2011 Wimbledon – Nick’s Picks – Women’s Singles Quarterfinals
Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) vs. Maria Sharapova (RUS)
It didn’t look good for Cibulkova in the first set as she lost the opening set to Wozniacki in 24 minutes. Coming into the match she was 0-8 against top-10 players at the Slams, but she reversed all of that and was able to beat the world #1 1-6, 7-6(5), 7-5. This is her first appearance in the quarters at Wimbledon and her third quarter at a Grand Slam overall. She’s played Sharapova four times previously and they have split those matches, but all of those took place on clay.
Sharapova looked shaky in the beginning against Peng, but she never had any big issues against the Chinese woman, beating her in straight sets. This is the first time she has reached the quarters at Wimbledon since she reached the semis in 2006, and in looking at the draw you have to think she is the favorite at this point.
Cibulkova can really bring it for a girl of her size, but she can also be very inconsistent at times (see first set against Wozniacki). When she does get on a roll, she can hit winners from all over the court and she also moves around the court with great speed. If Sharapova serves well, she will control this match from the outset and push Cibulkova back behind the baseline. If the serve falters at all, she will be in trouble. I have to give the edge to Sharapova because of her fighting spirit as well as her experience. This should be a fun match!
Nick’s Pick – Sharapova in 3 sets
Sabine Lisicki (GER) vs. Marion Bartoli (FRA)
That was a great win for Bartoli to beat Serena on grass. Not many have done it and she proved that she is very mentally tough. This is her first appearance in the quarters of Wimbledon since she reached the finals back in 2007 and she looks at home out there. Her record against Lisicki is 1-2, and in their one meeting in 2011 Lisicki won that in straight sets.
Lisicki moved on with a rather routine win over Petra Cetkovska and is into the quarters of Wimbledon for the second time in her career. I am so proud of her and she has come a long way overcoming injuries and the entire IMG Bollettieri Tennis Academy is happy for her. Right now, I think she has the game to beat Bartoli. She has the big serve and the big groundstrokes to move Bartoli all over the court. If the serve falters at all, she will be in trouble, but I really think she can win this match with the way she is playing.
Nick’s Pick – Lisicki in3 sets
Tamira Paszek (AUT) vs. Victoria Azarenka (BLR)
This trip to the quarters has to be a surprise for Paszek as she hadn’t been past the fourth round of a Grand Slam since 2007. She’s ranked 80th in the world right now and her record against Azarenka is 0-1 (that meeting came back in 2008 at Montreal).
To me, this match is all about Azarenka. She should be able to control play from the outset with her outstanding serve and fantastic groundstrokes. She has had a tendency in the past to tighten up in the big moments, but I think she should have enough here to get by Paszek. Along with Sharapova, Azarenka has to be considered one of the favorites to now win this title and capture her first Grand Slam trophy!
Nick’s Pick – Azarenka in 2 sets
Tsvetana Pironkova (BUL) vs. Petra Kvitova (CZE)
With a win here, Kvitova will get back to the semis of Wimbledon for the second consecutive year. She really took the hammer out against Yanina Wickmayer, beating her 6-0, 6-2 in the fourth round and she is a very dangerous player. Being a lefty with that big serve and those powerful groundstrokes, she automatically has an advantage over the majority of her opponents. She is 2-0 against Pironkova in her career, but those wins came back in 2008 and neither were on grass.
I came away very impressed with Pironkova and how she really just took it to Venus from the outset. She has now beaten Venus in three Grand Slams and I am not sure anyone else can say that. Like Kvitova, she is looking to get back to the semis for the second straight year and her game really fits with the grass. If you go by the rankings and their past history, you would have to favor Kvitova, but I just think with the way Pironkova is playing, she has a small advantage. This should be a close match!
Nick’s Pick – Pironkova in 3 sets