In the men's draw, former number ones collide as former Wimbledon champion Lleyton Hewitt takes on former two time Wimbledon finalist, the number six seed, Andy Roddick. World number three Andy Murray, after his marathon late night match against Stanislas Wawrinka, under the lights and under the new roof, will take on another former number one Juan Carlos Ferrero, who doesn’t normally take well to the grass.
In the bottom half of the draw we see the forgotten man, Novak Djokovic, take on the consistent grass-courter Tommy Haas and, finally, Roger Federer takes on the, somewhat unnerving, task of facing the 6’10” ace machine Ivo Karlovic, who, to date, has served 136 aces and has yet to be broken.
On the women’s side we seem to be heading towards yet another all Williams final, between the sisters Venus and Serena. At the top of the draw, the most under the radar number one seed, Dinara Safina, takes on the up and coming talent of Sabine Lisicki, with the winner of that match taking on the winner of the match between defending champion, Venus Williams, and another young talent Agnieszka Radwanska. On the bottom half surprise quarter finalist Francesca Schiavone takes on Olympic gold medallist Elena Dementieva, while the last eight line up is completed by Williams sister number two, Serena, up against the princess of the grunters Victoria Azarenka.
The women’s draw has, from the get go, had an unerring inevitability about it. The Williams sisters love SW19, with seven titles between them, and with Venus looking for a hat trick of titles, and sister Serena looking for revenge for last years final defeat, it looks like we are set for another family get together come Saturday afternoon.
Out of the other six quarter finalists the person who, in my opinion, is most likely to stop this years final being a repeat of last years is Elena Dementieva. Radwanska, Lisicki and Azarenka are all great, young, talents, but I feel they do not have what it takes, yet, to make it to a grand slam final. Schiavone has more than enough experience but also has never made it this far in a slam before and may not know how to work her way out of the last eight now that she’s there.
Dementieva, however, has two grand slam finals under her belt already, and winning the Olympic Games last summer will have given her great confidence that she can win a major tournament. Her record against Serena, who Dementieva is set to meet in the semi final, is a great cause for further optimism. Despite Serena having a five to three head to head record in her favour, Dementieva has won three of the last four meetings between the two.
Dinara Safina is the world number one, and no one is really backing her to do much at Wimbledon this year at all. That may be in part due to the fact that she was quoted on her official website, in an article titled ‘I Hate Wimbledon’ as saying that “Grass makes me angry. I hope they dig up the grass and replace it with a hard court”.
Safina has shown a lot of improvement on the grass this year, but is still not being talked about at all, and it would have to be considered a major shock if she was to win here, despite being ranked as number one in the world.
So Venus vs Serena it seems on the women’s side, what about the men?
Everyone, who is everyone, wants Sunday’s showpiece to be a match between the best player ever to grace a tennis court, Roger Federer, and Britain’s Andy Murray, as he tries to make history of his own, becoming the first Brit since 1937 to win Wimbledon.
The final eight of the men’s draw however is littered with potential banana skins for both of these men on the road to their ‘destiny’.
Lleyton Hewitt has rolled back the years this week, producing some wonderful tennis, reminiscent of previous glory’s by the former world number one, and he has the experience to come through at SW19 and maybe make a surprise appearance in another Wimbledon final. Andy Roddick stands in his way in his pursuit of a second grand slam title, six years after his one and only success at the US Open. He has also experienced what it is like to be in a Wimbledon final, not once, but twice, both times, though, running into the mercurial Federer.
Murray may have queried the decision to play his 4th round match up against Stanislas Wawrinka under the roof on Monday night, the first competitive match to be played entirely under it, but it could turn out to be a blessing in disguise. With the match finishing at 10:38pm, without the roof Murray would have had to sacrifice his day off to complete the match, and if you ever needed any proof that carrying a match over is difficult business, just watch some of Tim Henman’s old Wimbledon matches.
He will now, though, have an entire day to rest up before taking on Juan Carlos Ferrero, who he met and defeated quite convincingly on his way to the Queen’s title a fortnight ago.
Federer, despite winning in straight sets against, French Open final counterpart, Robin Soderling, was not at his best, and he has the unenviable task of taking on Ivo Karlovic, in a match where he will have to improve and be at his best when returning, as Karlovic has yet to drop his serve.
The fourth quarter final match up sees Novak Djokovic take on Tommy Haas, who always seems to produce on grass and who beat ‘Nole’ a fortnight ago in Halle, in the final of the tour event in Germany.
Much like no one has been talking about Safina on the women’s side, no one really has said much about Djokovic either, with all the attention being placed on the home favourite Murray, and Federer as he looks to surpass Sampras’ grand slam record.
This could very easily work in Djokovic’s favour as there is no pressure on him and he is free to produce his best tennis with not a lot of expectations, and we have seen in the past that Djokovic is more than capable of beating the people above him in the rankings, and there are only three of them.
There are still bound to be one or two twists and turns in the final days and hours of the 2009 Wimbledon, and who knows maybe we will all be proved wrong and not have a repeat of last years women’s final, and we may all be disappointed to not have the dream final of Murray against Federer come Sunday.
That’s the magic of tennis, that’s the magic of sport in general, you can never really know whats going to happen, but your still glued to it nonetheless. There are a few thousand people that were on Henman Hill at gone 10 in the evening, in the pitch black monday night, that can testify to that statement.