A big second week for Venus
American will make final, but fall short in bid to win fourth Wimbledon title
By Bud Collins
Updated: 2 hours, 36 minutes ago
LONDON - Wimbledon's second week will begin with a very busy Monday schedule due to the backlog created by a wet first Saturday when only two matches were completed.
Week 2 of the London fortnight will be busy at the start and surprising at the finish as it will end with two first-time champions of this grasscourt major.
and Rafael Nadal
are my picks to win the women's and men's singles title with Venus Williams
and Roger Federer
being on the losing end in the respective finals.
Gazing into my crystal ball let's look at how Wimbledon's second week will unfold.
The top-seeded Henin
, a Wimbledon finalist last year and also in 2006, and seventh-seeded Serena Williams
, a two-time Wimbledon champion (2003 and 2002), are in the same quarter in the top half of the draw. They are each a win away from meeting in the quarterfinals like they did earlier this year at the French Open when Serena did not look impressive in a straight-set loss to the Belgian.
Itís pretty safe to plan on Henin and Serena getting together again on grass. Henin's fourth-round opponent is 15th-seeded Patty Schnyder
, and she has handled the Swiss over the years winning seven of their eight encounters. The two have never met at Wimbledon or on grass. Schnyder's only victory over Henin was in 2006 on clay in Charleston.
Serena gets 10th-seeded Daniela Hantuchova
in the fourth-round, whom she has beaten in five of their six career meetings. One of those wins came at Wimbledon in straight sets in 2002. The only time the Slovakian has beaten the American was last year at the Australian Open.
It's easy to say Serena has an advantage over Henin on grass. Serena is one of the few players who is very comfortable on the lawns and she has won her only grasscourt challenge against the Belgian, a straight-set Wimbledon triumph in 2003. But Henin, who is best known for her clay-court supremacy (she has won three consecutive French Opens) more than holds her own on grass, and these days she is playing better than Serena. Henin wins her second straight Grand Slam match over Serena.
In the other quarter of the top half of the draw it's Jelena Jankovic
, one of the sensational young Serbs, who'll get to the semifinals. To do so the third seed will drop 18th-seeded Frenchwoman [b]Marion Bartoli[b] in the fourth-round, and then in the quarterfinals she'll do away with the winner of the tilt between American Laura Granville
and Dutchwoman Michaella Krajicek
. Granville upset ninth-seeded Martina Hingis
in the third round so she won't leave London without at least one shining memory.
As talented as Jankovic is she won't be able to knock out Henin in the semifinals. Jankovic is 0-6 against Henin and headed for 0-7. The best Belgium has to offer will get to her third Wimbledon final, and be in the title match for the second straight year.
In the bottom half of the draw don't discount defending champion Amelie Mauresmo
from the mix. However, sheís still not at her fittest following an appendectomy in March. The Frenchwoman is getting back on form, but from what she's shown at Wimbledon she's still not at 100 percent. Mauresmo is moving better, and movement is an important part of her game. As her first week at Wimbledon evolved she began to serve and volley more, but she's not yet back in top shape.
Mauresmo will get bounced in the quarterfinals by another sensational Serb Ana Ivanovic
. The sixth seed got her dose of nerves out of the way by making first major final at Roland Garros a few weeks ago where she fell to Henin. She'll now have a handle on her nerves and that will turn out to be bad news for Mauresmo.
Meeting up with Ivanovic in the semifinals will be Venus Williams
. When the rains came on the first Saturday Venus, who is seeded 23rd, had won the opening set (6-2) of her third-round test against Akiko Morigami
. But the unseeded Japanese player was leading 4-1 in the second set. When they resume on Monday expect Venus to get back on track and win the match.
Venus would then get 2004 Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova
in the fourth round. The Russian has taken three of their four career meetings, but has lost their only battle on grass at Wimbledon a couple of years ago. Round 2 between the two in London will also go to Venus, whom I like to win her quarterfinal match against any one of four possible opponents: Svetlana Kuznetsova
, Elena Dementieva
, Tamira Paszek
, or Agnieszka Radwanska
Venus is playing more aggressive tennis with each match at this major, and that has to be encouraging for her as she tries to duplicate the unexpected run she made to the Wimbledon title in 2005. Her other Wimbledon championships came in 2001 and 2000. She'll make it past Ivanovic, but lose in the final to Henin, my pick to win it all at the start of this major. Thereís been nothing Iíve seen from Henin during the first week here to make me come off of that pick as the Belgian is playing the best tennis on the womenís side.