Friday, June 18, 2010

Wimbledon Women's Predictions

This year's top two seeds in the Ladie's draw at the Wimbledon Championships are once again Serena and Venus Williams. years ago (8 to be exact) the world saw these two sisters contest in their first SW19 final against each other, and despite the time that has gone by, the WTA Tour has restored order. S and V may be dominate on the slick stuff, but this year the grass-court slam is no gimme for either of them. With Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters back, these next two weeks are sure to be enthralling.

1st Quarter
Once Serena Williams gets past the early rounds at a Grand Slam, where she usually isn't at her best, the world number 1 is nearly unstoppable. If you want to pull off an upset, the time to catch Serena is in the quarters or earlier (when she reaches the semis, she's won 4 of the last 5 Majors) and there are a handful of women who could be able to stun the tennis world with a win over Williams. The top seed starts with a toughie against Michelle Larcher de Brito, a teenager with heavy strokes and a grunt with an octave higher than even Serena's herself. The next potential upset is 16th seeded Maria Sharapova, the 2004 Wimbledon champion. She is slowly but surely returning to her pre-shoulder surgery form, and if she gets a hot hand, could hand Serena a defeat in their potential 4th-rounder. Li Na, who won Birmingham last week, Svetlana Kuznetsova, who's rank has fallen to 20th, and Agnieszka Radwanska, seeded 7th, all have the talent to knock off ReRe in the quarters, but lack the firepower the American has.

Early rounder to keep an eye on: Sharapova vs. Daniela Hantuchova

Quarterfinals: S. Williams def. S. Kuznetsova

2nd Quarter

This section of the draw is the most wide-open one there is. None of these ladies can call themselves experienced on the grass-courts but a few of them are on the upswing. Caroline Woznaicki is not one of them though. The 3rd seed headlines this quarter but hasn't been playing her best tennis recently, and isn't very comfortable on grass. She is prone to an upset early, and I think Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, a powerful young Russian, will be the one to knock out the Dane in their potential 3rd round encounter. Victoria Azarenka is another big hitter who has a certain prowess when she steps on the lawns. Despite a disastrous clay-court season, Azarenka's run in Eastbourne this week, which consisted of wins over Kim Clijsters, Radwanska and Marion Bartoli, is just the motivator that will allow Vika to make a lot of noise. Sam Stosur is coming off a brilliant run at the French, but her results at the Wimbledon warm-ups haven't been convincing, and she could suffer a letdown. Jie Zheng has experienced success here and could surprise many with a longer-than-expected stay in London.

Early rounder to keep an eye on: Gisela Dulko vs. Flavia Pennetta

Quarterfinals: V. Azarenka def. S. Stosur

3rd Quarter

While the Wimbledon committee altered the men's seedings , they opted to follow the rankings in the seeding process for the women. Their decision to stray from moving women up or down accordingly has resulted in a possible 4th-round meeting between 8th seeded Kim Clijsters, a two-time Wimbledon semifinalist, and 17th seeded Justine Henin, a two-time finalist. The two Belgians will be competing in both of their first Wimbledons since their return to the tour, and both have great opportunities to pick up their first titles at the All England Club. Nadia Petrova, though, has pulled off two shocking upsets at the slams already this year, against Clijsters in Melbourne and Venus in Paris. Her possible early-round meeting with Henin could be trouble for the comeback girl. Jelena Jankovic is the highest seed in the section, and could go under-the-radar and reach the semis like she did in RG, but her game isn't fit for the grass. Vera Zvonareva and Yanina Wickmayer are potential dark-horses who shouldn't be ignored.

Early rounder to keep an eye on: Henin vs Petrova

Quarterfinals: Clijsters def. Jankovic

4th Quarter

Venus Williams is hitting 30 in stride. The 2nd seed, who's birthday was yesterday, is without question the WTA's resident grass-court queen, and no one in the soft quarter she was placed in has much of a shot to dethrone her. V did succumb to her sister in last year's final, but she's had much more success at Wimbledon than any other woman in the draw, holding 5 titles. The next highest seed in the section is Francesca Schiavone, who's inspiring run at the French Open sets her up for a major letdown in London. The Italian reached the quarters here last year, but if she reached that result again this year it would be very surprising. 2007 runner-up Marion Bartoli is talented on the lawns but her current form isn't where it needs to be in order to have another magical run. Two former number one's, Dinara Safina and Ana Ivanovic, who have fallen from grace also find themselves located in Williams' section. Safina reached the semis here last year but has lost 5 straight matches since returning from a serious back injury. Ivanovic has mustered back-to-back wins in just one tournament this year, and the best part is, the two could meet in the 3rd round! With each of them playing the way they are, it will be lucky if they reach that stage, but does anyone care to guess how many unforced errors their would be in that potential encounter?

Early rounder to keep an eye on: Ivanovic vs. Shahar Peer

Quarterfinals: V. Williams def. M. Bartoli

Semifinals: S. Williams def. V. Azarenka, V. Williams def. K. Clijsters

Yet another battle of the sisters at Wimbledon. Venus takes back her crown this time.

Finals. V. Williams def. S. Williams

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