jeudi 29 décembre 2011

Preview : Brisbane International 2012

Pat Rafter Arena, the Centre Court (Brisbane, Australia)

The Brisbane International is the first Premier event of the WTA Tour. Actually, last year, it was still an International event but this year things changes : Welcome 2012 ! And even if recently, Maria Sharapova announced her withdrawal from the tournament because of an ankle injury, the field in Brisbane will be strong.
Who will succeed to Petra Kvitova who won the Brisbane Open last year, against German Player, Andrea Petkovic ? In fact, Petra decided to play Hopman Cup this week and thus, not to defend her title of last year.
Before making any predictions, let's take a look at The event's Entry List

 1- Samantha Stosur (Australia)
 2- Andrea Petkovic (Germany)
 3- Fransesca Schiavone (Italy)
 4- Serena Williams (United States)
 5- Kim Clijsters (Belgium)
 6- Jelena Jankovic (Serbia)
 7- Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (Russia)
 8- Dominika Cibulkova (Slovakia)
 9- Ana Ivanovic (Serbia)
10- Daniela Hantuchova (Slovakia)
11- Lucie Safarova (Czech Republic)
12- Kaia Kanepi (Estonia)
13- Polona Hercog (Slovenia)
14- Shahar Peer (Israel)
15- Chanelle Scheepers (Republic of South Africa)
16- Ksenia Pervak (Kazakhstan)
17- Klara Zakopalova (Czech Republic)
18- Tamira Pazsek (Austria)
19- Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (Czech Republic)
20- Petra Martic (Croatia)
21- Simona Halep (Roumania)
22- Iveta Benesova (Czech Republic)
23- Carla Suarez Navarro (Spain)
24- Casey Dellacqua (Australia)
25- Olivia Rogowska (Australia)
26- Galina Voskoboeva (Kazakhstan)
27- Anastasiya Yakimova (Belarus)

Like I said, a tough field with two top-10 players : Samantha Stosur and Andrea Petkovic, two among the biggest stars on the tour with Serena Williams and Kim Clijsters. We can also count on players like Franseca Schiavone, Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic.

Kim Clijsters' forehand : a great weapon (Melbourne, Australia).
Last Year, Petkovic made the final here but I can't see her doing that well this year because of the field's quality. In fact, the strongest favorite for me is Kim Clijsters. She's got her Australian Open title to defend and the "Australia's little fiancée" loves to play in Australia. In fact, she won the tournament back in 2010 and if she's injury free, she can win again there. Of course, we can't count out the best player of the decade : Serena Williams. In fact if she's motivated enough and plays steady tennis, she's among the biggest favorite.

Fransesca Schiavone's great defense (Perth, Australia)
Besides those two, Samantha Stosur, the US Open champion, got what it takes in her game plan and her racquet to clinch the title, here in Brisbane. Her lethal forehand and her top spin knowledge could really help her out on that plexicushion surface. Just like her, Franseca Schiavone will have her word to say. The italian player can play some agressive tennis when she's on. In fact Fransesca is one of the fittest girl on tour despite her 31 years old.

Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic :  the Serbian girls (Roland Garros, France)
We can't leave either both Jelena Jankovic and Ana Ivanovic. The two serbian girls, former world number one, still got some beautiful shots in their racquets. Jelena proved she was coming back right on track by reaching the final in Cincinnati this summer (l. to Maria Sharapova). Ana won the Tournaments of Champion in Bali playing high-style tennis and the beginning of the year could tell us a lot about Serbian's form and the beginning of the season could be a good occasion for them to pull some big upsets and why not get some confidence back.

Daniela Hantuchova and Dominika Cibulkova holding the Slovakian flag (Bratislava, Slovakia)
After the two serbians, the two Slovakians ! Daniela Hantuchova is one of the steadiest player on tour since she's been around there for such a long time and is still able to beat top players while Dominika Cibulkova won her first title at Moscou againt Kaia Kanepi. Both girls have beaten the world number one Caroline Wozniacki in 2011 and can really pull big upsets when their game is on. But I don't know if they can, right now, win the title. No doubt they remain threat for big names who could not play their best tennis.

My Pick for the victory : Kim Clijsters, Serena Williams
Outsiders : Samantha Stosur, Ana Ivanovic, Fransesca Schiavone
Potential Giant Killer : Dominika Cibulkova , Daniela Hantuchova, Lucie Safarova

Of course, we will make a new article as soon as the draw is out !

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