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.

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent