Tuesday, July 02, 2013

2013 Wimbledon: Women's Quarterfinals Preview

Here are my predictions for the women's quarterfinals at the Wimbledon Championships for 2013. Last year I correctly predicted 4 of 4 men's quarterfinals and correctly predicted 4 of 4 women's quarterfinals.

Serena Williams (USA) [1] Sabine Lisicki (GER) [23] vs. Laura Robson (GBR) Kaia Kanepi (EST). In a Wimbledon full of shocking upsets, the shock defeat in the fourth round of the 1:4 favorite (the 5-time Wimbledon champion and reigning French Open champion) must clearly be considered one of the very biggest surprises of the tournament. The fact is that it was only Serena's 3rd loss of the year is enough to let you know what an unusual result Sabine Lisicki's victory was. In England, an even bigger story was the ouster of British hope Laura Robson from the tournament by a resurgent Kaia Kanepi. Kanepi was two points from defeat in the second round against last year's semifinalist Angelique Kerber so she must feel that she is playing with "house money." This match should be a nice example of "Big Babe" tennis, where the winner is usually determined by the player with the better mobility and/or the person with more consistent and powerful serve. The German has the edge in both these categories and should win relatively easily to reach her second career Wimbledon semifinal in three years. PREDICTION: Lisicki.

Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) [4] vs. Na Li (CHN) [6]. This meeting should be the highlight of this round. The Chinese player leads their head-to-head 6-4 but the Polish player has a 2-1 lead in their grass curt meetings. However, Li won their last meeting relatively easily, which was in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open earlier this year. Radwanska has actually been in 8 major quarterfinals compared to Li's 7, but Li has had far more success in those matches, winning four of them while Radwanska has only been tasted success at Wimbledon. Radwanska is clearly the more consistent player, while Li is the more powerful. Radwanska is crafty, while Li is often mentally fragile at key moments. All of these different factors to combine to make this a very hard match to predict what will happen. PREDICTION: Li in 2 sets, Radwanska in 3 sets.

Sloane Stephens (USA) [17]  vs. Maria Sharapova (RUS) [3] Marion Bartoli (FRA) [15]. This is another intriguing match-up reminiscent of the tussle between Radwanska and Li. The two have only met once before, in a meeting on hard courts at the New Haven tournament which was won by Bartoli in three see-saw sets. Stephens has nowhere to go but up in her career, playing in her very first Wimbledon quarterfinal, while Bartoli is now 28 years old and knows all-too well how rare these opportunities come along, having only played in two semifinals her career. Stephens moves better than Bartoli and has to be pleased that she is facing the quirky Frenchwoman instead of the #2 seed Maria Sharapova. Bartoli's main chance to win this match is if she can overpower Stephens and overwhelm her with accuracy to compensate for her inferior ability to move around the court. Stephens is actually not playing that well (she has more unforced errors than winners for the tournament) but she is competing well and that has been enough to get her through to the quarterfinals. But it may not be enough to get her any further in the draw. It should also be noted that Bartoli has had great success in the past winning matches she was not expected (or supposed) to win, such as her 2007 Wimbledon semifinal win against Justine Henin and her 2011 Wimbledon straight set win over Serena Williams in the Round of 16. One key question is will Bartoli's experience outmatch Stephens' youth and confidence? PREDICTIONBartoli in 2 sets, Stephens in 3 sets

Petra Kvitova (CZE) [8] vs. Victoria Azarenka (BLR) [2] Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) [20].  Flipkens is a good grass court player (she lost in the final of one of the warm-up grass-court tournaments) and even though she is playing in the very first major quarterfinal of her career, she has a reasonable chance to win this match. She actually has a 2-1 head-to-head lead against her quarterfinal opponent Petra Kvitova, and has even beaten her this year. However, Kvitova has won this tournament, just two short years ago, lost last year in the quarterfinal to the eventual champion and the year before in the semifinals to the eventual champion. If Kvitova is on then there is no reason to think that she won't reach her 2nd career Wimbledon final.PREDICTION: Kvitova. 

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