WOMEN'S singles favourite Kim Clijsters is just three wins from capturing her first Australian Open title after a 7-6 6-2 win over unseeded Russian Ekaterina Makarova.

The No.3 seed from Belgium tackles Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland in the last eight and with Maria Sharapova, Venus Williams and Justine Henin now nothing more than distant memories in Melbourne it's hard to see past three-time US Open champion Clijsters.

However, I reckon No.1 seed and second favourite Caroline Wozniacki could have the last laugh in Oz with a final victory over Clijsters but both have other matters to attend to before the weekend.

Clijsters (7-5, boylesports to be crowned champion) is a best-priced 1-6 with William Hill to see off Radwanska while her opponent is 11-2 with Skybet and Paddy Power.

I fancy Clijsters, who won their only meeting in 2006, may have to give up a set, therefore a 2-1 victory at 7-2 with Paddy Power is worth a look.

Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic and Russian Vera Zvonareva will meet for the right to face Clijsters or Radwanska.

No.25 seed Kvitova is the outsider at 7-4 with bet365 while Zvonareva, seeded No.2, is 8-15 with Paddy Power and Coral.

In the top half of the draw my attention is brought back to my pre-tournament tip, world No.1 Wozniacki.

I backed the 20-year-old Dane to win the US Open in October and although Wozniacki came up short then she is certain to break her Grand Slam duck in 2011.

Wozniacki tackles French Open champion Francesca Schiavone in the quarters and is 1-7 with Blue Square and 888sport to advance. But Schiavone, who captured her first Slam in Paris last year at the age of 29 (the first Italian women to win a singles Major) is a fighter, and should push Wozniacki all the way. She is widely on offer at 5-1.

The other clash in the top half of the draw sees No.30 seed from Germany, Andrea Petkovic, go in against Li Na of China.

Petkovic shocked the increasingly unreliable three-time Slam winner Sharapova in two sets in the last 16 and will fancy her chances of another upset.
Bosnian-born Petkovic is 15-8 with Bet365, Li Na widely available at 4-9.


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