Editor’s Note: we’re trying to get our buddy Chris to write for Tennis Served Fresh, and this is his first post. Look out for more from this guy in the coming weeks… Make sure to leave him comments about his work.
When filling out your Wimbledon bracket, keep in mind that the grass court season is short. We go from a three-month clay stint filled with long, tiring matches to a relatively quick and dainty one-month European affair on grass. That’s one month for a player to practice AND prove his mettle. Crazy, but isn’t that what makes it so bloody special?
So you can think of it this way: winning the French is like winning a marathon; winning at Wimbledon is like winning a sprint. This is why Rafael Nadal, as great as his last few months have been, isn’t really considered a contender. While we marvel at his feats — he is great in his own right — he’s by no means a “sprinter”. So who will be fastest man in the tennis world this year?
You’d be a fool not to bet on Roger Federer to take it on the men’s side. He really won’t have a challenge until he faces Roddick in the semifinals.
The other half of the draw has a bit more competition with seven former semifinalists (or better): Baghdatis, Bjorkman, Grosjean, Hewitt, T. Johansson, Nadal, and David Nalbandian.
I really don’t predict any surprise quarterfinalists, but I would look for Kristof Vliegen and Ivo Karlovic to make appearances in the Round of 16. Vliegen has been as high as 30 in the world last October and has wins this year over Gasquet, Nieminen, Hewitt, and Safin. Karlovic has also had a stellar year, winning in Nottingham (on grass) and in Houston, reaching the finals in San Jose, and making the quarters at Queen’s Club, and notching wins over Haas, Safin, and Tursunov.
QFs: Federer d. Blake, Roddick d. Gasquet, Hewitt d. Baghdatis, Nadal d. Berdych
SFs: Federer d. Roddick, Hewitt d. Nadal
Finals: Federer d. Hewitt (in 3 sets)
The women’s game is still a relatively mixed bag and, like Roland Garros, will come down to one potential quarterfinal match-up -– Justine Henin vs. Serena Williams. I predict Henin to take the match and the tournament.
While the bottom half is full of capable top players, I see it as a relative cakewalk for Mauresmo and Sharapova into the semis.
I predict the seedings will hold, but surprise performances could come from Sania Mirza — she could upset Petrova even though she’s never been past the 2nd round — and Daniela Hantuchova, who could take out Serena in the fourth round. If Hantuchova manages to beat Serena, I could see her beating Henin and potentially making it to the finals.
QFs: Henin d. Serena, Jankovic d. Chakvetadze, Mauresmo d. Ivanovic, Sharapova d. Kuznetsova
SFs: Henin d. Jankovic, Sharapova d. Mauresmo
Finals: Henin d. Sharapova (in a three-set classic)