2012 Women’s Australian Open Tennis Championship
Melbourne Park – Melbourne, Australia
Playing surface: Plexicushion
Sunday, January 15, 2012-Friday, January 27,2012
Defending Champion: Kim Clijsters
All odds courtesy of Bookmaker
Unlike the men’s side the 2012 Women’s Australian Open Tennis Championship is wide open. Last season 4 different women won the 4 Grand Slam events. Kim Clijsters won here. Na Li won the French Open. Petra Kvitova won at Wimbledon and Samantha Stosur won the U.S. Open. A similar situation could easily happen this year.
Here is a look at the contenders and their odds to win the first Grand Slam event of 2012. All odds are courtesy of Bookmaker.
Petra Kvitova (5/2)
The 21 year old Kvitova is from the Czech Republic and is seeded #2 at the Aussie. She won 5 tournaments last year including Wimbledon and the WTA World Championship. This year she lost in the semifinals to Na Li at Sydney in her first event of 2012. She made it to the quarters here last year in only her fourth trip to Melbourne. She will certainly contend here, but her section of the draw is challenging with Maria Kirilenko, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Marion Bartoli, Jelena Dokic, Roberta Vinci, Nadia Petrova, and Stosur all in her section of the draw. She should make it at least to the semifinals but could have a tough quarterfinal match-up with either Stosur or Bartoli.
Serena Williams (7/2)
Serena missed most of the first half of last year with health problems including a life threatening blood clot in her lung. Williams is 30 years old. She still won 2 tournaments last year and was the runner up at the U.S. Open. Serena has won the Australian Open 5 times, including back to back in 2009 and 2010. Serena made it to the quarterfinals at Brisbane but had to withdraw with an ankle injury. If she is healthy she will be one of the favorites, but if the ankle is still a concern, she could be beaten. As the 12 seed her section of the draw is brutal. Vera Zvonareva, Kaia Kanepi, and Dominika Cibulkova are all in her path before a potential quarterfinal showdown with Sabine Lisicki, Svetlana Kuznetsova or Maria Sharapova awaits. Williams would play the winner of the Kvitova section of the draw in the semifinals. As tempted as I am to pick Serena the draw and the injury might be too much for her to overcome. I think she doesn’t make it past the quarters, but I wouldn’t be shocked if she does.
Victoria Azarenka (5/1)
The 22 year old from Belarus is the #3 seed at the Australian Open. She won three times last year and beat Na Li in the final at Sydney this year. Azarenka has never made it past the quarters in Melbourne. She lost in the fourth round here last year. Her section of the draw isn’t too challenging with Flavia Pennetta and Shuai Peng as possible fourth round foes. Francesca Schiavone, Julia Goerges, and Agnieszka Radwanska await as potential quarterfinal foes. Caroline Wozniacki, Kim Clijsters, and Na Li are possible semifinal opponents for Azarenka. Azarenka is my pick to win her first grand slam title.
Kim Clijsters (6/1)
Clijsters is the defending champion here. Like Serena Williams she is seeded lower than she should be because of injuries at #11. Clisters is 28 years old and from Belgium. Clijsters reached the semifinals at Brisbane but had to retire because of a hip injury. Clijsters has potential matches against Daniela Hantuchova in the third round and Na Li in the fourth round. If she survives those matches, she could face Wozniacki or Jelena Jankovic in the quarterfinals. Like Williams I think the draw and her injuries will be too much to overcome, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see the two veterans meet in the final.
Na Li (15/2)
Li won the 2 titles last year including the French. The 29 year old from China is the 5 seed here at the Australian Open. Li lost to Azarenka in the finals at Sydney this year. She was the runner up at the Australian Open in 2011. Li is in the same section of the draw as Wozniacki, Clijsters, and Hantuchova. I think she loses in the fourth round to Clijsters.
Caroline Wozniacki (17/2)
The 21 year old from Denmark is the number #1 player in the world and the #1 seed here. She lost in the quarters at Sydney this year. However, the fact that she is only the sixth betting choice should tell you she has underachieved in Grand Slam events. Wozniacki won 6 times last year but only made it as far as the semifinals in both the Australian and U.S. Opens. In fact Wozniacki has only played in one grand slam final in her career. She is too talented to not win a major and will eventually but I can’t pick her until she does. I like her to make the semifinals out of the Clijsters-Na bracket, but I think she loses to Azarenka.
Samantha Stosur (19/2)
The 27 year old Australian Stosur won her first grand slam title last year at the U.S. Open. She will definitely be the crowd favorite in her home country, but with that comes a lot of pressure. She has never made it past the 4th round here, and lost in the third round last year. She played at both Brisbane and Sydney but didn’t get past the second round at either. She is in the same section of the draw as Bartoli and Kvitova. Even if she beats Bartoli, I don’t see here beating Kvitova in the quarters.
Kaia Kanepi (10/1)
The 26 year old Estonian won her second career title at Brisbane earlier this year. Kanepi has never made it past the third round here or the quarters at any Grand Slam event. She is a nice dark horse pick, but she will have to survive a third round matchup with Zvonareva, and a fourth round match with Serena. If she wins that then she might have to beat Maria Sharapova in the quarters. That might be a little too much to ask.
Agnieszka Radwanska (25/2)
The 22 year from Poland is the #8 seed at the Australian Open. Radwanska reached the semis at Sydney this year and had 3 wins last year. She made it to the quarters here last year. She is in the same section of the draw as Azarenka. She can make it to the quarters if she can survive Schiavone or Goerges in the fourth round.
Maria Sharapova (15/1)
The 24 year old Sharapova won two tournaments last year, and withdrew from the Brisbane event with an ankle injury. Sharapova is the #4 seed here after getting beat in the fourth round last year in Melbourne. She made it to the semifinals at the French Open and was the runner up at Wimbledon. A potential showdown with Serena Williams or Zvonareva awaits in the quarters, but Sharapova must survive Lisicki or Kuznetzova in the fourth round first.
Here is a look at the odds for some of the other contenders. Zvonareva (37/2), Bartoli (20/1), Kuznetsova (45/2), Lisicki (25/1), Ana Ivanovic (35/1), Jelena Jankovic (40/1), Schiavone (45/1), Pavlyuchenkova (50/1), Pennetta (65/1), Hantuchova (75/1), Yanina Wickmayer (85/1), Goerges (95/1), and the field is +150.
It should be a great two weeks of action in the heat of Melbourne.