By Ros Satar
- Top Seeds: Serena Williams, Angelique Kerber, Garbiñe Muguruza, Agnieszka Radwanska
- Defending Champion: Serena Williams
- CLICK our featured players for stats from TennisAbstract
RIO DE JANERIO, BRAZIL – Serena Williams targets back to back titles as she looks to build on her Wimbledon win this summer.
Top Quarter – Serena Williams, Roberta Vinci
We have to wonder, now that Williams the younger has got over that ‘22’ hump, whether the titles will come rolling in much as they did after she reached the seemingly magical 18. She certainly has to start here as the favourite but with the other two Slam champions looking to make their mark it is not a foregone conclusion.
She actually has a tricky start with Daria Gavrilova making her debut at the Olympics, and she ought to face 15th seed Elina Svitolina in the third round. Britain’s Heather Watson could make it there for a Williams rematch, but it would be tough to see anyone in that bracket beat Serena before then.
At the other end of the bracket tour veteran Vinci looks to be on a collision course with Petra Kvitova in the third round, assuming the Czech can get past Babos, currently in the Florianopolis final.
Of course we all remember what happened the last time Williams met Vinci, but lightning is unlikely to strike twice.
Second Quarter – Garbiñe Muguruza, Venus Williams
Because of the way the seedings are done in the Olympic event, players from the same countries are drawn either in separate halves or in the case of the US, separate quarters. So a potential semi-final foe for the defending champion may well be sister Venus, who has been on a bit of a hard court tear this summer.
She is likely to face Timea Bacsinszky who got the better of her this year for the first time in their three meetings at Roland Garros.
At the top of the bracket French Open champion Muguruza will try and get over her disappointing Wimbledon where the 2015 finalist crashed out in the second round.
She has not taken to a court yet since the grass but the prospect of being active in all three events could spur her on in her Olympic debut. She may face Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the third round and enjoys a confident lead over her in their head to head and should advance to the quarter-finals.
Third Quarter- Madison Keys, Agnieszka Radwanska
Another American on the rise is Keys – she started her summer with a run to the Montreal final, and stands a great chance of a good run here. She could face a tricky battle in the second round, having only just got a win back over Kristina Mladenovic last year in Beijing.
Radwanska will want to put her first round exit at the London Olympics behind her and on her third attempt will surely expect to go beyond the second round. If she can make it to the third round, she will happy with her winning record over Barbora Strycova.
She should certainly expect to make it to the quarter-finals and she has a 5-1 lead over Keys in their head to head, but the American might be ready to upset the later odds.
Bottom Quarter – Angelique Kerber, Svetlana Kuznetsova
Having proved her Australian Open title was no fluke, backing that up with a run to the Wimbledon final, could Kerber become the first German since Steffi Graf to win gold? Kerber’s summer did not start well post-Wimbledon, with an elbow injury that caused her to pull out of Bastad but she seemed to pick up form to make the Montreal semi-final.
Her second round potentially pits he against either Genie Bouchard or Sloane Stephens – both are tricky and have had the measure of the German in recent matches. If she can make to a potential third round clash with Samantha Stosur, she may be able to breathe a bit easier.
Kuznetsova returns for her third Olympics and should easily eye up at least a third round clash with Britain’s 10th seed Johanna Konta. The Brit is making her Olympic debut, and has been in good form this summer and must surely fancy her chances to maybe oust the eighth seed should they meet.
The Olympic Tennis event takes place between 6-14 August.
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