Saturday, January 11, 2014

Players to watch in the Australian Open

   Players to watch in the Australian Open, which starts Monday (Sunday in the United States) in Melbourne (seedings in parentheses):
File photo by Paul Bauman
   Rafael Nadal (1) -- Australian Open champion in 2009 missed last year's tournament with knee injury. Northern California ties: None.
   Novak Djokovic (2) -- Three-time defending champion ended 2013 with 24-match winning streak and four consecutive titles. NorCal ties: None.
   David Ferrer (3) -- Reached first Grand Slam final in last year's French Open at age 31. NorCal ties: None.
   Andy Murray (4) -- Three-time Australian Open runner-up (2010, 2011, 2013) last July became first British man to win Wimbledon since Fred Perry in 1936 but had minor back surgery in late September. NorCal ties: Won Aptos Challenger in 2005 and SAP Open in San Jose in 2006, both at 18 years old, and SAP Open in 2007.
   Juan Martin del Potro (5) -- Only player other than Big Four to win Grand Slam title (2009 U.S. Open) in past 35 majors. NorCal tie: In only appearance at SAP Open, reached 2011 semifinals.
   Roger Federer (6) -- Four-time Australian Open champion (2004, 2006, 2007, 2010) finished outside the top 5 last year for first time since 2002. NorCal ties: None.
File photo by Paul Bauman

   Serena Williams (1) -- Five-time Australian Open champion (2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010) went 78-4 (.951) last year and beat Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka to win Brisbane title last week. NorCal ties: Won Bank of the West Classic at Stanford in 2011 and 2012, semifinalist there in 2008 and quarterfinalist in 2009.
   Azarenka (2) -- Two-time defending champ beat Williams twice last year. NorCal ties: Won Bank of the West Classic in 2010, lost in first round there in 2007 and second round in 2011.
   Li Na (3) -- French Open winner in 2011 and two-time Australian Open runner-up (2011, 2013) won only one title last year (Shenzen). NorCal tie: In only appearance in Bank of the West Classic, lost in first round in 2009 to top-seeded Williams.
   Sharapova (4) -- Runner-up in 2012 Australian Open played only one tournament after Wimbledon last year because of illness and injuries. NorCal ties: Runner-up in 2010 Bank of the West Classic, two-time quarterfinalist there.
   Petra Kvitova (6) -- Seeks her second Grand Slam title after winning Wimbledon in 2011. NorCal ties: None.
   Caroline Wozniacki (10) --Former world No. 1, who has never won Grand Slam title, has slumped to No. 10. NorCal ties: None.

No comments:

Post a Comment