2011 Australian Open – Nick’s Picks – Women’s Singles Finals
Kim Clijsters (BEL) vs. Na Li (CHN)
Clijsters put together a great match against Zvonareva and her ability to change the pace, play with variety, and adapt on the fly was too much for the constant, pounding groundstrokes of the Russian. I was very impressed with Clijsters’ ability to keep herself composed and she really didn’t have any little mental lapses like she has had in her previous matches. She won close to 60% of the points on her second serve while Zvonareva only won 28% and that was really the difference.
Li fought off two match points in the second set to beat Wozniacki 3-6, 7-5, 6-3. Li made a ton of unforced errors in the first set and a half, but then she was able to compose herself and her groundstrokes eventually wore down the Dane. Her groundstrokes are fantastic and they will definitely be the biggest shots on the court when she takes on Clijsters in the final. With the win, Li became the first Asian player, male or female, in the Open Era to reach the finals of a Grand Slam. She will have the entire country of China watching her in this match and if she wins she will return a national hero!
Clijsters is 4-2 against Li, but she lost to her last week in the finals of Sydney in straight sets. This is going to be one heck of a match and I am really looking forward to it. Li’s game is simple. She is going to stand on the baseline and pound groundstrokes from both sides. Her forehand is unbelievable and her backhand is great as well. She is a solid volleyer and her overall movement is superb. She doesn’t have a huge serve, but she is able to put constant pressure on her opponents once the ball is in play.
On the other side of the net, Clijsters will use her movement, footwork and imagination to try and push Li off the baseline. She will go for the angles, and try to make Li over-hit. She definitely has the edge in experience as she has been in this situation many times before and she won’t let that effect her. She is coming off a great win over Zvonareva and she put together her best match of the tournament which should give her so confidence heading into this battle.
If Li makes the amount of unforced errors that she did against Wozniacki, Clijsters will jump all over her. Clijsters is going to want to put this away in two sets, the longer this match goes the more it favors the relentless groundstrokes of Li. Put it this way: Clijsters wants to win this match before Li has a chance to warm-up! We saw what happened when Wozniacki gave her a glimmer of hope, and she can do the same against Clijsters. I have to go with the experience of Clijsters and I look for her to win in two tough, hard-fought sets.
Nick’s Pick – Clijsters in 2 tough sets