Henin obstacle to Wozniacki`s Slam quest
Melbourne: World number one Caroline
Wozniacki faces a likely early test against seven-time majors
champion Justine Henin if she is to go on to break her Grand
Slam drought at the Australian Open.
In the official draw made today, Wozniacki is projected
to meet the former world number one and last year`s finalist
in the quarter-finals.
The 20-year-old Dane reached the top ranking in October
last year with the consistency of her performances outweighing
her failure to win a major trophy.
She gets her big chance at the season-opening major, with
13-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams missing with a
foot injury after dominating the Australian Open with five
titles in the last eight years.
Wozniacki has begun the season disastrously with a
straight sets loss in her first official match to Slovakia`s
32nd-ranked Dominika Cibulkova in Sydney, after losing to
world number two Vera Zvonareva and Open favourite Kim
Clijsters at exhibition events in Hong Kong and Thailand.
Wozniacki will launch her fourth Australian Open campaign
against the world`s top doubles player Gisela Dulko of
Argentina, and could face Belgian Yanina Wickmayer in the
US Open champion Kim Clijsters was placed in the bottom
half of the women`s singles draw away from Wozniacki in the
Third seed Clijsters, the 2004 finalist, will open
against another former Australian Open finalist, Dinara Safina
Clijsters leads Safina -- who has returned to the tour
after prolonged back problems -- 7-2.
Clijsters was to face China`s Li Na in the final of the
Sydney International on Friday, playing for her 41st career
Russian Zvonareva, who reached the final at last year`s
Wimbledon and US Opens, begins her Australian quest against
Austrian Sybille Bammer.
American fourth seed Venus Williams, who has made just
one final appearance in her past 11 Australian Opens, was
drawn in Wozniacki`s top half of the draw and will take on
Italian Sara Errani in the first round.
Li Na, a surprise semi-finalist at last year`s Australian
Open, will play Sweden`s Sofia Ardvisson first up, and is in
the same quarter of the draw as Venus Williams.
Australia`s big hope Samantha Stosur -- last year`s
French Open finalist and the fifth seed -- is targeting a
semi-final against Zvonareva.
But she first has to negotiate American wild card Lauren
Davis and possibly 25th-seeded Czech Petra Kvitova, a winner
of the Brisbane International this month, in the third round.