Wimbledon 2017 women’s draw preview and tips: Former champions Venus Williams and Petra Kvitova could be the ones to watch

Hannah Wilks in Wimbledon 30 Jun 2017
  • Wimbledon 2017 women's draw released 
  • Former champions Venus Williams and Petra Kvitova could meet in the semifinals
  • Karolina Pliskova, Angelique Kerber and Caroline Wozniacki headline the top half of the draw
  • Watch and bet on tennis live from Wimbledon at bet365 > live streaming > tennis
Angelique Kerber could face Garbine Muguruza, Agnieszka Radwanska at Wimbledon 2017 (GERRY PENNY/AFP/Getty Images)

Wimbledon 2017 could see a new ladies’ singles champion crowned – who is ideally placed to claim their first Venus Rosewater Dish?

The Championships 2017 tennis is live from Wimbledon from 3-16 July 2017. Watch and bet on tennis live from Wimbledon at bet365 > live streaming > tennis

With only two former Wimbledon champions in the women’s draw for 2017, the field has never been more open. It would be an amazing story if Venus Williams or Petra Kvitova came through to reclaim the title, but with both women in the same half of the draw and facing tough opposition from an immensely deep field, there is so much opportunity. Former finalists Agnieszka Radwanska, Angelique Kerber and Garbine Muguruza are all in the same quarter, while world no. 3 Karolina Pliskova has what appears to be a clear path to the semifinals – but anything could happen once the first ball is struck. We break down the women’s draw at Wimbledon 2017. 

Top quarter

Projected quarterfinal: Angelique Kerber (1) vs Svetlana Kuznetsova (7) (3-4)

Other dangerous players: Agnieszka Radwanska (9), Garbine Muguruza (14), Ekaterina Makarova
She’s the top seed, the world no. 1 and the 2016 runner-up – but nobody’s really talking about Angelique Kerber in the run-up to Wimbledon. 

Garbine Muguruza  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
That might be a mistake, though. Kerber’s clay-court season was dismal, but she wasn’t terrible on hard courts and the German left-hander is a superb grass-court player, making the quarterfinals or better three of the past five years including a semifinal in 2012 and finishing runner-up to Serena Williams in 2016. 

I think if Kerber can survive the dangerous early rounds, she will be an excellent pick to reach the semifinals at least, but there are some early pitfalls. Opening against a qualifier, Kerber could face the tricky Kirsten Flipkens or the improving Misaki Doi in the second round, with former Wimbledon semifinalist Lucie Safarova – like Doi, a fellow left-hander – a potential third-round opponent. The real crisis point should be the round of 16, where Garbine Muguruza is likely to await. We all know Muguruza has struggled for wins in 2017, but with the pressure to defend her French Open title off her shoulders, the Spanish player could deliver at the All-England Club (although an 1-6, 0-6 defeat to Barbora Strycova in Eastbourne was hardly encouraging). Muguruza’s first-round opponent Ekaterina Alexandrova is a good player, but the Spaniard should be able to outhit likely challengers Yanina Wickmayer, Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Kiki Bertens – who are all similarly powerful but error-prone players – and she’s won her last four matches against Kerber, including on her way to the Wimbledon final in 2015.

The bottom half of this section is harder to predict. Former Wimbledon runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska, a semifinalist in 2015, is a brilliant grass-court player but has been on horrible form in 2017 with an 11-10 win-loss record and lost her only grass-court match to Lauren Davis in Eastbourne – moreover, Radwanska has a tricky draw, opening against Jelena Jankovic, with Christina McHale, Timea Bacsinszky and Davis among potential opponents. Svetlana Kuznetsova hasn’t made the quarterfinals at Wimbledon since 2007 and doesn’t by any means play her best tennis on grass, and could face compatriot Ekaterina Makarova – a former Wimbledon quarterfinalist – in the second round. Makarova, if she gets on a hot streak, could well be a good pick for quarterfinalist or even semifinalist, as is Bacsinszky if healthy, but I’m picking Kerber to find her way through this one with everyone else just too unreliable.

Semifinalist: Kerber

Second quarter

Projected quarterfinal: Karolina Pliskova (3) vs Caroline Wozniacki (5) (1-4)

Other dangerous players: Kristina Mladenovic (12), Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (16), Coco Vandeweghe (24), Anett Kontaveit, Tsvetana Pironkova
Karolina Pliskova  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
This quarter could be an excellent test for the credentials Karolina Pliskova has established as a possible Grand Slam contender. This time last year, the tall Czech had never made it past the third round at a Grand Slam despite her big-serving, aggressive game being seemingly tailor-made for grass: She’s since made a Slam final at the US Open and was a quarterfinalist at Melbourne and a semifinalist at Roland Garros despite never having played well on clay. 

Can Pliskova deliver that kind of winning when she (rightly) expects more from herself? Because if so, she’s got a good draw. There are a pair of tricky slice-and-dice players who could await in the second round – Monica Niculescu or Magdalena Rybarikova, the latter of whom has been playing very well of late as she comes back from injury – and potential third-round opponent Zhang Shuai can be tough, as can Mallorca runner-up Julia Goerges who could also await in the third round. But these are all players you would expect Pliskova to beat, with the same going for last year’s quarterfinalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the round of 16. 

The bottom half of this section is packed, with Caroline Wozniacki – who has been playing great tennis this year, and is into the Eastbourne final – potentially having to face the extremely dangerous-on-grass Tsvetana Pironkova (a semifinalist at Wimbledon in 2010 and always good for an upset or two on this surface) in the second round and with rising Russian Daria Kasatkina or, perhaps more likely, ‘s-Hertogenbosch champion Anett Kontaveit in the third. Kontaveit, in fact, is an excellent pick to make the second week, as is Pironkova: As is Coco Vandeweghe, the big-serving American who was a semifinalist at the Australian Open who looks to be on a collision course with Kristina Mladenovic, who has been so fantastic in 2017, with the winner facing whoever comes out of the Wozniacki section in the round of 16. 

This mini-section is so packed it’s really difficult to pick who will make the quarterfinals. I really like Kontaveit’s chances, but there’s a good argument for at least four players to reach the last eight. Kontaveit is a serious dark horse, but Pliskova has become so good at winning over the past 12 months, it's hard not to back her to do it when it counts. 

Semifinalist: Pliskova

Third quarter

Projected quarterfinal: Dominika Cibulkova (8) vs Elina Svitolina (4) (0-1)

Other dangerous players: Venus Williams (10), Jelena Ostapenko (13), Madison Keys (17), Mirjana Lucic-Baroni (26), Sabine Lisicki, Naomi Osaka
Venus Williams  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Another superbly packed quarter and in fact, one where almost the only thing you can say for certain is that it won’t be the top seeds who make the semifinals. Dominika Cibulkova, a quarterfinalist at Wimbledon in 2016, has been playing horrible tennis so far in 2017 and on form, she’s down for an early exit. Elina Svitolina has been playing excellent tennis so far in 2017, but grass is not ideal for her game and there are too many dangerous players in her path.

So who will emerge from this quarter? In the top half, you have five-time champion Venus Williams, not a bad pick to win the whole thing after making the semifinals in 2016 and her runner-up finish at the Australian Open in January, and Williams doesn’t have a bad draw: If she can get past Elise Mertens, the Hobart champion who has been having a great season in the first round, she’ll be able to overpower potential third-round opponent Barbora Strycova and likely fourth-round challenger Ana Konjuh (a great, albeit oft-injured, grass-court player who should account for former runner-up Sabine Lisicki, just back from injury, in the first round) is a power player without Williams’s experience and savvy. This is assuming, however, that Williams isn’t too traumatized by the car accident she was in a few weeks ago which led to a man’s death – an incident that casts a major shadow over what looks like such a promising campaign otherwise. If Williams is struggling, Konjuh or Strycova has a huge opportunity to make a Wimbledon quarterfinal.

In the bottom half of this section, Svitolina could be in trouble from the start as she opens against Birmingham runner-up Ashleigh Barty, a fantastic grass-court player, while former Wimbledon semifinalist Mirjana Lucic-Baroni – a semifinalist at the Australian Open in January – looks a good pick to me to shake off recent miserable form and make a run to the fourth round. We’ll see how French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko handles the scrutiny of playing as a Grand Slam champion, but the Latvian plays very well on grass and should be able to come through past Madison Keys – another great grass-court player but one who hasn’t found any kind of form since wrist surgery at the beginning of the year – to the round of 16, although the always tricky Alize Cornet could be a challenge. Ostapenko vs Lucic-Baroni with the winner to meet Venus Williams in the quarterfinals?

Semifinalist: Williams

Fourth quarter

Projected quarterfinal: Johanna Konta (6) vs Simona Halep (2) (2-3)

Other dangerous players: Petra Kvitova (11), Anastasija Sevastova (18), Kristyna Pliskova, Victoria Azarenka, CiCi Bellis
Petra Kvitova (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
With sixth seed Johanna Konta’s participation in doubt after a fall in Eastbourne against Kerber caused her to pull out of the Aegon International semifinals and Simona Halep still reeling from her French Open final defeat at the hands of Ostapenko, could Petra Kvitova – just six months on from suffering knife injuries to her left hand during a home invasion – make an amazing run?

One of two women in the draw to have won Wimbledon before, Kvitova won the Premier-level Birmingham title in the run-up to Wimbledon and the 2011 and 2014 champion does play some of her finest tennis on grass. Whether she’s really ready for a run like this is another question, but Kvitova certainly doesn’t have a bad draw. Opening against hard-hitting Johanna Larsson, the consistent Madison Brengle could be a minor obstacle for a nervous or rhythm-less Kvitova in the second round, but Kvitova’s first potential challenge could be Caroline Garcia in the third round. Garcia seemed to have unlocked something in her quarterfinal run at the French Open and won Mallorca in the run-up to Wimbledon last year, returning to the semifinals this year; if she can get past the consistent Jana Cepelova in the first round, it could be an interesting contest between her and Kvitova.

Should Konta play, the British player opens against Su-Wei Hsieh but could find things interesting against Donna Vekic – who beat Konta in the Nottingham final – or ‘s-Hertogenbosch runner-up Nathalia Vikhlyantseva in the second round. Kristyna Pliskova, the left-handed, lower-ranked, unseeded twin of third seed Karolina, lurks in the third round, so there are some pitfalls for Konta, who I’m not sure has ever really relished playing at Wimbledon, although it’s notable that the British player won her only former match on grass against Kvitova.

In the bottom half of this section, it all depends on how Simona Halep is feeling after her French Open campaign, when the title was all but within her grasp, ended in defeat to Ostapenko in three sets in the final. Halep is still clearly pondering that defeat and unimpressively faded physically in defeat from a winning position to Wozniacki in Eastbourne, but she’s played well on grass before, making the Wimbledon semifinals in 2014 and the quarterfinals in 2016, and she really has quite a nice draw through the first few rounds. Opening against a qualifier, Halep could face Laura Robson or Beatriz Haddad Maia, with Carla Suarez Navarro – more of a clay-courter – or former runner-up Eugenie Bouchard in the third round (don’t count out rising Czech teenager Marketa Vondrousova, either). The fourth round is where things could get tricky: Last year’s semifinalist Elena Vesnina, who has barely won anything since claiming the Indian Wells title earlier this year, isn’t too dangerous, but Mallorca champion Anastasija Sevastova could be tricky and then there’s the unseeded Victoria Azarenka, playing just her second tournament back after giving birth to son Leo in December. Azarenka, who plays (the very talented and dangerous) CiCi Bellis in the first round, doesn’t really look ready to make a deep run, but anyone with her credentials is always going to be a threat. Still if Halep doesn’t come through to the quarterfinals, there’s an(other) opportunity missed by the Romanian. 

Semifinalist: Kvitova

Semifinals: Pliskova d. Kerber
Williams d. Kvitova

Final: Pliskova d. Williams


The Championships tennis is live from Wimbledon from 3-16 July 2017 

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Wimbledon 2017 women’s draw preview and tips: Former champions Venus Williams and Petra Kvitova could be the ones to watch

Former runners-up Angelique Kerber and Garbine Muguruza could be headed for a promising clash while Johanna Konta, Petra Kvitova and Simona Halep find themselves in the same quarter: Wimbledon 2017 draw analysis and tips

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