Plot thickens as the Australian Open approaches…

Okay…it’s getting interesting as we get closer to Melbourne.

First of all, Sam Stosur will tell you, now’s not the time to panic after a first round loss to Francesca Schiavone in Sydney. Nice article written by Sam here…

First Venus Williams, and now German Andrea Petkovic has withdrawn from the Australian Open. Andrea was the 10th-seed, and is dealing with a stress fracture in her lower back. She made the announcement on Twitter early this morning, after losing Tuesday to Agnieszka Radwanska (7-5, 6-4) in Sydney. Doctors have told her to take 6-to-8-weeks to recover. She’s also decided to put an end to The Petko Dance following match victories. According to Dad, now that some other players have found ‘the dance’ insulting – she’s elected to be more modest after a win.

While Francesca Schiavone takes-over the #10-seed at the Open, question marks still remain for Serena Williams (ankle) and Kim Clijsters (hip) as we get ready for Monday.

Radwanska’s on a tear…while she beat Petkovic yesterday, she defeated World #1 Caoline Wozniacki today – opening the door for Petra Kvitova to take over the World #1 ranking before the start of the Australian Open. The semifinals in Sydney look like this: Petra Kvitova vs. Li Na and Victoria Azarenka vs. Agnieszka Radwanska.

Let’s head to Kooyong, where Jo-Wilfried Tsonga was expected to play well, coming off his victory in Doha. Didn’t happen – Tsonga lost (6-4, 6-3) to Jurgen Meltzer in the first round. Chennai’s winner Milos Raonic also lost his first match in the tournament (6-1, 6-2) to Mardy Fish…who’s looking to get some momentum going after a lackluster performance at the Hopman Cup. Andy Roddick is out as well, losing in the first round to Gael Monfils in two tie-break sets. Gael is coming off Saturday’s Finals appearance in Doha, and won the first set off Roddick with a ‘tweener.’ Ouch.

Sam Querry’s done in Aukland, after losing to American hot-head Ryan Harrison…Ryan then lost in three sets to Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany. David Ferrer continues to be the favorite in New Zealand.

The plot thickens on the path to the 2012 Australian Open!