Wimbledon 2011: 5 Potential Women's Finals Matchups That May Surprise Us
Serena and Venus Williams have dominated the Wimbledon championships since 2000. They have won nine of the past 11 singles events, with at least one of them playing in the final every year except for 2006 in that span.
The sisters have squared off in the finals four times as well, and their power games make them hard to knock off on the grass.
Even though both have recently just come back from injuries, the state of the women’s game means they can step right in and get back to glory on their favorite surface.
They are on opposite halves of the draw this year again and could meet in the finals a fifth time. Their dominance suggests that almost any final matchup except the two against each other would at least be a little bit surprising.
Here is a look at five particular final matchups that would be surprising and have a nice storyline for the two players.
5. Ana Ivanovic and Svetlana Kuznetsova: Past Major Champions Back in Spotlight
Both Ana Ivanovic and Svetlana Kuznetsova know what it takes to win a grand slam event. Between the two, they have won three majors.
Neither player has had much recent success, but they are both still in the top 20.
Experience has to count for something as well. Francesca Schiavone’s 2010 French Open win was the only time since 2005 that a first-time grand slam finalist won a major event.
Both Ivanovic and Kuznetsova have enjoyed more success on clay and hard-courts than grass and it would seem unlikely that they would make deep runs at the All-England Club. But you can never doubt the heart of a champion.
4. Petra Kvitova and Maria Sharapova: Big Babe Tennis
Kvitova has a similar playing style to Sharapova in that she plays aggressive tennis and goes for her shots. She reached the semifinals last year in London and has had a good year in 2011.
If Kvitova were to beat Sharapova in the finals, it would sort of resemble what happened to Sharapova in 2004, but she would be on the other side of things.
Kvitova is a bit older and more established than the Russian was seven years ago, but would be the clear underdog against three-time grand slam champion Sharapova.
3. Marion Bartoli and Venus Williams: The Rematch
In the 2007 Wimbledon championship match, Venus Williams defeated Marion Bartoli, who made a surprise run that year. Those two are on opposite sides of this year’s draw, and could potentially play again on the final Saturday.
Bartoli has hung around the top 10 and top 20 since making her run in 2007, but hasn’t reached another slam final.
She did make a run to the semifinals of the French Open this year and also won the warm-up tournament in Eastbourne. She has the experience and belief to make another good run on the Wimbledon lawns.
Williams has been working her way back from a hip injury and nearly got knocked out in the second round by Kimiko Date-Krumm. The five-time champion may not be at her best, but has to be talked about as a possible champion any time she steps foot at Wimbledon.
In her career, Williams has played multiple finals against both Serena Williams and Lindsay Davenport at Wimbledon. Bartoli could add herself to that distinction if the two met this year.
2. Victoria Azarenka and Sabine Lisicki: New Blood All Around
After completing the upset of the tournament to this point by beating French Open Champion LI Na, Sabinie Lisicki sets her sights on moving even further in this tournament.
The former Wimbledon quarterfinalist has a good draw and thus a pretty good chance of at least making the quarters again.
Victoria Azarenka has had a very solid 2011 season in getting herself to the top five in the world. However, she has yet to make a deep run at a grand slam tournament.
The powerful games of both Lisicki and Azarenka gives them each a chance at doing well on the lawns of Wimbledon. Lisicki's serve, in particular, keeps her in each match that she plays.
The surprise if these two players make it all the way is that it would be a first-time grand slam final for each player. As deep as the women's game has been of late, first-time grand slam finalists are few in far between, let alone both of them being so. (Above- Francesca Schiavone and Sam Stosur at the 2010 French Open finals when both were first time slam finalists)
Azarenka became the favorite during the French Open after some big names of the game were knocked out, and the tennis world has been waiting around for her to make the big breakthrough. Lisicki, on the other hand, would enjoy a dream run if she made the finals.
1. Caroline Wozniacki and Vera Zvonareva: Top Players Step Up for a Change
While the top mens players have separated themselves from the rest of the pack in grand slam play, the women have not done so at all in recent history.
That’s why it would actually be a surprise if the top two seeds on the women’s side were to meet in this year’s Wimbledon finals.
Caroline Wozniacki has been the world’s No. 1 player for quite some time now, but has yet to win a grand slam event and has just reached one final. Second-seeded Vera Zvonareva is the defending runner up at the All-England Club but has also not won a major.
In fact, the three top seeds at Wimbledon have combined to win just one grand slam event as Na won the French Open just a couple of weeks ago. The men’s top three have won a combined 28 grand slam events, epitomizing the big difference between the two right now.
It would also be a surprise to see Wozniacki reach the finals just because her game does not suit well on a grasscourt. She has been knocked out in the fourth round the last two seasons.
That being said, Wozniacki is the top-ranked player for a reason. She rarely beats herself and plays a solid, consistent game. Plus you know she is as hungry as ever to silence her critics.