Saturday, 23 June 2012

Sharapova, Azarenka, Kvitova, Serena or Clijsters - 2012 Wimbledon Draw Analysis

The Wimbledon draw was released yesterday, the major hype was where will the unseeded Venus Williams and Kim Clijsters fall in the draw??? For now, we have the answers, the wrath of the draw gods fell on Jankovic and Radwanska. Jankovic faces Clijsters in the opener, while Radwanska has a potential 2nd round meeting with Venus Williams.

Sharapova comes into Wimbledon after completing her career slam at Roland Garros. Azarenka, Kvitova and Serena come in with a lot of questions to answer. At the end of the fortnight, who will it be holding the Venus Rosewater Dish with the smile of champion? Let us break down the draw:

First Quarter
Sharapova and Kerber are the highest seeds in this quarter, with Clijsters and Jankvoic, the 2 former no.1's also lurking in the draw.

Sharapova's first real test will come in the 2nd round where she will face 2010 Wimbledon semi-finalist and last year's quarter-finalist, Pironkova. Although, Sharapova leads the H2H 3-0, the pair has not met since their clash in the first round of Beijing 2010. Pironkova is fresh off a quarter-final appearance from Eastbourne, where she defeated the world no.3 Radwanska in the opener. If Sharapova gets through this match, her road to the quarter-finals is easy.

Kerber is the next highest seed in Sharapova's quarter. She is coming off a runner-up showing at Eastbourne, where she had 5 match points against Paszek, but ultimately lost. Kerber's first test will come in the second round where she will meet Makarova for the second time in as many weeks. Kerber beat Makarova in straight sets in the quarter-final of Eastbourne, I doubt the outcome will be different this time. The real battle will begin from the 4th round where Kerber might face former world no.1, Clijsters who is unseeded. Clijsters is coming off a semi-final showing at Unicef Open, but withdrew from her semi-final match due to stress in the stomach muscle. 

Clijsters faces a tough opener against 18th seeded Jankovic. Clijsters leads Jankovic 7-1 in their H2H, and should be able to make her way past Jankovic. Should Clijsters reach the quarters, she will definitely be a title threat. This is her last Wimbledon, and she would love to go all the way to the title. She has never been past the semi-finals, but she should be able to work her way into the draw. She would love to have a beautiful ending of her fairy tale which started from her triumph at 2009 U.S Open. Should Clijsters and Sharapova meet in the quarters, which Sharapova will be hoping is not the case, Clijsters will walk into the match as favourite. Clijsters leads Sharapova 6-3, however they have never played on grass and the pair has not met since the final of Cincinnati 2010, a match won by Clijsters. 

I would love to see Sharapova go all the way and my mind tells me to go with her, but my heart says to go with Clijsters in her final run at Wimbledon. 

First Round matches to Watch:
Jankovic vs Clijsters
Barthel vs Zvonareva

Pick: Clijsters def. Sharapova


Second quarter is by far the most wide open of all the quarters, with the quarter-final spots up for grab.

Second quarter is highlighted by world no.3 Radwanska, 5 time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams, last year's Roland Garros champion Li Na and this year's Roland Garros semi-finalist and world no.5 Samantha Stousr. Stosur is the weakest of all on grass, grass being her worst surface, and a tricky opener against Spanish player Navarro won't help either. 

Rawanska for the second straight slam has a potential 2nd round match up against Venus Williams. Radwanska has not been playing well recently. She was blasted off the court in the 3rd round of Roland Garros by Kuzetsova and then she lost in straight sets in her first grass court match of the year in Eastbourne by Pironkova. However, Radwanska has lost in the 2nd round only once during her last 6 visits here, that being last year. She has made the quarter-finals twice here in 2008 and 2009. 

Radwanska's potential 4th round opponent could be an in form Petrova. Petrova has also been twice into the quarter-finals of Wimbledon in 2005 and 2008. She made a trip to the 4th round last year and is winner of Unicef Open. 

Li Na has a favourable and manageable draw till the quarters where she might face Radwanska, Venus or Petrova. Li Na has been a quarter-finalist here twice, in 2006 and 2010. Her game is best suited to grass, and when her shots are landing inside the court she is a pleasure to watch. However, Li has serious head problem, she has had a history of blowing the lead and letting small things get to her head. If she can manage this problem, she will be a threat for the title.

I like the chances of Li Na, but with the uncertainty that has been surrounding the women's tennis, you never know. I am unsure of who will be the other player in the quarter-final. If Radwanska can negotiate her way past Venus, she should be a threat. Although my mind tells me not to go with Radwanska, I will still give her a chance to prove herself and her doubters wrong.

First round matches to watch
Venus Williams vs Elena Vesnina
Stosur vs Navarro

Pick: Radwanska def. Li Na

Semi-finals: Clijsters def. Radwanska


This quarter is highlighted by the reigning Wimbledon champion, Petra Kvitova and 4 time Wimbledon champion, Serena Williams. 

Serena had shocking results in the last 3 majors she has played, she was heavily favoured to win the matches she lost, starting from U.S Open 2011, lost the final to Stosur, Australian Open 2012, lost in the 4th round to Makarova, and the worst of all at French Open 2012, lost in the first round to Virgine Ruano Pascual. 

Serena is 30, and she faces the same problem as Federer, having off days or loosing the focus for sometime. However, she still is the best and the player to beat when it comes to slams. She is over-due for a slam title, and has a decent draw till quarters, a potential 3rd round clash against Jie Zheng, against whom Serena is 5-0 and a potential 4th round clash against either Errani or Safarova, against whom Serena is combined 9-0.

As for our reigning Wimbledon champion, Kvitova, she has been flying under the radar since the start of the year, she has yet to make a final appearance, let alone win a title. Kvitova is seeded 4th and she will not like the fact that since the dawn of Open Era a 4th seed has won Wimbledon only twice. Kvitova, like Li Na is a head case and she needs to believe herself and in her game. She was a wonderful game when she is on, but it all depends on her. One moment she will be hitting winners after winners and the other moment she will fail to put a ball back into the court. Her first real test will come in the 4th round where her potential opponent is the diminutive Cibulkova, the conqueror of the world no.1 in the 4th round of Roland Garros. Cibulkova made the quarters of Wimbledon here last year, en-route she defeated the then World no.1 Wozniacki. All the eyes are on the potential clash of Kvitova and Williams in the quarter-final.

Will it be the veterans of the tour or the new guards who take a stride? We will have to wait and see.

First round matches to watch:
Cibulkova vs Zakopalova
Schiavone vs Robson

Pick: Petra Kvitova def. Serena Williams


The last quarter of the draw is headed by 2 former world no.1's Caroline Wozniacki and Victoria Azarenka. There is another former no.1 here lurking in the middle of the quarter in the form of 14th seeded Ana Ivanovic.  

Wozniacki has by far the toughest opponent in the first round, in the form of last year's quarter-finalist and this year's Eastbourne champion, Paszek. Wozniacki won the pair's only encounter handily, though it was way back in 2008. Wozniacki is combined 10-4 against her potential 3rd round and 4th round opponents, Kuznetsova and Bartoli respectively.

Azarenka made the breakthrough here last year when she went on to reach the semi-finals before loosing a 3 set hard fought battle against the eventual champion Kvitova.

Azarenka has a manageable draw till the 4th round, where her potential opponent can be a resurgent Ana Ivanovic. The pair have split their previous 4 meetings, with their most recent meeting being won by Azarenka in straight sets in the 3rd round of Madrid. Ivanovic's best result at Wimbledon came in 2007 when she made it to the semi-finals, however since then she has failed to progress beyond the 4th round. However, should the two meet in the 4th round, it should be Azarenka who will have an edge.

Azarenka and Wozniacki (if she gets out of her first round encounter) should make it to the quarters without much trouble, and should the 2 meet there, it will be a blockbuster match. Wozniacki leads the H2H 5-2. However, the 2 have not met since their clash in the quarter-finals of Indian Wells 2011, where Azarenka retired while trailing 3-0 in the first set. Azarenka will have the edge and the momentum going into the match, but should the dane reach there, she will definitely have all the confidence.

First round matches to watch:
Wozniacki vs Paszak
Peer vs Goerges
Wickmayer vs Kuznetsova

Pick: Azarenka def. Wozniacki

Semi-final: Kvitova def. Azarenka

Final: Clijsters def. Kvitova

P.S:  I have made many picks with my heart, though I have presented all the stats. What do you guys think? Who do you see the winner at the end of the fortnight?


  1. I didn't realise you did a blog, Omair :-)

    Nice work!

    Interesting predictions! I too fancy Kvitova to reach the final although I think she will be defeated by Sharapova.

    Clijsters will no doubt be a threat although I am a little worried about all her injuries and whether her body can hold out for 7 matches... it would certainly be a fairytale end though if she could win at her final Wimbledon!

  2. Thanks a lot Moo for going through it :) it is really nice to see your comment :)
    You are right about Sharapova, she is in great form and about Clijsters as well! If her body holds up, she will be a threat considering what a fighter she is and this is her last Wimbledon! But she said so that the pulling out of UNICEF was just precautionary! But again can she hold it up for 7 matches remains to be seen!

  3. A profound analysis, Omair. I think that you underestimate Serena a little here. I don't think she'd lose to Kvitova after seeing Kvitova - Sharapova match. I would like to see Serena vs Kim final, I think those players still have a lot to show.

    As for my fave,Woz, the first round match will be really tough. Hopefully Ana will not disappoint this time and break the curse of R3 losses.

    1. Thank you so much Marine for the appreciation :)

      As I said in my article, I have made a lot of picks with my heart :) Serena can never be under-estimated, the moment you begin to doubt her ability, she comes through with flying colours!

      It would really be great to see Kim and Serena battling it out in the final, in what would be one of the last matches of the two. It would be no doubt great for the tour as well! We can have a lot of great match ups, Clijsters vs Sharapova, Kvitova vs Serena, Azarenka vs Wozniacki, Azarenka vs Serena.

  4. Yup Omair cant underestimate Serena for sure...and its realy great to see Clijsters back to wimbledon love to see her play and guys wimbledon 2012 schedule of play is out :)

    1. Agreed Mathew :) Yup there are some great first round matches in action tomorrow :)