Thursday, January 17, 2008

3 qualifiers left in Melbourne

Among the qualifiers who entered the main draw of the Australian Open, only three are left, and they are not the three many of us would have guessed: Hsieh Su-wei, Marta Domachowska and Sabine Lisicki.

Hsieh, who won a gold medal in the 2006 Asian Games, has reached the third round by defeating qualifier Klara Zakopalova (formerly Kukalova) and the talented and seeded Sybille Bammer. Lisicki, who is ranked number 194 in the world, defeated Dinara Safina, of all people, and then defeated Mariya Koryttseva.

Most surprising is the veteran Marta Domachowska, who has been on a long slide down the rankings for some time. Domachowska has never before gotten beyond the second round of a Grand Slam tournament, and she has seen her ranking slip from number 36 (in the spring of 2006) to number 146. In order to get out of the qualifying rounds, she had to beat talented young Ayumi Morita, and when she reached the main draw, she defeated Mathilde Johansson and Sofia Arvidssson, who had taken out Marion Bartoli.

What's next for these qualifiers? Hsieh faces Aravane Rezai, who has been on somewhat of a roll lately, and who eliminated Tatiana Golovin from the Australian Open just the other day. Lisicki gets talented Caroline Wozniacki, who made it through the second round by defeating Alona Bondarenko. And Domachowska gets the toughest challenge of all: She plays Li Na, whose return to pro tennis after a very long lay-off was punctuated by her winning at Gold Coast.

Meanwhile, the lowest seed standing is Sania Mirza, who next faces Venus Williams.

The seeded players who have already been elimnated are: Marion Bartoli, Tatiana Golovin, Patty Schnyder, Dinara Safina, Sybille Bammer, Agnes Szavay, Alona Bondarenko, Lucie Safarova, and Julia Vakulenko.

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