Today we know the draw for this year’s tournaments. There are some interesting matches in the first round.
John Isner and Nicolas Mahut meet again. Hopefully they won’t need such a marathon this time around. Ljubicic and Cilic meet each other. Soderling and Petzschner could be interesting as the German lifts his game on grass. Soderling will need to be sharp for that one. Melzer has a tough first round opponent in Falla who took Fed to 5 sets.
In the Women’s tournament Serena Williams faces Rezai which on current form is virtually a bye to the second round for the American. Schiavone meets Dokic and Venus is up against Akgul Amanmuradova (pretty name!)
The top seeds seem safe enough with Nadal playing Russell, Fed is up against Kukushkin and Djokovic has a slightly more tricky opponent in Chardy but its still not worth a lay. Murray takes on Gimeno-Traver who, on his day, is no pushover.
Wozniacki drew Parra Santonja. Zvonareva has American Alison Riske and Azarenka (if she doesn’t quit) plays Rybarikova. French Champion Na Li shouldn’t have much trouble with Kudryavtseva.
So who can we expect to still be around in the second week? With England’s weather at the moment its quite possible they will ALL still be around for the second week but let’s think positively.
In the Men’s tourament you can’t ignore the top 4. Djokovic’s best surface isn’t grass but we were saying that about clay not long ago. Murray probably has a realistic chance if he can keep playing the way he has been. I think of the top 4 Nadal has the least chance of lifting the trophy. If I had to pick an outright winner it would probably be Fed. His withdrawal from Halle won’t have helped his preparation but as long as his groin strain was minor he is favourite.
Its been a few years since an ousider won the Wimbledon Mens title. Grass can be a less forgiving surface and with the best of 5 format it takes some very special performances to break the strangle hold the top seeds have here. For the last 8 years either Nadal or Federer has won. Ivanisevic in 2001 was the last outsider to win it. I don’t see this feat being repeated in 2011.
However every year we get some surprisingly good performances and also some unexpectedly bad ones. I think Soderling will fall well short this year as will last years finalist Tomas Berdych. I think Monfils and Roddick will battle for a quarter final place. Verdasco could be the surprise of the tournament with a quarter final against Nadal.
I think Melzer will get dumped out in the first round by Falla. Tsonga plays a qualifier in the first round and probably Dimitrov in the second but the third round will probably be where he fails.
In the Women’s tournament its a lot more open. Obviously the Williams sisters have dominated over the last few years with Sharapova taking it in 2004 and Mauresmo in 2006 ( I think that was the year she entered the womens event by mistake). Obviously with their extended break from the tour I don’t expect the Americans to feature in the final. The problem withh picking a tournament winner from the women is that they rarely manage to play well enough consistently enough. An obvious choice is Wozniacki. Perhaps this will be the year she shuts her critics up who say she shouldn’t be number 1 without having won a major.I’m not convinced though by her recent form. She looks safe enough to the fourth round where her opponent could be Goerges. That could be where she leaves.
If Zvonareva can lift her game just a little she is in with a shout of making the final but she would probably implode if she got there. Sharapova has a good draw to get to the quarters with perhaps Stosur being her toughest potential opponent in round 4. Shara perhaps has an outside chance of a final spot.
Na Li’s confidence has to be high and whilst it would be a big ask to win consecutive majors I think she will be around for week 2. Bartoli is playing some of the best tennis of her career and would be my tip to meet Serena in the 4th round.
Hantuchova has a great draw with what should be an easy passage to the third round. She doesn’t have the mental strength to go beyong the quarters though.
Whatever happens it will be a great tournament as always. Lets just hope the English summer doesn’t try to spoil things.