Wimbledon 2017: Five contenders for women’s champion

The third grand slam of the year, Wimbledon, will be taking place on the grass courts of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in London from 3-16 July. We take a look at five WTA players who could very well walk away with the women’s singles title.

Usually, the likes of 23-time grand slam winner and defending champion Serena Williams would be everyone's favourite to claim another title, but the 35-year-old is not playing at the event due to her pregnancy.

Another usual favourite and the player ranked No.1 in the world, Angelique Kerber of Germany, would usually be included in the list of potential 2017 Wimbledon winners, but her slump in form of late has fans and bookies alike writing her off, and we will do likewise.

We have also not gone with current world No.2 Simona Halep of Romania on our list of potential winners as she has only reached the Wimbledon semi-finals once, back in 2014, and crashed out in the early rounds, bar a quarter-final appearance in 2016.

Here are five potential winners of Wimbledon 2017:

Petra Kvitova

Country: Czech Republic
Age: 27
Grand Slam Singles record:
Australian Open: SF (2012)
French Open: SF (2012)
Wimbledon: W (2011, 2014)
US Open: QF (2015)
Career Singles Titles: 20 WTA, 7 ITF
Current WTA Ranking: 12
Plays: Left-handed (two-handed backhand) 

Many may find it strange that Kvitova is on the list of potential winners, having been out of action for months recovering after being stabbed in a robbery at her apartment in Prostějov, the Czech Republic, in December 2016.

The 27-year-old returned to action in May at the French Open, where she reached the second round. Thereafter she confirmed she would be participating at Wimbledon, having won the tournament twice in 2011 and 2014.

In her grass court build-up, Kvitova played at the Aegon Classic in Birmingham and looked right at home on the courts, beating Ashleigh Barty in the final in three sets for her 20th career title.

Her playing style suits the faster surfaces like grass courts as she hits the ball very hard and flat off both wings, has a good serve, a good volley, and feels at home at Wimbledon.

What makes Kvitova dangerous is the fact that she was out of action for around six months and therefore is not expected to be a threat, but that is precisely why she is potentially the tournament winner.

Karolina Pliskova

Country: Czech Republic
Age: 25
Grand Slam Singles record: 
Australian Open: QF (2017)
French Open: SF (2017)
Wimbledon: 2R (2013, 2014, 2015, 2016)
US Open: F (2016)
Career Singles Titles: 8 WTA, 10 ITF
Current WTA Ranking: 3
Plays: Right-handed (two-handed backhand)

The world No.3 may not immediately look like a threat at Wimbledon, having never got past the second round, but that could very well change. After reaching the 2016 US Open final, she has looked a more confident and mentally stronger player, reaching the 2017 Australian Open quarter-finals and then the semi-finals of the recently-completed French Open.

The 25-year-old has a very good first serve which is hit hard and flat and is always tough to break on fast courts like Wimbledon. Coupled with that she hits her groundstrokes with a lot of pace and has a great volley as shown when winning 80% of the points at the net on her 2016 US Open run.

Don't be surprised to see the tall Pliskova making a strong challenge at Wimbledon as her game is suited to the fast grass courts of SW19.

Garbine Muguruza

Country: Spain
Age: 23
Grand Slam Singles record:
Australian Open: QF (2017)
French Open: W (2016)
Wimbledon: F (2015)
US Open: 2R (2015, 2016)
Career Singles Titles: 3 WTA, 7 ITF 
Current WTA Ranking: 14
Plays: Right-handed (two-handed backhand)

The Spanish 23-year-old may seem like a strange choice as a threat on grass courts, especially since she is regarded as more of a clay court specialist after winning the French Open in 2016.

Don't be fooled though. After a slump in form since her French Open triumph, 2017 has looked good for Muguruza, who seems to be getting back to her best form, reaching the Australian Open quarter-finals and then the Roland Garros fourth round.

She showed her mettle on grass at the 2015 Wimbledon Championships by reaching the singles final, losing to Serena Williams in straight sets. She may have only reached the second round in 2016 but don't read too much into that come this years event.

Like the other players mentioned, she is another of those that has the ideal game to do well on fast surfaces like grass courts. Her trademark shots are flat, powerful groundstrokes off of both wings which makes her dominate rallies and, if consistent, makes her tough to beat.

Muguruza's serve is hard and flat and wins her a lot of cheap points. She is useful at the net due to playing doubles, having won five WTA titles, and is an excellent returner of serve.

If her game comes together at Wimbledon she is capable of beating anyone.

Venus Williams

Country: USA
Age: 37
Grand Slam Singles record: 
Australian Open: F (2003, 2017)
French Open: F (2002)
Wimbledon: W (2000, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2008)
US Open: W (2000, 2001)
Career Singles Titles: 49  
Current WTA Ranking: 10
Plays: Right-handed (two-handed backhand)

Venus may be 37-years-old but don't let that cloud your judgement. Not only is she a huge crowd favourite at SW19 but has also won 11 Wimbledon titles, five singles and six doubles, and on current form is a huge threat having reached the semi-finals in 2016.

In 2017, she was an Australian Open singles finalist, losing to sister Serena; reached the fourth round at Roland Garros; and her win/loss record this year sits at 20-7, winning $2,088,880.00 in prize money so far.

Williams has the ideal game for Wimbledon, with a very powerful all-court game. Added to her arsenal is a great serve and a superb volley. Being very athletic there are few better at court coverage which means winners are hit from all around the court even while in defensive positions.

If you are a betting person, Venus is definitely worth a punt on the grass courts of SW19.

Johanna Konta

Country: Great Britain
Age: 26
Grand Slam Singles record: 
Australian Open: SF (2016)
French Open: 1R (2015, 2016, 2017)
Wimbledon: 2R (2016)
US Open: 4R (2015, 2016)
Career Singles Titles: 3 WTA, 11 ITF
Current WTA Ranking: 7
Plays: Right-handed (two-handed backhand)

The 26-year-old Brit is one of the most improved players on the 2017 WTA tour having won two tournaments (WTA Apia International Sydney and WTA Miami Open) plus she reached the quarter-finals of the 2017 Australian Open, losing to eventual champion Serena Williams.

Konta is known for her all-court game and is an offensive baseline player. Her serve is her biggest weapon and is considered one of the best in the game, winning a lot of free points.

Her forehand is hit with lots of power and topspin, while her backhand is very flat and aggressive but, though good, her volleys are probably the weakest part of her game.

Despite never getting further than the second round at Wimbledon, the feeling by punters is that Konta is a ‘dark horse’, especially playing at home in the UK and backed by the boisterous British crowd meaning anything is possible for this popular player.

Please let us know below who you think will shine at Wimbledon 2017.

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