Having reviewed the semifinal between Maria Sharapova and Petra Kvitova, our guest poster Omair is now moving on to the analysis of Victoria Azarenka’s 6-4 1-6 6-3 win over Kim Clijsters to reach her first Grand Slam final.
Everyone had been criticizing the top players for their inconsistency and inability to dig deep through the tournament draws, but with the three of the top four seeds making it to the Australian Open final, along with Kim Clijsters, nobody can doubt the consistency of the top players now.
None of us could have asked for a better semifinal line-up, and the semifinals lived up to their expectations, both the matches producing some jaw-dropping tennis, intense rallies, seemingly impossible shots from players. There were momentum swings in both matches, but overall the quality of tennis was very high and they were worth watching.
Azarenka and Clijsters were the first to walk on to the Rod Laver Arena today to begin the battle for a spot in the championship match. Azarenka moved Clijsters all over the court testing her ankle in the first set, while taking the set 6-4. Clijsters could not find a way into Azarenka’s game and by the end of the first set when she got into Azarenka’s game it was too late since Azarenka took the set.
Kim worked her way back into the match moving Azarenka around the court and took the second set 6-1 when she held her serve to love. It seemed that Kim had all the momentum and would walk away with the match. It made me wonder whether it would be Kim back or Victoria back.
However, as the third set started Kim lost all the momentum she had built, as serve deserted her completely and Azarenka took the set and hence the match to make her way to her first Grand Slam final.
The match had everthing, intense rallies, beautiful shot making, momentum swings, emotions, just everything you can ask for. Both players gave everything they had. Azarenka came out on top at the end, and showed how much she has matured and how much she has learned to control her nerves.
Let’s have a look at what the stats tell us. Clijsters and Azarenka were equal in every department, but where Azarenka excelled was that she held her nerves and remained calm and cool under pressure. Clijsters actually won one more point than Azarenka, but Azarenka’s nerve control and calm attitude carried her out of the match as winner.
Azarenka was pounding on every second serve of Clijsters. Clijsters managed to win only 39% of her second serves, which may be the main reason of her loss.
Azarenka went toe to toe with Clijsters in all the rallies and that paid her the dividend, for she earned a spot in her first major.
Azarenka is 22, with the performance we have seen from her so far, and with the performaces put up by Kvitova, Sharapova, I think we will be seeing a lot of these players in this year and the years to come and if these performances are any indicator, they tell us that we will have some consistency at the top of the WTA. We will have some consistent players who will be going deep in the draws at almost every tournament. With Clijsters in her last year on the tour, Serena Williams, having already said that she does not love sports, Venus Williams out with injuries, Svetlana Kuznetsova not being able to find her game, I guess these players are ready to take charge of the top spots and are determined to stay there for a long time. (photos: © Neal Trousdale)