The pretenders will fight, but the veterans will win


June 24, 2007, midnight | By Lingfeng Li | 13 years, 7 months ago

Top seeds primed to triumph even at the Grand Slam of upsets


The Grand Slams this year have played out much like an episode of "American Idol" " dead dull and dreadfully melodramatic. Moreover, the drama at Wimbledon this year, much like "American Idol" again, seems to have been cryogenically collected from this time last year and defrosted.

The main players and storylines remain very similar to last year's tournament. Will Federer shake off his French Open disappointments to defend his now four Wimbledon trophies? Will Justine Henin complete her Grand Slam? Will a youngster on the brinks of success finally win it big?

But if any tournament can produce unexpected quality tennis, it's the self-dubbed "Championships." On the low-bouncing, slick grass that rewards big serves and booming strokes, any player with a big game could capitalize at a tournament famous for flameouts and surprise performers.

It is, after all, the only Grand Slam semifinal Anna Kournikova ever reached.

Top seeds - the men

Roger Federer (#1): Four wins already at SW19 and Federer would be hard pressed to not add another Wimbledon trophy to his collection. His draw is fairly easy, and it really wouldn't make a difference if he had to face seeds two to eight. Tying Borg for five-straight titles seems inevitable.
Rafael Nadal (#2): After losing to a player ranked outside the top 100 in a warm-up event, his appearance in last year's final is beginning to look more and more like a fluke.
Andy Roddick (#3): The No. 1 American was showed no kindness when pushed into Federer's half of the draw. With that rocket serve, he will almost definitely make it to the semifinals, but will almost definitely lose once he does.
Novak Djokovic (#4): Three titles, a semifinal appearance at the French Open and a spot in the world's top five proves that the 20-year-old is now one of tennis's elite. Even better for him, he's in Nadal's half.

Top seeds - the women

Justine Henin (#1): Another bizarre draw for the now four-time French Open champ - Serena Williams looms in the quarters and Jelena Jankovic in the semis, but the vertically challenged top seed should breeze through week one.

Maria Sharapova (#2): There must be a conspiracy to get this girl in the finals because her draws this year have just been unbelievably good. Her injured shoulder will have to fall off for her to not reach the semifinals. At least this time she won't need any illegal coaching.
Jelena Jankovic (#3): After a finalist mark in two finals at two grass tournaments as well as a win over Sharapova, Jankovic will have to contend with fatigue and a testy quadrant.
Amelie Mauresmo (#4): The defending champion has had a disappointing first half of the year and will be hard-pressed to win again, even though the surface suits her game.

Potential aces

Tomas Berdych (#7): The big-hitting Czech, "Safin Jr.," took advantage of Federer's absence and scooped up a title in Halle. The big question is whether he is capable of sustaining his consistency.

Richard Gasquet (#12): The Frenchman with the stellar backhand maintained a decent spot in the rankings, but this could be a make-or-break year for the 21-year-old. He's done all right so far, but all right nowhere near fulfills his potential.
Lleyton Hewitt (#16): The 2002 champion is the only Wimbledon titlist in the draw not named Federer and likes to play on the green stuff.
Jarkko Nieminen (#18): He played well here last year and has a steady game suited for the faster courts.
Ivo Karlovic: In his weak quadrant, the 6'10" Croat could wreak havoc with that monster serve.

Ana Ivanovic (#6): After a finals appearance at the French Open, the young Serb's momentum was somewhat marred by an ugly loss early in a warm-up tournament.
Serena Williams (#7): Whoever comes out of that top quadrant is almost guaranteed to take the title.
Nicole Vaidisova (#14): Her unimaginative one-speed, bang-bang game is not particularly aesthetic, but it is nevertheless a pity that she has allowed contemporaries like Ana Ivanovic and Anna Chakvetadze to overtake her in the past few months. While Vaidisova remains a hot pick for a future No. 1 based on talent alone, it's about time she's delivered in the finals weekend at a major.
Michaella Krajicek (#31): The half-sister of former champion Richard Krajicek, she's a feisty competitor and hits a hard serve.

Predictions

While picking the top seeds to win is a bit dull, there is an intention to get it right.

Semifinals:
Roger Federer (1) def. Andy Roddick (3)
Novak Djokovic (4) def. Jarkko Nieminen (18)

Justine Henin (1) def. Jelena Jankovic (3)
Nicole Vaidisova (14) def. Maria Sharapova (2)

Finals:
Federer def. Djokovic
Henin def. Vaidisova




Lingfeng Li. Some say that Amy, girlie-girl of the first degree, tennis extraordinaire (not really), bearer of the feared and revered pink pen, should switch to an editing color of greater intimidation and formality. She thinks these people are stupid. Whoever said that orange was the new … More »

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