After an almost stumble in the second round against unseeded Tsvetana Pironkova, No.1 Seed Maria Sharapova got back to her dominating ways with a straight set win over, also unseeded, Su-Wei Hsieh. Up next for Sharapova is No.15 Seed Sabine Lisicki, who bounced American teenager Sloane Stephens in three sets, and who made the Semis at Wimbledon last year.
Unfortunately for Lisicki, she is 0-3 versus Sharapova, and it was Sharapova who ended her Wimbledon run last year. Sharapova should make it through this one.
No.2 Seed Victoria Azarenka has made short work of each of her first three opponents, losing no more than six games in any round. Her next opponent, No.14 Ana Ivanovic, a former French Open Winner and World No.1, has the potential to provide Vika’s first test of the Championship.
Ivanovic has been retooling her game and has made strides over the past several months. A win or even a good match against Azarenka will signal her arrival back on the big stage. I have to go with Vika based upon recent results.
No.3 Agnieszka Radwanska hasn’t come close to dropping a set, but she hasn’t played anyone in the top 100. Her next opponent, Camila Giorgi, is the lowest ranked player she will have played thus far at No.145.
Chances are Aga will get past this round as well. Her next opponent will be the winner of the No.17 Maria Kirilenko versus No.30 Shuai Peng match.
Radwanska has beaten Kirilenko the last four times they’ve played, and has beaten Peng three of four times. However, the two have gone three sets each time, including a 9-7, third-set Radwanska win at Wimbledon in ’09. I’m guessing Aga would rather see Kirilenko in the Quarters.
No.4 Seed Petra Kvitova, the Defending Champion, has been picking up speed as she goes, losing just one game to Varvara Lepchenko in her third round match. Kvitova hasn’t played anyone of note thus far, but will face cagey veteran and former French Open Champion No.24 Seed Francesca Schiavone next.
Schiavone escaped a tough three-setter in the first round against British wildcard Laura Robson, but handled her subsequent two opponents with much less stress. Kvitova has won the last two times they’ve played in straight sets, and with her big game booming, chances are she will make it through to the Quarters.
No.6 Seed Serena Williams isn’t looking very comfortable on the grass, and if it weren’t for her tremendous serve and iron will, she might not have made it through match No.3 against No.25 Jie Zheng. Serena dropped the first set and had to outlast Zheng 9-7 in the third.
Up next for Serena is unseeded Yaroslava Shvedova, who ousted No.10 Seed Sara Errani in straight sets. Shvedova didn’t lose a point in the first set against Erani, and hasn’t lost a set in the event. Prior to this year, Shvedova had never been past the second round, and lost to Serena the only time they played. If it weren’t for the first round loss at the French, I would say Serena is a sure bet to advance, but…
With Sam Stosur (5), Caroline Wozniacki (7), and Marion Bartoli (9) gone, No.8 Angelique Kerber is the final seed in the top ten still alive. Kerber evicted one of the exciting young Americans, No.28 Seed Christina McHale, in straight sets to set up her next match with unseeded (ha, ha) Kim Clijsters.
Clijsters beat No.12 Seed Vera Zvonareva and is a good bet to upset Kerber as well. Neither Clijsters nor Kerber has dropped a set thus far. The two have never played, but Clijsters is a multiple-time Grand Slam Winner and has been to the Wimbledon Semis and Quarters multiple times, so I think she gets the nod in this one.
With the exception of Kerber's potential troubles, the Women’s Draw is shaping up nicely for the remaining top ten women’s seeds to make it to the Quarters. However, as we have seen, what looks good on paper doesn’t always play out on court. Hope you stay tuned for the drama. Game, set, match...T. A.