Venus, Serena Willams and Caroline Wozniacki Fall

Wimbledon 2011
By Hiland Doolittle, June 28th, 2011

Bookmaker favorite Serena Williams was out served, Venus Williams was dominated in clutch points and Caroline Wozniacki played it too close to the vest after wining the first set 6-1. All three are gone, leaving fifth seed Maria Sharapova and 4th seed Victoria Azarenka as favorites to meet in the finals. Azarenka has the more treacherous path to the finals.

Moving on is new bookmaker favorite and fifth seed Maria Sharapova and dangerous fourth seed Victoria Azarenka. Both seeds won in straight sets and Azarenka was most convincing in her 6-2, 6-2 triumph. Victoria has moved smoothly and confidently through the draw. In her quarterfinal match, she will face surprising Austrian Tamira Paszek, who showed no stage nerves in her three set win over Russia’s Ksenia Pervak 6-2, 2-6, 6-2. Azarenka only needed 64 minutes to brush aside Nadia Petrova. She will be rested and a heavy favorite in tomorrow’s quarterfinal.

Dominika Cibulkova

But, first things first. Top seed Caroline Wozniacki may have been lulled into a false sense of security against 5’6” Dominika Cibulkova, the 24th seed. Wozniacki needed just 24 minutes to claim the first set. It became clear that Cibulkova had no intention of trying to rally with Wozniacki. Her game plan was to take an all or nothing offensive stance.

That commitment worked well. Dominika began to click on her forehand and suddenly it was Wozniacki who was scrambling across the court. Cibulkova hit 31 forehand winners in the match. Wozniacki did well to force a tiebreaker in the second set, where Cibulkova edged out the set 7-6 (5).

Caroline looked defensive and seemed to become more stubborn as the third set unfolded. It was the top seed that earned the first break but Cibulkova answered immediately with a break of her own. Wozniacki earned another break but the mighty mite again answered immediately to even the set. At 5-5, the challenger got her third and final break. She raced to a 40-0 lead and three match points. Wozniacki fought off the first two with brave backhand winners down the line. Cibulkova closed out the match with a forehand blast for which Caroline had no answer.

Cibulkova next earns the right to take on Russia’s fifth seed Maria Sharapova, the new favorite with bookmakers. Sharapova has had good vibes since arriving at Wimbledon. Maria’s confidence and 20th seed Peng Shuai’s lack of the same may have been the difference in the closely played first set. Sharapova won 6-4, 6-2 and should prevail against Cibulkova.

Tsvetana Pironkova Stunned Venus Williams

Venus Williams was downed by 32nd seed giant killer Tsvetana Pironkova 6-2, 6-3 in 75 minutes. It is the second year in a row that Pironokva has knocked out the five time Wimbledon champion. The long and lean Pironkova had 9 unforced error compared to 16 by Venus. Pironkova made the most of her break opportunities, winning 4 of 7. Venus converted just 1 of 4 chances. Next up for Pironkova will be a difficult match with 8th seeded left-hander Czech Petra Kvitova.

Kvitova made it look awfully easy against Belgian Yanina Wickmayer, 6-0, 6-2. When Kvitova is in form, she can handle anyone on the tour. Against Wickmayer, she had six aces and 31 outright winners. Kvitova has won both her matches against Pironkova.

France’s focused and dangerous Marion Bartoli refused to buckle under pressure against 7th seed and defending champion Serena Williams. Most surprising was Bartoli’s service game which seemed to catch Williams by surprise. Bartoli landed 65 percent of her first serves and won 85 percent of those serves. Bartoli had 10 aces compared to Serena’s 8.

Williams converted 1 of five break chances while Bartoli converted 2 of 6 opportunities. The 9th seed has been playing with confidence for about a month. It is her maturity and success under fire that must may land her in the semifinals. She will barely have a chance to rest before she will walk on the court against the most impressive serving machine in the tournament, German Sabine Lisicki. The German had eight aces in her match against Petra Cetkovska, 7-6 (3), 6-1. With her serve in gear, Lisicki will give Bartoli all she can handle. She already has a notch in her belt with her knockout of third seed Li Na.

In tomorrow’s semifinals, we like Sharapova, Lisicki, Azarenka and Kvitova.


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