2021 Wimbledon Women’s Draw Preview and Analysis

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Photo Ray Giubilo

For the third Wimbledon running, it feels like Serena Williams last chance to win her 24th slam and finally equal the long-standing record of Margaret Court. It doesn’t feel like she has that invincible aura and remains hugely vulnerable against any tough opponent but can never be written off – especially at Wimbledon having made the last two finals. The second of those was won convincingly by Simona Halep, who is unable to defend her 2019 title after a late withdrawal.

World No.1 Ashleigh Barty remains amongst the favourites for the title but her Wimbledon record is not what you’d expect, especially given she was a fairly handy grass court player even before her major improvements over the past two years. She should at least match her career best fourth round but may have to tough it out against a resurgent Johanna Konta, who was victorious in Nottingham last week. Carla Suarez Navarro and Kiki Bertens will play their last Wimbledons while Barbara Krejickova plays her first slam as a slam champion herself after her Roland Garros title. The Czech’s sudden rise is shown by the fact her first Wimbledon main draw match will come as a champion and 14th seed.

Bianca Andreescu has to be seen as one of the most vulnerable top 8 seeds in the tournament in a draw littered with troublesome opponents. She will seek to avenge her Berlin loss against Alize Cornet but even the likes of Jelena Ostapenko and Darya Kasatkina in round three should fancy their chances against a player who is nowhere near hitting the heights of her initial rise. Anett Kontaveit also beat the Canadian on her way to the Eastbourne final while the last of the seeds – Victoria Azarenka – was in questionable form before withdrawing from Bad Homburg.

Elina Svitolina made the first slam semi final of her career back at Wimbledon 2019 and despite following it up with another in New York, things have not gone too well for her in the biggest events since. Losses to Nadia Podoroska, Jessica Pegula and Barbora Krejcikova have to sting for the Ukranian, who will be kicking herself that she failed to make a semi final in her last three slams. She still has to be considered the favourite to make the quarter final from this section but cannot be done so with a high level of confidence. This will be Paula Badosa‘s first Wimbledon as a solid top 50 player and it will be interesting to see how it goes while Karolina Muchova and Camila Giorgi have to be seen as players who will hope to take out Svitolina should they meet her in round four. Muchova lost in the quarters to Svitolina but has continued to improve since then.

Serena Williams plays her first match since the French Open, where she lost to Elena Rybakina. You can’t imagine there are many more Wimbledon’s for her, especially given she would be 40 at next year’s event. The early stages shouldn’t be too much trouble for her but a rising Ana Konjuh or Angelique Kerber may be able to wrongfoot the American in round three. Kerber is back in form again and will come into Wimbledon with at least a Bad Homburg final. Plenty will be hoping for a Serena-Coco Gauff final but it would still take some going for both players to be in the fourth round. The 17 year-old is showing that her early runs were far from flukes and a win over Belinda Bencic early on would once again show that she is a serious contender.

The bottom half of the draw begins with two Czechs who have been underwhelming at slams for a good while for the most part and especially at Wimbledon. Both Petra Kvitova and Karolina Pliskova have been disappointing despite the fact their games should suit the courts at SW19. Pliskova has never made it past the fourth round while the same stage is Kvitova’s best performance since winning her second one here in 2014. While you’d expect the pair to make it to their fourth round projected meeting, it would not be a shock if one or neither made it there. Alison Riske has always been a tough out on grass and could match her 2019 quarter final if she is fully fit.

Should either of the Czech’s advance, they should be confident of whoever is up in the quarter finals if in good enough form. Elise Mertens remains a tricky customer but has thrown in a few more suspect losses when she was usually a dependable customer against lower ranked players. Madison Keys excellence and issues were shown up once more again in Berlin, picking up a stunning win against Aryna Sabalenka before losing to Ludmilla Samsanova in the next round. Sofia Kenin will look to make it past the second round for the first time in her career but she has been struggling for form and has not played a match on grass this year. The likes of Veronika Kudemertova and Danielle Collins will be hoping to take advance if the American struggles again.

Iga Swiatek looked like the favourite to defend her French Open title earlier in the month but fell at the quarter final stage to Maria Sakkari. Despite that, she should still be considered as one of the more likely players to win the title here. The Girls champions have had a bit more success than their male counterparts but Swiatek has played just 1 match at Wimbledon in her career so far, losing her opener in 2019. She did finally win her first main draw match on grass in Eastbourne this week but the following 6-4 0-6 1-6 loss to Darya Kasatkina is going to raise some questions. It could just be a matter of experience though as the Pole is more than well equipped to perform well on grass. 2017 champion Garbine Muguruza looks the most logical option otherwise to advance here given her power game on the grass but Ons Jabeur is not one to be written off. She finally won her first WTA Title this month, beating Kasatkina in the Birmingham final.

Aryna Sabalenka finds herself as the second seed after the withdrawals of Naomi Osaka and Simona Halep. However, there will be a lot of pressure on the Belarussian who has still yet to make the quarter final in any slam. There is no doubt at her best Sabalenka’s power tennis is near unstoppable but as with many similar, keeping it up over 7 matches remains incredibly difficult. She could in theory open with three straight qualifier opponents but Ekaterina Alexandrova should be her opponent in the last 32. Elena Rybakina and Maria Sakkari wrap up the seeds in the draw. Rybakina is yet to win a match at Wimbledon but a Eastbourne semi final should set her up nicely. Meanwhile, Sakkari will hope to build on her French Open semi final with another deep run here.

Prediction – Ashleigh Barty defeats Garbine Muguruza in the final

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