Topic: Wimbledon 2015 Predictions

Wimbledon 2015 Predictions

Can Novak Djokovic and Serena Williams win the third leg of the grand slam this year? Until the final Sunday at Roland Garros, this seemed like an inevitable question.  But then Stan Wawrinka went out and beat the pants off Djokovic.  And although that was clay and this is grass, the patina of Djokovic’s invincibility has suddenly worn off.  Djokovic looked helpless against Wawrinka’s barrage – rather vincible:  an impression probably not helped by the win he barely squeaked out over Murray in the French semis.  So the door is open, or at least ajar, for someone to unseat the defending champion.

For Serena the grand slam dream is still alive.  Although she has not won here since 2012 – same as Roger Federer – she has won six slam titles since then, compared to zero for Federer.  She is the dominant force in the women’s game and has lost only once this year.  That one loss was a straight sets shellacking by Petra Kvitova.  Kvitova is the defending champion at Wimbledon and probably the most credible obstacle to blocking the Serena Slam, outside of Serena herself.  If both falter who is likely to rise to the occasion?

The Women

Serena has won the last three majors, she’s lost only once this year, and she’s won the Australian and French titles this year, the first time she’s won both in the same year.  She is definitely the favourite for the title.

But being the ‘favourite’ is not the same as ‘sure thing.’  Serena has been the favourite the last two years and yet has fallen to Sabine Lisicki and Petra Kvitova.  Kvitova went on to claim her second title last year and has the best Wimbledon record of any player over the last five years.  Serena and Kvitova faced off on grass in 2012, with Serena emerging the winner of a hard-fought match.

Since then, Kvitova has finally claimed her first win over Serena – a dominating performance in Madrid this year on clay.  Grass is easily Petra’s best surface and she showed it last year in progressively stronger matches as she went deeper in the Wimbledon draw, culminating in a second set skunk of Eugenie Bouchard in the final behind a barrage of untouchable winners.

Serena is pretty good on grass, too, but if I had to pick between Serena and a ‘flame on’ Kvitova on grass, I’d favour Kvitova.  Whether or not Kvitova will attain that level is by no means certain.  At the beginning of the year I wrote that I would favour Kvitova against the field at Wimbledon, but would favour Serena if they met head to head.  Now I reverse that position.  I think Serena is more likely to steady herself through to the final, but if she meets #2 seed Kvitova there, I favour Kvitova.

But there are other women to consider, too.  Last year Simona Halep made the semis.  She’s solid on grass and cannot be counted out if one of the top two does not make it that far, but I would favour either Serena or Kvitova against her.

And then there are former champions Maria Sharapova and Venus Williams to consider.  Venus has shown signs of life this year with a title in Auckland, and she will be especially potent on the grass on which she has claimed five Wimbledon titles, albeit not since 2008.  She’s 35 now, and has lost a step.  I think a QF would be an exceptional result for her.

Sharapova still resides near the top of the game, currently #3, and at 28 years old is in (but nearing the end of) her prime.  However her lone Wimbledon title came in 2004.  Since then she has not looked particularly adept on grass, although she did make the 2011 final.  Semis or quarters are about what I would expect for her.

The Germans Sabine Lisicki and Angelique Kerber are very proficient on grass and with the right breaks in the draw could easily make semis or even the final, as Lisicki did in 2013.  Lisicki even beat Serena along the way and must be considered a real contender for the title.

Last year’s finalist Bouchard has been having an atrocious sophomore year after rising as high as #5 in the WTA rankings.  Grass seems her best surface, but given her woes this year, I won’t expect more than a 4th round appearance from her.  Ekaterina Makarova has not been slumping quite as badly, but I will expect similar results from her.

Karolina Pliskova has shown excellent improvement in results this year and a facility for grass.  I will expect about 4R or QF from her, and also from Sloane Stephens who, despite continuing sophomore woes, can definitely play on turf.

Victoria Azarenka may post some strong early results, but has not yet shown the superlative form that took her to major championships before 2014.  Caroline Wozniacki is a decent grass player and could definitely make the quarters.  Other dangerous players include Agnieszka Radwanska, runner up here in 2012, and Lucie Safarova, fresh off a runner up showing in Paris and a semi-finalist here last year.


The Men

Last year’s semi-finalists Grigor Dimitrov and Milos Raonic made very strong statements.  Dimitrov gave Djokovic everything he could handle, taking the second set and pushing the Serb to 76 76 in the last two sets.  But this year Dimitrov looked shaky in his grass court tune-up going 1-1 in matches.  Raonic is returning from foot surgery.  He has had a strong year, reaching a career high ranking of #4 just before Roland Garros, before being sidelined.  Lack of match play may hold him back from last year’s heights, but if he can survive the first few rounds, another deep run is very possible.

Rafael Nadal’s early exit from the French, and an extra week to prepare for this year’s championships may be enough to propel the Spaniard back to winning form on grass after going 4-3 the last three years.  Winning the newly minted grass title in Stuttgart augurs well for his chances and perhaps his first round loss the very next week can be safely ignored.  Despite the travails of recent years on grass and this year on all surfaces, he must be taken very seriously at this year’s iteration of the fortnight.  I suspect the loss of his Roland Garros crown will have him especially motivated to do well at Wimbledon.

Stan Wawrinka is fresh from a brilliant victory in Paris.  A letdown is expected.  However, the amazing firepower he displayed at Garros means he cannot be ignored.  He has not thriven on grass, reaching a career best of only QF last year, and sporting a career won-loss of 13-10.  All things considered I’ll expect no more than QF from him this year.

Kei Nishikori looked to be in winning grass court form in Halle, before retiring 1-4 in the SF.  He’s never been past the 4R at Wimbledon, and aside from last year’s US Open finalist run has never looked like a real threat at the slams.  His conqueror at USO, Marin Cilic has struggled to regain championship form.  Last year he pushed Djokovic to 5 sets in the QF so he should be taken seriously.  But I expect this year’s struggles to continue.

The champion is most likely to come from the current top 3:  Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, and Andy Murray.  Federer leads the open era with 15 grass court titles, well ahead of 2nd place Sampras with 10.  Roger fought beautifully to take the 4th set in last year’s final, but serving at 4-4 in the 5th he inexplicably played a string of bad points, lost his serve, probably his nerve, and the championship.

Does Federer have another deep run left in him?  I’ve learned never to count him out, but at nearly 34, I suspect he will be very hard pressed to lift another trophy.  Mind you, this is Federer on grass so anything is possible.  This is probably his last best chance to hoist another slam title.

Djokovic has now made the final in three of the last four years, claiming two titles.  He is the bookies favourite and the number one seed.  If it were not for the French final loss in which he looked over-powered and bewildered about what to do, he would be my favourite too.  His incredible consistency and magnificent blend of offensive and defensive weaponry mean he will be very tough to beat and is most likely to make it through to the final Sunday.  But I did not like what I saw of his mental state in Paris.  I think there is one man that can beat him.

Andy Murray has really surprised me this year.  After a rather slow recovery last year from back surgery in 2013, I had thought that the US Open and Wimbledon titles had dulled his keenness for victory.  But he has been climbing into sterling form this year and beating Nadal on clay (at Madrid) is never a mean achievement.  If he can push Djokovic to five sets on clay, I think that he can probably go one better on what may be his favourite surface and tournament in front of a home crowd.

It’s probably too close to call, and the bookies do not agree with me.  Murray may be more likely to succumb to upset before the final than Djokovic, but if they both make it that far, I give a slight edge to Murray.


The Women’s Draw

First Quarter – Serena (seed 1) should get to 4R (round 4) fairly easily to face sister Venus (18) who might have a tough opener against Madison Brengle.  In the second eighth Belinda Bencic (30), who is in the final of Eastbourne this week, will have her hands full with former Wimbledon QFist Tsvetana Pironkova in 1R.  The winner could well face off for the QF spot against Azarenka (23) who could have a tough 3R against Carla Suarez Navarro (9).  SWilliams d. Azarenka

Second Quarter – Sharapova (4) will likely hold seed to meet Andrea Petkovic (14) in 4R.  In the adjacent eighth, Sloane Stephens has a very tough 1R against last year’s QFist Barbora Strycova (27).  Things are not likely to get much easier in 3R against last year’s SFist Safarova (6).  It’s a knotty section but despite the odds, I think Stephens has the talent to pull it off.  Sharapova d. Stephens

Third Quarter – Kerber (10) thrives on grass and should be able to get through Garbine Muguruza (20) to a 4R clash with Caroline Wozniacki (5).  Both players have a decent chance of winning their encounter but history has me favouring Kerber.  In the next eighth last year’s semifinalist Halep (3) may continue her struggles this year and get bounced by Jana Cepelova in 1R, but I expect Halep to tough it through to 4R against former finalist Lisicki (18).  If they play it should be a fascinating match, but although Halep won when they played here last year, Lisicki has made QF or better in her last five Wimbledon outings. In the clash of the Germans, I’ll go with the higher ranked.  Kerber d. Lisicki

Fourth Quarter – The second last eighth is headed by seeds Ekaterina Makarova (8) and Bouchard (12) – both of whom are struggling.  Madison Keys (21) seems to like grass and if she can channel her firepower like she showed in Australia, the QF slot is ripe for the taking.  There to meet her is likely to be the #2 seed, Kvitova.  Kvitova caused some concern by pulling out of Eastbourne citing not feeling well.  I suspect she is erring on the side of caution.  If she’s firing on all cylinders she should be able to take down court-hugging ARadwanska (13) a former Wimbledon finalist who is in this week’s Eastbourne final, but it is by no means certain.  That could set up a rematch of the Aus Open 3R won by Keys.  Kvitova d Keys.

First Semi – When exactly was the last time Sharapova beat Serena??? SWiliams d. Sharapova

Second Semi - This semi could easily feature any of Kerber, Lisicki, or Halep against Kvitova, Keys, ARadwanska, or even Bouchard if she suddenly refinds her grass-loving form.  With two Wimbledons under her belt, Kvitova has the best odds, providing she’s healthy.  Kvitova d. Kerber

Final – I believe a healthy Kvitova would beat Serena but I’m less certain Kvitova would make it to the final than Serena.  So… all things considered I think Serena is most likely to win the championship – just not against Kvitova.  SWilliams d. Kvitova

Leading female players at Wimbledon - match wins
Navratilova 120-14
Evert 96-15
BJ King 95-15
Graf 74-7
VWilliams 73-12
SWilliams 72-10
Wade 64-23
Haydon Jones 57-13
Brough 56-7
Jacobs 55-11
Wills Moody 54-1
               

The Men’s Draw

First Quarter – Djokovic (1) can expect a reasonable struggle in 3R against former QFist Bernard Tomic and in 4R against Kokkinakis, former SFist Janowicz, or Kevin Anderson (14).  But he should come through.  Marin Cilic`s (9) run to repeat of last year`s QF against Novak may need to go through Isner (17) in 3R or Nishkori (5) in 4R. I think Cilic favours the surface enough to make QF but not enough to upset Djokovic.  Djokovic d. Cilic

Second Quarter – Although I do not particularly favour Wawrinka (4) on grass, there is little to oppose him in his eighth.  Floundering Marcos Baghdatis may be his most significant opposition.  But the next eighth is choc-a-bloc with grass specialists:  Dimitrov (11), De Schepper, Gasquet (21), Kyrgios (26), two-time QFist Florian Mayer, Tommy Haas, and Milos Raonic (7).  I would paint Raonic into the QF fairly easily if he were not recovering from a foot injury.  Perhaps the mercurial young Kyrgios is next most likely to succeed, although Dimitrov or Gasquet could catch fire and claim the QF spot.  Raonic d. Wawrinka

Third Quarter – Other than the wildly unpredictable Thomaz Belluci in 1R, Nadal has landed a plum road to the QF.  The inconsistent Troicki (22) cannot really be considered a threat, and David Ferrer (7) is not known for his grass court prowess.  Opposite him, Murray (3) has a much tougher line-up with Tsonga (13), Karlovic (23), Dolgopolov, Istomin, Stakhovsky, and Falla as possible opponents.  Andy should be in devastating form by the time he gets to the QF.  Murray d. Nadal

Fourth Quarter – Despite the past grass heroics of Nicolas Mahut, Jeremy Chardy, Lukas Rosol, and Gilles Simon, Tomas Berdych (6) is likely to emerge in the QF to face Federer (2).  Federer may face some difficulty against Sam Querrey in 2R, Jack Sock (31) in 3R, or three-time QFist Feliciano Lopez but should be equal to the task on his favourite surface, as well as against Berdych.  Federer d. Berdych

First Semi – A healthy Raonic probably has the firepower to win Wimbledon.  But Djokovic`s defensive skills should be up to the task of dismantling the Canadian, especially if Raonic is not yet 100% on his foot.

Second Semi – Taking out a motivated Nadal is monumental task that Murray might not accomplish.  But if he does, he may be emotionally and physically drained.  Although I have picked Federer to make it this far, he`s shown a lot of inconsistency this year and could well lose early.  If he`s `on` he can beat anyone on grass in the quest for an eighth Wimbledon.  But on balance I think Murray has a better grass game now.  Murray d. Federer

Final - It would be a rematch of the 2013 final when Murray ended the 77-year British male singles drought at the big W.  Djokovic has won all 8 meetings since then, but Murray has been showing fine progress in getting closer, finally pushing Novak to 5 sets at Roland Garros on Andy`s least favourite surface.  Murray d. Djokovic

Leading male players at Wimbledon – match wins
Connors 84-19
Federer 73-9
Becker 71-12
AW Gore 64-26
Sampras 63-7
Ritchie 62-24
Emerson 60-14
McEnroe 59-11
Austin 56-13
Borotra 55-10
Borg 51-4
Laver 50-7
Drobny 50-16


Bookies Odds – decimal odds from bet365.com on 24 Jun 2015

Women

SWilliams 2.62
Kvitova 4.5
Sharapova 9
Azarenka 11
Halep 13
Lisicki 21
Safarova 21
KaPliskova 21
Kerber 21
Keys 23
Wozniakci 34
VWilliams 34
Stephens 34
Bouchard 34
ARadwanska 34


Men

Djokovic 2.25
Murray 3.5
Federer 7
Nadal 13
Wawrinka 15
Dimitrov 26
Nishikori 26
Raonic 26
Berdych 26
Cilic 34
Tsonga 34
Kyrgios 67

2017 Supreme Jedi, 2017 Lord Vader, 2017 Chivalrous Wookie, 2015 Naboo Champion, 2018 Big Fat Nothing

Re: Wimbledon 2015 Predictions

I admit, I didn't read all that (yet) because I am about to leave the house, but Serena lost to Cornet last year, not Kvitova.  VENUS Williams lost to Petra, though. wink

Looking forward to digesting all of this information soon.  Nice job, Dwight!

Re: Wimbledon 2015 Predictions

You are crazy Dwight! But thanks a lot, really an impressive piece of work smile

Re: Wimbledon 2015 Predictions

Arvis wrote:

I admit, I didn't read all that (yet) because I am about to leave the house, but Serena lost to Cornet last year, not Kvitova.  VENUS Williams lost to Petra, though. wink

Looking forward to digesting all of this information soon.  Nice job, Dwight!

absolutely correct!  I noticed that too after I posted it and wondered wth I was thinking...  maybe I was just SO excited about Petra's win in Madrid...

2017 Supreme Jedi, 2017 Lord Vader, 2017 Chivalrous Wookie, 2015 Naboo Champion, 2018 Big Fat Nothing

Re: Wimbledon 2015 Predictions

Great stuff again Charles. Has anyone else heard that Ferrer is out of Wimbledon?

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Re: Wimbledon 2015 Predictions

Yes it is true. Replaced by Lucky Loser Luca Vanni.

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