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By Karen Walker
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Venus Williams vs. Na Li
Na Li leads series 1-0
Last Meeting - 2008 Beijing Olympics QF
Na Li won 7-5, 7-5
Venus Williams is on a mission, to win a Grand Slam event other than Wimbledon. In doing so, she came close to title glory at other three slams in 2002-03 but never went all the way. In today's match, Williams takes on Na Li who stopped her Olympic Gold run in Beijing two years ago at the same stage. Williams is in good form and her movement on court is solid enough to get past the Chinese star. Williams began her Australian Open bid with a straight sets win over Lucie Safarova, and continued her impressive run with straight sets victory over local star Casey Dellacqua. Her first challenge came in the previous round where Italian Francesca Schiavone took a set from her just to succumb to defeat in the next two. Na Li, on the other hand, took out some of the most consistent players including Agnes Szavay, Daniela Hantuchova and Caroline Wozniacki. Keeping in perspective the current form, the match seems to provide the crowd with some gruelling rallies.
TennisEarth's Pick - Venus Williams in straight sets
Serena Williams vs. Victoria Azarenka
Williams leads series 3-1
Last Meeting - 2009 Wimbledon QF
Williams won 6-2, 6-3
Serena Williams loves to make tennis records, and in her native Miami, things become a lot more serious. However, Belarusian Victoria Azarenka ignored all the factors and beat the lioness in her own den last year in the Miami final. Williams was looking forward to break Steffi Graf's record of 5 titles, but a spirited Azarenka humbled Williams to hit the headlines everywhere. Their last meeting, as a result, was no less than absolute score settlement when Williams beat Azarenka in straight sets en route to her win in Wimbledon last year. Williams started her Australian Open title defence with a straight sets demolition of Urszula Radwanska, and humbled Samantha Stosur in the previous round. Azarenka looked in crushing form in all her previous rounds, but survived a real scare in Russian Vera Zvonareva to make the quarterfinals.
TennisEarth's Pick - Serena Williams in straight sets
Roger Federer vs. Nikolay Davydenko
Federer leads series 12-2
Last Meeting - 2010 Doha SF
Davydenko won 6-4, 6-4
A mere look at the head-to-head tells us a lot about the rivalry between Roger Federer and Nikolay Davydenko. Out of the 14 career meetings, Federer has clinched victory in 12 and that makes him a clear favourite. Interesingly, last two match-ups were completely dominated by the Russian Davydenko, who beat Federer in straight sets just weeks ago in Doha. Federer started his Aussie Open quest with an opening round scare - Igor Andreev, but soon found form to beat next few opponents in straight sets. In his previous match, Federer took out home favourite Lleyton Hewitt in what could be considered an absolute destruction. Similar is the story of Nikolay Davydenko who did not drop a set till his last tussle with Fernando Verdasco, who stretched him to 5 sets. After taking everything into consideraton, it seems only fair to see Davydenko with a slight edge going into today's match.
TennisEarth's Pick - Nikolay Davydenko in five sets
Novak Djokovic vs. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Tsonga leads series 4-2
Last Meeting - ATP World Tour Masters 1000 Miami QF
Djokovic won 6-3, 6-4
2008 champion Novak Djokovic ended the 2009 season on a really bright note when he won the Paris Masters event to end the year as the World No.3. Interestingly, these two players contested the 2008 final as well when Djokovic claimed his first and only major title. Where Djokovic is in swashbuckling form with a loss of single set in the entire tournament, Tsonga has registered some of the longest wins of his career in previous rounds. Despite Tsonga's fierce competitiveness, Djokovic seems to have an upper hand in the encounter.
TennisEarth's Pick - Novak Djokovic in four sets
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