Confusion on Women’s Side Kicks Off 2009 Wimbledon
by Staff | June 21st, 2009, 11:31 pm

Can world No. 1 Dinara Safina make it 0-4 in Slam finals?
Can the Williams sisters prove they can still win by the sheer power of will after each exited prior to the final at Roland Garros?

Are the Serbs for real or brief No. 1 pretenders?

Has Maria Sharapova dismissed her chances this year after shoulder surgery to fly under the radar?

Can hot-handed comers such as Sam Stosur and Caroline Wozniacki make an impact?

Wimbledon begins Monday at the All England Club featuring a new roof and a lot of confusion on the women’s side, where no one seems to ready to step up and take the champion’s mantle in the absence of Justine Henin, who abruptly retired last year.

Matches of interest on Monday are (2) Serena Williams vs. Portugal’s Neuza Silva, former champ (24) Maria Sharapova vs. the Ukraine’s, an all-Russian meeting in Alla Kudryavtseva vs. (4) Elena Dementieva, (23) Aleksandra Wozniak vs. Italian veteran Francesca Schiavone, Taipei’s Yung-Jan Chan vs. the possibly injured (12) Marion Bartoli, a name game challenge in (27) Alisa Kleybanova vs. Sesil Karatantcheva, and Japanese veteran Ai Sugiyama vs. (21) Patty Schnyder.

You Might Like:
Wawrinka Changes His Name To Stan
2017 Wimbledon Women’s Seedings: Kvitova, Venus Only Former Champions In Field
Serena v Lefty, Crying Game v Slicy in Wimbledon Women’s Semis
Caroline Wozniacki Wants More Women’s Matches On The Show Courts At Wimbledon
Serena v Radwanska, Power v Guile in Wimbledon Women’s Final

Don't miss any tennis action, stay connected with Tennis-X

Get the FREE TX daily newsletter

16 Comments for Confusion on Women’s Side Kicks Off 2009 Wimbledon

Mina Says:

I would have loved to see Henin complete the Slam and win the Wimby title. I’ve really missed her tennis.

Wimbledon is going to be a free-for-all, but I think Venus has the best chance of taking it again even though Serena is playing better than her right now. Of course, you can never count Serena out of any Slam and she has won twice there before.

Sharapova’s shoulder is a big questions mark, but she hasn’t played as much as the other women so she should have a decent shot. Kuznetsova, Wozniaki, and Dementieva have as good a chance as anyone else outside of the Williams sisters to win it. Safina is still a headcase when it comes to the big matches and until she sorts that out I don’t think she can win a Slam. Ivanovic and Jancovic tend to be chokers who lose much too early to players that they should be beating.

Von Says:

I hope Safina wins Wimby, or else she’ll have the grand slam title for striking out at the finals.

Even though I don’t care for Sharapova’s tennis and her noise, I’m somewhat concerned she’ll have another rotator cuff tear. She rips/muscles the ball too much and I’m hoping she doesn’t exacerbate her injury further. I think she should either try to end the points earlier, or keep the ball in play until she can hit the winner, instead of trying to hit outright winners from the first stroke.

I think Serena is the better athlete of the two sisters. Venus tends to have mental lapses and does not possess the same fighting spirit/mentality as Serena. I hope they both go deep because they have a lot of points to cover.

Ivanovic has lost her weapons, and her ball toss is now way off — she needs a compass. I think it was a wrong move firing her coach just before the grass season. Jankovic’s problems seem to multiplying. I think she’s lost confidence along the way. She doesn’t possess a main go to weapon as some of the better women players have and has to rely on her speed. A Dementieva win would make me happy.

Mina Says:

I hadn’t thought of that – that Safina can complete a runner-up Grand Slam. I’m sure, though, that there are many women on tour who would kill to even make one Slam final.

Sharapova’s style is not built for longevity as you pointed out – serve hard and try to rip it for a winner right way when returning. I don’t think she needs to play this way to be successful as she is quite talented and can play strategically if she has to.

Ivanovic’s ball toss is a disaster. LOL about the compass remark. I think not having a coach right now is trouble but it’s the least of her problems – something is not right in the head and she needs to work through her confidence issues.

I think Venus is the better player on grass, but obviously, Serena is no chump having won twice at Wimbledon before. And any time the sisters play, it pretty much could go either way because they are both so talented.

Von Says:

Ivanovic is suffering from a case of ‘Verdacoitis’. Ever since the break-up she seems lost. I don’t know what some people see in Verdasco, to me he’s not what I’d call good looking and/or handsome.

On Venus/Serena, I meant overall, Serena is the better player, but Venus has been the most successful at Wimby.

Jerzy Says:

“…no one seems to ready to step up and take the champion’s mantle in the absence of Justine Henin”

Huh? Venus or Maria have been ready to step up even while Justine was present. If anything, Justine has been unable to step up at Wimby.

steve Says:

I don’t see Venus losing to anyone, not even her sister. This is her tournament.

Will Safina even make the final? The Serbs aren’t going very far. Sharapova’s shoulder is still sketchy and even if she were healthy, I don’t think she could stand up to Venus on grass.

As far as the younger guns, Wozniacki is in good form and will make a run. I am fond of Suarez-Navarro and would like to see her do well, but her serve isn’t big enough for grass yet. And if she manages to win her first two matches, she’ll face Venus in the third round–and this time there’s not going to be an upset like in Australia.

Mina Says:

steve: I like Suarez-Navarro, too! But I agree with you that her serve isn’t quite there yet. I didn’t realize that she could potentially face Venus in the 3rd round and Venus is so amazing on grass, she’ll be in for a near-impossible fight.

Pro_B Says:

Stosur was showing good game both at the AO and later at the FO imo. Wonder if she could pull off some upsets?

jane Says:

Mina, Safina cannot “complete a runner-up Grand Slam,” just to clarify; she’s never reached the final of the USO. She’s reached the FO final twice and the AO final once.

I think Sharapova’s shriek is annoying but don’t dislike her antics quite as much as you do. But I do agree with you that she has in her arsenal actually a fair bit of variety, which was on show in her domination of the AO in 2008 – perhaps especially in her match against Justine. I have often wondered if some of her less likable qualities are down to her father, a very strange man indeed. Anyhow, I hope Sharapova can do well here.

Pro-B it’s true that Stosur looked good on clay – esp. in her semi final against Kuz – but I am not sure how she’ll do on grass.

Mina Says:

Thanks for the clarification Jane re: Safina never reaching the USO final.

Sharapova did well this round 1 match to come back from being down in the first set. She took a couple of really nasty falls where she slipped and her knee folded under her awkwardly. Knee injuries can be nasty – it was scary watching that but she seems to be okay.

Mina Says:

That one female ESPN commentator – don’t know her name (not Mary Carillo, Mary Jo Fernandez or Pam Shriver) is horrible. She described a potential Sharapova-Serena match-up as the continuation of an epic rivalry? Does that lady even watch tennis?

jane Says:

Mina, LOL. I sometimes wonder that about tennis analysts myself (did the even watch the match based on what they’ve written!?) There’s no doubt Serena has a handle on that “epic rivalry”. I think their H2H is 6-2 or something in Serena’s favor.

Mina Says:

jane: haha. Yes, Serena has definitely been dominating that “epic rivalry”. At first, I thought I misheard and that the commentator was referring to Venus-Serena (that I would consider to be a good rivalry despite Serena having increased her margin of victory in the head-to-head against her sister), but she kept going on about Sharapova and how she could be meeting Serena in a later round. So, yeah, she just has no clue what she’s talking about. Brad Gilbert and Pat McEnroe didn’t even respond to it – they just ignored her.

Tennisfan Says:

Women’s tennis is in the worst shape I can remember. There are no consistent players … and any one of top 50 or 100 can beat virtually any other player on any given day. Bring back Henin and she’d clean the clock of any of those there today… and she was what … all of 5 feet+ tall and weighed maybe 130 pounds soaking wet. When will a true champion arise from the backwater that has become women’s tennis today?

Colin Says:

I think I said this on another thread, but as my friends would confirm, I’m prone to repeating myself.
The first day of Wimbledon brought an encouraging result for British fans, even though it was a loss. 15 year-old wildcard laura Robson lost, as expected, to Daniela Hantuchova, but she won the first set. Considering Daniela is not some faded veteran, but a 26 year-old who only just missed a seeding and was once highly ranked, I’m very pleased with Laura’s performance. She was nervous, but so was Daniela (that’s hardly news!).
Regarding Robson, there is an absurd amount of argument in the UK and Australia about her nationality. She was born in Australia, left at eighteen months, and arrived in England when she was about five so, by any sensible criterion, she’s a product of British tennis. A cynic might say that makes her prowess the more surprising. Ironically, the Aussies have high hopes of young Bernard Tomic, a Croation who migrated at the ripe old age of three and a half. This obsession with actual birthplace must seem ridiculous to Americans. Mature readers may remember the comedian Bob Hope, who was, surely, as American as could be, yet was in fact born in England. You are defined by your environment, upbringing and ultimately your own choice.

jane Says:

Tennisfan, I think most fans and pundits think that things are starting to look brighter on the WTA. John McEnroe noted as much in his BBC column today, and even though I don’t always agree with him, he seems right about this. There are some promising players on the rise; the Williams sisters and Sharapova, and Kuz, and Maresmo are experienced; and then there are some more inconsistent ones. But hopefully, it’s on its way back and in another year (or two) we’ll see a few champs emerge.

Top story: Russia Wraps Up Third Davis Cup Title, Sweeps Croatia Behind Medvedev, Rublev