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Wimbledon 2019 women’s draw preview and predictions: Serena Williams lurks in quarter of death with Barty, Kerber, Muguruza

Hannah Wilks in WTA Tour 28 Jun 2019
  • The official draw for the ladies' singles at Wimbledon 2019 has been released
  • We break down the draw and predict the semifinalists
Angelique Kerber (PA Sports)

Serena Williams, Kiki Bertens and Venus Williams are among the players we’re predicting to do well at Wimbledon 2019.

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The Wimbledon women’s draw for The Championships 2019 is out and already we can look forward to some superstar clashes with Serena Williams, top seed Ashleigh Barty and defending champion Angelique Kerber all drawn into the same ‘quarter of death’ alongside Maria Sharapova.

With injury concerns for two-time champion Petra Kvitova, opportunity knocks for Kiki Bertens in the second quarter, while Naomi Osaka looks at risk of an early defeat, opening up opportunity in the bottom half of the draw – does five-time champion Venus Williams have one more incredible Wimbledon run in her?

We’ve predicted the semifinalists, finalists and champion at Wimbledon 2019 – read on for our predictions and reasoning!

Top quarter

Projected quarterfinal: Ashleigh Barty (1) vs Angelique Kerber (5) (2-2)

Also in this quarter: Seven-time champion Serena Williams (11); 2017 winner Garbine Muguruza (26); 2004 champion Maria Sharapova; Belinda Bencic (13); Donna Vekic (22); Kaia Kanepi

First-round matches to watch: Vekic (22) vs ‘s-Hertogenbosch champion Alison Riske; Carla Suarez Navarro (30) vs Samantha Stosur

Talk about a quarter of death – and a baptism of fire for Ashleigh Barty as the 23-year-old Australian, newly crowned world no. 1, leads a Grand Slam draw as the top seed for the first time.
Barty comes into Wimbledon on a 12-match winning streak and her withdrawal from Eastbourne due to shoulder pain shouldn’t be too much of a cause for concern, but despite her undoubted prowess on grass – she is 32-9 on the surface since 2016 – she has never been beyond the third round at Wimbledon. If she is to better that result in 2019, she will have to go through either Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, who is not great on grass, or Alison van Uytvanck who is and ended Garbine Muguruza’s title defense last year in a stunning performance, and then likely beat Muguruza herself, just to make the last 16. 

Five-time champion Serena Williams (PA Sports)
Nottingham runner-up Donna Vekic, an extremely good grass-court player who has been having a good year and is due a big result, could be Barty’s fourth-round opponent, but Vekic has had no luck at all with drawing Alison Riske, an absolute grass-court specialist who beat Kiki Bertens in the ‘s-Hertogenbosch final, in a must-watch first round. Another in this mini-section pits 11th seed Belinda Bencic, who has twice made the last 16, against former quarterfinalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, with another former quarterfinalist, Kaia Kanepi, likely waiting in the second round. Vekic, Bencic and Kanepi could all pose a serious challenge for Barty if she gets this far.

Meanwhile, in the bottom section, all eyes will be on Serena Williams, despite the presence of defending champion Angelique Kerber. Seven-time champion Williams has not played since crashing out of the French Open at the hands of Sofia Kenin and, as has been the case since her return from maternity leave, fitness and injury are a concern – but Williams did suggest at Roland Garros that her knee problem was behind her, leaving lack of match practice her biggest issue, and that could bode well for her chances at Wimbledon where she can serve her way through most matches. 

Williams could meet the big-serving, left-handed Kristyna Pliskova in the second round and face a rematch of last year’s semifinal against Julia Goerges in the third, but honestly only Pliskova seems like a potential banana skin, and she would have to produce the performance of her life. 

For Kerber, in great form this week in a run to the Eastbourne final, things look fairly straightforward too; she opens against compatriot Tatjana Maria and could face Maria Sharapova, back from a shoulder injury, in the third, but Kerber trounced Sharapova when they met in Mallorca and should do so again if they meet at Wimbledon. I don’t think a Kerber-Williams fourth-round rematch of last year’s final can be avoided, and I rather like Williams’s chances to overturn the result and set up a quarterfinal clash with whoever comes out of the top section – perhaps Kanepi, Bencic or Barty.

Semifinalist: Williams (7/2 @ Ladbrokes to win this quarter)

Second quarter

Projected quarterfinal: Kiki Bertens (4) vs Petra Kvitova (6) (3-3)

Also in this quarter: Sloane Stephens (9); Johanna Konta (19); Amanda Anisimova (25); Eugenie Bouchard; Barbora Strycova

First-round matches to watch: Andrea Petkovic vs Monica Niculescu; Stephens (9) vs Timea Bacinszky, Kvitova (6) vs Ons Jabeur

Were it not for a recent twist (no pun intended) of fate, this quarter would be all about Petra Kvitova: Two-time Wimbledon champion who seemed, with her run to the final of the Australian Open, to have shaken off the Grand Slam jitters that have got in the way of her performing her best on these stages in recent years and playing some of the best tennis of her career in 2019.

But an arm injury took Kvitova out of the French Open and Wimbledon warm-ups, and her very participation is in doubt. If she is able to play Wimbledon, she comes in with no practice matches (and no matches at all since Rome). It’s not ideal for a player who is often overwhelmed by nerves on these courts.

Kiki Bertens (PA Sports)
Should she be fit, Kvitova faces a very tricky first-round opponent in Ons Jabeur, who got to the semifinals of Eastbourne this week playing some unplayably good tennis before having to pull out due to having turned her ankle. Should Jabeur be recovered, she’s very capable of upsetting Kvitova in the first round, and it doesn’t get better from there for the Czech, because she would be likely to face Kristina Mladenovic – showing signs of revived form now that she’s teamed up with Sascha Baijin – in the second round and Amanda Anisimova, the fearless 18-year-old who blasted her way to the semifinals of the French Open, in the third. 

No, I don’t think it’s going to be Kvitova’s year, again, and I like Anisimova’s chances of making the fourth round, where she should be set to meet ninth seed Sloane Stephens or 19th seed Johanna Konta. On balance, 2017 semifinalist Konta has a better draw than Stephens, who hasn’t made the quarterfinals at Wimbledon since 2013 and faces the very tricky Timea Bacsinszky, a super-classy player especially on natural surfaces, in the first round. So I could very much see a Konta-Bacsinszky third round, with the winner to face Anisimova for a place in the quarterfinals.

At the top of this section, Kiki Bertens has had decent preparation in ‘s-Hertogenbosch and Eastbourne, although she didn’t win either, and the Dutch player narrowly missed out on reaching the semifinals at Wimbledon last year. Opening against Mandy Minella with Barbora Strycova the most threatening player through the early rounds, Bertens has a great draw to the last 16 and maybe beyond, with Wang Qiang and Elise Mertens on unthreatening form. Honestly, this looks like Bertens’s draw to squander and her best opportunity to make a Wimbledon semifinal.

Semifinalist: Bertens (4/1 @ Ladbrokes to win this quarter)

Third quarter

Projected quarterfinal: Elina Svitolina (5) vs Karolina Pliskova (3) (3-5)

Also in this quarter: Anastasija Sevastova (12); Marketa Vondrousova (16); Anett Kontaveit (20); Su-Wei Hsieh (28); Jelena Ostapenko

First-round matches to watch: Su-Wei Hsieh (28) vs Ostapenko; Karolina Muchova vs Aleksandra Krunic; Kontaveit (20) vs Shelby Rogers

Karolina Pliskova (PA Sports)
Karolina Pliskova has been on absolutely sizzling form in Eastbourne this week, reaching the final without dropping a set, but the Czech’s Wimbledon results have always underwhelmed – it was only last year, at her seventh attempt, that she made it past the second round and then went down tamely to Bertens in the fourth. And the last time she came in off the back of an Eastbourne final appearance, she lost in the second round to Magdalena Rybarikova.

Still, potentially shocking though this might appear, I’m backing Pliskova for her best Wimbledon result yet this year. It’s been a very consistent season for the Czech, and she doesn’t have a bad draw; opening against Zhu Lin, she should be more than capable of taking out Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (despite the latter’s brilliant performance against Naomi Osaka in Paris) or Monica Puig. Su-Wei Hsieh in the third round has been the downfall of some top players in the past, including Simona Halep at the same stage last year; but it should be within Pliskova’s capabilities to serve her way past Hsieh and into the second week, assuming Hsieh has got past 2018 semifinalist Ostapenko in the first round.

French Open finalist Marketa Vondrousova has yet to get past the first round of Wimbledon, although the young Czech could be very dangerous on grass, but I could see her going out early to the maddening Madison Brengle in the first round or Karolina Muchova/Aleksandra Krunic in the second, opening up an opportunity for the winner of the powerhouse first-round clash between Shelby Rogers and Anett Kontaveit to make the round of 16 – but not to get past Pliskova.

In the top of this section, Elina Svitolina has gone 0-2 on grass in the past few weeks with the Ukrainian still struggling with a knee injury, so there’s a big question mark over her with potential second- and third-round opponents Margarita Gasparyan and Maria Sakkari very capable of taking her out if she’s still bothered by that knee. French Open quarterfinalist Petra Martic and Anastasija Sevastova look dangerous in the next section, although Sevastova’s poor record at Wimbledon is a puzzle: She’s 1-6 in main-draw matches despite having good results on grass in Mallorca in the past. With that said, I like Martic’s chances to come through to the quarterfinals. She’s made the fourth round at Wimbledon before, is having a fantastic season and played well in Birmingham in the run-up, reaching the semifinals. She’s also got a 4-1 record against Pliskova which could make their potential quarterfinal clash very interesting … 

Semifinalist: Martic (10/1 @ Ladbrokes to win this quarter)

Fourth quarter

Projected quarterfinal: Simona Halep (7) vs Naomi Osaka (2) (4-1)

Also in this quarter: Aryna Sabalenka (10); Caroline Wozniacki (14); Madison Keys (17); Caroline Garcia (23); five-time champion Venus Williams; Yulia Putintseva; Iga Swiatek; Dayana Yastremska; Victoria Azarenka; Magdalena Rybarikova

First-round matches to watch: Osaka (1) vs Putintseva; Halep (7) vs Aliaksandra Sasnovich; Alize Cornet vs Victoria Azarenka; Sabalenka (10) vs Rybarikova

A fascinating quarter bracketed by two great players and packed with unseeded and extremely dangerous players.

Second seed Osaka is in serious danger of an upset here as the grass-averse US and Australian Open champion must open against Yulia Putintseva, who beat her in easy straight sets in Birmingham. It would be no surprise at all if Putintseva repeated that victory and ousted Osaka in the opening round.

Simona Halep (PA Sports)
That would leave plenty of opportunity for other players in this eighth of the draw. Putintseva could find herself up against 18-year-old Iga Swiatek, last year’s Wimbledon junior champion and already ranked well inside the top 100 after reaching the fourth round of the Australian Open, with two other young players – Sofia Kenin, who ousted Serena Williams in Paris, and Dayana Yastremska, who at 19 already has three WTA titles to her name – possible third-round opponents. (Camila Giorgi, an excellent grass-court player, is also in this section but has only played one match since March due to injury.) Caroline Wozniacki is a potential fourth-rounder, but the Dane has rarely played her best at Wimbledon and hasn’t won a lot of matches in 2019 as she struggles for fitness, and it seems more likely that Nottingham champion Caroline Garcia could be the player to take advantage of Osaka’s probable early defeat and come through to the quarterfinals.

In the top section, Halep is a former Wimbledon semifinalist but faces a tough test in the first round against Aliaksandra Sasnovich, who loves a fast surface and ousted Petra Kvitova last year. Victoria Azarenka, if she can get past Alize Cornet in the first round, looks likely to await the Romanian in the third round with projected seeded opponent Daria Kasatkina out of form, but Halep’s biggest problem should be in the fourth round where there are a number of big names waiting. Tenth seed Aryna Sabalenka is struggling to back up her breakthrough 2018 season and faces the extremely dangerous-on-grass Magdalena Rybarikova, a Wimbledon semifinalist in 2017, in the first round; but Venus Williams, who opens against 15-year-old qualifier Cori Gauff, is a much more formidable and likely opponent. Williams could face Madison Keys in the third round – Keys is a player who has never got the Wimbledon results she seems suited for, but I like the winner of this all-American clash to come through to the semifinals.

Semifinalist: Venus Williams (14/1 @ Ladbrokes to win this quarter)

Semifinals: Serena Williams d. Bertens
Martic d. Venus Williams

Final: Serena Williams d. Martic (8/1 @ Ladbrokes to win the title)

Wimbledon tennis is live from the All-England Club from 1-14 July 2019

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Wimbledon 2019 women’s draw preview and predictions: Serena Williams lurks in quarter of death with Barty, Kerber, Muguruza

Breaking down the 2019 Wimbledon women’s draw and predicting the semifinalists – Naomi Osaka, Petra Kvitova among players at risk of an early exit while top quarter promises superstar clashes

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