Wimbledon: Women’s QF Predictions


Wimbledon: Williams vs Azarenka, Bout #20!


The quarter finals have been decided in the women’s draw at Wimbledon. At the beginning of the tournament, I predicted that only two of the top eight seeds would reach this stage. Those two players were Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova. I was right to have faith in these two as despite their early exits in recent years, they are in fact the only top ten players remaining in the field.

In the top half of the draw, as I predicted beforehand, (1) Serena Williams will play (23) Victoria Azarenka and (4) Maria Sharapova will play Coco Vandeweghe.

In the bottom half of the draw, I predicted all but one of the quarter finalists correctly with only Caroline Wozniacki failing to make the grade. Instead, (20) Garbine Muguruza will play (15) Timea Bacsinszky and (13) Agnieszka Radwanska will play (21) Madison Keys.

Here are my predictions as to who I think will reach the semi finals.

(1) Serena Williams vs (23) Victoria Azarenka

Williams recovered quickly from her hair raising struggle against Heather Watson to calmly dispose of her own sister, (16) Venus Williams in the 4th round. Despite a few glimpses of Venus’s former best, Serena served and returned more accurately to remain in control and advance 64 63. This marks the first time since 2012 that the American has reached the quarters.

Azarenka keeps on reminding us why she was once ranked number one in the world. The Belarusian hasn’t yet dropped a set, snapping the nine match winning streak of Eastbourne champion, (30) Belinda Bencic 62 63 in the 4th round. Using her imposing return to best effect, she went on a late tear of points to reach the quarters here for the first time since 2012 also.

Williams dominates Azarenka 16-3 in their head to head, winning all three of their grass court encounters in straight sets. However, the last two times the pair met on clay this spring, Azarenka should’ve won. She missed out on triple match point in Madrid and let a set and 4-2 lead slip in Paris. It’s clear that more so than most, Azarenka has the game and attitude to beat Williams. However, she seems to struggle to apply the finishing touches. Williams’s serve and return are at their most formidable on grass and I doubt that Azarenka will serve well enough to stand a chance. I expect a heated struggle which Williams will win.

Prediction: Serena Williams

(4) Maria Sharapova vs Coco Vandeweghe

Sharapova hasn’t yet dropped a set, but experienced her toughest test against Zarina Diyas in the 4th round. The Russian found it difficult to put Diyas away but eventually raised her game in the clutch to win 64 64.  Like those mentioned thus far, Sharapova is moving into her first quarter final here in some time, the last being in 2011.

More from Majors

Vandeweghe is evidently the shocking breakthrough in the top half of the draw. She backed up earlier straight set upsets of (11) Karolina Pliskova and (22) Samantha Stosur with another, edging (6) Lucie Safarova 76(1) 76(4) in the 4th round. Vandeweghe did a commendable job of holding her nerve under pressure, particularly as she was forced to break serve to stay in the first set down 4-5. In both tiebreakers, the American served and rallied better than the French Open finalist and moved into her first career Grand Slam quarter final.

Sharapova has never played Vandeweghe before. Though it will take some getting used to, Sharapova will probably come to enjoy the pace Vandeweghe serves with and use it against her. As Vandeweghe isn’t the quickest, she must vary her serve well in order to stand a chance and not give Sharapova time on the return. Considering Sharapova’s stable baseline game and the gulf in experience between these two, it seems likely that Sharapova will be too good in the rallies and will progress.

Prediction: Maria Sharapova

(15) Timea Bacsinszky vs (20) Garbine Muguruza

Though Bacsinszky had coasted into the 4th round without the loss of a set, she found Monica Niculescu to be far more problematic. It was clear that the Swiss was uncomfortable against the Romanian’s unorthodox game and sliced forehand. Having lost four of their previous five meetings, Bacsinszky was forced to channel all of her recent experience, which took her to the French Open semis to eventually survive 16 75 63 and reach her first Wimbledon quarter final.

Muguruza keeps on surprising me! Despite playing poorly in preparation for Wimbledon, once again the young Spaniard has saved her best for a slam. The French Open quarterfinalist backed up her upset of (10) Angelique Kerber with an even better win against (5) Caroline Wozniacki in the 4th round. She only lost her serve once as she battered the former world number one into submission, taking apart the Dane’s second serve with routine success to win 64 64 and reach her first Wimbledon quarter final.

Muguruza won her only previous meeting against Bacsinszky earlier this year at the Australian Open. During that 3rd round match, Muguruza eventually dominated to win 63 46 60. Once again, Muguruza will find herself being the aggressor in this match and will have to carefully manage her unforced error count. Bacsinszky is confident at the moment, but may find it difficult to defend her forehand from the Spaniard’s attack. Muguruza is on a roll and considering I underestimated her in the previous round, I won’t do it again.

Prediction: Garbine Muguruza

(13) Agnieszka Radwanska vs (21) Madison Keys

Radwanska’s recent grass court form has been spell binding. She still hasn’t dropped a set in reaching her fifth Wimbledon quarter final. The Pole’s renewed self belief enabled her to eventually put (28) Jelena Jankovic away 75 64 in the 4th round. As expected, the match was filled with entertaining exchanges but unlike Petra Kvitova one round earlier, Radwanska didn’t implode when Jankovic refused to yield easily.

Keys was unsurprisingly jittery against the qualifier, Olga Govortsova in the 4th round. With such a golden opportunity to reach her first Wimbledon quarter final, the young American eventually found her range to win 36 64 61.

Radwanska hasn’t lost to Keys in any of their three previous meetings. However, when they played here during the 3rd round of 2013, Keys pushed Radwanska to three sets. Though they haven’t played since late 2013, neither of the players games have changed much, so each will know what to expect. Radwanska will have to absorb all of the power and pace Keys will throw at her, whilst utilising any opportunity to mix it up and attack. Keys must remain consistent in all departments if she’s to stand a chance and not lose patience against her opponent’s endless retrieving. Radwanska is playing her best tennis in months and considering Keys hasn’t been winning any of her matches against lesser opponents easily, I expect Radwanska to out-steady her opponent.

Prediction: Agnieszka Radwanska

Next: Wimbledon: Women's 4th Round Predictions- Bottom Half

More from Lob and Smash