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Wimbledon Draw Offers the Potential for Another All Williams Final

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Wimbledon Draw Offers the Potential for Another All Williams Final


With the exception of 2004 and 2006 when the Venus Rosewater trophy was leased by Maria Sharapova and Amelie Mauresmo respectively, Venus and Serena Williams have been the proprietor of the Wimbledon title eight out of the last ten years.  In fact, the Williams sisters have been interchangeably the winner and runner-up the ultimate two seasons.   With Serena and Venus as the top two seeds in 2010, a three-peat in the finals is plausible.  However, with Justine Henin having reincorporated herself into the tour with the express objective of hoisting the Wimbledon trophy and compatriot Kim Clijsters a formidable force after rejoining the circuit last summer, a new decade may mark the end of the Williams’ dominance.  Here’s a preview of the draw and the potential obstacles for the chief contenders at the All England Club.

If the outcome is as anticipated, Serena will meet Maria Sharapova in the round of 16.  Despite struggling with her serve since her shoulder surgery, Sharapova has posted some good results the last couple of months.  Moreover, Sharapova reached the finals in Birmingham two weeks ago.  Thus, depending on how well Sharapova plays, the possibility of an upset is undeniable.  With the Birmingham title under her belt, Na Li is a secondary threat in Serena’s section.  A semifinalist in Australia where she loss in two  tiebreaker sets, Li has the weapons to irritate Serena if she gets to the quarterfinals.

Either French Open finalist Samantha Stosur or Caroline Wozniacki could be Serena’s semifinal opponent.  With her recent history at the French Open against Stosur, Serena may have her work cut out for her.  Beforehand, Stosur and Wozniacki may have to battle it out in the quarterfinals.  Looking further back, Wozniacki may have to deal with Victoria Azarenka the 14th seed in the fourth round and Stosur with Flavia Pennetta the 10th seed also in the round of 16.  Since clay is Pennetta’s best surface and with the Italian never making it pass the fourth round, Stosur should prevail.  For Azarenka, the finalist in Eastbourne, a knee injury may be the limiting factor regardless of the rival she faces.

Focusing on the bottom half of the draw, the Wimbledon grass seems to have restorative properties for Venus irrespective of her previous results.  With two titles and finalists status in Miami and Madrid, Venus is in stellar shape.  Venus’ path looks relatively unencumbered until the quarterfinals where she could battle Marion Bartoli or French Open reigning champion Francesca Schiavone.  Still with Venus’ past performance, the scales are heavily tipped in her direction.

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Makarova Pushes Past Azarenka In Eastbourne for First WTA Title

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Makarova Pushes Past Azarenka In Eastbourne for First WTA Title


In the finals of Aegon International, the ultimate warm-up tournament before Wimbledon, Ekaterina Makarova fought off an injured Victoria Azarenka 7-6,6-4 to grab her maiden WTA title and become the first qualifier to seize the trophy.

Ranked 100th in the world, Makarova has been in top shape the entire week.  The Russian took care of 6th seed Flavia Pennetta in the first round and dismissed compatriot and 2008 finalist Nadia Petrova in the second round.  Then, Makarova booted countrywoman Svetlana Kuznetsova in the quarterfinals and upset French Open finalist Samantha Stosur in the semifinals.  Makarova continued her splendid performance by opening the first set with a comfortable game.  Subsequently, with a forehand up the line winner and an error by Azarenka, Makarova arrived at double break point.  With a forehand return winner, Makarova gained the break.  Later, despite a tough game where she dealt with a break point, Makarova extended her lead to 3-0.  With both knees strapped due to tendonitis, Azarenka continued to battle producing high quality tennis to remain one break behind.  With a backhand down the line winner, Azarenka had her second break chance.  However, using her lefty serve to her advantage, Makarova extricated  herself from trouble and closed the game with a backhand volley winner for 5-2.  But serving for the first set at 5-4, Makarova netted a backhand to hand Azarenka a break point.  When a second straight backhand crosscourt went array, Azarenka gained the break.  After Makarova fought off two break points to guard serve and Azarenka held at love, the set moved to a tiebreaker.  With a forehand crosscourt winner, Makarova obtained the mini-break early on.  Further on, with an error by Azarenka, Makarova stretched her lead to 5-1.  Although Azarenka narrowed the gap to 6-5, Makarova’s luck held as Azarenka misfired with the forehand as the ball skidded off the line which terminated the set.

Playing through the pain, Azarenka maintained serve readily her first few times out in the second set.  Then at 2 all, Azarenka double faulted to gift Makarova a break point.  Makarova capitalized when Azarenka’s forehand sailed long.  Still, by forcing two mistakes from Makarova and with a forehand up the line winner, Azarenka promptly had triple break point.  By placing her serve well, Makarova leveled the game at deuce.  Yet, the Russian had to wipe out a fourth break point before consolidating for 4-2.  Unwilling to surrender, Azarenka kept striking winners and guarding serve with relative ease.  Thus, with a forehand winner, Azarenka arrived at double break point.  But, once again the Belarusian was turned away by Makarova who advanced to 5-3.  After Azarenka had a love game, two miscues placed Makarova at double championship point.  With an overhead winner, Makarova ended the match and captured the championship.

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Wozniacki Gets Rid Of Razzano In Eastbourne Final

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Wozniacki Gets Rid Of Razzano In Eastbourne Final


aegonjpgdisplayWith six of seven top ten players departing early, Dane Caroline Wozniacki ranked ninth was the only seeded player to advance past the quarterfinals at Aegon International in Eastbourne. Today, the teenager defeated veteran Frenchwoman Virginie Razzano 7-6, 7-5 to obtain her first WTA grass court title.

After a couple of strong service games, Razzano made two critical errors off the backhand to stare at triple break point. When a miss hit return provoked a forehand error from Razzano, Wozniacki took a 4-2 edge. Then, with a forehand up the line by Virginie going long, Caroline consolidated for 5-2. However, serving for the set at 5-3, Wozniacki committed some costly errors to go down double break point. Razzano converted with a forehand crosscourt winner. The set went to a tiebreaker. After Wozniacki led 6-1, Razzano fought back to get to 5-6. But, with a service return error, Wozniacki carried the set.

As a result of two forehand errors by Razzano, Wozniacki secured an early break in the second for 1-0. Afterward, Caroline closed out a 40-0 game with an ace for a 2-0 lead. Nevertheless, Razzano kept a positive attitude. With Wozniacki serving at 3-2, Razzano earned triple break point due to three unforced errors. When Caroline missed a forehand volley, the set became leveled at 3 all. But, with Razzano ahead 40-0, Wozniacki forced three consecutive backhands errors to reach deuce. Subsequently, Caroline caused Virginie to stroke a forehand long for break point. With Razzano unable to connect on a forehand pass, Wozniacki had lead again at 4-3. Yet, another loose game by the teenager allowed Razzano to capitalize on triple break point for 4 all. The next game, Razzano misfired on an easy forehand down the line to face double break point. But, by enticing a string of forehand errors from Wozniacki, Razzano pulled out the game and took a 5-4 advantage. After Wozniacki netted a forehand, Razzano arrived at set point. Still, the teenager did not panic. Wozniacki erased the set point when Razzano failed to connect on a backhand down the line pass. Subsequently, with a forehand crosscourt winner and an ace, Wozniacki squared the set at 5 all. Then, courtesy of a few Razzano forehand errors, Wozniacki had break point. The Dane cashed in when the Frenchwoman produced another backhand error. Despite a nervous service game, Wozniacki finally captured the championship after Razzano’s backhand dropshot failed to cross the net.

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