Wimbledon 2012: Forecasting Men's and Women's Quarterfinal Winners and Losers
Wimbledon 2012. Take a deep breath. Relax. After all, you had middle Sunday off to regroup and settle in for week two.
Recall the glorious week of action that just ended on the green lawns of the All-England Club.
Rafael Nadal was ejected in Round 2 by a virtual unknown—Czech Lukas Rosol who then lost his next match to German Philipp Kohlschreiber.
Nadal’s shocking loss was one of those unbelievable moments in sports.
The following night, Roger Federer was stretched to the full extent of his talent by Frenchman Julien Benneteau in their third-round match.
Unlike Nadal, however, Federer survived to win in five sets.
During the first week for the ladies—seeds Samantha Stosur (5), Li Na (11), Caroline Wozniacki (7), Julia Goerges (22) and Marion Bartoli (9) cut their stay at Wimbledon short. So did many other top seeds who had hoped to move into week two.
Five-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams was sent out in the first round.
Granted, upsets are more prevalent on the women’s side of the draw. Unlike the men, however, all of the top four ladies survived into the second week and the Round of 16.
So, you ask, after Monday, who is left and what should we expect to happen next?
Seed No. 1: Novak Djokovic’s Quarter
The No. 1 seed simply needed to dispatch his countryman Viktor Troicki on Monday and then sit back and wait for the winner of the match between Frenchman Richard Gasquet and German Florian Mayer.
Djokovic quietly got down to business. It was not really much of a match between the two Serbs, with Djokovic dominating from the very beginning.
In fact, there was little drama at all—except wondering if action on Centre Court would end for the day once their match concluded.
This consideration remained on the lips of commentators because several other men’s matches scheduled needed to finish—with others not yet underway.
The All-England Club, however, declined to extend the action on Centre Court.
On another court, Frenchman Gasquet trailed Florian Mayer when play was suspended because of the incessant rain with Mayer up one set but on serve in the second.
Gasquet had been playing superb tennis so far in the tournament and there is no reason to suspect Mayer has enough fire power to stop the Frenchman from advancing to the quarterfinals.
Gasquet has not, however, shown his usual finesse on court.
Regardless, defeating Djokovic will be another matter.
In the quarterfinals, Djokovic will face Gasquet, with Djokovic advancing into the semifinals.
The No. 1 seed will prevail, marching headlong into another semifinal showdown with Roger Federer.
Seed No. 1: Maria Sharapova’s Quarter
Last year, Maria Sharapova defeated German Sabine Lisicki in the semifinals of Wimbledon, enabling the Russian to make her way into her first major final in years.
This year, the two met in the fourth round at the All-England Club.
Sharapova had just captured her first French Open crown while Lisicki, fighting injuries, found she could compete at her favorite major—Wimbledon.
This year, it was the German who took command, taking out the No. 1 seed 6-4, 6-3.
The oddsmakers' favorite to win the tournament, Sharapova was gone before the quarterfinals.
In the other match played on “Manic Monday,” crowd favorite Kim Clijsters went down to defeat to another German, Angelique Kerber.
Frankly, Clijsters entered Wimbledon with little match play because of persistent injuries.
Although most cheered for the Belgian to stick around longer, the German, who has shined all year, sent “Kimmy” home.
This was Clijsters' last Wimbledon appearance.
The two Germans will square off Tuesday for a spot in the semifinals, with Kerber coming out on top.
Seed No. 5: Jo-Wilfried Tsonga’s Quarter
This would have been the quarter where Rafael Nadal reigned.
No doubt, all discussion would have focused on whether Murray could finally defeat Nadal and advance to his first Wimbledon final.
But, Nadal was sent home in week one.
That meant that the next highest seed, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, became the man to beat in this quarter of the men’s draw.
The Frenchman's surprising opponent on Monday was American Mardy Fish.
It was Fish, moreover, who took the first set 6-4 with the two standing dead even at 1-1 in the second when play was suspended.
It is hard to imagine that Tsonga will lose this match, mainly because Mardy Fish had been out of contention for so long, just coming back in time to play Wimbledon. The American is not match strong—unlike Tsonga.
The winner of this match will face either Philipp Kohlschreiber, the No. 27 seed, or American Brian Baker, who qualified to get into the tournament. Their match never got underway on Monday.
Even though it is hard to predict the winner between these two, expect the more experienced player, Kohlschreiber, to move on to face the Frenchman in the quarters.
Tsonga will emerge the winner in his quarter to advance onto the semifinals.
Seed No. 2: Victoria Azarenka’s Quarter
Early on, Tamira Paszek of Austria had a very good Monday. She defeated the Italian Roberta Vinci in straight sets 6-2, 6-2.
This will afford Paszek plenty of time to rest up for her quarterfinal encounter with world No. 2 (for the moment) Victoria Azarenka.
Azarenka played her Centre Court match against another former world No. 1, Ana Ivanovic of Serbia.
It promised to be a very exciting match with Ivanovic seemingly on her way back to the top of the women’s game with good results so far in the tournament.
Azarenka, however, shot out to a 4-0 lead in the first set while Ivanovic struggled to find her game in the opener.
The problem was that Ivanovic never found her way into this match—totally dominated by Azakenka 6-1, 6-0.
Azarenka looked her very best and should have no problems with Paszek on Tuesday.
But one thing you never say during any match in the women’s draw is “never.”
Still, there is no one playing with more confidence than Azarenka.
The lady from Belarus will find her way into another major semifinal match where she will face Serena Williams for a spot in the final.
Seed No. 3: Roger Federer’s Quarter
After surviving his epic third-round match, Federer should have breezed past Xavier Malisse of Belgium.
Yet, in a the rarest of moments on the tennis court, Federer needed a trainer and then requested a medical timeout midway through the first set.
This was practically unheard of as the great Swiss, who has never retired from a match, showed weakness in the form of lower back pain.
Yet, Federer held on to win the first set even as the proverbial rains began to fall once again, halting play on "Manic Monday."
In fact, Federer won the first two sets before Malisse woke up to win set No. 3.
Federer came back to win this match in four sets, moving on to the quarterfinals where the Swiss will meet a man he has beaten 13 times in a row—Mikhail Youzhny of Russia.
Youzhny upended Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan in another epic five-set match 3-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-7, 7-5 on a faraway court with no commentary or cameras.
Assuming that Federer’s back allows the Swiss to play on unfettered, Federer should find himself in this year's semifinals where he will face world No. 1 Djokovic.
Seed No. 3: Agnieszka Radwanska’s Quarter
The No. 3 seed Agnieszka Radwanska moved quietly through the draw with no coverage or much notice from the media, who remained riveted to Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams.
In her match on Monday facing Italian Camila Giorgi, Radwanska won in 66 minutes, 6-2, 6-3. The match was scheduled out on Court No. 2.
As she had done all tournament, Radwanska marched through her opposition without much fuss or bother.
Radwanska’s opponent on Tuesday is the winner of the match between Russian Maria Kirilenko and China’s Shuai Peng.
Kirilenko shot out quickly, taking the first set 6-1 with Peng holding on to win the second set tie-break.
With one set apiece, the two fought on, with Kirilenko finally breaking to go up 3-2 in the third. Peng fought hard but could not level the set again.
Kirilenko will face Radwanska on Tuesday.
Monday’s win, however, will be the Russian’s last.
The No. 3 seed Radwanska will take her campaign another step into the 2012 Wimbledon semifinals.
Seed No. 4: Andy Murray’s Quarter
This quarter of the draw remains brutal.
Four seeded players continue to vie for spots in the quarterfinals.
Cilic, who had a very strenuous five-set match on Saturday, finally overcame his American opponent, Sam Querry, 17-15 in the fifth set.
Luckily, the Croat had an extra day of rest before his match with Murray.
But it was not enough.
So far in the match, Murray leads—up one set and leading 3-1 in the second.
Murray should prevail if action continues to progress in similar fashion when the match resumes on Tuesday.
The winner of the match between Murray and Cilic will face the winner of the Juan Martin del Potro vs. David Ferrer match.
This crucial contest never got underway before rain postponed the action on Monday.
The Ferrer vs. Del Potro match should be another barnburner.
Del Potro, however, has too much power for Ferrer, whose speed has kept him alive in his grass court matches up to this point.
Expect a Murray vs. Del Potro quarterfinal match, with Del Potro surprising Murray to win.
Some patterns cannot be broken.
Seed No. 4: Petra Kvitova’s Quarter
This quarter of the women’s draw has two major storylines. One centers on defending champion and relative unknown on the world stage, Petra Kvitova.
The other focuses on four-time defending champion Serena Williams. Both faced major problems in their fourth-round encounters.
Serena Williams won her opening set against Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan 6-1. It looked like it would be an easy day at the office for the heralded American.
Shvedova, however, had other plans and came back in the second set to settle the score at 6-2—to the dismay of those assembled.
Rain began to spit at the crowd and the players. Doubt settled in firmly.
The two remained neck and neck, stretching to the finish line with the underdog Shvedova stumbling with the score tied 5-5.
Serena, breathing a huge sigh of relief, lunged over the finish line and into the quarterfinals taking the final set 7-5.
In the meantime, Petra Kvitova had her own share of problems. Former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone took the first set from the defending champion 6-4.
Even so, Kvitova began to look better as the set progressed, even in a first-set losing effort.
Her resurgence continued as Kvitova took the second set 7-5 with rain discouraging Schiavone from competing full out.
The match ended with Kvitova dominating 6-1.
The quarterfinal match between Serena Williams and Kvitova will end with Williams finding a way to win to advance to the semifinals.