2016 Wimbledon Ladies’ Singles Preview
Niall Clarke, Tennis Atlantic
We have reached that stage of the season where 128 WTA players will compete for the most prestigious grass court title in the world, Wimbledon.
The Championships Wimbledon
Tier: Grand Slam
Location: Wimbledon, UK
Prize money: $19,174,575
Date: Jun 27th– Jul 10th
Top eight seeds (ranking)
- Serena Williams (1)
- Garbine Muguruza (2)
- Agnieszka Radwanska (3)
- Angelique Kerber (4)
- Simona Halep (5)
- Roberta Vinci (7)
- Belinda Bencic (8)
- Venus Williams (9)
The main absentee is Victoria Azarenka, who withdrew due to injury
First round matches to watch
(2) Garbine Muguruza vs Camila Giorgi: Fr a defending finalist, this is one of the more dangerous draws you could have asked for. Giorgi’s big hitting and aggressive game suits the grass well, not to mention that Muguruza has usually struggled more with big hitters than any other style.
There is also the added pressure of not only defending final points, but also being a grand slam champion. After winning their first major, players can often hit a lull period where they struggle to really find their game. Will Muguruza fall victim?
The Italian leads the head to head 2-1, but this is their first meeting on grass. What makes this match interesting is that you never know which Giorgi will show up. The one that makes tons of errors, or the one that can blast her way to victory?
(19) Dominika Cibulkova vs Mirjana Lucic-Baroni:
Cibulkova found form at just the right time in Eastbourne and will head into Wimbledon full of confidence.
Lucic-Baroni is always one of the dangerous unseeded players, especially here where she is a former semi finalist. Expect some good hitting from both players, and this match could boil down to the mental battle.
(4) Angelique Kerber vs (WC) Laura Robson:
Still trying to find her way back up the rankings, Robson has been drawn against the fourth seed, Kerber, in what will likely be a centre court showpiece.
The Brit is no stranger to getting the best of the German here. Five years a go at Wimbledon, Robson was able to topple Kerber in three sets. The Australian Open champion has made big strides since then and is now a grand slam champion. Can Robson find the form of 2011?
Chances are that Kerber wins, but this match has intrigue because it will give an indication of where Robson’s current level is at.
Serena Williams is back at SW19 to defend her title and seek number 22 and in the process tie Steffi Graf’s record. There are some dangerous players in her section, including Heather Watson who pushed Serena to her limits last year. They could meet in the second round. The first seeded player the world number one will face is talented Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic who has shown good form on the grass so far. Fellow American Sloane Stephens and Svetlana Kuznetsova are projected to meet in the third round, with the winner possibly facing Serena. The Russian though has drawn the unseeded Caroline Wozniacki in the first round. It is a fairly nice section for Williams, and one she should come through with little issues.
Roberta Vinci has not found her footing this year, but she enters Wimbledon as the sixth seed looking for form. Alison Riske may fancy her chances to push the Italian in round one, but her biggest test will likely come in the form of big serving CoCo Vandeweghe who loves playing on grass. Timea Bacsinszky may be the favourite to make it out this section then. Her path to the quarter finals is not an easy one with Monica Niculescu and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova possible opponents. Her biggest test before a possible Serena showdown will be Vandeweghe.
With the two slams this year going to maiden winners, Radwanska might feel this is her chance to step up to the plate (or dish if you will). Ana Konjuh could make for an interesting second round match, but Caroline Garcia, fresh off her Mallorca title run, will be the first big test for Radwanska. Cibulkova is another in form player that has landed in this section and has drawn Lucic-Baroni in a tough opener. Daria Gavrilova is possible for the second round and then it’s British number one Johanna Konta in the third. It’s a tough section with Monica Puig, Eugenie Bocuhard and Magdalena Rybarikova also in there.
If not for her injury, Belinda Bencic would have been a dark horse contender here, but her form is questionable. Tsvetana Pironkova will be a good indication of where the Swiss is at with her game. Bencic should have a fairly good path to the fourth round with Andrea Petkovic being the other seed, but from there things will get tricky. Petra Kvitova might be struggling, but she is a former two time champion here and is always dangerous. The Czech could have a lefty battle with Ekaterina Makarova in the second round and then meet her compatriot Barbora Strycova in the third. A Bencic vs Kvitova fourth round would be fireworks, but there’s plenty of players who can spoil the party.
The Australian Open champion has had some success at Wimbledon and on grass so she might fancy her chances at a deep run at SW19 again. Robson will open against Kerber in one of the highly anticipated first round encounters. Irina Begu is the projected third round opponent for the German, but the fourth could get interesting with Karolina Pliskova possibly waiting in the wings. The Czech has struggled for a grand slam breakthrough though and Yania Wickmayer is a tough opener. Ana Ivanovic is projected for the third round opponent for Pliskova.
Another player looking for her maiden slam is Halep. The Romanian has a fairly good draw to round four with Kiki Bertens being the toughest task in the third round. From there it will get difficult for Halep as she will meet the in form Maidson Keys in the fourth round. The American is many people’s dark horse here and she has the power to back up that claim. Kirsten Flipkens could be a tricky second round match, but her path towards Halep looks fairly comfortable.
Muguruza comes into Wimbledon as the Roland Garros champion which will no doubt add extra pressure on her shoulders. The Spaniard’s road to the final was full of defensive minded players, but this time her draw looks a whole lot different. Giorgi in the opening round is a tough one, then Lucie Safarova in the third is also a difficult player for Muguruza to overcome. This is a section with dangerous floaters too such as former finalist Sabine Lisicki, Julia Goerges and Yaroslava Shvedova. Sam Stosur and Elina Svitolina are the other seeds, but it would not be a shock to see them exit early.
Venus Williams was the biggest beneficiary of Azarenka’s withdrawal as she is now the eighth seed. The former world number one has a decent draw until the highly touted youngster Daria Kasatkina awaits in the third round. Carla Suarez Navarro will fancy her chances of making the last eight with a fairly soft draw. Jelena Jankovic is her projected third round draw with Margarita Gasparyan perhaps being the most dangerous unseeded player in her draw.
Serena def. Stephens
Vandeweghe def. Bacsinszky
Radwanska def. Cibulkova
Kvitova def. Bencic
Keys def. Halep
Kerber def. Pliskova
Suarez Navarro def. Venus
Safarova def. Lisicki
Serena def. Vandeweghe
Radwanska def. Kvitova
Keys def. Kerber
Safarova def. Suarez Navarro
Serena def. Radwanska
Keys def. Safarova
Serena def. Safarova