Sunday, June 19, 2011

Wimbledon Preview

The tennis world moves to the green grass of the All-England Club at Wimbledon for the third Grand Slam tournament of the year, which begins this coming Monday. Below are my initial thoughts and predictions.

Top seed and defending champion Rafael Nadal is entering the tournament with a 14-match win streak at the All-England club and though he has a tricky draw, it's hard not to see him powering through to the finals yet again. Boosted by his performance at the French Open, 3rd seed Roger Federer, who won Wimbledon just two years ago, should like his chances to win his first Grand Slam this year. But while it's easy to predict yet another Fedal Final, 2nd seed Novak Djokovic has only lost ONE match this year and 4th seed Andy Murray, fresh from winning on grass last week, is hungrier than ever for his first Grand Slam title.

Former Wimbledon finalists 6th seed Tomas Berdych and 8th seed Andy Roddick should not be underestimated, but then again they haven't played their best tennis recently. There is also 12th seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga who recently reached the finals at Queen's Club losing to Murray as well as the two German Philipps (Kohlschreiber and Petzschner) who reached the Halle final last week. There's also big-serving Juan Martin Del Potro and former semifinalist Richard Gasquet. With all of that said though, the match everyone is most anticipating will be the first round rematch of The Longest Tennis Match Ever between Nicholas Mahut and John Isner. The tennis gods surely have a wicked sense of humor don't they?

Rafael Nadal d. Tomas Berdych
Andy Murray d. Andy Roddick
Roger Federer d. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Novak Djokovic d. Jurgen Melzer

Rafael Nadal d. Andy Murray
Roger Federer d. Novak Djokovic

Roger Federer d. Rafael Nadal

With Kim Clijsters out with injury, it's just one less player Serena Williams will have to beat en route to her first title since she won the tournament last year, which incidentally was also her last tournament played until last week's turn-up event. Ranked in the 20s, but seeded 8th, she's still the favorite. Her sister, Venus Williams is seeded 23rd, but has also seen very, very little play. Still, underestimate the Williams sisters at your peril especially at Wimbledon. Former champion and 5th seed Maria Sharapova should do some damage here as well as recent French Open champion and 3rd seed Na Li.

Like for the past year or two, this is a good opportunity for top seed Caroline Wozniacki, 2nd seed Vera Zvonareva, and 4th seed Victoria Azarenka to finally step up and claim their first Grand Slam title. The latter especially would do well to at least reach her first slam final. 9th seed and former finalist Marion Bartoli shouldn't be ignored as well as former slam champions Francesca Schiavone, Svetlana Kuznetsova, and Ana Ivanovic.

Maria Sharapova d. Caroline Wozniacki
Serena Williams d. Na Li
Victoria Azarenka d. Andrea Petkovic
Petra Kvitova d. Vera Zvonareva

Serena Williams d. Maria Sharapova
Victoria Azarenka d. Petra Kvitova

Serena Williams d. Victoria Azarenka

FINAL WORD: Picking Federer to win is probably a bit of wishful thinking on my part since Nadal IS the favorite, but I would be shocked to see a winner not seeded in the top 4. As for Serena, if she's healthy, she will win this. There's no one that can match her will and power on court. Best people can hope for is she's really rusty, but even then she won't go down easily.

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