Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Azarenka and Clijsters to meet in semi-finals

Kim Clijsters
Victoria Azarenka and Kim Clijsters will meet in a semi-final showdown after both players won their quarter-finals on day 9 of the Australian Open.  Kim Clijsters stopped a late fightback from Caroline Wozniacki to win, 6-3 7-6.  Clijsters was dominant for a set and a half as she raced out into a 6-3 5-2 lead.  Wozniacki failed to show any real intent early on as she was bullied from the back of the court and made too many unforced errors.  However the tide started to turn as Clijsters went off her game and started to miss strokes she was hitting for fun in the first set.  The set went to a tiebreak, which saw the best quality tennis of the match.  Wozniacki finally stepped up her game a little more and Clijsters found her form again... however when the two are playing well, it is always Clijsters that will come out on top and she won the last three points producing three fine winners to take the match.

There did not seem to be any ill effects from the ankle injury that Clijsters picked up in her previous match with Li Na.  She played a good match and will be delighted to have finished this off in 2 sets.  Wozniacki was rather disappointing in the first set, but at least showed some fight in the second set.  Her defensive game is good enough to get past most players on the WTA tour, but if she is to have more success against the likes of Clijsters then she will have to take more risks and improve her offensive game.  I think this was a pretty good tournament for the Dane considering she came into the tournament with a worrying wrist injury.  She has now lost her number one ranking, but I think this will take a big weight of Wozniacki's shoulders and she can concentrate on improving her game...

 Azarenka was first into the semi-finals as she came from a set down to beat Agnieszka Radwanska, 6-7 6-0 6-2.  This was the first test that Azarenka faced at this year's Australian Open and she came through it with flying colours.  There was not much to call between Azarenka and Radwanska in the first set although neither player could assume authority on serve with eight breaks throughout the first set.  In the tiebreak, Azarenka folded and produced a string of unforced errors against her more consistent opponent to lose the tiebreak 7 points to 0.

Azarenka responded admirably in the second and third sets as she sorted her serve out and started to dictate rallies with her backhand.  Radwanska gave a good fight in an entertaining final set, but she was powerless to stop Azarenka from reaching her first semi-final at the Australian Open.  Azarenka was poor in the first set, but the way she came back to dominate this match was even more impressive and showed her much improved mental game.  Radwanska has had a good tournament, but she still lacks the power to go all the way at a Grand Slam.  She has picked up where she left off from in 2011 and it will onwards and upwards for the Pole.

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