Lawn Tennis
Australian Open Draw Sets Up Williams Sisters Final
By Anton Lagani, Lawn Tennis Correspondent, Posted: Saturday, January 12, 2008 1:15am CST USA
Australian Open 2008 - Women's Picks
Photo by Chris Greensberg/Getty Images
Melbourne--( This year's Australian Open begins Monday and all of the top WTA Tour players will be competing for the title including the American defending champion Serena Williams and Venus Williams of America, the reigning Wimbledon champion. Also entered are the top Serbians Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic.

World number one Justine Henin brings a 28 match winning streak into Melbourne, with her last loss her surprise Wimbledon defeat. The Russian fifth seed Maria Sharapova enters with her serve more consistent than it has been in recent times. But Sharapova in round two will face and lose to the new comeback queen and mom Lindsay Davenport of America. Davenport could reach the quarterfinals but she isn't yet ready to beat top ranked Henin; although Davenport also is riding her own streak of sorts by having won 18 of her last 19 matches since giving birth to her son.

Australian Open 2008 - Women's Picks

Fourth Round [1] Justine Henin vs. [13] Tatiana Golovin [17] Shahar Peer vs. Lindsay Davenport [3] Jelena Jankovic vs. [15] Patty Schnyder [12] Nicole Vaidisova vs. [7] Serena Williams [8] Venus Williams vs. [24] Na Li [16]Dinara Safina vs. [4] Ana Ivanovic [6] Anna Chakvetadze vs. [9] Daniela Hantuchova [20] Agnes Szavay vs. [2] Svetlana Kuznetsova Quarterfinals [1] Justine Henin vs. Lindsay Davenport [3] Jelena Jankovic vs. [7] Serena Williams [8] Venus Williams vs. [4] Ana Ivanovic [9] Daniela Hantuchova vs. [2] Svetlana Kuznetsova Semifinals [1] Justine Henin vs. [7] Serena Williams [8] Venus Williams vs. [2] Svetlana Kuznetsova Final [7] Serena Williams vs. [8] Venus Williams Winner [8]Venus Williams

2006 Australian Open champion Amelie Mauresmo of France won't reach the fourth round given her play the past few months. After appearing to concur her oftentimes shaky nerves, she has failed to retain any high level of consistency.

It would have been fun to see former top five ranked Australian Jelena Dokic continue her return to competitive tennis in her home country of Australia; however, she lost in the qualifying rounds.

The other notable Australian in the women's draw, Alicia Molik won her first grand slam doubles title at the 2005 Australian Open with partner Svetlana Kuznetsova, but is yet to advance past the quarterfinals in singles. As she most likely will face red hot Czech teenager Nicole Vaidisova in round two, Molik will need to play her best advance.

Our prayers were answered at this grand slam as Serena Williams was thankfully not drawn to play Henin in the quarterfinals after losing to Henin in the last three grand slam quarterfinals. They should meet in the semifinals; however, where Serena can win but only if she is healthy and keeps points short with attacking play.

Venus Williams also will face a tall order in the semifinals versus second seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia. But she should get through in three sets and then defeat her sister Serena in the final if her forehand is on and she is ready to run down Serena's big shots from the ground.

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