Saturday, June 28, 2008

Wimbledon 2008: What to Watch For

Wimbledon has been underway for nearly a week now and the Sweet 16 has almost been set. So far we've seen a number of big-time early upsets on both sides. Australian Open winner Novak Djokovic (3) and 5th Seeded Spaniard David Ferrer took L's over the past couple of days and Americans James Blake (9) and Andy Roddick (6) were both second round victims. The US men can't be taken seriously anymore as legit threats in majors as they both seem to bow out quickly and quietly almost everytime. The Women's half has seen more big names fall earlier than expected. Top Seeded Ana Ivanovic and 3rd seeded Maria Sharapova both failed to reach the fourth round thereby eliminating a large chunk of the male audience. This doesn't mean that there's nothing to watch. Far from it. Whereas the French Open didn't live up to the high ratings that world tennis officials hoped for after a highly entertaining Aussie Open, Wimbledon still has many lines to draw in the casual tennis fan.

Men's Bracket

-World #1 Roger Federer aims for his 6th straight Wimbledon singles title. That mark would help him pass Bjorn Borg's streak of All England Lawn Championships. His next matchup won't be easy though as he's got a date with the feisty Aussie Lleyton Hewitt (20). He's bound to bring his intimidating body-building sister with him for moral support.

-Last year's runner-up and 2008 French Open Champ Raffy Nadal (2) is looking to win his first Wimbledon title, but it will be a very difficult task as he will likely have all ranked opponents from here on out. His possible next round opponent Mikhail Youzhny (17) is definitely a sleeper to come out of this semi.

-Young Swole's boy Marcos Baghdatis from the land of Cyprus is the 10th ranked player in the world and he typically balls it up on grass. As the highest seeded player in his quadrant, he's got a great shot to make it to the final 4.

-The last Semi is extremely difficult to predict as most of the top-seeds have already taken a fall. I think the winner between Roddick raider Janko Tipsaravic (the Serbian had an epic match with Federer at the 08 Aussie Open) and German Juggernaut and Blake beater Rainier "Wolfcastle" Schuettler will be the man that emerges from this quad.

Women's Bracket

-On top of being smokin' hot, 18th ranked Nicole Vaidisova is also extremely frisky on the tennis court. The Russian will matchup with fellow countrywoman and equally bangin' Anna Chakvetadze (8). With Ivanovic out, it's one of these ladies to lose in this semi.

-#6 Serena Williams has to be the favorite in the second quadrant. She's always a monster in England and she has yet to drop a set yet this year.

-The Russians are well represented in the Sweet 16 and Elena Dementieva may be the best of the bunch. The 5th seeded woman in the world hasn't exactly blown away the competition at Wimbledon, but her quadrant isn't really the most challenging.

-The bottom semi is arguably the most intriguing. Two big names are on a crash course for a quarterfinal throwdown. #2 Jelena Jankovic may be a butterface, but her game is no joke. She's got one of the most aggressive serves in all of tennis and looks like the heavyweight right now. She's gotta deal with the beast known as Venus Williams (7) though and it won't be a cake walk by any means. Venus has won 4 Wimbledons and is the current defending champ. This could be the match of the tournament if it pans out.

Swole and I will try to keep everyone posted as the Bracket continues to evolve.

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