If the eight third-round matches that took place in the Women’s Singles on Day 5 are anything to go by, then it is likely that this year’s champion will come from this bottom half of the draw. Almost all the matches featured high quality tennis and after Ostapenko’s win at the French Open, all will fancy their chances of success here at Wimbledon. Here I take a look at the eight players in this stronger half of the draw assessing their chances of going deeper.
It’s great to see Konjuh reach the second week of Wimbledon for the first time in her career, beating Cibulkova to earn a Top 10 win for just the 2nd time in the career. This is a particularly welcome result after she twisted her ankle in a heartbreaking loss in the 2nd Round to Agnieszka Radwanska last year. Since she is a two-time Junior Grand Slam champion and has won a title on grass before (unlike the bookmaker’s favourite Johanna Konta) she definitely has a chance of going deeper.
The 5-time Wimbledon champion continues to be extremely reliable in Grand Slams and seems to have become the queen of tie-breaks lately. She is the only player who has reached the second week of the last six Grand Slams and is now the only former Wimbledon champion left in the entire draw. There will likely never be a better chance for Venus to win Wimbledon again and there is no reason why she cannot go all the way.
It is so refreshing to see someone play so well in the next Grand Slam after winning their maiden Major title. Ostapenko is definitely the player I have enjoyed watching these championships and her amazing attitude can only be matched by the Big 3 circa 2012. She is the star that was desperately needed to save the women’s game and with the wave of confidence she is currently riding, she will strongly believe she can achieve the French Open-Wimbledon double.
This is the most impressed I have been with Svitolina in her career to date. I did not think she would overcome Ashleigh Barty in the first round, especially given her previous negative win-loss record on this surface. Not only has she proves herself on court but even in her press conferences she is slowly starting to show some personality and star quality that was missing from her. At a time on the WTA Tour when anyone can win any tournament, there will be extra motivation for her to go deeper in this event since she has not beaten a seeded player in a Grand Slam since the 2016 French Open.
It is actually upsetting that we are in a period of women’s tennis when the favourite to win Wimbledon according to the odds (from the 3rd round stage) has never even won a WTA title on grass. However, this is her most impressive season on the surface to date and the British crowd are now starting to warm to her, particularly after her dramatic win over Donna Vekic in the 2nd round. With the crowd on her side and it being the 40th anniversary of the last British winner of the Women’s Singles at Wimbledon perhaps the scene is perfect for Konta to prove me wrong and win her maiden Grand Slam.
Garcia is finally starting to fulfill her potential reaching the second week of a major for second Slam in a row. Although she would appear to be the one out of these players least likely to reach the final, she did beat her 4th round opponent Konta in their last meeting at Indian Wells, and Simona Halep can still become mentally fragile and revert to being a “pusher” and Azarenka still isn’t back to her best. Therefore, she will still be believing she can go deeper in this draw.
I actually have not been that impressed with Azarenka since she returned. She has made adjustments to her game, particularly her serve, that seem to be less effective than her game before the birth of her first child. What I am impressed with is her mental state in the big moments go matches, proving that she is one of the best match-players there has ever been. At a time when the depth isn’t that great in women’s Tennis she has the ability to use her experience to go much deeper in the draw.
Halep has been quietly getting on with the task in hand to put her shocking French Open final defeat being her and after the exit of Karolina Pliskova from the tournament is my pick for the title, provided she gets past Azarenka in a very intriguing 4th round clash. With many contenders for the title either being taken out (Karolina Pliskova and Petra Kvitova) or possessing extenuating circumstances (Azarenka returning from childbirth, Venus being involved in a car crash incident in early June) this is the perfect time for Halep not only to win her first Grand Slam but achieve the No.1 ranking for the first time in her career.
Whilst we really have no clue who will prevail from this half and reach the Wimbledon final, what we do know is that many of these players may never get a better chance to not only reach the final but win the title.