Google Down the Line!: PREVIEW: Australian Open Women's Final

Friday, January 25, 2008

PREVIEW: Australian Open Women's Final

Ana Ivanovic vs. Maria "Shriek"apova
Head-to-head: Ana 2, Maria 2
Last meeting: WTA Championships '07, Maria 6-1 6-2

Could this final be signaling a changing of the guard? These two 20-year olds have made their way to the first Grand Slam final of the year taking out experienced veterans and up-and-comers in their respective paths. World No. 3 Ana Ivanovic (who will move to the No. 2 position on Monday regardless of the outcome) will take on World No. 5 Maria "Shriek"apova for the Australian Open title.

How they got here: Ana showed real grit and determination in her semifinal match, coming back from a set and a break down to beat an annoyed Daniela Hantuchova 0-6, 6-3, 6-4. Maria benefited from an injured Jelena Jankovic, but stayed focused and got through her semifinal with an easy 6-1, 6-3 victory. The last time these players met up was in the quarterfinal round of last season's WTA Championships where the Russian dominated her Serbian opponent 6-1, 6-2.

Here's what Ana said about playing Maria:
"Yeah, she's definitely in a good shape and she's been playing some good tennis this last couple of weeks. Yeah, she improved her movement. And her serve, it's very high percentage, really strong. So, you know, it's going to be interesting match. We are 2‑All in victories. I managed to beat her before, so that's something I have to look for and try to perform like I did that time."
Maria had this to say about taking on Ana:
"She's already been in a Grand Slam final. You know, who knows. When you go out there, it really depends on how you feel you're playing. Her chance is just as good as mine. We're both Grand Slam finalists. We're here. We've had a great two weeks of tennis."
Outlook: This is a tough one - though Maria is the form player going into the final, Ana showed great composure in her semifinal. The Serb was able to think strategically and make small adjustments, which allowed her to climb into Dani's head. We think she'll play Maria tough, but the Russian fashionista is too headstrong - she'll win in 3 sets and walk away with her first Aussie Open title.

(images via AFP/File/Torsten Blackwood & Greg Wood/Getty)

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