Wimbledon 2018 – Women’s Singles Preview

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Key Stats 1968-2017

All 50 Open Era winners have been seeded for the tournament, whilst 40 of these have been ranked in the top four.

13 of the last 18 winners since 2000 have been in the top eight seeds, with the exceptions being; Sharapova (13th), V. Williams (14th, 23rd), Bartoli (15th) and Muguruza (14th).

16 of the last 18 have reached at least the 3rd round of Roland Garros, only exceptions being Venus Williams (2001) and Serena Williams (2012).

Player Seed Pre-Tournament Result Wimbledon Best 2018 French Open
Simona Halep 1 DNP SF (2014) Win
Caroline Wozniacki 2 Final(Eastbourne) 4th Round (2009-11, ’14-15, ’17) 4th Round
Garbine Muguruza 3 2nd Round (Birmingham) Win (2017) SF
Sloane Stephens 4 DNP QF (2013) RU
Elina Svitolina 5 QF (Birmingham) 4th Round (2017) 3rd Round
Caroline Garcia 6 QF (Mallorca) 4th Round (2017) 4th Round
Karolina Pliskova 7 QF (Eastbourne) 2nd (2013-17) 3rd Round
Petra Kvitova 8 3rd Round (Eastbourne) Win (2014, ’11) 3rd Round
Aryna Sabalenka No Seed Final(Eastborune) 2nd Round (2017) 1st Round

Quarter 1

Simona Halep has earned her 1st seeding through her tremendous clay court season, winning 17 of her 20 matches this year and claiming her first Grand Slam title. She has avoided playing a pre-tournament following her tasking Roland Garros run and should be alright with the unseeded Kurumi Nara in her opener to get her going. The other strong seeds in this top-half of the 1st quarter include Elise Mertens and the British number one Johanna Konta, who has a tricky first match against Natalia Vikhlyantseva who favours the grass surface, but the home crowd should help her through that especially with a recent Nottingham final run under her belt.

The bottom-half of this quarter is by the far the more competitive, with Jelena Ostapenko, Maria Sharapova and the tournament favourite Petra Kvitova. Kvitova is rightly the pick of the bunch given she’s won 12 of her 13 grass court matches since the start of last year and pulling out of Eastbourne last week was more precautionary rather than necessary as the main focus is SW19. Sharapova can’t be ignored either, reaching the quarters of the French Open and finally finding some form, while Jelena Ostapenko must get a mention although she failed to make a mark at Roland Garros, a tournament that she won the previous year and she doesn’t look to be in the same kin d of form.


Quarter 2

The reigning champion Garbine Muguruza looks to have a fairly challenging draw. She made it to the semi-finals of the French Open and although she lost in the second round in straight sets at Birmingham, that won’t faze her too much. Another form player on grass in this top-half of the second quarter is Ashleigh Barty, who won the Nottingham Open and reached the quarters of Eastbourne Open, but having never got past the first round here it’s hard to get behind her. A mention must go to a former finalist Eugenie Bouchard who made it through qualifying but she’s woefully inconsistent these days, while Muguruza’s biggest threat in this top-half will be Daria Kasatkina who made it to the quarters at the French and recently made it to the same stage of Eastbourne, putting her in good stead and rising up to ninth in the WTA Race Rankings.

The players to take note of in the bottom-half of quarter two are Angelique Kerber, Naomi Osaka, Carla Sauraz Navarro and Caroline Garcia. Kerber is probably our favourite of these picks, reaching the fourth round and the final in each of her last two efforts at the All England Club, but she has struggled for consistency this season and will have to get past a former finalist Vera Zvonareva in her opening match. Osaka is another to take note of, reaching the semis at Nottingham, while she’s consistent at the Slams; making at least the third round in each of the last four. Finally, Garcia has found some form and with a respectable fourth round exit in the French to Kerber, she will have her chance to exact here revenge at the same stage if they both get through.


Quarter 3

The seventh seed Karolina Pliskova has never made it past the second round at the All England Club but she shouldn’t have any problems this time round. A potential meeting with Eastbourne finalist Aryna Sabalenka in the third round is more worrying, having just lost to her in the quarter final of the Nature Valley International. Sabalenka out muscled her with her powerful forehand there and if she can overcome Mihaela Buzarnescu in her opener than her route to the last-16 doesn’t look too treacherous. However, Buzarnescu has won seven of her last 10 grass court matches, reaching the quarter final, semi final and third round of Nottingham, Birmingham and Eastbourne respectively and lies in 16th in the WTA Race rankings. Other big players in the top-half of this quarter include Kiki Bertens and Venus Williams, with the latter always dangerous on this surface having got the final 12 months ago and she seeks her sixth title. In fact, she’s won 14 of her last 17 Wimbledon appearances in the singles, only losing to her sister, Kerber and Muguruza, but her current form is a worry, lying at 37th in the WTA Race compared to her actual seeding of ninth.

The bottom-half of this quarter has Julia Gorges who has been in fairly good form but she’s always struggled at Wimbledon and her biggest danger will undoubtedly be Barbora Strycova. The Czech is a former quarter-finalist and has shown some form on the grass this year, making the semi-finals at Birmingham and third round of Eastbourne. The section also has the formidable Sloane Stephens in, who should’ve won the French Open and she seems to save her best for the Grand Slams. However, she’s yet to better her quarter-final of 2013 here and faces a potential banana skin in her opener with Donna Vekic and any defeat in the first week for the American would really open this quarter of the draw up.


Quarter 4

The top half of this final quarter should be decided between Elina Svitolina, Serena Williams, Magdalena Rybarikova and Madison Keys. Svitolna has been one of the best players on the Women’s tour so far this season but a potential third round encounter with Serena Williams could hamper her chances this year, whilst she’s never excelled on grass. It’s hard to get behind Serena Williams given her price lack of tennis over the last 12 months. Rybarikova got hammered 6-1 in her first set before retiring in the second at Eastbourne recently, so we think Keys has the est chance of prevailing from this part of the draw. the American had a fantastic run on her least favourite surface at Roland Garros and her game is much better suited to grass.

The bottom-half of this quarter will see a potential matchup between Coco Vandeweghe and Anastasija Sevastova as the latter finished runner-up in Mallorca as well as the third round of Eastbourne and will be very competitive on grass. Vandeweghe’s style makes her most dangerous on grass and she’s gat to the second week in each of the last three years, including two quarter-finals. The interesting seeding in this bottom section is Agnieszka Radwanska who has gone from strength to strength since returning from injury and she is feared at her most favoured surface. The Pole has a likely meeting with Caroline Wozniacki in the third round who is having her best ever season having broken her Slam duck in Australia.


Overall

The powerhouse that is Petra Kvitova should have too much for the rest of this quarter. She is by far the best grass court player and even a potential Sharapova or Ostapenko match up in the last-16 (with Simona Halep in the quarters) shouldn’t be much trouble for her, particularly as neither challenger look to be in the form of their life. Similarly, the French Open winner hasn’t fully prepared for this tournament and no woman, other than Serena, has won back-to-back slams since 2011.

Garbine Muguruza will have competition from Kontaveit, Barty and Kasatkina, with the latter in very good form, but given the composition of the quarter as a whole, it doesn’t look like a betting prospect for us.

This third quarter looks the weakest with the top two seeds Karolina Pliskova and Sloane Stephens vulnerable on this surface. At a massive price, we’ll side with the in form Aryna Sabalenka to prevail.

The draw has fallen kindly for Serena but she can’t be backed with her lack of tennis. Caroline Wozniacki is playing the best tennis of her career and after getting the Slam monkey off her back , she can make a strong bid for the title and at a juicy price.


Betting Strategy

 BACK – Petra Kvitova to Win at 5.75

 BACK – Aryna Sabalenka to Win 3rd Quarter at 23

 BACK – Caroline Wozniaki E/W at 21.0


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