In the last seven Grand Slams, at least one unseeded woman has reached the semifinal stage at least. These cases can be seen below (with the stage reached in brackets).
|Recent cases of unseeded players who reached a Grand Slam SF or better|
|2015 US Open||Roberta Vinci (Final)|
|2016 Australian Open||Johanna Konta (SemiFinal)|
|2016 French Open||Kiki Bertens (SemiFinal)|
|2016 Wimbledon||Elena Vesnina (SemiFinal)|
|2016 US Open||Caroline Wozniacki (SemiFinal)|
|2017 Australian Open||Coco Vandeweghe & Mirjana-Lucic Baroni (SemiFinal)|
|2017 French Open||Jelena Ostapenko (Winner)|
The unpredictability in the WTA at an all-time high where players who are not in the Top 100 beating a Top 10 player is no longer a rarity. This was evidenced at this year’s French Open; pundits and players alike said up to 15 women could win the title–and the eventual champion Ostapenko was not even one of these names being mentioned! At the current rate of increase in chaos in the WTA, the truly unimaginable could occur in the future such as Maria Sharapova beating Serena Williams for the first time since 2004! Women’s tennis has now become a field of opportunity, so here are the unseeded players most likely to reach the latter stages at Wimbledon.
In the Live WTA Race Rankings (as of 27th June), Kontaveit is No. 21, making her the highest ranked this year for anyone who will be unseeded at Wimbledon. She has already beaten both Garbine Muguruza and Angelique Kerber this year, as well as winning her first title two weeks ago on the grass in ‘s-Hertogenbosch. With a good draw, it will be no surprise to see Kontaveit in the Wimbledon semifinals.
The former World No.1 made her return to the WTA tour after the birth of her first child in Mallorca last week. Whilst her lack of recent match-play showed in a straight sets loss to Ana Konjuh in the 2nd Round, she displayed her champion qualities when saving three match points in her 1st Round match against Risa Ozaki. Azarenka is not a stranger to success on grass, having reached two semifinals and won an Olympic Bronze medal on the Wimbledon courts. Having now had some match practice, Azarenka is more than capable of going deep in a tournament–particularly one without Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova.
Having returned to tennis last year after some time playing cricket, Barty is having a great 2017 season. Having reached the quarterfinals in Nottingham and final of Birmingham in recent weeks, Barty has clearly proved the the grass suits her game very well. With the current state of the WTA, this is the perfect chance for a player in form who is still relatively underrated to make a deep run.
Lisicki is the epitome of a grass-court specialist. She is a former Wimbledon finalist and has has reached the quarter-finals or better on five occasions. Having also made her return to the WTA Tour in Mallorca like Azarenka, Lisicki actually went deeper in the tournament, losing in the quarter-finals to Julia Georges, the eventual finalist. However, unlike Azarenka the return of Lisicki was from injury so it may take more matches for her to get back to her best. Nevertheless, when you return to a tournament where you have had such great memories, it can help you raise your level of play significantly. Therefore Lisicki should still be one to watch at Wimbledon.
From seeing how the seeds can tumble rapidly in recent Grand Slams, I am pretty confident that there will be an unseeded player in the semifinals at Wimbledon this year. Whether it is one of these four players, someone I have overlooked, or nobody at all remains to be seen.