The women’s side of the draw has thrown up a few surprises as per usual. Despite this 5 of the top 8 seeds have safely made it through to the quarter finals and unsurprisingly 4 of those 5 will be expected to make the semi finals. However, with women tennis more known for its shocks at slams then male tennis, will it be as straightforward as that?
V.Azarenka (1) – S Kuznetsova
The number one seed meets the only none seed left. Two Grand Slam winners meet in the quarter final, but with very different recent history. Whereas last year Azarenka won the Australian Open, a mixed doubles Olympic Gold, reached the final of the US and became world number one, Kuznetsova struggled with injury and took a few months away from the sport. Her highlight of the year was a doubles title down under. However, her injury setbacks appear to have rejuvenated her and she is in the quarters of a slam for the first time since the French Open in 2011. I would predict that her run ends here, with Azarenka being way too strong for her. Azarenka in 2.
Routes to Quarters:
1st Round: Azarenka(1) d. Niculescu 6-1, 6-4 Kuznetsova d. Dominguez Lino 6-1, 6-2
2nd Round: Azarenka(1) d. Daniilidou 6-1, 6-0 Kuznetsova d. Hseih(26) 6-2, 6-1
3rd Round: Azarenka(1) d. Hampton 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 Kuznetsova d. Suarez Navarro 6-2, 4-6, 6-3
4th Round: Azarenka(1) d. Vesnina 6-1, 6-1 Kuznetsova d. Wozniacki(10) 6-2, 2-6, 7-5
S.Williams(3) – S.Stephens(29)
One is well done and an established global superstar, the other is a youngster with as much potential as both the Williams sisters had. Sloane Stephens is part of a generation of young women who hit the ball as hard as Serena and Sharapova have over the years. She is definitely a future slam winner. But when I say future, I mean future. Serena Williams has been her usually bullying self in this tournament, not dropping a set, and looks good to add to her 5 Australian Open titles. This is the first time Stephens will come up against a fellow seed in this tournament, to add to the pressure for her. The more experienced American should beat the younger one but how many times do we see young upstarts win these matches? Can’t see that happening here but can’t see it being easy either. Williams in 3.
Routes to Quarters:
1st Round: Williams(3) d. Gallovits-Hall 6-0, 6-0 Stephens(29) d. Halep 6-1, 6-1
2nd Round: Williams(3) d. Muguruza 6-2, 6-0 Stephens(29) d. Mladenovic 6-4, 6-3
3rd Round: Williams(3) d. Morita 6-1, 6-3 Stephens(29) d. Robson 7-5, 6-3
4th Round: Williams(3) d. Kirilenko(14) 6-2, 6-0 Stephens(29) d. Jovanovski 6-1, 3-6, 7-5
L.Na(6) – A.Radwanska(4)
On paper this is easily the most exciting quarter final, the only one which was predicted by seed placing at the draw. Both ladies have similar style of play and both have progressed further than the quarter finals at slams. So both have experience, both have quality and hence this will be tight. A year ago you would have made Li Na the overwhelming favourite but Radwanska has steadily climbed up the rankings and made the final at Wimbledon 2012 an actual contest after looking like Serena would blow her away in the first set. Close match but I had a feeling that Radwanska would do well here before the tournament and so I am backing her to just get the better of the French Open 2011 winner. Radwanska in 3 close sets.
Route to Quarters:
1st Round: Na(6) d. Karatantcheva 6-1, 6-3 Radwanska(4) d. Bobusic 7-5, 6-0
2nd Round: Na(6) d. Govortsova 6-2, 7-5 Radwanska(4) d. Begu 6-3, 6-3
3rd Round: Na(6) d. Cirstea(27) 6-4, 6-1 Radwanska(4) d. Watson 6-3, 6-1
4th Round: Na(6) d. Gorges(18) 7-6(6), 6-1 Radwanska(4) d. Ivanovic(13) 6-2, 6-4
E.Makarova(19) – M.Sharapova(2)
Maria Sharapova has been in scintillating form this slam, blowing absolutely everybody she has faced away. It will get harder from now on though and Makarova will be no push over. Her fellow Russian has had two very impressive wins here and defeated Serena in the 4th round of Australia 2012. However, she was then stopped by Sharapova in the quarters and unfortunately for her, I see a similar result happening again. Maria has been too good so far to think anything other than a win for her is going to be the result. Sharapova in 2.
Route to Quarters:
1st Round: Makarova(19) d. Larcher de Brito 6-2, 7-5 Sharapova(2) d. Puchkova 6-0, 6-0
2nd Round: Makarova(19) d. Foretz Gacon 6-3, 6-3 Sharapova(2) d. Doi 6-0, 6-0
3rd Round: Makarova(19) d. Bartoli(11) 6(4)-7, 6-3, 6-4 Sharapova(2) d. Williams(25) 6-1, 6-3
4th Round: Makarova(19) d. Kerber(5) 7-5, 6-4 Sharapova(2) d. Flipkens 6-1, 6-0
So, I predict that the top four seeds will meet each other in the semi finals. This is the logical assumption for any slam but it is entirely possible that there is a shock or that Li Na beats Radwanska. The beauty of women’s tennis is that anything can happen and usually shocks do happen!