Saturday, June 22, 2013

Wimbledon Preview: Party of One?

So, is everyone invited to Serena's party in London? Or will it simply be a one-woman celebration? Hmmm, I think we probably know the answer to that one.

As Wimbledon is set to begin in less than forty-eight hours, even more so than at any other major in which she enters on a ridiculous winning streak (this time, it's 31 matches) and is the odds-on favorite, the next two weeks seem destined to revolve around Williams. As she seeks to defend her 2012 title, she's seven matches from moving into the Top 10 in all-time single-season WTA win streaks (and the longest on tour in twenty years, since Steffi Graf's 44-match run in 1993) and claiming her fourth Ladies title in five years, her best five-year run at any slam. Ever. It'd be her sixth overall singles crown at Wimbledon, as well, which would (safe to say, likely) forever separate her from her five-time champ sister Venus on the Wimbledon "legend scale." With Venus out with a back injury, Serena won't be able to seek a sixth all-Sisters SW19 doubles title, so her "extracurricular" activity at the All-England Club will have to revolve around an attempt (w/ Bob Bryan) to win her first Mixed Doubles slam since 1998, when she won Wimbledon and the U.S. Open with Max Mirnyi one season BEFORE she broke through with her maiden slam singles crown in NYC.

Of course, such a "first time since" attempt is suddenly common for Serena, who's been busy waking up on-court echoes for the past twelve months. Her Wimbledon title a year ago was her first slam singles win in two years, and the first since her scary medical dramas that dotted that title-less span. Additionally, a defense of her '12 crown will give her four slam titles in the last five majors (along with an Olympic Gold, WTA Championships win and a return to #1), the best stretch of major results in the 31-year old's career since "Serena Slam" in 2002-03. Oh, and speaking of that, with her recent Roland Garros crown protruding from her back pocket, Williams is now poised to end her summer within a title in Melbourne next January of matching that four straight slam string, and possibly even looking to extend it.

So, win (likely), lose (not so much) or draw (and hers IS tricky, at least if her name wasn't Serena), the "Big W" at this Wimbledon will once again be Williams. And any attempt -- and there might be only two or three semi-legitimate possible threats, or maybe just one -- to derail her path to the title seems quite ill-fated, to say the least.

Here's a quick overview of the draw, quarter-by-quarter:

1. Serena Williams, USA... of course. Thing is, Serena's draw isn't "easy." Zheng (a past Wimbledon semifinalist) might be there in the 2nd Round, followed by Paszek (back-to-back QF), Lisicki ('11 SF), Kanepi ('10 QF, w/ MP vs. Kvitova) or Kerber ('12 SF), and then A-Rad ('12 finalist) before a possible final against an Azarenka or Sharapova. Of course, Williams might simply blow by all those players in straight sets, too.
2. vacant
3. vacant
4. Sabine Lisicki, GER... well, some poor soul has to dream, right? Why not Lisicki, who's got a special relationship with the lawns at the All-England Club, having reached two QF and a SF in her last three trips there. If her serve and nerve are intact, she might make Serena think for a few games in a possible quarterfinal match-up. But probably no more than that.
THE BRACKET BUSTER: Zheng Jie, CHN... right out of the gate (which is what the 2nd Round is in a slam for Serena), Williams gets the Chinese vet. Of course, for all the danger she presents, the fact is that Zheng has won just five matches at Wimbledon in the four seasons since her wild card semifinal run in 2008, which ended, by the way, with a 6-2/7-6 loss to Serena.
THE WILD CARD: Alison Riske, USA... SW19 isn't Eastbourne, though, so maybe the Bannerette's grass court proficiency won't translate. Still, a nice dark horse to root for during the first week.
DON'T COUNT HER CHICKENS: Elena Vesnina, RUS... the Hordette just won Eastbourne, but a late arrival at SW19 might mean a slow start. Unseeded, she could get tripped up early on by the likes of a Hlavackova or Lisicki. Her title chances might be pretty good in doubles with Makarova, though, in a Williams-free draw.
THE POOR SOUL: Mandy Minella, LUX... Serena will soon be 51-1 in slam 1st Round matches, and 14-0 at Wimbledon.
=In the End...=
Come on, you know.

1. Agnieszka Radwanska, POL... Aga loves Wimbledon, and so does The Rad. A year ago, that combo got her into her first slam final, a 3rd set against Serena and within four games from taking over the WTA #1 ranking (and the world?). Radwanska comes to London with no momentum, but she rebounded from an atrocious EuroClay season to reach the QF in Paris, and she came to SW19 last year on the heels of a 1st Round loss in Eastbourne (which she repeated this week). So A-Rad's got a short memory, which should serve her well here.
2. Roberta Vinci, ITA... the vet can attack the net, which is usually a pretty good strategy against most foes at Wimbledon. Nearly in the Top 10, the thirtysomething reached the Round of 16 at SW19 last year, and might just improve upon that this time around.
3. Daniela Hantuchova, SVK or Nadia Petrova, RUS... you know the drill. The skills are there, but so is the head. The grass court results are there (both won grass titles in the past year), but Hantuchova was upset in the 1st Round a year ago by Jamie Hampton and Petrova has been ousted in back-to-back '13 slams in the 1st Round. And that's not even talking about injuries. Nice possible stories both, but neither are likely to come to fruition over the next two weeks.
4. Madison Keys, USA... she's got the big game to do well on grass, and has shown a penchant for some big-name wins in '13. She'll open against crowd fave Heather Watson, but if she can survive the first few rounds Keys might provide a powerful obstacle that Radwanska could have trouble with in a 3rd Round match-up.
THE BRACKET BUSTER: Simona Halep, ROU... the Swarmette just followed up a clay title with one on grass, and is riding a ten-match winning streak. Can she bring over her momentum to London? Her WTA bio lists Justine Henin and Roger Federer as her tennis idols, so she aims high. Will it be high enough, say, to take out Li in the 2nd Round and then go from there? Umm, yep. Maybe.
THE WILD CARD: Tsvetana Pironkova, BUL... The Pironkova is a grass court monster that only breaths airs for two weeks of the year. Guess what time it is? Her current form will be tested early (#21 Pavlyuchenkova in the 1st Rd.), but if the Bulgarian gets some momentum we might get a "Monster Movie Matinee Special" vs. The Radwanska in the Round of 16.
DON'T COUNT HER CHICKENS: Li Na, CHN... she's been pretty quiet since Melbourne, and lost in the 2nd Round at Wimbledon the last two years. Carlos Rodriguez has no special advice here, either, as SW19 is the one slam that LPT never won. She's not a lock to get out of that 1st Rounder against Michaella Krajicek, let alone the potentially rocky road that might follow if she should.
THE POOR SOUL: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, RUS... the Russian doesn't seem to believe she can be a good grass court player, and her results are wildly inconsistent on other surfaces, too. If she gets out of her 1st Rounder against Pironkova, it'll likely still only be a matter of days before she's off for North America.
=In the End...=
This is the toughest of the four quarters to predict, as there are so many enticing dark horse/surprise candidates to make a newsworthy semifinal run. Still, A-Rad loves to scratch her back in the grass, and nearly all other possibilities here are either very young or crazy inconsistent. It'd be safer -- for a whole LOT of reasons -- to just go with the chalk, I'd say.

1. Maria Sharapova, RUS... the Russian broke through on grass, but now it's her THIRD best surface. Still, she's the odds-on favorite to win her quarter, and the most likely to clean up if trouble drags down the #1 and #2 seeds. If only her serve were the weapon it used to be, her Wimbledon cred might have more footing than it currently does. Still, even with some good young players (and a La Trufflette) in her path, it's hard to imagine her not coasting deep into the second week.
2. A Bannerette... if there's a section in the draw where a young American might make a move, it's this one. Either Sloane Stephens or Jamie Hampton will survive their 1st Round meeting, while Varvara Lepchenko is close in the draw to #5 Sara Errani, hardly a great grass courter. Melanie Oudin, who won a grass title and has had some Wimbledon success in the past, is here, too, as is the slipping Christina McHale, Alexa Glatch and, if you want to reach out to American territories, Puerto Rican Monica Puig, as well.
3. Marion Bartoli, FRA... a former finalist (2007), the Pastry is always a threat. At the very least, she might provide some first week excitement and drama, ala what she did at Roland Garros. If she can get through to the Round of 16 vs. Sharapova, buckle in for the most between-serve activity -- on both sides of the net -- ever. The match could be pretty good, too.
THE BRACKET BUSTER: Donna Vekic, CRO... fourteen years ago, a teenager born in Osijek, Croatia turned Wimbledon on its collective ear with an upset of Martina Hingis en route to an improbable QF result, then followed up with a SF a year later. Osijek-born Vekic isn't Jelena Dokic, but she reached the Birmingham final a week ago (a title once won by Dokic, by the way) and could find a way to slip through the non-Maria section of this quarter that is headed-up by Errani, who has never advanced past the 3rd Round at Wimbledon.
THE WILD CARD: Andrea Petkovic, GER... a German with a wild card into the Wimbledon main draw? Lisicki rode a WC to the SF two years ago. Petko reached the 3rd Round the last time she was healthy enough (2011) to play in London.
DON'T COUNT HER CHICKENS: Caroline Wozniacki, DEN... the Dane played well in Eastbourne, then blew multiple leads in her SF loss to Hampton. So is her mini-surge over until the latest "mystery coach" arrives? Probably, since even at her highest-ranking (she was the top seed at SW19 in '11) C-Woz never advanced to the QF at Wimbledon. Last year, she fell in the 1st Round. Vekic or Cetkovska could prove to be a problem in the 2nd Round this time.
THE POOR SOUL: Sloane Stephens, USA or Jamie Hampton, USA... what a wonderful (for us), horrible (for them) draw these two got. Whichever loses their 1st Rounder will damn the Tennis Gods for her fate. Or, in Miss Twitter's case, she'll simple Unfollow them... even though you NEVER do that on Twitter!
=In the End...=
Well, I'm going with Sharapova, but I'm not picking her for the final. She might hope that things work out that way, considering how Maria just shot back at Serena's not-so-veiled Rolling Stone comments about her and Grigor Dimitrov. "At the end of the day, we have a tremendous amount of respect for what we do on the court. I just think she should be talking about her accomplishments, her achievements, rather than everything else that's just getting attention and controversy," Maria said, adding, "If she wants to talk about something personal, maybe she should talk about her relationship and her boyfriend that was married and is getting a divorce and has kids. Talk about other things, but not draw attention to other things. She has so much in her life, many positives, and I think that's what it should be about." Ouch... don't tread on Maria. Although, Serena HAS been doing just that for almost ten years.

1. Victoria Azarenka, BLR... in all respects, Vika's SF run in Paris has set her up well for Wimbledon. For one, of course, that it raised her ranking back to #2 and prevented an encounter with Serena from occurring until the final is worth its weight in gold, confidence and peace of mind. For a while, anyway. But, as it turned out, Azarenka's draw is probably the best of the top four seeds, as well. It's not without potential pitfalls on certain days -- Baltacha or Pennetta in the 2nd Round, JJ or Flipkens in the 4th, but aside from a Hampton-in-Melborne like performance popping up, from either Azarenka or an opponent, Vika has a good shot to reach the QF without dropping a set, where she might face Petra Kvitova. Or not. It all could lead to a very revealing SF match with Sharapova on the grass, as Azarenka would try to add a final at a third diffrent slam in the past year to her ledger. Yum... Backspin wants that, not Sugarpova.
2. Petra Kvitova, CZE... based purely on potential and two-years-old promise. The 2011 champ hasn't lived up to expectations so far, and now is rumored to be dating Radek Stepanek (something which has never led to good on-court results for WTA players, and foreshadowed the too-early retirement of Nicole Vaidisova, who's now divorcing the 34-year old Czech player, according to reports confirmed by Vaidisova's agent). Petra had another disappointing loss this past week in Eastbourne. But while Kvitova is just 5-5 in grass matches away from the All-England Club, she's 19-5 there in Wimbledon and Olympic action. There's always the chance she could catch that wave again and trouble Vika greatly in this quarter. But unless something changes in PetraLand, it's hard to see that suddenly becoming a reality again. At least not right now.
3. Ekaterina Makarova, RUS or Yaroslava Shvedova, KAZ... only one could take the place of Kvitova in the 2nd week of this slam, and they might actually face off in the 3rd Round, in the wake of a Kvitova loss, to determine which one it will be.
4. The Serbs... lost in the discussion of this slam are the two former #1-ranked Serbs, Ana Ivanovic and Jelena Jankovic. While AnaIvo once reached the SF here (in 2007), JJ has never advanced to the QF, but still dreams of "helicopter service" to take her to her assigned outer court. Bojana Jovanovski and Vesna Dolonc are also in this quarter (both in the eight-player section that includes Jankovic, in fact), but neither they nor their higher profile countrywoman will likely make a dent in this slam. But they're there, so something crazy or "chaotic" COULD happen. So keep an eye -- or two -- open.
THE BRACKET BUSTER: Yaroslava Shvedova, KAZ... the Kazakh reached the Round of 16 last year, where she was at 5-5 in the 3rd set vs. Serena. She could face Kvitova in the 2nd Round.
THE WILD CARD: Ekaterina Makarova, RUS... is she over her RG doubles title hangover yet? Especially if Kvitova falters early, she's got a shot at a good result here. But the '10 Eastbourne champ has never won more than one match at any of the five Wimbledons she's played.
DON'T COUNT HER CHICKENS: Petra Kvitova, CZE... anyone else smelling a stinky 2nd Rounder vs. Shvedova? Or maybe a 3rd Rounder vs. Makarova?
THE POOR SOUL: Oh, the Brits... of the seven British women in the draw, three of them are in this quarter. With the likes of Robson (vs. Kirilenko) and Watson (vs. Keys) facing tough 1st Round foes elsewhere, the best chances for the home nation to avoid a 0-7 nightmare might come from the women here. Baltacha faces Pennetta, while Anne Keothavong goes against Garbine Muguruza and Johanna Konta faces Jelena Jankovic. Hmmm, maybe that 0-7 mark -- or 1-6, considering a win from either of the two vets is a good bet -- isn't so avoidable, after all?
=In the End...=
Vika, Vika, Vika. Like Kvitova, she really put together her career-changing slam breakthrough at Wimbledon in 2011. But, unlike the Czech, the Belarusian has taken that momentum and run with it. Reaching #1, winning two slams and serving for a third major title last summer in Flushing Meadows. As it is, even with Kvitova's SW19 past, Vika is the most likely to fly out of this quarter, which would put her a win away from yet another slam final. And maybe another career-defining moment in London.

TOP PLAYER: Petra Cetkovska/CZE
...of all the qualifiers, the Czech took out the highest seed (#4 Hercog) en route to the main draw
RISERS: Caroline Garcia/FRA & Mariana Duque-Marino/COL
...finally, Garcia isn't given a wild card, but she gets into the MD anyway. Duque completes back-to-back slam Q runs, taking up the South American slack after Q-round #1 seed Paula Ormaechea fell in the 2Q.
SURPRISES: Eva Birnerova/CZE & Maria Elena Camerin/ITA
...Birnerova only had to get two Q-wins (she got a 2Q walkover), becoming one of three Czech Maidens to advance. Camerin has made her way through the Wimbledon qualifying rounds in both '12 and '13.
VETERANS: Virginie Razzano/FRA & Yvonne Meusburger/AUT
...thankfully, Virginie's reward won't be Serena in the 1st Round. Meusburger had the most interesting route to the main draw -- wins over grass court vet Tammy Tanasugarn, NCAA champ Nicole Gibbs and Sesil Karatantcheva.
COMEBACKS: Michelle Larcher de Brito/POR & Galina Voskoboeva/KAZ
...Larcher de Brito seems to have missed out on her chance to be a young star, but she's STILL only 20! And she's qualified at two slams (AO) this season. Meanwhile, #2 Q-seed Voskoboeva also qualified in Paris.
FRESH FACES: Carina Witthoeft/GER & Ajla Tomljanovic/CRO
...the teenagers are the youngest qualifiers. Witthoeft will now make her career slam main draw debut.
SISTER-IN-LAW: Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova/CZE
...she's qualified for back-to-back slams since returning from her doping suspension.
DOWN: Dinah Pfizenmaier/GER & Aravane Rezai/FRA
...after qualifying in Paris and getting a main draw win over a Radwanska, it's no surprise that Pfizenmaier failed to get a single qualifying victory at Wimbledon. Meanwhile, the only way Rezai gets into slam main draw these days is through wild cards (four times in her last seven slams), and it seems the only way the Pastry gets a MD win would be to jump in a time machine and head back to the 2010 U.S. Open, the last slam at which she advanced past the 1st Round.
WILD CARDS: Elena Baltacha/GBR, Lucie Hradecka/CZE, Anne Keothavong/GBR, Johanna Konta/GBR, Tara Moore/GBR, Samantha Murray/GBR, Andrea Petkovic/GER, Alison Riske/USA
LUCKY LOSERS: Vania King/USA, Anna Schmiedlova/SVK

Q1: Foretz d. Barty 6-2/6-0
...well, the Aussie is still young
Q1: Mayr-Achleitner d. #9 Pfizenmaier 4-6/6-3/6-3
...The Radwanska's revenge
Q2: Birnerova walkover Mayr-Achleitner
...The Radwanska's revenge is contagious?
Q2: #7 Meusburger d. Tanasugarn 6-4/6-2
...hmmm, well, Tammy isn't quite as young as Barty

=1st Q-Rounds Aren't Made for Sisters=
Q1 - #1 Paula Ormaechea/ARG d. Varatcheya Wongteanchi/THA 1-6/6-2/6-4
Carina Witthoeft/GER d. Nadiya Kichenok/UKR 6-4/3-6/6-4
Vera Dushevina/RUS d. Lyudmyla Kichenok/UKR 6-2/6-0
Samantha Crawford/USA d. Chiara Scholl/USA 6-2/7-5

=You're a Sema vs. another Sister=
Q1 - Erika Sema/JPN d. #13 Anastasia Rodionova/AUS 6-4/4-6/7-5 that case...
=2nd Q-Rounds Aren't Made for Semas=
Q2 - Carina Witthoeft/GER d. Erika Sema/JPN 4-6/6-1/6-4
#20 Julia Glushko/ISR d. Yurka Sema/JPN 1-6/6-3/6-4

...maybe Erika and Yurika should start playing doubles together again (they've been playing with other partners of late)?
=But 3rd Q-Rounds ARE Made for Schmiedlovas & Sister-in-Laws=
Q3 - Eva Birnerova/CZE d. #16 Anna Schiedlova/SVK 6-4/7-5
...London isn't Paris... because Anna got in anyway as a Lucky Loser.
Q3 - #17 Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova/CZE d. #10 Vania King/USA 6-3/6-4
...maybe BZS should get suspended more often?

2006 Meilen Tu, USA
2007 Hsieh Su-Wei, TPE & Olga Govortsova, BLR
2008 Maria Jose Martinez-Sanchez, ESP & Eva Hrdinova, CZE
2009 Viktoriya Kutuzova, UKR
2010 Kaia Kanepi, EST
2011 Alexa Glatch, USA
2012 Sandra Zaniewska, POL
2013 Petra Cetkovska, CZE

WC: Elena Balatha (29), Anne Keothavong (29), Lucie Hradecka (28)
Q: Maria Elena Camerin (31), Virginie Razzao (30)
WC: Tara Moore (20), Alison Riske (22), Johanna Konta (22)
Q: Carina Witthoeft (18), Caroline Garcia (19), Michelle Larcher de Brito (20), Ajla Tomljanovic (20)
2 - Mariana Duque-Marino (RG/WI)
2 - Michelle Larcher de Brito (AO/WI)
2 - Galina Voskoboeva (RG/WI)
2 - Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova (RG/WI)
2 - Mariana Duque-Marino
2 - Galina Voskoboeva
2 - Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova
5 - Czech Republic
3 - Portugal, Russia
2...Maria Elena Camerin (2012-13)
2...Johanna Konta, GBR (2012-13)
3...Carolina Garcia (AO WC - RG WC - WI Q)
2...Vania King (RG Q - WI LL)
2...Virginie Razzano (RG WC - WI Q)
2...Anna Schmiedlova (RG Q - WI LL)

2002 Venus Williams, USA (RU)
2003 Serena Williams, USA (W)
2004 Serena Williams, USA (RU)
2005 Lindsay Davenport, USA (RU)
2006 Amelie Mauresmo, FRA (W)
2007 Justine Henin, BEL
2008 Ana Ivanovic, SRB
2009 Dinara Safina, RUS
2010 Serena Williams, USA (W)
2011 Caroline Wozniacki, DEN
2012 Maria Sharapova, RUS
2013 Serena Williams, USA

2007 Venus Williams (W), Marion Bartoli (RU), Justine Henin, Ana Ivanovic
2008 Venus Williams (W), Serena Williams (RU), Elena Dementieva, Zheng Jie
2009 Serena Williams (W), Venus Williams (RU), Elena Dementieva, Dinara Safina
2010 Serena Williams (W), Vera Zvonareva (RU), Petra Kvitova, Tsvetana Pironkova
2011 Petra Kvitova (W), Maria Sharapova (RU), Victoria Azarenka, Sabine Lisicki
2012 Serena Williams (W), Agnieszka Radwanska (RU), Victoria Azarenka, Angelique Kerber

unseeded - Jelena Dokic, 2000
wild card - Zheng Jie, 2008
unseeded - Petra Kvitova, 2010
unseeded - Tsvetana Pironkova, 2010
wild card - Sabine Lisicki, 2011
#23 - Venus Williams, 2007 (W)
#21 - Vera Zvonareva, 2010 (RU)
#18 - Marion Bartoli, 2007 (RU)

2002 Vera Dushevina/RUS def. Maria Sharapova/RUS
2003 Kirsten Flipkens/BEL def. Anna Chakvetadze/RUS
2004 Kateryna Bondarenko/UKR def. Ana Ivanovic/SRB
2005 Agnieszka Radwanska/POL def. Tamira Paszek/AUT
2006 Caroline Wozniacki/DEN def. Magdalena Rybarikova/SVK
2007 Urszula Radwanska/POL def. Madison Brengle/USA
2008 Laura Robson/GBR def. Noppawan Lertcheewakarn/THA
2009 Noppawan Lertcheewakarn/THA def. Kristina Mladenovic/FRA
2010 Kristyna Pliskova/CZE def. Sachie Ishizu/JPN
2011 Ashleigh Barty/AUS def. Irina Khromacheva/RUS
2012 Eugenie Bouchard/CAN def. Elina Svitolina/UKR

[Open Era]
1968 Billie Jean King, USA
1978 Martina Navratilova, TCH (CZE)
1994 Conchita Martinez, ESP
1998 Jana Novotna, CZE
2000 Venus Williams, USA
2004 Maria Sharapova, RUS
2011 Petra Kvitova, CZE

1997 U.S. Open - Venus Williams
1999 U.S. Open - Serena Williams (W)
2001 Roland Garros - Kim Clijsters
2004 Wimbledon - Maria Sharapova (W)
2004 U.S. Open - Svetlana Kuznetsova (W)
2007 Roland Garros - Ana Ivanovic
2007 Wimbledon - Marion Bartoli
2008 Roland Garros - Dinara Safina
2008 U.S. Open - Jelena Jankovic
2009 U.S. Open - Caroline Wozniacki
2010 Roland Garros - Francesca Schiavone (W)
2010 Roland Garros - Samantha Stosur
2010 Wimbledon - Vera Zvonareva
2011 Australian Open - Li Na
2011 Wimbledon - Petra Kvitova (W)
2012 Australian Open - Victoria Azarenka (W)
2012 Roland Garros - Sara Errani
2012 Wimbledon - Agnieszka Radwanska

1974 Olga Morozova (RU) - USSR
1997 Anna Kournikova
2004 Maria Sharapova (W)
2005 Maria Sharapova
2006 Maria Sharapova
2008 Elena Dementieva
2009 Elena Dementieva, Dinara Safina
2010 Vera Zvonareva (RU)
2011 Maria Sharapova (RU)

2012 AO: Victoria Azarenka, BLR
2012 RG: Maria Sharapova, RUS
2012 WI: Serena Williams, USA
2012 US: Serena Williams, USA
2013 AO: Victoria Azarenka, BLR
2013 RG: Serena Williams, USA

9...Martina Navratilova
7...Steffi Graf
5...Venus Williams
4...Billie Jean King (+2 pre-Open era)
3...Chris Evert

8...Venus Williams (5-3)
7...Serena Williams (5-2)
2...Maria Sharapova (1-1)
1...Petra Kvitova (1-0)
1...Marion Bartoli (0-1)
1...Agnieszka Radwanska (0-1)
1...Vera Zvonareva (0-1)
8...Roger Federer (7-1)
5...Rafael Nadal (2-3)
1...Novak Djokovic (1-0)
1...Lleyton Hewitt (1-0)
1...Tomas Berdych (0-1)
1...Andy Murray (0-1)
1...David Nalbandian (0-1)

120...Martina Navratilova
96...Chris Evert
84...Jimmy Connors
74...Steffi Graf
71...Venus Williams
71...Boris Becker

[won Girls & Ladies titles]
Martina Hingis (1994 Junior champion; 1997 Ladies champion)
Amelie Mauresmo (1996 Junior champion; 2006 Ladies champion)
Martina Navratilova - 1973 Junior RU; 9-time Ladies champion
Hana Mandlikova - 1978 Junior RU; 1981 & '86 Ladies RU
Zina Garrison - 1981 Junior champion; 1990 Ladies RU
Maria Sharapova - 2002 Junior RU; 2004 Ladies champion
Agnieszka Radwanska - 2005 Junior champion; 2012 Ladies RU

1970 Margaret Smith-Court
1971 Evonne Goolagong
1972 Billie Jean King
1974 Chris Evert
1982 Martina Navratilova
1984 Martina Navratilova
1988 Steffi Graf
1993 Steffi Graf
1995 Steffi Graf
1996 Steffi Graf
2002 Serena Williams

AO (4): 1969,1970,1974,1993
RG (1): 1992
WI (10): 1973,1976,1978,1979,1988,1992,1995,2003,2006,2009
US (1): 1975

#1 S.Williams d. #23 Lisicki
#10 Kirilenko d. #7 Kerber
#4 A.Radwanska d. Pironkova
#11 Vinci d. Hantuchova
#17 Stephens d. #5 Errani
#3 Sharapova d. #15 Bartoli
#25 Makarova d. #12 Ivanovic
#2 Azarenka d. #16 Jankovic

...old "monster movie" special: The Radwanska vs. The Pironkova

#1 S.Williams d. #10 Kirilenko
#4 A.Radwanska d. #11 Vinci
#3 Sharapova d. #17 Stephens
#2 Azarenka d. #25 Makarova

...all the top four seeds have reached slam semifinals sixteen times in the Open era -- and ten of the happenings have come at SW19. This would be #11.

#1 S.Williams d. #4 A.Radwanska
#2 Azarenka d. #3 Sharapova

...A-Rad doesn't go to three sets like she did in the '12 final. A final run for Vika would mean she's matched or improved upon her previous year's result at nine of the last ten slams.

#1 S.Williams d. #2 Azarenka's really all about Serena. But, remember, Aga took her to a final set last year, and Vika served for the U.S. Open title against Williams, too. Of course, all that was in 2012.

#1 Djokovic d. #13 Haas
#9 Gasquet d. #7 Berdych
#4 Ferrer d. #16 Kohlschreiber
#29 Dimitrov d. #12 Nishikori
#5 Nadal d. Hewitt
#3 Federer d. Stepanek
#6 Tsonga d. #10 Cilic
#2 Murray d. #20 Youzhny much pressure will Murray NOW have on his shoulders, with Olympic Gold at the All-England Club and a U.S. Open title in his corner? Less, or maybe more?

#1 Djokovic d. #9 Gasquet
#29 Dimitrov d. #4 Ferrer
#5 Nadal d. #3 Federer
#2 Murray d. #6 Tsonga

...Ferrer's '12 QF probably led to Nadal being seeded #5 rather than #4, and maybe it's Federer who pays the price.

#1 Djokovic d. #29 Dimitrov
#2 Murray d. #5 Nadal

...I'll go with the Scot, largely because I think he'd beat Federer if he managed to get past Rafa in the QF. I'm trying to play both ends against the middle, or something like that.

#1 Djokovic d. #2 Murray

...and Novak will thus want Roland Garros EVEN MORE.

All for now. Day 1 -- and the Daily Backspin -- awaits. The "just the facts" Week 25 recap, too.


Blogger jo shum said...

Ah your prediction is getting predictable . It's always the top 4 seeds. Great for WTA.

Petraland. I like that. Can you make one for LI NA too? Both are in wonderland. Not too sure what will happen every time, which will show up.

I thought Hampton played extremely well, except the final. Impressed by her turnaround abilities. Has Hampton played Stephens before?

Sat Jun 22, 10:44:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

"Na Na Land"? :)

Sat Jun 22, 11:45:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Jo -

I do like the chances of it happening here. I'd say that Aga is the one possible stumbling block, but I wouldn't want to anger Anything.

Diane -

Hmmm, as long as no one starts playing that song when she walks onto the court. You know, "Na na na na, hey hey, goodbye." Unfortunately, I fear it might be appropriate early on for Li at this slam. :(

Sun Jun 23, 12:05:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

i don't follow tennis for a week and this is what happens...

stepanek is a danger to the wta society. how many careers has he ruined? ok that might be a bit harsh since it takes two to tango...but still...these girls need to remember that titles last, relationships don't necessarily...

in my dream scenario, vaidisova, in her rage, comes back to tennis and in a firestorm of wrath becomes tennis' dominant force. This then triggers petra to wise up since she has to show who the top Czech dog is. And then we'd have a real interesting top 10...and with so many young talented athletes coming up mixed with wily veterans...the entire top 30 would be difficult to trifle with.

i was also waxing poetic with a friend the other day on how it's so nice that people are comparing women's tennis to men's tennis these days (ala the articles on serena vs. fed)...but then we have all of these articles on peoples' personal lives. you don't see this on the men's side. then again, the men also don't get baited into giving controversial answers. but seriously...dig up something on the men's side too. I mean if you think it's boring to talk about the stability of the women's game and the dominance of 3 players...why is it not boring to do it to the big 4 on the men's side? why does the press always have to be about women's fashion or love lives? why does it always have to be a cat fight? and girls...wisen up. less words is more. i'm surprised that serena got caught in the same mistake that sloane did. and i'm even MORE surprised that Sharapova...whose every move is crafted by a team of consultants...decided to hit back. Altho at least with Sharapova, I feel like it's two armadas facing off rather than a bug and a windshield.

also...sloane over hampton...bold choice. but i see your thinking. hampton is nervier.

also...regarding the use of the word 'nervy'. does being nervier mean that they're more likely to hold their nerve? or does being nervier mean that they are more susceptible to nerves? I never knew exactly... i mean the latter.

Sun Jun 23, 12:38:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

Diane!! NA NA LAND!!!!

how perfect. :)

Sun Jun 23, 12:39:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

Thank you :)

Sun Jun 23, 01:18:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Hmmm, when I use "nervy" I'm thinking, as one American Heritage Dictionary defines it, "impudently confident, brazen." You know, the tennis equivalent of a player not afraid to play a game of "chicken" on the court. Otherwise, I'd probably just say "nervous" or make some "nerve-related" analogy.

I went with Stephens there because I figure Hampton might be a bit played out after qualifying AND reaching the final, and might not be fully recovered for the 1st Round.

There was a bit of off-the-court coverage of Roddick.

I fully expect the Serena/Rolling Stone/Sharapova story to be Topic #1 on ESPN next week, at least for a day or so. Hmmm, I sense a Day 1 or Day 2 "Dislike" coming on...

Sun Jun 23, 01:26:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Eric said...

yes, checking the dictionary would have been entirely too logical, especially since it's so difficult these days what with google and all.

Sun Jun 23, 02:50:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Todd.Spiker said...

Ha! Of course, a secondary definition in that same dictionary was "nervous," so to each his/her own, I guess. ;)

Sun Jun 23, 10:48:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Diane said...

Your use of the word is original vernacular; the other use is newer vernacular. And now--stop me before I launch into full-blown language pedantry!

Sun Jun 23, 11:18:00 AM EDT  
Blogger colt13 said...

With the exception of Serena, I am expecting a wild Wimbledon. Any seed between 9-32 could lose first round, and two things make this slam unpredictable:rain and the roof. Because people like Goerges play better under the roof, and some like Bartoli play better after a rain delay.

Also hope Babos gets on a tv court so they can complain about her seemingly fake grunt.

Sun Jun 23, 04:59:00 PM EDT  
Blogger jo shum said...

diane, i love 'nanaland'! so descriptive. haha.

eric, it took me a while to catch up all the gossips. and yeah, it's getting a bit dark in personal attack. there is a new piece on watson saying the top 4 players blank the lower players (escept vika). first petra, then serena on rape matters, maria-serena, and now just top players. and whew, nothing to do with actual tennis. sometimes i think the press specifically wants to screw WTA since now they can't bash them on their quality of play. ah, i know! it's ploy, so all the attention on WTA and no one bothers to put any pressure on Muarray! :o maybe now i should pick murray to win.

Sun Jun 23, 10:19:00 PM EDT  

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