OK, you know I'm just playing. Before we continue, I am declaring this blog a Serena 2018-free zone for the next two weeks after this paragraph. ESPN made a documentary about last year's women's final. Like, last week. Guys. All of us had something to say about it in the moment (including me), but that was last year. And now, everyone's crying "rigged draw," presumably some sort of payback for last year? The last thing I'll say is the other reporting out of this situation suggested that Carlos Ramos will no longer be allowed to chair Serena's matches. This bothered me for a moment -- he called a code violation that later was on the up-and-up, so why is he being penalized? But then, it occurred to me that perhaps the person most excited about the prospect of never having to call a Serena Williams match again might be ... Carlos Ramos.
OK! Let's get into it!
Early Rounds to WatchSerena Williams v. Maria Sharapova: OK, Serena stans who think this draw is rigged. Who here thinks Maria Sharapova can beat Serena Williams? I wanna see hands. No hands. Exactly. I will be watching this of course because there's history here, and off-court drama but this will be a straightforward match and there's no previous recent history to suggest otherwise. If Serena's back is still a problem, y'all do know she'd quit before she went out and had to lose or retire to Sharapova, right?
Aryna Sabalenka v. Victoria Azarenka: Now here is a match that is a tough call. I like Sabalenka, but Azarenka is starting to play some good early-round tennis in recent tournaments. I think this will be the second-most entertaining first-round match we'll see, close behind
Garbine Muguruza v. Alison Riske: See, Serena stans? It could have been a LOT worse. Like, how the heck is Muguruza, in her current form, supposed to beat Alison Riske, who had a way better Wimbledon than most would have expected, and is probably feeling pretty good about herself?
Angelique Kerber v. Kristina Mladenovic: Kerber has also been shaky this summer. Good thing Mladenovic has been shaky for about a year and a half.
Who Are Our Quarterfinalists?
Why is Sabalenka in red? I kinda like this draw for her, even with Osaka in her quarter. I kinda think she could win the whole tournament. But it's crazy to think that because she does not have an easy draw. My spidey sense says that Sabalenka is waiting for people to stop tipping her for winning tournaments so she can play with less pressure again. But I could be wrong, so why not highlight a horrendous calculation for the world to see?
Man, Serena has a tough quarter down there at the bottom. There's Kerber, who has no problem beating Serena at a major and Ash Barty. Let's not forget Su-Wei Hseih -- that's a three-hour match right there.