In preparation for this year's Wimbledon tournament, we started by previewing the men's draw here. Now we have to look at the women's side, which is also pretty open.
As I did with the men’s preview, here’s a recap of the 2018 WTA season so far. It’s been a year of firsts on the tour, with Caroline Wozniacki finally getting her first Grand Slam at the Australian Open, followed by Simona Halep winning her first at the French Open. In between, an upset filled Indian Wells tournament saw Naomi Osaka win the prize and the Miami Open watched Sloane Stephens finally break out of her Winning the US Open Curse by taking home the hardware. In Paris, Stephens continued her success by reaching the finals, only to lose to Halep, though in the process rocketing to world #4. Petra Kvitova and Wozniacki won the two main grass tournaments leading up to Wimbledon.
Once again, here’s the link to the full draw so you can see for yourself as we break it down. Halep is the top seed and her quarter is decently tricky, with a pair of former champions looming. Kvitova and Sharapova are in the quarter, as well 2017 French Open Champion, Jelena Ostapenko. Hometown favorite Jo Konta is seeded #22, so whoever emerges from this quarter is going to certainly be battle tested and it will not be easy. I still think Halep is probably a favorite to reach the semis, but I could feasibly see any of these players moving on.
Next up is the Garbine Muguruza’s quarter, and the #3 seeded Spaniard is out to defend her crown. This quarter includes a pair of former rising stars who have recently fallen on hard times, Angelique Kerber and Eugenie Bouchard. It doesn’t seem it was all that long ago, and it wasn’t, that Kerber was the best player on the planet, winning both the Australian and US Opens in 2016. Then she failed to make a single quarterfinal at a slam in 2017. She’s rebounded to make the semis in Australia and the quarters at Roland Garros, upping her ranking to #11. Bouchard is still a corpse of her former 2014 self, which seems to stem from a bizarre concussion she suffered from slipping in the locker room at the 2015 US Open. She’s tumbled out of the top 100 and made it here as a qualifier, a long fall from the once #5 ranked player. Caroline Garcia is also in this quarter, but she’s struggle to find success in Slams, as is Naomi Osaka. It’s a lot of solid players that you can’t trust, which makes me believe Muguruza is a clear favorite to make it to the semis.
The bottom half of the draw is good if you like American players. Sloane Stephens’ quarter includes herself, Venus Williams, and Christina McHale, as well as Karolina Pliskova. It’s a pretty generous quarter if you ask me, since Venus has struggled significantly in 2018 and Julia Gorges still hasn’t made a quarter yet. Pliskova will be the biggest potential foe facing the Stephens, but she’s amazingly never made it past the 2nd round of Wimbledon in the 6 times she made the main draw. Indeed, it’s the one Slam that the Czech righty hasn’t had success at, making the quarters of every other major tournament.
The final quarter is anchored by Caroline Wozniacki, but it also includes Americans Madison Keys, Coco Vandeweghe, and Serena Williams, the latter of whom looks to return to her old form. Further complicating a brutal quarter is young Ukranian Elina Svitolina, wily Latvian Anastasija Sevastova, and grizzled veteran Aga Radwanska, who is probably past her prime but is still someone to look out for. Serena is the biggest wildcard here, as she has the highest ceiling but also a pretty low floor. She’s had a bumpy time since returning, but did look pretty solid at the French before pulling out with injury. If she can stay healthy, it wouldn’t shock me if she made a run in the tournament.
So wrapping up, like most women’s tennis tournaments in 2018, this is pretty wide open. There’s no dominant force at the moment and I could see up to 12 players feasibly winning the title. It should be one heck of a fun tournament.