Friday, June 22, 2012

WIMBLEDON 2012: Analysis of The Draw

The 2012 edition of the Wimbledon Championships starts on Monday and yesterday the seeds were announced while today comes the release of the men's singles and women's singles draws.

Men's Draw
For the umpteenth time in a major tournament for the last 5 years that Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have been grouped in the Top 3 of the rankings, Federer and Djokovic are placed in the same half of the draw, so that in order to win the tournament Nadal will only have to face one of his rivals while both of his rivals will need to face each other before they reach him. In addition, Nadal has a pretty easy draw which should allow him to get directly to the quarterfinals, where he will likely face last year's giantkiller Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. He may have to face 2-time Halle grass court champion Tommy Haas or the man who beat him on grass last week, Phillip Kohlschreiber but not both because the two Germans face each other in the first round. There are literally no seeds in his quarter that should give Nadal any kind of trouble at all. If he gets past Tsonga (and if Tsonga gets past Lleyton Hewitt's last hurrah in the 1st round), then Nadal would face Andy Murray to reach his 6th consecutive final in Wimbledon. Murray has a number of potential obstacles to his reaching the semifinals of his home country major again, starting with Ivo Karlovic in the 2nd round and including Juan Martin del Potro, Milos Raonic, Marin Cilic and  even 3-time Wimbledon finalist Andy Roddick.

In the Federer-Djokovic half of the draw things are pretty much set to allow another semifinal showdown between these two, although their French Open match-up a few weeks ago did not live up to the hype when Federer couldn't hold on to service break leads and lost meekly in straight sets. The defending champion has a somewhat tough potential quarterfinal with 2010 Wimbledon finalist Tomas Berdych and maybe an earlier round encounter with Radek Stepanek while Federer's only obstacle to the semifinal is a quarterfinal match-up with the winner of a possible Janko Tipsarevic-John Isner 4th round tussle. The only other person which could possibly make Federer sweat would be Frenchman Gilles Simon whose game for some reason often gives Federer fits and actually owns two wins over the 16-time major champ.  Astonishingly, John Isner and Nicolas Mahut may meet for the 3rd consecutive year at Wimbledon, although this time it could be in the second round and it will almost certainly not take 11 hours of play over 3 days to complete. Djokovic has already shown that he will do almost anything to defend the major titles that he won last year and has now been in 4 consecutive major finals in a row. Can he make it 5? (Nadal will be going for 6 major finals in a row.)

Women's Draw
Defending champion Petra Kvitova has the daunting task of trying to defend her title with 4-time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams waiting in the quarterfinals. Happily for Kvitova, the only seed who might (but really shouldn't) give the Czech lefty any trouble reaching the quarters is the diminutive Slovak Dominika Cibulkova. Serena, on the other hand, has some potentially tricky seeds, such as Lucie Safarova and Zie Jheng who could possibly derail her. It would be a shock if Serena lost early in two consecutive major tournaments although her 1st round opponent Barbara Zahlavova Strycova (heretofore to be called Double Ova) is not exactly a walk-over. In the rest of the bottom half of the draw looms World #2 Victoria Azarenka who finally broke through here last year by reaching the semifinals. Unfortunately for Azarenka she probably has the toughest quarter of the top 4 seeds with people like Marion Bartoli, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Ana Ivanovic floating around. Most likely her quarterfinal will be between the winner of Bartoli/Kuznetsova.

In the top half of the draw Maria Sharapova has a potential second round meeting with Venus Williams-killer Tsevetana Pironkova followed by possibly Serena Williams-killer Virginie Razzano. Other dangerous opponents in Sharapova's quarter include Angelique Kerber, Kim Clijsters and Sabine Lisicki. However if she gets past the quarterfinals, then Sharapova's semifinal match should actually be relatively easy with either Agnieska Radwanska (if she gets past a second round match with 5-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams) or Samantha Stosur. I think Sharapova would like her chances with either of those players. If she makes it to another Wimbledon final, I don't like her chances against anyone who comes out of the tougher top half of the draw: Serena, Vika, Kvitova or even Bartoli.

I don't have predictions for a winner at this point, but if a gun was held to my head I would choose Djokovic on the men's side and Serena on the women's.


Carter said...

Interestingly enough, Kim's last tennis hurrah opens against Jankovic, who, while seeded, has been having a miserable last 2 years. How she even remains seeded is beyond me.
And for Ag to get past Venus will be a challenge, even if Venus is not up to previous high standards.

Wimbledon 2012 said...

yup wimbledon is Kim's last tennis.. wishing her gud luck


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