The final weekend of Wimbledon is upon us, which means that it’s time to pick our favorites in the men’s and women’s semifinal matches. Bracket-busting upsets have paved the way for new faces in both fields, making this year’s tournament one of the most exciting yet.
(5) Maria Sharapova vs. Sabine Lisicki
It’s difficult not to choose Sharapova in this matchup. Throughout the tournament, her serve has been blazing fast, her ground strokes strong, and her net play deadly. All together, it will be too much for Lisicki to handle. Sharapova in straights.
(4) Victoria Azarenka vs. (8) Petra Kvitova
If you haven’t heard of either of these players, you’re not alone. Azarenka is a young, up-and-coming star who reached the quarterfinals of the French Open a few weeks ago. Kvitova is another newcomer who has now been to the semifinals at the All England Club in two consecutive years. Kvitova has had an easy draw so far, but she’ll run into fierce compeititor — and an even fiercer forehand — when she faces Azarenka. This will be a close one, but Azarenka should win in three.
(12) Jo-Wilfried Tsonga vs. (2) Novak Djokovic
Tsonga will be singing after his five-set takedown of Roger Federer in the quarterfinals. Djokovic also had to work hard, needing four sets to dispatch breakout star Bernard Tomic. The story of this match will be power, as both players have plenty to spare. What Tsonga does not have is experience: the Frenchman has been past the fourth round of a Slam only once before. Djokovic will take advantage of any nerves Tsonga might have and charge into the finals in four sets.
(1) Rafael Nadal vs. (4) Andy Murray
Once again, the hopes of a nation rest on Andy Murray’s shoulders. The Scotsman is in his third consecutive semifinal at Wimbledon, and he’s hoping that this is the year that he makes it to Championship Sunday. Though Murray is playing some of his best tennis right now, Nadal’s 11-4 head-to-head advantage will give the Spaniard a mental edge; the fact that Nadal defeated Murray in straight sets in last year’s semifinals — and was broken only once during that match — makes it even harder to pick against the world number one. Nadal in four.
If these four players are the last ones standing come Friday night, I like Sharapova to knock off Azarenka on the women’s side and Nadal to overcome Djokovic on the men’s.