Wimbledon 2015 is about to kick off from tomorrow. It is the oldest surviving tennis tournament in the world and is the Mecca for all tennis players across the world. Whether it is due to the sacred tradition, pristine lawns or the aura of royalty, Wimbledon will always be the sport’s grandest stage.
All eyes will be on Serena Williams & “Serena Slam”. Serena Williams is in the form of her life, yet again! The World No. 1 is 32-1 this season so far and is poised to win a second Serena Slam (holding all four Grand Slams at the same time). She did it for the first time between the 2002 French Open to 2003 Australian Open.
Petra Kvitova can challenge Serena on the grass courts of Wimbledon. The Czech is the only player to have beaten Serena this year – in Madrid Masters. The defending champion has reached quarterfinals or better in each of her last five appearances here.
Petra & Serena Williams have lifted themselves about the rest of the field at the All England Club in recent years. Serena won it in 2009, 2010, and 2012; Petra won it in 2011 and 2014 (Marion Bartoli won the title in 2013). The question, as we preview the draw, is whether anyone can come between them in 2015.
1st Quarter – SERENA WILLIAMS (1)
Serena makes us believe that she is not worried about the Serena Slam or the Calendar-year Grand Slam? She may be true in her own right. Serena’s always determined to win a major and the next one promises to add another historic chapter in her already glittering career. The pressure is all on her to win at SW19.
But at Wimbledon it is hardly a lock for her to win the title; she last won the title in 2012 and lost to Sabine Lisicki in 2013 and Alize Cornet last year. She’s coming off a 3rd Roland Garros title but the road to the title was full of bottlenecks. She may possibly pay the price for being sloppy or sluggish at times or even fail to recover from a mid match crisis.
Serena’s quarter includes Dominika Cibulkova or Caroline Garcia whom she could face in the 3R. The 5-time champion has a tough road ahead as she could face her sister Venus (5-time champion) in the 4R. Serena also could face Ana Ivanovic, Carla Suarez Navarro or Victoria Azarenka in the QF.
While Serena is expected to breeze into the SF, it will definitely be a surprise if she is not pushed to the brink atleast once before her last 4 match. The Venus-Serena showdown promises to be a cracker and should bring out the best in both the sisters. Expect Serena to reach the SF and push towards greatness from there on.
Sleeper: Belinda Bencic – recently crowned Eastbourne Champion (her 1st WTA title), and slated to meet Ivanovic in the third round.
SF: Serena Williams (1)
2nd Quarter – MARIA SHARAPOVA (4) & LUCIE SAFAROVA (6)
As odd as it is to see Kvitova’s name at the bottom of the draw, it’s just as strange to have Maria Sharapova’s pop up a quarter of the way down. She’s the No. 4 seed this time, and the top seed in this section. The only difference, perhaps, is that she’s supposed to face Serena in the semis rather than the final.
Getting there won’t be easy. Sharapova won this event at 17, but has returned to the final just once, in 2011. She’ll start against Johanna Konta, a British wild card who had a nice run in Eastbourne this week. Also near Sharapova are Daria Gavrilova, who beat her earlier this year in Miami; Flavia Pennetta, who beat her in Indian Wells; and 14th seed Andrea Petkovic, who beat her at the Australian Open four years ago. The second-highest-seed in this section, Lucie Safarova, beat Sharapova in Paris earlier this month.
Which leads us to our next question: Is this the tournament where Safarova begins to feel the weight of an expectation or two on her shoulders? The French Open finalist and new member of the Top 10 has SF points to defend at Wimbledon. She’ll open against a decent grass-courter in Alison Riske, could play either Barbora Strycova or Sloane Stephens in the third round, and is scheduled to face Karolina Pliskova in the round of 16.
Sleeper: Karolina Pliskova – lost the final in Birmingham to Kerber.
SF: Lucie Safarova (6)
3rd Quarter – SIMONA HALEP (3) & CAROLINE WOZNIACKI (5)
The top two seeds in this section, Simona Halep and Caroline Wozniacki, would appear to be vulnerable. Halep went out early at the French Open and has had a coaching shake-up, while Wozniacki retired in Eastbourne on Friday with a back issue.
And there’s plenty of ball-striking talent here to pick up their slack. Former finalist Sabine Lisicki, French Open semifinalist Timea Bacsinszky, and two-time Slam champ Svetlana Kuznetsova are on Halep’s side. On Wozniacki’s, there’s Garbine Muguruza, and Birmingham champ and former Wimbledon semifinalist Angelique Kerber.
Sleeper: Sabine Lisicki, the 2013 finalist & 2015 French Open SF Timea Bacsinszky.
SF: Angelique Kerber (10)
4th Quarter – PETRA KVITOVA (2)
How is the state of Kvitova’s health? She pulled out of Eastbourne citing a virus, but she’s practicing at what appears to be full speed at Wimbledon. That’s not a good sign for her opponents. As we know from her lightning runs to the title here in 2011 and 2014, this is her fortnight.
Can anyone in Kvitova’s quarter cut it short? She’ll open against Kiki Bertens; the first seed she could play is Jelena Jankovic, and there are several quality names scattered around the section: Ekaterina Makarova, Elina Svitolina, 2014 finalist Eugenie Bouchard, 2012 finalist Agnieszka Radwanska, and Madison Keys, a grass lover—or at least liker—who beat Kvitova in Australia this year.
Keys lost early and badly in Eastbourne, but maybe that’s not such a bad thing. Expectations have been lowered, which is how American players seem to like it these days.
Sleeper: Madison Keys & Agnieszka Radwanska (2012 Wimbledon Finalist). Is Aga finally ready to rebound? She’s reached the Eastbourne Final losing to Belinda Bencic.
SF: Petra Kvitova (2)
Williams vs Safarova
Kvitova vs Kerber
Williams vs Kvitova
Winner – Kvitova