Easy way out prediction 2.0 – Wimbledon

Because of the relative success of my last attempt of predictions I have returned to shine my all knowing light on the subject of slam quarterfinals, this time Wimbledon. And with the guarantee of a maiden slam finalist come Saturday the top off gets interesting as pressure mounts on the bottom half of the draw.

QF number 1

Contenders – 15th seed Sabine Lisicki vs 8th seed Angie Kerber
H2H – 4-0 Kerber’s favor (last meeting in Doha, won 4-6 6-4 6-1, includes victory on grass)
Best Wimbledon Showing – This years QF for Kerber, SF last year for Sabine
Predictions – In order to win Sabine will need to not only emulate her form from last round but then some as well, Kerber is more consistent than Sharapova and plays with more variety and better defense. I can only see one result here and that is Kerber being too strong in the end.

QF number 2

Contenders – 3rd seed Aga Radwanska takes on 17th seed Maria Kirilenko
H2H – 5-2 Radwanska (last meeting Miami 2011, 7-6 6-3)
Best Wimbledon Showing – QF in 2008, 2009 and this year for Radwanska and this years QF for Kiri
Predictions – Interestingly enough in the only match that the pair have played at a slam, Kirilenko won, it may have been in 2009 but it still happened and these things often play on players minds. The grass could suit Kirilenko’s game better, especially taking into account the aggressiveness she has played with this week. I think Aga will win ultimately in three sets to make her first ever slam SF.

QF number 3

Contenders – Serena Williams vs Petra Kvitova
H2H – 2-0 Williams (Last match won by Serena in the 2010 semi final here)
Best Wimbledon Showing – Wins in 2002, 03, 09 and 10 for Serena and a win last year for Petra
Prediction – Kind of irrelevant now that the match is halfway through (I left in a hurry and forgot to hit ‘publish post’ :() For the record I had Petra winning under the roof and if the roof was off I had Serena winning

QF number 3

Contenders – 2nd seed Victoria Azarenka vs unseeded Tamria Paszek
H2H – 2-0 Azarenka (last meeting in the QF last year at Wimbledon)
Best Wimbledon Showing – Both last year with a semi for Vika and a QF for Paszek
Prediction – It should be much tougher than last years match but I would be expecting Victoria to get through in three sets.

Kerber def Radwanska
Williams/Kvitova def Azarenka

If you can see where I am going with this the winner of Serena vs Petra will win the whole damn thing, who will it be? Just need to hang on tight and wait to find out :p


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Kerber, Lisicki to play in all German quarter final

Many were anticipating the quarter final match between Maria Sharapova and Kim Clijsters, and many seemed to have overlooked the grass court abilities of Sabine Lisicki and the talent on all surfaces and the form of Angelique Kerber. The Germans handily defeated their favoured opponents on a day which tridtionally is becoming the day where the favourites struggle.

Last year on the second Monday it was Wozniacki, Serena and Venus who were sent packing and this year it was Sharapova and Clijsters while Serena and Petra bothed struggled in their matches.

Coming into the Championships Sabine Lisicki had not won a match since April and sturggled to back up her run to the semi finals here last year, that was until she stepped foot onto the Wimbledon grass, the grass which seems to inspire her to actually play to her abilities.

Having lost of her three previous meeting with Sharapova, including last years Wimbledon semi, Lisicki was very much the underdog against the world number one. Lisicki however quickly took advantage of the French Open champions errors to get an early break and race ahead 5-2 in the opener. Sharapova showed resistance but was unable to combat the punishing ground strokes of her opponent as the 15th seed took the first set 6-4.

Just like the first set Lisicki got the early break and soared to a 5-2 lead. While she was expected to buckle under the pressure of serving for the match Lisicki was clutch when she needed to be rounding out the 6-4 6-3 victory with a second serve ace.

In the quarters Lisicki will face off against her compatriot Angie Kerber who flew under the radar to demolish Kim Clijsters 6-1 6-1 in what is more than likely to be Clijsters last showing at Wimbledon.

While the match is an upset it terms of name its not in terms of numbers, being just her second tournament since March, Clijsters should still be able to approach the Olympic Game with the confidence to succeed.

One of the most anticipated match ups in women’s tennis has been delivered to us but not in the manner of which we would have assumed. Serena Williams and Petra Kvitova both struggled in their round of 16 matched but prevailed in the end. Serena played her best set of tennis since Madrid in the opening set winning it 6-1 before Yaroslava Shvedova fought back to level the match with experience prevailing in the end 6-1 2-6 7-5. Kvitova had to find away back from a set and a break down before prevailing 4-6 7-5 6-1.

Other 4th round matches saw Victoria Azarenka, Tamira Paszek and Agnieszka Radwanska all advance with ease.

I would also like to point out that since I started my draw analysis/predctions things back for the 2011 Australian Open this is my best effort successfully picking 5 out of 8 quarter finalist 😛 Lucinda’s predictions are on their way 😉

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Slava’s Golden Set

It took Kazakh wild card Yaroslava Shvedova just 15 minutes to win the opening set of her third round match at the All England Club. It marks the first ever ‘Golden Set’ accomplished at a grand slam tournament.

Shvedova, who is coming off of a quarter final appearance at Roland Garros, was untouchable in the first set with four aces amongst her 14 winners  and only benefited from one unforced error from her opponent in the 24 points won. The only stat area where Errani won out was first serves in, however even with her first serve going in she was unable to win a point.

The second set, in true WTA style, saw Errani grab an early break. Shvedova, despite not as devastating as the opening set managed to break back and prevail to victory 6-0 6-4.

Shvedova is the third player to achieve a Golden Set and the first person to do so since 1983.

In the fourth round Yaroslava will play four times champion Serena Williams who could not have found a more different way past the third round. Playng against 2008 semi finalist Zheng Jie, who seems to always up the ante against Serena, the match promised much and delivered more.

The first set saw no breaks of service as it was pushed to a tie breaker in the blustery Centre Court conditions. Zheng played a dominate tie breaker, testing Williams with her consistency and slower ground strokes, taking control of the rallies and an upset looked likely.

Frustrated, Serena Williams dropped the first six points of the second set, sending shots firing into the backstops before composing her self to win the second with two service breaks, 6-2.

Having not broken Williams in the match and with no third set tiebreaker Zheng new the task ahead of her. Serena, unlike her previous grand slam performances rose to the challenge and did not buckle under pressure. Serving to stay in the match at 4-5, 5-6 and again at 6-7 Williams did what shed best and served her way out, holding to love on each occasion. The classic match ended with Serena winning the third 9-7 and also saw Serena serve a record of 24 aces in a women’s tennis match, the previous record was 22 by Kaia Kanepi.

All round of 16 matches will be played on Monday as the tradition of no play on middle Sunday continues.

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Strawberries, cream, pimms…and maybe some tennis: 2012 Wimbledon Draw

The 2012 Wimbledon draw is one of the most wide open in recent times, especially with looming players like Kim Clijsters and Venus Williams still able to cause some damage! It also marks the first time that Maria Sharapova, Roland Garros Champion, will be top seed at the championships. With out further adeu, the predictions the tennis world waits for…

First Quarter

Maria Sharapova should begin her campaign with relative ease but from there could face challenges as early as Pironkova in the 2nd round and Niculescu, who’s slice and bag of tricks could favour her on a grass court. Out of form Sabine Lisicki is seeded to play Sharapova in the round of 16 but would need to lift her game significantly to get to that stage and avoid early upset, and Petra Cetovska is a more likely 4th round opponent for the 2004 champion. In the quarterfinal stage Sharapova’s opponent could be nearly anyone from a long list of capable players, including Kim Clijsters, Angie Kerber, Christina McHale and others. The most likely senario is that it comes down to the round of 16 battle between Kerber and Clijsters, who will be player her final Championships.

Round 1 Matches to Watch: Stephens vs Karo Pliskova, Clijsters vs Jankovic.
Potential Upsets: Martic over Lisicki, Barthel over Zvonareva, Hradecka (serving well) over Kerber.
Predicted QF: [1] Maria Sharapova vs [8] Angie Kerber

Second Quarter

The second quarter is probably the most open of the draw with Aga Radwanska, Venus Williams, Hantuchova, Petrova, Li Na and Kirilenko all tying for and capable of reaching the semis. The intreguing match up is the potential second clash, and rematch of Roland Garros round 2, between Venus Williams and Agnieszka Radwanska, Radwanska was an easy winner in Paris but on grass, on Venus’ terms things could be very different. Melaine Oudin, Birmingham winner, has been given a nice draw, except for the 2nd round match with Den Bosch winner Nadia Petrova, the winner likely to advance to the round of 16. In the bottom half of the this quarter Aussie Jarmila Gajdosova could make the second week if she plays her game, and cards right, with an admittedly easy draw, injured and out of form Peng Shuai and Sam Stosur, who hasn’t won a match at Wimbledon since 2009, are the seeds standing in her way.

Round 1 Matches to Watch: Radwanska vs Rybarikova, Hampton vs Hantuchova.
Potential Upsets: Suarez Navarro over
 Stosur, Giorgi over Pennetta. 

Predicted QF: [3] Agnieszka Radwanska vs [11] Li Na

Third Quarter

The third quarter promises one of the most anticipated match ups for a long, long time: Serena Williams vs Petra Kvitova on grass at Wimbledon. If Serena is serving well, like she was in Madrid, I can see her holding up her end of bargain and basically the same thing can be said about Kvitova, Cibulkova could pose a challenge in the round of 16 but Kvitova should still advance through.

Round 1 Matches to Watch: Scheepers vs Shvedova, Safarova vs Bertens Pavlyuchenkova vs Arvidsson
Potential Upsets: Robson over Schiavone, Vandeweghe over Errani, Dubois over Zheng
Predicted QF: [6] Serena Williams vs [4] Petra Kvitova

Fourth Quarter 

The fourth quarter appears very interesting at first glance with the potential for upsets all over the draw, and lots of interesting matches which we could be fortunate to see. Eastbourne winner Timea Paszek could easily trouble the out of sorts seventh seed Caroline Wozniacki in the opening round and the draw is very open in this section. In the lower section there is vetran of the game Kimiko Date Krumm who pushed Venus Williams to 8-6 in the third last year in the 2nd round, and I predicted Kimiko to make an impact on grass this year, and while I believe it will come at the olympics and can see her make round four here, to face Victoria Azarenka.

Round 1 Matches to Watch: Ula Radwanska vs Erakovic, Dellaqua vs Bartoli, Vinci vs Barty
Potential Upsets: Paszek over Wozniacki, Wickmayer over Kuznetsova, Martinez Sanchez over Ivanovic
Predicted QF: Ula Radwanska vs [2] Victoria Azarenka 


 [1] Maria Sharapova vs [8] Angie Kerber
 Kerber to give Sharapova the fright of her life for a set and a half before crumbling in three, I’m feeling an 8-6 or more in third job.

[3] Agnieszka Radwanska vs [11] Li Na
In theory the power of Li Na should be able to hit through the Radwanska defence on grass, after a tight firset set Li will power home, something like 7-6 6-1.

[6] Serena Williams vs [4] Petra Kvitova
Anything less that a three set, four hour, tennis display of power and skill would be a disappointment in my books I think Kvitova will snatch victory in a three set epic!

Ula Radwanska vs [2] Victoria Azarenka
I always have to have one random quarter finalist don’t I, Vika to get it done like her semi last year.


[1] Maria Sharapova vs [11] Li Na
#TeamLi its what me heart says, two tight sets for Li Na!

[4] Petra Kvitova vs [2] Victoria Azarenka
A reply of last years semi, a different result in my books. Vika will be super hungry, especially knowing she can get the top ranking back and I think Petra will be a tad too nervous and possibly warn out mentally and physically after taking out Serena Williams. So   I’m think Vika in three this time.


[11] Li Na vs [2] Victoria Azarenka
It’s quite hard to call isn’t it? And we all know how bad my gut is at making these calls…So i flipped a coin, Heads it was Li to win, Tails Vika to win. And all be revealed… 😛

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Kaia Kanepi to miss Wimbledon

Estonian Kaia Kanepi will miss this years Wimbledon Championships in order to rehabilitate an ankle injury. Kanepi, who has been inform all season picking up two titles and a Roland Garros quarter final, will end her run of 25 consecutive Grand Slam tournaments played by missing Wimbledon.

Rehabilitation will take up to four weeks to heel the pain in her ankles which started after the tournament in Estroli, last month.

“We made some pictures of my heels and the situation is that I have to take a break,” Kanepi said.

“This means that I have to skip Wimbledon this year. We will see how the treatment goes. I can still practice to some extent. With full practices I can start when the heels are cured.”

Kanepi will update her fans in three to four week on her official website and is still hopeful that she will be able to participate in the Olympic Games, held in London.

Its very disheartening to see a player of Kanepi’s talent and ability always seem to succumb to injury once she hits form again. We wish her a speedy recover and hope to see her playing at the Olympics!

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The Curious Case of the Wimbledon seeding

Wimbledon has forever written its on book when it comes to seedings at their championships, often moving players up and down on credentials on grass and history at the tournament. 2012 could prove one of the most difficult years from Wimbledon when they come to releasing their seeds. Should Venus Williams and Kim Clijsters be seeded for the Championships? What about grass court specialist Tsvetana Pironkova? Should Serena Williams be elevated to a top four seed? And where do they place the seemingly out of form Petra Kvitova?

The first and biggest question is regarding Venus Williams and Kim Clijsters. Do either deserve a seeded position? In my honest opinion Venus Williams should definitely be seeded, at either 16 or 24, most likely 24, just on the simple fact that Venus has five Wimbledon titles to her name. But what about Clijsters? The closet she came to a Venus Rosewater Dish was two semi finals (2003 and 2006), she hasn’t played since Indian Wells is probably less deserving of a seeded position but you can’t exactly seed one but not the other, I think giving Kim the 32nd seed would be fair, unless Venus is at 16 then it that case Kim should be seeded 24th.

Four time champion Serena Williams was given a top 8 seeded in her return to Wimbledon last year, after a years absence from the tour, and her performances in Charleston and Madrid, especially Madrid which is basically a blue grass court, would indicate that she deserves a top four seeding. But that would result in demotion of defending champ Petra Kvitova to the 5th seed position, which really wouldn’t make any sense. And If you want to keep Serena and Petra in the top 4 that would mean dropping Agnieszka Radwanska, world number three, outside of the top four.  Perhaps based on recent Wimbledon history having the top four seeds as Sharapova, Azarenka, Kvtiova and Williams wouldn’t be so unfair after all, and would challenge Radwanska to make her first slam semi final.

What about Tsvetana Pironkova? 2010 Wimbledon semi finalist and 2011 Wimbledon quarter finalist, defeating Venus Williams on both occasions. Pironkova seems to be a two week player, only showing up for the grass season and do her performances from 2010 and 2011 warrant seeding?

And the there are other players who could be promoted on Wimbledon peformances, like 2007 finalist Marion Bartoli, currently sitting in eighth spot and then there is last years semi finalist Sabine Lisicki, who could be seeded at 15, but also has shown that her game clicks on grass.

I know for sure that I don’t envy the jobs of those who need to decide on seedings, and surely this is the toughest seeding list that they will ever have to do.

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The moment everyone has been waiting for. My cheating predictions.

Some would argue that these are not real predictions, that I am taking the easy way out, I am not brave enough to predict a full draw break down from day one round one. And I tend to agree, so in the interest of my dignity I have decided to make my predictions from here, the quarterfinal, right up until that final day where the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen will be raised by some one and there is a 63% chance that that person will be lifting the a slam trophy for the very first time.

Quarterfinal number one

The contenders – 6th seed Sam Stosur vs pocket rocket 15th seed Dominika Cibulkova
The head to head – 1-0 Stosur. (6-4 6-3 victory in Stanford 2009)
Their best RG result – Stosur, finalist (2010), Cibulkova, semifinalist (2009)
The prediction – If weather conditions remain as the have for the last two days, wet and windy, the fearless Cibulkova could pull out the win in three. Stosur strives on being the underdog, and moments after Cibulkova took down top seeded Azarenka, Stosur became the favorite to advance to the final from the bottom half and looked shaky against American teenager, Sloane Stephens. Both ladies toughest opponent will be their mentality. Cibulkova in three.

Quarterfinal number two

The contenders – 10th seeded German, Angelique Kerber takes on 21st seeded Italian, Sara Errani
The head to head – 1-0 Kerber. (6-1 6-2 victory in Hobart this year)
Their best RG result – Both are enjoying their best run at Roland Garros, making the quarterfinal.
The prediction – Kerber has look lost on clay at times during the week and admittedly it is her worst surface, Errani has be stellar on clay in 2012, winning three titles (Acapulco, Barcelona and Budapest) on the surface, and should bode well for her. The biggest difference is that Angie has won a slam quarter final before (2011 US Open) while Errani lost her only other slam quarter final (2012 AO), nerves could very well be the deciding factor and her superior mental strength could see Kerber prevail in the encounter gets pushed to a deciding set. Errani in twoOR Kerber in three 😛

Quarterfinal number three

The contenders – Qualifier Yaroslava Shvedova versus fourth seed Petra Kvitova
The head to head – This will be the firt meeting between the two
Their best RG result – Shvedova in in her second Roland Garros quarterfinal the previous one coming in 2012 while this is Kvitova’s first ever appearance in the quarters of Roland Garros.
The prediction – Kvitova, arguably the most talented and purist ball striker of the younger generation has been having modest results, for her standards, all year. Howeer  think in the battle Kvitova’s superiror hitting should be too much the 24-year-old Kzak on the comeback trail from injury. Kvitova in two.

Quarterfinal number four

The contenders – 23rd seed Kaia Kanepi vs second seed Maria Sharapova
The head to head- This will also be the first meeting between these two power hitters
Their best RG result – Kanepi reached the quarterfinal in 2008 as well while Sharapova is a dual semifinalist (2007 and 2011)
The prediction – Similar to the first quarterfinal, the weather is a huge factor in this result, as his both players mental strength and Sharapova’s wrist. Maria appeared to develop a wrist injury in her fourth round marathon with Klara Zakapolova,where she appeared to struggle with the pressures of being the overwhelming favorite for the title and the prospect of completing a carrer grand slam. Kanepi would have to be one of the mentally weakest players on the tour, as she choked not once but twice against her third round opponent, Caroline Wozniacki, letting slide a 6-1 5-1 lead, pulling through in an ugly three setter, and is notorious for her ability, or lack of it, in closing out matches, especially big ones – Wimbledon 2010 quarterfinal flashback! I think it ultimately comes down to what will hamper them more? Sharapova’s wrist and and the pressure of being such a huge favorite and completing her “Shara Slam” or Kanepi’s fragile mentality. Kaia in three.

The semis

Sara Errani def Dominika Cibulkova
Petra Kvitova def Kaia Kanepi

The final

If we use our trust Who Will Win Roland Garros formula for the past few years of Pretty much random player def solid, title favorite = eventual slump then we should see Errani play the match of her life, because the french open is random like that, thanks 2008 Justine.

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