Wimbledon Day 4 Preview (The Ladies)

24 Jun

The women had a relatively drama-free day today as the favorites made it through to the third round (ie. Venus, Jankovic, Clijsters, Henin, etc.)  Tomorrow Serena will lead the top half of the women’s draw into the third round and hope for a drama free day also.  But, the first bit of drama has already transpired at the All-England Club with Serena being scheduled for Court 2 instead of Centre Court where the Queen will be residing.  In her place on Centre will be the top seed in the women’s draw not named Williams.  Other names headlining action on Day 4 will be Maria Sharapova, Li Na, Victoria Azarenka, Aravane Rezai, and Dominika Cibulkova.  While there are no major marquee matches on the ladies’ side tomorrow, these matches will set the stage for the later rounds of the tournament.  The first match previewed on my blog today will be Serena Williams and Anna Chakvetadze.

(1) Serena Williams (USA) vs. Anna Chakvetadze (RUS)

A few years ago, this match would have been worthy of a quarter or even semifinal match at a Slam, but how the times have changed.  Since 2007, when Chakvetadze made her assault on the top 5,  she has endured much on and off the court and has seen her ranking slip from a career-high of No. 5 to No. 111 on the rankings last week.  Some attribute this to her game lacking a major weapon, others say it’s her head, but I think the main factor in her decline was a robbery that she and her family were involved in at the end of 2007.  While she is still young, one has to wonder if her game will ever return to its best.  On the other hand, Serena has propelled herself out of the bottom portion of the top 100 to number one in the world since 2007.   She is her very best a Grand Slams and maybe her best ever at Wimbledon so while Chakvetadze has the credentials and the game (some have compared her to Martina Hingis) to make this an interesting match, it will probably go in favor of the American.

Pick: Serena in 2

How will Serena perform against a former top 5 player in the form of Anna Chakvetadze?

(3) Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) vs. Kai-Chen Chang (TPE)

Although she is the 3rd seed in this event, she isn’t even seen as a contender for this title for several reasons.  First of all, her game has been harshly criticized by the media for lack of a major weapon and some still see her as a “pusher”.  But after watching her 1st round win over Garbin, I can say that she is more than a pusher and has the game to go deep in this tournament despite her dark horse status.  Another reason why many say she won’t get that far at Wimbledon is because of the incredibly talented women who are the favorites for this title: Serena, Venus, Sharapova, Clijsters, and Henin.  Her opponent is relatively unknown and Caroline should get through this match comfortably and be prepared to face much firmer opposition in the later rounds of Wimbledon.

Pick: Wozniacki in 2

Will Caroline's defensive style suit her well at Wimbledon?

Ioana Raluca Olaru (ROU) vs. (16) Maria Sharapova (RUS)

The 2004 champion is at it again.  She’s winning matches on the grass at breakneck speed and finally has a consistent serve to back up her impeccable groundstrokes which have helped her win so many titles.  Olaru, a lesser-known player than Sharapova, will hope to capitalize on Maria’s mediocre movement and hope to catch her on an off day.  But, if Maria is playing the way she has played of late, then Olaru will find herself on and off the court fairly quickly as she is no match for an in form Sharapova.  On another note, I would like to mention that Maria has looked so determined and focused in her last two tournaments (Roland Garros and Birmingham) and so far at the Championships.  Her love for tennis has found her back at the place where the dream began and maybe she can add another chapter to that dream this year.

Pick: Sharapova in 2

Can Maria Sharapova set up a fourth round clash with Serena Williams?

Other matches to watch:

Klara Zakapalova (CZE) vs. (18) Aravane Rezai (FRA): The hard-hitting Frenchwoman has had her best results on clay, but there’s no reason she shouldn’t succeed on grass. 

Pick: Rezai in 2

Bojana Jovanovski (SRB) vs. (14) Victoria Azarenka (BLR): The young Serb played in the Fed Cup earlier in the year and beat Rybarikova of Slovakia.  But Azarenka will be too experienced for the young Serbian player who looks to have a bright future. 

Pick: Azarenka in 2

Enjoy Day 4 and comment on the blog!


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