By Ros Satar
- Defending Champion: Serena Williams
- Will she equal Steffi Graf’s record of 22 Grand Slam titles?
LONDON, UK – Another Slam, another try for Serena Williams to equal the elusive record set by Steffi Graf of 22 Slams.
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Top Quarter – Serena Williams, Roberta Vinci
That combination of names evokes the moment where the goal of 22 went off the rails a touch. Vinci’s old-style tennis, with slicing and dicing pretty much derailed Williams at the end of last year, and while she has reached the finals of each tournament she has played this year, she has lost in three, winning just Rome.
Her path to the quarter-finals sees her potentially facing Britain’s Heather Watson once more in the third round, or perhaps more likely a second successive encounter with Kristina Mladenovic.
We would guess at a fourth round encounter with Sloane Stephens who has picked up three titles already this year but has not been on the grass yet.
At the other end of the bracket, Vinci could well be an early casualty – Alison Riske is a tricky opening for her and it could open up the draw for Coco Vandeweghe, who has impressed over the grass court season.
Second Quarter – Agnieszka Radwanska, Belinda Bencic
You have to feel for Bencic. She misses most of the clay court season with a back injury, retires hurt after a fall in Birmingham and her Eastbourne title defence ended in her opener against Elena Vesnina.
Unfortunately she is not really a great pick to make the quarter=-finals and perhaps it opened the door for Petra Kvitova, Barbora Strycova or Andrea Petkovic to mount a challenge.
Radwanska will need to get past Mallorca champion Caroline Garcia and potentially Eastbourne champion Dominika Cibulkova or maybe even Britain’s Johanna Konta, if she can have the same sort of spirited run here as she did in Australia.
Given that this is her best chance for a Slam, if this section opens up for her, she lines up for potentially a semi-final against Serena. That’s where things get tricky.
Third Quarter – Simona Halep, Angelique Kerber
A big question will be Halep’s fitness – she pulled out of Birmingham before the tournament and has a confident and in-form Kiki Bertens or Jelena Ostapenko looming in the third round – neither a particularly easy prospect if not in form herself.
With a strong Madison Keys also up potentially in the fourth round, Halep could well grind to a halt before the second week gets really going.
At the either end of the bracket, Karolina Pliskova comes in with some solid grass form, and Kerber will have her work cut out to try and shake off her own post-Slam hangover.
Fourth Quarter – Venus Williams, Garbiñe Muguruza
It will be worth seeing the other Williams flow once more on grass, and with Daria Kasatkina as her first seeded opposition, she should sail towards a potential fourth rounder with either a slightly more adaptable Jelena Jankovic or more likely Carla Suárez Navarro.
All eyes will, however, be on Muguruza – can she shake off the post-Slam slump that Kerber seemed to find herself in? She has a tricky opener against Camila Giorgi, who could cause the biggest upset of the tournament or kick her onto great things,
Lurking in this section is also former Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki and former semi-finalist Lucie Safarova – this will be no picnic for the latest Slam winner on the block, and last year’s runner up.
Wimbledon takes place between 27 June and 10 July.
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