(1) Serena Williams vs. (16) Venus Williams
This could go any of 10 ways between on one end a knock-down big-hitter between the two powerhouses, or on the other end a chokefest between Venus who doesn’t want to ruin sister Serena’s shot at a Grand Slam, to Serena choking it while Venus is trying to hand it to her. Serena leads the head-to-head 14-11. Both have five Wimbledon titles to their credit. It is the first time two five-time champs will face each other.
Pick: Serena in three
(23) Victoria Azarenka vs. (30) Belinda Bencic
It is the young Swiss’ breakout year with a Wimbledon lead-up grasscourt title and the fourth round effort, but time for a reality check in the form of “Boooooooooooo!” Get ready for the Azarenka scream and a lesson in ball striking. Azarenka hasn’t dropped a set in the tournament, and the two-time semifinalist has more on the line than the doe-eyed Swiss teen.
Pick: Azarenka in three.
(4) Maria Sharapova vs. Zarina Diyas
Counterpunchers don’t fare that well against Maria at Wimbledon, and the 21-year-old Diyas doesn’t bring a lot of firepower. Maria will have to implode to lose this. Maria has really cut down on the unforced errors this year and upped the winners, which is bad news for the Kazakh. The Russian has also won their lone meeting on tour.
Pick: Maria in straights
(6) Lucie Safarova vs. Coco Vandeweghe
CoCo Puff will need to play out of her mind from the back court to win this one, even with the big serving. This is a first-time meeting, which favors the veteran Safarova. The Czech is fitter and wiser.
Pick: Safarova in straights
(5) Caroline Wozniacki vs. (20) Garbine Muguruza
Muguruza showed surprising firepower in knocking out Angie Kerber, who many picked as a darkhorse this year. The Spaniard is not real grass savvy, but power is the answer to lots of questions on the lawns. The Woz is playing well, but playing Woz-slack tennis, not really controlling the tempo but waiting for opponents to blow it. Muguruza leads their career meetings 2-1, and this looks like an upset.
Pick: Muguruza in three
(15) Timea Bacsinszky vs. Monica Niculescu
A tough one for the Swiss, who has been stymied throughout her career by the slice forehand and backhand of the unorthodox Niculescu. But this is a new year and a second-half career. She mowed through Sabine Lisicki easily in straights, and she should be able to keep her patience against Niculescu, who she trails 1-4 in their career meetings.
Pick: Bacsinszky in straights
(21) Madison Keys vs. (Q) Olga Govortsova
The great draw continues for the American, who has beaten Govortsova in their only career meeting. The 20-year-old won her first career title last year on grass, and has found her footing during week one at Wimbledon, powering through with Sampras-like strengths on the forehand and serve (and volley when the confidence allows).
Pick: Keys in straights
(13) Agnieszka Radwanska vs. (28) Jelena Jankovic
Radwanska is on an up note after a terrible first few months. Jankovic tamed the big game of the defending champ Kvitova, but this is a totally different opponent with the changes of pace and slice and angles. Aggie leads the career head-to-head 5-2. What does this add up to? An upset, I’m just feeling it.
Pick: Jankovic in straights
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