2010 Wimbledon – Nick’s Picks – Women’s Singles Round 1
Jelena Jankovic (SRB) vs. Laura Robson (ENG)
Jankovic has moved back up to #4 in the world after a semifinal showing at the French Open and is looking to make a deep run at Wimbledon for the first time in her career. Surprisingly, she has never been past the fourth round on the grass but I think this is the year she changes that. She’s been working with IMG Bollettieri Director of Tennis, Chip Brooks, and the two have made a great team thus far!
Robson and IMG Bollettieri student, Heather Watson, are two of the best young English players in the world and both will get a chance to get the British newspapers abuzz if they can get some wins. Robson comes into the tournament tanked #236 in the world and is looking to get past the first round of Wimbledon for the first time.
This is the first career meeting between the 25-year old Jankovic and the 16-year old Robson. All eyes of England will be focused on this match as they are looking for big things from Robson. This will be a tough match for her to win as Jankovic is playing extremely well. Look for Jankovic to use her improved serve, fantastic movement and great two-handed backhand to control the court and keep Robson off-balance. Jankovic will attack any weak second-serves and as long as she just focuses on this match and doesn’t get caught up in all the media hoopla she will advance.
Nick’s Pick – Jankovic in 2 sets
Shahar Peer (ISR) vs. Ana Ivanovic (SRB)
Peer comes into Wimbledon ranked #14 in the world and seems to have really found a nice groove thus far in 2010. She lost in the fourth round of the French Open and was also a semifinalist in Madrid. Her best result at Wimbledon came back in 2008 when she reached the fourth round before falling to Elena Dementieva.
Ivanovic has been mired in a slump for a long time now, and there are no signs that she is coming out of it. She lost in the second round of the French Open and has a paltry 10-10 record in 2010. A win here would be a big boost for her confidence and may go a long way in helping her tennis career!
Peer is 1-0 against Ivanovic with that win coming back in 2007 on the hard courts. There has been plenty of talk about Ivanovic and if she will ever get back the player she was just a couple of years ago. I don’t know the answer and only time will tell. What I do know, is that she is plenty capable of winning this match and she will push Peer. However, Peer is a fighter and will not go down easily. Peer moves well, has great groundstrokes and is aggressive. I look for this match to go three sets, and I have to give the edge to Peer based on their results this year.
Nick’s Pick – Peer in 3 sets
Serena Williams (USA) vs. Michelle Larcher de Brito (POR)
Serena fell in the quarters of the French Open to the in-form Sam Stosur, but the grass is where she thrives! She’s won this title three times and is the defending champion here and after failing to win the French Open title you know she is going to be extremely determined to take this one. There is no doubt in my mind that she is the player to beat.
Larcher de Brito has been training at the IMG Bollettieri Tennis Academy for many years and is still looking for her first big breakthrough at a Grand Slam. Well, taking down Serena at Wimbledon would definitely qualify as that!
This is the second meeting between Serena and the young Larcher de Brito. The first came back in 2008 at Stanford where Larcher de Brito won the first set, but Serena came back to win the next two sets and take the match. I look for Serena to come out with guns-a-blazin’ and take it to her opponent. Larcher de Brito has to go for broke. She cannot stand on the baseline and just hit with Serena, or she will get blown off the court. She needs to go for winners or throw some change of pace shots at Serena because that is her only chance. Serena will pounce on any weak serves and will use her own serve to control the match. I look for Larcher de Brito to push Serena, but in the end Serena has too much power.
Nick’s Pick – S. Williams in 2 sets
Maria Sharapova (RUS) vs. Kateryna Bondarenko (UKR)
Sharapova comes into the tournament ranked #17 in the world and has won two titles already this year. She just reached the finals of Birmingham on grass before falling to Na Li in straight sets. Despite the loss in the finals, it’s good to see Sharapova winning and playing well on the grass. I’m expecting a good tournament from her.
Bondarenko has not had a great year, as she comes in with a 4-7 record and having lost in the second round of the French Open. She’s ranked #35 in the world and has never been out of the second round of Wimbledon.
This is the first career meeting between the two 23-year olds and promises to be exciting. It’s nice to see Sharapova feeling good and playing with enthusiasm again. It’s been a tough road for her over the last couple of years and she seems to have her power back and has settled in with her new service motion. Bondarenko doesn’t do anything that can hurt Sharapova, yet she understands what it takes to win and will not go down without a fight. I look for Sharapova to advance, but I think it will be a good test for her.
Nick’s Pick – Sharapova in 2, could go 3