Thursday 21 June 2012

Love of the top 4 seeds for Wimbledon

You will find some interesting facts if you go back into the history of Wimbledon. A top seed has lost in the first round of Wimbledon thrice since the beginning of Open Era, but a 2nd, 3rd and 4th seed have never lost the opener since the beginning of Open Era.

Of 3 first round looses of top seed players, 2 belong to Martina Hingis, one in 1999, when she came off a runner-up showing at Roland Garros, loosing the championship match at the hands of Steffi Graff. Hingis was upset in the first round of Wimbledon by qulaifier Jelena Dokic. Dokic went on to reach the quarter-finals before bowing out to another qualifer Stevenson in 3 sets. Hingis won just 2 games in that first round loss. This marked Hingis's second exist in the first round of Wimbledon. Her first loss in the first round came on her debut at Wimbledon in 1995.
In 2001, Hingis was coming off a semi-final showing at Roland Garros but lost the opener in Wimbledon in straight sets, marking it the 3rd and last time in her career that she would loose the opener at Grand Slam. Her conqueror was none other than the Virginia Ruano Pascual (who would go on to hand Serena Williams her first ever defeat in the first round of a major at the Roland Garros 2012).

Steffi Graff is the only other top seed to have dropped out in the opener since the dawn of Open Era. This happened in 1994. This was Graff's only loss at Wimbledon during the time span of 1991 - 1997. Graff was coming off a semi-final showing at Roland Garros but was upset by Lori McNeil in the first round of Wimbledon. Lori McNeil then went on to reach the semi-finals before bowing out to eventual champion Conchita Martinez 8-10 in the third set. Sharapova is the top seed for Wimbledon this year. Will she become only the 3rd top seeded player to bow out in the opening round of Wimbledon, or will she continue her recent dominance at Grand Slams? Her current form suggests the latter.

Another Interesting fact is that since the dawn of the Open Era(1968 onwards) each of the top 3 seeds has won Wimbledon at least 6 times, however a 4th seed has won Wimbledon just 2 times in the past 44 years and you have to go all the way back to 1980 to find a 4th seed who went on to win the trophy. It was Evonne Goolagong Cawley who defeated 3rd seed Chris Evert in the final to become the second 4th seed to win Wimbledon since the Open Era. She defeated Evert 61 76(4). It was the first tie-breaker played in the ladies singles final at Wimbledon. To locate the first ever and the only other 4th seed to date who has won Wimbledon, you have to go all the way back to 1969 when Ann Jones defeated 2nd seed Billie Jean King to claim the Wimbledon crown. Ann Jones beat King 36 63 62. Ann Jones defeated the top seed Margaret Court in the semi-finals 10-12 63 62. Things have not been looking good for our 4th seed of this year who happens to be the defending champion as well as Kvitova dropped her opener at Eastbourne to Makarova, the Serena Slayer at Australian Open this year. Will Kvitova become the 3rd 4th seeded player to win Wimbledon or will she also bow out?

If we look back at the 44 years of Open Era, the top 4 seeds have combined to win the title for 38 times.
The top 4 seeds for this year are:
Maria Sharapova;
Victoria Azarenka;
Agnieska Radwanska; and
Petra Kvitova, the defending champion.

It is said that history repeats itself. But it is also said that fortune favours the brave. Will it again be a top 4 player winning the title and repeating history or will it be an outsider brave player having his say??? We will have to wait and watch things unfold over the course of the next 2 weeks.

1 comment: