WIMBLEDON, England—Mornin'. We're all sitting on your hands here, wondering how much—if any—tennis we'll see today. This is the only tournament on the tour where part of the daily media package is the weather report. It often occupies most of an entire printed page. La Condition Humaine? Pshaw. It's the meteorological conditions that really count around here. "We're keeping an eye on two developing areas of rain, once currently over Dorset/Wiltshire, and a further currently affecting west Devon/Cornwall. . . " The first of those is likely to reach here by noon, bringing "more organized spells of rain for up to two hours."
As you well know, we never did get through Manic Monday and those 16 quality fourth-round matches, but my WTA upset special (Angelique Kerber over Kim Clijsters) did materialize. We'll have to see how my Brian Baker over Philipp Kohlschreiber upset pick pans out today. They're first on, at 11:30. At the moment, the sun is shin—whoops—forget that.
So on we go to the women's quarterfinals:
Most intriguing match-up: Without a doubt, defending champ and No. 4 seed Petra Kvitova vs. No. 6 Serena Williams. Both women have struggled here, sometimes mightily, but when they're feeling it, either woman can basically blow anyone off the court. Although Kvitova is the higher seed, Serena is 2-0 against her.
Most nerve-wracking match-up: Agnieszka Radwanska vs. Maria Kirilenko, and I'm talking about their nerves, not ours. Believe it or not, Radwanska could end up No. 1 next Monday. She needs to go two rounds farther than Victoria Azarenka (meaning Azarenka must lose today no matter what else happens), but the No. 19 seed Kirilenko also is looking at an enormous opportunity. The upper half of the draw (the other two there are Kerber and Sabine Lisicki) will produce a first-time Grand Slam finalist, and every one of these girls must be thinking, "Could it be me?" Radwanska leads the head-to-head, 5-2.
Least predictable match-up: Lisicki (No. 15) vs. Kerber (No. 8) is a compelling pairing. Lisicki hits harder, Kerber moves better. Both women are German, and that adds an extra dimension of urgency and pressure to such meetings.
Most ominous match-up: Azarenka (No. 2) vs.Tamira Paszek, who's been scorching the grass since arriving in England with a grand total of two wins in 2012. She ripped through the draw in Eastbourne, knocking off Marion Bartoli and Kerber. Last year, Azarenka had the bad luck to run into a suddenly hot player at every major, which helps explain why she didn't win her first Grand Slam until this year. Paszek started her tournament with an upset of No. 7 Caroline Wozniacki, and has only gotten stronger and more confident since. I'm sticking with this one for my WTA upset special.