Wimbledon: Ladies’ quarter-finals day

28 Jun

Manic Monday has come-and-gone, and with both Williams’s and Caroline Wozniacki being losers on the day, the ladies’ quarter-final line-up at Wimbledon is quite different from what is was expected to be just 24 hours ago. Only three of the players seeded to reach to the quarters did so successfully, with the fourth seed, Victoria Azarenka, fifth seed Maria Sharapova and eighth seed, Petra Kvitova all moving through with relative ease.

Sabine Lisicki, who gained entry into Wimbledon 2011 by virtue of a wildcard, has been playing some excellent tennis on the grass which she seems to favour. Tsvetana Pironkova seems to only be capable of hitting the ball well on grass, with her performance outside of the grass court season being quite dismal for a Wimbledon semi-finalist. Ninth seed, Marion Bartoli is now 9 and 0 for the grass court season; she was touted as a dark horse for the title prior to the tournament starting by many who dabble in the precarious business of predicting winners. She has lived up to this billing, and has been impressive throughout Wimbledon. The other players through to the quarters are Dominika Cibulkova, who took out seeded players Julia Goerges and Caroline Wozniacki in consecutive matches and the Austrian player, Tamira Paszek.

 Quarter-Final 1: Dominika Cibulkova vs. Maria Sharapova

The form player versus the only grand slam champion remaining in the draw. Both these ladies are very capable of hitting the ball at great pace. The match will largely be on Sharapova’s racket. Her ability to hit first serves would greatly favour her to win, whereas if her dimunitive opponent got the opportunity to step in on many second serves, the unseeded player could yet extend her run. Sharapova will however be very motivated to win and is thus likely to maintain her favourite status with a victory over the battle ravaged Cibulkova who has played (and won) several tough three set matches at the Championships in the past week.

 The winner: Sharapova in three.

 Quarter-Final 2: Sabine Lisicki vs. Marion Bartoli

 Both ladies are brilliant tennis players, particularly on grass courts it seems. I expect this match to be a high quality affair with some great ball hitting if the conditions favour it. If the ball hitting is less than excellent, Bartoli’s Ninja style of play will serve to stimulate your mind and entertain. Either lady is likely to have chances to win this match; it ought to be decided by whoever’s resolve is greatest.

 The winner: Bartoli in three.

 Quarter-Final 3: Victoria Azarenka vs. Tamira Paszek.

 Paszek’s progress at Wimbledon has gone largely unnoticed with her yet to play a match on either of the four show courts at Wimbledon. Her most impressive result has undoubtedly been the three set win which she scored over former French Open winner, Francesca Schiavone. She has made the 4th round at Wimbledon before, demonstrating that she is quite comfortable on the grass at Wimbledon. Her opponent today will be hoping to reverse her fortune in grand slam quarter-finals with the conversion of her fifth quarter-final appearance into her first semi-final. While the young 20-year old Paszek will be determined to give Azarenka a go, I expect the Belarusian to seize the opportunity before her. Her straight sets route of Nadia Petrova was incredibly impressive, and I expect her to continue her Wimbledon run.

 The winner: Victoria Azarenka in straights.

Quarter-Final 4: Petra Kvitova vs. Tsvetana Pironkova

 Kvitova has been Brad Gilbert’s favourite for the title since the start of the tournament, and she certainly has been playing some brutal tennis winning every match in straight sets thus far. She will be up against a player who seems incredibly relaxed and at home at Wimbledon. Pironkova was quite calm after beating Venus Williams for the second straight year yesterday. In addition to her win over the five-time champion, she was also the victor over last year’s finalist and number two seed, Vera Zvonareva. Clearly the Bulgarian is in form with her losing no more than five games in every match she has contested. Kvitova’s play has however been as devastating. This ought to a very competitive match decided by whose rich vein of form continues.

 The winner: Petra Kvitova in three.

Hopefully the matches that I have indicated as three-setters will live up to their billing, and will we see some great tennis at Wimbledon on the second Tuesday. Be sure to come back later to tease me about the prediction blunders I made.

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