Wimbledon 2018: who are the top female players?

BBC sports analyst and former British number one Annabel Croft picks her favourites for the Wimbledon 2018 women's title

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As the Wimbledon Championships kicks off, BBC sports analyst and former British number one Annabel Croft picks her female favourites for Wimbledon 2018. Who’s going to win this year’s competition? These are the top contenders… 

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Who is playing at Wimbledon today?


ELIMINATED – Simona Halep, 26

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What is Simona Halep’s Wimbledon seeding?

Number 1 – she will play in the top half of the draw.

Which country is Simona Halep from? 

Romania

Why is she one to watch? 

She’s been ranked number one on and off since October 2017 but hadn’t won a grand slam, so everyone was thrilled when she did it at this year’s French Open — it was her third time in the final. She worked with the same psychologist who helped Andy Murray before he won Wimbledon. Though she had to pull out of Eastbourne this year in a bid to get fit, she’s a wonderful athlete and ball striker, and she’s done well at Wimbledon before, including one of last year’s best matches when she lost to Johanna Konta in the quarters.



Serena Williams, 36

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What is Serena Williams’ Wimbledon seeding?

Number 25 – Wimbledon have chosen to seed the seven-time champion, despite the fact her world ranking has slipped to 183.

Which country is Serena Williams from?

The USA

Why is she one to watch?

She has won seven Wimbledons, but couldn’t defend her 2016 title last year as she was seven months pregnant. At the recent French Open, she commanded all the attention having come back from giving birth to daughter Olympia last September. That was the first time we saw her in grand slam action since she won the Australian Open in 2017 when eight weeks pregnant. Her tennis was astounding in the three matches she won at the French before she withdrew injured. She’s a phenomenal athlete.


Wimbledon 2018 TV schedule UK: Full list of every match on the BBC


ELIMINATED – Petra Kvitova, 28

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What is Petra Kvitova’s Wimbledon seeding?

Number 8

Which country is Petra Kvitova from?

Czech Republic

Why is she one to watch?

She won Wimbledon in 2011 and 2014. She’s devastating on grass; her strike is so phenomenal, she can immediately nullify opponents. John McEnroe said after she won her second Wimbledon that it was one of the best performances he’d ever seen on Centre Court. There’s also sentimental feeling for how she has coped since the attack in December 2016, when an intruder to her flat stabbed her in the left hand. After complex surgery she returned to competitive tennis in May 2017, and she’s already won four titles this year.


ELIMINATED – Garbine Muguruza, 24

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What is Garbine Muguruza’s Wimbledon seeding?

Number 3

Which country is Garbine Muguruza from? 

Spain

Why is she one to watch?

She’s won only six titles in her career, yet two have been grand slams — last year’s Wimbledon and the 2016 French Open. So she’s capable of performing well on the biggest stages, but there will be enormous pressure on her as defending Wimbledon champion. She has a big serve, big groundstrokes, takes the ball early and is composed — her bearing on court is so elegant she’s almost royal. But her performances are up and down through the year, so you never quite know which Muguruza is going to show up.


Wimbledon tennis 2018 live TV coverage: how to watch this year’s Championships


ELIMINATED – Johanna Konta, 27

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What is Johanna Konta’s Wimbledon seeding?

Number 22

Which country is Johanna Konta from?

Great Britain

Why is she one to watch?

She was briefly the world number four after reaching the Wimbledon semi-finals last year, but it’s always difficult to back up an amazing year, and her ranking has dropped. This year has been more tricky, and she’ll be coping with a lot of pressure trying to repeat that semi. She hasn’t played at the level of last year, so she’s lost more and says she has less confidence. But her game is well suited to grass, with big weapons in her serve and backhand. She will have huge support from the home crowd, she’s extremely professional and works very hard.


Daria Kasatkina, 21

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(Getty)

What is Daria Kasatkina’s Wimbledon seeding?

Number 14

Which country is Daria Kasatkina from? 

Russia

Why is she one to watch?

She won’t win Wimbledon, but she’s one to keep an eye out for. I love the way she plays. She has a beautiful game, very different to some of the other women, with a lot of variety: a lot of spins, slice backhand, drop shot, she has great hands and feet at the net, is very quick to learn and has so much creative flair. In 2016 she played Venus Williams on Centre Court in the third round and lost 10—8 in the deciding set. Since then she’s risen up the rankings.


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This year’s Championships are held from Monday 2nd July – Sunday 15th July and air on the BBC.

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