Wimbledon Preview: Serena Williams and the Grand Slammer's Stone
Oh, yeah. This is happening.
Here's a quick overview of the women's draw, quarter-by-quarter:
=#1 WILLIAMS QUARTER=
1. Serena Williams, USA (#1) ...not surprisingly, Serena is playing down the notion of a possible Grand Slam season if she can win in both London and New York. The pressure of such an accomplishment bearing down on her is something that even Williams might have difficulty maneuvering around. Thing is, hardly anybody is even talking about her very real shot to win a fourth straight slam -- a "Serena Slam II" -- at the end of the fortnight. And, remember, she WAS talking about how she was already thinking about Wimbledon while she was STILL ON THE COURT after winning Roland Garros. No matter what happens at the Open, that's an accomplishment in the here and now that she has her eyes set on. And we know what that usually means. Barring an "off" day in the early going (and we've seen those before... and even they don't necessarily mean a loss is imminent), Williams seems a solid bet to reach the final, where she might find one Petra Kvitova waiting for her if the Tennis Gods enjoy smashing competing "eras" together like little kids participating in "ant fights." Come on... who doesn't want to see that clash for the title? So we probably won't, since the TG's are usually just know-it-all jerks.
2. Venus Williams, USA (#16) ...naturally, right, it should be Venus that may pose the biggest threat to Serena continuing on to the final and getting a shot to play for "Serena Slam II" and to keep alive the possibility of a 2015 Grand Slam. After all, Serena would already have caught Steffi Graf on the all-time major title list is not for having lost two slam finals to her older sister. We haven't seen Venus this grass season, but that's hardly a concern. She knows the AELTC lawns better than anyone. And, remember, she very nearly took out eventual champ Petra Kvitova last year in the women's match of the tournament. If she's feeling well, she's a second week threat. She and Serena would meet in the Round of 16, which would be their first SW19 match-up since the 2009 final.
3. Victoria Azarenka, BLR (#23) ...there probably isn't a legit #3 in this quarter, but Vika did reach the SW19 semis in 2011-12 at the height of her powers. At times in her comeback '15 campaign, she's looked close to being that player again and twice has come THIS CLOSE to taking out Serena on clay (never her best surface). She comes in after pulling out of her last event with a foot injury, after similar lower body ailments destroyed her '14 season. It was likely only a precautionary move, but being in the Williams quarter likely puts a ceiling on her possible results here. The North American hard court season is where Vika might be able to gear up for a huge slam run, and the overall goal for her Wimbledon might be to simply get out of London in the kind of health that will allow her summer to be a good one two months from now.
FIRST BIG SEED OUT?: #30 Belinda Bencic, SUI ...come now, this is a pretty easy one since the Swiss is facing off with The Pironkova in the 1st Round, isn't it? Even with the teen winning in Eastbourne on Saturday? Umm, yeah, because you sort of pencil this one in at any Wimbledon (or slam) draw that contains the Bulgarian. Another possibility? #7 Ana Ivanovic, who might get qualifier Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the 2nd Round. And don't rule out #23 Azarenka if she's not 100% in her opener vs. wild card Anett Kontaveit, who won the $50K Eastbourne challenger a few weeks ago. #19 Sara Errani (vs. Schiavone) might be in danger, as well.
THE BRACKET BUSTER: Tsvetana Pironkova, BUL ...she only missed out on another Wimbledon match-up with Venus (she's 2-0 vs. Williams at SW19, winning by identical scorelines) by a couple sections of the draw. Hey, who knows, maybe it'll happen anyway since Pironkova is set up to once again be a giant killer in London, especially after Saturday's action made her 1st Round match an even bigger attraction than it would have already been. She opens vs. Eastbourne champion #30 Bencic, could face #7 Ana Ivanovic in the 3rd Round, #23 Azarenka in the 4th and either Williams in the QF. That match-up might just happen, too.
THE WILD CARD: Dominika Cibulkova, SVK ...the Slovak is back and has looked good so far. She's got a tough 1st Round match with countrywoman Daniela Hantuchova, who's often a contender for this category at Wimbledon herself.
DON'T COUNT HER CHICKENS: #32 Caroline Garcia, FRA ...the Pastry opens with Brit Heather Watson, so she might have to play on a court where everyone is watching. Sure, it isn't the same as playing on Chatrier in Paris, which she's made pretty clear isn't for her, but it's not out of the question that Garcia could contend for "First Seed Out" for the second straight slam.
THE POOR SOUL: (Q) Margarita Gasparyan, RUS ...the Hordette's 1st Round opponent is Serena, who is 58-1 in slam opening matches. Williams has reached at least the Round of 16 at SW19 in thirteen of her fifteen appearances. Gasparyan is one to watch, but she's just food for the wood chipper this time out.
=#4 SHARAPOVA QUARTER=
1. Lucie Safarova, CZE (#6) ...the Czech hasn't had a great Wimbledon tune-up, but she wasn't particularly on fire leading into what would be a final run at Roland Garros, either. Safarova reached her first major semifinal at Wimbledon a year ago. While this quarter has a lot of upset potential, no player here is without questions surrounding their candidacy. But if Safarova plays up to the level that has become expected of her during her rise to the Top 10, she's the favorite here.
2. Maria Sharapova, RUS (#4) ...Sharapova is known best for her '04 Wimbledon run, but this slam has actually turned out to be the one she's been the least effective in over the past decade (one QF+ result -- a final in '11 -- since 2006) as her lack of true athleticism -- while she's improved that part of her gamely greatly over the years -- usually puts her out of the draw earlier than if she'd lived up to her ranking. She'll get an early upset bid in the 1st Round from Brit Johanna Konta, who just put on a career performance in Eastbourne.
FIRST BIG SEED OUT?: #27 Barbora Strycova, CZE ...#27 isn't exactly a "big" seed, but Strycova reached her first slam QF a year ago at Wimbledon, and is faced with an intriguing match-up with Sloane Stephens in her 1st Round. The American is in her best form in two and a half years. Her last three events have included two semis in Strasbourg and on the grass in Eastbourne (her first such tour results since the '13 AO) and a nice Round of 16 run in Paris where she took Serena to three sets.
THE BRACKET BUSTER: Kaia Kanepi, EST ...one never knows what to expect from Kanepi, but the Estonian vet IS a big threat on grass. Remember, she's a two-time SW19 quarterfinalist in the last five years and famously nearly reached the semis in 2010, losing to Petra Kvitova in the QF after holding five MP and having a double-break advantage in the 3rd set. She could face #6 Lucie Safarova, a '14 semifinalist, in the 2nd Round.
THE WILD CARD: Daria Gavrilova, AUS ...if the Aussie is physically sound, she's a danger to anyone she'll face. From #29 Irina-Camelia Begu in the 1st Round, to Maria Sharapova in the 3rd and beyond. But that abdominal injury that first struck her after her qualifier-to-semifinalist run after 13+ hours on court in Rome continues to linger, and forced her out of Eastbourne this past week.
DON'T COUNT HER CHICKENS: #11 Karolina Pliskova, CZE ...the Czech Maiden shouldn't be a question mark heading into Wimbledon. First, she's Czech. Second, she has the sort of big serve that should play well on grass, and she gave Angelique Kerber all she could handle in the Birmingham final the other week, too. But she's yet to live up to her promise in the majors, having never advanced past the 3rd Round in twelve outings. It would be fitting that the AELTC would be the site of her slam breakthrough, but this is a case of a player needing to prove it before something like that can be rightly expected. So far, Pliskova hasn't.
THE POOR SOUL: #22 Samantha Stosur, AUS ...with her doubles skills, athleticism and big serve everyone expected Stosur and Wimbledon to be a good fit, but the low-bouncing grass surface has made her kick-serve less effective and she's never looked comfortable in this event. In twelve appearances, she's only advanced to the 3rd Round twice. She seems a decent bet to reach that far this time (vs. Kovinic 1st Rd., the Gallovits/U.Radwanska 2nd Rd.), but that might be her limit... unless the expected hot weather in the first week leads to dryer courts that benefit the Aussie's serve and allow her to build some momentum, I suppose.
=#3 HALEP QUARTER=
1. Sabine Lisicki, GER (#18) ...few players have the great history at Wimbledon that the German does, while also not having won the title. In her five appearances since 2009, she's reached three QF, two SF and was in the final in 2013. No wonder she loves the AELTC. Still, the German is in what probably amounts to the "section of death" in this draw, as the bottom half of the quarter could see a four-player roller derby 3rd/4th Round involving Lisicki, Simona Halep, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Timea Bacsinszky. Her serve is in high gear, too, as she just set a tour record with 27 aces in a single match. And if it's working similarly at SW19, she's probably the player to beat from this group.
2. Angelique Kerber, GER (#10) ...the Birmingham champ is a former Wimbledon semifinalist, and is thankfully away from the "section of death." Her section isn't without potential issues (Pavlyuchenkova, Shvedova), but she should at least reach the Round of 16 and then she can take her chances there with whoever is still standing.
3t. Simona Halep, ROU (#3), #26 Svetlana Kuznetsova, RUS & #15 Timea Bacsinszky, SUI ...the rest of the "section of death." Halep enters with another poor lead-up to a slam, and comes to London having parted ways with another coach. Kuznetsova is always a wild card, and hasn't had much success at Wimbledon in recent years (no wins since 2011). But she's Sveta, so that doesn't mean anything. Bacsinszky is a fighter, and you could do far worse than to ride with the RG semifinalist in this section because you have little reason to believe she won't just be a mysterious "no show" in a match, which you can't necessarily say about almost all the other contenders here (including '14 semifinalist Halep).
Oh, and ATP Backspin's Galileo West wanted me to wish a happy birthday here to Sveta, who turns 30 today. So...
FIRST BIG SEED OUT?: #20 Garbine Muguruza, ESP ...the Spaniard was a victim of Johanna Konta in Eastbourne, and doesn't necessarily come to Wimbledon with great expectations on the grass. She lost in the 1st Round a year ago, and faces Varvara Lepchenko in her '15 opener. An even bigger danger lurks in the 2nd vs. Yaroslava Shvedova.
THE BRACKET BUSTER: Katerina Siniakova, CZE ...fresh off her Birmingham QF run, Siniakova is looking to become the latest Czech to flash a big result at SW19. First, she'll have to escape a 1st Rounder vs. countrywoman Denisa Allertova, who reached the Ilkley $50K grass semis a week ago, and then would likely get #5 Caroline Wozniacki. If she takes out the Dane, who retired from Eastbourne with a back ailment, the entire top half of this quarter opens up for a player like Kerber.
THE WILD CARD: #31 Camila Giorgi, ITA ...the Italian won a grass title (def. Bencic) in the Netherlands a few weeks ago and is positioned rather advantageously in this quarter. Away from the "section of death," as well as the likes of Kerber or Shvedova (Round of 16's two of the last three years). She could get the survivor of the Wozniacki/Siniakova match in the 3rd Round. Giorgi reached the Round of 16 in her SW19 debut in 2012.
DON'T COUNT HER CHICKENS: #5 Caroline Wozniacki, DEN ...Wimbledon is the only slam at which the Dane has never reached the QF (she has four 4r), and her retirement from the Eastbourne semis with a back injury doesn't exactly sound like the best way to enter a slam. Plus, she's got Katerina Siniakova looming as a possible upset-minded 2nd Round opponent.
THE POOR SOUL: Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, RUS ...just because, well, the three-time junior slam winner has just never lived up to the promise of great success in her pro career. Good results are followed by bad, and she concentrated her only two slam QF results in the same season (2011), and that was four years ago. She hasn't reached a Round of 16 in a major since. She could be an afterthought with a 1st Round loss to Mona Barthel, or fall where she'd be likely expected to in the 2nd Round vs. #10 Kerber.
=#4 KVITOVA QUARTER=
1. Petra Kvitova, CZE (#2) ...there are definitely some dangerous players in this quarter, but Kvitova is the overwhelming favorite assuming her health or Bad Petra don't show up to the party uninvited. And that very well could happen, which could make her vulnerable against anyone, not just the bevy of past slam finalists/champions that she might have to face to reach the final to get a chance to defend her '14 title. The list includes Jelena Jankovic (3rd Rd.), Aga Radwanska (4th Rd.), Genie Bouchard (QF) and then one of a group that might include Halep, Kuznetsova and Lisicki in the SF. Oh, and then she might have to take down Serena to win her third SW19 crown. So... no sweat, huh?
2. Madison Keys, USA (#21) ...Keys has only occasionally flashed the sort of game that made her an AO star since her semifinal run in Melbourne in January, where she hit with and hit Kvitova off the court. While it may not happen for a few years, it's easy to tab (as Chris Evert and John McEnroe did last week on Tennis.com) Keys as the possible successor to Serena's Wimbledon reign once the Williams era is over. Of course, the last few years at the AELTC it's been as much the "Petra era" as it has anything else. And Keys might have to go through the Czech again (in the QF) if she's to have her second slam breakout performance of '15.
3. Aga Radwanska, POL (#13) ...Aga so loves the grass. And she so desires that Wimbledon title that slipped through her grasp in 2012, and that her career-altering (as it's turned out) semifinal loss to Lisicki (9-7 in the 3rd) prevented her from getting another chance at one year later. She's barely holding onto a Top 15 ranking after spending years in the Top 10, and her results have been mostly disappointing for the last two years. But the Pole stirred once again on the grass in Eastbourne, reaching the final but dropping a love 3rd set to Belinda Bencic as she failed to pick up just her second title in the last twenty-one months. Still, with a little help, she could emerge from this quarter.
FIRST BIG SEED OUT?: #8 Ekaterina Makarova, RUS ...the Russian reached the QF a year ago, but was upset by Brit Johanna Konta in Eastbourne, then she and Elena Vesnina had a walkover in the doubles semis (though it wasn't immediately clear which player was carrying an injury/illness). Makarova will now face qualifier Sachia Vickery in the 1st Round.
THE BRACKET BUSTERS: Ana Konjuh, CRO ...#25 seed Alize Cornet defeated Serena at SW19 last year, but she's got a potential upset bid to contend with the 1st Round when she goes up against Nottingham champ Konjuh. And with fellow teen Bencic (they split the four '13 girls slams) this week following the Croat into the maiden champion's club, it would seem that's it Konjuh's turn to make some headlines.
THE WILD CARD: #12 Genie Bouchard, CAN ...Bouchard has never quite been the same since her beat down loss in the Wimbledon final to Petra Kvitova last year. She'd been having a miserable year heading into last week, when she put up a nice straight sets win over grass-proficient Alison Riske, only to retire a round later with an abdominal injury that was hindering her serve. If the good vibes of the win carry over, Bouchard could reach a 3rd Round match vs. Keys. If the injury adds to what is already a year-long slide, she'll be out even earlier and will suffer greatly in the rankings as she loses all those points from last year.
DON'T COUNT HER CHICKENS: (WC) Laura Robson, GBR ...not really a surprise here. The back-from-wrist-surgery Brit has played one match in seventeen months, and lost it in Eastbourne qualifying while winning just one game. Just getting by Evgeniya Rodina in the 1st Round, even with what will be loud and warm crowd support, might be a bridge too far. But the first steps backs are finally here, and that's what's most important.
THE POOR SOUL???: #17 Elina Svitolina, UKR ...the Ukrainian looked to be a star in the making during her QF run in Paris, and she will be. But she has virtually no grass court history to fall back on in her pro career. She's 2-7 on the surface as a pro, and 0-2 at Wimbledon. Ah, but wait... she DID reach the girls final in 2012, losing to Genie Bouchard. So maybe she's got a SW19 rabbit hidden up her sleeve, after all. Possible 2nd Round opponent Tamira Paszek is a two-slam Wimbledon quarterfinalist, and '12 finalist Aga Radwanska could be waiting in the 3rd Round.
**WIMBLEDON #1 SEEDS SINCE 2002**
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
2014 Serena Williams, USA
2015 Serena Williams, USA
*RECENT WIMBLEDON SEMIFINALISTS*
Venus Williams (W), Marion Bartoli (RU), Justine Henin, Ana Ivanovic
Venus Williams (W), Serena Williams (RU), Elena Dementieva, Zheng Jie
Serena Williams (W), Venus Williams (RU), Elena Dementieva, Dinara Safina
Serena Williams (W), Vera Zvonareva (RU), Petra Kvitova, Tsvetana Pironkova
Petra Kvitova (W), Maria Sharapova (RU), Victoria Azarenka, Sabine Lisicki
Serena Williams (W), Agnieszka Radwanska (RU), Victoria Azarenka, Angelique Kerber
Marion Bartoli (W), Sabine Lisicki (RU), Agnieszka Radwanska, Kirsten Flipkens
Petra Kvitova (W), Genie Bouchard (RU), Lucie Safarova, Simona Halep
**LOW-SEEDED WIMBLEDON SEMIFINALISTS - Open Era**
unseeded - Ann Jones, 1968
unseeded - Rosie Casals, 1969
unseeded - Francoise Durr, 1970
unseeded - Judy Dalton, 1971
unseeded - Yvonne Vermaak, 1983
unseeded - Catarina Lindqvist, 1989
unseeded - Gigi Fernandez, 1994
unseeded - Lori McNeil, 1994
unseeded - Meredith McGrath, 1996
unseeded - Anna Kournikova, 1997
unseeded - Natasha Zvereva, 1998
qualifier - Alexandra Stevenson, 1999
unseeded - Mirjana Lucic, 1999
unseeded - Jelena Dokic, 2000
wild card - Zheng Jie, 2008
unseeded - Petra Kvitova, 2010
unseeded - Tsvetana Pironkova, 2010
wild card - Sabine Lisicki, 2011
#23 - Lucie Safarova, 2014
#23 - Sabine Lisicki, 2013 (RU)
#23 - Venus Williams, 2007 (W)
#21 - Vera Zvonareva, 2010 (RU)
#20 - Kirsten Flipkens, 2013
#18 - Marion Bartoli, 2007 (RU)
#16 - Nathalie Tauziat, 1998 (RU)
#16 - Kathy Rinaldi, 1985
#15 - Marion Bartoli, 2013 (W)
#14 - Venus Williams, 2005 (W)
#13 - Genie Bouchard, 2014 (RU)
#13 - Maria Sharapova, 2004 (W)
#12 - Billie Jean King, 1982
#12 - Kimiko Date, 1996
#11 - Bettina Bunge, 1982
#10 - Billie Jean King, 1983
#10 - Gabriela Sabatini, 1986
*WIMBLEDON GIRLS FINALS - since 2002*
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 Genie Bouchard/CAN def. Elina Svitolina/UKR
2013 Belinda Bencic/SUI def. Taylor Townsend/USA
2014 Jelena Ostapenko/LAT def. Kristina Schmiedlova/SVK
**FIRST-TIME SLAM CHAMPS AT WIMBLEDON**
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
2013 Marion Bartoli, FRA
*ACTIVE PLAYERS - FIRST SLAM FINAL*
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
2014 Australian Open - Dominika Cibulkova
2014 Roland Garros - Simona Halep
2014 Wimbledon - Genie Bouchard
2015 Roland Garros - Lucie Safarova
**RECENT WOMEN'S SLAM WINNERS**
2013 AO: Victoria Azarenka, BLR
2013 RG: Serena Williams, USA
2013 WI: Marion Bartoli, FRA
2013 US: Serena Williams, USA
2014 AO: Li Na, CHN
2014 RG: Maria Sharapova, RUS
2014 WI: Petra Kvitova, CZE
2014 US: Serena Williams, USA
2015 AO: Serena Williams, USA
2015 RG: Serena Williams, USA
*CAREER WIMBLEDON FINALS - OPEN ERA*
4...Billie Jean King (+2 pre-Open era)
*WIMBLEDON FINALS - ACTIVE*
8...Venus Williams (5-3)
7...Serena Williams (5-2)
2...Petra Kvitova (2-0)
2...Maria Sharapova (1-1)
1...Genie Bouchard (0-1)
1...Sabine Lisicki (0-1)
1...Agnieszka Radwanska (0-1)
1...Vera Zvonareva (0-1)
**BEST WIMBLEDON GIRLS/LADIES RESULTS**
[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
Genie Bouchard - 2012 Junior champion; 2014 Ladies RU
*BACK-TO-BACK RG/WIMB WOMEN'S TITLES - OPEN ERA*
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
*WON FIRST THREE MAJORS OF SEASON - OPEN ERA*
1970 Margaret Court (completed Grand Slam)
1984 Martina Navratilova (lost in AO semifinals in Dec.)
1988 Steffi Graf (completed "Golden Slam" w/ GS + Olympic Gold)
*THREE+ CONSECUTIVE SLAM TITLES - Open era*
1969-71 Margaret Court
1983-84 Martina Navratilova
1988-89 Steffi Graf
1993-94 Steffi Graf
2002-03 Serena Williams
1972 Billie Jean King
1981-82 Martina Navratilova
1982-83 Chris Evert
1989-90 Steffi Graf
1991-92 Monica Seles
1995 Steffi Graf
1996 Steffi Graf
1997-98 Martina Hingis
2014-15 Serena Williams (active streak)
*SLAM TITLES AFTER AGE 30*
7...Serena Williams (2 at 30, 2 at 31, 1 at 32, 2 at 33)
3...Martina Navratilova (2 at 30, 1 at 33)
3...Margaret Court (2 at 30, 1 at 31)
2...Billie Jean King (30 & 31)
2...Chris Evert (30 & 31)
1...Virginia Wade (31)
1...Ann Haydon Jones (30)
*TOP 4 SEEDS TO SLAM SF - OPEN ERA*
AO (4): 1969,1970,1974,1993
RG (1): 1992
WI (10): 1973,1976,1978,1979,1988,1992,1995,2003,2006,2009
US (1): 1975
=ROUND OF 16 PREDICTIONS=
#1 S.Williams d. #16 V.Williams
#23 Azarenka d. Pironkova
#4 Sharapova d. #29 Pennetta
#6 Safarova d. #11 Ka.Pliskova
#10 Kerber d. Siniakova
#18 Lisicki d. #3 Halep
#21 Keys d. Konjuh
#2 Kvitova d. #13 A.Radwanska
#1 S.Williams d. #23 Azarenka
#6 Safarova d. #4 Sharapova
#18 Lisicki d. #10 Kerber
#2 Kvitova d. #21 Keys
#1 S.Williams d. #6 Safarova
#18 Lisicki d. #2 Kvitova
#1 S.Williams d. #18 Lisicki
...Hands on 21. Eyes on 22.
=ROUND OF 16 PREDICTIONS=
#1 Djokovic d. #14 Anderson
#9 Cilic d. #5 Nishikori
#4 Wawrinka d. #16 Goffin
#7 Raonic d. #11 Dimitrov
#22 Troicki d.
#3 Murray d. #13 Tsonga
#6 Berdych d. #18 Monfils
#2 Federer d. #5 Lopez
#1 Djokovic d. #9 Cilic
#4 Wawrinka d. #7 Raonic
#3 Murray d. #22 Troicki
#2 Federer d. #6 Berdych
#1 Djokovic d. #4 Wawrinka
#3 Murray d. #2 Federer
#1 Djokovic d. #3 Murray
Check out Galileo West's alternate picks over at ATP Backspin.
All for now. A Week 25 recap, Day 1 -- and the Daily Backspin -- awaits.