4 min read
A lot of eyes will be laser-focused on two particular women this fortnight at the All-England Club: Iga Swiatek and Serena Williams. Swiatek hasn't lost a match in four months and her dominance was on full display at Roland Garros. Serena is playing her first singles match since being forced to retire mid-match in the first round one year ago.
Let's dive into the women's favorites and dark horses, with intel from Universal Tennis INSIGHTS.
THE WOMEN'S FAVORITES ACCORDING TO INSIGHTS
(1) Iga Swiatek — 30%
(3) Ons Jabeur — 13%
(5) Maria Sakkari — 8%
(16) Simona Halep — 6%
(2) Anett Kontaveit — 6%
(4) Paula Badosa — 5%
(20) Amanda Anisimova — 5%
(12) Jelena Ostapenko — 4%
(14) Belinda Bencic — 4%
(8) Jessica Pegula — 2%
Most Likely to Win the Title
(1) Iga Swiatek (UTR Rating 13.40)
Even though Iga Swiatek has only played Wimbledon two times with her best result being the fourth round last year, she's rightfully the INSIGHTS' favorite. Swiatek has been unstoppable since February, winning six titles and 35 matches in a row. She doesn't have a lot of grass-court experience, meaning there is a sliver of hope for the rest of the field.
The 21-year-old Pole opens her big against Jana Fett (11.38) and the first seeded player she could face is the tricky Yulia Putintseva (12.71). Barbora Krejcikova (12.76) and Jil Teichmann (12.77) are also in her section, and her quarterfinal could be against 2017 Wimbledon champion Garbine Muguruza (12.56).
Most Likely to Go Deep
(3) Ons Jabeur (UTR Rating 13.12)
Ons Jabeur is overdue for a Grand Slam breakthrough. The Tunisian was in great form going into Roland Garros but stumbled at the very first hurdle. Now she has another chance, on a surface that suits her diverse game style. Unlike Swiatek, she played two Wimbledon tune-ups, winning Berlin and teaming up with Serena Williams to reach the Eastbourne doubles semifinals, where she withdrew with knee pain.
Jabeur is in the opposite half of the draw as Swiatek but her road isn't easy even if she's totally healthy. The 2021 Wimbledon quarterfinalist opens qualifier Mirjam Bjorklund (11.95) and could have to deal with the dangerous Kaia Kanepi (12.68) early. Jabeur is in the same section as 2016 Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber (12.66).
(12) Jelena Ostapenko (UTR Rating 12.90)
Jelena Ostapenko has found a rhythm lately, appearing in the final of both singles and doubles in Eastbourne. She will begin her Wimbledon fortnight against Oceane Dodin (12.10) and will be favored to advance against the Roland Garros semifinalist Martina Trevisan (12.52). Ostapenko's firepower will be effective on the grass, and she could challenge both high seeds in her section: Maria Sakkari (12.99) and Anett Kontaveit (13.05).
(25) Petra Kvitova (UTR Rating 12.64)
Ostapenko's conqueror in the Eastbourne final was none other than Kvitova. A two-time Wimbledon champion, Kvitova is most likely to find her sharpest game at the All-England Club. She'll start against Jasmine Paolini (12.34) and could face Paula Badosa (12.99)as early as the third round. Badosa has played at Wimbledon just twice and lost her opener in Eastbourne to British wild card Jodie Burrage (11.77).
Serena Williams (UTR Rating 12.57)
Serena Williams is making her much-anticipated singles return to the tour after a year away. She needed a wild card to enter the field, and her UTR Rating has dipped with zero matches since last year's Wimbledon.
Still, the 40-year-old should be able to do some damage as she opens against Harmony Tan (11.97) and could face No. 32 seed Sara Sorribes Tormo (12.57) next. Her road will get challenging quickly as 2021 Wimbledon runner-up Karolina Pliskova (12.64) may await her, followed by either Amanda Anisimova (12.99) or Roland Garros finalist Coco Gauff (12.92).
Regardless of how she fares, fans are thrilled to see her again.
"I didn't retire," Williams said in Eastbourne. "I just needed to heal physically, mentally. And, yeah, I had no plans, to be honest. I just didn't know when I would come back. I didn't know how I would come back. Obviously, Wimbledon is such a great place to be, and it just kind of worked out."
(28) Alison Riske (UTR Rating 12.64)
Alison Riske's game is well-suited for grass and it's the site of her best Grand Slam performance, the quarterfinals in 2019. To prepare for Wimbledon she reached the final in Nottingham as the sixth seed. She'll try to get her momentum going against Switzerland's Ylena In-Albon (11.77) and is in the same section of the draw as No. 7 seed Danielle Collins (12.85) and home favorite Emma Raducanu (12.60). Collins did not play any events after her second-round exit in Paris.
UTR Pro Tennis Tour Players to Watch
Seven UTR Pro Tennis Tour (PTT) players competed in the women's qualifying event, including 11-time PTT champion Marcela Zacarias. Catherine Harrison (11.33) and Jamiee Fourlis (11.93) made it to the main draw with three wins each. The 22-year-old Fourlis will try to win her first-ever Wimbledon match against Kirsten Flipkens (12.17) while Harrison will face Arantxa Rus.
•UTR Ratings and INSIGHTS probabilities as of 9 a.m. EST, June 25, 2022.