2018 Wimbledon WTA: Main Draw Preview

Time passes so quickly in tennis world… just three weeks after the French Open wrapped up, Wimbledon, the third Grand Slam of the year is starting in a couple of days’ time and has released the draw for the women’s singles tournament. As expected, there are a ton of exciting match-ups and intriguing sections in the draw which I will be going through in this main draw preview. Continue reading on…

Main Draw PDF link here

Player profiles

First quarter – Projected QF: [1] Halep vs [8] Kvitova

[1] Simona Halep (No.1)

Image result for halep wimbledon 2017 zimbio

Player overview: Halep has been presented with a decent draw as she faces Kurumi Nara in the first round for her first match on grass in 2018. After winning her maiden Grand Slam title at the French Open, the Romanian had to withdraw from Eastbourne with achilles tendon pain and thus, she is coming into Wimbledon with no competitive matches on the grass. While Halep’s most comfortable surface isn’t the grass, Halep is a former semifinalist back in 2014 and has reached the quarterfinals here a couple of times. I feel that Halep plays more aggressively when she plays on the green stuff and after lifting that Grand Slam title off her back, she could stand a chance at the Venus Rosewater Dish this year.

Draw projections: 1R: Nara

2R: Zheng Saisai or Wang Qiang

3R: [30] Pavlyuchenkova or Hsieh

4R: [15] Mertens or [22] Konta

Tournaments played during grass swing: Did not play

Last year’s Wimbledon performance: Quarterfinal, i. Johanna Konta

Wimbledon record: 16-8 (2014 SF)

[8] Petra Kvitova (No.8)

Image result for kvitova eastbourne 2018 wta

Player overview: Kvitova is the favourite for Wimbledon for so many people – the Czech defended her title in Birmingham last week, beating Konta, Gavrilova, Goerges, Buzarnescu and Rybarikova enroute to the championship. It wasn’t easy at all but Kvitova made light work of her opponents, using her grass court credentials to power past them. Just like Halep, Kvitova has a good draw early doors as Sasnovich or Townsend don’t have the power to give her some difficulties. Her fourth rounder could be interesting though – she is seeded to face Jelena Ostapenko, but Maria Sharapova or former Wimbledon semifinalist Kirsten Flipkens could be capable of ousting the seeds. At her best though, Kvitova is capable of beating anyone and this year she’s pretty much been in unbeatable mode.

Draw projections: 1R: Sasnovich

2R: Parmentier or Townsend

3R: [26] Daria Gavrilova

4R: [12] Ostapenko or [24] Sharapova or Flipkens

Tournaments played during grass swing:

Birmingham, Champion (d. Rybarikova)

Eastbourne, 3R (w/o)

Last year’s Wimbledon performance: Second round, i. Madison Brengle

Wimbledon record: 30-8 (2011, 2014 champion)

[12] Jelena Ostapenko (No.12)

Image result for ostapenko eastbourne 2018

Player overview: Ostapenko is in danger once again of slipping down the rankings as she prepares to defend quarterfinalist points after a great run in Wimbledon last year. After a horrible French Open campaign where she fell to Evgeniya Rodina in the first round, the defending champion was even awarded the wooden spoon for the tournament. After a peak error performance against Agnieszka Radwanska in Eastbourne, Ostapenko’s form is looking very worrying at the moment and she doesn’t have a good Wimbledon draw at all. She could play the slice and dice Kirsten Flipkens in the second round – Flipkens’ grass court prowess and lethal backhand slice could drive the Latvian crazy, and let’s not mention that Maria Sharapova and Petra Kvitova could be her next opponents. I think Ostapenko could be in for an early exit at Wimby.

Draw projections: 1R: [WC] Katy Dunne

2R: Flipkens or Watson

3R: [24] Sharapova

4R: [8] Kvitova or [26] Gavrilova

Tournaments played during grass swing:

Eastbourne, QF (i. Radwanska)

Last year’s Wimbledon performanceQuarterfinal, i. Venus Williams

Wimbledon record: 5-3 (2017 QF)

[15] Elise Mertens (No.15)

Image result for mertens eastbourne 2018

Player overview: Mertens has played a ton of matches this month and I have no idea why she just keeps on playing and playing? You can see from the picture above that she has a ton of strapping on her shoulder – having played singles and doubles for five weeks in a row, I can see why that’s happening. Mertens’ favourite surface is listed to be grass but having watched her matches on grass, she can be very vulnerable when she’s playing a big hitter that can blow her off court. Lottner in ‘s-Hertogenbosch and Sabalenka in Eastbourne is a huge example of that. And unfortunately for her, her first round opponent is someone who can do that – Danielle Collins. Collins though isn’t too comfortable on the grass, but Johanna Konta or Natalia Vikhlyantseva in the third round definitely is. Don’t see her progressing too far in Wimby…

Draw projections: 1R: Collins

2R: Vondrousova or Vickery

3R: [22] Konta or Vikhlyantseva

4R: [1] Halep

Tournaments played during grass swing:

‘s-Hertogenbosch, 2R (i. Lottner)

Birmingham, 1R (i. Jakupovic)

Eastbourne, 3R (i. Sabalenka)

Last year’s Wimbledon performance: First round, i. Venus Williams

Wimbledon record: 3-3 (2017 1R)

[22] Johanna Konta (No.22)

Image result for konta nottingham 2018

Player overview: Konta has shown signs of resurgence during the grass court swing after a horrible start to the season. Konta played three straight weeks on the green stuff, reaching the finals of Nottingham, playing a good match against Petra Kvitova in Birmingham, and losing to Caroline Wozniacki in the third round in Eastbourne. I wonder whether Konta will be feeling a lot of pressure from the home crowd, and also having to defend so many points from last year’s semifinal run. With that, I can see her first round opponent, Natalia Vikhlyantseva to cause tons of problems for Konta. Konta-Vikhlyantseva is definitely one of the best first rounders of the draw and that one is tough to predict.

Draw projections: 1R: Vikhlyantseva

2R: Cornet or Cibulkova

3R: [15] Mertens or Collins

4R: [1] Halep

Tournaments played during grass swing:

Nottingham, Finalist (i. Barty)

Birmingham, 1R (i. Kvitova)

Eastbourne, 3R (i. Wozniacki)

Last year’s Wimbledon performanceSemifinalist, i. Venus Williams

Wimbledon record: 6-6 (2017 SF)

[24] Maria Sharapova (No.24)

Image result for sharapova roland garros 2018

Player overview: Sharapova is a bit of a dark horse in this draw – there’s not a lot of attention on her having not played any of the grass court warm-up events, but she did play two matches in the Hurlingham exhibition, losing to Maria Sakkari and scoring a win over Natalia Vikhlyantseva. Coincidentally, Sakkari could be Sharapova’s second round opponent, but in a Grand Slam Sharapova’s experience should come out trumps. I’m hoping for a 2011 Wimbledon final rematch between Sharapova and Kvitova in the fourth round.

Draw projections: 1R: [Q] Diatchenko

2R: Kenin or Sakkari

3R: [12] Ostapenko or Flipkens

4R: [8] Kvitova or [26] Gavrilova

Tournaments played during grass swing: Did not play

Last year’s Wimbledon performance: Did not play

Wimbledon record: 46-12 (2004 champion)

Second quarter – Projected QF: [3] Muguruza vs [6] Garcia

[3] Garbine Muguruza (No.3)

Garbiñe Muguruza (Getty Images)

Player overview: Reigning Wimbledon champion Muguruza isn’t coming into the third Grand Slam with a lot of grass court matches – two to be exact, having beat Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and then losing to Barbora Strycova in Birmingham. We all know how Muguruza can peak out of nowhere and win a Slam, but I think a potential third rounder against Anett Kontaveit could be a huge banana skin. Kontaveit is a dangerous player on the grass, but has played some really weird matches of late with losses to Victoria Kudermetova and Tatjana Maria. If not Kontaveit, Ashleigh Barty is another player that is definitely more than capable of causing an upset.

Draw projections: 1R: [WC] Broady

2R: Van Uytvanck or Hercog

3R: [28] Kontaveit

4R: [14] Kasatkina or [17] Barty

Tournaments played during grass swing:

Birmingham, 2R (i. Strycova)

Last year’s Wimbledon performance: Champion, d. Venus Williams

Wimbledon record: 16-5 (2017 champion)

[6] Caroline Garcia (No.6)

Image result for garcia mallorca 2018 wta

Player overview: Garcia is another player who has been pretty disappointing in normal WTA events. While Garcia, now a top 10 player, has been becoming more and more consistent notching wins over lower ranked players, the Frenchwoman has also thrown in strange performances over the year. Straightforward losses to Kiki Bertens in Madrid and Simona Halep in Rome during the clay court swing were not good, but the loss to Sofia Kenin in Mallorca a week ago completely baffles me. While Garcia’s game on paper seems to be suited to the grass, I don’t think she is too comfortable playing on it and thus, a match-up against Alison Riske, a peak player on grass is definitely an upset alert.

Draw projections: 1R: Bencic

2R: Riske or Bacsinszky

3R: [27] Suarez Navarro or Kanepi

4R: [11] Kerber or [18] Osaka

Tournaments played during grass swing:

Mallorca, QF (i. Kenin)

Last year’s Wimbledon performance: Fourth round, i. Johanna Konta

Wimbledon record: 11-7 (2017 4R)

[11] Angelique Kerber (No.11)

Image result for kerber eastbourne 2018

Player overview: Angie Kerber is definitely one of the dark horses of Wimbledon – the green stuff has always been her favourite surface and she is so good at getting down on the low balls and redirecting pace. Kerber suffered a baffling loss to Alison Riske in Mallorca but seems to be back to her best in Eastbourne, beating tough opponents in Dominika Cibulkova and Daria Kasatkina enroute to the semifinals. Kerber has a really interesting first rounder against Vera Zvonareva; I think that’ll be OK, but I’m worried for a potential Osaka-Kerber third rounder. Osaka is slowly starting to get comfortable on the green stuff with four wins in Nottingham and Birmingham. The state of her injury picked up in the latter tournament is unknown though, and if Kerber gets that match out of her way, I think a deep run in London is definitely possible.

Draw projections: 1R: [Q] Zvonareva

2R: Konjuh or Liu

3R: [18] Osaka or Niculescu

4R: [6] Garcia or Kanepi

Tournaments played during grass swing:

Mallorca, 1R (i. Riske)

Eastbourne, SF (i. Wozniacki)

Last year’s Wimbledon performance: Fourth round, i. Garbine Muguruza

Wimbledon record: 24-11 (2016 finalist)

[14] Daria Kasatkina (No.14)

Image result for kasatkina eastbourne 2018

Player overview: Kasatkina has only played 11 career matches on grass, and holds a 6-5 win-loss record on the surface, with three of those wins coming on this surface. Grass is definitely Kasatkina’s worst surface as most of her strengths are neutralised on this surface. For example, the kick serve and topspin forehand, and as she does not possess a lot of power, she can be blown off the court really quickly. Her first round opponent, Jana Fett is capable of doing that, but can be prone to mental wanders often. I really do think Barty has a huge chance to come through this section of the draw.

Draw projections: 1R: Fett

2R: Linette or Putintseva

3R: [17] Barty

4R: [3] Muguruza or [28] Kontaveit

Tournaments played during grass swing:

Birmingham, 2R (i. Tsurenko)

Eastbourne, QF (i. Kerber)

Last year’s Wimbledon performanceSecond round, i. Anett Kontaveit

Wimbledon record: 3-2 (2016 3R)

[17] Ashleigh Barty (No.17)

Image result for barty eastbourne 2018

Player overview: Barty is definitely one of the dark horses for Wimbledon – Barty’s lethal backhand slice, great sense around the court and adept net skills are just so effective on the grass courts. The Australian has really cemented her position in the world’s top 30 this year, and finally added a WTA title to her resume as she beat Konta for her first WTA title in Nottingham. Barty brought her form into Eastbourne, reaching the quarterfinals before falling to World No.2 Caroline Wozniacki. While Barty was a little scrappy against Wozniacki, I think her B-game can defeat most of her projected opponents. I’m predicting a Kerber-Barty quarterfinal from this section.

Draw projections: 1R: Voegele

2R: [Q] Bouchard or [WC] Taylor

3R: [14] Kasatkina

4R: [3] Muguruza or [28] Kontaveit

Tournaments played during grass swing:

Nottingham, Champion (d. Konta)

Birmingham, 2R (i. Goerges)

Eastbourne, QF (i. Wozniacki)

Last year’s Wimbledon performanceFirst round, i. Elina Svitolina

Wimbledon record: 1-4 (2012, 2017 1R)

Third quarter – Projected QF: [7] Ka.Pliskova vs [4] Stephens

[4] Sloane Stephens (No.4)

Image result for stephens wimbledon 2017 zimbio

Player overview: Stephens has been quite inconsistent since her comeback but once again peaked at the big events by reaching the final of the French Open, falling in a tight three-setter to World No.1 Simona Halep. I’m really baffled as to why Stephens did not opt to play any grass court warm-up events; perhaps she wants a break after Roland Garros? Thus, Stephens is heading into Wimbledon without any grass court matches under her belt and will face quite a lot of resistance against a grass-loving, Donna Vekic. I haven’t really seen any Sloane Stephens matches on grass and I do think Vekic’s power could cause a huge upset alert. I think the winner of Stephens-Vekic will be progressing really far in this tournament so that would be a huge one to look out for.

Draw projections: 1R: Vekic

2R: Kuzmova or Peterson

3R: [31] Zhang or Petkovic or Barthel

4R: [13] Goerges or [23] Strycova

Tournaments played during grass swing: Did not play

Last year’s Wimbledon performanceFirst round, i. Alison Riske

Wimbledon record: 11-7 (2013 QF)

[7] Karolina Pliskova (No.7)

Image result for pliskova eastbourne 2018 wta

Player overview: Pliskova has become a household WTA name and even though she’s not been able to play her best tennis perhaps the entire year (except for maybe Stuttgart), her remarkable consistency has allowed her to stay in the top 8 for the Race to Singapore leaderboard. She wasn’t playing her best tennis once again during the Birmingham-Eastbourne double, but managed to notch some wins in the latter tournament, against Pavlyuchenkova and Strycova. After Pliskova revealed that grass is her least favourite surface, together with the fact that she’s never been able to pass the second round, I don’t have many expectations for her in Wimbledon. Vika Azarenka, Mihaela Buzarnescu and Aryna Sabalenka are all capable of producing an upset.

Draw projections: 1R: [WC] Dart

2R: Alexandrova or Azarenka

3R: [29] Buzarnescu or Sabalenka

4R: [9] V.Williams

Tournaments played during grass swing:

Birmingham, 1R (i. Rybarikova)

Eastbourne, QF (i. Sabalenka)

Last year’s Wimbledon performanceSecond round, i. Magdalena Rybarikova

Wimbledon record: 8-7 (2R on five occasions)

[9] Venus Williams (No.9)

Image result for venus wimbledon 2017 zimbio

Player overview: As expected, Venus didn’t enter into any of the grass court warm-up tournaments, which is always how Venus prepares for Wimbledon. Her first rounder against Johanna Larsson will be the first singles match she’s played in almost a month, after falling to Wang Qiang in the first round in Roland Garros. Venus performed really poorly during the clay court swing and will need to win some matches here in order not to face a huge dip in the rankings. The American’s one of the best at making a deep run at a tournament out of nowhere though…

Draw projections: 1R: Larsson

2R: Kr.Pliskova or Dulgheru

3R: [20] Bertens

4R: [7] Ka.Pliskova or [29] Buzarnescu

Tournaments played during grass swing: Did not play

Last year’s Wimbledon performanceFinalist, i. Garbine Muguruza

Wimbledon record: 87-15 (Champion on five occasions)

[13] Julia Goerges (No.13)

Image result for julia goerges 2018 zimbio

Player overview: I don’t understand what goes on with Goerges in the Grand Slams – she has produced amazing consistency since a resurgence in July 2017, but when she’s at a Slam and is about to break into new ground, she just goes back into her own shell. Goerges has never been past the fourth round in any Grand Slam event and Wimbledon has by far been Goerges’ worst Slam, holding a 5-10 win-loss record in London. While Goerges’ aggressive game seems to suit the grass, she has never produced her best tennis on British grass, and I can see a Puig or a Strycova scoring the upset win against the German.

Draw projections: 1R: Puig

2R: Lapko or McHale

3R: [23] Strycova

4R: [4] Stephens

Tournaments played during grass swing:

Birmingham, QF (i. Kvitova)

Eastbourne, 2R (i. Sabalenka)

Last year’s Wimbledon performance: First round, i. Lesia Tsurenko

Wimbledon record: 5-10 (2012 3R)

Fourth quarter – Projected QF: [5] Svitolina vs [2] Wozniacki

[2] Caroline Wozniacki (No.2)

Image result for wozniacki eastbourne 2018

Player overview: Just like Goerges, Wozniacki’s worst Slam has by far been Wimbledon and she has not been able to past the fourth round in London after six attempts. Unlike counterparts Radwanska and Kerber who adore the green stuff, Wozniacki’s counter-punching game does not seem to suit the surface, and she always is outhit by the players who can hit a bigger ball than her. Since winning the Australian Open, Wozniacki hasn’t been able to produce her best tennis but is into the Eastbourne final as of writing, with good wins over JoKo, Barty and Kerber. Her draw in Wimby has presented her an decent oportunity to get another try at passing the fourth round, but there are some potential banana skins – Aga Radwanska is finding back some vintage tennis and is a potential third round opponent, while the player who beat her here last year, CoCo Vandeweghe, could play Wozniacki in the fourth round once again.

Draw projections: 1R: Lepchenko

2R: Martic or Makarova

3R: [32] Radwanska or Safarova

4R: [16] Vandeweghe or [21] Sevastova

Tournaments played during grass swing:

Eastbourne, Final (as of writing)

Last year’s Wimbledonperformance: Fourth round, i. CoCo Vandeweghe

Wimbledon record: 22-12 (4R on six occasions)

[5] Elina Svitolina (No.5)

Image result for svitolina birmingham 2018 wta

Player overview: Svitolina has been dealt a tough draw in Wimbledon and with Wimbledon being her worst Slam and grass being her worst surface, an early exit could be looming for the Ukrainian. Tatjana Maria, who won her first WTA title in Mallorca, could cause Svitolina some problems with slice and dice game, but the potential third round clash against Serena Williams sounds JUICY. No idea what’s Serena’s injury status right now, but if she’s fully fit that would be interesting. If Serena isn’t able to oust Elina, Madison Keys or Magdalena Rybarikova in the fourth round, two players who are very good on grass courts, could take the honour of doing so as well.

Draw projections: 1R: Maria

2R: Schmiedlova or Mladenovic

3R: [25] S.Wiliams

4R: [10] Keys or [19] Rybarikova

Tournaments played during grass swing:

Birmingham, QF (i. Buzarnescu)

Last year’s Wimbledonperformance: Fourth round, i. Jelena Ostapenko

Wimbledon record: 5-6 (2017 4R)

[10] Madison Keys (No.10)

Image result for keys wimbledon 2017 zimbio

Player overview: Just like her BFF and fellow American Stephens, Keys did not opt to play any grass court tournaments which I felt was a super strange decision. Keys has always thrived on grass and has done well in the Birmingham-Eastbourne double, winning the championship matches in 2016 and 2014 respectively. Keys has faced a ton of injury problems in her career and taking a long break after the French Open perhaps could prove good for Keys. Draw-wise, she should win a couple of matches, but a potential Keys-Rybarikova third round meeting sounds dangerous to me.

Draw projections: 1R: Tomljanovic

2R: Kumkhum or Pera

3R: [19] Rybarikova

4R: [5] Svitolina or [25] S.Williams

Tournaments played during grass swing: Did not play

Last year’s WimbledonperformanceSecond round, i. Camila Giorgi

Wimbledon record: 13-6 (2015 QF)

[19] Magdalena Rybarikova (No.19)

Image result for rybarikova birmingham 2018

Player overview: Rybarikova is once again back to her best on grass with a huge run to the final in Birmingham proving very impressive. Rybarikova defeated the likes of Ka.Pliskova, Mladenovic, Jakupovic and Strycova, before narrowly losing to Kvitova in the final. Rybarikova is SO enjoyable to watch on this surface – her backhand slice is a treat, and together with her other variety, decent first serve and great net skills, it won’t be surprising she puts together another deep run in Wimbledon. I thought that Rybarikova would be feeling some pressure defending her semifinal points from, last year, but from her interviews in Birmingham, I don’t think she’s feeling that way. If her injury in Eastbourne isn’t too serious, I think her slice and dice game can  defeat the likes of Cirstea or Keys.

Draw projections: 1R: Cirstea

2R: Rodina or Lottner

3R: [10] Keys

4R: [5] Svitolina or [25] S.Williams

Tournaments played during grass swing:

Nottingham, 2R (i. Barthel)

Birmingham, Finalist (i. Kvitova)

Eastbourne, 2R (ret. to Hsieh)

Last year’s WimbledonperformanceSemifinalist, i. Garbine Muguruza

Wimbledon record: 10-11 (2017 SF)

[25] Serena Williams (No.183)

Image result for williams roland garros 2018

Player overview: Serena’s playing her first tournament since withdrawing from that Serena-Maria fourth round clash in the French Open, and there’s not a lot of news on how Serena’s injury is going on at the moment. Wimbledon decided to give Serena the 25th seed and with that, she has gotten a great draw, at least for the first two rounds with Arantxa Rus in the first round and Smitkova or Tomova in the second round. It’ll be interesting to see Serena’s level over the fortnight…

Draw projections: 1R: Rus

2R: Smitkova or Tomova

3R: [5] Svitolina

4R: [10] Keys or [19] Rybarikova

Tournaments played during grass swing: Did not play

Last year’s Wimbledonperformance: Did not play

Wimbledon record: 86-10 (Champion on seven occasions)

[32] Agnieszka Radwanska (No.32)

Image result for radwanska eastbourne 2018

Player overview: Aga Radwanska has struggled throughout the whole season for wins and with an illness and back injury, it seemed unlikely that would be able to make a run at Wimbledon. But now after Eastbourne, it certainly is possible as Radwanska showed signs of resurgence with a semifinal run, defeating Timea Babos, Gavrilova and Ostapenko, before falling to Sabalenka. Aga’s match against Babos was one of her best performances in months and I’m feeling positive for Aga in London, as long as she’s not feeling it physically after running so many miles in the Ostapenko and Sabalenka matches. Radwanska is one of the most consistent players in Wimbledon, having reached the second week here for six straight years, but this time it’s going to be pretty difficult – she could face Lucie Safarova in the round of 64 (Safarova leads head to head 4-1), and good friend Wozniacki in the third round.

Draw projections: 1R: [Q] Ruse

2R: Safarova or Bondarenko

3R: [2] Wozniacki

4R: [16] Vandeweghe or [21] Sevastova

Tournaments played during grass swing:

Eastbourne, SF (i. Sabalenka)

Last year’s WimbledonperformanceFourth round, i. Svetlana Kuznetsova

Wimbledon record: 42-12 (2012 finalist)

Final Wimbledon Prediction: Petra Kvitova d. Venus Williams

Thanks for reading! Wimbledon predictions will be out soon!

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