Two down, two to go. The quest for that elusive Grand Slam continues for Serena Williams at Wimbledon, which begins on June 29. The World No. 1 is halfway toward achieving the remarkable feat, and will be a huge favorite to make it three Majors out of three at the All England Club.
However, a host of the very best female players in the world will be hot on her heels all tournament long. Who among them stands as the biggest threat to Serena’s supremacy? Read on below as we preview of the top favorites, sleepers and long shots for this year’s Wimbledon crown.
2015 Wimbledon Women’s Singles Preview
Favorites – Serena Williams, Petra Kvitova, and Maria Sharapova
Reigning Australian and French Open champion Serena Williams will enter the third major of the year as the overwhelming EVEN odds favorite to claim her sixth Wimbledon crown. Williams has simply been unstoppable this year, posting a remarkable 32-1 record entering the tournament.
[sc:Other240banner ]However, there’s also a strong case to be made that this is the tournament where Williams’s luck finally runs out. The American has been banged up for most of the season. She battled through an elbow injury in Paris, where she was taken to a decisive third set in five of her seven matches.
Williams will also have a significantly tough road to the final at Wimbledon, with sister Venus, World No. 7 Ana Ivanovic, Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova all in her bracket. And of course, there’s also the growing pressure to complete the Grand Slam.
The one blemish on Williams’s slate this year was care of Wimbledon’s other top favorite, reigning champion Petra Kvitova, who is +350 to defend her Wimbledon crown. Kvitova, who has reached at least the quarterfinal stage of Wimbledon for the past five years, won’t have to face Serena until the final, but she’d likely prefer not to face her altogether. Kvitova is 1-5 in her career against Williams, and 0-2 at Wimbledon.
That sentiment is shared by Maria Sharapova, who’s priced at +900 to win her second Wimbledon title. She won her first against Serena back in 2004, but she has gone 1-17 in her other 18 matchups with the American. Sharapova, the four-seed, would face Williams in the semifinals if they both win out.
High-Value Sleepers – Sabine Lisicki and Angelique Kerber
It’s been an up and down season for World No. 18 Sabine Lisicki, who is just 15-15 on Tour this year. However, she’s always high value when it comes to Wimbledon, and she’s priced at +1,500 to win this year. The 25-year old German has reached the last eight at the All England Club in each of the past four years, and defeated Serena Williams en route to the final back in 2013.
Lisicki will have a terrific chance to go on another deep run this year with the top two seeds in her section, No. 3 Simona Halep and No. 5 Caroline Wozniacki, looking particularly susceptible to upsets. Halep crashed out in the second round of the French Open and underwent a coaching change, while Wozniacki had to retire in her most recent tournament with a back problem.
The same potentially easy road to the semis also applies for Angelique Kerber, a very interesting sleeper at +4,000. The World No. 10 had the best possible buildup to Wimbledon by winning the Aegon Classic, where she beat fellow sleeper Lisicki in the semifinal. Kerber is a very impressive 30-12 on the year, and has gone 27-7 on grass since 2012.
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Long Shots – Timea Bacsinszky and Belinda Bencic
Timea Bacsinszky has had a breakout season in 2015. The 26-year old Swiss is 32-7 on the season, and reached her first career Grand Slam tournament at the French Open. She’ll also be on the Halep-Wozniacki side of the bracket, so don’t rule her out at +5,000 to win her first ever Grand Slam at the All England court.
The same is true for Belinda Bencic, a +6,000 longshot who has been burning up the grass courts prior to Wimbledon. Bencic was a losing finalist at ’s-Hertogenbosch, but she did come out on top in Eastbourne, defeating World No. 13 Agnieszka Radwanska in the final to claim her very first WTA title at the ripe old age of 18.
Williams’s run finally ends, as Lisicki (+1,500) earns her very first Grand Slam title.[sc:Other490banner ]
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