Our Ray Flanagan previews the Women’s Wimbledon Championship.
An interesting Women’s tournament this year. Here are my picks.
Karolina Pliskova has been steadily climbing through the ranks and may be ready to now win her first major. The Czech was runner up in the 2016 US Open and although not initially building on that she played quite solidly on the WTA Tour throughout last year and appears to have stepped it up again this new year. She posted a fine performance in Australia reaching the semis and has backed that up with runner-up efforts in Miami along with an emphatic win on the grass at Eastbourne.
A disappointing previous Wimbledon record is a slight negative however I think she looks to be playing the best she has ever done coming into the event and she certainly appeared to shine on grass at Eastbourne. The easier side of the draw with quarter 3 looking relatively uncompetitive is the deciding factor and she is my main bet.
Petra Kvitova is a former two time champion at this venue although she has had a lean time of it in recent years. She has struggled with injuries and the well publicized hand injury which kept her on the sidelines for over a year undoubtedly has set her back from winning more events.
She started this year in spectacular fashion in Melbourne powering her way to the Australian Open final (cruising past Barty in the quarters) and curiously went to as low as 3-1 favourite for this event.
Unluckily for her injury troubles have resurfaced with a torn arm muscle injury leaving her short of match practice for this.
That leaves us with a dilemma really. It is possible that coming in fresh might actually not be a bad thing and while she is an all or nothing performer, she is almost unplayable on a grass court when she hits top stride. Her draw notwithstanding a tricky first round match is fair enough and if she survives the early rounds I really fancy her to win it.
Quarter 1 looks the most competitive section and while Barty, Williams and Kerber will all fancy their chances it just might happen that they will have to produce their best too early in the tournament leaving whoever emerges vulnerable by semi final stage.
Quarter 4 will likely have some interesting games too. My favourite player, the Japanese Osaka, has to be respected, but she may need another year or two before she conquers Wimbledon. Madison Keys on the other hand has plenty of previous experience and may better past performances. Her efforts in the majors recently have not been bad and reaching the quarters on the unsuitable clay in Paris is definitely encouraging. I see her as a potential semi finalist.
2.5 pts ew- Karo Pliskova-13-2 P Power
1 pt ew -Petra Kvitova-12-1 General
0.5 pts ew-Madison Keys-25-1 General