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Tuesday, Apr 25th

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Five time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams crashes out in First Round

venus_williams_2In 1997, a 16-year old American named Venus Williams made her debut on the hallowed lawns of Wimbledon. The youngster crashed out in the first round that year, but came back the next 15 years to make 8 final appearances and lift the aptly named Venus Rosewater Dish 5 times. However, age catches up with every great Champion, and on the opening Monday of Wimbledon 2012, Venus made only her second exit in the very first round losing to young Elena Vesnina in two humbling sets 6-1, 6-3.

When you are struggling with health, fitness and form, the last court you want to play your first round match on is court 2 at Wimbledon, long fabled as the Graveyard of the Seeds. While Venus may not have been seeded this year, the court did gobble up yet another famous name as she was quite comfortably outplayed by her Russian opponent, who showed the value of being a good doubles player on the grass at Wimbledon, coming forward at will to close points early.


Djokovic eases past Ferrero to open Wimbledon title defence with a win

novak_djokovic2World no.1 Novak Djokovic got more than a useful workout in his opening match at Wimbledon as the defending champion cruised past former French Open champion Juan Carlos Ferrero in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 to book his place in the second round.

Having skipped all the pre-Wimbledon tune-up events, there was a slight concern about Novak's form and fitness after a disappointing conclusion to the clay court season where he went down rather tamely to Rafael Nadal in the final of the French Open. However, with his first serve working to near perfection, Djokovic was able to dig himself out of any holes he found himself in, and powered his way to a comfortable win.


Wimbledon Day 1 Women's Morning Wrap: Radwanska, Stosur, Li Na open with wins, Pennetta makes early exit

It was a good start to Wimbledon on Monday morning for most of the seeds as they rushed on and off the courts without needing to play a single three setter. Reigning US Open champion Samantha Stosur won the race to see who could finish their first round matches quickest, making short work of Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro. World no.3 Agnieszka Radwanska wasn't far behind, securing her passage comfortably into the second round. There were also wins for former French Open champion Li Na and last year's surprise semi-finalist here Sabine Lisicki, but a seed did make an early exit as the unlucky Italian Flavia Pennetta crashed out at the hands of compatriot Carmila Giorgi, who made it to main draw through the qualifiers.

World no.3 Agnieszka Radwanska kicked off the action on Court no.2, easing past an injury stricken Magdalena Rybarikova of Slovakia in straight sets, 6-3, 6-3. Radwanska though could face much sterner competition in the second round with 5-time Wimbledon champion Venus Williams drawn to face her in round 2 for the second straight Grand Slam. Radwanska eased past Venus at the same stage of the French Open last month, but Venus is likely to pose a much more potent threat on a court she has come to regard as her second home. Before that though Venus will need to squeeze past a competent player in Elena Vesnina of Russia. That match takes place later today.


Wimbledon 2012: Men's Draw Analysis

roger_federer3The triumvirate that headline men’s tennis Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer head into the Championship this year with their sights set firmly on hoisting the trophy. Also at stake in this process is the top spot in the ATP rankings that Djokovic seemed to have a stranglehold on since this very tournament last year. For Federer, there is the added incentive of not only equalling Pete Sampras’ 7 triumphs here but also potentially equalling his record of 286 weeks at the top of the ATP rankings. To do that he will need to win the championships, while also hoping Djokovic is eliminated by the semi-final. With the two are drawn to meet at this stage, the Swiss Maestro has a marvellous chance to do just that. But there are a host of contenders, dark horses and potential apple cart upsetters primed to spoil the fairytale scenario for either of the top 3. Andy Murray, Tsonga and Berdych have all been in contention in the past, while Raonic, Tomic, a resurgent Haas, Del Potro and Cilic will each look to make a name for himself this year. Lets then delve right into the draw to ascertain as best we can the prospects for the coming fortnight


Wimbledon 2012: Women's Draw Analysis

maria_1In the women’s draw, we will witness a resurgent champion who made herself a household name here, Sharapova, leading the challenge for the Venus Rosewater Dish. Standing in her path, hoping to trip her up are a formidable array of contenders headed by Azarenka, Kvitova & the irrepressible Serena Williams. The American despite her recent reversals remains on the slick grass. Another player who’s embraced the surface with her delightful all court game is Petra Kvitova who will look to defend the championship she won at Sharapova’s expense last year. With other contenders including 3rd seed Radwanska, 5 time champion Venus Williams, Stosur, Clijsters and Wozniacki all capable of gate crashing the party, the draw as usual is crucial to understanding what could transpire once things get going.


Djokovic, Sharapova top seeds at Wimbledon

novak_djokovic2The seedings of the third Grand Slam of the year, Wimbledon, were announced today and there were no real surprises as the All England Club expectedly stuck closely to the current world rankings, with very few deviations on the gentlemen's side and absolutely none in the ladies' section. Defending champion and world no.1, Novak Djokovic heads the pack on the men's side with his counterpart in the WTA rankings, Maria Sharapova, the winner of the 2012 French Open, getting the top billing in the ladies' section. With the role of injuries being reduced to a bare minimum, the only casualty on either side was the men's 15th seed, Gael Monfils.

Fate has strange ways of recreating history. This time last year it was the then world no.2, Novak Djokovic, who had inflicted two painful defeats on Rafael Nadal on his beloved clay and was enjoying an out-of-the-world season with his only loss in the year up to that point coming in the semis of the French Open. Fast forward one year, and it is the Spaniard, who deservedly got the second seed at this year's wimbledon, who had banished his demons and is enjoying a 3-match winning streak against Djokovic. Nadal, who lost just a single set while dispatching his competitor with consummate ease to bag his 7th Roland Garros crown, would be high in confidence as he aims for yet more Grand Slam glory. The Serbian, nevertheless, will not be disheartened as all the three loses have come on the Spaniard's beloved and Djokovic's least favorite surface, clay, and after having already won a Grand Slam this year beating his arch-nemesis in the process, he will believe that he has what it takes to win another.


Ashleigh Barty awarded Wimbledon main draw wildcard after Nottingham win

Sixteen-year-old Ashleigh Barty has been awarded a wildcard into the main draw of Wimbledon. The announcement comes after the Queenslander won the ITF $50,000 grasscourt tournament in Nottingham, Great Britain overnight.

The world No.317 posted a 6-1 6-1 victory over Germany's Tatjana Malek to claim her biggest career win to date and her third ITF title this year, after she won in Mildura and Sydney in February.


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