Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon 2014 Files: Holy mackerel! Bouchard-Petkovic and Lisicki-Ivanovic will be cracking matches at an interesting time for women’s game

This is not a tournament that favours safety-first – look how well Lisicki does here

It’s show time. There is a treat in store in the women’s draw, a couple of real-life crackers to keep you on the edge of your seats and they will show up plenty that is good about the women’s game.

We have four very different players on show for you. Eugenie Bouchard, the young Canadian, one of a crop of girls who are threatening the established order, taking on Andrea Petkovic, the steady-eddy from Germany, and then it’s wham-bam Sabine Lisicki against Ana Ivanovic, the ice-cool Serb. Wow.

The women’s game is going through an interesting time. At the top is still Serena Williams and on her day there is still nobody to match her sheer power. Below her, Maria Sharapova can still go toe-to-toe with anybody and then there are the likes of Li Na and Agnieszka Radwanska, the consistent types who have earned their places up the rankings and are good across a range of surfaces.

Now here come Bouchard and the new breed. I think Madison Keys is the pick of these guys (holy mackerel, if I could pick one woman and one man to coach right now then it would be Keys and Grigor Dimitrov) but Bouchard has real talent, and the ability to become a force on all surfaces.

She and Petkovic both made it through to the semi-finals at the French Open so have form on their side but they are contrasting players. Petkovic, who is six years older than Bouchard, is a baseliner. At 26 her game is established, she stands back and plays, plays a little safe actually, and this is not a tournament that favours safety first – look how well Lisicki does here and that is one girl whose idea of a safety shot is to swing and fire at will.

Bouchard, a former junior champion here, is a remarkably cool, calm and collected tennis player for a 20-year-old. I like the look of her and she is certainly fun to watch. She has the game, so what she needs is to have the mental strength to go out there and play on the big stage. She did that in Paris and took Maria Sharapova to three sets so it does look as if she has all the tools, mental and physical. Petkovic lost to Simona Halep in Paris but clay is her preferred surface and I think Bouchard will have enough to beat her on grass.

The contrast between Lisicki and Ivanovic will be even greater. The key here is for Ivanovic to try and keep Lisicki on the court. The longer the rallies the more likely it is that Lisicki will make a mistake and one of those smashing forehands will go long or wide. It is crucial for Sabine that her serve holds up, she gets that first serve firing and so wins points quickly – bang, bang, move on. Sometimes Lisicki’s game can disintegrate and if that happens, there go her chances. But boy, oh boy, does she love this place, the surface, the crowds, just everything about it – and I am absolutely on her side there, this is one special place.

She is comfortable on the grass and it suits her style, but if I had one wish for Sabine, who we know so well at the academy, it is just for her to learn to be at times a little more defensive with her offensive shots. Sure, go for it, but play the game, play the situation, play the point. You can’t hit a home run every shot, Sabine.

Having said that, she is darn good to watch on the tennis court and we are in for a shoot-out of an afternoon. Enjoy it, guys.

Before I finish, I just want to say a word about a women who is no longer out there. I’ve spent some time this week up in the BBC commentary box with Marion Bartoli: what a fighter she was out on that court, and she is one hell of a nice guy.

It’s a tricky time making the switch from being a player to an ex-player and she is making a good go of it. It’s been a pleasure to spend time with her.

Saturday’s big game: Petkovic v Bouchard

Andrea Petkovic/Eugenie Bouchard

German Nationality Canadian

26 Age 20

Darmstadt Residence Montreal

5ft 11in Height 5ft 10in

Right-handed Plays Right-handed

20 World ranking 13

3 Career titles 1

$3.74m Prize-money $1.74m

6-5 Wimbledon record 4-1

Third round (2011) Wimbledon best Third round (2013)

Won 3 Lost 0 Head-to-head Won 0 Lost 3

Bolly’s prediction Bouchard in three

Coaching report: The slippery slope here is a real snake in the grass

Listen guys, grass is a dangerous surface. Bang, down went Lleyton Hewitt on Court Two. Kapow, down went Novak Djokovic on Centre. Two of the best movers in the game with fantastic balance and they both hit the dirt. This is a tough surface, one slip can mean the end of your Wimbledon.

Both guys were OK but this is what adds an extra dimension on grass, one wrong turn and it’s on to the slippery slope. That’s why you don’t count your chickens at Wimbledon, not until the last ball is hit.

Djokovic played well today because that was a decent test for the guy. Gilles Simon is a better player, and better server, than many give him credit for and he stretched Djokovic over those first two sets. But you don’t beat Djokovic from the baseline. Nobody beats him from the baseline. He is so damn good from there and he has legs made of rubber – he gets back to everything.

There are some pretty good young players emerging in the women’s game and young is exactly what Ana Konjuh is. The Croatian gave Caroline Wozniacki a darn good run-out. But she is only 16 and once Wozniacki had got to grips with her – and it took her getting all her weapons out and using all of her experience as well – there was only going to be one winner.

I like Konjuh, like her one hell of a lot. What she needs now is time. Just leave her be for a couple of years and then come back and have a look. She needs to mature physically and mentally and if she does then she has the game to be one hell of a player, a real force on the women’s tour and at the Slams as well.

BUY WIMBLEDON TICKETS

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future