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Wimbledon 2015 women's preview: Serena Williams the heavy favorite to win
2:35 | Women's Tennis
Wimbledon 2015 women's preview: Serena Williams the heavy favorite to win
Friday June 26th, 2015

SI.com's Jon Wertheim breaks down the women's seeds at Wimbledon 2015. Read on for the dark horses, top first-round matchups and predictions, and find the men's seed report here. 

1. Serena Williams

It will more of a surprise if she loses, than if she wins the third leg of the Grand Slam. If she takes Paris—her worst Major—while demonstrably ill, she’s a good bet to win on grass. There have been recent falters at Wimbledon. A potential mid-tournament match against sister Venus could be distracting. But her aura—always good for a few games—is stronger than ever. You have to consider her a heavy favorite; and perhaps even pick her over the entire field.

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2. Petra Kvitova

The defending champ is going for her third title since 2011. Little momentum coming in—including an illness that caused her to miss a tune-up—but her record speaks for itself.

3. Simona Halep

Coming off her second straight major disappointment in Paris. Still, she was in position to win Wimbledon in 2014 before a foot injury. And her speed is accentuated on the fast surface.

4. Maria Sharapova

A former winner (albeit more than a decade ago) and despite her erratic form at majors, she knows how to win. Still needs to crack the Serena Riddle, or get help from other players—both of which appear unlikely. But always a threat.

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5. Caroline Wozniacki

Credit her for sustaining her ranking despite meh results all year. Push alert: she plays too defensively for big success on grass.

6. Lucie Safarova

“Fluke” is an unduly harsh word. Especially for a talented player who has made multiple deep runs at Slams. But she can really certify herself by backing up her six wins in Paris with a deep excursion on grass.

7. Ana Ivanovic

Impressive run to the French Open semis. And then a vacant performance against Safarova one she got there. Between the lack of a backup plan when she’s not dialing her flat strokes and her tendency for shakiness in big matches, it’s hard to see her outperforming her seeding. (Plus, she’s in Serena’s quarter of the draw.)

8. Ekatarina Makarova

She moves well and her flat ball is well-suited for grass. But is becoming that player who, reliably, plays to her seeding—but can’t take the next step.

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9. Carla Suarez Navarro

We like the imaginative game and the slingshot of a backhand. But, apart from the modest track record on grass, she can tighten in big moments. She’s only 7-5 at Wimbledon for her career.

10. Angelique Kerber

A player to watch, especially is she’s recovered from the “viral illness” that caused her to miss Eastbourne. Winner of Birmingham is often the proverbial “tough out.”

11. Karolina Pliskova

After a disappointment in Paris, she has a chance to reassert herself at Wimbledon. Her bona fides are not in question, but still searches for that signature tournament.

12. Eugenie Bouchard

Hard to recall a player in more desperate need of a win or two. Never mind a return to the final. It would be an achievement—and a relief—if she simply advanced for a few rounds.

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13. Agnieszka Radwanska

A rough year thus far. But she came within a few points of winning Wimbledon in 2012. Inasmuch as a former top five mainstay can be a dark horse, keep an eye on A-Rad as she attempts to salvage her season.

14. Andrea Petkovic

Game would seem well-suited to grass, but the results haven’t been there.

15. Timea Bacsinszky

A brilliant year punctuated by a run the semis in Paris. Can she continue on grass?

16. Venus Williams

Even at her age, she is a credible threat. Just a pity she is in her sister’s pocket of the draw.

Seeds 17-32

Sabine Lisicki

Former finalist always dangerous, especially with that serve.

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Madison Keys

She’s the choice among the chattering class, both for her powerful strokes and her pleasant disposition. But, especially after a forgettable tuneup performance in Eastbourne (the event she won in 2014) the state of her game is unclear.

Sam Stosur

Absolutely perplexing player—all the more so on grass.

Victoria Azarenka

Working her way back slowly. And she may get still another shot at Serena.

Alize Cornet

Extra value is what you get, when you watch Cornet. Last player to beat Serena Williams in a major gets an automatic mention.

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Barbora Strycova

She’s lost the “Zahlavova” but kept the grass-compatible game.

Jelena Jankovic

Best days are behind her, but still capable of grinding out wins.

Belinda Bencic

After a hiccup earlier this year, Swiss teenager is back on the ascent.

Camila Giorgi

An up and down player but a sleek mover with deceptive power. If she can overcome her customary serving issues, has a real shot at Week Two.

Dark Horse Stable

Tsvetana Pironkova: A different player at Wimbledon than she is the other 50 weeks of the year.

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Sloane Stephens: The bigger the event, the more invested she seems to be.

Coco Vandeweghe: On the basis of serve alone, the American is a threat.

Kiki Mladenovic: Athletic player who can volley, coming off solid French Open performance.

Dominika Cibulkova: A Grand Slam finalist—and top ten player—18 moths ago, nice to see her back from injury.

Laura Robson: Likewise, nice to see Robson back in the field.

First round matches to watch

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​​Sara Errani v. Francesca Schiavone: The winner will likely play Roberta Vinci for an All-Italian special.

Venus Williams v. Madison Brengle: Two Americans at different phases of their careers.

Bencic v. Pironkova: An up-and-comer versus a grass specialist.

Strycova v. Stephens: Tough first match for both—with Safarova likely to follow soon thereafter.

 

First Round Upset Special

Julia Goerges d. Bacsinszky

Doubles winner

Hingis-Mirza. Big chance to avenge a bad loss in Paris. (Williams-Williams is always intriguing, but the longer Serena lasts in singles, the shakier the odds that they remain at full force and focus.)

Semifinals

Serena d. Sharapova

Kvitova d. Kerber

Finals

Serena d. Kvitova

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