2011 Wimbledon – Nick’s Picks – Women’s Singles Round 3
Vera Zvonareva (RUS) vs. Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL)
Zvonareva held on to beat her friend, Elena Vesnina, in straight sets. She loves playing on the grass and having reached the finals here last year, she should be full of confidence. As long as she can keep her emotions under control, which she has done a great job of in 2011, their is no reason why she shouldn’t be able to make another deep run. She has faced Pironkova twice before and she lost the first match at Moscow in 2009 and beat her in the semis of Wimbledon here last year.
Pironkova will certainly not back down from the challenge in this match and she will take it to Zvonareva from the outset. What sets Zvonareva apart is her consistency and her ability to cover the court so well. Her groundstrokes are excellent, she has a solid serve and she is a very good returner. Pironkova may be able to win a set here, but I have to give the edge to Zvonareva because of her experience on the grass.
Nick’s Pick – Zvonareva in 2 sets
Venus Williams (USA) vs. Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez (ESP)
Martinez Sanchez knocked off Jelena Jankovic in the first round by coming back from a set down. Jankovic didn’t help herself by double-faulting eight times, but Martinez Sanchez played well and went for it all on every point. She is 0-2 against Venus and they actually met in the Round of 32 at Wimbledon in 2008 and Venus won that in straight sets.
This match will be dictated by Venus. She was pushed to the brink by Kimiko Date-Krumm in the second round, but she was able to win the big points and that is what mattered in the end. I have been impressed by her resiliency and her fitness level after taking so much time off. If Venus can keep the ball in play and doesn’t make too many unforced errors she should be able to win this match in straight sets. If she struggles at all, Martinez Sanchez will jump all over her like she did against Jankovic.
Nick’s Pick – V. Williams in 2 sets
Serena Williams (USA) vs. Maria Kirilenko (RUS)
I was surprised to see Serena lose the first set against Simona Halep in the second round, but she was able to bounce back and regain control of the match. Once she figured out how to win easy points against Halep and her serve started rolling she was in good shape. Like I have said before, as the tournament progresses Serena is only going to get better and better. I do think we will start to see the Serena of old where she comes out and takes it to her opponents from the outset.
Kirilenko is 0-3 against Serena, but they have never played on grass. Kirilenko can really hit the ball from both wings, she moves well and she is a keen competitor. She’s been to the quarters of a Grand Slam before so I don’t think the stage is too big for her to handle. Because Serena is still trying to get back into playing shape, I definitely could see Kirilenko winning a set and pushing Serena. On the other hand, if Serena is able to get out to a quick lead early this match could be over before you know it.
Nick’s Pick – S. Williams in 3 sets
Sabine Lisicki (SUI) vs. Misaki Doi (JPN)
Wow! I was so excited to see Lisicki win that match over Li Na. I sat in her box throughout the whole match and at the end you could really see how much that win meant to her, especially after the French Open. She fought so hard against Na and I was really impressed with how she held herself together against such a difficult opponent. Her game is perfect for the grass and when she steps onto those green courts she just reaches another level of confidence.
This is her first match against Doi, and she should continue to play the way she has throughout the last two tournaments. Doi doesn’t have as much firepower as Li Na does, but she is consistent and she will not make many mistakes. Lisicki needs to continue to play aggressive tennis, get her first serves in and win quick points. I could see this match going three sets if Doi is able to frustrate Lisicki, but I have to give the edge to my girl!
Nick’s Pick – Lisicki in 3 sets