Busted Racquet

Wimbledon 2012: women’s preview

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Busted Racquet previews the women's draw at Wimbledon 2012.

• Maria Sharapova received a nice reward for winning the French Open: Her half of the draw doesn't include longtime-nemesis Serena Williams or last year's vanquisher Petra Kvitova. The French Open champion could face a tough test in Tsvetana Pironkova in the second round, but it would be smooth sailing after that. Sabine Lisicki has struggled with injuries, Angelique Kerber has struggled on grass and Vera Zvonareva has struggled with tennis in general. Masha is looking to become only the second woman since Steffi Graf to win the Paris-London double.

• The lucky winner of the "who gets to play Kim Clijsters in the first round" sweepstakes: No. 24 seed Jelena Jankovic. They'll play in another all-Grand Slam winner first rounder (like Novak Djokovic and Juan Carlos Ferrero on the men's side). Clijsters withdrew from a Friday semifinal with an injury, but it was thought to be more of a precaution.

• Unseeded Elena Vesnina drew Venus Williams, so that's not as much bad luck as it is a bad draw. The bad luck in this circumstance is reserved for Agnieszka Radwanksa, who could face Venus in the second round.

[Men's preview: Roger Federer will regain the No. 1 ranking with a win]

• After her first-round loss at the French Open to Virginie Razzano, Serena Williams doesn't get the benefit of the doubt on "easy draws." If she doesn't slip up early, Serena would face defending champion Petra Kvitova in the quarterfinals.

• Victoria Azarenka. Remember her? Former No. 1, Australian Open champion, makes as much noise as the Chunnel? She's the No. 2 seed on the bottom of the draw and is poised to make a repeat semifinal run at the All England Club. Then again, if women's tennis has proved anything over the past three years it's that the easiest draws are sometimes the most treacherous.

Best first-round match: Jankovic (24) vs. Clijsters

Most likely upset candidate: (All -- but if we have to choose: Sam Stosur)

Dark horse: (All -- but ... Julia Goerges)

Best possible quarterfinal: Kvitova (4) vs. Williams (5)

Semifinal predictions: Maria Sharapova vs. Venus Williams; Serena Williams vs. Victoria Azarenka -- Even though that seems way too chalky, I'll keep predicting Williams dominance at Wimbledon until both retire.

Finals prediction: Serena Williams over Maria Sharapova -- The dream quarterfinal from Paris becomes the dream final at the All England Club. That four-week stretch after the French Open loss should have provided Serena with enough time and the proper motivation to get ready to make another run at Wimbledon. If you're counting at home, that's a prediction of Federer and Serena. Like a broken clock, those picks will be correct at some point.

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