2012 Women’s Wimbledon Tennis Preview

2012 Wimbledon Women’s Tennis Championship
All England Lawn Tennis Club – Wimbledon, England
Playing Surface: Grass
Monday, June 25, – Saturday, July 7, 2012, TV: ESPN

Defending Champion: Petra Kvitova
All odds courtesy of Bookmaker

Maria Sharapova is the favorite to win Wimbledon which starts Monday in London.

In Women’s tennis, six different women have won the last 6 grand slam titles. Compare that with the men’s side where Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Roger Federer have combined to win 31 of the last 34 grand slam events since 2004. There is certainly more parity on the women’s side. That can be good and bad as it makes for some exciting unpredictable majors, but some say it cuts down on the star power on the women’s side. I suppose that is true, but Maria Sharapova and Serena Williams are household names to even casual tennis fans.

After the tough clay of Roland Garros, the next Grand slam event is the grass of Wimbledon. Grass is a faster surface than clay, and the ball doesn’t bounce as high. The All-England Lawn Tennis and Croquet club will also host the Olympic tennis competition at the end of July.

Here is a look at some of the contenders and dark horses for Wimbledon on the women’s side with odds courtesy of bookmaker.

Maria Sharapova (+240)

In late 2008, Sharapova suffered an injury and was out for several months.  Her ranking dropped to the mid 100’s. This year, the 25 year old regained her #1 ranking. She is 36-5 with titles at Stuttgart, Rome, and most importantly the French Open, along with 3 runner ups, including the Australian Open.

The victory in Paris gave Sharapova the career grand slam. She has one of each. Sharapova won  her Wimbledon title in 2004 and was the runner up here last year to Petra Kvitova.

Sharapova is the #1 seed at Wimbledon. She shouldn’t be tested until the fourth round when a potential date with #15 Sabine Lisicki awaits. Potential quarterfinal opponents include #12 Vera Zvonareva, #18 Jelena Jankovic, #28 Christina McHale, or #8 Angelique Kerber. Unseeded Kim Clijsters is also in Sharapova’s section of the draw. Potential Semifinal opponents include #3 Agnieszka Radawanska, unseeded Venus Williams, #11 Na Li, and #5 Samantha Stosur. Sharapova has a good shot to make the finals with that draw.

Serena Williams (+280)

Serena suffered a humiliation first round loss at the French Open this year. The 30 year old is 27-3 with titles at Charleston and Madrid. She hasn’t played since the loss the French.

Williams missed almost a year from late 2010 to early 2011 with a serious cut in her foot. It also let to serious health problems like a blood clot that almost killed her. Despite that, she is playing tennis at a very high level. Williams has 13 major titles in her career including 4 Wimbledon titles, the last in 2010. Last season she lost in the fourth round in her first tournament back after the injury.

Williams is the #6 seed at Wimbledon. Seeded players in her bracket include #25 Jie Zhang, #19 Lucie Safarova, #10 Sara Errani, #13 Dominika Cibulkova, #24 Francesca Schiavone, and #4 Petra Kvitova. If Serena survives her tough section of the draw potential semifinal opponents include #7 Caroline Wozniacki, #9 Marion Bartoli, #14 Ana Ivanovic, or #2 Victoria Azarenka. Williams should at least make it to the quarterfinals barring another early upset.

Petra Kvitova (6/1)

Kvitova is 22 from the Czech Republic. She is 22-9 this season with no titles. She lost in the semis at both the French and Australian Opens. Kvitova lost in the first round at Eastbourne on grass last week, a tune-up for Wimbledon.

Kvitova is the defending champion at Wimbledon, and beat Sharapova in the finals for her first Grand slam title.

Kvitova is the #4 seed, and is in the same section of the draw as Serena Williams. I like Kvitova to make her third straight grand slam semifinal, and she has a good chance to make the final.

Victoria Azarenka (7/1)

Azarenka is 38-4 this season with 4 titles at the Australian Open, Sydney, Doha, and Indian Wells, and lost in the finals at Stuttgart and Madrid. Azarenka lost in the fourth round at the French Open, and hasn’t played since then.

Azarenka won her first major title this year at the Australian Open. She made it to the semifinals at Wimbledon last year.

Azarenka, 22 from Belarus, is the #2 seed at Wimbledon. Her section of the draw includes #7 Wozniacki, #32 Svetlana Kuznetsova, #21 Roberta Vinci, #9 Bartoli, #14 Ivanovic, #22 Julie Goerges, and #26 Anabel Medina-Garrigues. She could face Serena Williams or Kvitova in the semifinals.

Kim Clijsters (13/1)

Clijsters is 29 from Belgium. She missed significant time with an injury and is only 13-3 this season. She made it to the semifinals of the Australian Open but missed the French with the injury. She played in a tournament in the Netherlands last week and made it to the semifinals. It was her first tournament since March.

Clijsters is a 4 time major winner but has never won Wimbledon. She has never made it past the semifinals at Wimbledon, and has only played in the event 3 times in the last 7 years, due to injury and pregnancy at various times. Clijsters has said she is “too old for tennis” and this will be her last Wimbledon.

Clijsters is unseeded and thus will face a tough draw. She plays #18 Jankovic in the first round. If she survives that, then she could face #12 Zvonareva in the third, and #8 Kerber in the fourth. I don’t know if she can survive all those, but she could meet Sharapova in the quarters if she does.

Na Li (20/1)

Li is 30 from China. She is 24-9 this season. She has no titles but has runner ups at Sydney and Rome. Li lost in the fourth round at both the Australian and French Opens. She hasn’t played since the French.

Li won her first major title last year at the French, but has never made it past the quarters at Wimbledon.

Li is the #11 seed at Wimbledon. Li is in the same section as #3 Radwanska, #5 Stosur, and Venus Williams. I don’t think Li makes it past the fourth round.

Venus Williams (23/1)

Venus is 12-5 this season with no titles. She missed the Australian Open, and lost in the French Open second round.

Venus has 7 major titles including 5 Wimbledon titles. She also has 3 runner ups at Wimbledon.

Like Clijsters, Venus is unseeded. She could face #3 Radwanska in the second round. Radawanska beat Venus in the second round at the French. Other seeded players in that section include #27 Daniela Hantuchova, #20 Nadia Petrova, and #16 Flavia Pennetta. If she gets by Radwanska, she could make the quarters against Li or Stosur.

Samantha Stosur (30/1)

Stosur, 28 from Australia, is 27-13 this season. She has a runner up at Doha. She lost in the first round at the Australian Open but made it to the semifinals at the French Open.

Stosur won her first major title last year at the US Open. She has never made it past the third round at Wimbledon.

Stosur is the #5 seed at Wimbledon. She should  make it to  at least the fourth round for the first time ever here, as her section isn’t that challenging.

Angelique Kerber (35/1)

Kerber, 24 from Germany, is 40-12 this season with titles at Paris and Copenhagen. She lost in the third round at the Australian Open and in the quarters at the French.

Kerber made it to the semifinals of the US Open last year, but has never made it past the third round at Wimbledon.

Kerber is the #8 seed and is in the same section of the draw as Sharapova. She could face Zvonareva, Clijsters, or Jankovic before that though.

Other contenders include Agnieszka Radwanska (37/1), Wozniacki, and Lisicki (both 45/1), and Marion Bartoli (48/1). Here is a complete list of the odds from bookmaker.

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