Henin, Clijsters in Same Quarter; Williams Sisters Semifinal Looming?
The three new attractions on the WTA circuit – Justine Henin, Kim Clijsters and Maria Sharapova – all fell on the same side of the Australian Open women’s draw. Henin and Clijsters could meet in the quarterfinals with Sharapova very likely semifinal opponent on the bottom half.
In the top half, the Williams sisters, Serena and Venus, appear to be on yet another collision course. The four-time champion Serena should have an easy road to the quarterfinals where she may face Vera Zvonareva or Victoria Azarenka, who beat Serena in Miami last year.
Venus has the tougher draw opening with Lucie Safarova and perhaps an encounter with US Open finalist Caroline Wozniacki. Of note, Wozniacki could face trouble early with a first round clash with her namesake Aleksandra Wozniak who has given the Dane trouble in the past.
The third quarter is fully stocked with Elena Dementieva, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Flavia Pennetta along with the Belgians Henin and Clijsters. Dementieva and Henin would be the first week match of the tournament. Clijsters could meet fellow two-time Slam winner Kuznetsova in the quarterfinals.
Sharapova has to be happy with her draw. The former champ who’s recovering from shoulder surgery opens with fellow Russian blondie Maria Kirilenko. Sharapova could meet 2009 Australian finalist Dinara Safina in the fourth round and then Jelena Jankovic or Marion Bartoli in the quarterfinals.
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