Saturday, June 21, 2008

Maybe they should rename it the Venus 'Williams' Plate (Wimbledon women's quarterfinal predictions)

It doesn't matter if she hasn't come within a mile of even making a final this year: When it gets around Wimbledon time, you'd have to be hard-pressed to go against Venus Williams winning. Everything's all good when she gets on the grass, and that's why I'm going with her to win her fifth title. And I'm expecting her to play a pretty familiar foe in the finals. Here's how I see the draw breaking down, from the quarterfinals on:

Ana Ivanovic (1) vs. Anna Chakvetadze (8): Ivanovic, heading into her first tournament as the number-one player in the world, should have no trouble getting to the quarters, even though she hasn't played since the French. I had a lot of trouble looking at the other section of this quarter because the high seeds in it, Chakvetadze and Nicole Vaidisova, haven't been exactly lighting the world on fire. I'm going with Chakvetadze because her route to the round of 16 isn't as perilous as who could emerge from Patty Schnyder's section: Watch out for Samantha Stosur, Casey Dellacqua and a player that while she hasn't done much on grass at all could still be dangerous: Akgul Amanmuradova. But it doesn't matter if Ivanovic had been off for months: With this draw she shouldn't break a sweat to this point. And I'm expecting her to get through this one pretty easily.

Agnieska Radwanska (14) vs. Serena Williams (5): Radwanska, this past weekend's champ in Eastbourne, has been one of the most consistent performers on tour this year. I'm expecting her to emerge from Svetlana Kuznetsova's portion of the draw, as I'm tapping one of the Bondarenko sisters to knock out the number-four seed in the second or third round. Williams has an intriguing possible third-rounder against Amelie Mauresmo, like her, another former champ, but she should be OK getting to the quarters. Serena could be forced by Radwanska, but her experience at this stage of a major will definitely get her through.

Dinara Safina (9) vs. Maria Sharapova (2): OK, I've admitted time and again that maybe I was wrong about Safina and she does have the goods. Her section of the draw is kind of tricky because anyone could emerge from it as the only grasser there is Lindsay Davenport. But Ma Davenport hasn't played since I can't even begin to remember when and could get knocked out by Elena Dementieva, the five seed, in the third round. In a Safina-Dementieva fourth-rounder, I think Dinara will just have too much firepower. There's not too much to say about Sharapova's section: She should coast, unless Ordina Open finalist Nadia Petrova could give her some trouble in the fourth round. Sharapova gets her revenge for that French meltdown here.

Venus Williams (7) vs. Jelena Jankovic (2): Well, it's obvious what I think about Venus getting this far as I'm picking her to win the whole shebang! If Sania Mirza can make it to the third round, with that big forehand of hers, she could give Venus a little bit of a match. There's a couple of players that can give Jankovic a match early, like Caroline Wozniacki, Vera Zvonareva or veteran Tamarine Tanasugarn, but she'll come through. Venus makes her first big statement of the tournament by taking this one.

For the semis:
Ivanovic vs. Serena Williams: She's definitely cooled off from her hot streak a few months ago, but I just think Serena is a better grasser than Ivanovic. If her head's in it, she can take her in three. Ivanovic won't go down without a fight, but down she will go.

Sharapova vs. Venus Williams: I don't know what happens to Sharapova when she faces a Williams late in a Major, but things generally don't work out for her. I'm not expecting them to this time either. Venus in straights.

For the final:
Serena Williams vs. Venus Williams: Most people think Serena's the better player of the two, but on grass, I just don't see it, even though Venus lost their previous two final matchups. Third time's the charm for her as she nabs her fifth Venus Rosewater dish. (or "Williams" dish!)

(Photos: Venus, BBC; All others: Getty Images)


IHeartRafa said...

It is just not exciting this year in the women side of the draw... without any rivalries on the WTA tour, it is just another weekly tournament. I was rooting for Venus last year because of her low seeding, and also because I have been a fan of her, but this year I just don't see her winning this title. It is a year ended in an even digit, so she is supposed to get knocked out in the early rounds. (My friend pointed out that she did win in 2000, but that was last century).

Ivanovic is not proven on grass, but her serves and forehands should be two weapons that can beat anyone on grass. But I just don't see her winning two majors back to back.

Jelena. I love her. But her weak serves would prevent her from winning her first major.... unless she meets Diementieva in the final. Or may be not. It will be 19 17 in the third set with 50 break of serves.

Serena. Might be the winner, but only if she can control her weight. Sorry, I think she needs to have breast reduction after seeing her in that dress last Thursday. Or at least gets on Jenny Craig. Am I a sexist? No. I am just speaking out my mind. 30 pounts of weight loss would do her good.

Sharapova. Hmm. How is your shoulder, Miss Sony Ericcson, who did some serious-not-tournament related-advertiser sponsored works two days before the tournament starts. I guess she got paid big time for her time so it was okay for her to get distracted. Anyway, If she is injury free, and serves as good as she did in Melbourne at the beginning of the year without any shoulder problem, I think she is going to be a two time Wimbledon champion comes Sat July 12?

Venus. See first paragraph. No, actually, more. She is not well prepared (okay, okay, she was ranked 31 and she won it. I heard the story before). But I think she has some hidden problems that the public is not allowed to know the details. I want to know what stopped her from playing in March , April and May (except one tournament in Rome).

Safina... I wanted to bring her into the mix with her form lately, but then she misteriuosly lost to Tanasugarn yesterday.... so, never mind.

So my pick is Serena vs Sharapova in the final.

Sharapova wins the title.

hmmm, let's get back to the men's draw......more interesting there.

hcfoo said...

You know what? I think the Williams sisters are still favourite to win despite their lack of performance. But the Serbian girls are certainly going to dominate.

Naf said...

I agree with iheartrafa. I know I'm way more excited about the men. There's no consistency, no rivalries, no drama.

van said...

Hey everyone. There's definitely a better storyline going on with the men. I didn't think I would say this, but I think with Henin gone, the women's game is definitely missing something. I think there'll be a lot of flipflopping at the top of the rankings.

I might have to rethink my call on Serena making it that far after yesterday, but I'm sticking by Venus. I would like Maria's chances better, iheartrafa, if she were away from the sisters on the WAY to the final. Beating both of them back to back is kind of tough, but she has played a lot more this year than both of them, so who knows?