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Rafael Nadal, Venus Williams Set To Roll At Australian Open
By Tripp Mateschitz, Lawn Tennis Analyst, Posted: Sunday, January 16, 2011 3:21pm PST USA
Rafael Nadal, Venus Williams Set To Roll At The Australian Open MELBOURNE--At this yearís first grand slam, the Australian Open starts Monday (Sunday night USA time) at Melbourne, Australia. Iím picking Rafael Nadal of Spain and Venus Williams of the USA to win the singles titles.

Top ranked Nadal last year won the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. This year he appears poised to become the first tennis player since Serena Williams of the USA in 2003 to hold all

Rafael Nadal of Spain and Venus Williams of the USA

Venus Williams will realize this could be one of her last chances to win a grand slam other than at Wimbledon.

four grand slams at once time. In 1988 Steffi Graf of Germany became the last player to win all four grand slams in one calendar year.

Nadal could meet the fourth seeded Robin Soderling of Sweden or Andy Murray of Britain in the semifinals, but Iím picking the unseeded Juan Martin del Potro to advance to a semifinal meeting versus Nadal with Nadal winning in four sets.

In the final, Nadal could face the second seeded Roger Federer of Switzerland or the third seeded Novak Djokovic of Serbia. Iím picking another upset semifinalist however as I think the sixth seeded Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic will meet Federer in the semifinals.

Federer could be challenged in the quarterfinals by the American eighth seeded Andy Roddick.

With the womenís defending champion Serena Williams sidelined with a foot injury, the field appear to be vastly more open this year. If Williamsí sister, the fifth ranked Venus Williams is healthy and can keep her unforced error count low, she could take her first Melbourne title given her experience and athletic power game.

The top seeded Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark most likely will face a tough test in the quarterfinals versus former number one Justine Henin of Belgium. Henin could meet Williams in the semifinals if Williams can get past the fourteenth seeded Maria Sharapova of Russia in the fourth round and the ninth seeded Na Li of China in the quarterfinals.

On the bottom half of the draw, I think the third seeded Kim Clijsters of Belgium will meet the local favorite and fifth seeded Samantha Stosur of Australia in the semifinals with Clijsters advancing to the final.

Williams started aggressively in September at the US Open semifinals versus Clijsters in their last meeting, before several key errors from the American possibly triggered by a left knee injury and improved play mid-match from Clijsters ended the match in Clijsters favor.

But in Melbourne this year, Williams I think will realize this could be one of her last chances to win a grand slam other than at Wimbledon where her serve is still far superior to the majority of the WTA Tour.

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