Clijsters Strong Before Aussie Open: ATP/WTA Wednesday Round-Up
by Jeremy Davis | January 12th, 2011, 10:14 am

At the Medibank International in Sydney, former No. 1 Kim Clijsters is stamping “favorite” next to her name on next week’s Australian Open draw. While many of the top players look shaky entering Melbourne, on Wednesday the No. 3-seeded Belgian rolled past No. 7 Victoria Azarenka 6-3, 6-2.
In other quarterfinal results No. 8 Li Na came from a set down to oust former world No. 2 Svetlana Kuznetsova 3-6, 7-6(4), 6-3, Serb Bojana Jovanovski surprised veteran Flavia Pennetta 6-4, 6-1, and ground-pounding Russian Alisa Kleybanova outlasted Dominika Cibulkova in three sets. The semis line up is Na vs. Jovanovski, and Kleybanova vs. Clijsters.

On the men’s side Wednesday in Sydney the No. 1-seeded American Sam Querrey saw his chance to get some matched under his belt go “poof” when he was upset by the Ukraine’s Alexandr Dolgopolov in straights. Former US Open champ Juan Martin Del Potro’s run also came to an end in the second round, losing in straights to Florian Mayer.

“Everything is tough after long, long time,” Del Potro said after an error-strewn effort. “But if I’m here it’s because I want to play. I want to try again. That’s what I’m thinking every day. I don’t want to feel bad, you know. Last year was very bad year for me, and now I’m okay. I am in good shape…I lost, but I’m in the competition again.”

At the Heineken Open in Auckland, No. 3 John Isner and No. 6 David Nalbandian set up a tasty quarterfinal meeting with wins on Wednesday. Isner survived Robin Haase of the Netherlands in three, and Nalbandian eased past Philipp Petzschner.

“I played very good tennis today, it was much better than yesterday and it will give me confidence,” Nalbandian said.

Top-seeded David Ferrer struggled past German Tobias Kamke in three, and No. 2 Nicolas Almagro also moved into the quarters.

In Hobart the women’s storylines are all over the place — top players crashing, and rain, rain everywhere.

Earlier in the week former No. 1 Dinara Safina won one (1) game off top-seeded Marion Bartoli, getting shellacked 6-0, 6-1.

U.S. fortunes went both ways — America’s (soon to be playing Challengers?) sweetheart Melanie Oudin lost in the first round, while Bethanie Mattek-Sands, hot off leading the U.S. to the Hopman Cup title, upset No. 2 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2 ret. (right hip flexor strain).

All Wednesday matches in Hobart were postponed by rain, and the tournament could be in big trouble looking at the forecasts. Most players are waiting to play second-round matches coming up on Thursday, and forecasters are saying rain for AT LEAST the next two days. Players can look forward to two-a-days in Hobart, with the final possibly extending into the Australian Open.


Two players on the sidelines are trying to figure out how to tweak their games in time for the Australian Open — both dealing with equipment issues. Maria Sharapova switched from her long-time Prince racquet to a multi-million sponsorship with HEAD, but last week lost early in her only WTA warm-up event. This week world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki debuted her cash-grab switch to Yonex, losing her opening-round match. Wozniacki vaulted to No. 1 behind her long-time association with her Babolat racquet. Before the event, Wozniacki and her Yonex won one game off Vera Zvonareva in an exhibition match.

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36 Comments for Clijsters Strong Before Aussie Open: ATP/WTA Wednesday Round-Up

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killerc Says:

You wouldn’t think racquet changes would effect results sooo much… I suppose this shows the weakness of the modern era in relying on technology rather than skill. If I was in their shows, I would play with the same strings I’ve always used to get me to the top and customize the new multi-million dollar deal racquet to match your old one as much as possible lol. I think it’s more mental than anything.. Djokovic had a tough switch too, going to head a couple years back.

skeezerweezer Says:

LOL….back in the day Agassi got zillions for switching to Head from Prince. Right after the so called switch and contract they found he actually was still playing with Prince painted as Head! Later after that Head worked hard with Andre to get the Racquet right. Still, shows you your point killerC.

Pick up the old Wilson Pro Staff vs. the K-factor Racquet Fed has been plying with all this time. Is there really that much difference? Just sayin…

On the other side in Golf a switch of a club ( ie; putter ) can make all the difference in the world to a Pro, be it mental or not. So I guess go figure….

Eric Says:

I think it’s completely unfair, irresponsible, and unprofessional to lambast Wozniacki for her supposed “cash grab switch” to Yonex. I suppose you were privy to her sponsorship negotiations – that must be how you know they are even paying her more. Maybe she wanted to try a new racquet. Maybe she was just having an off day. I’m actually pretty offended at this ridiculous, and so far unfounded, vitriol from the tennis-x staff over her switch.

Wayne Says:

I too am offended! Offended, I say! Unfounded vitriol! I’m calling my senator!

It was a dumb move. Her results are going to suffer this year.

“I’m shocked,” says Woody Schneider, who owns Grand Central Racquet in New York City and was named 2010 Pro Retailer of the Year by Racquet Sport Industry. “Almost every time these players switch just for the sake of money it’s a mistake. She reached number one in the world with that [Babolat] frame; why in the world would you switch?”

“I would almost be willing to bet they’re paying Wozniacki what they were paying Dementieva and Date Krumm (combined),” Levine says. “She’s number one, she’s well-spoken, she’s a very pretty girl, she’s got a fan following all over the world, and Wozniacki strikes me as the type of player who will be visible and active in tennis even after her playing days are done. You can see her as a commentator or a brand ambassador down the road so in that sense she can give Yonex both immediate and long-term value.”

Eric Says:

Maybe so. We’ll see. What I do know is that one dismal performance is not grounds for this kind of criticism. Maybe Wozniacki didn’t get enough practice on the off season, or she’s not used to the Australian heat. (If I remember correctly, she has had much better results at the other grand slams, especially the USO.) Either way, especially without having any idea whether Yonex is even paying her more (they don’t exactly have Head’s active recruitment strategy) than Babolat did, it’s just irritating, holier-than-thou smugness to attack her for a move we don’t know anything about.

And someone mentioned the Djokovic comparison. Well, please do. Switching racquets could have been a factor in his slump – but he’s now playing better than ever before, the best tennis of his career. So don’t write off Wozniacki just yet.

leo vixen Says:

Why would you make ANY MAJOR changes in your equipment or game right before a Grand Slam?

Evan Says:

@leo vixen

…Nadal serve during U.S. open much???

Kimmi Says:

djokovic changed his racquet just before the AO too. looks like they like to get these new sponsors in the begining of the year..

there is a new serbian girl bojana. a qualifier in sydney. she won three quali matches and 3 main draw matches beating rezai, penneta and kanepi..all top 25 players. betas all of them in straight sets.

impressive. i think she could be somebody to watch!

Kimmi Says:

kimberly says “I see dimitriv won his first qualifying match”

so he is playing at AO. good to see. since i did not see him in the warm up tournaments, I thought they have banned him due to that incident with the umpire.

i am surprised he is in the qualifying draw though. he is ranked 108 right now. I thought his ranking is high enough to get a direct entrance??

Well, hope he qualifies to the main draw.

Eric Says:

Kimmi, nope, there are usually (always? maybe someone more knowledgeable can answer) 16 qualifiers and 8 wild cards at a slam, so 128 – 16 – 8 = only the top 104 are guaranteed entrance. So he is just short of the cutoff… Although you would think that 4 out of those 104 players would be injured or something!

Kimmi Says:

eric – thanks for that. now that you put it in numbers, it does make sense.

8 Wild cards! Wow, I never knew the number of WC they put in a GS. that is a lot. thanks for the info.

Dimitrov won his first quali match 6-1 6-1. so hopefully he doesnt spend too much energy.

Kimmi Says:

OK, who is playing today:

I see gulbis up a break against stakhosky.
ferrer grinds out a win against kohl
Simon up a set against dolgo
almagro up a set vs qualifier mannarino

Top seeds are doing well so far

Kimmi Says:

gulbis broken when serving for the set.. good this he was up 2 breaks. he gets another chance.

Kimberly Says:

Well at least dimtriv wasn’t banned for the umpire incident. I see the famous mahut playings qualifiers also. I always feel sorry for that guy. I hope he qualifies.

Kimmi Says:

simon thru. poor dolgo, he cant make that break thru.
Gulbis 1st set in the bag
Qualifier mannarino fighting back vs almagro.Takes second set tie breaker.

Kimberly Says:

Wow, great news! Tennis channel is showing the first womens semi, na li v the new Serbian girl, live. So excited!

Kimmi Says:

i am watching that too kimberly. on tennistv

Kimmi Says:

i dont see how bojana beat all those top players. she doesnt seem to have big weapons in my eyes. Serve is OK, FH and BH OK…not spectacular. she moves well though.

Kimberly Says:

Na li started slow. Jovanovski just saved two break points. I have jovanovskis is an Maria sharapova Wimbledon. I got sharapovas ao dress not that anyone will get to see much of it at this rate as I don’t know if she will make it oats round 4 realistically. Only cha ce seems to be that none of the top women are modeling consistency except Kim.

Kimberly Says:

Jonanovskinjust choked away serving for the set.

dari Says:

Getting tense here in Sydney, will Li na get no #4?!

dari Says:

Match point #4 does it for Li na. Yay! Get to see kimmi!

Skeezerweezer Says:

Austalian Open Mens Seeding top 12

1. Rafael Nadal, Spain
2. Roger Federer, Switzerland
3. Novak Djokovic, Serbia
4. Robin Soderling, Sweden
5. Andy Murray, Britain
6. Thomas Berdych, Czech Republic
7. David Ferrer, Spain
8. Andy Roddick, United States
9. Fernando Verdasco, Spain
10. Mikhail Youzhny, Russia
11. Jurgen Melzer, Austria
12. Gael Monfils, Franc

skeezerweezer Says:

Seeding redo?

Somehow its weird to see Sod ahead of Murray. Used to seeing Sod at 5 and Murray further up. But Sod deserves it. Who is the most under rated seed in the top 12 going into AO? My pick would be Monfils. Over rated? Bird man.
Sorry didn’t post the rest of the seeds but didn’t want to fill up the thread….

Forhand_lob Says:

I thought I would try to boost the messageboard’s Australian Open contest. It’s been going for years and there have been some very surprising picks! Among the people who have participated, we’ve managed to pick Clijsters winning the US Open in 2009, Mauresmo winning Wimbledon in 2006, and Federer winning the 2009 French Open.

Rules are here:

Check it out!

margot Says:

skeeze, No surprises but players in 20-30 seeding, Gulbis, Belluci, Troicki G-Lopez, all capable of upsetting top 12, don’t know where Haase, Dolgoplov, Golubev are. The draw will be out about 23 hours UK time. Am v. v. nervous for Andy :( He’s not had too much practise lately and rain has scuppered match with Cilic. Not good for Cilic either of course..

contador Says:

so happy i can’t stand it! semi-final between gulbis and simon in sydney? puleeeeeze, begging for a livestream. back in idaho, so i’m optimistic.

i can’t get onto bet365 from the usa. ( probably a good thing, lol…) and i have tried every which way.

contador Says:

Kimmi- yeah, dimitrov still fighting his way through AO qualifying.

gulbis says he can beat anybody or lose to anybody. true abt losing to anybody…not so sure about beating anybody. his goal is to be top ten. go for it!

very hot tennis bracelet he’s wearing in the interview : ) looks radioactive…..hahaha

dAri Says:

the title of this post is right, clijsters looks good right now. easily past azarenka and a QUALITY performance last night against kleybanova.
im in pacific time at the moment, so I didn’t have to stay up too late to see that great match. both ladies served well and had some amazing shots, longer rallies ended in powerful winners… one of the best wta matches i have seen in the last few months.

Thangs Says:

I expect Henin to claim the title..Else, Kim..

dAri Says:

thanks sar, that’s a cool little chart.
men’s picks even between nole, rafa, and rog!
ALL kimmi picks!
LOVE that’s gilbert’s sleeper is WAWRINKA.

Kimmi Says:

GO nalbandian. he is crushing almagro.

Skeezerweezer Says:

Not surprising the top male commentators pick Rafa, as it should be. He IS the odds on favorite being world #1 and #1 seed.

Cherry Says:

I like Del Potro’s attitude towards his game. He has been humbled by his experience. It’s good that he recognizes that he is there to play and have fun because tennis is a game, and it is what he wants to do in life.

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