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Wimbledon: Serena Williams enters tournament feeling pressure to win
1:44 | Tennis
Wimbledon: Serena Williams enters tournament feeling pressure to win
Friday June 24th, 2016

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

1 Serena Williams

Well, it’s been an interesting ride since Wimbledon 2015. She’s lost her last three Slams, often beset by nerves. She claims that she’s ready to defend her title. And, in fact, wishes the tournament had started last week. And who are we to disagree? Despite a fairly tough draw quadrant, she’s our (admittedly boring) pick.

2 Garbiñe Muguruza

A finalist last year against Serena. A winner at the last Slam against Serena. I wouldn’t read too much into her shortcomings at the tune-ups. The WTA’s new It Girl (and deservedly so), we’ll get a glimpse of her emotional stamina, based on her performance. Starts against streaky Camila Giorgi.

• The casual tennis fan’s guide to Wimbledon 2016

Seeds 3-16 (Basically interchangeable in terms of odds)

3 Agnieszka Radwanska

Came within a few points of winning Wimbledon. But that was four years ago. Since then she’s been a bit unreliable, especially in the latter rounds of majors. Always fun to watch. Seldom fun to (metaphorically) predict her performance.

4 Angelique Kerber

Credit her for that Australian Open title. But since then, it’s been awfully quiet. Needs only to win her first match to exceed her play in Paris. Still, it would be an achievement if she simply lived up to her seeding and made the semis. Interesting first round rounder against Robson.

5 Simona Halep

Harsh as this will sound, we’ve sort of entered the what-have-you-done-for-us-lately zone. A top five player for several years now, but the natives are growing restless.

6 Roberta Vinci

The Italian was bumped up a spot due to Victoria Azarenka’s withdrawal. Again; credit Vinci for building on the Serena takedown at the 2015 U.S. Open and not letting it define her career. And she can play on grass.

7 Belinda Bencic

A lot of game but the former Wimbledon junior champ is still in search of that Grand Slam breakthrough.

8 Venus Williams

Former champion is always a threat, especially on grass. Was it really 16 years ago that she first broke through at the All England Club? The power and grass court game is there; it’s a question of fighting through the bad days. Love the prospect of a Venus-Mugu quarter.

• How a sportsmanship lesson helped shape Federer's new fashion line

9 Madison Keys

Congrats to the newest member of the Top 10.

10 Petra Kvitova

Hard to imagine a two-time champ coming in with less fanfare. A mysterious, erratic player comes in with a shaky loss in Eastbourne to Jo Konta. On the other hand, she’s due. Look for her late in Round two.

11 Timea Bacsinszky

She’s Bac. A quarterfinalist last year (and in Paris a few weeks ago) Bacsinszky shows up for the big events. Lots of native talent but you wish she came to the party with 10% more power.

12 Carla Suarez Navarro

Reaching the middle weekend would be a fine showing. Possible fourth rounder against Venus intrigues.

13 Svetlana Kuznetsova

Somehow her erratic play always strikes as more endearing than annoying. Who knows? Even in her 30s she can play with anyone. Provided she feels like showing up.

• Mailbag: We haven't seen the last of Maria Sharapova

14 Sam Stosur

The anti-Feliciano Lopez. She’s the Aussie who thrives on clay but hates the grass. Her looping strokes require more time than the grass is willing to provide.

15 Karolina Pliskova

An intriguing player with a big game who needs a Grand Slam breakthrough. Why not now?

16 Jo Konta

It’s been a steady ascent over the last year. Konta combines athletic play with a sensible disposition.

TOP MOMENTS FROM WIMBLEDON 2015

Seeds 17-32

18 Sloane Stephens

Has become a mystifying player, capable of great and greatly disappointing tennis from one match to the next.

19 Dominika Cibulkova

Always dangerous, she’s won 22 matches and a title in 2016.

26 Kiki Bertens

You wonder about her calf injury, the one that made her run to French semis bittersweet. Still a lot of game—and game that should, in theory, translate to grass.

• Bend, don’t break: Andy Murray finds freedom in flexibility training

27 CoCo Vandeweghe

The best serve in the women’s game this side of Serena + grass = big potential.

28 Lucie Safarova

A finalist last year, she had a brutal battle with a bacterial infection. But she won in Prague and appears to be back in business.

31 Kristina Mladenovic

Athletic game and likes the big stage. (Which is good because Serena looms in round three.) You wonder whether the doubles and mixed doubles exacts a price on her singles.

Dark horse pasture

Caroline Wozniacki: Been a miserable year but she’s too good to not mention altogether.

Anna Lena Friedsam: Solid athletic player (Plus we’re suckers for German players on grass.)

Yulia Putinseva: Coming off a Week Two run on clay.

Monica Puig: Not a ton of power but she’s learned how to win.

• Worple Road to Church Road: History of the Wimbledon grounds

Lucie Safarova: Ranking fell after French Open; now she’ll build it back.

Genie Bouchard: Like Wozniacki, for all her woes, she’s better than her ranking suggests.

Tsvetana Pironkova: Tends to play her best at Wimbledon

Vicki Duval: Let’s simply pause and point out it’s nice to see her in the main draw.

First round matches to watch

Wozniacki vs. Kuznetsova: Two former regulars of the top five.
Puig vs. Konta: Two players on the rise.
Jelena Ostapenko vs. Bertens: Can Bertens back up her success at the French?
Laura Siegemund vs. Keys: Rough first rounder for Keys.
Safarova vs. Bethanie Mattek-Sands: Civil war battle of a doubles team.

Upset Special

Pironkova d. Bencic

Doubles winner

The Great Santina. That is, Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza, who lost shockingly at the French Open but look to defend their title.

Semifinals

Serena d. Kvitova
Muguruza d. Keys

Finals

Serena d. Muguruza

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