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2019 WTA Wimbledon preview


2019 WTA Wimbledon preview

As is usually the case in Grand Slam tennis, the women’s tournament at Wimbledon looks a very open event indeed. This preview profiles the numerous contenders for glory. Who will win the WTA Wimbledon tournament? Read on to find out.

While the men’s tournament at Wimbledon has been dominated by the elite quartet (now the elite trio), the women’s side of things has been much more evenly split among the field. Although Serena Williams has won four titles this decade, there have also been four other winners, with only Petra Kvitova managing to lift the trophy more than once.

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Interestingly, however, in this decade only Marion Bartoli was a winner who wouldn’t come close to being described as serve-orientated. In these quick grass conditions, that gives some idea of the skillset required to win the event - a solid serve is virtually mandatory, regardless of ability on return.

This year, both Serena and Kvitova come into the event with fitness concerns. The younger Williams sister has played just five tournaments this year, with three of these ending up in retirement or by giving a walkover. Last time out, Serena was beaten 6-2, 7-5 by Sofia Kenin in Paris in the third round of the French Open. 

As for Kvitova, she was last seen on court six weeks ago on the clay in Rome, when she retired with a left arm injury against Maria Sakkari. Neither player have played any grass court warm-up tournaments. 

The table below illustrates the grass player data from the last 24 months, as well as the all-surface data from 2019 for market leaders in the tournament (data correct at 26/6/19). Asterisk signifies small grass court sample size of data for that player during this time period: 

WTA grass court points won

Player

24 Month Grass Service Points Won %

24 Month Grass Return Points Won %

24 Month Grass Combined Points Won %

2019 All Surface Service Points Won %

2019 All Surface Return Points Won %

2019 All Surface Combined Points Won %

Serena Williams *

67.5

43.3

110.8

63.1

46.1

109.2

Petra Kvitova

63.6

46.0

109.6

62.1

44.4

106.5

Ashleigh Barty

65.7

42.6

108.3

63.5

45.8

109.3

Caroline Wozniacki

61.6

46.2

107.8

58.8

45.1

103.9

Angelique Kerber

61.8

45.9

107.7

60.0

45.7

105.7

Simona Halep

61.1

45.6

106.7

59.9

47.8

107.7

Julia Goerges

64.2

42.4

106.6

60.6

41.7

102.3

Venus Williams

63.8

42.8

106.6

55.4

43.7

99.1

Garbine Muguruza

62.3

43.0

105.3

58.4

45.9

104.3

Barbora Strycova

62.4

42.6

105.0

57.1

43.3

100.4

Anett Kontaveit

61.6

43.3

104.9

58.2

42.2

100.4

Johanna Konta

64.0

40.7

104.7

61.3

42.9

104.2

Jelena Ostapenko

57.0

47.7

104.7

52.7

45.0

97.7

Anastasija Sevastova

58.7

46.0

104.7

58.2

44.2

102.4

Donna Vekic

62.1

42.5

104.6

60.5

45.8

106.3

Madison Keys

61.7

42.6

104.3

61.3

44.4

105.7

Kristina Mladenovic

61.0

42.6

103.6

55.2

47.8

103.0

Petra Martic

61.7

41.4

103.1

58.4

46.1

104.5

Alison Riske

59.6

43.5

103.1

56.6

43.0

99.6

Karolina Pliskova

62.5

40.3

102.8

63.3

43.6

106.9

Belinda Bencic

59.1

43.3

102.4

58.7

44.8

103.5

Kiki Bertens

58.7

43.6

102.3

63.0

44.0

107.0

Sofia Kenin

60.1

42.2

102.3

58.7

42.9

101.6

Caroline Garcia

62.8

39.5

102.3

61.1

40.6

101.7

Victoria Azarenka

59.1

42.6

101.7

56.3

47.0

103.3

Elise Mertens

57.4

43.8

101.2

56.2

45.4

101.6

Aryna Sabalenka

59.4

41.7

101.1

58.9

45.2

104.1

Elina Svitolina

57.4

43.3

100.7

56.4

45.0

101.4

Naomi Osaka

60.4

40.1

100.5

60.8

44.0

104.8

Maria Sharapova *

55.6

43.2

98.8

59.7

46.5

106.2

Amanda Anisimova *

56.8

41.6

98.4

57.7

46.6

104.3

Marketa Vondrousova *

55.0

41.7

96.7

58.5

48.0

106.5

Sloane Stephens *

47.1

41.9

89.0

56.9

44.8

101.7

Dayana Yastremska *

52.7

34.1

86.8

58.4

45.1

103.5

Can anyone dominate?

Here we can see that Williams (*6.50) and Kvitova (*12.24) do boast the best 24-month grass court data (combined points won percentage) of the field, but of course, also have those fitness concerns. With this in mind, it is logical that French Open champion Ashleigh Barty, third in this list and playing well, is the market favourite being offered at *5.00 at the time of writing. 

In fact, there are 18 players offered below the *50.00 mark, indicative of there being no truly dominant player on the WTA Tour at this current time.  

Certainly, there will be numerous players in the women’s singles who will be confident of reaching the latter stages if they can exhibit a decent level. 

Priced between *10.00 and 20.00 are five further players - Naomi Osaka, Karolina Pliskova, Angelique Kerber, Simona Halep, and Belinda Bencic, and looking at the data on this quintet gives some interesting insight into their chances. 

Osaka - deposed as world number one this week by Barty - hasn’t quite kicked off this year as much as many would expect and, despite having a game which should be quite well suited to grass, hasn’t shown a particularly noteworthy level on the surface in the last couple of years.

Pliskova has struggled on return on grass (40.3% return points won percentage is below most of the main contenders) and the Czech will need her strong serve to fire across the next couple of weeks. 

Kerber has also had fitness issues of late, but has a solid grass court pedigree and faces Halep today in the quarter-finals of Eastbourne. As for Halep, statistically she’s certainly solid enough on grass and is perhaps a little underrated on the surface, but will need to bounce back from her French Open disappointment. 

Although Bencic has improved this season, she’ll need to do so further in order to be a viable contender at the business end of Wimbledon. 

Outsiders to consider

Other interesting players to discuss include Caroline Wozniacki, who is an excellent grass courter but is fighting her way back from a leg injury. However, she had a reasonable first tournament back in Eastbourne this week, losing in the third round to Aryna Sabalenka in a final set tiebreak. If she has a kind draw in the opening rounds, she could potentially ease her way into the tournament at Wimbledon. 

In addition, Julia Goerges, who made the semi-finals last year, as well as the final last week in Birmingham, has a decent pedigree on grass and in quick conditions in general, and it will be interesting to see how Venus Williams fares as well. She’s another with a solid grass court record but looks to be in statistical decline these days, particularly on serve,and so has plenty to prove at this stage of her career. 

2017 champion Garbine Muguruza is among the other contenders, as is the home hope Johanna Konta. There are, in total, 16 players with a 104% combined serve/return points won percentage or greater in what looks a very open event indeed - a long-shot winner is a real possibility here this year.

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