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Australian Open 2012: Kim Clijsters vs. Caroline Wozniacki Preview

Caroline Wozniacki
Caroline WozniackiMark Dadswell/Getty Images
Shane LambertAnalyst IIJanuary 23, 2012

The women's quarterfinal round at the 2012 Australian Open will start on Tuesday. In one of the two women's singles matches scheduled for action, Caroline Wozniacki, the top-ranked player in the world (by a thread), will face Kim Clijsters, the defending champion down-under.

Clijsters is into the quarterfinals after walking a tight-rope in the fourth round. The Belgian was down four match points in a second-set tiebreaker against Na Li, but managed to rally back to victory. Winning in that manner has to be inspiring and Clijsters is more dangerous now than she ever was at the 2012 Australian Open.

Wozniacki, in contrast, has not faced much of a test through four rounds at Melbourne Park. She is 8-0 in sets played with only a couple sets that could be called close. She has to be motivated as well, as she's been the world No. 1 player for a grand total of 67 weeks—and yet she's never won a major title.

With three wins this week, Wozniacki would silence her critics who inevitably point to the Grand Slam goose-egg when mentioning the current top player on the women's tour.

In two previous attempts, the Dane has not been able to defeat Clijsters. Their most famous match came in 2009 in the championship of the US Open. In what remains Wozniacki's only Grand Slam final appearance, Clijsters claimed the title at Flushing Meadows with a straight-sets victory.

They met again in the final of the 2010 World Championships with Clijsters winning again, this time in three sets.

But Tuesday's quarterfinal might be Wozniacki's chance to claim a win over Clijsters. The Dane has been able to win her last three Grand Slam quarterfinal matches and Clijsters, though playing inspired tennis, is not at her best right now.

Prediction: Wozniacki in straight sets.

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