Gutsy German in Woz’s way at Aussie Open

Sabine Lisicki may be ranked 37th in the world, but the bookies rate her number 20

Caroline Wozniacki has been handed the worst possible draw in next week’s Australian Open, the first grand slam event of the year, and is rated only a 65 percent chance to make it through the first round.

Her opponent is the formidable Sabine Lisicki, the world number 37 − so in theory, according to the seedings, she is the fifth best player any of the seeds could have been drawn against. But in reality, as the bookies concur, she is the best. 

The attack-minded German was a semi-finalist at Wimbledon in 2011 and a quarter-finalist in 2012, where she knocked out Maria Sharapova just one month after reaching a career-high of number 12 in the world.  She has reached the fourth round in four of her last six grand slams, and furthermore leads Wozniacki 2-1 in their head-to-head record, although the Dane’s sole win did come in the Australian Open, albeit five years ago.

It’s a particularly tough draw given that Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, the number 24 seed who Wozniacki is scheduled to meet in the third round, faces a qualifier in her opening game, and potentially another qualifier in the second round.

Should Wozniacki make it to the final 16, she will face either the number seven seed, Italy’s Sara Errani, or double grand slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, who knocked her out of the recent Sydney International.

The number one seed and defending champion, Victoria Azarenka, waits for her in the quarter-finals, while tournament favourite Serena Williams or Petra Kvitova are her most likely opponents in the semis.

The tough draw has seen Ladbroke’s push Wozniacki out from 40/1 to 66/1 (now tenth on the list) in the betting – a price that some are offering for Lisicki (20th on the list), although she is generally available at 100/1.





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