Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Wimbledon Report: Fourth Round

With the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (aka Prince William and Princess Kate) in attendance at Centre Court, Andy Murray swiftly handled Richard Gasquet in straight sets. On Court 1, Novak Djokovic similarly swept Michael Llodra with relative ease. Roger Federer dropped his first set of the tournament against a fiery Mikhail Youzhny, but won to reach his mind-boggling 29th consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal. Finally, Rafael Nadal edged out Juan Martin Del Potro in a tight match to round out the top four. Both Nadal and Del Potro injured themselves during their duel and the extent of those injuries are still unknown.

Mardy Fish reached his first Wimbledon quarterfinal by taking out last year's finalist Tomas Berdych in straights while Jo-Wilfried Tsonga showed off his grass-court skills against David Ferrer. Down 0-2 in sets, Feliciano Lopez mounted an impressive comeback to defeat Lukasz Kubot in a dogfight that lasted more than four hours. Finally, Australian qualifier Bernard Tomic continued his dream run by taking out Xavier Malisse.

Quarterfinal Preview
Rafael Nadal vs. Tomas Berdych Mardy Fish
Andy Murray vs. Andy Roddick Feliciano Lopez
Roger Federer vs. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
Novak Djokovic vs. Jurgen Melzer Bernard Tomic

Predictions: It really does boggle me how consistent the top four have been in big tournaments. In fact just a few weeks ago, they all reached the semifinals at the French Open and I believe they will do it again here. Tsonga and Lopez will be tricky players though and the extent of Nadal's injury could be a factor, but for now I'm sticking with the Big Four.

Before talking about the monumental upsets that transpired today, let's talk about the other matches. Top seeds Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka easily handled their opponents, Shuai Peng and Nadia Petrova respectively. Last year's semifinalist Petra Kvitova soundly defeated Yanina Wickmayer in straight stes. Kvitova and Sharapova are the only two players to not have dropped a set. Joining them in the quarterfinals are 2009 quarterfinalist Sabine Lisicki and Tamira Paszek (reaches Wimbledon quarters for the first time).

As for the upsets, defending champion Serena Williams and her sister, 5-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams, are ousted on the same day. It's a first for this tournament and quite shocking as they've dominated this tournament for nearly a decade. Marion Bartoli took out Serena, a bit reminiscent of when she defeated sister Venus a couple of years back, while 2010 semifinalist Tsvetana Pironkova repeated her amazing win last year against Venus in dominant fashion. Top seed Caroline Wozniacki hoping to win her first major title must wait again as she was also upset by Dominika Cibulkova. Wozniacki won the first set easily, but just couldn't steal one more set.

Quarterfinal Preview
Maria Sharapova vs. Caroline Wozniacki Dominika Cibulkova
Serena Williams Marion Bartoli vs. Na Li Sabine Lisicki
Victoria Azarenka vs. Andrea Petkovic Tamira Paszek
Petra Kvitova vs. Vera Zvonareva Tsvetana Pironkova

Predictions: My early guesses were obviously wrong, but in my defense I really didn't think both Williams sisters would be gone before the quartefinals. With that said, this is turning out to be Sharapova's slam to lose as she's the only one here to have a slam title to her name. The rest of the women though all have a great shot at not only reaching their first Grand Slam final, but to win their first one as well. I think Bartoli, Azarenka, and Kvitova will join Sharapova in the semis.

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