Olympic Tennis 2012: Full Bracket and Top Medal Contenders

Avi Wolfman-Arent@@awolfmancomethCorrespondent IIJuly 27, 2012

Olympic Tennis 2012: Full Bracket and Top Medal Contenders

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    From small beans to fifth Slam, the Olympic tennis tournament has come a long way over the last quarter century.

    The growth trend continues in London, a tournament that will feature almost every healthy top player on the planet. Mix in a splash of Wimbledon charm, and the fortnight ahead already feels like an instant classic.

    Let’s have a look at the gold-medal combatants in what could well become the greatest Olympic tournament this discipline has ever seen.

Men’s Singles: Section 1 Bracket

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    Roger Federer, Switzerland (1) vs. Alejandro Falla, Colombia


    Julien Benneteau, France vs. Mikhail Youzhny, Russia


    Adrian Ungur, Romania vs. Gilles Muller, Luxembourg


    Denis Istomin, Uzbekistan vs. Fernando Verdasco, Spain (14)



    John Isner, United States (10) vs. Olivier Rochus, Belgium


    Lu Yen-hsun, Chinese Taipei vs. Malek Jaziri, Tunisia


    Lukas Lacko, Slovakia vs. Ivo Karlovic, Croatia


    David Nalbandian, Argentina vs. Janko Tipsarevic, Serbia (7)


    Instant Analysis:


    Top seed Roger Federer has a pretty clear path to the quarterfinals, though potential second-round foe Julien Benneteau did give him a handful at Wimbledon. The bottom-half of the bracket is a little messier. Tipsarevic  comes in as the favorite, but Karlovic and Isner both have the kind of powerful service games that can create major trouble for opponents in a three-set format. Nalbandian is another name worth watching. Even though he’s better known these days for his combustibility than he is his tennis, you can’t ever discount an athlete who has been to semifinals in all four Grand Slam events.

Men’s Singles: Section 2 Bracket

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    David Ferrer, Spain (4) vs. Vasek Pospisil, Canada


    Philipp Kohlschreiber, Germany vs. Blaz, Kavcic, Slovenia


    Radek Sepanek, Czech Republic vs. Nikolay Davydenko, Russia


    Bernard Tomic, Australia vs. Kei Nishikorii, Japan (15)




    Gilles Simon, France (12) vs. Mikhail Kukushkin, Kazakhstan


    Tukasz Kubot, Poland vs. Grigor Dimitrov, Bulgaria


    Andreas Seppi, Italy vs. Donald Young, United States


    Ivan Dodig, Croatia vs. Juan Martin del Potro, Argentina (8)

    Instant Analysis:

    Ferrer is a major beneficiary of Rafael Nadal’s injury. Instead of drawing the fifth seed and having to face another top player in his bracket, Ferrer’s most likely quarterfinal opponent is del Potro, a player he beat in straight sets at Wimbledon. Otherwise, this is a pretty ho-hum group. Bernard Tomic, 19, is an intriguing talent, but there’s little indication that he’s harnessed that potential.

Men’s Singles: Section 3 Bracket

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    Tomas Berdych, Czech Republic (6) vs. Steve Darcis, Belgium


    Santiago Giraldo, Colombia vs. Ryan Harrison, United States


    Alex Bogomolov Jr., Russia vs. Carlos Berlocq, Argentina


    Viktor Troicki, Serbia vs. Nicolas Almagro, Spain (11)



    Richard Gasquet, France (16) vs. Robin Haase, Netherlands


    Go Soeda, Japan vs. Marco Baghdatis, Cyprus


    Somdev Devvarman, India vs. Jarkko Nieminn, Finland


    Stanislas Wawrinka, Switzerland vs. Andy Murray, Great Britain (3)

    Instant Analysis:

    This is a rotten draw for Murray. After losing his only singles match in Beijing, the Scotsman could’ve used a first-round patsy to get off the Olympic snide. Wawrinka is anything but. The world’s 26th-best player is a former Olympic champion in doubles and has beaten Murray four times in ten career matches. It also has to be a bit disconcerting for Murray to see Marcos Baghdatis on his half of the bracket. The irascible yet talented Cypriot brings upset potential with him every time he steps on the court.

Men’s Singles: Section 4 Bracket

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    Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, France (5) vs. Thomaz Bellucci, Brazil


    Tatsuma Ito, Japan vs. Milos Raonic, Canada


    Dimitry Tursunov, Russia vs. Feliciano Lopez, Spain


    David Goffin, Belgium vs. Juan Monaco, Argentina (9)



    Marin Cilic, Croatia (13) vs. Jurgen Meltzer, Austria


    Lleyton Hewitt, Australia vs. Sergiy Stakhovsky, Ukraine


    Andy Roddick, United States vs. Martin Klizan, Slovakia


    Fabio Fognini, Italy vs. Novak Djokovic, Serbia (2)

    Instant Analysis:

    Andy Roddick is a good grass-court player and—even at his age—has the kind of service game that could carry him far in a tournament like this. But the draw isn’t favorable, and his Olympics will likely end in the second round against Novak Djokovic. As for Djokovic, he’ll need to overcome a bracket that includes two former Slam winners (Roddick and Australian Lleyton Hewitt), a regional rival (Croat Marin Cilic) and the best player not seeded in the top four (Jo-Wilfried Tsonga). He should manage, but his route to the medal rounds is perhaps the toughest among the pre-tournament favorites. That potential quarterfinal showdown against Tsonga looks particularly juicy.

Men’s Singles: Medal Favorites

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    Roger Federer, Switzerland: Federer has been shockingly inept at past Olympic tournaments, but the greatest tennis player of all time is pure magic on grass. After winning Wimbledon mere weeks ago, he’s the clear gold-medal favorite.

    Novak Djokovic, Serbia: Djokovic embraces his role as the face of post-war Serbia, and the ardent patriot has perhaps more motivation to win gold than any other player in this tournament.

    Andy Murray, Great Britain: As it was at Wimbledon, the home nation will be clamoring to see if Murray can erase years of British tennis futility. The Brits haven’t won a singles tennis medal since 1924.

    David Ferrer, Spain: With countryman Rafael Nadal sidelined by injury, Ferrer has a golden chance to steal a podium spot. The defensive whiz gave Andy Murray a tough test at Wimbledon even though grass isn’t traditionally his strongest surface.

    Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, France: The Frenchman has defeated Federer at Wimbledon, something none of the other men on this list can say.

Women’s Singles: Section 1 Bracket

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    Victoria Azarekna, Belarus (1) vs. Irina-Camelia Begu, Romania


    Maria Jose Martinez-Sanchez, Spain vs. Polona Hercog, Slovenia


    Anna Tatishvili, Georgia vs. Stephanie Vogt, Liechtenstein


    Zheng Jie, China vs. Nadia Petrova, Russia (16)



    Sara Errani, Italy (9) vs. Venus Williams, United States


    Mariana Erakovic, New Zealand vs. Aleksanra Wozniak, Canada


    Galina Voskoboeva, Kazakhstan vs. Timea Babos, Hungary


    Petra Cetkovska, Czech Republic vs. Angelique Kerber, Germany (7)



    Instant Analysis:

    Kerber is a talent on the rise and a dangerous potential quarterfinal foe, but Azarenka is clearly the class of this bracket. Her Shriekness was dominant at Wimbledon before running into a Serena Williams serve-n’-smash buzz saw in the semifinal.

Women’s Singles: Section 2 Bracket

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    Serena Williams, United States (4) vs. Jelena Jankovic, Serbia


    Mona Barthel, Germany vs. Urszula Radwanska, Poland


    Francesa Schiavone, Italy vs. Klara Zakopalova, Czech Republic


    Sofia Arvidsson, Sweden vs. Vera Zvonareva, Russia (13)



    Li Na, China (10) vs. Daniela Hantuchova, Slovakia


    Alize Cornet, France vs. Tamira Paszek, Austria


    Anabel Medina Garrigues, Spain vs. Yanina Wickmayer, Belgium


    Anne Keothavong, Great Britain vs. Caroline Wozniacki, Denmark (8)


    Instant Analysis:

    This is Serena’s tournament to lose, but there’s no joy in drawing a first-round match up against former world number one Jelena Jankovic. She’ll also be wary of Francesa Schiavone, the kind of scuttle-bug defender that can counter her powerful serve. Schiavone has beaten Williams twice in six career meetings.

Women’s Singles: Section 3 Bracket

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    Samantha Stosur, Australia (5) vs. Carla Suarez Navarro, Spain


    Kim Clijsters, Belgium vs. Roberta Vinci, Italy


    Agnes Szavay, Hungary vs. Elena Blatacha, Great Britain


    Christina McHale, United States vs. Ana Ivanovic, Serbia (11)




    Sabine Lisicki, Germany (15) vs. Ons Jabeur, Tunisia


    Simona Halep, Romania vsYaroslava Shvedova, Kazakhstan


    Petra Martic, Croatia vs. Lucie Safarova, Czech Republic


    Shahar Pe’er, Israel vs. Maria Sharapova, Russia (3)


    Instant Analysis:

    Maria Sharapova won’t be happy to see Sabine Lisicki in her draw after Lisicki beat her at Wimbledon. Kim Clijsters—playing in her first and last Olympic tournament—is easily the most dangerous unseeded player in the field. Based on her Slam results this year, Clijsters is a threat to medal.

Women’s Singles: Section 4 Bracket

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    Petra Kvitova, Czech Republic (6) vs. Kateryna Bondarenko, Ukraine


    Hsieh Su-wei, Chinese Taipei vs. Peng Shuai, China


    Sorana Cirstea, Romania vs. Flavia Pennetta, Italy


    Tsvetana Pironkova, Bulgaria vs. Dominika Cibulkova, Slovakia (12)




    Maria Kirilenko, Russia (14) vs. Mariana Duque Marino, Colombia


    Silvia Soler Espinosa, Spain vs. Heather Watson, Great Britain


    Varvara Lepchenko, United States vs. Veronica Cepede Royg, Paraguay


    Julia Gorges, Germany vs. Agnieszka Radwanska, Poland (2)


    Instant Analysis:

    Kvitova won at Wimbledon in 2011 and, but for the misfortune of drawing an under-seeded Serena Williams in the quarters, played well enough this year to confirm her status as an elite grass-court player. She’ll be a dangerous opponent in London, and stands a good chance of upsetting Radwanska in the quarters.

Women’s Singles: Medal Favorites

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    Serena Williams, United States: After blitzing the field at Wimbledon, Williams is an overwhelming gold-medal favorite. For the first time in years, she looks fit, focused and confident. When her serve is on, she’s almost impossible to break.

    Maria Sharapova, Russia: The former world number one seemed to be regaining top form before a disappointing quarterfinal loss at Wimbledon. Her talent is manifest, but consistency remains elusive. It’s now been eight years since she won Wimbledon.

    Victoria Azarenka, Belarus: In a sport plagued by volatility, Azarenka has distinguished herself by reaching at least the semifinals in three of the last five Slams.

    Petra Kvitova, Czech Republic: Wimbledon has been Kvitova’s best event. She won the tournament in 2011 and reached the semis in 2010. She looked like a safe bet to make it three semifinal appearances in a row before running into an under-seeded Serena Williams in this year’s quarters.

    Agnieszka Radwańska, Poland: The 23-year-old had a breakthrough tournament at Wimbledon, reaching her first Grand Slam final and even taking a set off Serena Williams once she got there.

Men’s Doubles: Top Half Bracket

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    B. Bryan / M. Bryan, United States (1) vs. T. Bellucci / A. Sa, Brazil


    C. Kas / P. Petzschner, Germany vs. N. Davydenko / M. Youzhny, Russia


    J. Erlich / A. Ram, Israel vs. M. Granollers / M. Lopez, Spain


    K. Nishikori / G. Soeda, Japan vs. R. Federer / S. Wawrinka, Switzerland (6)



    J. Tipsarevic / N. Zimonjic, Serbia (3) vs. M. Klizan / L. Lacko, Slovakia


    D. Nestor / V. Pospisil, Canada vs. H. Tecau / A, Ungur, Romania


    C. Fleming / R. Hutchins, Great Britain vs. J. Benneteau / R. Gasquet, France


    A. Bury / M. Mirnyi, Belarus vs. M. Bhupathi / R. Bopana, India (7)


    Instant Analysis:

    Wow. Where to start? Federer and Wawrinka, the defending Olympic champs, have the best singles talent, but the American Bryan brothers doubles have a resume that runs for days.

    Then there’s the most controversial tandem in tennis, Indian pair Bhupathi and Bopana. The country’s tennis brass wanted Bhupathi to play with his former partner Leander Paes, a higher rated player. Bhupathi refused, citing inter-personal animosity. The resulting standoff sparked a country-wide debate that ended in authorities acquiescing to Bhupathi’s demands. And while Bhupathi got his way, it means the pressure to bring home a medal is greater than ever.

Men’s Doubles: Bottom Half Bracket

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    N. Djokovic / V. Troicki, Serbia (8) vs. J. Brunstrom / R. Lindstedt, Sweden


    M. Clilic / I. Dodig, Croatia vs. J.S. Cabal / S. Giraldo, Colombia


    J. Melzer / A. Peya, Austria vs. A. Murray / J. Murray, Great Britain


    D. Ferrer / F. Lopez, Spain vs. M. Fyrstenberg / M. Matkowski, Poland (4)




    T. Berdych / R. Stepanek, Czech Republic (5) vs. D. Bracciali / A. Seppi, Italy


    J. Isner / A. Roddick, United States vs. M. Melo / B. Soares, Brazil


    R. Haase / J.J. Rojer, Netherlands vs. L. Paes / V. Vardhan, India


    D. Nalbandian / E. Schwank, Argentina vs. M. Llorda / J.W. Tsonga, France (2)


    Instant Analysis:

    All eyes will be on the Murray brothers, as they try to improve on their second-round exit four years ago. Drawn against the likes of David Ferrer, Novak Djokovic and Marin Cilic, reaching the medal round won’t be easy. The bottom half of the bracket has just as much talent, with big-serving Americans John Isner and Andy Roddick up against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and a Czech team comprised of two top-30 players.

Men’s Doubles: Medal Favorites

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    Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan, United States: The twins have been elite performers on the doubles scene since 2003, but have managed just a bronze in two Olympic tournaments. Olympic doubles tournaments have the rare tendency to attract premier singles players—the top five men’s seeds are all playing in London—and the Bryans need to prove that their doubles expertise can trump individual talent.

    Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka, Switzerland: The defending Olympic champions have the advantage of playing on Federer’s preferred surface. That said, Wawrinka has regressed considerably as a singles player since 2008.

    Novak Djokovic and Viktor Troicki, Serbia: You can’t ignore any tandem with a player of Djokovic’s caliber, and Troicki is no slouch. The Davis Cup hero has made five ATP singles finals and was ranked as high as 12 last year.

    Jamie Murray and Andy Murray, Great Britain: The brothers didn’t fare well in Beijing, but little bro Andy is coming off a successful Wimbledon and the crowd support couldn’t hurt.

Women’s Doubles: Top Half

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    L. Huber / L. Raymond, United States (1, FIRST ROUND BYE)


    A. Radwanska / U. Radwanska, Poland vs. D. Cibulkova / D. Hantuchova, Slovakia (WINNER PLAYS RAYMOND/HUBER)


    J. Gorges / A.L. Groenfeld, Germany vs. E. Baltacha / A. Keothavong, Great Britain


    J. Gajosova / A. Radionova, Australia vs. E. Makarova / E. Vesnina, Russia (6)



    A. Hlavackova / L. Hradecka, Czech Republic (4) vs. T. Babos / A. Szavay, Hungary


    Li N. / Zhang S., China vs. G. Dulko, Argentina / P. Suarez, Argentina


    R. Chakravarthi / S. Mirza, India vs. C.J. Chuang / S.W. Hsieh, Chinese Taipei


    A.Medina Garrigues / A. Parra Santonja, Spain vs. F. Pennetta / F. Schiavone, Italy (7)

    Instant Analysis:

    The first round bye is a nice reprieve, but Lisa Raymond and Liezel Huber should get tested in the second round by world number two Agnieszka Radwanska and her younger sister, Urszula

Women’s Doubles: Bottom Half

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    N. Llagostera Vives / M.J. Martinez Sanchez, Spain (8) vs. C. Dellacqua / S. Stosur, Australia


    Peng S. / Zheng J., China vs. K. Mladenovic / A. Cornet, France


    Y. Shvedova / G. Voskoboeva, Kazakhstan vs. S. Dubois / A. Wozniak, Canada


    K. Jans-Ignacik / A. Rosolska, Poland vs. M. Kirilenko / N. Petrova, Russia (3)




    S. Lisick / A. Kerber, Germany (5) vs. L. Robson / H. Watson, Great Britain


    S. Cirstea / S. Halep, Romania vs. S. Williams / V. Williams, United States


    M. Chakhnashvili / A. Tatishvili, Georgia vs. A. Klepac / K. Srebotnik, Slovenia


    P. Cetkovska / L. Safarova, Czech Republic vs. S. Errani / R. Vinci, Italy (2)


    Instant Analysis:

    The Williams sisters are clear favorites, but they’ll have to beat a talent-laden German squad to reach the semis.

Women’s Doubles: Medal Favorites

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    Serena Williams and Venus Williams, United States: The sisters have won each of the last two Olympic doubles tournaments they’ve contested (2000 and 2008). After they won Wimbledon, it seems there will be no stopping them.

    Sabine Lisicki and Angelique Kerber, Germany: Based on a quick scan of the bracket, I believe this is the only doubles team in London with two top-20 singles players. Kerber beat Lisicki in the Wimbledon quarterfinals earlier this year.

    Lisa Raymond and Liezel Huber, United States: The top seed won last year’s U.S. Open over a mixed-nationality team that included Kazakhstani Olympic hopeful Yaroslava Shvedova.

    Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci, Italy: Led by world number nine Sara Errani, Italy’s top duo has been stellar this year. They followed up a second place finish at the Australian Open by winning their first career Slam at the French.