The two stalwarts of the women’s game have displayed predictable performances in a rather unpredictable week at Wimbledon 2018.
The turn of the decade has seen women’s tennis traverse through unpredictable waters. And nothing else explains this than the board of champions at the All England Club, which is displayed inside the members’ clubhouse at Wimbledon and on a public concourse inside the Centre Court.
In the last eight years, there’s no doubt that Serena Williams has been the undisputed numero uno at SW 19. While she might have won four titles in this time frame, at the 2018 edition, it’s still difficult to state with conviction that this American has it in her to add another crown to her cabinet.
This is primarily because of the unpredictability in the women’s circuit. Ever since Serena went on maternity leave early last year, women’s tennis has been much more open than it has ever been. The American announced her pregnancy after clinching the Australian Open title last year and since then, we have seen Jelena Ostapenko (French Open, 2017), Garbine Muguruza (Wimbledon, 2017), Sloane Stephens (US Open, 2017), Caroline Wozniacki (Australian Open, 2018) and Simona Halep (French Open, 2018) reign supreme at Grand Slams. Surprisingly, no one apart from Halep and Stephens even made it to the final on other occasions. This is probably a reason why the women half at Majors nowadays feels like lucky dip with any number of players capable of triumphing.
Serena has made an unconvincing return on the WTA tour, but the 23-time Major winner can never be discounted and still commands a sizeable presence. Though certain eyebrows were raised after Wimbledon decided to hand the American a seeding — she’s seeded 25th at the Championships —despite hovering in the lower ranks, her performance against Kristina Mladenovic (a 7-5, 7-6 win) in the second round in London should answer a few critics. However, nothing is done for her yet. She faces a deep field in her quest for another crown at the lawns of SW 19 – arguably the most depth in the women’s game for some time.
A few questions still remain on Serena’s preparedness to take on this young and vibrant bunch of players who look eager to knock the champion of her perch. But truth be told, if she can even find 90 percent of her best then that is still probably good enough to triumph.
Continuing to pose a stern challenge for the American is the World number 1 Halep. The Romanian has come into Wimbledon on the back of a fabulous run at Roland Garros that saw her finally realise her dream of winning a Major. And there’s no doubt that she is eager to carry on that form on to the grass courts, her least favoured surface, of Wimbledon too. Her two wins so far has shown the determination and zip that was kind of missing in her game in the past.
However, with most of the seeds already been knocked out of the competition, it’s difficult state who holds the edge this year. But one thing is for sure, with Serena and Halep still in the fold, the others can barely choose to put a foot wrong next week.
Words: Sportz Interactive