#1 Caroline Wozniacki
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#9 Na Li
The first ticket will be punched to the women’s final of the Australian Open on Thursday morning Down Under, as the top seed in the tourney, Caroline Wozniacki, will look to fend off the up and coming Na Li.
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Just like the No. 2 seed in this tournament, Vera Zvonareva, there seems to be a tremendous disrespect given to Wozniacki here in Melbourne Park. She is the underdog on the Australian Open odds in this one, most likely because she is only 1-1 all-time in Grand Slam semifinals, both of which came at the US Open over the course of the last two seasons. This has been an increasingly rocky road for Wozniacki to get to the semifinals, and many think that she was incredibly lucky to outlast the 2010 French Open champion, Francesca Schiavone in the quarterfinals. The Dane dropped the first set, but came back to post a solid 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory to get here to face Li. The thing that you know about Wozniacki is that she isn’t going to beat herself on a regular basis. She only had 15 unforced errors against Schiavone in three sets, and she hasn’t had more blunders than that in a match in this tournament. She’s not overwhelming on serves, particularly on her second serve, as she has only won 48, 29, and 46 percent of her second service opportunities over the course of the last three rounds of this tournament, but she is still probably the best fundamental player left in this field.
The time has really come for Li to shine, as she is ready to make a huge move up the charts in the WTA rankings, especially if she can claim glory in this event. Li was knocked out in the semifinals of the Australian Open last year, and she hopes that she can better her performance this year with a win over the top ranked woman in the world. If she did, Saturday would be her first finale in a major tournament. Li has played virtually flawless tennis to this point, as she has gone 10 for 10 in sets thus far against some of the best players in the world. Though her first three matches weren’t all that tough, both Victoria Azarenka and Andrea Petkovic really could have provided very tough challenges. Instead, she stormed through Azarenka in the fourth round 6-3, 6-3, and Petkovic in the quarterfinals 6-2, 6-4. Li has been sparkling on her opponents’ service games in this tourney, accounting for a whopping 26 breaks in just five matches. If she can do that again, she will be well on her way to the Australian Open finale.
We know that Wozniacki is going to be in a lot of trouble in this match, and we tend to agree with the Australian Open odds in this one. This is Li’s time. She is going to come forth with the most important match of her career and move on to the final to face either the aforementioned Zvonareva or Kim Clijsters on Saturday.
Australian Open Free Pick: Na Li -150 at BetPhoenix
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