Monday, 3 July 2017

Wimbledon is here !

Wimbledon begins tonight Australian time and it promises to be the most wide open tournament in many a year, especially in the women's draw.
Even the men's draw offers doubt, with defending champion Andy Murrsy in a form slump, affected by injury.
Federer and Djokovic have won titles coming in and they are drawn to meet in a semi final should they progress that far.
Murray has Nadal in a semi if they manage tough challenges beforehand.

It is difficult to imagine players other than the top four seeds winning the title but there are those that can cause difficulty along the way.

For Murray, it could be Fabio Fognini in the third round, either Lucas Pouille or Nick Kyrgios in the fourth round or Stan Wawrinka in the quarters.

Nadal has the possibility of meeting rising Russian Khachanov in round 3, Muller in the round of sixteen, and either Nishikori or Cilic in a quarter final.

Federer could be clearing hurdles of awkward Dolgopolov first up, Mischa Zverev in the third round, Dimitrov in the fourth round and Raonic in the quarters.

Djokovic faces del Potro in the third round if the draw goes to plan and if he manages that challenge it could well be Monfils in the fourth round, a replay of the Eastbourne final last week.
A quarter final against Dominic Thiem is on the cards.

I suspect we could see a replay of the 2011 final - Novak Djokovic v Rafa Nadal.

Novak appears to have his mojo back and that is a danger sign for anyone drawn to play him.
While it has been clay that has enabled Nadal to display his dominance in 2017, no one can deny his capability to win on grass.  Hot form should give him confidence to make another Wimbledon final.

No Serena Williams, but a brilliant field nevertheless fighting for the women's crown.

Karolina Pliskova has put her hand up by starring at Eastbourne, taking the title in a great match against Caroline Wozniacki, who also has real claims to a fine Wimbledon.
Pliskova is drawn to meet Shuai Zhang in round three, before a tough fourth round encounter with Kiki Mladenovic.
Should she survive those the quarter final will probably be against Wozniacki, the player she conquered in the Eastbourne finale.

Petra Kvitova is a dual Wimbledon champion, and despite her limited lead up, she has won Birminpham and is worthy of being one of the top fancies.
To win through to another final she would likely need to defeat Garcia or Cepelova in round three and Johanna Konta, the sixth seed, in round four.

A quarter final would possibly be contested against second seed Simona Halep and the semi opponent could be fourth seed Elina Svitolina.
Svitolina has a tough opener, playing unseeded Ash Barty, who stretched Kvitova to three sets in the recent Birmingham final.

Top seed Kerber is a doubtful quantity, out of touch lately, although she played better tennis in Eastbourne making the quarters.
The draw isn't friendly, possible opponents Flipkens in the second round, Safarova third round (both former semi finalists), Muguruza in fourth round (2015 runner up) and two time Grand Slam winner Sveta Kuznetsova in the quarters.

If Angie makes it through all that, she likely would run into serving powerhouse Pliskova.

I am predicting an all Czech final between Karolina Ploskova and Petra Kvitova, but with no great conviction.
Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko should not be left out of consideration.
Neither should a number of other players including Mladenovic, Muguruza, Konta (if fully fit) and vintage Venus Williams.

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