Predicting the Australian Open women’s semifinals

Chris Chase
Busted Racquet

Busted Racquet previews and predicts the women's semifinals at the Australian Open.

Victoria Azarenka (3) vs. Kim Clijsters (11), 9:30 p.m. ET

The third-seeded Azarenka was a popular pre-tournament pick despite her lack of Grand Slam pedigree. Up until this week, she had only made one major semifinal and had been ousted before the quarterfinals in six of her last nine Slams. The consistency that's the hallmark of her game most of the year always seems to disappear when something big is on the line.

That's a criticism that dogged Kim Clijsters throughout much of her career until she broke through at the 2005 US Open. The 28-year-old (yes, she's still only 28) is the defending champion in Australia and the fact that she's still in the tournament is a bit of a minor miracle: In a second-set tiebreak against Li Na, Clijsters faced quadruple match point. She won six points in a row, won the third set and held off a feisty Caroline Wozniacki to advance to the seventh Aussie semifinal in her last eight appearances.

If Kim's ankle holds up, her experience should give her the slight edge in what could be her final Australian Open.

Prediction: Clijsters in two

Petra Kvitova (2) vs. Maria Sharapova (4)

The -ovas play in a rematch of last year's Wimbledon final. In that match, Sharapova lost confidence when her always-sketchy serve made an early appearance. If it does the same thing on Thursday afternoon in Melbourne, Kvitova will advance to her second Slam final. I don't think it will. Oh, Maria will still get her double faults, but as long as she can keep afloat in her early service games and build confidence, I think her tenacity pulls her through.

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