Sports

Wimbledon 2019 – Ladies Singles preview – Can anyone stop the Williams?

Whereas the Men’s game has been dominated over recent times at Wimbledon by four names, there is just one name synonymous with Wimbledon in the modern era where the Ladies are concerned : Williams.

Between them, Serena (above right) and Venus (above left) have lifted the Ladies championship at Wimbledon an incredible 12 times since Venus won it initially in 2000. There has been a Williams in all but four of the 18 finals and they have contested the final between them four times. It has been an period of sheer dominance for the Americans….but…Serena last won the Championship in 2016 and Venus has only appeared in one final (losing to Garbine Mugaruza in 2017) since 2009.

So is the Williams dominance over?

If the current World rankings are anything to go by then the answer has to be Yes. Serena is currently number 11 in the world, whilst Venus has only just clambered back into the world top 50. Bookmakers currently offer odds on Venus at around 66/1, but Serena is currently second favourite – however this would seem more on name only, as her recent form has been patchy at best – and it seems ever more unlikely she will add to her 23 Grand Slam titles.

Current world number one and pre tournament favourite is Australian Ashleigh Barty. After a Quarter Final appearance in the 2019 Australian Open, Barty (above) went on to win the French Open, her first Grand Slam, and then assumed the number one spot with a follow up victory at the Birmingham Classic, England – played on grass – as she prevailed over Julia Gorges. Barty is a superb all round player and despite her small size (she is only 5′ 5″), she is one of the best servers on the Ladies Tour – amongst the best on the circuit for aces served and points won off her own serve. She only managed a 3rd round appearance in 2018 – but is expected to be the one to beat this year.

Defending Champion, who beat Serena Williams 6-3, 6-3 in 2018, is German Angelique Kerber, who is the fifth seed for her defence. Kerber must be respected, but many eyes will be on Japan’s Naomi Osaka (above), the number 2 seed and is a two time Grand Slam champion – following her 2018 US Open victory with the 2019 Australian Open. Two successive 3rd round appearances at Wimbledon in 2017 and 2018 leave question marks over her ability on grass – but her confidence and speed around the court should see her go much deeper in this years tournament.

The Ladies Championship feels much more wide open than the Mens tournament. Barring those mentioned, you can throw Petra Kvitová (above) into the mix – twice a champion at Wimbledon already, notwithstanding the likes of Karolina Pliskova, Kiki Bertens and Sloane Stephens. The Wimbledon crowd will get right behind top English hopeful Johanna Konta, with a host of other names in the draw that can easily cause an upset or two – Caroline Wozniacki, Garbine Muguruza, Simone Halep to name but a few.

Its a tough one to call…but if pushed, we will nominate Naomi Osaka to add to her collection of Grand Slam victories and win her first Wimbledon Ladies Championship.

2019 WIMBLEDON LADIES CHAMPIONSHIP – TOP TEN SEEDS

  1. Ashleigh Barty (Australia)
  2. Naomi Osaka (Japan)
  3. Karolina Pliskova (Czech Republic)
  4. Kiki Bertens (Holland)
  5. Angelique Kerber (Germany)
  6. Petra Kvitová (Czech Republic)
  7. Simone Halep (Romania)
  8. Elina Svitolina (Ukraine)
  9. Sloane Stephens (United States of America)
  10. Aryna Sabalenka (Belarus)