Monday, July 2, 2012

2012 Wimbledon: The Ladies' Quarterfinals

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We are down to the "Elite 8" on the women's side at the 2012 Championships at Wimbledon.

It'll be:
  • No. 2 Victoria Azarenka vs. unseeded Tamira Paszek
  • No. 3 Agnieszka Radwanska vs. No. 17 Maria Kirilenko
  • No. 4 Petra Kvitova vs. No. 6 Serena Williams
  • No. 8 Angelique Kerber vs. No. 15 Sabine Lisicki
Absent from the party is World No. 1 Maria Sharapova who lost in the 4th round to the up-and-coming Sabine Lisicki of Germany. The loss was a dagger for Sharapova as she had to defend 1400 points for being a finalist last year. She only managed 280 (fourth round points) which means she will lose a staggering 1120 points from her overall total. She now has 8370 points. In short, she has already mathematically lost the No. 1 ranking to former World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, who by reaching the quarterfinals, has assured her total to be (at least) 8400 points. If Azarenka falters in the quarterfinals or semifinals, World No. 3 Agnieszka Radwanska would take over the No. 1 ranking if she wins the tournament. Azarenka is assured the top spot is she's a finalist. Yes I know, it's a complicated system, but in the end it works. It took me a couple of years to understand it.

No. 2 Victoria Azarenka, the 2012 Australian Open champion, is looking to make the semifinals for the second year in a row. She has never reached the Wimbledon final and the 2012 Aussie is her only Grand Slam title to date. The key words there is-- to date.

No. 3 Agnieszka Radwanska is looking to make her first semifinals appearance of any of the 4 majors, let alone Wimbledon.

No. 4 Petra Kvitova (the defending champion) is looking for her second consecutive Wimbledon title, which would put her with some very elite company. Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Steffi Graf and Martina Navratilova, just to name a few, have won two or more consecutive Wimbledon titles.

No. 6 Serena Williams, well, her story is legendary. Serena is looking to win her 5th Wimbledon title and her 14th Grand Slam title overall. Legendary? You betcha.

No. 8 Angelique Kerber has been impressive in 3 of the 4 Grand Slams in recent times. She was a semifinalist at the 2011 U.S. Open, a quarterfinalist at the 2012 French Open and now a quarterfinalist at the 2012 Wimbledon. Only the Australian Open has been her Achilles heal where she has never made it past the third round. But who knows, maybe the 24-year old German is due for a breakout tournament? She certainly has been positioning herself to do so.

No. 15 Sabine Lisicki is proving that grass-courts are her cup of tea. Not only did she oust the World No. 1 but she is looking to make her second consecutive Wimbledon semifinals. Last year she made it all the way to the semifinals as a wild-card entry and, unless Kerber plays the match of her life, it looks like she's going to make it back-to-back semifinals appearances. At only 22, it looks like Lisicki is going to be a force at Wimbledon for years to come.

No. 17 Maria Kirilenko and the unseeded Tamira Paszek are both looking to be the next Cinderella story. For Kirilenko this will be her second-ever Grand Slam quarterfinals. She was also a quarterfinalist at the 2010 Australian Open. Paszek, like Lisicki, is proving that she is dangerous on grass. This is quietly her second consecutive appearance in the Wimbledon quarterfinals and at only 21, she may have a bright Wimbledon future. She may not play a lick on any other surface but on grass this young lady from Austria is pretty impressive.

And finally--

AP Photos

As for Sharapova, like Rafael Nadal on the men's side, something tells me they'll both be two very angry and driven players at the upcoming U.S. Open. I wouldn't want to be in their bracket. Gosh, even when she's angry she looks like a queen, doesn't she?

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