Grand Slam predictions for 2012

This is the first of a series of blog entries previewing the 2012 tennis season, which is fast approaching πŸ™‚ To start with, I thought I would have a go at predicting the finalists of next years Grand Slams! I am probably going to embarrass myself, but I thought it would be nice to look back at the end of 2012 and see how successful (or woeful) I am…
Australian Open 
WTA – Serena Williams d. Victoria Azarenka
ATP – Novak Djokovic d. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
The first major is always the most difficult one to predict with just two weeks of tournaments to judge everyone’s performance level.  In the women’s tournament, I’m going for a Serena victory in Australia… I think she will be fighting fit and ready to put the US Open final loss behind her.  I fancy Serena to defeat Kvitova in a blockbuster Quarter or Semi.  Azarenka is my pick for the finalist; it is a surprise she has yet to reach a Grand Slam final but I think after a strong showing in Istanbul, she is ready to push on and start 2012 in good form.
I am finding the men’s tournament extremely difficult to predict! I have gone for Djokovic to win although I have some doubt as to how he will start the season considering his disappointing end to 2011.  I am confident that Tsonga is going to push on in 2012 and he is my pick to reach his second Grand Slam final.  Although Federer showed some impressive form at the end of the 2011 tennis season, I think he will go out in the Semi-Finals. 
Djokovic will win his third consecutive Grand Slam title according to my predictions!
French Open 
WTA – Sam Stosur d. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
ATP – Rafael Nadal d. Juan Martin Del Potro
                    
In the last two years, the French Open has been terribly unpredictable, which explains my prediction for 2012! Stosur was disappointing on the red clay last year but I anticipate that her US Open win will give her the confidence to go much further this year and take the title.  I am going for Pavlyuchenkova to be the other finalist… admittedly I am slightly biast on this one because I am big fan but I really think if she has worked hard on her game over the winter, she is going to have a great year!  I think she would have won the French Open last year if it hadn’t been for a mental collapse against Schiavone in the Quarters. 
For the mens, I cannot look past Rafael Nadal claiming another French Open title.  Last year he was well below his best, but was still head and shoulders above the rest.  He has also produced some devastating form on the clay in the Davis Cup throughout the latter part of 2011.  I think  Del Potro will continue to improve in 2012 and will be Nadal’s opponent in the final… i’m predicting that Del Potro will produce an epic performance to beat one of the top guns in the Semi Finals!
I believe Stosur will have a fantastic clay court season culminating in victory at Roland Garros
Wimbledon 
WTA – Petra Kvitova d. Serena Williams
ATP – Roger Federer d. Novak Djokovic
Kvitova is hands down, my tip for Wimbledon.  She has been incredible on the grass for the last two years reaching the Semis in 2010 (losing to the eventual champion Serena) and winning it this year.  However, two years on from that loss to Serena, Kvitova is a much stronger and more experienced player and I think that she will beat Serena in the final this time round, in what will be the final to remember from 2012.  Serena is once again, a prediction for the final as I believe she will be much stronger going into Wimbledon compared to last year.
In the mens, i’m going for Roger Federer to claim his first Grand Slam title since the 2010 Australian Open.  I think that Federer will be really fired up for Wimbledon in 2012 following consecutive disappointing losses in the Quarter Finals to Berdych and Tsonga in 2010 and 2011 respectively.  Djokovic will once again be a force to be reckoned with on the grass and is my prediction to be the finalist… however this will be a magic two weeks for Roger (I think!!).
My prediction is for Roger to claim his 7th Wimbledon title
US Open 
WTA – Victoria Azarenka d. Andrea Petkovic
ATP – Andy Murray d. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
The most likely new name to win a major in 2012 for me is Victoria Azarenka.  The hard courts suit her game well and I think after another consistent season and a better draw than last year (she met Serena in the third round), she will flourish at Flushing Meadows.  I also believe Petkovic will make her first Grand Slam Final at the US Open… she had a terrifically consistent end to the 2011 season and if she can keep that knee fit, she is going to have another stellar season.
I have also gone for a new Grand Slam champion in the mens with Andy Murray.  As I mentioned earlier, I am very unsure of how the mens game will shape out in 2012.  I cannot see Djokovic being as consistent as last year and despite victory on the clay, I anticipate Nadal to have poor results on the hard courts.  I think that Murray will  finally produce a winning performance over Rafael Nadal in a Grand Slam after losing to him in 3 of the 4 slams last year, all at the semi-final stage.  Tsonga will also finish the year on a high, but like Murray will find himself stuggling to produce his best tennis in a Grand Slam Final.
Azarenka showed signs in 2011 that she has the game and mental toughness to win a Grand Slam
So there are my predictions… perhaps slightly misguided and led more by my heart rather than my head, but we shall see how they shape up over the course of next year πŸ˜‰
NEXT – My predicted top 10 season ending rankings in 2012 for the WTA… who do I think is going to rise and who is going to fall next year? Stay tuned!

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