2012 Australian Open – The Semifinals

Tonight at 2:30a CST (Thursday in Melbourne) – the much anticipated rematch of the 2009 Australian Open Final featuring Roger Federer and and Rafael Nadal. They’ve played each other 26 times over the course of their careers, and Nadal leads the series (17-9). Roger’s going for his 17th Grand Slam Singles Title, Rafa’s going for his 11th.

First, though – the Day Session on Rod Laver Arena features Bob and Mike Bryan in a semifinal clash versus Robert Lindstedt of Sweden and Horia Tecau of Romania. The Bryans are gunning for their 12th Grand Slam Doubles Title, 6th at the Australian Open.

Then, the Women’s Singles Semifinals featuring Kim Clijsters’ hip and ankle vs. Victoria Azarenka, and Maria Sharapova vs. Petra Kvitova. Yesterday, Kvitova had no trouble with the inspired Italian Sara Errani, winning (6-4, 6-4); and Maria Sharapova was unstoppable (and defeaning) in her defeat of Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova (6-2, 6-3).

What’s great about these semifinal matches…we’re spreading the love when it comes to powerful female grunting. In the first match, Kim (and the rest of us) get to enjoy the WHOOO-POOOO of Victoria Azarenka; while in match-2 we all get to struggle hearing the play-by-play under Maria Sharapova’s AHHHHHHHHH’s!

Oh, how we hope to see a final with Vika and Maria…after all, we haven’t had an ear-bleeder like that since Sharapova faced Venus Williams at Wimbledon back in 2007…some highlights of which can be heard in this piece I produced featuring Billy Squire:

Maria, after her quarterfinal win was asked about her…screaming: “No one important enough has told me to change or do something different.” Alright – next question!

In yesterday’s Men’s Quarters, Andy Murray dominated an exhausted Kei Nishikori (6-4, 7-6, 6-1), while Djokovic appeared to have some hamstring trouble during the second-set in his easy three-set win over David Ferrer (6-4, 6-2, 6-3).

After the match, David Ferrer was asked if the gap between the top-4 players in Men’s Tennis and the rest of the field could ever be closed. His response: “No – I don’t think so.” This is only the third time in the Open Era that the top-4 seeds at the Australian Open faced off in the Semifinal Round (1988 and 2005 previously).

The Murray vs. Djokovic Semi will be a rematch of last year’s final, won by Nole (6-4, 6-2, 6-3)

With the remainder of the Australian Open, here are the predictions from two of the Ozarks biggest Tennis Nerds…

Chef Billy: Champs will be Djokovic and Kvitova…

Me: Champs will be Federer (over Murray – BOLD!) and Azarenka…

Now, speaking of Victoria Azarenka – we look forward to seeing her in Worcester for the Fed Cup Tie (February 4th and 5th) between Team USA and Team Belarus. Mary Jo Fernandez announced her team yesterday, which now includes Serena AND Venus Williams, Christina McHale and Liezel Huber…with Sloane Stephens as the alternate.

To all my friends and family in Massachusetts, as a life-long Pats fan, I can’t wait to be in the Boston area on Super Bowl weekend. Come out and watch some tennis in Worcester to get primed for “The Big Game” Sunday Night.