WIMBLEDON '17: Kvitova, Venus Williams past champs in field

ABS-CBN Sports on Jun 30, 2017 10:01 AM
WIMBLEDON '17: Kvitova, Venus Williams past champs in field
FILE - In this June 10, 2017, file photo, Latvia's Jelena Ostapenko kisses the trophy after winning the women's final match of the French Open tennis tournament against Romania's Simona Halep, at Roland Garros stadium, in Paris. Play at Wimbledon begins on Monday. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, File)

HOWARD FENDRICH, AP Tennis Writer


Women to watch at Wimbledon, where play begins Monday:

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ANGELIQUE KERBER

Seeded: 1

Ranked: 1

Age: 29

Country: Germany

2017 Match Record: 19-13 (entering Eastbourne tournament)

2017 Singles Titles: 0

Career Singles Titles: 10

Major Titles: 2 — Australian Open ('16), U.S. Open ('16)

Last 5 Wimbledons: '16-Runner-Up, '15-Lost in 3rd Round, '14-QF, '13-2nd, '12-SF

Aces: Still trying to find her way in 2017 after reaching her first three major finals last season, including at the All England Club. ... She is 0-7 vs. top-20 opponents this year, after going 24-9 last year.

Topspin: Became first woman seeded No. 1 to lose in the French Open's first round in the professional era, emblematic of a real step back this season.

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KAROLINA PLISKOVA

Seeded: 3

Ranked: 3

Age: 25

Country: Czech Republic

2017 Match Record: 32-9 (entering Eastbourne tournament)

2017 Singles Titles: 2

Career Singles Titles: 8

Major Titles: 0 — Best: RU, U.S. Open ('16)

Last 5 Wimbledons: '16-2nd, '15-2nd, '14-2nd, '13-2nd, '12-1st

Aces: Leads WTA in aces this season (her twin sister, Kristyna, ranks second). ... Only 4-5 for her career at Wimbledon, where the surface should suit her game.

Topspin: Her terrific serve should carry her to more wins on grass than it has so far. ... Victory over Serena Williams in the U.S. Open semifinals last year showed what sort of potential Pliskova has.

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VENUS WILLIAMS

Seeded: 10

Ranked: 11

Age: 37

Country: United States

2017 Match Record: 20-7

2017 Singles Titles: 0

Career Singles Titles: 49

Major Titles: 7 — Wimbledon ('00, '01, '05, '07, '08), U.S. Open ('00, '01)

Last 5 Wimbledons: '16-SF, '15-4th, '14-3rd, '13-Did Not Play, '12-1st

Aces: Making her 20th Wimbledon appearance. ... As usual, didn't play any tuneup events on grass, but has five past titles at Wimbledon.

Topspin: Showed she's still got game by reaching semifinals at All England Club last year for first time since 2008, then getting to Australian Open final in January.

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PETRA KVITOVA

Seeded: 11

Ranked: 12

Age: 27

Country: Czech Republic

2017 Match Record: 6-1

2017 Singles Titles: 1

Career Singles Titles: 20

Major Titles: 2 — Wimbledon ('11, '14)

Last 5 Wimbledons: '16-2nd, '15-3rd, '14-Won Championship, '13-QF, '12-QF

Aces: Wimbledon is third tournament of comeback after getting cut by a knife-wielding intruder at her home in December.

Topspin: Many consider her the favorite for what would be her third Wimbledon title. Best news, though, is simply that she is back in competition.

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JELENA OSTAPENKO

Seeded: 13

Ranked: 14

Age: 20

Country: Latvia

2017 Match Record: 29-11 (entering Eastbourne tournament)

2017 Singles Titles: 1

Career Singles Titles: 1

Major Titles: 1 — French Open ('17)

Last 5 Wimbledons: '16-1st, '15-2nd, '14-DNP, '13-DNP, '12-DNP

Aces: Surprised everyone, including herself, by winning first career tour-level title at French Open. ... 2014 junior Wimbledon champion.

Topspin: With big strokes and confidence to spare, no reason she can't go far. After all, grass — not clay — is her favorite surface.

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GARBINE MUGURUZA

Seeded: 14

Ranked: 15

Age: 23

Country: Spain

2017 Match Record: 23-13

2017 Singles Titles: 0

Career Singles Titles: 3

Major Titles: 1 — French Open ('16)

Last 5 Wimbledons: '16-2nd Rd, '15-RU, '14-1st, '13-2nd, '12-DNP

Aces: Reached first major final at Wimbledon in 2015; the next year, won first major title at French Open.

Topspin: Has struggled all season and does not look ready to contend at the All England Club. In most recent match, lost 6-1, 6-0 on grass at Eastbourne.

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VICTORIA AZARENKA

Seeded: Unseeded

Ranked: 678

Age: 27

Country: Belarus

2017 Match Record: 1-1

2017 Singles Titles: 0

Career Singles Titles: 20

Major Titles: 2 — Australian Open ('12, '13)

Last 5 Wimbledons: '16-DNP, '15-QF, '14-2nd, '13-2nd, '12-SF

Aces: Recently returned to the tour after giving birth to a son. Wimbledon will be her second tournament back. ... Enters Wimbledon via a protected ranking.

Topspin: She's twice made the semifinals at Wimbledon and has the muscle memory of two runs to Grand Slam titles. Has missed the past four majors, though, so there is a lot accumulated rust.

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Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich

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