It's that time again - le predictions de Jodi, Wimbledon edition. Let's start with the ladies.
Serena's quarter: This quarter isn't terrible for Serena, but it's not great either. Normally I'd expect her to come through it without any problems at all, but I'm just a little concerned about her level of injury at the moment. Still, if the girl is going to get to quarters and very-nearly-almost of Roland Garros (which is what she did last year, when she won Wimbledon...)
The biggest name lurking in this section has to be Maria Sharapova. She's not doing too badly - she made a final last week - but she could be doing better (she should have won that final.) She could meet Serena in the round of sixteen, and wouldn't that be a screamathon (even more so if Michelle Larcher de Brito got through - all of SW19 is going to be able to hear Serena's first round encounter with the young screamer.)
Winner: Serena. You'd be a fool to bet against her.
If not her, then: Maria Sharapova. No shocks there.
Dark horses: Na Li. I'm never counting this lady out. And also, randomly, Dominika Cibulkova. I heard she's working with Zeljko Krajan now, and maybe that'll give her a little sumthin' sumthin'.
First round encounters to watch: Serena/Screamer, Cibulkova/Safarova and Keothavong/Rodionova.
Caro's quarter: This is a much better draw for Sam Stosur than she had at Roland Garros, and consequently, I don't expect her to go as far. She places best as the underdog, when there's no pressure on her, and I don't think it would be unfair to call her favourite for this quarter, as Caro doesn't seem to be in much form.
One to watch out for, however, is Caro's teen queen frenemy, Vika Azarenka. She's hit a nice patch of form right at the right time - however, I'm not sure if playing a final the Saturday before Wimbledon will help or hinder her. Jury's out there. And is it a fluke? Who knows.
Oh, and miss gold lame dress herself is in this quarter (though presumably wearing a different dress.) What can she make happen here?
Winner: Vika Azarenka. I just have a feeling.
If not her, then: Sam Stosur. I don't expect it, but it'd be nice if it happened. Or maybe Pavlyuchenkova - I like her game a lot.
Dark horses: I like the look of Alexandra Dulgheru, but I'm not quite sure what she can do on grass. Oh, and maybe Rezai.
First round matches to watch: Pavlyuchenkova/Benesova, Cirstea/Kvitova and Stosur/Kanepi.
Jankovic's quarter: They might as well have just named this quarter the Belgian quarter, as all three of the big Belgian contenders (and Kirsten Flipkens) are in here. Surprise! they're all major chances in my book. I love Kimmie's game on grass - and if she can beat someone in 38 minutes (even though she lost the next round) I appreciate it. JuJu definitely has the drive. And I just really like Yanina Wickmayer.
As to JJ herself - I don't know if she's really recovered from the mental beatdown Stosur put on her at Roland Garros. But I am ready to be proved wrong.
Also watch out for Nadia Petrova. You never know what she can do.
Winner: Kim Clijsters. I like her game on grass the best of all the Belgians - oops, I mean, everyone.
If not her, then: Justine Henin. You know she wants this one.
Dark horses: Yanina Wickmayer. Belgian surprise! And also Nadia Petrova. And Jankovic - can I call her a dark horse in a quarter she's seeded to win?
First round matches to watch: Jankovic/Robson, Oudin/Flipkens and Kirikenko/Voegele.
Venus's quarter: Not only do we have Venus 'I care only about Wimbledon and nothing else' Williams in this quarter, but the recently crowned Roland Garros champ Francesca Schiavone, proof that anything can happen (and frequently does). That said, I'm not expecting lightning to strike twice for Frankie, but definitely keep an eye out for her - I think she'll play out her seeding, if nothing else.
It's hard to pick against Venus at Wimbledon, even though she's been so pathologically underwhelming for a while now. This quarter isn't too bad for her, because the major headcases of the game - Ivanovic and Safina - are in there, and should Venus meet them, I don't expect she'd have too much trouble dispensing with either one.
Do watch out, however, for Yaroslava Shvedova. She's been playing some good ball lately.
Winner: Venus. Not betting against her in her backyard. She wants revenge against Serena for last year.
If not her, then: Frankie. Don't think it'll happen, but who's going to count her out now?
Dark horses: Shvedova, as noted above. And also Marion Bartoli - we know she's gone deep here before, maybe she can do it again. And maybe even Safina, now that the pressure's off a little and no one's really talking about her.
First round matches to watch: Peer/Ivanovic, Mirza/Kerber and Safina/Groenefeld.
This leaves us with the following semi final match ups:
Serena vs Vika
Kimmie vs Venus
I bet you think I'm going to pick the Williams sisters, don't you? It's been the all-Williams show for a wowzand years now. But guess what? My finals pick is...
Vika vs Kimmie
That's right, not even one Williams in the final in the Jodi draw. Neither have been playing well enough for me to merit picking them. (That said, neither is Vika, but she is totally due a win over Serena). And I have a feeling.
And the winner is...
Probably not the safest bet, but I have a really good feeling about Kim Clijsters in this tournament - a holding up the trophy feeling. And it's always a feelgood victory when Kimmie wins.
What do you think?
1 month ago