Wimbledon 2012: Players Who Will Continue to Impress
The first week of Wimbledon is over, and their are a handful of players that have impressed the tennis world thus far.
This year's Wimbledon will always be remembered for Lukas Rosol's improbable upset of 11-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal in the second round. Considering that Nadal had made it to the finals in each of the past five times he participated in the event, and Rosol was a relative unknown, it has the making to be a memorable event for a long time.
However, hopefully Rosol's shocking triumph doesn't completely overshadow other players' excellent performances. Even without Nadal, there are plenty of exciting players left in both the men's and women's draw.
Here are a few players who were impressive in week one and will use their Sunday off to prepare to be the same in week two.
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Last year's Wimbledon champion, Petra Kvitova, has looked comfortable and dominant thus far. Over the course of her first three matches, she hasn't lost a set and has taken two sets at love.
Kvitova's flat, penetrating shots are most effective on the fast, low-bouncing grass courts of Wimbledon. Her serve is really what makes her a threat on grass, as it is very difficult for opponents to get into her service games when she is putting in her first serve consistently.
Kvitova has been slightly overlooked thus far, as superstars like Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova command much of the spotlight. All Kvitova has done is demolish her opponents, and she appears primed to give Serena a tough match in the quarterfinals.
Based upon current form, it would not be a surprise if Kvitova is deemed the favorite when she faces off against Serena. She proved last year that she can beat Sharapova on grass, as she beat her in the Wimbledon final.
Although Kvitova is being overlooked, it wouldn't be a surprise to see her holding the trophy after the women's final.
Juan Martin Del Potro
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Juan Martin del Potro is the only man not named Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal or Novak Djokovic that has won a Grand Slam in recent memory. That breakthrough came at the 2009 US Open, when Delpo overcame Rafael Nadal in the semifinals and then came back from a two-set to one deficit to upset Roger Federer.
Shortly after that triumph, del Potro was forced to undergo wrist surgery that sidelined him for nine months. It has taken time for him to return to his pre-injury level, but it appears as if he is ready to emerge as a threat to win majors once again.
He entered Wimbledon as the ninth seed and must have been determined to prove that his booming game and big frame make him a contender on grass.
Thus far, Delpo has managed to tie his best result at Wimbledon, as he has reached the fourth round, a feat he had only achieved once in his career.
What has been most impressive about del Potro's Wimbledon campaign has been his movement. The Argentine's huge serve and flat, hard shots have always been dangerous on the grass. However, he has long struggled to move well on the slick grass, which has caused him to exit Wimbledon earlier than he would have liked.
Based on his current form, Delpo is primed to improve on last year's loss in the fourth round to Rafael Nadal. He is set to play Spaniard David Ferrer in the fourth round, and you can bet that Delpo will be looking to hit the ball through the super-fit Ferrer.
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It seems to be forgotten that it was Victoria Azarenka who won the Australian Open earlier this year, and that she has only lost once at a major this year. So far this season, she has won four titles and has compiled a 38-4 record.
However, due to Maria Sharapova's recent success, Azarenka has dropped to No. 2 in the rankings.
It is somewhat surprising that Azarenka isn't getting more attention as a contender to win this tournament. She made a run to the semifinals last year, where she fell to future champion Petra Kvitova in three sets. During that run, Azarenka proved that her game translates well to grass.
Since that match, she has arguably had the best run in women's tennis. Thus far at Wimbledon, Azarenka has been dominant and she is yet to drop a set. In the fourth round, she will play fellow one-time Grand Slam winner Ana Ivanovic.
While Sharapova and Serena Williams lost sets during week one, Azarenka has quietly dominated her foes. A strong argument can be made that Sharapova and Serena have faced more difficult opponents, but Azarenka cannot control who she plays.
If Azarenka maintains her current level of play, then she is on the short-list of favorites to win the title.
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Brian Baker's comeback story is nothing short of remarkable, and makes it impossible to root against him. He missed 6.5 years due to a variety of surgeries, and it appeared as if his career as a professional tennis player was over.
Over the past month and a half, Baker has emphatically proven that his career is not over.
He went through the qualifying at a tournament in Nice, and he managed to claw his way all the way to the finals in the main draw.
He followed that breakthrough performance by winning his first match at the French Open, and taking a two-set to love lead against 11th seed Gilles Simon. Unfortunately, Baker was was unable to close the Frenchman and lost the match in five sets.
Even though he lost, Baker proved that he can play winning tennis against the very best players in the world. Thus far at Wimbledon, Baker has only dropped two sets in the main draw after getting through the qualifying draw.
He has a winnable match against Philipp Kohlschreiber in the fourth round. It will take a strong performance for Baker to win, but he couldn't have hoped for a better situation. Although none of Baker's victories at Wimbledon have been over seeded players, he has gotten the job done in his first three matches.
When the draw was released, most assumed that second-seeded Rafael Nadal would easily reach the fourth round. Instead of facing Nadal, Baker will face the 27th seed with a spot in a Grand Slam quarterfinal on the line.
Whether or not Baker beats Kohlschreiber remains to be seen, but Baker had a memorable, impressive first week at the most prestigious tournament in all of tennis. Considering his medical history, any future success is nothing but icing on the cake.
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If Tamira Paszek has proven anything over the past month, it is that she can play on grass.
She beat Marion Bartoli and Angelique Kerber, who are both ranked inside the Top 10, to claim the title at the AEGEON International event prior to Wimbledon. Prior to the AEGEON International, Paszek had a record of 2-13 and was ranked outside the Top 100. She is a relentless, hard hitter whose game is best suited for the grass.
The Wimbledon draw was not nice to Paszek, as she found herself playing seventh seed Caroline Wozniacki in the first round. As it would turn out, Paszek proved on Centre Court that she is a real threat on grass and beat Wozniacki after dropping the first set.
Paszek cruised passed Alize Cornet in the second round before surviving a thrilling third-round encounter with Yanina Wickmayer. In both matches, Paszek wore down her opponents with a constant barrage of deep, powerful shots.
In the fourth round, the 21-year-old Austrian will be facing off against 21st seed Roberta Vinci. Vinci is a solid player, but Paszek has the aggressive game to completely overpower and advance to the quarterfinals.
A victory over Vinci would put Paszek in her first Grand Slam quarterfinal and a chance to make a dreamlike run.