My German boys get hosed by the refs. My US boys get hosed by the refs. My English boys decide to hose themselves. Then I sit down with the Wimby draws to cap off my day and, well, let's just say that I'm three deep into my sixer of Pacifico.
By now I assume that you've seen the draw, read what other more educated and insightful people have said about the draw, and are simply tuning in here to see me embarrass myself. Allow me to oblige:
There are a lot of interesting first round matches that could jumble the early rounds. But I think Serena/Masha in the fourth round is a pretty sure bet. Maria had a great run to the finals in Birmingham but it's really hard to pick her over Serena here. It's a damn shame. Maria is one who could have benefited from a good draw to get her into the semis. Not going to happen here.
Pretty lax draw for Sammy the Invisible Corgi. Then again, she lost this morning in the Eastbourne semis to Makarova, giving up dominant leads along the way. Sam's camp has been pretty public about her modest ambition here. She just wants to make the fourth round, which I can't see not happening. I have her slotted to play Aravane in the fourth round, a winnable match for her, but I have questions regarding her mental fitness for this tournament. All that said, based on my fandom, I have her slotted into the semis, beating Vika along the way.
Which brings me to the Belgian quarter, with Kim, Justine, Wicky, and Flips. JJ is in the bottom half of that quarter and she's got an easy walk to the quarters. I'm super bummed L-Rob got drawn against her in the first round, but so it goes.
Kim and Justine are slated to meet in the fourth round, but I'm not so sure. If Nads is healthy (which is a question mark) I can see her taking out Justine in the third round. Justine's chances will live and die with her serve. If she's left defending her serve game after game she's hosed. No matter what Carlos says, Wimbledon is the reason Justine came back. Full stop. She's not playing for the love of the game or the competition. She's playing to win this tournament. I still haven't been able to figure out Justine's psyche on this point, whether that pressure will lead to that extra level of competitive fire or a complete competitive freeze. I would argue that she totally choked against Sam in Paris and a lot of that has to do with the fact that she isn't 100% convinced in her game these days. All the tinkering has left her with some doubt and that doubt might be enough for Kim, JJ, or Venus to come out on top.
As for Venus, write her into the semis. Mono's having a good grass leadup and she's always a looker on grass (uh...not like that), but it's Venus at Wimbledon and this year she should be even more confident given her play over the last 6 months. And for the record, Ana will go down to Peer in the first round. I've already accepted this as fact. You should too.
My quarterfinalist picks: Serena, Aga (heh), Vika, Sam, Kim, JJ, Mono, Venus.
First Rounders To Watch (some on mute): Serena/Burrito, Chak/PetKo, Domi/Lucie, Masha/KBond, Sveta/Agkul, Kvitova/Sorana, Sam/Kaia, Justine/Sevastova, Wicky/Riske, Oudin/Flips, Robbie/JJ, Peer/Ana.
No doubt that of the top two seeds, Rafa's got the "Quarter of Death". There's no easing into this tournament. He's going to have to hit the ground running, probably playing big server/hitter after big server/hitter just to get to the semis. Here's who I have him playing after the first round: Blah --> Ernie --> Isner --> Sod. I honestly don't see him getting through all that and then beating Muzz. But I'm hoping he proves me wrong and at least gets to the semis, where I have him beating the Scottish Moose. But my heart will be rooting for Andy, even if it's not clear he'll make it to the semis either. Let's face it, it's hard to count on the guy for anything these days so I'll be holding my breath. He'll probably have Sam the Tank in the fourth round, an easily losable match, and then Fer or Jo in the quarters. C'mon, Tim!
As for Fed, write him into the semis unless you really think Feli or Berd is going to take him out. Yeah, that's what I thought.
Sentimental favorite A-Rod has a tough road through his half given his lack of match play leading up to the tournament. He's got Ramjet the Rookie, who likes the grass, in the first round, a Momo'd Llodra in the second, the always dogged PEHK in the third, and possibly Marin the fourth, only to have to go up against Nole/Lleyton in the quarters. Oh yeah, and then there's Fed looming in the semis. I don't think this is the year, Andy.
My quarterfinalist picks: Fed, Berd, Lleyton, A-Rod, Jo (I'm assuming he's fit, if not, Fer), Moose, Sod, Rafa.
First Rounders To Watch: Brown/Melzer, Dima/Schuettler, Kolya/Anderson, Nole/Rochus, Fish/ATomic, A-Rod/Ram, Fer/Fognini, Nico/Seppi, Chiuds/Dolgopolov, Tsonga/Kendrick, Sod/Ginepri.