The Draw Is Out - Where's Your Favorite?
Published January 11, 2013 12:00
MELBOURNE, Australia - For the second straight Grand Slam tournament, the WTA's recent 'Big Four' are the Top 4 seeds - but who got paired off in the top and bottom halves of the draw, who has a tougher road to those potential semifinal meetings, and where did all of the very dangerous floaters land? The whole story unfolded at the official Australian Open draw ceremony on Friday morning.
Click here to see the Aussie Open singles draw!Top Half, First Quarter: Victoria Azarenka
The World No.1 didn't have a dream lead-up to the year's first Grand Slam event, reaching the semifinals of Brisbane but withdrawing from that semifinal due to a toe injury - but this is where she achieved her two biggest dreams a year ago and she's hoping to rekindle that Melbourne magic again.
Azarenka's projected seeds en route to the semis:
Third Round: No.31 seed Urszula Radwanska
Fourth Round: No.16 seed Roberta Vinci
Quarterfinals: No.7 seed Sara Errani
~ there are a few dangerous floaters in Errani's section of the draw too, including Caroline Wozniacki, who was the World No.1 here a year ago, and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Svetlana Kuznetsova.
Top Half, Second Quarter: Serena Williams
As if her 2012 weren't spectacular enough, the World No.3 got 2013 off to a spectacular start too, winning Brisbane. She has now won 52 of her last 54 matches and the Australian Open is one of her faves, too, as she has won this title five times, more than anyone else in the Open Era.
Williams' projected seeds en route to the semis:
Third Round: No.28 seed Yaroslava Shvedova
Fourth Round: No.14 seed Maria Kirilenko
Quarterfinals: No.8 seed Petra Kvitova
~ Kvitova's section also includes a pair of very dangerous veterans - former World No.3 Nadia Petrova and former World No.4 Francesca Schiavone, both former quarterfinalists here too.
Bottom Half, Third Quarter: Agnieszka Radwanska
The only member of the Top 4 that hasn't won a Grand Slam before is the World No.4, but she has a ton going for her anyway - not only did she come close to winning one in 2012, she is also on absolute fire this year, so far not even losing a set in two lead-up events. Could this be her time to step up?
Radwanska's projected seeds en route to the semis:
Third Round: No.32 seed Mona Barthel
Fourth Round: No.13 seed Ana Ivanovic
Quarterfinals: No.6 seed Li Na
~ Ivanovic could face Jelena Jankovic in an all-Serbian, all-former No.1 third round encounter, while Aussie No.1 Sam Stosur lurks in Li's section, and actually does very, very well against the Chinese.
Bottom Half, Fourth Quarter: Maria Sharapova
The World No.2 is definitely the question mark of the group going into the coming fortnight, pulling out of her only scheduled lead-up event in Brisbane with a right collarbone injury. But she was incredible in 2012 and is a former champion here, too, winning the title in 2008, so the sky's the limit...
Sharapova's projected seeds en route to the semis:
Third Round: No.25 seed Venus Williams
Fourth Round: No.15 seed Dominika Cibulkova
Quarterfinals: No.5 seed Angelique Kerber
~ Marion Bartoli, who is lurking just outside the Top 10 at No.11 in the world right now and who has been to the quarterfinals of all the Grand Slam tournaments before, is in Kerber's section of the draw.