Wimbledon Preview: Top 5 WTA stars who could dominate the grass courts

Friday, 28 June 2024 at 10:08
rybakina wimbledon
There are only a few days left until the start of Wimbledon, and the players are gearing up for their third Grand Slam of the year, marking the conclusion of the grass-court swing. The top seeds will be Iga Swiatek, Coco Gauff, and Aryna Sabalenka, although none have a previous final appearance at SW19 or titles on grass.
Defending champion Marketa Vondrousova has been inconsistent since her 2023 title and will arrive with doubts about her physical condition after her recent retirement during a match against Anna Kalinskaya at the Berlin Ladies Open. Here are 5 other top candidates who could dream big at the All England Club.

Elena Rybakina

The 2022 champion could easily be the top favorite at SW19, but doubts about her physical condition are still very much alive. Throughout the season, she has withdrawn three times due to physical issues, including her retirement at the Berlin Ladies Open while playing the first set of the second round against Victoria Azarenka. She will arrive at Wimbledon with barely one completed match on grass.
However, when injuries haven't bothered her, she has achieved good results, with a record of 35-7 this season and three titles. Rybakina had an 11-match winning streak at Wimbledon until her quarterfinal defeat in 2023 against Ons Jabeur.
Rybakina will be the 4th seed behind Swiatek-Sabalenka-Gauff, but she is the only one of them who has really shown her peak level on this surface. She has an overall record of 24-9 on grass courts (72.7%) and 16-3 at Wimbledon (84%). It remains to be seen if Rybakina's abdominal issues in recent weeks will allow her to display her game and go deep in a physically demanding tournament.

Ons Jabeur

The 2-times Wimbledon runner-up is a grass-court specialist with two titles on the surface won in the 2021 Birmingham Open and 2022 Berlin Ladies Open, in addition to the last two finals she reached at Wimbledon.
In the last two editions, she was on the brink of her first Grand Slam title. In 2022, she was the favorite and was a set up against Rybakina, but the Kazakh staged a comeback to snatch the title from her. In 2023, Jabeur was again a favorite but fell in straight sets to Vondrousova.
Jabeur's 2024 has not been optimal, and she needs at least to equal her 2023 final if she does not want to drop out of the top 10. In the Berlin Open this week, she retired after finishing the first set against Gauff, so it remains to be seen in what physical condition she appears in the tournament. Jabeur has 20 wins and 8 losses at Wimbledon and will seek to put behind her the two lost finals in previous years as she aims for her first Grand Slam title.
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Ons Jabeur at 2023 Wimbledon.

Ekaterina Alexandrova

The Russian player has maintained outstanding performances on grass over several seasons. This week, she reached a record of 21-5 in the last three seasons and became the player with the most wins on grass courts in the last three years, surpassing Jabeur.
Alexandrova has two titles on grass: in 2022 and 2023 at the Libema Open s'Hertogenbosch, and her best performance at Wimbledon was reaching the fourth round in 2023, where she lost to world No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka in straight sets. The world No. 22 feels comfortable on grass and will be one of the players who could cause several surprises for the top seeds.

Mirra Andreeva

Back in 2023, there was anticipation about what Andreeva could achieve at Wimbledon. During the clay court season, she made her first appearances on the Tour at 16 years old and had surprising runs at the Madrid Open and French Open, but she did not play any preparatory tournaments on grass before competing at the All England Club.
The Russian showed her adaptability and surpassed three matches in qualifying. In the main draw, she eliminated the 10th seed Barbora Krejcikova and the 22nd seed Anastasia Potapova to reach the fourth round, where she lost to Madison Keys.
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Mirra Andreeva at 2023 Wimbledon.
This year, Andreeva arrives with a new status, showing good consistency on the WTA Tour and as a recent semifinalist at Roland Garros. The world No. 23 suffered a surprising first-round defeat at the Bad Homburg Open against Dayana Yastremska, so once again, the preparation for Wimbledon is not optimal. Nevertheless, it seems only a matter of time before Andreeva continues to take steps forward in her career, and Wimbledon could be an ideal stage for the Russian, who is compared to Maria Sharapova, the SW19 champion at 17 years old, the same age as Andreeva.

Naomi Osaka

The former world No. 1 has been delivering impressive performances throughout the season, and there are no longer any doubts that Osaka is ready to reclaim her place at the top of the rankings. The Japanese player returned to the Tour at the beginning of the year after a year and a half absence and has already reached world No. 113 with a record of 15-12 this season.
The 4-times Grand Slam champion has always been a player focused on hard courts with difficulties adapting to other surfaces, but her renewed form in 2024 seems to have left that behind. On clay, she reached the round of 16 at the Rome Open and at Roland Garros, she had the world No. 1 Iga Swiatek on the brink of defeat, who had to recover from a match point against her at the most critical moment of her run to her 4th French Open title.
Osaka wasted a match point against Swiatek at the French Open. The Pole later won her fourth title in Paris.
On grass, she had a good performance at the Libema Open but agonizingly fell in the quarterfinals to Bianca Andreescu in the third-set tie-break. Later at the Berlin Ladies Open, she could not overcome world No. 7 Qinwen Zheng, although she again left a good impression.
Osaka has not surpassed the third round of Wimbledon so far, although her rising level this year raises hopes of exceeding expectations at SW19. The Japanese player will be one to watch, and her unseeded position could potentially match her against anyone from the first round.

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