Wimbledon 2017: From gritty Angelique Kerber to comeback queen Petra Kvitova, 5 contenders for women's title

The excitement of Wimbledon is soon upon us and history will be created over the next fortnight.

With Serena Williams preparing for the birth of her first child and Maria Sharapova sidelined by a thigh injury, the race to be crowned Wimbledon champion is the most wide-open in a generation. It has created a power vacuum and there's an opportunity for the sport's less heralded names to emerge into the spotlight, as Jelena Ostapenko showed with her unexpected breakthrough triumph at Roland Garros last month.

Here are the five contenders for the women's title at Wimbledon which gets under way at the All England Club on Monday.

Angelique Kerber (Germany)

Angelique Kerber lost to Williams in the 2016 Wimbledon final. Getty

Angelique Kerber lost to Williams in the 2016 Wimbledon final. Getty

Age: 29

World ranking: 1

Career titles: 10

Career Grand Slam titles: 2 (Australian Open 2016, US Open 2016)

Career prize money: $20,034,057

Best Wimbledon performance: Runner-up 2016

Kerber made unwanted history at the French Open when her wretched defeat against Ekaterina Makarova made her the first top-ranked woman in the Open era to fall in the opening round. The shock loss extended a frustrating run for Kerber, who won the Australian and US Opens last year, but has yet to claim a single WTA title in 2017. Beaten by Serena Williams in the Wimbledon final 12 months ago, in the American great's absence, Kerber has a golden opportunity to get back on track on the lawns of south-west London.

Simona Halep (Romania)

Age: 25

World ranking: 2

Career titles: 15

Career Grand Slam titles: 0

Career prize money: $18,381,910

Best Wimbledon performance: Semi-finals 2014


Tormented by sleepless nights following her French Open final meltdown against Jelena Ostapenko, Halep would dearly love to erase the painful memory by winning her first Grand Slam crown. Despite holding a one set lead and a 3-0 advantage in the second, Halep couldn't get over the finish line in Paris. Having also lost the 2014 French Open final, Halep knows she is in danger of becoming a perennial bridesmaid when the big prizes are handed out. "It's killing me," she said of the loss before starting her grass-court preparations at Eastbourne.

Karolina Pliskova (Czech Republic)

Karolina Pliskova is the bookmakers' favourite to win Wimbledon this year. Reuters

Karolina Pliskova is the bookmakers' favourite to win Wimbledon this year. Reuters

Age: 25

World ranking: 3

Career titles: 8

Career Grand Slam titles: 0


Career prize money: $8,865,637

Best Wimbledon performance: Second round (four times)

Installed as the bookmakers' favourite to win Wimbledon, Pliskova is desperate to finally make an impact at the All England Club after a string of early exits. A serial Wimbledon second round loser, Pliskova does have the game for grass as she showed by 12 months ago after winning the title in Nottingham and finishing runner-up in Eastbourne. Having finished as US Open runner-up and made the semi-finals of the French Open this year, it's time for the Czech to end her Grand Slam wait. "Even when it's not one of my best days, I've been able to win this year," she said.

Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland)

Age: 28

World ranking: 10

Career titles: 20

Career Grand Slam titles: 0

Career prize money: $26,340,057

Best Wimbledon performance: Runner-up 2012

Embarrassed by a dismal straight sets defeat against Alize Cornet at the French Open third round, Radwanska was delighted to kick the clay from her shoes and get back on the grass courts where she feels most comfortable. The Pole's best Grand Slam run came at Wimbledon five years ago when she took Serena Williams to three sets before losing in the final. Hampered by a foot injury this year, she hasn't gotten past the fourth round at a major since the 2016 Australian Open, but hopes springs eternal at the All England Club, where she has made the last four on three occasions.

Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic)

Can Petra Kvitova win her third Wimbledon coming back from a career-threatening hand injury? Reuters

Can Petra Kvitova win her third Wimbledon coming back from a career-threatening hand injury? Reuters

Age: 27

World ranking: 12

Career titles: 20

Career Grand Slam titles: 2 (Wimbledon 2011, 2014)

Career prize money: $22,968,472

Best Wimbledon performance: Champion 2011, 2014

Kvitova capped her remarkable comeback from a career-threatening hand injury by winning the Birmingham title last week in only her second tournament since she was stabbed by an intruder at her home in December. Having returned to action at the French Open, where she was beaten in the second round, big-hitting Kvitova is already in the groove on grass and, providing she shakes off an abdominal strain that forced her out of Eastbourne, the Czech will draw on the experience of her two Wimbledon titles as she eyes another memorable triumph.

With inputs from AFP


Published Date: Jul 02, 2017 06:13 pm | Updated Date: Jul 02, 2017 06:13 pm



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