A definite truism which applies to Serena Williams is that she’s always hungry for another major. The two time defending champion demonstrated that despite some first week cobwebs, she is prepared to fight for a “three-peat” at the All England Club.
Venus Williams, a five time champion at Wimbledon, is still in contention for another title on her most successful surface. Maria Sharapova, the 2004 champion, is almost playing to the standards expected of her. Sharapova is trying to get pass the fourth round for the first time since 2006 at this venue.
The most stunning early departure was 2010 runner-up Vera Zvonareva. Here’s a mid-tournament summary and a preview of the interesting match-ups to come.
After going the distance her first two rounds, Serena Williams cruised in the third round against Maria Kirilenko. The next round, Serena will have to bring her best stuff against Marion Bartoli, the 2007 Wimbledon finalist. Bartoli is playing with great confidence since winning her maiden grass court title in Eastbourne.
Subsequent to a comfortable opening match, Venus Williams clawed past 40 year old Kimiko Date-Krumm in the second round. However, in the third round, Venus coasted to victory. Next up for Venus is Tsvestana Pironkova.
In a rematch of last year’s semifinal, Pironkova avenged her lost to Zvonareva in the third round. In 2010, Pironkova reached the semifinals by upending Venus in the quarterfinals. Pironkova also ousted Venus at the Australian Open in 2006. With Pironkova’s 2-1 against Venus, this tussle could be another doozy.
Following straight sets victories her first three matches, Sharapova meets Shuai Peng in the fourth round. If Sharapova prevails, she could encounter world number one Caroline Wozniacki in the quarterfinals.
Wozniacki has been untroubled through three rounds. Standing in Wozniacki’s way for a maiden Wimbledon quarterfinal appearance is Dominika Cibulkova.
Nearly two years after being derailed by injuries, Sabine Lisicki is blossoming once again. Lisicki followed up her recent title in Birmingham by upsetting 2011 French Open champion Na Li in the second round. Lisicki can equal her 2009 Wimbledon quarterfinal showing as she faces Petra Cetkovska in the fourth round. Cetkovska booted Agniezska Radwanska in the second round, then shocked Ana Ivanovic in the third.
After two easy rounds, Victoria Azarenka shook off Daniela Hantuchova in a tough three set encounter. In the round of 16, Azarenka collides with Nadia Petrova, a two time Wimbledon quarterfinalist. Petrova knocked out rising star Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the first round. At 29 years of age, Petrova has plenty of fire power to bother Azarenka.
2010 semifinalist Petra Kvitova has been progressing quietly through the draw. The Czech’s fourth round opponent will be Yanina Wickmayer.
Along with Cetkovska, two players making their debut in the round of 16 at a major are a pair of 20 year olds, Russian Ksenia Pervak and Austrian Tamira Paszek. Pervak bounced Shahar Peer in the first round and Andrea Petkovic in the third round.
Paszek recorded the biggest win of her career over Francesca Schiavone in the third round. Since Pervak and Paszek will clash in the fourth round, one will move on to her first quarterfinal at a major.
Some other names surprisingly absent from the second week of the tournament are Samantha Stosur, Jelena Jankovic and Svetlana Kuznetsova.
Wozniacki continues to play defensive tennis. In a quarterfinal with Sharapova, if the Russian’s aggressive style does not fail her, it’s difficult to imagine Wozniacki advancing any further.
With Venus and Serena still in the draw, the possibility of an all Williams final is plausible. But, the obstacles are huge. Should Venus get by Pironkova, Kvitova may be up in the quarterfinals and Azarenka in the semifinals.
Waiting for Serena after Bartoli could be Lisicki who’s been getting stronger with each passing round. Moreover, for Serena, a semifinal versus Sharapova would no walk in the park.
Still, out of the top half of the draw, Serena and Sharapova are the likeliest finalist. In the bottom half, if not Venus, Kvitova may book her first spot in the final at a major this tournament.