Tuesday, 1 July 2014

2011 Revisited for the Ladies ?

As we manage our way through the London rain into the second week of Wimbledon, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray continue their respective paths towards a shared semi final.  Djokovic is playing the best tennis of anyone, and mostly necessitated thanks to the high standards displayed by his opponents, the latest Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, who forced the number one seed to champagne levels of returning.

One wonders whether he can maintain the quality or has he peaked a little early?

As certain as the semi final line ups appear to be shaping for the men, nothing is sure for the women - Serena has gone, and she has been joined on the 2014 scrap heap by fellow 2012 finalist Agnieszka Radwanska, soundly thrashed by grass court specialist Ekaterina Makarova in the fourth round.  Young Eugenie Bouchard has reached the quarter finals for the third major out of three this year and will play the winner of the Sharapova/Kerber clash.

Caro Wozniacki failed in her attempt to make her first quarter final at this event, leaving sixth seed Petra Kvitova the sole seed in her quarter, and the highest seed still alive in the bottom half of the draw.  My pick as the losing finalist at the start of the tournament is now looking an extremely good bet, not just to reach the final, but to have a real shot at repeating her 2011 triumph.

I was fortunate enough to be in the crowd when Maria Sharapova was outgunned by the outstanding Czech left hander in 2011, and I am sensing that a reprise of that final is the most likely outcome, now that six of the top ten seeds have disappeared.

Sharapova's semi final victim from that year, and last year's runner up, Sabine Lisicki, is a possible semi final opponent for Maria again, and she will be wanting blood, so don't pass the German chances over without serious consideration.

Of course Genie Bouchard wants to make the semis here as she did in Melbourne and Paris, so nothing is set in stone.  And I have deliberately left till last the highest remaining seed, Simona Halep, who consistently performed over most peoples expectations on the clay of Roland Garros, and has done precisely the same on the hallowed grass of Wimbledon.

She could well win the whole thing, but I am sticking to my Kvitova final, now opposed to Sharapova (amended from S Williams), and instead with Petra holding the trophy aloft.

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