There is something wonderfully civilized about the middle Sunday of Wimbledon. Time to take stock of the first week, and breathe before the second. This year’s tournament has been especially eventful — so the break is much appreciated. Here are a few things that have given me pause this week:
1. Serena vs. the field
It wasn’t so long ago that Serena vs. the field is how most Grand Slam tournaments were viewed. As it turns out, after a massive slew of upsets, we are basically looking at Serena vs. the field now. She’s been helped by a good draw, and is further helped by the losses of many of the higher seeded players. Karolina Pliskova — surely, now the best active WTA player without a Slam — lurks in her half of the draw, and anyone who saw their US Open semifinal two years ago knows that Pliskova can really take charge of that matchup if things go her way. That said, Serena is loathe to lose to the same player more than once, especially a player who notched a loss on such a big stage. So, I’m still picking Serena over the field.
2. Youth is Served?
The top half of the women’s draw is a refreshing mix of wily veterans, like Su-Wei Hseih and Dominika Cibulkova, and youthful upstarts like Daria Kasatkina and Jelena Ostapenko. I’d love to see Kasatkina and Ostapenko face off — Dasha has a 2-1 edge, but Ostapenko won their only meeting on grass. It’s worth noting that Belinda Bencic and Donna Vekic are also in the mix — and, despite being familiar faces on the tour, at 21 and 22, respectively, are certainly part of the youth brigade.
3. Rafa, Delpo and Novak, Oh My
There’s stacked draws, and then there’s the bottom half of the men’s draw at this year’s Wimbledon. Despite some early losses by the younger seeded players (Zverev, Kyrgios, Dimitrov), three Slam winners circle each other for that place in the final. Rafa has looked extremely sharp in his first three rounds — better than he’s looked in years, though that’s what we’ve said in other years where he’s then lost. Delpo is also looking sharp — one has to think that with his game, he can certainly give anyone a run for their money on grass, after all he won an Olympic medal here in 2012. And, Novak — well, he had his trials against Kyle Edmund and a biased crowd, but he’s shown more resolve than we have seen from him in recent play, so it all adds up to a very exciting second week in that part of the draw.
4. As for the other half…
Roger Federer has had an eventful Wimbledon so far — debuting his Uniqlo wear (newsflash: it’s plain, it’s Uniqlo), the broadcast of his day of adventure with Bear Grylls (watch this for the giggling and corny jokes alone), and he played a few tennis matches. He’s looked quite sharp in the early rounds, but the competition can only get stronger — eventually. He’ll have to have his return game ready, as Milos Raonic, Kevin Anderson and John Isner are potential matchups if he wants to make the final.
5. Sunday Morning
Perhaps the most eagerly awaited match up this week isn’t on the court, per se, but between the men’s final and the World Cup final, particularly if England gets past Croatia to make the World Cup Final. My money says that some member of the royal family will be forced to come. Maybe Sophie. We know it won’t be William — he’s actually writing his own tweets about the football. There’s just no way. Do they have odds on that in England?