Wimbledon 2013 was all about power and aggression vs touch and finesse. In the end no power players were left standing.
As the top seeds fell early and often, the end result was an unpredictable final four as the sun rose on the women's semifinals.
The last seed in the top ten fell by the wayside as (4) Agnieszka Radwanska lost in three sets. In the other semifinal, the Belgian upstart Kirsten Flipkens melted under an all-out assault from Marion Bartoli.
In the final, it was raw power represented by Sabine Lisicki against awesome defense and fearless steel will on Bartoli's side of the net. Ultimately, Bartoli wanted it more, winning the match in straight sets.
The following power rankings for the ladies who competed at Wimbledon consider their current and past results at Wimbledon as well as their potential to do well at the U.S. Open.
Age 26, Italy, Ranked No. 72
Wimbledon Results: Karin Knapp advanced to the fourth round at Wimbledon with wins over Lucie Hradecka and Lucie Safarova, both of Czechoslovakia in the opening two rounds. Then, she defeated Michelle Larcher de Brito who took out Maria Sharapova in the second round. Knapp lost to eventual champion Marion Bartoli in the fourth round, 6-2, 6-3 to finish her best ever Wimbledon campaign.
Post Wimbledon impact: Knapp was once ranked as high as world No. 35. The most recent WTA weekly update saw her ranking improve from No. 104 to No. 72. Her best Wimbledon finish prior to this year was the first round. Her showing during this Wimbledon fortnight, however, marked a vast improvement. It may spur the Italian on to greater things for the remainder of the season.
Forecast for the U.S. Open: Knapp advanced to the second round of the 2007 U.S. Open. It was her furthest reach at Flushing Meadows. She made the main draw three times in her career. This year, spurred on by her Wimbledon results, Knapp may do well in New York. But she still will not advance into the second week. It will be baby steps for Knapp.
Age 31, Italy, Ranked No. 100
Wimbledon Results: Flavia Penneta reached the fourth round of this year’s Wimbledon by first defeating Brit Elena Baltacha in straight sets. Then she received a walk-over when Victoria Azarenka was forced to withdraw. Her third round victory came over Alize Cornet seeded No. 29. Penneta came back after losing the first set 6-0 to win their match in three. Penneta finally lost to the Belgian Kirsten Flipkens in the next round. But her run at this year’s Wimbledon equalled her best results achieved in 10 tries, reaching the fourth in 2005 and 2006.
Post Wimbledon Impact: Once ranked as high as No. 10 in the world in 2009, Penneta was forced to have surgery on her right wrist which saw her ranking plummet to 166 during the next year. But her results at this year’s Wimbledon fortnight must give her some encouragement to believe her game is coming back to pre-surgery levels. Her ranking improved dramatically.
Forecast for the U.S. Open: The last time Penneta played the U.S. Open in 2011 she advanced to the quarterfinal round. She also reached that round in 2008 and 2009, utilizing her speed and her all-court game. Penneta’s run at Wimbledon was a good one, but lucky, too. The Italian may not find that luck again at the U.S. Open. She might reach the quarterfinals again, but that is not a given. She will be very fortunate to reach the second week at Flushing Meadows.
Age 30, Italy, Ranked No. 11
Wimbledon Results: Roberta Vinci advanced to the fourth round of this year’s Wimbledon after defeating Chanelle Scheepers of South Africa in the first round, followed by a tense win over Jana Cepelova of Slovakia. In the third round, she met the No. 18 seed Dominika Cibulkova, defeating her in straight sets. Finally the Italian lost to the No. 6 seed Li Na in straight sets 6-2, 6-0 ending her run at the 2013 Wimbledon Championship. She’d also reached the fourth round in 2012.
Post Wimbledon Impact: Vinci’s ranking was not affected by her play at Wimbledon since she reached this round in 2012. For the most part, the Italian had a great Wimbledon tournament and should be pleased to have made the final 16. Known more for her doubles play with countrywoman Sara Errani, Vinci continues to improve in singles.
Forecast for the U.S. Open: In 2012, Vinci had her best results at the U.S. Open, reaching the quarterfinals of that event. There is no reason to expect less from the Italian at this year’s tournament, which begins in Flushing Meadows at the end of August. She's been playing exceptionally well.
Age 25, Bulgaria, Ranked No. 57
Wimbledon Results: The thing about Tsvetana Pironkova is that she comes alive on the grass. Frequently, the Bulgarian advances to the late rounds of Wimbledon against stiff odds. She reached the semifinals in 2010 and the quarterfinals in 2011, but she lost in the second round in 2012. This year she reached the fourth in her climb back toward week two.
Pironkova began by defeating the No. 21 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova of Russia. She followed that victory by putting down Barbora Zahlavova of Czechoslovakia. In the third round, she won over Petra Martic of Croatia, finally losing to Agnieszka Radwanska, the No. 4 seed, in the fourth round.
Post Wimbledon Impact: Pironkova experienced a rankings boost after Wimbledon, but it will do little to affect her play going forward. She plays well but not quite as great the rest of the season. The quality of her play will keep her in the women’s top 100. Since she likes the faster surfaces, Pironkova will enjoy the upcoming hard court season.
Forecast for the U.S. Open: Last year, the Bulgarian advanced to the fourth round of the U.S. Open where she lost to the No. 12 seed Ana Ivanovic. It was her best finish at Flushing Meadows in seven tries. She will hope to equal or better that mark in 2013. Expect her to get to the fourth round but no further as the tour moves to New York City in August.
Age 25, Germany, Ranked No. 9
Wimbledon Results: Angelique Kerber, who was a semifinalist a year ago at Wimbledon, was bounced out during her second round match by the always-dangerous-on-grass player Estonian Kaia Kanepi in three tough sets. This followed Kerber’s first round win over Bethany Mattek-Sands who’d enjoyed a tremendous run at the 2013 French Open. The German’s Wimbledon campaign ended very early.
Post Wimbledon Impact: Kerber will bounce back after her loss and be ready for the hard court season ahead. She must do well at Flushing Meadows to salvage a fairly lackluster season to date. Excused during the fourth round at Melbourne and the fourth round at the 2013 French Open, her early exit from Wimbledon was disappointing. But a good summer hard court season will ease the disappointment suffered at the All England Club.
Forecast for the U.S. Open: Kerber will be looking to get back to the semifinals just as she did in 2011 at the U.S. Open. Much will depend on a good lead up and a decent draw once she begins the last major of the season. Expect the well-disciplined German to be ready to fight hard for good results. She’ll be standing ready to play when the final eight take the court.
Age 29, Australia, Ranked 13
Wimbledon Results: Samantha Stosur started out well, winning her first two matches over Slovakian Anna Schmiedlova and Olga Puchkova of Russia—both in straight sets. But in the third round, the Aussie faced and fell to a red-hot Sabine Lisicki. Stosur lost the match in three after winning the opening set. But the Aussie should be encouraged because the third round at Wimbledon was her furthest reach since 2009. Grass has never been the Aussie’s friend.
Post Wimbledon Impact: After losing her grip on the clay in 2013, Stosur will use her great play at Wimbledon as a springboard onto the summer hard courts. The new season begins once the dust settles on Centre Court. Used to being in periodic slumps, Stosur will find her game again on a surface where the bounces are more predictable.
Forecast for the U.S. Open: A former U.S. Open champion, Stosur will be glad to return to a surface she’s mastered. She won the U.S. Open title in 2011, beating Serena Williams in a remarkable match. Last year, she lost in quarterfinals to the No. 1 seed, Victoria Azarenka. Expect Stosur to return to the final rounds of the U.S. Open in 2103, spurred on by her Wimbledon results.
Age 19, Puerto Rico, Ranked 49
Wimbledon Results: The teenager had an impressive tournament at the All England Club, playing her debut in London. She advanced to the fourth round with an astounding first round upset of the No. 5 seed Sara Errani of Italy. She went on to defeat Silvia Soler Espinosa of Spain and Eva Birnerova of Czechoslovakia before falling to Sloane Stephens of the USA in the fourth round. Expect to see Puig back in contention at Wimbledon for years to come.
Post Wimbledon Impact: With back-to-back good results at the French Open and Wimbledon, Puig climbed to world No. 65 by the time she reached the grounds of the All England Club. After Wimbledon the young lady from Puerto Rico climbed into the top 50 in women’s tennis. She is one of the rising stars we need to watch this summer and beyond.
Forecast for the U.S. Open: Puig will be playing in her first U.S. Open in 2013. In 2012 she lost while qualifying, failing to make the main draw. But expect the teenager with her hard-hitting baseline game to find an advantage on the U.S. Open hard courts. She is part of a wave of new talent in the women's field these days. Expect her to advance to the third or fourth round at Flushing Meadows in 2013.
Age 24, Spain, Ranked No. 20
Wimbledon Results: Carla Suarez Navarro reached the fourth round of Wimbledon in 2013, defeating Lourdes Dominguez Lino of Spain and Mirjana Lucic-Baroni of Croatia in the first two rounds. Then she took out the up-and-coming Canadian Eugenie Bouchard in straight sets in round three. The Spaniard lost in the fourth round to former champion Petra Kvitova. But her fourth round finish was her best result in four tries, which must give the Suarez Navarro great confidence going forward.
Post Wimbledon Impact: Suarez Navarro is having the best year of her professional career. She’s watched her ranking climb from No. 34 at the start of the year, resting now at No. 20. The 5’4” lady from Spain is an all-court player with an ability to scramble, anticipating her opponent’s next move. Her impetus after Wimbledon could launch her into an outstanding summer hard court season.
Forecast for the U.S. Open: In 2011, Suarez Navarro reached the fourth round of the U.S. Open. Last year, she was eliminated in the second round. The Spaniard has appeared in five previous Opens at Flushing Meadows. With great variety on her shots and a love for hard courts, Suarez Navarro will be a tough opponent for any player at the U.S. Open this year. Expect her to advance as far as the third or fourth round in 2013.
Age 19, Great Britain, Rank No. 27
Wimbledon Results: Laura Robson began her Wimbledon fortnight by defeating the No. 10 seed, Maria Kirilenko in her opener followed by a win over Mariana Duque-Marino of Columbia. In the third round, she took out Marina Erakovic of New Zealand in three sets. But Robson could not get past Kaia Kanepi of Estonia in the fourth round as the two battled to a 6-7, 5-7 loss for the Brit.
The fourth round, however, is the furthest Robson has advanced at Wimbledon in five tries—generally losing in the first or second round.
Post Wimbledon Impact: Her progress at the All England Club saw Robson advance into the women’s top 30 after beginning Wimbledon ranked No. 38. The increased ranking will allow her to be seeded at the next major, assuming she can hold onto her spot over the summer hard court season. Robson must be encouraged by her play at this year’s Wimbledon tournament. It was her best singles performance on the grass so far in her young career.
Forecast for the U.S. Open: Last year at the U.S. Open, Robson advanced to the fourth round by defeating former champion Kim Clijsters in the second round followed by an upset of Li Na in the next round. She lost to Samantha Stosur in the fourth, but it was a wonderful show for the teenager. Playing left-handed with a big serve and big groundstrokes, expect Robson to advance to the second week of action at the U.S. Open in 2013.
Age 26, Russia, Ranked No. 2
Wimbledon Results: After defeating Kristina Mladenovic of France in her opener, Maria Sharapova was upset in the second round by Michelle Larcher de Brito of Portugal in a shocker. The former Wimbledon champ was gone in the blink of an eye. Without a grass court warm-up tournament, Sharapova appeared uneasy, falling three times in her match. Larcher de Brito beat her in straight sets 6-3, 6-4 on a day marked by upsets on the show courts at the All England Club.
Post Wimbledon Impact: Sharapova’s loss, while disappointing, will not keep the former champion up nights, because Sharapova has learned how to put a loss in perspective and move on. In fact, her ranking at No. 3 improved one spot. Expect Sharapova to be ready to hit the hard courts in July.
Forecast for the U.S. Open: Footing will not be an issue for Sharapova once the hard-court season begins. She feels quite at home on the DecoTurf at the Open. She won the event in 2006 and was a semifinalist in 2012, losing to finalist Victoria Azarenka. Despite her finish at Wimbledon, Sharapova will be standing at least in the semifinals at the U.S. Open. It will be the Russian’s last chance to win a major in 2013, so she’ll be hard to beat.
Age 22, Belarus, Ranked No. 3
Wimbledon Results: After winning her opening round match over Maria Joao Koehler of Portugal where she suffered a bad fall, Victoria Azarenka had to withdraw from the tournament. She could not compete in the second round, which was a major disappointment to her and her fans. She’d finished as a semifinalist during the past two Wimbledon Championships.
Post Wimbledon Impact: The results of her early round round departure cost her a few ranking points, but no one in the top three did as well at Wimbledon as they did a year ago, so it did not affect her too much. Hopefully Azarenka’s knee will recover quickly and not impede her success during the hard court season. She had a record of reaching four consecutive major semifinals before her early departure from the All England Club this year. But Azarenka is young, and the early exit will not dampen her enthusiasm or her will to win.
Forecast for U.S. Open: After winning the 2013 Australian Open and reaching the semifinals of the French Open for the first time, her exit during the second round of Wimbledon had to be a shock. But now, she moves on to the U.S. Open where she played in the final in 2012 after attempting to get there seven times. Expect Azarenka to continue to do her best on all surfaces, trying to win majors. She will finish in the top four in this event.
Age 31, China, Ranked No. 5
Wimbledon Results: Li Na reached the quarterfinals of Wimbledon in 2013, enjoying her best result since 2010 when she also reached that round. To reach the quarters, Li took out Michaella Krajicek of the Netherlands, followed by Simona Halep of Romania in round two. In the third round she dispatched Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic and then the No. 11 seed Roberta Vinci in the fourth round. She lost her quarterfinal bid to Agnieszka Radwanska in three sets.
Post Wimbledon Impact: After a disappointing second-round exit at the 2013 French Open—a tournament where she’d won the title in 2011—Li Na had a favorable run at Wimbledon this year. Previously, Li had reached the quarterfinals in 2006, 2010 and now 2013—her best results on grass in seven attempts. After Wimbledon, her ranking improved one point. From the grass, it should be an easier transition to the hard courts with its surer footing underneath.
Forecast for U.S. Open: Li has never done particularly well at the U.S. Open. Her best finish came in 2009 when she reached the quarterfinals. But she enters Flushing Meadows after reaching the finals at the 2013 Australian Open plus the quarterfinals at Wimbledon. Her focus should be concentrated on doing well on hard courts. Expect to see the lady from China advance to the quarterfinals at this year’s U.S. Open.
Age 28, Estonia, Ranked No. 24
Wimbledon Results: Kaia Kanepi reached the quarterfinals at this year’s Wimbledon Championships. She did so by defeating Tara Moore of Germany in their opening round. Then Kanepi upset the No. 7 seed, Angelique Kerber, also of Germany in a tight three-setter on a day which saw many of the top seeds ejected. After that, the Estonian put down Alison Riske of the USA, followed by Laura Robson of Great Britain who had a legion of fans imploring her to win. Kanepi’s run was halted by Sabine Lisicki who never allowed the Estonian into their match. It was another great Kanepi Wimbledon, equalling her best in 2010 when she also reached the quarters.
Post Wimbledon Impact: Kanepi, of course, saw her ranking improve from the No. 46 spot she held at the beginning of the tournament. Her Wimbledon experience should also give her some encouragement for better results during the upcoming hard court season. Fully recovered from an Achilles injury that kept her sidetracked until April of this year, she should find her fortunes on court vastly improved.
Forecast for U.S. Open: If her injury continues to improve, so should Kanepi’s game. She reached the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open in 2010 after also reaching the quarters at Wimbledon. Expect her to equal that result in 2013—reaching the quarterfinals or better at Flushing Meadows.
Age 20, USA, Ranked No. 16
Wimbledon Results: The young American reached the 2013 Wimbledon quarterfinals which is her best result in two tries. She advanced to the third round in 2012 in her Wimbledon debut. During her march to this year's quarterfinals, Stephens defeated teammate Jamie Hampton followed by a win over Andrea Petkovic of Germany. In the third round she took out Czech Petra Cetkovska followed by a victory over another up-and-comer, Monica Puig of Puerto Rico, in three tough sets. Stephens lost her quarterfinal match to eventual champion Marion Bartoli 4-6, 5-7.
Post Wimbledon Impact: Stephens is having her best results so far at majors, which bodes well for the future. Her ranking took a slight jump after Wimbledon where she entered in the No. 17 spot. The impetus of doing so well should greatly enhance her hard court season where she’ll have plenty of warm-up before heading for New York City.
Forecast for U.S. Open: In 2011 and 2012, Stephens reached the third round at the U.S. Open. She is playing exceptionally well for someone her age with her lack of experience. But she is getting to the top fast. Expect the surging Stephens to emerge as the best of the newcomers and extend her stay at Flushing Meadows into week two at this year’s Open.
Age 23, Czech Republic, Ranked No. 8
Wimbledon Results: Petra Kvitova, once all the top seeds were eliminated, became a favorite to win Wimbledon in 2013. But she could not get by Kirsten Flipkens to advance to the next round. Her tournament ended in the quarterfinals. She got there by first defeating Coco Vandeweghe of the USA. Then she benefited from a walkover after Yaraslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan had to withdraw. In the third round, she got by Ekaterina Makarova of Russia followed by a win over Carla Suarez Navarro 7-6, 6-3 in the fourth. But Kirsten Flipkens prevailed after Kvitova won the first set of their quarterfinal match. The former Wimbledon champion of 2011 had to return home, missing another great opportunity at the All England Club.
Post Wimbledon Impact: Kvitova must be disappointed she let a golden opportunity slip away. Her one and only Grand Slam title was won on Centre Court in 2011 against Maria Sharapova. But since then, Kvitova has not seen that level of confidence return. She becomes tentative too often. Hopefully, she can take some positives from this year’s tournament and use it to build on for the upcoming hard-court season.
Forecast for U.S. Open: Kvitova has never advanced beyond the fourth round of the U.S. Open. Depending on her run up to Flushing Meadows, the Czech may find inspiration on the synthetic surfaces to do well. She needs to begin ratcheting up her game now until the end of the season to restore her game. Expect Kvitova to reach the quarterfinals in 2013 as the U.S. Open gets underway because it is time for the big serving Czech to assert herself on court.
Age 28, Belgium, Ranked No. 15
Wimbledon Results: In one of the biggest surprises of the tournament, journey woman Kirsten Flipkens made the semifinals of Wimbledon in 2013. In 2012 she could not even get into the qualifying draw because her ranking was so low. Because her side of the draw saw so many top seeds eliminated, Flipkens did not face a seeded player until she reached the quarterfinals. Once there, however, she dispatched former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova in three sets, moving on to the semifinals. At that point, eventual champion Marion Bartoli ended her fabulous run at this year’s Championships.
Post Wimbledon Impact: Entering Wimbledon ranked No. 20, Flipkens has seen her ranking climb to No. 15, which is quite a leap from the No. 54 spot where she started in January of this year. She’s a spunky player with lots of speed and lots of variety on her shots, even though she lacks great power and the big serve. She is intelligent and uses finesse. She should be able to carry her good results in 2013 over to the hard court season.
Forecast for U.S. Open: Flipkens advanced to the third round at Flushing Meadows in 2009. Since then, however, the well has remained pretty dry in New York. But expect the Belgian to turn that around this year, advancing into the second week of action. She may not get past the really big guns, but she can certainly bluff her way into week No. 2 with her splendid all-court game.
Age 24, Poland, Ranked No. 4
Wimbledon Results: You have to believe when Agnieszka Radwanska saw Serena Williams eliminated in the fourth round, she believed the Wimbledon Championship was hers. Unfortunately, she lost her semifinal match to a gutsy Sabine Lisicki who would go on to play in the finals on Saturday. The truth is that Radwanska had her chances to win that match but played it safe too often instead of gambling and going for more like Lisicki. Power won the day during their semifinal match.
Post Wimbledon Impact: It will have to be a tremendous disappointment for the Pole knowing she could have won that match. Last year, she reached the final match before losing in three to Serena Williams. Still, Radwanska is young and will bounce back in time for the U.S. hard-court season, working her way into shape for the upcoming U.S. Open in late August.
Forecast for U.S. Open: Although she’s reached the quarterfinals or better at every other Grand Slam event, Radwanska has not been that far yet at the U.S. Open. The courts at Flushing Meadows are reported to have the fastest surfaces of the year. Developing a little more pop on her serve may help her achieve that this year. Expect Radwanska to advance to the quarterfinals at Flushing Meadows.
Age 31, USA, Ranked No. 1
Wimbledon Results: Serena Williams was rolling through the draw with just a few minor bumps, surviving and moving on. She had not dropped a set until the fourth round when she faced the German Sabine Lisicki. Lisicki stunned everyone when she stormed out, taking the first set 6-2 only only to see Williams storm back and take the second 6-1. After Williams took a 3-0 lead in the third set, Lisicki came back, taking the set 6-4 and winning the match. Williams went home and Lisicki moved on. The former champion did not win her sixth Wimbledon title, and her streak of 34 match wins came to a screeching halt.
Post Wimbledon Impact: By the time the hard court season gets underway, Williams will have accepted the loss and moved on. It did not affect her ranking, retaining her No. 1 status. Last summer during the 2012 Olympics, Williams played only at Stanford and Cincinnati before entering the U.S. Open.
Forecast for U.S. Open: Expect Serena Williams, as defending champion, to be ready to defend her title at Flushing Meadows. She will no doubt enter the tournament as the No. 1 seed and be primed for all that her opponents can throw at her. She’s won the Open four times and would love to make it five. This will make her fourteenth appearance at the U.S. Open. Expect Williams to make it to the championship match again in 2013.
Age 23, Germany, Ranked No. 18
Wimbledon Results: After upsetting many higher seeds and fighting her way back from the brink of elimination, the power hitter made her way into the women’s final on Saturday. To get there she had to beat back Samantha Stosur who took her to three as well as the No. 1 seed Serena Williams who also made the German go the distance. In the semifinals, (4) Agnieszka Radwanska had her on the ropes, but Lisicki fought her way back to win the match, making her way into her first grand slam final. There she met the determined Frenchwoman, Marion Bartoli, who dismissed the big serving Lisicki in straight sets.
Post Wimbledon Impact: After the disappointment of losing the final has faded, Lisicki will realize what she accomplished to get there. Her powerful game on grass should translate to the hard courts even though she has not made that transition well in the past. Her ranking rose from world No. 24 to No. 18. She should embrace her ranking and her good health and seize the advantage during the hard-court season.
Forecast for U.S. Open: In five appearances at the U.S. Open, Lisicki has never advanced past the fourth round which she reached in 2011. You must believe that her big serve and aggressive play could also give her a huge advantage on the hard courts. She just needs to believe she can do it and begin by playing as hard and as determined to win as she did at Wimbledon. Expect Lisicki to advance into the second week, perhaps equalling her best at Flushing Meadows.
Age 28, France, Ranked No. 7
Wimbledon Results: You cannot do any better than win the Wimbledon Championship, at least in Marion Bartoli’s eyes. She remained fixed on that prize from the first strike of the ball and kept remembering her goal without wavering in her steely resolve. To that end, she never dropped a set no matter who stood on the other side of the net. Often she was not favored to win, especially in the final. But win she did in very impressive fashion, playing the best tennis of her long career.
Post Wimbledon Impact: Such a win must necessarily affect a players level of belief. Usually, after such a huge victory, many players lose focus, basking in the glory of what they’ve achieved. But Bartoli will not follow that path. What might happen, however, is that she may simply not care as much about winning on hard courts. More than likely, the big win on tennis’ biggest stage will just whet her appetite for more.
Forecast for U.S. Open: In 11 runs at the U.S. Open, Bartoli advanced the furthest in 2012, reaching the quarterfinals. This year, expect her to reach that far again, or further with the wind definitely blowing at her back after her Wimbledon success.