07/02/2012 07:39 am ET

Wimbledon 2012: Women's Fourth-Round Previews, Picks

By Richard Pagliaro,

All 16 remaining women will play fourth-round matches on Monday. Let's get right to it:

(1) Maria Sharapova vs. (15) Sabine Lisicki

—Head to Head: Sharapova leads 3-0

Sharapova swept Lisicki in the 2011 Wimbledon semis, then beat her in three sets at this year's Australian Open. Lisicki owns a heavy serve, can play aggressively, and she’s successfully bounced back from a four-match losing streak after spraining her ankle in Charleston. Sharapova—who has won 21 of her last 22 matches—showed her fighting spirit in her win over 2010 semifinalist Tsvetana Pironkova, saving five set points in the first set. If the top seed can take care of her serve (she committed 10 doubles vs. Pironkova), she has more firepower and should prevail.

The Pick: Sharapova in three sets

(8) Angelique Kerber vs. Kim Clijsters

—Head to Head: Never played

The left-handed Kerber enters this match with a WTA-best 43 wins on the season, including a 15-3 mark in her last 18 matches, and is playing for her third quarterfinal in her last four majors. The key question here: Is Clijsters’ quality enough to overcome the consistency of the in-form German? Clijsters hits a heavier ball, can take the ball earlier, and transitions well from baseline to net. If she’s striking the ball cleanly, we like her chances.

The Pick: Clijsters in three sets

(3) Agnieszka Radwanska vs. Camila Giorgi

—Head to Head: Never played

The 145th-ranked Italian qualifier is the Cinderella story of the tournament. Giorgi, who had never won a major main-draw match before this fortnight, has scored six consecutive straight-sets wins, including upsets of seeds Flavia Pennetta and Nadia Petrova. Grass is Radwanska’s favorite surface; the two-time quarterfinalist has permitted just 11 games to reach the third round. Her all-court acumen, timing, and experience make her the pick.

The Pick: Radwanska in two sets

(17) Maria Kirilenko vs. (30) Peng Shuai

—Head to Head: Tied 1-1

Contrasting styles pits Peng’s two-handed flat strokes against Kirilenko’s ability to mix it up. If Peng, contesting her second straight fourth-rounder at SW19, can play the match on her terms, she should advance. Kirilenko defused another flat hitter, Sorana Cirstea, in the third round, and hasn't lost a set. We’ll favor the Russian’s versatility over the Peng’s superior power.

The Pick: Kirilenko in three sets

(6) Serena Williams vs. Yaroslava Shvedova

—Head to Head: Williams leads 1-0

Shvedova delivered the first golden set by a woman in Open era history, hitting 35 winners in a 6-0, 6-4 win over French Open finalist Sara Errani. If the 2010 Wimbledon and U.S. Open doubles champion can reproduce that level of play, she has a shot to surprise Serena. Williams smacked a career-high 23 aces to survive a tough test with Zheng Jie, and will probably spend much of her practice working on her returns after breaking just three times in three sets. We picked Serena to win her fifth Wimbledon, and though she’s looked tight at times and is struggling to find her return game, we’ll stick with her.

The Pick: Williams in two sets

(4) Petra Kvitova vs. (24) Francesca Schiavone

—Head to Head: Kvitova leads 2-1

In a clash of Grand Slam champions, 2010 Roland Garros winner Schiavone will try to use her variety, net skills, and slice backhand to take the pace away and keep the ball low to force the six-foot Kvitova to bend. The reigning champion ripped her returns in a 6-1, 6-0 third-round thrashing of Varvara Lepchenko, her most commanding performance here thus far. Schiavone is a supreme fighter, but Kvitova has too much power and too much game for the gritty 32-year-old veteran.

The Pick: Kvitova in two sets

(21) Roberta Vinci vs. Tamira Paszek

—Head to Head: Paszek leads 1-0

The 29-year-old Vinci can attack behind her slice backhand—she won 23 of 28 trips to net in the second round—and will need to alter the spins and move forward in the court to disrupt the rhythm of the more powerful Paszek. The 37th-ranked Austrian is riding an eight-match winning streak—which includes winning the Eastbourne tune-up—appears empowered with each win, is playing with plenty of positive emotion, and her flat strokes play well on grass, making her the pick to reach her second straight SW19 quarterfinal.

The Pick: Paszek in two sets

(2) Victoria Azarenka vs. (14) Ana Ivanovic

—Head to Head: Tied 2-2

A match of former top-ranked Grand Slam champions favors Azarenka, who has broken serve 16 times in three straight-sets wins. Azarenka is one of the top returners in tennis, has gotten the best of Ivanovic in backhand exchanges in the past, and will have the edge in longer rallies. Bidding to reach her first major quarterfinal since she won the 2008 French Open, Ivanovic must play boldly, attack with her forehand, and maintain her sometime shaky nerve to have a shot at the upset. What’s Manic Monday without a grand gamble? We’ll take a shot with Ana.

The Pick: Ivanovic in three sets