Wimbledon 2013: Bold Predictions for Top Stars at All England Club
The 2013 Wimbledon Championships got off to a shocking start on Day 1 as two-time champion Rafael Nadal suffered his first career opening-round loss at a Grand Slam.
Steve Darcis was a step quicker than the 12-time Grand Slam champion from the opening point, taking out Rafa in straight sets to eliminate 25 percent of the Big Four and open up the men's draw. But don't expect Darcis' memorable upset to signal the end of the Big Four's reign atop men's tennis.
Let's take a look at some bold predictions for the remaining top stars at Wimbledon this summer.
Roger Federer's Journey Will End in the Semifinals for First Time Ever
Seven-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer has never lost in the semifinals at the All England Club, either losing in the quarterfinals or reaching the final in each of his last 10 tries.
But there's a first time for everything, and 2013 looks to be the year that the Swiss legend finally falls a round before the final.
Federer should cruise into the final four with no Rafael Nadal to deal with in the quarterfinals. But Andy Murray is still alive and well in the bottom half of the draw, and he should meet Fed in the semis if both can avoid numerous upset bids along the way.
The edge goes to Murray in this potential matchup, though. Murray has won three of the past four meetings between the two players, including wins at the 2012 Summer Olympics and the Australian Open earlier this year.
Murray has overcome the psychological barrier and that's bad news for Federer in this tournament.
Andy Murray Will Reach the Final Again
Andy Murray has improved each year at Wimbledon since he made his first career appearance at the All England Club in 2005 as a teenager. Look for that trend to continue in 2013 (via Wimbledon):
#Murray:"The Grand Slams are the pinnacle of our sport. It's the tournaments I prepare extremely hard for, where you play your best tennis."— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) June 24, 2013
Murray is the world No. 2 for a reason. He's won a major tournament within the past year and is the reigning Olympic gold medalist in men's tennis. Murray is also a stellar grass-court player who is impressive when it comes to quickly turning defense into offense.
He should have a relatively easy time reaching the semis this year, which bodes well for his chances against Federer in their much-anticipated semifinal showdown.
Novak Djokovic Will Win Second Career Wimbledon Championship
Six-time Grand Slam champion and 2011 Wimbledon winner Novak Djokovic was a few mistakes away from potentially playing for the 2013 French Open title earlier this month, and a win there would have kept his bid for the season Grand Slam alive.
Which remaining member of the Big Four is most likely to win it all at Wimbledon?
But after a disappointing semifinal loss at Roland Garros, Djokovic enters the most famous fortnight in tennis a bit under the radar. The Djoker won't mind, though, as the draw will be his best friend this summer.
Nole won't have to face a single member of the Big Four until the final, and his arch rival Rafael Nadal has already been bounced from the tournament, making his route to the championship that much easier.
Djokovic is 32-7 for his career at Wimbledon and has reached the semifinals here in each of the past three years. But with no major threats in his way, look for him to cruise to the final where he'll defeat Andy Murray to claim his second career Wimbledon title.
Keep in mind that Djokovic has won three straight meetings with Murray since losing to him in the 2012 U.S. Open final last September.
Serena Williams Will Claim Back-to-Back Wimbledon Titles
Bold? No. But smart?
While the men's draw looks to be a three-way battle, the women's draw is all about Serena Williams, who looks untouchable at the moment.
Which player is most likely to end Serena's reign at the All England Club?
If men's tennis has the Big Four, the women's game has the Big One. A 16-time Grand Slam champion, Serena Williams is the oldest female world No. 1 in WTA history and the overwhelming favorite to win her sixth Wimbledon title this summer.
She enters London in the midst of a 31-match winning streak and currently owns three of the four Grand Slam crowns.
And at Wimbledon 2013, she won't have to face either Victoria Azarenka (world No. 2) or Maria Sharapova (world No. 3) until the final. Therefore, Williams should breeze through the top half of the draw en route to Championship Weekend at Wimbledon.
There, she'll most likely take on a worn-out Sharapova two days removed from a tough semifinal battle with Azarenka or vice versa. Either player will be assigned a monumental task. Azarenka is just 2-13 against Williams all time (0-3 on grass) while Sharapova hasn't beaten Williams since 2004.
Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.
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