The Australian Open women’s singles event is now up to the semi-final stage with both semi finals to be played one after the other on Thursday 28 January. The order of play is as follows.
- (1) Serena Williams versus (4) Wozniacki (16) Li Na
- (3) Kuznetsova (WC) Justine Henin v. Zheng Jie (2) Safina
The winners of the semi-finals are guaranteed 1,050,000 Australian dollars in prize money and 1400 WTA ranking points. The players who get knocked out earn 400,000 Australian dollars and 900 points.
The 1st semi-final match up is between No.1 seed and defending Australian Open champion and No.16 seed Li Na who is playing in her 1st ever semi final in a Grand Slam singles event. These two players are backing up immediately after just completing their quarter final matches today. This seems to be an unfair advantage to the winner of the 2nd semi final who had a rest day today after playing their quarter finals yesterday.
Both Serena and Li were very close to being beaten in their matches with Serena trailing Victoria Azarenka 2-6 0-4 before coming back to win the 2nd set 7-6 by 7 points to 44 and then taking the 3rd set 6-2. Li defeated No.6 seed Venus Williams after trailing of the match including being 2 points away from defeat at 2-6 3-5. Li also trailed 2-4 in the 3rd set but triumphed 7-6 (7-4) and 7-5 in the final 2 sets.
The short break between matches for Serena and Li means that it is likely that the player who bounces back better from today in terms of physical condition may have the edge. Serena was heavily bandaged today, add to that Li finished her match and began her recovery before Serena even stepped out to take on Azarenka.
Li who is pictured above in the early stages of her service action has achieved her best result at a Grand Slam singles event now and will also achieve her career high ranking right after this event. Both players showed their fighting spirit today and despite things pointing to Li winning Serena cannot be bet against in the Grand Slams she just has the amazing toughness to pull out a win from the jaws of defeat.
On Tuesday 26 January Zheng Jie of China made it to her 2nd semi final in a Grand Slam singles event by defeating Maria Kirilenko 6-1 6-3 in very convincing fashion. The other semi finalist from the bottom half of the draw is wild card Justine Henin. Henin defeated No.19 seed Nadia Petrova 7-6 (7-3), 7-5 to make an impressive comeback to the WTA Tour.
The 26 year old Zheng lost her only previous encounter with Henin and admitted than Henin is her 3rd favourite player (after No.1 Steffi Graf & No.2 Roger Federer), and inspired her when she was younger. Now that she plays Henin she believes Henin will have the mental edge and it will be tough but she will relish the battle.
The 1.64 metre Zheng said “First of all, I favor her for her is have the so strong the mentally. I watch her play always ‑ how you say ‑ enjoy to watch her for play. For second I think is tough match for me, is big challenge. But I like it. I want do something, yeah.”
The 27 year old 1.67 metre Belgian won in straight sets back in 2006 and has Kim Clijsters comeback from retirement to win the 2009 US Open as motivation that she too can go all the way. As much as it would be great to see the 1st ever Chinese woman make the final 2 of the mentally toughest champions look to be set on a collision course Saturday.
Henin has already earned 1,100 WTA ranking points in her comeback and will remain unranked until she has earned ranking points in a 3rd WTA Tour event. Henin would be ranked No.59 even if she loses her semi final or No.37 if she makes the final.
For more coverage and information about the 2010 Australian Open on this tennis website click this link -> Australian Open 2010: Jan 13-31.
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