Monday, July 06, 2015

2015 WIMBLEDON: Women's Quarterfinals Preview

Here are my predictions for the women's quarterfinals at the Wimbledon Championships for 2015. Last year I correctly predicted 3 of 4 men's quarterfinals and correctly predicted 2 of 4 women's quarterfinals.

Serena Williams (USA) [1] V. Williams (USA) [16] vs. Victoria Azarenka (BLR) [23]. For the second consecutive major tournament Serena's path to the title will intersect with one of the few players who does not fear her, despite the lopsided head-to-head record of 3-16 Victoria Azarenka has against the World #1 player. In Paris a mere four weeks ago the two met in a third round match where Azarenka took it to Serena with renewed belief. The Belarussian was up a set and a break, and even when she lost the second set she was up 2-0 in the deciding set but then Seeena flipped a switch and won the last 6 remaining games of the match. If Azarenka couldn't beat Serena on her worst surface how will she do it on her best? After handily dispatching her sister in the 4th round and outlasting a near-death experience in the third round against Brit Heather Watson, Serena is the odds-on favorite to win her second Serena slam. PREDICTION: Serena.

Maria Sharapova (RUS) [4] vs. Coco Vandeweghe USA Lucie Safarova (CZE) [6]The American women occupy three of the eight quarterfinal slots at this year's Wimbledon and the biggest surprise is that Coco Vandweghe is among their number. The big-serving 23-year-old is in her very first major quarterfinal having taken out one of the hottest players on tour, 2015 French Open finalist (and 2014 Wimbledon semifinalist) Lucie Safarova in two tight tiebreak sets. In fact, neither player has dropped a set through their first four round in this year's tournament. Obviously that will have to change by the end of this match (for at least one of them). Even though Sharapova has won this tournament before and reached the final again in 2011 she has only passed the quarterfinal stage 4 times. (Then again, she has never lost a Wimbledon quarterfinal). For some reason, I think Coco will pull out the upset in this match taking advantage of the fact that the two have never played before. PREDICTION: Vandeweghe.

Garbiñe Muguruza (ESP) [20] Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) [5] vs. Timea Bacsinszky (SUI) [15].  Caroline Wozniacki  was the highest remaining seed in the lower half of the women's singles draw after Simona Halep's early departure and defending champion Petra Kvitova's 3rd round exit (at the hands of Jelena Jankovic). Despite winning the junior title here a mere 9 years ago at the precocious age of 15, the former World #1 has never had much success here and her woes continued with Muguruza basically doing everything Wozniacki could do, except a litle better. This was exemplified by a 29-stroke rally on the penultimate point of the match which was won with outstanding defense by the Spaniard, who then sealed the deal with an ace on match point. Bacsinskzy is in her second consecutive major quarterfinal, the only two times she has ever reached this far in a major tournament. Although she won her first outing in Paris a month ago, I think that Muguruza's game and guile will be able to get her past the finish line so that she can reach her first major semifinal. PREDICTION: Muguruza.

Madison Keys (USA) [21] 
vs. Agnieska Radwanska (POL) [13]The Pole is looking to rescue her horrible 2015 season by duplicating her best result at a major (2013 Wimbledon finalist). Happily, she is playing an opponent whom she has never lost to in three meetings. However, the last time she played and beat Madison Keys Radwanska was playing better tennis and Keys was playing worse. Now, the 20-year-old American knows that she belongs in the business end of major tournaments and has the game to fulfill her awesome potential. Radwanska is a very talented player, and she played very well to dispatch Jankovic coming off her big win over the defending champion. The biggest advantage Radwanska has is her experience and guile but grass favors the better athlete almost always and in this case I am fairly confident that is the woman with the tournament-leading 47 aces. PREDICTION: Keys.

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