Wimbledon 2011: Power Ranking Venus, Serena, Sharapova and Players Still Alive
During the first week of Wimbledon, we saw the return of former champions, the emergence of new faces and the potential of players being realized.
The Round of 16 in Ladies' Singles gets underway on Monday, and there are some usual suspects and surprises.
Will the Williams sisters meet once again in the Final, upon their return from injury and illness? Will the odds-makers' favorite, Sharapova, claim her second Wimbledon title?
Caroline Wozniacki has a lot of expectation on her to win. Can she finally get rid of the stigma of being ranked No. 1 without being a Grand Slam winner?
There are several rising stars who have the potential to win. Will it be No. 4 seed Victoria Azarenka? How about No. 8 seed and 2010 Semifinalist Petra Kvitova?
Let's get started with the list of contenders.
16. Kseina Pervak
Kseina Pervak of Russia has been one of the many surprises who made it into the Round of 16 at Wimbledon.
In the Round of 16, she'll face Tamira Paszek of Austria after defeating No. 11 seed, Andrea Petkovic in the third round.
Neither player was expected to be in the Round of 16, so Pervak has a legitimate chance to make it into the quarterfinals to play either Nadia Petrova or Victoria Azarenka.
In the first round, Pervak upset No. 22 seed Shahar Peer of Israel.
15. Petra Cetkovska
Petra Cetkovska of the Czech Republic stunned 2008 French Open champion and former World No. 1, Ana Ivanovic, in the third round in straight sets.
Cetkovska also defeated No. 13 seed, Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland, in the second round. Cetkovska will play Sabine Lisicki of Germany in the Round of 16.
Lisicki has more experience in the later rounds of majors, having made the quarterfinals of Wimbledon in 2009.
Cetkovska will have her work cut out for her, but it's a winnable match.
14. Tamira Paszek
Tamira Paszek of Austria has made it to the fourth round of Wimbledon before, in 2007. This time she will be facing a less-experienced opponent who has the potential to get nervous, so Paszek may be able to break through and get to the quarterfinals.
Today in the third round, Paszek defeated No. 6 seed and 2010 French Open winner and 2011 Finalist, Francesca Schiavone.
13. Shuai Peng
Shuai Peng of China is the No. 20 seed and hasn't had to play any other seeded player yet.
Her first big test will be No. 5 seed Maria Sharapova. Sharapova is the odds-makers' prediction to win the title, so I don't hold much hope for Shuai.
Shuai's best singles performance came in 2006 and 2008, when she reached the third round. She will have to play her best tennis in order to beat Sharapova, who won the Ladies' Singles title in 2004.
12. Yanina Wickmayer
Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium is the No. 19 seed and will face No. 8 seed Petra Kvitova in the Round of 16. Wickmayer defeated No. 12 seed and two-time Grand Slam Champion, Svetlana Kuznetsova in the third round.
While defeating Kuznetsova is not easy, she will be facing her first top 10 player of the tournament in Kvitova. In 2010, Kvitova made it to the Semifinals, losing to Serena Williams.
I expect the end of the road for Wickmayer in the Round of 16.
11. Dominika Cibulkova
Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia is the No. 24 seed and is into the Round of 16 after defeating No. 16 seed Julia Goerges of Germany.
This is the best finish at Wimbledon for Cibulkova, and I expect her run to end here. In the Round of 16 she will face No. 1 seed and No. 1 ranked WTA Tour player, Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark.
Wozniacki is the 2009 U.S. Open Singles finalist and just has too much experience in high-pressure situations.
10. Sabine Lisicki
Sabine Lisicki of Germany is through to the Round of 16 after defeating Misaki Doi of Japan in the third round. She will now face Petra Cetkovska.
Lisicki defeated 2011 French Open Champion, Na Li in the second round. She made it to the Quarterfinals in 2009 and with Cetkovska as her next opponent, I expect her to repeat that result.
9. Tsvetana Pironkova
Wimbledon has been where Tsvetana Pironkova has played her best tennis. In 2010, she handily defeated Venus Williams on her run to the Semifinals.
Ironically, Williams will be her opponent in the Round of 16. I look for Williams to get revenge and to continue her comeback to potentially meet her sister, Serena, in the Final.
In the third round, Pironkova, the No. 2 seed and 2010 Finalist, will meet Vera Zvonareva.
8. Nadia Petrova
Nadia Petrova of Russia defeated Kateryna Bondarenko to get into the Round of 16. Petrova's biggest win so far though came in the second round, when she defeated No. 14 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
Petrova had her best finishes in 2005 and 2008, making it to the quarterfinals. In the Round of 16, Petrova will face No. 4 seed Victoria Azarenka of Belarus.
I expect Azarenka to get through that match and into the quarterfinals.
7. Petra Kvitova
Petra Kvitova has a great chance of equalling her best finish at Wimbledon. Kvitova reached the Semifinals in 2010.
Kvitova is the No. 8 seed and defeated No. 29 seed Roberta Vinci in the third round.
Her opponent in the Round of 16 is Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium, and she could potentially face Venus Williams in the quarterfinals. It's her best chance to defeat Williams, who is coming back from injury.
6. Marion Bartoli
This year, Marion Bartoli is the No. 9 seed. In the third round, Bartoli defeated No. 21 seed Flavia Pennetta 5-7, 6-4, 9-7.
Bartoli reached the Ladies' Singles Final, defeating Justine Henin along the way. This is by far her best Grand Slam result.
In the Round of 16, Bartoli will face No. 7 seed and defending Champion, Serena Williams. If she is ever going to beat Williams, this is the time.
Williams, who has been out of the game since Wimbledon 2010, may be vulnerable in the second week.
5. Victoria Azarenka
Victoria Azarenka is the No. 4 seed and has a great chance at equalling her best Wimbledon finish. Azarenka made it to the quarterfinals in 2009.
Azarenka's opponent in the Round of 16 will be Nadia Petrova, of Russia. While Petrova is a formidable opponent, I see Azarenka getting through this match.
Azarenka has yet to have a real Grand Slam breakthrough, and she played well in the first week.
Her powerful groundstrokes are well suited for the grass and were on full display in her win over No. 25 seed Daniela Hantuchova in the third round.
4. Venus Williams
Venus Williams is making her return from injury at this year's Wimbledon. Williams is the No. 23 seed and has won the Ladies' Singles title five times.
In the third round, Williams defeated Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez of Spain, and she will now face Tsvetana Pironkova in the Round of 16.
Pironkova defeated Williams in 2010, but I expect that result to be reversed.
3. Caroline Wozniacki
Caroline Wozniacki is the No. 1 seed and the No. 1 ranked player on the WTA Tour. However, she has yet to break through to win her first Grand Slam title.
Wozniacki defeated No. 27 seed Jarmila Gajdosova to get into the Round of 16. She will face Dominika Cibulkova to try to set up a quarterfinal showdown with 2004 Ladies' Singles Champion, Maria Sharapova.
Wozniacki's best Wimbledon finish came in 2009 and 2010, when she reached the fourth round.
2. Serena Williams
Serena Williams is definitely the story of the tournament so far.
Williams has been out of the game since Wimbledon 2010 due to a foot injury, a pulmonary embolism and a hematoma in her abdomen.
Williams is playing well in her comeback and has reached the second week. She is the defending champion and will face No. 9 seed Marion Bartoli in the Round of 16. I expect Williams, who is the No. 7 seed, to get through that match.
Should she get into the quarterfinals, Willams will face either Sabine Lisicki or Petra Cetkovska. This would be another winnable match for Williams.
Williams has won the Ladies' Singles title and Ladies' Doubles title four times each.
1. Maria Sharapova
Maria Sharapova is the odds-makers' favorite to win the title, despite just being the No. 5 seed.
Sharapova is the 2004 Ladies' Singles Champion. She defeated Klara Zakapolova in the third round and will face Shuai Peng in the round of 16.
Sharapova could meet No. 1 seed Caroline Wozniacki in the quarterfinals.