2017 turning into a Wimbledon for the ages

Despite all the predictions of doom and gloom for the men’s top seeds ahead of Wimbledon last week the first six days have passed relatively smoothly.

That is unless your name is Stan Wawrinka.

The three-time grand slam winner was the only notable casualty of the first week of action as Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic overcame their recent poor form to slip into the second week without any problems.

In fact, Murray was the only member of the big four (let’s not forget veterans Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer) to drop a set so far as a record number of 30-somethings made it past the weekend.

Both Djokovic and Federer were in superb form on Saturday as they dispatched respective opponents Ernests Gulbis and Mischa Zverev with relative ease.

Tomas Berdych, Kevin Anderson and Gilles Muller make a total seven players aged 30 and over in the last 16, the most since the Open era began 49 years ago.

With such a stat, tennis fans could be forgiven for raising questions about the quality of the younger players on tour these days, although Milos Raonic, Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev are around to help assuage those fears.

Whether the young guns can progress to the business end of next week though, is the big question as the form so far seems to indicate we could be seeing a Murray-Nadal, Federer-Djokovic semi-final line up.

It will be up to Raonic, Zverev and co to upset the apple cart if we are not to be talking once again this time next week about the renaissance of the golden generation of men’s tennis.

The women’s draw has seen a similar upturn in fortunes in week one for players who had been struggling, as the stars of last year on the tour Angelique Kerber and Garbine Muguruza shook off their poor recent form to advance relatively trouble free to the last 16.

The problem for these two, however, is that they meet in their next match meaning one of them will be going home, while the other will miss out on the chance to make hay in one of the most open grand slam draws in years.

Kerber, in particular, showed enough grit and fight in beating the big-hitting Shelby Rogers on Saturday to suggest that her recent troubles may be over and she may be able to add a third grand slam to her collection.

Muguruza, though, will be no pushover as she showed in a simple straight sets win over Sorana Cirstea of Romania.

With both the bookmakers’ favourites, Petra Kvitova and Karolina Pliskova, ousted in the first week, several players including Caroline Wozniacki, Agnieszka Radwanska and home favourite Johanna Konta could be forgiven for dreaming of lifting a debut grand slam trophy on Saturday.

Venus Williams is another player in with a shout after an impressive first week.

Such is the form of the more experienced players on tour this year that a Venus win is not beyond the realms of possibility.

And should Venus and either Roger or Rafa lift the trophies come next weekend then the 2017 tournament would truly go down in history as a Wimbledon for the ages.

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