Week #03-04 preview: Australian Open

The first Grand-Slam of the year is here and unusually all the players seem to be ready for high-level competition. All of the main contenders will play and all of them are in good physical condition. So take a seat and enjoy the show!

Justine Henin is the top favorite if we have a look at her dominance last year, when she just collected 4 defeats throughout the year. She seemed a step ahead of all the other players, but this week she has suffered to beat Ivanovic and Kuznetsova, so maybe she's not that strong right now.

If they are fit and focused, Williams sisters must be always considered as candidates for the title. And it seems they are, Venus was impressive in Hong Kong exhibition and Serena won the Hopman Cup. So you should count on them.

Maria Sharapova had a bad 2007 season. But at the end she played great tennis in the WTA Championships with that unforgettable final. If she plays like that, she will be a though contender, but she has the worst draw, facing Lindsay Davenport in second round, and eventually Henin and Serena in quarters and semis.

One step behind there are Svetlana Kuznetsova, Ana Ivanovic, Jelena Jankovic and Anna Chakvetadze who may not be considered favorites for the title but have tennis to get far in the tournament. And young players like Vaidisova, Golovin, Peer or Szavay will try to upset some favorites to climb the rankings, as last week Gold Coast finalists Na Li and Victoria Azarenka.

On the other hand, players like Amelie Mauresmo or Nadia Petrova are not at their best and may go home before they would like.

And finally there's Lindsay Davenport. Her 18-1 record since her comeback is impressive, but was achieved in lower-rated tournaments and she still has to confirm it at a top-level tournament with the best players. The first exam will be an exciting 2nd round match against Sharapova.
As I said before, take a seat and enjoy the show!

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