For the most part, the first week at Wimbledon has gone according to plan on the ladies’ side. As a result, defending champion Serena Williams will square off in the round of 16 against the woman who beat her in the 2004 final, Maria Sharapova. Similarly, the projected clash between Justine Henin and Kim Clijsters has come to fruition. This means that tomorrow, two individuals will be disappointed. Let’s analyze how we arrived at this point and what lies ahead in the second week.
Top seed Serena Williams has simply run through her opponents. Likewise, Sharapova has had little difficulty getting to this stage, sending her adversaries home in straight sets. Serena and Sharapova have played seven times with the former winning five of those meetings. Curiously, since the 2004 championship, the two have never battled on grass. In essence, this will be their rematch. A significant factor will be how well Sharapova serves. If the Russian does well in that department, Serena could be in trouble.
Na Li and Agniezska Radwanska who face each other in the fourth round have yet to drop a set in getting this far. Radwanska holds a 2-1 record against Li and both victories have been on grass. But for both Li and Radwanska, the quarterfinals will be a tough ask with either Sharapova or Serena as a rival.
A definite stunner was the dismissal of French Open finalist Samantha Stosur in the first round by Kaia Kanepi. Previously ranked as high as 18 in 2009, Kanepi’s placement dipped to 80. After ousting another seed Alexandra Dulgheru in the third round, the talented Estonian is in the round of 16 . Another surprise is Kanepi’s opponent in the fourth round, Klara Zakopalova. The 28 year old had not gone pass the third round at a major previously. Zakopalova advanced by bouncing 18th seed Aravane Rezai in the second round and trouncing 10th seed Flavia Pennetta in the third.
Caroline Wozniacki, the third seed, has been splendid on grass as she attempts to better her fourth round result from last year. Jie Zheng, the 23rd seed, and Victoria Azarenka, the 14th seed, fell victim to Petra Kvitova in the second and third round respectively. Thus, Wozniacki takes on Kvitova in the round of 16. The Dane carried their prior two matches. Furthermore, with Kanepi or Zakopalova as a quarterfinal match-up, Wozniacki truly has a green light to the semifinals.
This was a disastrous week for the French Open winners. The reigning champion Francesca Schiavone went out in the first round. Last year’s title holder and 19th seed Svetlana Kuznetsova crashed out in the second round. Ana Ivanovic, the 2008 victor, bowed out in the first round. Hence, Ivanovic’s ranking of 45 will continue to head toward the cellar.