By Ros Satar
- Heather Watson starts against Caroline Garcia
- Johanna Konta’s reward for strong runs at Nottingham, Birmingham and Eastbourne is a first round match-up against Maria Sharapova
- Naomi Brody meets Mariana Duque-Marino and Laura Robson starts against Evgeniya Rodina.
The British women face a tough start but potentially some winnable ones after the Wimbledon draw came out on Friday.
British No. 1 Heather Watson will lead the way against Caroline Garcia, a player that Andy Murray figured could be a world No. 1 some day. Ranked 33 in the world at the moment, Garcia is one of the many WTA Rising Stars, but her outings on grass had been a little hit and miss with a win and a loss in Birmingham, and the same in Eastbourne. She did however make it to the finals in the doubles, so is not to be discounted quite so easily.
Watson’s grass court season was curtailed with a continuing elbow injury that ruled her out of Nottingham and saw her fit in just one round of doubles and singles in Birmingham before winning just a couple of matches in Eastbourne.
But she is capable of beating some of the best on her day, and this could well be a winnable start for the Brit, who is in Serena Williams’ section of the quarter. Should she get past the Frenchwoman, she could face Dominika Cibulkova who made a triumphant come-back on the grass in Eastbourne after four months off the tour following an Achilles injury and surgery, where a third round against Williams could await.
Of course Williams is not infallible. She lost in the third round to Alize Cornet last year and the fourth round the year before, and she could well face another Williams in Venus who is headed for the fourth round on the surface and tournament where she once dominated, with Ana Ivanovic rounding out that quarter, and last year’s semi-finalist Lucie Safarova and fourth seed Maria Sharapova are set for quarter-final battle in the second quarter.
On the subject of Sharapova, she will kick off against the British No. 2 Johanna Konta. She was given wildcards to Nottingham, Birmingham, Eastbourne and Wimbledon. She reached the quarter-finals of in Nottingham and the second round of Birmingham before making the quarter-finals of her first Premier event in Eastbourne.
Also in that half is Naomi Broady, who potentially has a winnable start against Colombia’s Mariana Duque-Marino who is not known for her grass court credentials. Broady scored a good win over Ajla Tomljanovic in Birmingham and could well scalp Duque-Marino.
Meanwhile all the potential excitement surrounding a possible Genie Bouchard / Laura Robson clash fizzled out, as the Brit will face Evgeniya Rodina in her opener. The pair have both lost their only matches on grass this year, but with the exception of a run to the quarter-finals of Pattaya City, and a few good ITF runs, the Russian has struggled to put back to back wins together for the rest of the year. This could be winnable for Robson, but it is important she does not expect too much in just her second competitive match and on such a big stage.
Wimbledon starts on Monday 29 June, and you can follow all the matches live with our livescoring service: Live Scores