Fifth seed Samantha Stosur lost in the second round of Wimbledon on Day 3, becoming the highest-seeded WTA loser of the tournament so far. But judging from the previous 44 years, the upset fever should not infect the Top 4 seeds soon. Women’s Tennis Blog’s contributor Omair went through the history of Wimbledon and realized that in the entire Open Era only once did all the Top 4 seeds lose before the semifinals.
I was looking for something particular, but I ended up finding facts revealing that since the beginning of the Open Era it has happened only once that all the Top 4 Wimbledon seeds fell before the semifinal stage of the tournament. Surprising! Isn’t it? If you go to the ATP Tour, it has happened twice there.
WHICH YEAR WAS THE WEAKEST YEAR FOR THE TOP 4 SEEDS AT WIMBLEDON? 2008!
2008 – very recent past! Yes, the year Justine Henin retired for the first time, the year Ana Ivanovic won her first Grand Slam and the year Sharapova suffered from her shoulder injury.
Let’s have a look at the results of the Top 4 seeds at Wimbledon 2008. The Top 4 seeds were: Ana Ivanovic (1), Jelena Jankovic (2), Maria Sharapova (3) and Svetlana Kuznetsova (4).
Ivanovic got the top spot courtsey of her first (and to date only) Grand Slam, the French Open title, but she could not sustain the form that took her to the trophy. She won the routine first round at Wimbledon, but needed three sets to overcome Nathalie Dechy in the second round, where she saved match points in the second set before winning the match 6-7(2) 7-6(3) 10-8. The win over Dechy squeezed the energy out of Ivanovic and she went down meekly in her third-round encounter at the hands of Chinese wild card Zheng Jie. Ivanovic became the first top seed in nine years to fall before the quarterfinal stage of Wimbledon.
Jankovic was the second seed and a condenter for the No.1 ranking. She could have overtaken the No.1 spot, had she made the semifinals of Wimbledon 2008. Jankovic won her first two matches easily, but in the third round against Caroline Wozniacki, future No.1, she injured her knee. She went on to win the match in three sets, but went down in straight sets in the fourth round against Tamarine Tanasugarn.
Sharapova lost in the second round to then world No. 154 Alla Kudryavtseva. However, later in the year an MRI revealed that Sharapova had been suffering from rotator cuff tear since April that year.
Kuznetsova needed three sets to overcome the challenge put forth by Mathilde Johansson in the first round, however she won her next two matches in straight sets before running into Agnieszka Radwanska. Kuznetsova lost the first set 6-4, but rebounded to take the second set 6-1 and lead by a break in the third set, however, Radwanska fought back to outlast the last standing member of the Top 4 group, thus making it the first time in the Open Era that none of the Top 4 seeds made it to the semifinals of Wimbledon.
Will the Top 4 seeds this year – Maria Sharapova (1), Victoria Azarenka (2), Agnieszka Radwanska (3) and defending champion Petra Kvitova (4) – fall before the semifinals? Will this year add to the above list or will the Top 4 make it to the semifinals or better? What do you say?
Omair has started his own blog entitled Tennis Stat and you can visit it at http://tennisstat.blogspot.com/. He’ll mostly analyse the ATP Tour, but he also wrote an in-depth preview of the WTA Wimbledon draw. (photos: © Neal Trousdale, Tennis Buzz)