was neither short nor sweet, but there it is: Stosur vs Henin in the finals and the hometown girl getting her first slam, hence the above picture. I think I might be pretty off in this one, but here's to hoping!
I forgot to mention that Kim Clijsters has to face Dinara Safina in the 1st round! I think Clijsters will definitely advance, but it should be a great match!