The draw for the 2019 Wimbledon Championships is out. The placement of Angelique Kerber, Serena Williams, and Ashleigh Barty in the same quarter certainly shook things up when it comes to the order of the favorites. As unpredictable as the WTA can be, here are our five picks for who has the biggest chance to take the trophy home on the 13th of July.
Who did we miss out on? A short explanation for those seeking one:
- Belinda Bencic, Julia Goerges, and Garbine Muguruza found themselves in the quarter of death
- Kiki Bertens, Simona Halep, Marketa Vondrousova, Naomi Osaka, and Sloane Stephens just don’t seem to be good enough to win a Grand Slam on this surface
Wimbledon Ladies Favorites
5. Serena Williams
Just because you can never write her off. Last year, on her comeback trail after giving birth and experiencing huge physical issues, Serena suddenly caught form out of nowhere and was only stopped by Angelique Kerber in the final. She made this year’s Australian Open quarterfinal but once again, it’s health that stopped her from competing on the highest level since, forcing her to give a walkover or retire in three consecutive tournaments.
However, we’ve seen it already. Serena Williams is still a level above the field when playing well, and on the surface where it won’t be that easy to force her to hit on the run, she might have just enough time to tune up her game and make history again.
4. Karolina Pliskova
Somewhat surprisingly, the Czech has never made it past Round 4 at Wimbledon. Don’t let that fool you, though–she’s an excellent grass court player. At the time of writing, Pliskova is still in the semifinals at Eastbourne and in the middle of probably her career-best year, including a clay court Premier 5 title in Rome, a final in Miami, and a semifinal at the Australian Open.
That improvement might be due to the help of Conchita Martinez, the 1994 Wimbledon champion and Pliskova’s coach. With Martinez on the bench and a good spot in the draw, avoiding the likes of Kerber, Williams, and Barty up until the finals, the Czech has an excellent shot to finally score big at Wimbledon.
3. Petra Kvitova
This year has been good for Czech tennis. Kvitova has been nothing short of excellent all year (titles in Stuttgart and Sydney) but was forced to withdraw from the French Open with an arm injury. She comes into Wimbledon without playing a warm-up tournament, but it might be a blessing in disguise. The last two seasons, Kvitova would often play amazing a week prior to a Grand Slam tournament and then run out of steam when it mattered.
If there’s anyone who feels as well as Serena on grass, it’s Petra Kvitova. Wimbledon has been the happiest place in her tennis career with two titles to her name (2011, 2014). Provided she’s back to full health, she will be a huge threat to anyone else in the draw.
2. Angelique Kerber
The defending champion’s year has been a bit up and down, but it looks like she managed to settle in on grass. Two excellent tune-ups (a semifinal in Mallorca and at least a final in Eastbourne) will give her a great deal of confidence. The German feels very good on the surface but faces a potentially tricky draw.
A rematch of last year’s final against Serena Williams awaits in the fourth round, and it might not get easier after that. Her projected quarterfinal opponent is our No.1 favorite (let’s keep the suspense going), and then she would possibly have to face Petra Kvitova in the semifinals. Coming through three excellent grass-courters in a row might be too much to ask from Kerber but if the draw opens up she will fancy her chances to defend the title.
1. Ashleigh Barty
We’ve seen so many maiden Grand Slam titles or becoming World no.1 put so much pressure on a player that he/she pretty much disappears for a few months. Not with Barty though, as after capturing the French Open title, the Australian won the title in Birmingham, securing the no.1 ranking.
Over the last year, Barty has been unbelievably consistent when it comes to matches with lesser players, only losing to Halep, Kvitova, Azarenka, Mladenovic, Svitolina, and Sabalenka. Her backhand slice will work excellent on the Wimbledon grass, and make it very tough for anyone with little experience. She’s also an excellent doubles player and will use these net play skills to her advantage. Her French Open success might have been a small shock, but if she was to repeat it here, no one would be surprised.
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