The final match of the women’s part of the Australian Open should see a stunning contest between the world’s number one, Viktoria Azarenka, and Li Na, who has surprised everyone by beating Maria Sharapova in the semifinals on Thursday.
Match: Li Na vs Viktoria Azarenka
Selection: Li Na
Best Odds: 2.22 @ Pinnacle
One could actually make plenty of comparisons between Maria Sharapova and the player that the Chinese number one will have to beat in order to capture the prestigious Grand Slam title. They are both big hitters that like to make themselves heard when out on the court and they are both very tough opponents to beat. And, finally, they both had a very good record against Li Na in 2012.
As we have seen a few days ago, having a good run against a particular opponent does not necessarily guarantee that you are also going to beat him next time and, as Sharapova has already found out, Li Na has apparently done a lot of hard work in the off-season, timing her form very nicely for the first big event of the year.
And, well, I can certainly see her winning against Viktoria Azarenka. It is not only that she has what it takes to do that quality-wise, but it is also that I can see Azarenka struggling in quite a few ways. First of all, her match against Sloane Stephens showed that she is not completely alright both mentally and fitness-wise. Secondly, the surface should help Li Na more than it should help her, as was evident in the only clash between the two in Melbourne, which took place two years ago and which Li Na won in two easy sets. And, finally, from what I have seen, it seems that Li Na is also more focused on the task at hand. At odds against, I therefore have to side with the underdog here.