Friday, June 20, 2014

Where's Luck when you need it?

Avon probably needs to cook up a pre-release sample of its new Maria Sharapova fragrance, Luck.
The Russian could use some, because she sure hasn't gotten any from the Wimbledon draw. Sharapova is in the same quarter as--who else?!--Serena Williams. Should they both survive until the quarterfinals, there'll be yet another Major Obstacle to Sharapova's winning a second Wimbledon title.

I say "should they both survive" because anything can happen. Genie Bouchard is lurking in that quarter (and could possibly get a challenge from Daniela Hantuchova, who, when she's "on," can still do some damage). It's a tough quarter. Petra Cetkovska likes grass, and she's there, and so are Kirsten Flipkens and Tamira Paszek--who have to play each other in the first round. Paszek qualified for the main draw--yet again--and will have her work cut out for her with the Belgian. And to make things a lot more complicated, Angelique Kerber is in that quarter, too. Some quarter.

The second quarter is anchored by Simona Halep and Jelena Jankovic, and includes upset specialist Sorana Cirstea, teen stars Belinda Bencic and Donna Vekic, former finalist Vera Zvonareva, Ana Ivanovic, Zheng Jie, and 2013 finalist Sabine Lisicki. Lisicki, by the way, is no longer being coached by Martina Hingis. This quarter is also packed with promising young players from the USA--Vicky Duval, Taylor Townsend and Madison Keys. Townsend and Keys, in fact, may have to play each other in the second round, and that could be intense.

In the next quarter, we have 2012 finalist Aga Radwanska. Victoria Azarenka is in that quarter, too, but it isn't realistic to expect too much of her at this point, and especially on grass. But that doesn't mean that life will be easy for Radwanska. The Bulgarian Woman of Mystery is there, and we know how Pironkova loves Wimbledon.

Also a factor is Ekaterina Makarova, but she doesn't have an easy draw. The Russian gets Kimiko Date-Krumm right off, and if she survives that, she's likely to have to face Elina Svitolina. A win against Svitolina puts her head-to-head against the BWOM in the third round. There's a good chance that Pironkova and Radwanska will meet. Radwanska beat Pironkova 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 last year in the round of 16.

Finally, there's the "I dare you to predict this" quarter, which features both 2011 Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova and Li Na. A wild ride, that. Five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams makes an appearance in this quarter, as do Maria Kirilenko, Sloane Stephens, Flavia Pennetta, Caroline Wozniacki, and a few other players who especially like grass courts. Kirilenko and Stephens face each other in the first round, and should the pre-injury Kirilenko show up, it could be interesting.

Sam Stosur is in this quarter, too, but it's hard to think she'll get very far. She starts against Yanina Wickmayer, and then could run into problems against Marina Erakovic. Wozniacki is then most likely to stand in Stosur's path, should the Australian make it past grass-loving Erakovic.

I said that the four women who could win the French Open were Simona Halep, Li Na, Maria Sharapova, and Serena Williams. Interestingly, two of them went out early, and the other two played in the final. The women I think are most capable of winning Wimbledon (again, in alphabetical order) are Halep, Kvitova, Radwanska, Sharapova, and Williams.

Halep is "iffy" because of her injury status. Sharapova is more than iffy against Williams in the quarterfinals. Kvitova's middle name should be Iffy. Still, these are all players who have what it takes to win the only major played on grass. (In theory, Lisicki has what it takes, but I don't see her winning.)

There are four former Wimbledon champions in the draw--Venus Williams (five times), Serena Williams (five times), Kvitova (once), and Sharapova (once).

Wild Cards

Silvia Soler-Espinosa
Samantha Murray (drew Sharapova in the first round)
Vera Zvonareva (2010 runner-up)
Tara Moore
Taylor Townsend
Kristyna Pliskova (2010 junior champion)
Jarmila Gajdosova
Naomi Broady

Tamira Paszek
Tamea Bacsinszky
Lesia Tsurenko
Victoria Duval
Tereza Smitkova
Aleksandra Wozniak
Michelle Larcher De Brito (upset Sharapova in 2013 2nd round)
Anett Kontaviet
Andrea Mitu
Ana Konjuh
Alla Kudryavtseva
Paula Kania


Anonymous said...

Two girls with big serves win on grass!! Go Coco! Go Madison!

Diane said...

Two players from the USA, too. What a week. Does this mean that Coco is finally getting it together (I'm not worried about Madison--she has it together)?